03 November 2022

Praying in Ordinary Time with USPG:
Thursday 3 November 2022

The chapel in Corpus Christi College, Oxford … Richard Hooker, the advocate of the Anglican ‘middle way’, was a fellow of Corpus Christi College (Photograph: Cliveden Conservation)

Patrick Comerford

Today, the Calendar of the Church of England in Common Worship remembers both Richard Hooker, Priest, Anglican Apologist, Teacher of the Faith, 1600, and Martin of Porres, Friar, 1639.

Richard Hooker (1554-1600) was born in Heavitree, Exeter, and in his formative years came under the influence of John Jewel, Bishop of Salisbury.Through that influence, he went up to Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he became a fellow. He was ordained and then married, becoming a parish priest and, in 1585, Master of the Temple in London.

Richard Hooker became one of the strongest advocates of the position of the Church of England and defended the via media or ‘middle way’ between puritanism and papalism. Perhaps his greatest work was Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, which he wrote as the result of engaging in controversial debates. He showed Anglicanism is rooted firmly in Scripture as well as tradition, affirming its continuity with the pre-Reformation Ecclesia Anglicana, but now both catholic and reformed. He became a parish priest again near Canterbury and died there on this day in the year 1600.

Before this day gets busy, I am taking some time this morning for reading, prayer and reflection.

For the rest of this week, I am reflecting in these ways:

1, One of the readings for the morning;

2, A reflection based on seven more churches or chapels in Oxford I have visited recently;

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

The Pelican Sundial, the large pillar in the centre of the main quad in Corpus Christi College, dates from 1579 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Luke 15: 1-10 (NRSVA):

1 Now all the tax-collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, ‘This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.’

3 So he told them this parable: 4 ‘Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? 5 When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.” 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance.

8 ‘Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9 When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbours, saying, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.” 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.’

Corpus Christi College was founded in 1517 by Richard Foxe, Bishop of Winchester (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

The Chapel of Corpus Christi College, Oxford:

Corpus Christi College, where Richard Hooker was an undergraduate, was founded in 1517 and is the twelfth oldest college in Oxford. It is located on Merton Street between Merton College and Christ Church, and is one of the smallest colleges in Oxford.

The college played a significant role in the translation of the King James Bible, and it is known for the pillar sundial in the main quadrangle, known as the Pelican Sundial. The Bishop of Winchester is ex officio the Visitor of the college.

Corpus Christi College was founded by Richard Foxe, Bishop of Winchester. Foxe had been the Visitor of Magdalen College and of Balliol College, was master of Pembroke College, Cambridge, for 12 years, and he was involved in the foundation of Saint John’s College, Cambridge.

Foxe began to build Corpus Christi in 1513, when he bought a nunnery, two halls, two inns and the Bachelor’s Garden of Merton College. Foxe was assisted in his foundation by Hugh Oldham, Bishop of Exeter, described by Foxe as præcipuus benefactor or ‘principal benefactor’.

Foxe was granted letters patent for the foundation by Henry VIII in 1516, and the college was officially founded in 1517. The college statutes provided for 20 fellows, 20 students, three lecturers, two priests, two clerks and two choristers. The founding fellows included Reginald Pole, later Cardinal Archbishop of Canterbury. The college library was soon known as ‘the largest and best furnished library then in Europe,’ and for Erasmus the library was ‘among the chief beauties of Britain.’

In its first 100 years, Corpus Christi was identified with leading theologians who laid the foundations of Anglican identity, including John Jewel and Richard Hooker. Much later, John Keble, a leader of the Oxford Movement, was an undergraduate at Corpus Christi in the early 19th century. Former students of the college include the philosopher Isaiah Berlin, the writer Vikram Seth, the former leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband, and the former Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

Because of the complexity of the college coat of arms, the pelican alone is used in many instances, such as the college flag and on top of the Pelican Sundial. In Christian iconography, the Pelican in her Piety, as seen in the personal arms of Bishop Foxe, symbolises Christ, who nourished the Church with his blood. This Eucharistic symbol also mirrors the college name, Corpus Christi meaning ‘the Body of Christ.’

The Pelican Sundial, the large pillar in the centre of the main quad, dates from 1579. The sundial is named after the gold-painted Pelican at the top of the pillar, which contains 27 separate sundials.

The college chapel adjoins the library and is just off the Main Quad. Its location is unusual: many colleges had their chapel in their main quad, with some colleges placing them on the first floor to fit them in.

The lectern in the chapel is one of the first bronze eagle lecterns in Oxford. It is also the only pre-Reformation one and was a gift of the first president.

The chapel’s altarpiece is a copy of Ruben’s ‘Adoration of the Shepherds,’ a gift from the antiquarian Sir Richard Worsley.

For over 500 years the chapel has been a place for corporate worship, the ministry of Word and Sacrament, prayers for the needs of the local community and the world, and a place for quiet and reflection.

Chapel activities include work with local homeless people through the Oxford Gatehouse and the Oxford Winter Night Shelter.

The Revd Canon Dr Judith Maltby has been Chaplain and Fellow of Corpus since 1993, and is also Dean of Welfare. She is a member of the General Synod of the Church of England and is a member of the Crown Nominations Commission, which nominates diocesan bishops.

She has served on bodies to strengthen relations between the Church of England, the Methodist Church and the Roman Catholic Church, and is active in groups committed to promoting equality in the Church of England. Her academic interests include English church history in the Tudor and Stuart periods, and Anglican literary culture. She has co-edited a volume of essays on Anglican women novelists of the 19th and 20th centuries, such as Dorothy L Sayers and Barbara Pym.

The main weekly service is on Sunday at 5.45pm, and is usually Choral Evensong or Sung Eucharist. Occasional informal during the week include said Eucharist at lunchtime and Compline a few times a term.

Chapel activities include work with local homeless people through the Oxford Gatehouse and the Oxford Winter Night Shelter (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Today’s Prayer (Thursday 3 November 2022):

The Collect:

God of peace, the bond of all love,
who in your Son Jesus Christ have made the human race
your inseparable dwelling place:
after the example of your servant Richard Hooker,
give grace to us your servants ever to rejoice
in the true inheritance of your adopted children
and to show forth your praises now and ever;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion Prayer:

God of truth,
whose Wisdom set her table
and invited us to eat the bread and drink the wine
of the kingdom:
help us to lay aside all foolishness
and to live and walk in the way of insight,
that we may come with all the saints to the eternal feast of heaven;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The theme in the USPG Prayer Diary this week is ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday by the Revd David Rajiah, Diocesan Prayer Co-ordinator for the Diocese of West Malaysia.

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

Let us give thanks for the power of prayer. May we put aside time each day to pray and reflect.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Corpus Christi College Oxford is identified with leading theologians who laid the foundations of Anglican identity, including John Jewel and Richard Hooker (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

Corpus Christi College, Oxford, played a significant role in the translation of the King James Bible (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

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