Background to the QECR
Charing Cross (Replica)
St Martin in the Fields is a landmark (C of E) church at the heart of London and is well known for its welcoming atmosphere, award-winning Café, popular classical and jazz concerts and historic James Gibbs architecture.
It is the “Church of the Ever Open Door” and has at its heart a practical and hospitable Christianity that seeks to “comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable”. It is these principles that led the Church to its social care work which is now continued by the Connection at St Martin's.
St Martin’s holds regular church services in English, Cantonese and Mandarin and offers social care services to London‘s Chinese community and homeless people.
The cross at Charing Cross Station (which is a replica) was the largest of the 12 crosses and originally stood on the spot in Trafalgar Square now occupied by a statue of Charles I. It is to this site where the distances to London are measured.
In 2005 Kath Shaljean (1941-2009), a Quaker and lifelong campaigner who worked for many years helping homeless people at the Connection at St Martin's (and its predecessor organisation, the St
Martin’s Social Care Unit), noticed the connection between St Martins and the Queen Eleanor Crosses on a tea towel and it was Kath who
first suggested that the route would make an excellent cycle ride. The first ride was in 2008 and has continued annually except for 2009 when it was walked (principally on footpaths).
Kath founded the annual St Martin's Pilgrimage to Canterbury to raise money for the work of the Social Care Unit and to honour the memory of Dick Sheppard who is buried in the Cloisters of Canterbury Cathedral. He gave refuge to soldiers on their way to France and initiated the ever open door which has remained open ever since.
For details of the Pilgrimage click here