St. Mary's Parish Church in Woodford put on a great Food and Fun Day yesterday. Our Pipe Dreams tour coach pulled up in front of the church on High Road where a succession of tables and booths selling garden plants, tea towels, handwork items, church souvenirs and food greeted us.
We stood outside in the churchyard among the tombstones to eat. Tables and chairs were set up on the stairs and on the sidewalks. Children's games and sales tents lined the walks.
There has been a church on this site since the 12th century. In 1969 a fire destroyed most of the building so that the inside of the rebuilt church is now contemporary worship space. The outside retains the old stone structure so that the new interior is a striking contrast to the historic tower and crowded classic English churchyard with monuments and stones.
Our Pipe Dreams group enjoyed hearing the neo classic organ, built in 1972 by Grant, Degens and Bradbeer, an English organ firm. Organist Tom Bell took the bench to play a clever improvisation of "God Save the Queen. Tom's improv not only demonstrated the depth and range of the organ but also contained delightful dissonances that played to the strength of the pipe organ.
Wanda Hayes Eichler