29 September 2022

Praying in Ordinary Time with USPG:
Thursday 29 September 2022

Saint Michael le Belfrey Church in York stands in the shadow of York Minster ... today is the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Patrick Comerford

In the Calendar of the Church, today (29 September 2022) is the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels.

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

This morning, and throughout this week and next, I am reflecting each morning on a church, chapel, or place of worship in York, where I stayed earlier this month after a surgical procedure in Sheffield.

In my prayer diary this week I am reflecting in these ways:

1, One of the readings for the morning;

2, Reflecting on a church, chapel or place of worship in York;

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

Inside Saint Michael le Belfrey Church, York, facing east (Photograph Patrick Comerford, 2022)

John 1: 47-51 (NRSVA):

47 When Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him, he said of him, ‘Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!’ 48 Nathanael asked him, ‘Where did you come to know me?’ Jesus answered, ‘I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ 49 Nathanael replied, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’ 50 Jesus answered, ‘Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.’ 51 And he said to him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’

Inside Saint Michael le Belfrey Church, York, facing west (Photograph Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Saint Michael le Belfrey Church, York:

Saint Michael le Belfrey Church in York stands in the shadow of York Minster, at the junction of High Petergate and Minster Yard in the city centre, and is known as a centre of the charismatic revival. The church takes its name from the Minster Belfrey that stood on the site before the church was built.

The church is near the place where Constantine was proclaimed the Roman Emperor. An early church on the site dated back to at least 1294. But this earlier mediaeval church was so badly maintained that parishioners were afraid to enter the building for services.

The present church was built between 1525 and 1537, under the direction of the master mason to the Minster, John Forman. Saint Michael-le-Belfrey is the only church in York to have been built in the 16th century and it is the largest pre-Reformation parish church in the city.

Saint Michael’s has one of the most notable collections of mid-16th century glass in any English parish church. The east window contains a large collection of glass from about 1330, that came from the demolished predecessor of this church.

The east window includes a depiction of the martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket and there are four panels depicting the life of Gilbert, Thomas Becket’s father. This is a rare survival as Henry VIII ordered all images of Saint Thomas to be destroyed in 1538, and Thomas’s name to be removed from the English church calendar.

Guy Fawkes was baptised in the church on 16 April 1570. He later became a Roman Catholic, and was part of the failed Gunpowder Plot in 1605.

The reredos and altar rails were designed by John Etty and completed by his son, William, in 1712. The gallery was added in 1785.

The stained glass panels on the front of the building were restored by John Knowles in the early 19th century. The west front and bellcote date from 1867 and were supervised by the architect George Fowler Jones.

In the early 1970s, the parish of Saint Michael le Belfrey was joined with nearby Saint Cuthbert’s, which had experienced revival in the late 1960s under the leadership of David Watson and could no longer be accommodated in the building. Growth continued in the 1970s and the church became known as a centre for charismatic renewal.

• The incumbent is the Revd Matthew Porter. The church continues to reflect the legacy of David Watson. There are usually three Sunday services: a more formal morning service at 9 am; the XI, a family service at 11 am; and ‘The6’, an evening service with an informal style. The ‘Faith in the City’ service is at 12:30 on Wednesday lunch-times. A daughter church, G2, meets twice on Sundays at Central Methodist Church, York.

The reredos and altar rails in Saint Michael le Belfrey Church, York, were designed by John Etty and completed by his son, William, in 1712 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Today’s Prayer (Thursday 29 September 2022, Saint Michael and All Angels):

The Collect:

Everlasting God,
you have ordained and constituted
the ministries of angels and mortals in a wonderful order:
grant that as your holy angels always serve you in heaven,
so, at your command,
they may help and defend us on earth;
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:

Lord of heaven,
in this eucharist you have brought us near
to an innumerable company of angels
and to the spirits of the saints made perfect:
as in this food of our earthly pilgrimage
we have shared their fellowship,
so may we come to share their joy in heaven;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The theme in the USPG prayer diary this week is ‘Celebrating 75 Years,’ which was introduced on Sunday by the Revd Davidson Solanki, USPG’s Regional Manager for Asia and the Middle East.

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

Almighty God, may good triumph over evil. Let us be courageous in our pursuit of justice and bold in our faith.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Saint Michael le Belfrey has a notable collections of stained-glass windows (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

The church was built between 1525 and 1537, under the direction of the master mason to the Minster, John Forman (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

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