13 November 2022

Praying in Ordinary Time with USPG :
Sunday 13 November 2022

The window by Charles Eamer Kempe at the west end of Saint Mary and Saint Giles, Stony Stratford, depicting three archangels: Saint Gabriel above, and Saint Michael and Saint Raphael below (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Patrick Comerford

This is Remembrance weekend: today (13 November 2022) is the Second Sunday before Advent and Remembrance Sunday. Later today I hope to be present at the Parish Eucharist in the Church of Saint Mary and Saint Giles, Stony Stratford, and to attend the Remembrance Sunday service at the War Memorial on Horsefair Green.

But, before this day gets busy, I am taking some time this morning for reading, prayer and reflection.

Throughout this week, I am reflecting in these ways:

1, One of the readings for the morning;

2, A reflection on the stained glass windows in Saint Mary and Saint Giles Church, Stony Stratford;

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

Six apostles, James, Peter, John, Thomas, Andrew and Saint James the Less, seen from inside (above) and outside (below) the church (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Luke 21: 5-19 (NRSVA):

5 When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, 6 ‘As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.’

7 They asked him, ‘Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?’ 8 And he said, ‘Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, “I am he!” and, “The time is near!” Do not go after them.

9 ‘When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.’ 10 Then he said to them, ‘Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; 11 there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.

12 ‘But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 13 This will give you an opportunity to testify. 14 So make up your minds not to prepare your defence in advance; 15 for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17 You will be hated by all because of my name. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your endurance you will gain your souls.’

Philip, Paul, Bartholomew; Jude, Simon and Matthew seen from inside (above) and outside (below) the church (Photographs: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Stained-glass windows in Stony Stratford, 1:

It is just six weeks to Christmas. Throughout this week, I am reflecting each morning on the stained glass windows in the Church of Saint Mary and Saint Giles, Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire.

The 12 windows in Saint Mary and Saint Giles include a two-light window at the west end by Charles Eamer Kempe, depicting three archangels; a set of three windows in the south gallery, among them important work by John Groome Howe of the Hardman studios; two separate windows in the south gallery that appear to include fragments from an earlier window; and six windows – three below the gallery on the south wall and three below the gallery on the north wall – by NHJ Westlake of Lavers & Westlake.

The window at the west end of the church is a two-light depicting three archangels: Saint Gabriel above, and Saint Michael and Saint Raphael below. This window, dated 1903, is by Charles Eamer Kempe (1837-1907).

CE Kempe’s studios produced over 4,000 windows and designed altars and altar frontals, furniture and furnishings, lichgates and memorials that helped to define a later 19th-century Anglican style.

At Pembroke College, Oxford, Kempe was influenced by the Anglo-Catholic Tractarian revival and considered a vocation to the priesthood. Inspired by William Morris’s work, he went to study architecture with the Gothic Revival architect George Frederick Bodley (1827-1907) at a time when Bodley was working on All Saints’ Church, Cambridge. There he learned from both Bodley and William Morris, and Bodley and Kempe became lifelong friends and collaborators.

Kempe’s work was strongly influenced by the Gothic Revival and the Pre-Raphaelite movement. His studios produced over 4,000 windows and designs for altars and altar frontals, furniture and furnishings, lichgates and memorials that helped to define a later 19th century Anglican style.

The English cathedrals with his work include Lichfield, as well as Chester, Gloucester, Hereford, Wells, Winchester and York. I have also written about his windows in the chapel of Saint John’s Hospital, Lichfield and Christ Church, Leomansley, Lichfield.

The Cambridge Church Historian Owen Chadwick has said Kempe’s work represents ‘the Victorian zenith’ of church decoration and stained glass windows. Kempe was seen by his contemporaries as a Tractarian, but primarily he saw his task ‘to beautify the place in which to celebrate the glory of God.’ His window in Saint Mary and Saint Giles Church in Stony Stratford offers an interesting illustration of this principle.

