30 September 2023

Daily prayers in Ordinary Time
with USPG: (125) 30 September 2023

Saint Michael le Belfrey Church in York stands in the shadow of York Minster … yesterday was the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

We are in Ordinary Time in the Church Calendar, and tomorrow is the Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity (Trinity XVII, 1 October 2023). The Calendar of the Church of England in Common Worship today celebrates the life and work of Saint Jerome (420), Translator of the Scriptures, Teacher of the Faith.

Two of us travelled to York overnight, and we are spending a few days here this weekend. I hope to be at the Choral Eucharist in York Minister tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, before today gets busy, I am taking some time this morning for prayer and reflection.

The Church celebrated Saint Michael and All Angels yesterday (29 September). So my reflections each morning this week and next are taking this format:

1, A reflection on a church named after Saint Michael or his depiction in Church Art;

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

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

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

Saint Michael le Belfrey Church, York:

Saint Michael le Belfrey Church 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 Revd Matthew Porter is the incumbent of Saint Michael le Belfrey. 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.

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

Luke 9: 43b-45 (NRSVA):

49 While everyone was amazed at all that he was doing, he said to his disciples, 44 ‘Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands.’ 45 But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was concealed from them, so that they could not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.

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)

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 ‘Flinging open the doors.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday by the Revd Anthony Gyu-Yong Shim, Diocese of Daejeon, Korea.

The USPG Prayer Diary today (30 September 2023, International Translation Day) invites us to pray:

We give thanks to all who facilitate translation. Opening dialogues and building relationships between people and churches of different languages.

The Collect:

O Lord, we beseech you mercifully to hear the prayers
of your people who call upon you;
and grant that they may both perceive and know
what things they ought to do,
and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfil them;
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:

Almighty God,
you have taught us through your Son
that love is the fulfilling of the law:
grant that we may love you with our whole heart
and our neighbours as ourselves;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Saint Michael le Belfrey has a notable collections of stained-glass windows (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

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

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