Word of the Month for April 2023


The word of the month for April will be illustrated by a reproduction of John Hayward’s ‘Christ the Worker’ 

at St Mary Abchurch, Abchurch Yard, London EC4N 7BA throughout April, during the church’s usual opening hours, Monday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (but not on the bank holiday, Monday the 10th of April)

We are grateful to the St Mark’s Foundation and to Wychcroft, the Southwark Diocesan retreat and resource centre, for providing the image of John Hayward’s ‘Christ the Worker’ and for permission to use it.

See below for further details.


The Wren 300 Wood Conservation in Action Week will take place 

at St Mary Abchurch from Monday the 24th of April to Thursday the 27th of April. Visitors will be welcome between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on those dates. 


On Thursday the 4th of May  at 6 p.m.

experts will discuss Wren’s furnishings and their conservation, with particular reference to the Wren 300 Wood Conservation in Action Week at St Mary Abchurch. The speakers will be Alan Lamb, Lee Prosser, and Jimmy Aitken. For further details, click here.


There will be no Third Thursday event during April.

John Hayward's 'Christ the Worker'

at St Mary Abchurch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Monday to Thursday April (but not on the 10th of April).

John Hayward (1929–2007) is best known for the nearly two hundred stained glass windows that he created for cathedrals and churches throughout Britain and elsewhere. His first major commission was for the repair of stained glass windows at St Mary-le-Bow after the Second World War. 

The image of Christ the Worker that you will find at St Mary Abchurch during April is taken from a painting by John Hayward that is located at the East end of the chapel at Wychcroft, the Southwark Diocesan retreat and resource centre near to Godstone in Surrey. 

In 1959, the Bishop of Southwark, Mervyn Stockwood, established the Southwark Ordination Course to train working men for ordination as worker priests: clergy who would train, and then remain to fulfil their ministry, in their existing occupations. Wychcroft, a large house in Surrey, was donated to the Diocese of Southwark as a retreat centre, and was often used by the Southwark Ordination Course. The chapel, dedicated to the People of God, was created out of an old squash court in 1962, and John Hayward painted ‘Christ the Worker’ on the site in 1966. 

The Wren 300 Wood Conservation in Action Week will take place

at St Mary Abchurch from Monday the 24th of April to Thursday the 27th of April. Visitors will be welcome between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on those dates. 

As part of the Wren 300 celebrations in 2023, Cliveden Conservation—in its role as the Wren 300 conservation partner—will be carrying out some conservation work to the wonderful wooden interior of St Mary Abchurch. Work will include cleaning trials to the outstanding Grinling Gibbons reredos, with particular interest being paid to possible solutions to reversing the dark Victorian interventions. There will also be some fine carving work to repair some of the fretwork panels to the pew backs, and some exploratory work to the timber vestry floor. All this work is hoped to inform future restoration and conservation programmes, and also to highlight best-practice conservation work in the unique surroundings of a Wren city church.

The conservation work will be open to the public to view and interact with from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each weekday from Monday the 24th to Thursday the 27th of April to raise awareness of the conservation issues that these historic buildings face. Events are planned to engage with a wide and diverse audience; with the general public, conservation professionals, students, and trade bodies invited to attend. Educational and interactive events will be staged with guest speakers and craftspeople, all informed by Cliveden Conservation’s conservation works taking place during ‘Wood Week’.

(An additional lecture has now been announced for Thursday the 27th of April at 1 p.m.: Wren and the City Churches, with special reference to the carvings at St Mary Abchurch, by Tony Tucker)

On Thursday the 4th of May

experts will discuss Wren’s furnishings and its conservation, with particular reference to the Wren 300 Wood Conservation in Action Week at St Mary Abchurch. The speakers will be Alan Lamb, Lee Prosser, and Jimmy Aitken. 

Wood in the life of Jesus

The manger

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1–7, NRSV)

Jesus the carpenter

He left that place and came to his home town, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, ‘Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offence at him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honour, except in their home town, and among their own kin, and in their own house.’ And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief(Mark 6:1–6, NRSV)

The cross

They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take.

It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him read, ‘The King of the Jews.’ And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!’ In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, ‘He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.’ Those who were crucified with him also taunted him.

When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, ‘Listen, he is calling for Elijah.’ And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, ‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.’ Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was God’s Son!’ (Mark 15:21–39, NRSV)

The boat and the fire

That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the lake. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.

When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.’ So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead(John 21:7–14, NRSV)

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