Hills and Mountains An Introduction – 2

During Lent and Passiontide, we will journey through some of the hills and mountains of Palestine and Israel, the Holy Land. Each of these mountains has a story that is woven into our faith stories.

 

Click below to continue reading

 

002 Hills and Mountains An Introduction 2 pr 10-02-24

I spent my teens and early twenties in the Ribble Valley, Lancashire. From where I lived, I could see the ruins of Clitheroe Castle securely sited on the top of Castle hill. Climb to the top of the castle mount looking eastward you would see, on a clear day, Pendle Hill rising 1827 feet, 557 metres above sea level.

To read on follow this link..

001 – Hills and Mountains An Introduction pr – 03-02-24

There was a proposal in 1540 that Southwell Minster become a cathedral, and 344 years later, in 1884 it became the cathedral for Nottingham and parts of Derbyshire, including the city of Derby.  In 1927, the Diocese of Derby was created. The Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham has around 300 churches in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire and two in South Yorkshire.

 

Interested in reading more?  Click here for the full reflection: Southwell and Nottingham

 

Sheffield Cathedral Church of St Peter and St Paul

008 Sheffield Cathedral pr – 20-01-24 There has been a Christian connection with this site for over 1000 years, although it was only granted Cathedral status in 1914. Over these years, there has been an unbroken witness to our faith through worship, prayer, and witness.

 

To continue reading this reflection, follow the link:

008 Sheffield Cathedral pr – 20-01-24

 

Cathedral Church of St Mary

‘Pugin’s cathedral, sits on a wide plinth opposite Newcastle’s railway station, its slender spire visible from across the Tyne. A curving flight of steps rises beneath the east end, overlooked by a 21st century statue of one of Newcastle’s favourite sons, Cardinal Basil Hume.’
(Simon Jenkins England’s Cathedrals page 169)

 

Cathedral Church of St Mary in the
Roman Catholic Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle. Consecrated 1844

The Cathedral Church of St Mary was largely funded through the halfpenny subscriptions of the poorest people of Tyneside.

The cathedral has undergone interior reordering in the past its most recently the renovation restored much of the beauty of the original design. It also included a new organ built by Kenneth Tickell of Northampton. It also has a café and restaurant.

Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812-1852)
He had a major role in the Victorian Gothic Revival style of architecture.
He is remembered probably most for his work on the interior of the Houses of Parliament, and bell tower Big Ben, Elizabeth Tower.

Explore http://www.stmaryscathedral.org.uk under the option MORE you will find much more.

 

The cathedral, as with Cathedral Church of St Nicholas, are places of Christian worship and service and sanctuary in a busy city.

 

Cathedral Church of St Nicholas

‘Newcastle’s parish church of St Nicholas, with its eccentric steeple and elegant crown, had graced the banks of the Tyne since the 15th century. A local chronicler wrote that it lifteth up the head of majesty high above the rest as a cypress tree above low shrubs.’
(Simon Jenkins England’s Cathedrals page 169)

The Lantern steeple is 194 feet (59 metres) high.

There has been a church dedicated to St Nicholas probably since 1180. The eccentric steeple or perhaps, as the Cathedral’s History and Heritage web describes it as ‘one of the finest lantern towers in the country, dominating the skyline since the 15th century. The Pevsner Architectural Guide describes it as “Four flying buttresses leaning against each other and holding up a tall square lantern, battlemented and pinnacled – a rare form of medieval crown in Britain”. Why can’t it be the eccentric and one of the finest lantern towers’?

The cathedral web page https://newcastlecathedral.org.uk/History and heritage – directs you and gives a timeline with photographs and is worth a visit. It is also worth exploring the Cathedral Treasure on their web page for more of its medieval heritage.

Spending time on the web page can add to the appreciation of the history and life of worshipping and serving people.

Reordered Nave
At the Cathedral Church of St Nicolas.


Stained glass window, Chapel of the Ascension

Two Cathedrals which both seek to offer a sacred space where worship and a sanctuary in the midst of a often bust lives.

A prayer for our cathedrals and the people of Newcastle..

Loving God, draw us on the journey
to the places of holiness, the places of peace,
the places of encounter, the places of beauty,
the places where faith has been lived, your love made known,
your hope held out in the past, for the present, into your future. Amen

Time of reflective prayer

Epiphany

Pause and Reflect

Slow down, breath calmly,
Slowly breathing in and out and relax.
Lay on one side those things that unsettle your senses
and rest in the presence of God.

The Magi, singular Magus. In the Christian tradition the Magi probably came from Persia, in modern terms the region of Iran. They are seen as astrologers who were able to interpret the stars and believed they had seen a star that pointed to the birth of a king, the Messiah. They come bearing three gifts.

We join with the Chet Valley Churches to sing a traditional Epiphany hymn

https://youtu.be/UB8rKNrlpDQ?si=nRQ_muFTr8KTT_PZ&t=6

Collect

Creator of the heavens,
who led the Magi by a star
to worship the Christ-child:
guide and sustain us,
that we may find our journey’s end
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

A reading from the prophet Isaiah (60.1-3)
Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you.
Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

A reading from Matthew – The Magi visit arrive at Bethlehem 2.10 -12
When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

Pause and reflection on the words from our readings. Read the passages again slowly pausing over words that perhaps strike accord with you.

