31 August 2023

Daily prayers in Ordinary Time
with USPG: (95) 31 August 2023

Saint Clare’s at the Cathedral is the pioneer church community of Coventry Cathedral, tucked between the old and new cathedrals (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

Patrick Comerford

We are in Ordinary Time in the Church Calendar, and this week began with the Twelfth Sunday after Trinity (Trinity XII, 27 August 2023). Today, the calendar of the Church of England in Common Worship remembers Saint Aidan (657), Bishop of Lindisfarne and Missionary.

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

In recent weeks, I have been reflecting on the churches in Tamworth and Lichfield. This week, I am reflecting each morning in these ways:

1, Looking at a church in Coventry;

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

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

Saint Clare’s is a small and friendly inclusive community offering a home to the spiritually seeking (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

Saint Clare’s at the Cathedral, Coventry:

Tucked between the old and new Cathedrals in the heart of Coventry, Saint Clare’s at the Cathedral is a place of community, of worship and of resource. It is the pioneer church community of Coventry Cathedral, and also a Christian Resource Centre for the city and beyond.

The Saint Clare’s Community meets for worship every Sunday at 12 noon. The service is a simple 45-60 minute Communion service. Bread and wine are shared, people look at the Bible together and they think about what God is doing in their lives. There are opportunities for everyone to participate if they want to, but nobody has to.

After the service, they stay to chat and lunch together. Drinks and snacks are provided, and all are invited to bring a sandwich or the like to go with it.

Over summer and into early autumn, they are exploring the Acts of the Apostles, following their adventures and reflecting on what their story means for people as individuals and as a church community.

Although Saint Clare’s Day was celebrated earlier this month (13 August), there were no Sunday services for the past two Sundays (20 and 27 August). However, these resume next Sunday (3 September), when the study of the Acts of the Apostles resumes where Paul and Barnabas argue, and Timothy joins Paul and Silas (Acts 15: 36-41, 16: 1-5).

Saint Clare’s is a small and friendly inclusive church community that offers a home to the spiritually seeking, to those who have wandered away from God, to those who never knew God and to those who have lost faith in the church.

About 25 people see themselves as part of Saint Clare’s community, but there is no formal membership though – people just come along on a Sunday and are welcome to get to know and be part of the community.

Saint Clare’s is part of Coventry Cathedral and the Church of England. But the community includes people from other Churches, and anyone is welcome to come and join the journey, from any faith background or none.

Saint Clare’s community includes people from a wide range of ethic and social backgrounds, members of the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities and neurodiversity. There are people of every age, but the majority are under 40. Children are an important part of the community and are welcome at all the services, and some Sunday services have a particular appeal to younger members.

The two priests at Saint Clare’s at the Cathedral are the Revd Charlotte Gale and the Revd Naomi Nixon. Between them they share over 40 years of experience in ministry.

The Revd Charlotte Gale, the shopkeeper priest, has been at Saint Clare’s since 2017. Before that she spent 16 years in parish ministry. She has been a member of the General Synod since 2013, chair of the House of Clergy of the Diocesan Synod in Coventry Diocese. She is the author of a novel The Hunt for the Rhinestone Cowboy. She is in the shop at Saint Clare’s most days (Tuesday to Saturday, 11 am to 4 pm).

The Revd Naomi Nixon is the CEO of the Student Christian Movement. She has a background of working in education, led a chaplaincy in further education, taught youth work and later ran staff development for the clergy of the Diocese of Coventry.

The Saint Clare’s Community profile photograph on Facebook

Matthew 24: 42-51 (NRSVA):

[Jesus said:] 42 ‘Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.

45 ‘Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. 48 But if that wicked slave says to himself, “My master is delayed”, 49 and he begins to beat his fellow-slaves, and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50 the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know. 51 He will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

After church in the Saint Clare’s Community at Coventry Cathedral

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), is the ‘República de Jovens Home in Brazil.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday.

The USPG Prayer Diary today (31 August 2023, International Day for people of African Descent) invites us to pray in these words:

We pray for the people of Africa and all who have links to the continent.

The Collect:

Everlasting God,
you sent the gentle bishop Aidan
to proclaim the gospel in this land:
grant us to live as he taught
in simplicity, humility and love for the poor;
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:

Holy Father,
who gathered us here around the table of your Son
to share this meal with the whole household of God:
in that new world where you reveal
the fullness of your peace,
gather people of every race and language
to share with Aidan and all your saints
in the eternal banquet of Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Saint Clare’s Community meets for worship every Sunday at 12 noon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

Yesterday’s Reflection

Continued Tomorrow

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 Chapel of Unity in Coventry Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

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