24 September 2023
Daily prayers in Ordinary Time
with USPG: (119) 24 September 2023
We are in Ordinary Time in the Church Calendar, and today is the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity (Trinity XVI). Yom Kippur, the solemn day of repetance and fasting in the Jewish calendar, begins at sunset this evening (24 September 2023), when the evening service begins with Kol Nidre, and it ends at nightfall tomorrow evening (25 September).
I was in London yesterday for the annual reunion and celebration day of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel). Later this morning, I hope to be at the Parish Eucharist in Holy Trinity Church, Old Wolverton. But, before the day gets busy, I am taking some time this morning for prayer and reflection.
Later this week, the Church celebrates Saint Michael and All Angels (29 September). So my reflections each morning this week and next are taking this format:
1, A reflection on a church named after Saint Michael or his depiction in Church Art;
2, the Gospel reading of the day in the Church of England lectionary;
3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.
Saint Michael’s Church (Michaelhouse), Cambridge:
Michaelhouse is an interesting café located in Saint Michael’s Church in Trinity Street in the oldest part of Cambridge. It is just a few steps from Sidney Sussex College, around the corner at the end of Green Street. It stands opposite Gonville and Caius College and is close to Great Saint Mary’s Church, Trinity College and King’s College Chapel.
The café is set within the 14th century church of Saint Michael’s, a parish and collegiate church. But, while it is an award-winning café and restaurant, Michaelhouse remains a church – you could say it offers refreshment for both body and soul. Church services are held in the chancel several days a week, and the mediaeval Hervey de Stanton Chapel offers a peaceful space that is also a setting at times for concerts.
Michaelhouse recalls the name of one of the earliest Cambridge colleges, which flourished from 1324 until 1546, when it was merged with King’s Hall to form Trinity College. Michaelhouse was the second residential college in Cambridge, following Peterhouse (1284) – although King’s Hall was established in 1317, it did not acquire premises until it was re-founded by King Edward III in 1336.
Michaelhouse was founded by Hervey de Stanton, Edward II’s Chancellor of the Exchequer and Lord Chief Justice, who had acquired the advowson (or right of presentation) to the parish of Saint Michael along with property on the High Street.
In May 1324, Edward II granted a royal charter to the new college for scholars in Holy Orders. Three months later, Bishop John Hotham of Ely granted his own charter. De Stanton suggested to the bishop that the master and fellows, who were all priests, could provide daily worship for the parish as they were using the church as their chapel. And so, the first Master of Michaelhouse, Walter de Buxton, was also Vicar of Saint Michael’s.
When de Stanton died on All Souls’ Day 1325, he was buried in the unfinished chancel.
The college continued to acquire more properties, including property between Saint Michael’s Lane (today’s Trinity Lane) and the river, an area now occupied by the south-west corner of the Great Court of Trinity College, New Court, Scholars’ Lawn and the Wren Library, property around Garret Hostel Lane leading down to the river, and a navigable stream.
Nothing much remains of the original Michaelhouse buildings, apart from Saint Michael’s Church. Until a chapel was completed at Gonville Hall in 1396, both Michaelhouse and Gonville shared the use of the two aisles, with Gonville using the north aisle and Michaelhouse the south.
John Fisher, who was Master of Michaelhouse in 1497-1501, was Chancellor of Cambridge University, and was instrumental in the foundation of Saint John’s College and Christ’s College. As Bishop of Rochester, Fisher took a conservative stance on the royal supremacy and the reformation in the reign of Henry VIII and was executed in 1535.
By the time of the dissolution of the monastic houses, Michaelhouse had an income greater than that of Westminster Abbey. The college was dissolved in 1546 and was merged with King’s Hall to form Trinity College, the largest and wealthiest college in Cambridge to this day.
Until the completion of Trinity College Chapel in 1565, Trinity College used Saint Michael’s as its chapel. As the new chapel was being built, 36 scholars’ stalls from the former chapel of King’s Hall, some with carved misericords, were moved to Saint Michael’s, where they remain to this day.
Trinity College continued to hold the patronage of the living of Saint Michael’s and from the 16th to the 18th centuries, Trinity College fellows were chaplains of Saint Michael’s.
After a fire in 1849, the church was rebuilt by George Gilbert Scott and his son, George Gilbert Scott junior. Their work included a new stone porch, a new East Window, and a three-tiered new reredos.
The artists who worked with Scott included FR Leach, who also worked with GF Bodley on the ceiling and frescoes of All Saints’ Church on Jesus Lane, the ceiling of Jesus College Chapel, the dining hall ceiling at Queens’ College, and at Saint Botolph’s Church on Trumpington Street. Leach painted the chancel ceiling and arches in Saint Michael’s to designs by Scott as a thank-offering, without accepting any payment. Parts of the north aisle had been painted previously to designs by Holman Hunt.
In time, the parish was too small to be sustainable, and it was finally united with Great Saint Mary’s Church, the university church, in 1908.
By the early 1990s, the church buildings were increasingly in need of significant repair, and an ambitious fundraising and building project began. The Michaelhouse Centre opened in 2002, and is a registered charity. Michaelhouse is now a key cultural and spiritual location in Cambridge, a unique community resource in the heart of the city, and a place of beauty and tranquillity.
Matthew 20: 1-16 (NRSVA):
[Jesus said:] 1 ‘For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with the labourers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the market-place; 4 and he said to them, “You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” So they went. 5 When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. 6 And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, “Why are you standing here idle all day?” 7 They said to him, “Because no one has hired us.” He said to them, “You also go into the vineyard.” 8 When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, “Call the labourers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.” 9 When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. 10 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. 11 And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 12 saying, “These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.” 13 But he replied to one of them, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? 14 Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?” 16 So the last will be first, and the first will be last.’
Trinity Street, Cambridge, with Michaelhouse café and Saint Michael’s Church on the left (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)
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), is ‘Flinging open the doors.’ This theme is introduced today by the Revd Anthony Gyu-Yong Shim, Diocese of Daejeon, Korea.
After re-opening the doors of Saint Mark’s Church, Yesan, in 2019, Anthony reflects on how he reached out to the local community:
It was daunting when I first took up my role because when I started the services again there were no parishioners, only my family. I often ask myself ‘What can a church do for the local community, not just for the church?’
I set up a reading group at the church. Some of the people who came had left the church in the past, some were Anglicans and some were not. Thankfully they all attended the first worship service. We also have a programme called ‘Shinmyeong Theatre’, where people come once a month to see a movie and talk about it. When the government decided that their ‘Urban Regeneration New Deal Project’ would take place in our area I was appointed a ‘village coordinator’ and have been working with the residents council on the project.
Love for God and love for our neighbours are the main pillars of the Bible. Christianity has a spirituality of hospitality for strangers. I want Saint Mark’s to be a place that anyone can easily visit. To come, sit and rest; to seek a religious question or answer, or to have a talk over a cup of coffee. Saint Mark’s is a small church, but I hope it is a significant neighbour in the community. The church needs to shine humble confidence in Jesus.
The USPG Prayer Diary today (24 September 2023) invites us to pray in these words:
O God make us faithful in the mission of your church.
Help us seek justice and work for healing.
Renew us with your Holy Spirit to build your kingdom on earth as in heaven.
O Lord, we beseech you mercifully to hear the prayers
of your people who call upon you;
and grant that they may both perceive and know
what things they ought to do,
and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfil them;
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.
The Post Communion Prayer:
you have taught us through your Son
that love is the fulfilling of the law:
grant that we may love you with our whole heart
and our neighbours as ourselves;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Hervey de Stanton Chapel in Saint Michael’s (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)
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