In our prayers we welcome those who are searching for faith.

Let us draw into our circle of prayer our:
Family and Friends
Local church and its leaders
wider community
widening our circle to include:
those in government and positions of authority
those who are oppressed, those who are hungry and homeless
those who are ill, those facing death
Merciful Father, accept these prayers
for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

When asked about how to pray Jesus gave these simple but profound words, so let them be our prayer:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy name;
Thy kingdom come;
Thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil. Amen

Closing Prayer

Adapted from Bury Mission Community Prayer (Diocese of Manchester)

Loving God,
Jesus called his disciples to seek your kingdom and follow him.
You summon us to share work of our Pilgrim Community
Open our hearts to hear his invitation to be his disciples in this generation.
Grant us courage.
Strengthen us by your Holy Spirit.
Give us compassion, wisdom and resilience.
Pour on us your endless grace that we may flourish, and our parishes grow in faith and love, service and compassion,
Through Christ our Lord. Amen

+ In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We listen to John Rutters setting for ‘We Three Kings of Orient’
From St Edward’s Church Choir of the Parish Church of St Edward the Confessor, Romford. Directed by Jonathan Venner. Organist: Alan Leach.

You may wish the finish this time of reflective prayer sitting silently and enjoying a peaceful moment or two. Enjoy these moments! God bless!

Fr. Derek Akker

(Derek is a retired Anglican Parish Priest and a member of the congregations of All Saints & St James. Prior to his ordination he was accredited as a Methodist Preacher in 1968 and served within the Methodist Church until returning to the Anglican Church in the mid 1980’s)
≈≈≈
Parish of Kirklees Valley, Bury, (All Saints, Elton & St James, Woolfold) – In the Diocese of Manchester

Acknowledgements

Photographs in descending order
AlixChaytor- Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0
Kage ca at English Wikipedia – Public domain
Madame.evangelista – Public domain
Christopher Down – Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
Print from the United States Library of Congress – Public domain
Mike Quinn – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0
Michael D Beckwith
Creative Commons Zero, Public Domain Dedication

 

Helgi Halldórsson from Reykjavík, Iceland
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0
Opening prayer from the Association of English Cathedrals
Collect -The Archbishops Council 2004

The Cathedral was closed for re-ordering in August 2023 when I started to write this reflection. It is hoped the work will be completed for Easter 2024.
The original cathedral, now in ruins, was the cathedral for Sodor and Man. Today the diocese is the smallest in the Church of England.
In the 19th century there were moves to incorporate the diocese into the Diocese of Carlisle (1836) and then into the Diocese of Liverpool, when it was formed (1880). Both proposals failed.

Sodor
The Norwegian diocese of Sodor was formed in 1154, it covered the Hebrides and the other islands along the west coast of Scotland, The Southern Isles. The Northern Isles were Orkney and Shetland.
Man
The Isle of Man was included in the Sothern Isles.

 

The ruins of the former Cathedral of St. German

 

The Cathedral today

FinnWikiNo-Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

The Dean, the Very Reverend Nigel Godfrey explains the design of the new logo:
“We wanted a symbol that was modern-looking to reflect the exciting changes that are underway at the Cathedral. It is also intended to incorporate our artistic and religious heritage – hence the references to Archibald Knox and the Bishop’s crozier. The fish has a strong Christian tradition – as well as being synonymous with the fishing port of Peel. Finally, we felt the need to incorporate movement in the same way as the Three Legs of Man symbol is a dynamic design. After all, the Cathedral is unique and belongs to the whole island and is the Mother Church of the Diocese of Sodor and Man.”

Introducing the major renovations under the heading ‘A Cathedral re-ordered for Mission in 21st Century’ their web page included this short history

‘History Building and re-building the Island’s Cathedral has been happening since the arrival of St German in 447. Until the late 18th century, the site was on St Patrick’s Isle off Peel. The ruins of the Medieval Cathedral remain there as part of Peel Castle, once the stronghold of the Norse Kings of Mann and the Isles. The present Cathedral was originally built between 1879-84 and while it was intended to be the new Cathedral, the necessary legislation was not passed by Tynwald, so it became a Parish Church to replace St Peter’s on Peel’s market place. Instead, the chapel at Bishopscourt, Kirk Michael acted as the pro-Cathedral. In 1979 with the sale of Bishopscourt, the diocese was left without a cathedral, and this forced the issue of choosing a new one. After public consultation, Kirk German Parish Church was designated, and dedicated on All Saints Day (1 November 1980).’
 

During the building work, the cathedral choir is on ‘safari’ around the island. The witness of the cathedral being heard Sunday by Sunday.

The cathedral is dedicated to St German. St German was a Celtic missionary who lived in the fifth century. He should not be confused with St Germaine of Auxerre. While they were contemporaries, St Germaine followed the Roman tradition of Christianity whereas St German was of the Celtic tradition. His Celtic name was Noo Carmane AspickVannin. As with many Celtic monks, St German founded many keeills across the Isle of Man, the Celtic term for a simple chapel.

