20 March 2021

Praying in Lent and Easter 2021:
32, The Chapel, USPG office

Inside the chapel in the USPG offices near Southwark Cathedral in London (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

During Lent and Easter this year, I am taking some time each morning to reflect in these ways:

1, a photograph of a church or place of worship that has been significant in my spiritual life;

2, the day’s Gospel reading;

3, a prayer from the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel).

This week I am offering photographs from seven churches that have shaped and influenced my spirituality.

My photographs this morning (20 March 2021) are from the chapel in the offices of USPG at Trinity Street, close to Southwark Cathedral. USPG moved to these new premises in 2019, and USPG’s unique stained-glass windows of four pioneering missionary bishops were put in place in the USPG chapel last year after a year in storage.

These windows date from the 250th anniversary of SPG (now USPG) in 1951. The bishops depicted in the windows are: Samuel Ajayi Crowther, Vedanayakam Samuel Azariah, Tsae-seng Sing, and Joseph Sakunoshin Motoda. These windows have brought the chapel to life, with their bright colours and their sense of history.

USPG was founded in 1701 and I have been a supporter of USPG throughout my adult life. But my six-year term as a Trustee of USPG comes to an end this summer. I shall miss the friendships that have grown over these years, and the inspiration I have drawn from fellow trustees, staff members, and other people linked with USPG. However, I hope many of these friendships continue to grow, and that I can continue to take part in the USPG conferences each year in High Leigh, near Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire, and in Swanwick in Derbyshire.

John 7: 40-52 (NRSVA):

40 When they heard these words, some in the crowd said, ‘This is really the prophet.’ 41 Others said, ‘This is the Messiah.’ But some asked, ‘Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he? 42 Has not the scripture said that the Messiah is descended from David and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?’ 43 So there was a division in the crowd because of him. 44 Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.

45 Then the temple police went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, ‘Why did you not arrest him?’ 46 The police answered, ‘Never has anyone spoken like this!’ 47 Then the Pharisees replied, ‘Surely you have not been deceived too, have you? 48 Has any one of the authorities or of the Pharisees believed in him? 49 But this crowd, which does not know the law—they are accursed.’ 50 Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus before, and who was one of them, asked, 51 ‘Our law does not judge people without first giving them a hearing to find out what they are doing, does it?’ 52 They replied, ‘Surely you are not also from Galilee, are you? Search and you will see that no prophet is to arise from Galilee.’

Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary:

The Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (20 March 2021) prays:

Let us give thanks to God for all those who devote their lives to seeking a fairer world in which all are treated equally and with dignity.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Four missionary bishops on four windows in the USPG chapel in Trinity Street, near Southwark Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020; click on image for full-screen view)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

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