Saturday, February 12, 2011

Who is [A Church's] Neighbor?

Brompton Oratory
South Kensington is often called "Albertville" as a tribute to Queen Victoria's consort and the three major museums (the Victoria & Albert, Science and Natural History Museums), performance hall (Royal Albert Hall), and music college he helped to found there, making it a natural setting for his high-Victorian gothic memorial nearby in Kensington Gardens.

It may also appropriately be called church-ville, as it is home to major buildings of three faiths: mine, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Anglican Church, and the Catholic faith.

My building houses a large family history centre, an employment centre, the Centre for Young Single Adults, the mission office for one of London's two missions, and doubles (or quintuples) as a stake (equivalent of a diocese) centre for the Hyde Park, west London stake.  Thus stake and bishops' offices are housed there, as well as providing space for three congregations to meet weekly.   The building is quite busy, and tight scheduling is required.

Just behind its lovely mews sit two churches which lay almost on top of one another to which I was introduced this week.

There one can find an impressive mass of marble formed into what I had previously thought to be a Greek Orthodox church.  It is actually Brompton Oratory, a Catholic church built in the Roman style once Catholic buildings were permitted to be built in the late 1800s for the first time since England's split with Rome in 1533.  It was built to enable Londoners to experience the grandeur of a traditional Roman church without having to travel to Rome.  The building is new by English standards, yet its fixtures are apparently quite old.  I was a bit awed by its beauty.    

On the same plot of land and directly behind Brompton Oratory lies Holy Trinity Brompton, an Anglican church.  It is the church where the famous Alpha courses, akin to an (Anglicanised) Christianity 101, was begun.  I have had at least one friend here take the course, and it appears from the look of Thursday's comings and goings, to be very popular among young people.  I wonder if they got the idea from the nearby missionaries pouring out of our building who teach free lessons about Jesus Christ....

Holy Trinity Brompton - you can see the marble of Brompton Oratory just to the right and behind.

Hyde Park Chapel decked out for Christmas.


  1. I love it that believers from different faith communities can exist together in harmony! Thanks for your lovely post!

  2. There's also the Russian Cathedral of the Dormition, which is well within walking distance and is interesting enough to be worth a visit.