05 August 2023

Daily prayers in Ordinary Time
with USPG: (69) 5 August 2023

The ‘Te Deum’ window by Christopher Rahere Webb in Sheffield Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford
We are in Ordinary Time in the Church Calendar, and tomorrow is the Ninth Sunday after Trinity (6 August 2023), which may also be celebrated as the Feast of the Transfiguration. Today, the calendar of the Church of England in Common Worship remembers Oswald, King of Northumbria, Martyr (642).

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

Having looked at the ‘Te Deum’ window in Saint Editha’s Collegiate Church, Tamworth, on Monday (1 August) at the end of a series of reflections on the windows in Tamworth, I continued my morning reflections this week in these ways:

1, Looking at a depiction of the canticle ‘Te Deum’ in a church;

2, the Gospel reading of the day in the Church of England lectionary;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

Christ the King seated in Glory in the ‘Te Deum’ Window, Sheffield Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

The ‘Te Deum’ Window, Sheffield Cathedral:

The Chapel of the Holy Spirit in Sheffield Cathedral dates from 1930. It is part of the 1930s extension and was planned as a new Lady Chapel of the reoriented cathedral.

The vaulted ceiling is carved with roses, lilies and sunflower motifs. The wooden stalls and canopies were designed by Sir Ninian Comper. The reredos commemorates Freemasons who died during World War I.

The chapel is dominated by the great ‘Te Deum’ stained glass window, made in 1948 by Christopher Webb (1886-1966). The window is in memory of the Rev George Campbell Ommanney (1850-1936), Vicar of Saint Matthew’s Parish, Sheffield, in 1882-1936. It was the gift of Ommanney’s friend Thomas Clifford Watson.

At the top of the window, inspired by the canticle Te Deum, is the dove of the Holy Spirit.

In the centre of the window, Christ is seated in glory, surrounded by prophets, martyrs and the faithful through the ages, as celebrated in the canticle.

The rich colours and beautiful detailed figures are characteristic of Christopher Rahere Webb, a major stained glass artist who was active from the 1920s into the early 1960s. In his small Orchard House Studio in St Albans, with only one or two assistants, Webb created hundreds of stained glass windows, many replacing ones destroyed during World War II.

Webb’s uncle was the architect Sir Aston Webb (1849-1930) and his older brother, Geoffrey, was also an accomplished stained glass artist.

Webb was given the middle name Rahere in honour of the Augustinian canon who founded the Priory and Hospital of Saint Bartholomew the Great in Smithfield. It was derelict by the end of the 19th century, and its restoration was entrusted to Sir Aston Webb, assisted by his brother Edward who was churchwarden there and whose passion was architecture.

‘When you took our flesh to set us free, you humbly chose the Virgin’s womb’ … the lower part of the ‘Te Deum’ window in Sheffield Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Matthew 14: 1-12 (NRSVA):

14 At that time Herod the reports about Jesus; 2 and he said to his servants, ‘This is John the Baptist; he has been raised from the dead, and for this reason these powers are at work in him.’ 3 For Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, 4 because John had been telling him, ‘It is not lawful for you to have her.’ 5 Though Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd, because they regarded him as a prophet. 6 But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and she pleased Herod 7 so much that he promised on oath to grant her whatever she might ask. 8 Prompted by her mother, she said, ‘Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.’ 9 The king was grieved, yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he commanded it to be given; 10 he sent and had John beheaded in the prison. 11 The head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, who brought it to her mother. 12 His disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went and told Jesus.

‘Throughout the world, the holy Church acclaims you’ … the ‘Te Deum’ window in Sheffield Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Today’s Prayer:

The theme this week in ‘Pray With the World Church,’ the Prayer Diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel), has been ‘Reflections from the International Consultation.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday by the Very Revd Dr Sarah Rowland Jones of the Church in Wales.

The USPG Prayer Diary today (5 August 2023) invites us to pray in these words:

God of all grace, whose love desires the flourishing of all Your children, send us out to witness to this transforming power and to be agents of such amazing grace, Amen.


Lord God almighty,
who so kindled the faith of King Oswald with your Spirit
that he set up the sign of the cross in his kingdom
and turned his people to the light of Christ:
grant that we, being fired by the same Spirit,
may always bear our cross before the world
and be found faithful servants of the gospel;
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:

God our redeemer,
whose Church was strengthened by the blood of your martyr Oswald:
so bind us, in life and death, to Christ’s sacrifice
that our lives, broken and offered with his,
may carry his death and proclaim his resurrection in the world;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

‘The glorious company of apostles praise you’ … the ‘Te Deum’ window in Sheffield Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

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 Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul has been the cathedral of the Church of England Diocese of Sheffield since in 1914 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

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