Welcome to the website for St Mark's, the Lord Mayor's Chapel in Bristol. Often described as a 'hidden gem', the Chapel is a living church with an unusual and fascinating history. We hope you enjoy finding out about the Chapel through this site and also that you will be able to visit to see its beauty and work for yourself.
The Chapel was built in 1230AD as the chapel to St Mark's Hospital. The Hospital, served by a number of clergy and lay brothers, served the city compassionately. In 1540 Henry VIII sequestrated it and the City fathers purchased the buildings and extensive lands from him. The Lord Mayor's Chapel is now the only building left. Further information about the Chapel's history can be found on the history page of this site.
The present congregation is gathered from all parts of the City and worships in a traditional choral form. There is a service of Choral Eucharist on the second and fifth Sunday each month, and on the other Sundays a service of Choral Matins is celebrated. The Lord Mayor's Chapel does not have a parish and is non-denominational, and seeks to act as an integral part of the spirituality of the City. We are particularly interested in the way in which Christianity interacts with people of all faiths.
At its foundation, St Mark's intended to serve the needs of the people as its ministry and mission. Today the Chapel and congregation also seeks to deliver ministry and spiritual benefit to the City of Bristol. This is no longer done by feeding 100 people per day as St Mark's Hospital did, but by being available to people and organisations of the city. The primary responsibility of any Christian community is to offer worship to God in Christ and fulfil a mission to demonstrate the presence of God in the communities we live and work in. This is done by building relationships with people and groups in a realistic way.
At nearly 800 years old, the Lord Mayor's Chapel is not the oldest church in Bristol but has a fascinating history. It has translated its founding charter of the 13th Century into a contemporary ministry and Mission.
Chaplaincy to the Lord Mayor and City Council. Seeking to support the Council and the Lord Mayor in the now statutory responsibility to work toward the elimination of hunger and the alleviation of need in the City. Seeking to sustain the spiritual values of whatever kind in the work of the Council.
The Building is owned by Bristol City Council and cherished as beautiful place of worship with its centuries of tradition. Prayers are offered there at the beginning of every full Council meeting enhanced by the presence of a choir from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital School for Boys.
Sadly the word has a very technical meaning amongst church goers meaning "the coming together of denominations". In reality the word has a much wider meaning "the whole world in one family in creation". The chapel seeks to pursue the latter understanding by being open to all. Christians of all denominations are invited to share in the worship offered here.
It is a privilege to make the chapel available to multi faith events which have recently included meditations and celebrations. In 2011 the Lord Mayor's Chaplain was privileged to lead the multi-faith event in the Council House.
We offer thanksgiving week by week for the creativity of God and the invitation of humanity to participate in it. There is a clear consciousness that it is within God's creation that we learn more and more about God. In the last years we have dedicated the St Andrews Chapel to the Guild of Guardians, recognising the creativity in bringing "Order from Chaos" of economic activity.
The Chapel with its Chaplaincy reaches out to many organisations and community activities either by use of the building or "presence ministry" amongst them giving a wider perspective of the Council's care for the City and its institutions.