In the cathedral there is an icon of St. German, which is there to draw us into an act of contemplation, drawing us closer to the image of God revealed by the life of the saint ‘. . . the true icon is always a call for conversion, an invitation to a process where we are all transformed into the same glorious image’ Cathedral web page

The icon presents St German as the travelling monk he was, and of characteristic Celtic appearance, with fair skin, red hair and green eyes. His head is shaved from ear to ear in the fashion of the Celtic church. He wears a hooded cloak, and over his shoulders the pallium denotes his status as Bishop. The Celtic cross is raised in his right hand; a sign of authority and blessing. In his left hand he holds a depiction of the present-day Cathedral, which carries on the work he began over 1,500 years ago. St German gazes unflinchingly and compassionately, seeming to challenge us with his unfinished mission. (Cathedral Isle of Man web page) 

Pause and Reflect

1st week of
Christmas
Slow down, breath calmly and relax.

Holy Father,
We give you thanks for Bishop German,
who toiled untiringly to spread the faith and to save souls.
Grant us his unswerving commitment to holiness
so that, like him, we may build up your Church on this island
and lead all people to your glory.
We ask this through the intercessions of your only Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the prayers of our patron St German.

Loving God, draw us on the journey
to the places of holiness, the places of peace,
the places of encounter, the places of beauty,
the places where faith has been lived, your love made known,
your hope held out in the past, for the present, into your future. Amen

We start with the carol Angels from the Realms of Glory from the Chet Valley Churches.

A reading from the Gospel of Luke (2.15-20)

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 1When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Pause and reflect on the words from the Gospel and ponder these words again:
Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.

Let us draw into our circle of prayer our:
Family and Friends
Local church and its leaders
wider community
widening our circle to include:
those in government and positions of authority
those who are oppressed, those who are hungry and homeless
those who are ill, those facing death
Merciful Father, accept these prayers
for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

When asked about how to pray Jesus gave these simple but profound words, so let them be our prayer:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy name;
Thy kingdom come;
Thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil. Amen

Closing Prayers

Heavenly Father,
whose blessed Son shared at Nazareth the life of an earthly home:
help your Church to live as one family,
united in love and obedience,
and bring us all at last to our home in heaven;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Adapted from Bury Mission Community Prayer (Diocese of Manchester)

Loving God,
Jesus called his disciples to seek your kingdom and follow him.
You summon us to share work of our Pilgrim Community
Open our hearts to hear his invitation to be his disciples in this generation.
Grant us courage.
Strengthen us by your Holy Spirit.
Give us compassion, wisdom and resilience.
Pour on us your endless grace that we may flourish, and our parishes grow in faith and love, service and compassion,
Through Christ our Lord. Amen
+ In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Listen to Christmas Lullaby from John Rutter, The Cambridge Singers, City of London Sinfonia

Or you may wish the finish this time of reflective prayer sitting silently and enjoying a peaceful moment or two. You may also think about listening to some music that has touched you or a favourite hymn or song. Enjoy these moments! God bless!

Fr. Derek Akker

(Derek is a retired Anglican Parish Priest and a member of the congregations of All Saints & St James. Prior to his ordination he was accredited as a Methodist Preacher in 1968 and served within the Methodist Church until returning to the Anglican Church in the mid 1980’s)
≈≈≈
Parish of Kirklees Valley, Bury, (All Saints, Elton & St James, Woolfold) – In the Diocese of Manchester

Acknowledgements
Collect for St German Cathedral Isle of Man
Opening prayer from the Association of English Cathedrals
Collect -The Archbishops Council 2004
Candle Image – Ed Schipul – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0

Liverpool
One city, two cathedrals on Hope Street
One faith, two expressions

Liverpool Anglican Cathedral built on St James Mount
Philip Platt
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0

 

 

Liverpool Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral
Superchilum

 

The Anglican Cathedral dedicated according, to the document of Consecration, as the Cathedral Church of Christ in Liverpool; it also is referred to as the Cathedral Church of the Risen Christ. The cathedral is thought to be the largest cathedral in Britain, and also the eighth largest church in the world.

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King is a dramatic icon of faith, architecture, and human endeavour. An awe-inspiring landmark on the Liverpool skyline that you will not want to miss.
This Cathedral is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Liverpool and the seat of the Archbishop of Liverpool, the spiritual leader of the whole Northern Province of the Catholic Church in England.

Please use the web pages for more of the cathedrals’ histories
Liverpool Cathedral :- https://www.liverpoolcathedral.org.uk/about-us/
Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral :- https://liverpoolmetrocathedral.org.uk/
Hope Street is a fitting name for a street that is the home of two cathedrals. The street was named after William Hope, a merchant whose house stood on the site now occupied by the Philharmonic Hall.

 

 

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral
Drone photograph from inside the top of the lantern looking down on to the altar.

