05 June 2024

Daily prayer in Ordinary Time 2024:
27, 5 June 2024

Holy Trinity Church, Coventry, is the only complete mediaeval church in Coventry and one of the largest mediaeval parish churches in England (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

The week began with the First Sunday after Trinity (Trinity I, 2 June 2024). Today, the calendar of the Church of England in Common Worship remembers Saint Boniface (Wynfrith) of Crediton (754), Bishop of Mainz, Apostle of Germany and Martyr, 754.

In the week after Trinity Sunday, I illustrated my prayers and reflections with images and memories of six churches, chapels and monasteries in Greece I know that are dedicated to the Holy Trinity. I am continuing that theme this week with images from churches, chapels or cathedral in England that are dedicated to the Holy Trinity.

StonyLive!, a celebration of the cultural talent in and around Stony Stratford, began on Saturday and continues until next Sunday (9 June). The StonyLive! Programme continues today with a number of creative events at venues throughout Stony Stratford. They include a concert at 7:30 this evening by the choir of Saint Mary and Saint Giles Church, conducted by Jonathan Kingston. I have been part of the choir for the past year or two, and this evening’s programme includes music by Pitoni, Tallis, Schubert, Robert Stone, William Harris, Maurice Bevan and John Rutter.

But, before today begins, I am taking some quiet time this morning to give thanks, for reflection, prayer and reading in these ways:

1, today’s Gospel reading;

2, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary;

3, the Collects and Post-Communion prayer of the day.

Holy Trinity Church escaped destruction survived the bombing raids on Coventry during World War II (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Mark 12: 18-27 (NRSVUE):

18 Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, saying, 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. 20 There were seven brothers; the first married and, when he died, left no children, 21 and the second married the widow and died, leaving no children, and the third likewise; 22 none of the seven left children. Last of all the woman herself died. 23 In the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she be? For all seven had married her.”

24 Jesus said to them, “Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when people rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in heaven. 26 And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the story about the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is God not of the dead but of the living; you are quite wrong.”

Inside Holy Trinity Church, Coventry, facing the liturgical east (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Holy Trinity Church, Coventry:

Holy Trinity Church is the only complete mediaeval church in Coventry and one of the largest mediaeval parish churches in England. It is also one of the few major buildings in Coventry that escaped destruction during the bombing raids in World War II. But it was not because of a lucky escape … the vicar of Holy Trinity, Canon Graham Clitheroe, and a team of firefighters bravely averted the danger from the falling incendiaries during the heaviest raid on 14 November 1940.

Although the first record of Holy Trinity Church dates from the early 12th century, the story of the church dates back a century earlier, when Earl Leofric of Mercia and his wife Godiva founded a Benedictine priory dedicated to Saint Mary on the site of a Saxon nunnery.

Holy Trinity Church was built of red sandstone between the 1200s and 1400s, replacing a much older chapel built on the site by the monks of Saint Mary’s Priory. The monks of administered half of the growing settlement of Coventry and built a side chapel beside the priory to serve as a place of worship for the Prior’s half of Coventry.

The church first looked like nearby Saint Michael’s. However, several major restorations have seen much of the original brickwork replaced with a paler coloured sandstone.

The spire is 72 metres (237 ft) high and was rebuilt in 1667 to replace the older, original spire that collapsed during a storm in 1665, killing a young boy.

Inside, the stained-glass windows are full of colour and artistry. The east window behind the High Altar, added in 1956 to replace the original window, blown out in World War II. The new east window by Sir Ninian Comper was paid for by couples who had been married in the church, and is known as ‘The Brides’ Window.’

The great west window above the main entrance was designed by Hugh Easton in 1955. The ‘Te Deum Window’ shows Christ in Majesty seated on a rainbow, while all around him are historical figures of the Church. The window replaced a Victorian window destroyed by bombs in 1940.

The choir stalls have 20 late 15th-century misericords or ‘mercy seats,’ made to support clergy who had to stand during long services. Some of the misericord carvings depict heraldic shields, others are carved with foliage. Two misericords show a woodwose, or wild man of the woods, a mythical figure carrying a club and accompanied by a lion; one shows a Green Man with foliage emerging from his mouth; others show a hunting scene, a griffin, and the mythological basilisk.

The pulpit, carved with quatrefoil panels and foliage, was built ca 1470 and is said to be one of the highest in England. Two damaged figures are said to represent Henry VI and Queen Margaret, who made Coventry their base during the Wars of the Roses.

The 15th-century octagonal font is painted with bright colours.

The Marler Chapel or Mercers’ Chapel was added ca 1526-1527.

An extensive restoration and a new west front were completed in 1849 by the architect Richard Charles Hussey (1806-1887). The interior was restored in 1855 by Sir George Gilbert Scott (1811-1878).

The doom painting above the tower arch was painted in 1430s. It was discovered in 1831, covered by a lime wash, and was then restored and varnished over by David Gee. In the years following, the varnish darkened and hid the painting from view again. Conservation and restoration work began in 1995, and the painting was revealed in 2004. I have described this doom painting in detail in a separate posting last July.

The Coventry Cross outside the church has been renovated recently.

The church is usually open for private prayer and to visitors Wednesday to Saturday, 11 am to 3 pm, and Sunday, 12:30 to 4:30.

The Revd Richard Hibbert is the Vicar of Holy Trinity, and the Revd Carolyne Powell is Associate Vicar. Sunday Services are: 9:30, informal worship; 11:15, Holy Communion; 5 pm, Choral Evensong; 7 pm, ‘Sundays at Seven.’ Midweek Services usually include Holy Communion in the Marler Chapel at 12 noon on Wednesdays.

Hugh Easton’s ‘Te Deum Window’ (1955) shows Christ in Majesty seated on a rainbow, surrounded by historical Church figures (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Today’s Prayers (Wednesday 5 June 2024):

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 ‘Volunteers Week.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday by Carol Miller, Church Engagement Manager, USPG.

The USPG Prayer Diary today (5 June 2024) invites us to pray:

We pray for all who volunteer so tirelessly to keep their local environment clean, from towns to beaches to parkland. May they be refreshed and revived in their important work.

The Collect:

God our redeemer,
who called your servant Boniface
to preach the gospel among the German people
and to build up your Church in holiness:
grant that we may preserve in our hearts
that faith which he taught with his words
and sealed with his blood,
and profess it in lives dedicated to your Son
Jesus Christ 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 our redeemer,
whose Church was strengthened by the blood of your martyr Boniface:
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.

A Trinitarian symbol (centre) between the coats of arms of Bishops of Lichfield in Holy Trinity Church, Coventry (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

The crossing in Holy Trinity Church, Coventry (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version, Updated Edition copyright © 2021, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Holy Trinity Church, Coventry, was restored by Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1855 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

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