Monday, 22 March 2021

Praying in Lent and Easter 2021:
34, Saint Giles’s Church, Cheadle

Saint Giles’s Church and its 200 ft spire dominate the Staffordshire market town of Chealde (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

During Lent and Easter this year, I am taking some time each morning to reflect in these ways:

1, a photograph of a church or place of worship that has been significant in my spiritual life;

2, the day’s Gospel reading;

3, a prayer from the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel).

This week I am offering photographs from seven churches that were designed by Augustus Welby Pugin (1812-1852), the architect singularly responsible for shaping and influencing the Gothic revival in church architecture on these islands.

My photographs this morning (22 March 2021) are from Saint Giles’s Church, Cheadle, Staffordshire.

The architectural historian Sir Nikolaus Pevsner once described Staffordshire as ‘Pugin-land’ after visiting Cheadle, the market town dominated by Saint Giles’s Church and its 200 ft spire. He wrote: ‘Nowhere can one study and understand Pugin better than in Staffordshire – not only his forms and features but his mind, and not only his churches but his secular architecture as well.’

John Talbot (1791-1852), 16th Earl of Shrewsbury, who lived at Alton Towers and commissioned AWN Pugin to build many churches in Staffordshire, including Saint Giles’s Church, Cheadle.

Lord Shrewsbury, once ‘the most prominent British Catholic of day,’ extended his family’s Irish connections when he married Maria Theresa Talbot, daughter of Thomas William Talbot of Castle Talbot, Co Wexford – an Irish branch of the Talbot family that were patrons of Pugin too.

Pugin’s interior, including his rood screen, remain largely intact in Saint Giles’s Church, Cheadle (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

John 8: 1-11 (NRSVA):

1 … Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, 4 they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. 5 Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ 6 They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ 8 And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus straightened up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ 11 She said, ‘No one, sir.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.’

Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary:

The Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (22 March 2021), also World Water Day, prays:

Let us give thanks for all USPG’s partner organisations that are working towards giving communities access to clean water and good sanitation.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

The arms of the Talbot family, Earls of Shrewsbury, represented on the doors of Saint Giles’s Church in Cheadle, Staffordshire (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

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