Taken by Lunar Aerial Imaging.
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

 

Liverpool Anglican Cathedral central nave

Michael D Beckwith – Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

While striking in their differences, these two cathedrals both offer a sacred space which can reach out and move you. I once sat in the Metropolitan Cathedral with the colours of the Lantern-stained glass dancing around the interior. I cannot remember how long I sat there but in that time I had a sense of the sacredness of this space.

In the Anglican cathedral I have sat and been moved as the choristers sang Evensong, their voices echoed around and seemed to fill the cathedral. Once again there was a sense of the sacred.

Differences again but also a unity, a sacred space where you can be drawn into prayer and praise.

Over the decades the various Anglican bishops and the Roman Catholic Archbishops of Liverpool have joined forces to campaign and seek to address injustices within their communities. Event in the aftermath of the civil unrest in Liverpool in the 1980’s and following the Hillsborough tragedy.

 

 

Original artists impression of Liverpool Cathedral, by Charles Herbert Reilly (1874–1948) first published in 1902, and reprinted in and scanned from Sharples, Joseph, ed (1996). Charles Reilly & the Liverpool School of Architecture 1904–1933. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. ISBN 0-85323-901-0

Public domain

 

 

Model of Lutyens’ design for the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral
Photograph by Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net).
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

 

Another thing that the two cathedrals had in common. They both had early designs

 

Closing shots of Liverpool’s Cathedrals

 

Rept0n1x Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0

 

Both Cathedrals at Night

 

 

Veguiv
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

 

 

Bob Edwards
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

 

 

Pause and Reflect
4th week of Advent /
Christmas Eve

Slow down, breath calmly
and relax.

 

Opening prayer for cathedrals.

Loving God, draw us on the journey
to the places of holiness, the places of peace,
the places of encounter, the places of beauty,
the places where faith has been lived, your love made known,
your hope held out in the past, for the present, into your future. Amen

The St Michael’s Singers and Coventry Singers sing:

“The Angel Gabriel From Heaven Came” was a Basque folk carol, originally based on ‘Angelus Ad Virginem’, a 13th or 14th Century Latin carol It was collected by Charles Bordes and then paraphrased into English by the hymn writer, priest and scholar, Sabine Baring-Gould. The tune is ‘Gabriel’s Message’, the traditional tune having been arranged by Edgar Pettman

 

Collect for Christmas Eve.

Almighty God,
as we prepare with joy
to celebrate the gift of the Christ-child,
embrace the earth with your glory
and be for us a living hope
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Collect for Christmas Day
Lord Jesus Christ,
your birth at Bethlehem
draws us to kneel in wonder at heaven touching earth:
accept our heartfelt praise
as we worship you,
our Saviour and our eternal God.

A reading from Luke’s Gospel 1.26-38
The Birth of Jesus Foretold
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.

Pause and reflection on the words from the Gospel focussing on the closing words:

Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.

In our prayers we welcome those who are searching for faith.

Let us draw into our circle of prayer our:
Family and Friends
Local church and its leaders
wider community
widening our circle to include:
those in government and positions of authority
those who are oppressed, those who are hungry and homeless
those who are ill, those facing death
Merciful Father, accept these prayers
for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

When asked about how to pray Jesus gave these simple but profound words, so let them be our prayer:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy name;
Thy kingdom come;
Thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil. Amen

Closing Prayer

Adapted from Bury Mission Community Prayer (Diocese of Manchester)

Loving God,
Jesus called his disciples to seek your kingdom and follow him.
You summon us to share work of our Pilgrim Community
Open our hearts to hear his invitation to be his disciples in this generation.
Grant us courage.
Strengthen us by your Holy Spirit.
Give us compassion, wisdom and resilience.
Pour on us your endless grace that we may flourish, and our parishes grow in faith and love, service and compassion,
Through Christ our Lord. Amen

+ In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Fr. Derek Akker

(Derek is a retired Anglican Parish Priest and a member of the congregations of All Saints & St James. Prior to his ordination he was accredited as a Methodist Preacher in 1968 and served within the Methodist Church until returning to the Anglican Church in the mid 1980’s)
≈≈≈
Parish of Kirklees Valley, Bury, (All Saints, Elton & St James, Woolfold) – In the Diocese of Manchester

Acknowledgements
Opening prayer from the Association of English Cathedrals
Collect -The Archbishops Council 2004
Candle Image – Elmar Ersch Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

 

Additional music

I am aware that the inclusion of the 1945 song from Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ hardly has the ring of Christmas about. The choice is your, listen or not.

The song now has close connections to Liverpool!

The background to the song is the character Nettie Fowler sings the song to comfort and encourage her cousin Julie when her husband, Billy Bigelow, the male lead, stabs himself with a knife whilst trying to run away after attempting a robbery and dies in her arms.

It has been recorded by many artist but for many it is the 1965 version by the Liverpool group Jerry and the Pacemakers that is on their playlist. It is associated with Liverpool Football Club but for some its association is wider and is with the city of Liverpool.

The song originally written to support a grieving young woman and is also used at the end of the musical when Billy Bigelow returns to earth and the invisible figure of Billy is granted the chance to return to Earth to, watch the graduation ceremony of his daughter Louise and he silently encourage Louise and Julie to join in with the song.

