Seeking solace in the Square Mile: Rise in stressed City workers turning to churches
Stressed City workers have always sought a variety of antidotes to their fast-paced life – ranging from the gym to the pub – but many are now turning to a more traditional form of relaxation: finding a moment of peace in the City’s historic Wren churches.
Church authorities are welcoming a distinct rise in attendance from corporate financial staff at the baroque and medieval places of worship scattered across the Square Mile.
Read more: City of London Investment Group boosts funds by 14 per cent
Younger people, especially those in their thirties, are coming in increasing numbers to short "stop-start" services held before trading starts.
"Over two hours in the morning, we do repeated cycles of fifteen minutes," said the Venerable Luke Miller, Archdeacon of London, who has noted the rise in attendance.
Miller, Rector of St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe in Queen Victoria Street (rebuilt by Christopher Wren in 1695) told City A.M.: "Today there’s a huge thing about wellbeing in the corporate world, and many buildings now have wellbeing offices."
"We are saying – don’t forget, we’ve been doing this for centuries."
Many of the 50-odd churches in the City – a large number redesigned by Wren after the Great Fire of 1666 – are places available for quiet contemplation amid the new skyscrapers, as well as offering formal religious services.
Read more: City Corporation forced into U-turn following homophobia row
Miller said: "We’ve been through a period where the whole thing of religion was rebelling against it, after being brought up in it.
"But people who never rebelled against the church in their youth are rebelling against never having had it."
He added: "They are rebelling against the idea of 'we should just get up and make money'. People are looking for a deeper sense of meaning. The work-till-we-die mentality has become so negative."