Padre’s Piece – ST CLEMENT DANES
St Clement Danes Church was destroyed by fire in the London Blitz of May 1941 and rebuilt, largely by public subscription, in 1958. The church was re-consecrated on 19 October 1958 as the Central Church of the Royal Air Force. In doing so it became the ‘Spiritual Home of the Royal Air Force’ in central London. It still contains the ‘Oranges and Lemons’ bells for which St Clements’s is famous.
It has for over 60 years been a focus for the wider RAF family. Each year a ‘Founder’s Day’ service is held in early April to mark the formation of the Royal Air Force in 1918 and each Christmas it hosts the ‘RAF Benevolent Fund’ carol service to raise much needed funds for the wider RAF family. In addition to this numerous units and associations hold their respective commemorations at St Clement Danes.
Each member of the RAF who has passed away during their service is recorded in the ‘Remembrance Books’ and an annual service in November recalls the lives of all those who have lost their lives in the previous 12 months. Each year St Clement Danes also celebrates a significant number of weddings and Christenings for past and present members of the RAF and their families, as well as daily and weekly acts of worship for the various faith groups across the RAF.
St Clement Danes is a focus of ‘Value, Hope and Resilience’ for the RAF. Its memorials enshrine the ‘Value’ and contribution of the past and current service personnel, its ongoing activity and engagement represents the renewing ‘Hope’ of the RAF family and its regular pattern of ‘prayer, worship and reflection’ helps to develop the ‘Resilience’ of those who serve and support the RAF in so many ways.
Being rich in RAF heritage, St Clement Danes is an ideal place to go to for a ‘Force Development’ visit as part of the ‘London RAF Heritage Walk’. There is also lots to discover on the ‘St Clement Danes’ website https://stclementdanesraf.org/.
Do contact the Station Chaplaincy for further information.