The song is a song of comfort, support, and encouragement. It is understandable that the song has reached out to people who know nothing of the songs original setting,

Here is Jerry and the Pacemakers, click the link

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blackburn Cathedral TreveX – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

 

 


Official Cathedral logo

Blackburn Cathedral

The former parish church of St Mary the Virgin became Blackburn Cathedral in 1926. William Temple, Bishop of Manchester was involved in the selection of Blackburn Parish Church as the suitable site for the Cathedral of this new diocese.

As a town, Blackburn is mentioned in the Doomsday Book and tradition has that with in the reign of King Edward the Confessor (1042 – 1066) the church was already dedicated to St Mary which was known as the ‘Inn of the Lord’.

Simon Jenkins mentions a possible Roman connection. There was a Roman settlement about 7 miles away at Ribchester. It seems there was a Christian presence in the homestead of Blackburn in the 6th century if not earlier.

Blackburn claims documentary evidence of Christian activity since 596, implying possibly continuity from a Roman-British settlement. The later medieval church of St Mary was rebuilt in 1826 by Manchester architect, John Palmer, guttered by fire in 1831 and then restored. The style is Regency gothic, with a substantial tower and a nave interior with a ribbed vault. The decision to make Blackburn a new diocese in 1926 spurred a plan for a large central tower. … This was barely started when war and expense brought a halt. (Simon Jenkins – England’s Cathedrals page 13)

The move from Parish Church to Cathedral was not a straightforward project. The original plans, drawn up in 1933, were for a modern gothic cathedral, giving it a simpler and more modern style. The second world war and inflation meant that these plans had to be radically changed and work was not to begin until the 1950’s. The appointment of Laurence King as cathedral architect in 1961 brought about a significant change in plans and the creation of the Lantern Tower depicting the Holy Spirit.

During this period the Corona representing both the crown of suffering and the crown of glory was designed and installed. Wherever you sit in for the liturgy you cannot escape
the drama of the crown of thorns hanging from think steel cables above the altar. Also, as you look up there is the Dove hovering over the celebration of the liturgy.

The artist John Hayward designed the Worker Christ which was installed at the rear of the nave.

Christ the Worker

Immanuel Giel

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

 

In the mid 2010’s an ambitious regeneration of what is now called the Cathedral Quarter was completed

The work, spanning 14 years and costing £33 million, in partnership with the local authority and others, involved the creation of hospitality and business premises. For the cathedral itself there were facilities for a Library, Refectory, teaching and meeting rooms and offices. There is also accommodation for clergy and lay staff.

These years of regeneration prove the point that Cathedrals are ever changing and evolving. There was very much the spirit of the wishes and influence of Archbishop William Temple to create a cathedral that met the needs of local people and was the ‘heartbeat of Blackburn town centre’.

 

Crown of Thorns

Michael BeckwithCreative Commons Attribution 2.0

For more information follow the cathedral link, select about us and then History and stroll down the page

Blackburn Cathedral

 

 

Blackburn Cathedral taken from Cathedral Web page

 

 

East end of Blackburn Cathedral

Richard Vince – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0

Pause and Reflect
3rd week of Advent

Slow down, breath calmly
and relax.

Opening Prayer

A prayer for Blackburn Cathedral and the Diocese of Blackburn, its people and those who service the cathedral.

Loving God, draw us on the journey
to the places of holiness, the places of peace,
the places of encounter, the places of beauty,
the places where faith has been lived, your love made known,
your hope held out in the past, for the present, into your future. Amen

The traditional Advent hymn On Jordans Bank

 

Collect for third week of Advent

God for whom we watch and wait,
you sent John the Baptist to prepare the way of your Son:
give us courage to speak the truth,
to hunger for justice,
and to suffer for the cause of right,
with Jesus Christ our Lord.

Words from John’s Gospel 1.6-8, 19-23
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.

This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, ‘I am not the Messiah.’ And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ Then they said to him, ‘Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?’ He said,
‘I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness,
“Make straight the way of the Lord” ’, as the prophet Isaiah said.

Pause and reflect on the words from the Gospel and ponder these closing words again:
‘I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness,
“Make straight the way of the Lord” ’, as the prophet Isaiah said.

 

Let us draw into our circle of prayer our:
Family and Friends
Local church and its leaders
wider community
widening our circle to include:
those in government and positions of authority
those who are oppressed, those who are hungry and homeless
those who are ill, those facing death
Merciful Father, accept these prayers
for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

When asked about how to pray Jesus gave these simple but profound words, so let them be our prayer:

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy name;
Thy kingdom come;
Thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil. Amen

 

Closing Prayer

Adapted from Bury Mission Community Prayer (Diocese of Manchester)

Loving God,
Jesus called his disciples to seek your kingdom and follow him.
You summon us to share work of our Pilgrim Community
Open our hearts to hear his invitation to be his disciples in this generation.
Grant us courage.
Strengthen us by your Holy Spirit.
Give us compassion, wisdom and resilience.
Pour on us your endless grace that we may flourish, and our parishes grow in faith and love, service and compassion,
Through Christ our Lord. Amen

 

+ In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

You may wish the finish this time of reflective prayer sitting silently and enjoying a peaceful moment or two. You may also think about listening to some music that has touched you or a favourite hymn or song. Enjoy these moments! God bless!