The first three sets of three-light windows in the south gallery in Saint Mary and Saint Giles include a window by John Groome Howe of James Powell and Sons (1877).

This first window is dedicated to: Josiah Michael and Ann Smith and shows six scenes with themese of the Resurrection or being raised to new life: top, 1, the raising of Jairus’s daughterr (Matthew 9: 18-26; Mark 5: 21-43; Luke 8: 40-56); 2, Christ with two disciples on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24: 13-35); 3, the raising of the Widow of Nain’s son (see Luke 7: 11-17); below, 1, the raising of Lazarus (John 11:1 -44); 2, the Supper at Emmaus (Luke 24: 13-35); 3, hthe healing of Simon Peter’s mother-in-law (Matthew 8: 14-15, Mark 1: 29-31, Luke 4: 38-39).

The firm of James Powell and Sons, also known as Whitefriars Glass, were London-based glassmakers, leadlighters and stained glass window manufacturers. As Whitefriars Glass, the company dated from the 17th century, and it became well known as a result of the 19th-century Gothic Revival and the demand for stained glass windows.

During the latter part of the 19th century, the firm had close working links with leading architects and designers including TG Jackson, Edward Burne-Jones, William De Morgan and James Doyle, and produced the glass that Philip Webb used in his designs for William Morris. Nathanael Powell’s eldest surviving son, Harry, was an admirer of John Ruskin.

The next two windows in the south gallery are three-light windows depicting 12 apostles, each with six illustrations. Their date and the artist are unknown.

The first depicts: top, Saint James, Saint Peter, Saint John; below, Saint Thomas, Saint Andrew, Saint James the Less. The second depicts (top) Saint Philip, Saint Paul, Saint Bartholomew; and (below) Saint Jude, Saint Simon, Saint Matthew.

A fourth and fifth window in the south gallery show the Risen Christ and the Crucifixion.

The window by John Groome Howe of James Powell and Sons with six Gospel scenes seen from inside (above) and outside (below) the church (Photographs: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

The Collect:

Heavenly Father,
whose blessed Son was revealed
to destroy the works of the devil
and to make us the children of God and heirs of eternal life:
grant that we, having this hope,
may purify ourselves even as he is pure;
that when he shall appear in power and great glory
we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom;
where he is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Post Communion Prayer:

Gracious Lord,
in this holy sacrament
you give substance to our hope:
bring us at the last
to that fullness of life for which we long;
through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Additional Collect

Heavenly Lord,
you long for the world’s salvation:
stir us from apathy,
restrain us from excess
and revive in us new hope
that all creation will one day be healed
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

The theme in the USPG Prayer Diary this week is ‘Living Together in Peace.’ This theme is introduced this morning:

‘PROCMURA stands for the Programme for Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa. USPG has provided an annual grant to PROCMURA since it started back in 1959, helping the organisation to build relationships between people of different faiths across Africa.

‘Despite the challenges of working in a context where the Covid-19 pandemic is not yet truly over, PROCMURA has been able to carry on with its work over the past year. 2021 saw the organisation launch a Master of Arts programme in Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations with the Protestant University of Central Africa in Cameroon to enable the development and training of clergy from Benin, Togo, Cameroon, Guinea, Senegal and Burkina Faso.

‘PROCMURA also teaches young people the importance of religious tolerance. The organisation organised a Youth Symposium on Religious Tolerance, Radicalisation and Violent Extremism in East Africa which brought together 100 Christian and Muslim university students from 22 universities across Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, South Sudan and Tanzania. The success of this event led to the creation of interfaith clubs within many of these universities.

‘On a local level, PROCMURA continues to host interfaith meetings and guide communities in how to live together in peace with people of different faiths.’

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

Peaceful God,
teach us to forsake division and violence.
Let us serve each other in peace,
and live side by side in harmony.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Saint Mary and Saint Giles Church, on the corner of Church Street and High Street, Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire (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

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