21 September 2022

Praying in Ordinary Time with USPG:
Wednesday 21 September 2022

Pusey House stands on the corner of Saint Giles’ and Pusey Street in Oxford (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Patrick Comerford

The Church Calendar today celebrates Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist (21 September).

Before today begins, I am taking some time this morning for reading, prayer and reflection.

This week I am reflecting each morning on a church, chapel, or place of worship in Oxford, which I visited earlier this month.

In my prayer diary this week I am reflecting in these ways:

1, One of the readings for the morning;

2, Reflecting on a church, chapel or place of worship in Oxford;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary, ‘Pray with the World Church.’

Pusey House was founded in 1884 in memory of Edward Bouverie Pusey (Photograph Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Matthew 9: 9-13:

9 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him.

10 And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax-collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax-collectors and sinners?’ 12 But when he heard this, he said, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.’

Pusey House is firmly rooted in the Anglo-Catholic tradition (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Pusey House, Oxford:

Pusey House stands on St Giles’, Oxford, on the corner with Pusey Street and facing Saint John’s College. Pusey House is closely associated with the University of Oxford, especially St Cross College, which moved onto the Pusey House site in 1981, but is not a permanent private hall or a constituent college.

Pusey House, which is firmly rooted in the Anglo-Catholic tradition, was founded in 1884 in memory of Edward Bouverie Pusey (1800-1882), Regius Professor of Hebrew at Oxford, a canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, and, for 40 years, a leading figure in the Oxford Movement.

The House was established as a ‘House of Piety of Learning’ with a Library and Chapel. The library houses Pusey’s collection of books and the house has many artefacts relating to Pusey and the Oxford Movement, with perhaps the most significant collection relating to the Anglo-Catholic Movement.

Pusey House opened on 9 October 1884, and the first principal was Charles Gore (1853-1932) in 1884-1893. Gore edited Lux Mundi in 1889, delivered the Bampton Lectures in 1891, and founded the Community of the Resurrection at Pusey House in 1892. Later he became Bishop of Worcester and the first Bishop of Birmingham, before returning to Oxford as Bishop of Oxford.

Vincent Stuckey Stratton Coles (1845-1929), Principal in 1897-1909, had been the first Priest Librarian along with Frank Edward Brightman (1856-1932) when Gore was Principal. Edward King, Bishop of Lincoln quipped that ‘Brightman would dust the books, Gore would read them, and Coles would talk about them.’

From 1884 to 1912, Pusey House occupied two townhouses on St Giles’ on the site of the present building. In 1903, a Leeds solicitor, John Cudworth, left a bequest of £70,000 to Pusey House, which then had a growing ministry to the university.

With Darwell Stone (1859-1941) was Principal (1909-1934), the governors took the opportunity to acquire a neighbouring townhouse and to plan new buildings. Stone had a vision for a new building that included a chapel ‘of good and simple architecture to hold about 200 and a side chapel to hold about 30,’ as well as lecture rooms, domestic ranges, a library, and museum.

The building committee chose Temple Moore’s designs, and he was appointed him architect in October 1911. Temple Lushington Moore (1856-1920) was born in Tullamore, Co Offaly, the son of an Irish general. He grew up in Scotland and was articled to the architect George Gilbert Scott, Jr. He practised as an architect in London and is known for a series of fine Gothic Revival churches built between in 1890-1917. He also restored many churches and designed church fittings.

Moore designed a large Gothic building around a quadrangle for Pusey House. The centrepiece is the two vaulted chapels separated by a stone pulpitum, based on those found in ‘mediaeval Franciscan priories.’

The Chapel and part of the Library were complete by 1914, and most of the remaining portions of the building were finished in 1918. That year, Temple Moore’s only son, Richard More (1891-1918), was killed when the RMS Leinster was torpedoed and sunk off Dublin.

Moore’s south range of the quadrangle at Pusey House remained unexecuted at the time of his death in 1920, and was only finished in 1925 to sympathetic designs by John Duke Coleridge (1879-1934).

The smaller Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament was reordered between 1935 and 1939 by Sir Ninian Comper (1864-1960). Comper’s work in the chapel included a gilded baldacchino surmounted by the Risen Christ and attendant angels, and the stained glass in the east window.

In the east window, Comper depicted a Tree of Jesse commemorating Dr Pusey. The window contains figures of Biblical prophets and Church Fathers surrounding Christ in Majesty and the Virgin and Child. The figure of Pusey can be seen kneeling at the base of the second light from the right.

Comper also designed vestments for Pusey House, and specially designed his ‘Strawberry’ pattern for the Chapel.

Pusey House continued its work as the centre of Anglo-Catholicism in Oxford in the new buildings, attracting undergraduates including John Betjeman and Harold Macmillan.

The library has a collection of 75,000 volumes, including Pusey’s library and a large collection of theological and historical volumes. The library has grown into an important collection and a leading specialist library, with primary source material and books on the Anglo-Catholic Movement – both the Tractarian and Oxford Movements – and collections in the fields of Patristics, Church history, liturgy, doctrine, monasticism, and the records of many Anglo-Catholic societies and communities of monks and nuns.

The manuscripts include papers of many important figures, organisations and societies in the Oxford Movement, including those of EB Pusey, HP Liddon, and SL Ollard, as well as papers relating to William Ewart Gladstone, John Henry Newman, Frederic Hood, FL Cross and John Keble.

Pusey House holds regular lectures and events, and has been described as ‘a centre of the Catholic life.’ The house is also recognised for its musical tradition, most visible at the Solemn Mass on Sundays and solemnities.

The Principal, the Revd Dr George Westhaver, joined Pusey House in 2013. He completed his PhD at the University of Durham under Professor Andrew Louth, on EB Pusey’s unpublished lectures, ‘Types and Prophecies of the Old Testament’. The chaplain, the Revd Mark Stafford, joined Pusey House in 2014.

The chapel remains a place of living worship, with daily services. Worship in the Chapel of the Resurrection is open to all.

The chapel was designed by Temple Lushington Moore and the smaller Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament was reordered by Sir Ninian Comper (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Today’s Prayer (Wednesday 21 September 2022, Saint Matthew):

The Collect:

O Almighty God,
whose blessed Son called Matthew the tax collector
to be an apostle and evangelist:
give us grace to forsake the selfish pursuit of gain
and the possessive love of riches
that we may follow in the way of your Son Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Post Communion Prayer:

Almighty God,
who on the day of Pentecost
sent your Holy Spirit to the apostles
with the wind from heaven and in tongues of flame,
filling them with joy and boldness to preach the gospel:
by the power of the same Spirit
strengthen us to witness to your truth
and to draw everyone to the fire of your love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The theme in the USPG prayer diary this week is ‘Welcoming Refugees.’ Father Frank Hegedus, Chaplain of Saint Margaret’s in Budapest, spoke to USPG about how the Church in Hungary is helping refugees fleeing Ukraine.

The USPG Prayer Diary invites us to pray today in these words:

Let us give thanks for the life and works of Matthew the Apostle. May we be faithful witnesses to Christ, as he was.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Pusey House remains a place of living worship, with daily services (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

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

The library at Pusey House has a collection of 75,000 volumes, including Pusey’s library and a large collection of theological and historical volumes (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

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