 

Fr. Derek Akker

(Derek is a retired Anglican Parish Priest and a member of the congregations of All Saints & St James. Prior to his ordination he was accredited as a Methodist Preacher in 1968 and served within the Methodist Church until returning to the Anglican Church in the mid 1980’s)
≈≈≈
Parish of Kirklees Valley, Bury, (All Saints, Elton & St James, Woolfold) – In the Diocese of Manchester

 

Opening prayer from the Association of English Cathedrals
Collect -The Archbishops Council 2004
Candle Image – Liesel Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

 

 

The first church in Manchester goes back to the 7th century probably to near to the site of today’s St Annes Church, a few hundred metres from today’s cathedral.

‘. . . the medieval church of St Mary, St Denys and St George on the banks of the River Irwell was, for centuries, one of the largest (and wealthiest) parish churches in the land.’ (Simon Jenkins, England’s Cathedrals page 165)

The Doomsday Book records a church dedicated to St Mary being on the site. The *collegiate church of St Mary, St Denys and St George was founded by Baron Thomas de la Warre, a priest with a French heritage. Perhaps that is why the patron saint of France, St Denys, is included in the dedications for the collegiate church along with St George the patron saint of England.

  • Collegiate Churches: A collegiate church is where daily prayers, the daily office, is said or sung. This pattern of worship was not maintained by a monastic community but rather by a secular community.The collegiate church in Manchester was granted a royal charter in 1421 and had a college with a warden, eight fellows, four singing clerks and eight choristers.

     

    The parish church was largely rebuilt in 1421 along with the college. ‘In the 17th century, this college became Chetham’s School and Library and is now a leading music academy.’ (Simon Jenkins page 165)

Manchester Cathedral’s web page has a useful timeline where you can trawl through its long history. Click on the link below to go back in time and move through its 600-year history.

https://www.manchestercathedral.org/about-us/timeline/

Manchester as a Diocese came into being with passing of the Bishopric of Manchester Act 1847, the collegiate church of St Mary, St Denys and St George was elevated to cathedral status at the same time.

Architecturally, Manchester stands as have the widest nave in England and the Tudor choir stalls. It also once had eight chantry chapels.


Photographs by Michael D Beckwith – Public Domain Dedication

 

There is much to admire and take inspiration from within this urban, city centre cathedral. A place of worship and service. The skill of the wood carvers, the beauty of the stained glass windows. The cathedral experienced the bombing of the second world war and that of later terrorism. Much of the glass was replaced between the 1960’s and the 1990’s. Three examples are given below.

The St Mary’s Window
Photo Charlesdrakew – Public domain

 

Revelation Window
Alex Liivet – Public Domain

 

The Healing Window
Marc A Gibbs Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

 

 

Voices from the 19th century

In August 2014 the cathedral staged a performance of Joshua Brookes and the Missing Grooms, It was part of a series entitled ‘Voices from the Past’.

‘Joshua Brookes was chaplain of the church from 1790 until his death in 1821. The years of his chaplaincy saw the workforce of Manchester grow from 17,000 to 180,000. As one of the few churches for miles around, this meant that many of his services – particularly baptisms, marriages, and funerals – were conducted in mass ceremonies, and he baptised, married and buried more persons than any other clergyman in England. He was infamous for his eccentricity and bluntness – if he did not like the name of a baby presented to him for baptism he frequently changed it to one of his choosing. If husbands-to-be dallied too long in the alehouse he would not delay the wedding service; an unsuspecting male would be pulled from the congregation to stand next to the bride and the missing groom would be married by proxy.’
(Association of English Cathedrals)

The Industrial Revolution which created wealth for some brought poverty for others. The area surrounding the Cathedral was not immune from the consequences of this Revolution.

Adjacent to the Cathedral in Chetham’s Library a philosophical Revolution was being developed. In 1845 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels met to develop their own response to what they were witnessing.

Engels had been sent to a Salford mill in Salford by his Mill owning parents. Engel was to described an area close to the River Irwell as containing ‘unqualifiedly the most horrible dwellings which I have yet beheld’. (Simon Jenkins quoting Engels)

 

21st Century Eco Improvements

Marc A Gibbs – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

One 21st century improvement to the cathedral is felt rather than seen and required a creative response to replacing the outdated and inefficient heating system whilst maintain a visible presence for worship and the spiritual life of the Cathedral. Above is the result, the Cathedral in the Street. This temporary wooden church opened in Manchester in 2013 ahead of work to install a new heating system in the city’s Anglican cathedral, featuring ‘church-style’ windows with coloured glass and was surrounded by an urban garden with a playground and community allotments. It enabled the cathedral’s regular and Sunday morning services to continue whilst the Cathedral installed a new green heating system, ground source heat pumps use natural energy stored in the earth to heat the cathedral. It will come to be one of the greenest cathedrals in England and also probably one of the warmest cathedrals as well.

