London - Carmel in the City

In the Archdiocese of Westminster

Carmel in the City was established in 2008 as a Carmelite Spirituality Group in the heart of the City of London, incorporating the former Third Order Chapter in Camden. The community offers anyone interested in 'Carmel' an opportunity to discover the treasures of the Carmelite Order's prayer, spirituality and its tradition of service with the poor and action for justice.

To visit the community's own website please click here.

Participants at a CITC meeting during Lent in 2009.

Carmel in the City offers those thirsting for God an opportunity in the heart of London to explore one of the Catholic Church's richest spiritual traditions. This community normally gathers at 11.30am on the 1st Saturday of the month. The usual meeting venue is St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Lamb's Passage, off Bunhill Row (EC1Y 8LE).

The normal format of meetings is a celebration of the Eucharist or the liturgy of Midday Prayer at 11.30am. This is followed by a bring-and-share lunch, after which there will be a presentation by a local or visiting speaker on a particular theme touching on Carmelite spirituality. This will be followed by discussion, and a period of Lectio Divina, a way of praying that draws on Scripture and other writings, calling one to study, reflection, pondering God's Word and applying it to our lives. The day closes at approximately 4pm.

Bishop John Crowley addressing CITC in January 2010.

Additionally, there is a meeting before or after the main gathering for those members who wish to explore a vocation to the Carmelite Third Order. This is an opportunity for more structured study, reflection and discernment for those seeking to be received formally into Lay Carmel as a tertiary.

For a more detailed description of the group see the bottom of this page.

CITC participants praying before the icon of Our Lady of the City


Contact details

Sylvia Lucas (co-convenor)
Carmel in the City
c/o St. Mary Moorfields
4/5 Eldon Street

Mobile: 07889 436165.

To contact the convenors by e-mail please click here.


To visit the community's own website please click here.


Recent newsletters

Please click on the links below to download recent CITC newsletters, or visit the community's own website:


Getting to meetings

The nearest Tube stations to Bunhill Row are Barbican, Moorgate, and Old Street. Buses 55, 243, 76, 21 and 141 pass nearby.

To plan your visit to St. Joseph's, Bunhill Row, by public transport, click on the image below to access the Transport for London website and enter the postcode EC1Y 8LE.

Further details about 'Carmel in the City' and St. Joseph's

What do twelfth-century friars and a small Catholic Church in London's Barbican district have in common? Medieval friars - Carmelites, Dominicans, Franciscans - were a common sight on the City of London's streets, as names like Whitefriars, Blackfriars and Greyfriars still attest. Like the Catholics who now worship at St. Joseph's Church on Bunhill Row, close to the Barbican, these groups of friars tried to meet the challenges of living out Christianity in their own particular time. They found ways to preach the Word of God, simply and in ways that ordinary people would understand, and to offer prayer and worship in spirit and truth, with a concern for justice.

The medieval friars started up small communities for prayer and worship, living not in monasteries miles from anywhere, but amongst the people. This led to lay people being involved in the spirituality and prayer life of Carmelite communities from the earliest times. In many ways these medieval religious were way ahead of their times, presaging mutually collaborative ministry with lay people, strongly endorsed in more recent times by the 2007 General Chapter of the Carmelite Order.

Carmelite communities today try to do, in our own age, what the reforming Second Vatican Council of the Catholic Church tried to do in the twentieth century, namely to reflect the joys and hopes, the sorrows and anxieties of people, and to understand what is going on in 'the signs of the times'. In a world of global violence and fear, poverty, hunger, degredation of the environment, oppression and discrimination of all types, this is an even more relevant task.

St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Lamb's Passage, a stone's throw from the historic Bunhill Fields, gathers people from a rich diversity of backgrounds and languages into a committed and vibrant Catholic community. It is rising to meet new challenges for the Church in the twenty-first century. Since August 2006 St. Joseph's has been without a resident, full-time priest. While the sacramental needs of the community are met by Fr. Peter Newby from the Catholic Church of St. Mary Moorfields near Moorgate, a pastoral council drawn from lay members of St. Joseph's keeps the church alive in other ways. Occasional weekday services are led by lay people who are also involved in assisting with preparation for First Communion and Confirmation. The weekly Sunday Masses are celebrated with a warm, welcome, enthusiastic participation, and strong singing using both traditional and modern music. People at St. Joseph's give the lie to the myth that Catholics don't sing! Lay volunteers assist with special Sunday morning activities for smaller children, who are then later invlved in the Mass. Other lay members visit the housebound, taking them Holy Communion when needed.

There is strong and generous support for for justice and peace activities, such as the Catholic development agency CAFOD. In recent years a  church member has been monitoring a treason trial of two development agency workers in Ethiopia, who were finally released in 2008. This advocacy has been supported by the prayers of the community on Sunday mornings. The award-winning Basil Hume Garden, a memorial to the late Archbishop of Westminster, also offers an oasis of quiet, refreshment, and growth in our city of towering concrete.

Reinforcing its Ethiopian links, St. Joseph's also boasts the presence of two remarkable icons by the French-born Coptic icon writer Stephane Rene. One depicts Mary, Mother of the City, with the River Thames flowing at her feet; the other shows Joseph, of the House of David, the church's patron saint. Both these icons were dedicated at an ecumenical/inferfaith service in March 2005 with the involvement of local Anglican, Lutheran and Methodist clergy, as well as a Muslim Imam. The strong commitment to work with other local Christian churches is evidenced by the presence of the Revd. Jennifer Potter, Associate Minister at Wesley's Chapel, as an honorary member of St. Joseph's Pastoral Council.

Carmel in the City is the latest development to show that St. Joseph's Church is alive and well. The Carmelite Order began on Mount Carmel some 800 years ago. It is one of the Catholic Church's richest spiritual traditions in its commitment to prayer, service, and creating community. Its inspiration is to be found in the tradition of the prophets, like Elijah and Elisha, bringing together both prayer and action, and not least in the Virgin Mary's Magnificat song. Carmel in the City is an opportunity offered by lay and ordained Carmelites in London to explore spirituality for anyone thirsting for God, or seeking a way of holiness in life's everyday events.

To read an account of the inaugural meeting of Carmel in the City please click here.

The Universe newspaper featured an article on Carmel in the City in May 2009; to read the article please click here (with thanks to The Universe and author Nick Black).



One of the group's younger members and one of the convenors, Sylvia Lucas, celebrating CITC's second birthday in 2010.



St. Joseph's Catholic Church
15 Lamb's Passage
Bunhill Row