29 July 2023

Daily prayers in Ordinary Time
with USPG: (62) 29 July 2023

The Great East Window in Saint Editha’s Collegiate and Parish Church, Tamworth (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

Patrick Comerford

We are in Ordinary Time in the Church Calendar, and tomorrow is the Eighth Sunday after Trinity (30 July 2023). Today, the Calendar of the Church of England in Common Worship remembers Mary, Martha and Lazarus, Companions of our Lord (29 July).

Before this day begins, I am taking some time this morning for prayer, reading and reflection.

This week, my reflections each morning include:

1, Looking at stained glass windows in Saint Editha’s Collegiate Church, Tamworth;

2, the Gospel reading of the day in the Church of England lectionary;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

The top row of six apostles in the Great East Window in Saint Editha’s Church, Tamworth (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

The Great East Window in Saint Editha’s Church, Tamworth:

The Great East Window in Saint Editha’s Collegiate Church, Tamworth, is a huge window filled with coloured glass, the figures representing the Twelve Apostles, each holding a symbol associated with him in tradition and related to their life or martyrdom.

This window is a testimonial to the late Revd Dr James Ogilvy Millar, Vicar of Tamworth from 1865 to 1869. The window is by William Wailes (1808-1881) of Newcastle and is dated 1870. The lettering is a quotation from the canticle Te Deum: ‘Ye Glorious Company of the Apostles Praise Thee.’

The six apostles in the top row are: Saint James the Great (pilgrim staff), Saint Peter (keys), Saint John (poison chalice and Gospel), Saint James the Less (club), Saint Thomas (spear) and Saint Thaddeus (axe); the six apostles in the lower row are: Saint Philip (staff), Saint Andrew (inverted cross), Saint Bartholomew (flaying knife), Saint Simon (saw), Saint Matthew (sword and Gospel) and Saint Matthias (axe).

The dedication on the window reads: ‘This window was reconstructed, and filled with painted glass by subscription, in 1870, in testimony of the esteem entertained by the parishioners of James Ogilvy Millar, LL.D., lately Vicar, and of their grateful sense of zeal in promoting the restoration of the Church.’

The Revd James Ogilvy Millar (1828-1890) was instrumental in restoring Saint Editha’s Church while he was the Vicar of Tamworth (1865-1869), and the East Window was erected while he was still living. He married Jane Mullings (1830-1920), and their four children included Admiral Herbert James Ogilvy Millar (1866-1934), who was born in Tamworth.

William Wailes started his own company in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1838 and became one of the largest provincial stained glass producers. The company was making its own glass by 1841, and Wailes made glass for AWN Pugin from 1842 to 1845, and continued to produce glass for Pugin until Pugin died in 1852.

Wailes was later joined by his son-in-law, Thomas Rankine Strang (1835-1899), and the business became known as Wailes & Strang. Wailes died at his home in Saltwell Towers, Gateshead, and is buried in Saint Peter’s churchyard, Bywell, Northumberland.

The lower row of six apostles in the Great East Window in Saint Editha’s Church, Tamworth (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

John 12: 1-8 (NRSVA):

1 Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 2 There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. 3 Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, 5 ‘Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?’ 6 (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) 7 Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. 8 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.’

The East Window, High Altar and choir in Saint Editha’s Collegiate and Parish Church, Tamworth (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

Today’s Prayer:

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), has been ‘Reflections from the International Consultation.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday by Michael Clarke of the West Indies.

The Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (29 July 2023) invites us to pray in these words:

Give us grace Lord to truly listen with open hearts and minds, even when conversations are difficult.


God our Father,
whose Son enjoyed the love of his friends,
Mary, Martha and Lazarus,
in learning, argument and hospitality:
may we so rejoice in your love
that the world may come to know
the depths of your wisdom, the wonder of your compassion,
and your power to bring life out of death;
through the merits of Jesus Christ,
our friend and brother,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion:

from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name,
your servants Mary, Martha and Lazarus revealed your goodness
in a life of tranquillity and service:
grant that we who have gathered in faith around this table
may like them know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge
and be filled with all your fullness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

The East Window in Saint Editha’s Church is a tribute to an 19th century Vicar of Tamworth, the Revd James Ogilvy Millar (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

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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