The Bombings

In June 1996 the centre of Manchester was rocked by a 1,500kg bomb set by the Irish Republican Army. This is the second time the cathedral was rocked by a bomb. the fist was during the 2nd World War. The 1996 bomb was planted in a lorry outside the Arndale Shopping Centre. More than 200 people were injured in this act of terrorism. There was also significant damage to the Cathedral, early estimates put the figure in the hundreds of thousands to repair the cathedral with the cost of hundreds of million pounds to redevelop this part of the city.

The Saturday after the bombing ‘the Cathedral was open for an ecumenical service for the whole community. Two thousand people attended.‘ (Anglican Communion New Service)

On the 22nd May 2017 within walking distance of the Cathedral another terrorist bomb was detonated killing over 20 people. An evening of live music at the Manchester Arena was changed in a moment to one of death and devastation.

A ‘Glade of Light’ is a memorial commemorating the victims of the 22 May 2017 terrorist attack at Manchester Arena. It was designed to be a living memorial, a tranquil garden space for remembrance and reflection. Its peaceful surroundings are intended as the setting for commemorative events in the city relating to the attack.
It is located between Manchester Cathedral and Chetham’s School of Music in what is now called the Medieval Cultural Quarter.
The Cathedral responded to these events by doing what it does so naturally, it opens its doors, is there and gives people space. There were services and memorials these were important but by far the most important aspect is the cathedral’s presence, the sacred space where people meet remains and is accessible to all.

 

Time of reflective prayer

Pause and Reflect
2nd week of Advent

 

Slow down, breath calmly
and relax.

 

Opening Prayer for cathedrals.

Loving God, draw us on the journey
to the places of holiness, the places of peace,
the places of encounter, the places of beauty,
the places where faith has been lived, your love made known,
your hope held out in the past, for the present, into your future. Amen

Collect for second week of Advent

Almighty God, purify our hearts and minds,
that when your Son Jesus Christ comes again as judge and saviour
we may be ready to receive him, who is our Lord and our God. Amen

Words from the prophet Isaiah (40.1-5)

Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.
A voice cries out: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’

Read through these verses again and ponder these closing words:
. . . the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’

In our prayers we welcome those who are searching for faith.

Let us draw into our circle of prayer our:
Family and Friends
Local church and its leaders
wider community
widening our circle to include:
those in government and positions of authority
those who are oppressed, those who are hungry and homeless
those who are ill, those facing death
Merciful Father, accept these prayers
for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

When asked about how to pray Jesus gave these simple but profound words, so let them be our prayer:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name;
Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil. Amen

Closing Prayer

Adapted from Bury Mission Community Prayer (Diocese of Manchester)

Loving God,
Jesus called his disciples to seek your kingdom and follow him.
You summon us to share work of our Pilgrim Community
Open our hearts to hear his invitation to be his disciples in this generation.
Grant us courage.
Strengthen us by your Holy Spirit.
Give us compassion, wisdom and resilience.
Pour on us your endless grace that we may flourish, and our parishes grow in faith and love, service and compassion,
Through Christ our Lord. Amen

 

We close our time of reflective prayer with A Voice Cries Out By Michael Joncas

 

+ In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen

You may wish the finish this time of reflective prayer sitting silently and enjoying a peaceful moment or two. You may also think about listening to some music that has touched you or a favourite hymn or song. Enjoy these moments! God bless!

 

Fr. Derek Akker

(Derek is a retired Anglican Parish Priest and a member of the congregations of All Saints & St James. Prior to his ordination he was accredited as a Methodist Preacher in 1968 and served within the Methodist Church until returning to the Anglican Church in the mid 1980’s)
≈≈≈
Parish of Kirklees Valley, Bury, (All Saints, Elton & St James, Woolfold) – In the Diocese of Manchester

 

Opening prayer from the Association of English Cathedrals
Collect -The Archbishops Council 2004
Candle Image – G-Fotografie-Creative Commons Zero, Public Domain Dedication

Manchester Cathedral Photograph: Robert Cutts from Bristol, England, UK – Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

We are about to start a new virtual pilgrimage of England’s cathedrals, mainly from the Northern Province of the Church of England but not exclusively.

At a practical level churches and cathedrals are buildings that protect us from the worse effects of weather. They provide a meeting place where we gather to pray, sing, celebrate, commemorate key moments in our lives. We become familiar with them, secure and woe betide anyone who suggests changes.

Church and Cathedrals are more than just practical shelters from the vagaries of the weather. Within Christianity we are familiar with the phrase ‘Sacred Space’ which is often associated with worship and our churches and cathedrals but not exclusively. Places, creation and our environment, music and our liturgy also can strike a sacred chord. We also need to realise that how people respond to the notion of sacredness can vary and we should be sensitive this.

It is good that we set aside places, buildings that take on a sacred role. Places that that have been saturated with the prayer, song, and presence of people on their faith journey and also those who visit our churches occasionally.

In the busyness, confusion and stress of daily life having a place to go to, a Sacred Place that can absorb some of the burden that we carry can be important for our well-being. On visits to our cathedrals, I have often noticed people sitting, quietly with their thoughts, some mouthing words others not. There was no rush just people absorbing the stillness and hopefully leaving refreshed having spent time in their Sacred Space. Of course, some people may sit quietly in a church or cathedral appreciating the environment without any religious undertones, appreciating the place and space.

As we reflect on some of the cathedrals within the Church of England let us honour those from other traditions who have buildings that are their sacred spaces. Buildings that provide security, a sense of belonging and where they can lift their voices in praise.

 

Cathedrals in the Church of England

This series of reflections will be based on the theme of cathedrals and cathedrals in the Northern Province of the Church of England but before I start I wish to acknowledge those Anglicans within the Diocese in Europe.

The Church of England’s Diocese in Europe has its own cathedral in Gibraltar and two pro-cathedrals. Holy Trinity in Brussels and St Paul, Valetta, Malta.

On the cathedrals web page, you will find reference to a royal document sealed by Queen Victoria on 21st August 1842. Holy Trinity Church Gibraltar became a cathedral with its first bishop, Gibraltar also became a city. Later this document was revoked, except for Gibraltar’s city status. A few weeks later another royal document was issued appointing a new bishop and expanding his geographic range to the continent of Europe, the Canaries, the coast of Morocco, and the islands of the Mediterranean.

The architecture with its arches and porch gives the cathedral’s exterior a strong ‘Moorish’ appearance. It is a cultural recognition of the Moorish influences in this part of the Mediterranean.

The interior photographs give us pointers to the cathedral’s Anglican heritage.

The cathedral of Holy Trinity, Gibraltar may stand out architecturally as different from the cathedrals we visited on our virtual cathedral pilgrimage and at 281 years is considerably younger than the medieval cathedrals that are so much part of the England’s cathedral heritage.

The nave

The cathedral of Holy Trinity, Gibraltar has for its 285 years (firstly as a church then as a cathedral) been a place of worship. A place set aside for Christians to gather, share faith and stories, share hospitality and grow as a community.
Cathedrals have special associations for people they are places that can envelope them in a sense of sacredness which goes beyond just the architecture.

The communion rail and altar.

Our Christian heritage has created buildings across the world, sometimes so English and European and yet at times reflecting local culture. There is much to celebrate and give thanks for.

 

In our time of reflective prayerfulness

Time of reflective prayer

Pause and Reflect 1st week of Advent

Slow down, breath calmly
and relax.
Opening Prayer

A prayer for Gibraltar’s Cathedral and the Diocese in Europe, its people and those who service the cathedral.

Loving God, draw us on the journey
to the places of holiness, the places of peace,
the places of encounter, the places of beauty,
the places where faith has been lived, your love made known,
your hope held out in the past, for the present, into your future. Amen

 

Collect
Almighty God,
as your kingdom dawns,
turn us from the darkness of sin to the light of holiness,
that we may be ready to meet you
in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

The Gospel reading for Advent Sunday begins with words of warning and dramatic events in the cosmos culmination with the Son of Man coming in clouds
The reading ends with these words of caution.

The Necessity for Watchfulness
‘But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.’ Mark 13.32-end

Pause and reflection on the words from the Gospel reading.

Read again and ponder these closing words again:

Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.
Click for the hymn ‘Come thou long expected Jesus’ – Chet Valley Churches

Let us draw into our circle of prayer our:
Family and Friends
Local church and its leaders
wider community
widening our circle to include:
those in government and positions of authority
those who are oppressed, those who are hungry and homeless
those who are ill, those facing death
Merciful Father, accept these prayers
for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

When asked about how to pray Jesus gave these simple but profound words, so let them be our prayer:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy name;
Thy kingdom come;
Thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil. Amen

Closing Prayer

Adapted from Bury Mission Community Prayer (Diocese of Manchester)

Loving God,
Jesus called his disciples to seek your kingdom and follow him.
You summon us to share work of our Pilgrim Community
Open our hearts to hear his invitation to be his disciples in this generation.
Grant us courage.
Strengthen us by your Holy Spirit.
Give us compassion, wisdom and resilience.
Pour on us your endless grace that we may flourish, and our parishes grow in faith and love, service and compassion,
Through Christ our Lord. Amen

 

+ In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Click for ‘Lo he comes’ – Chet Valley Churches

 

You may wish the finish this time of reflective prayer sitting silently and enjoying a peaceful moment or two. You may also think about listening to some music that has touched you or a favourite hymn or song. Enjoy these moments! God bless!

 

Fr. Derek Akker

(Derek is a retired Anglican Parish Priest and a member of the congregations of All Saints & St James. Prior to his ordination he was accredited as a Methodist Preacher in 1968 and served within the Methodist Church until returning to the Anglican Church in the mid 1980’s)
≈≈≈
Parish of Kirklees Valley, Bury, (All Saints, Elton & St James, Woolfold) – In the Diocese of Manchester

 

Acknowledgements
Opening prayer from the Association of English Cathedrals
Collect -The Archbishops Council 2004
Candle Image – Dodecaeder – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

Photographs
Gibmetal77
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0