Saint Michael and All Angels Sesquicentennial Mass

Many Thanks to Colin, the Abingdon Taxi Driver, for this report. The pictures, by John Enticott, were taken in August 2008 after the church had been re-ordered.
Saint Michael
One hundred and fifty years to the day that the church in Albert Park, Abingdon was consecrated by the Bishop of Oxford and dedicated to Saint Michael and All Angels, a Dedication Festival Mass was celebrated last Wednesday evening. It was part of a series of special events to commemorate the Sesquicentennial, running from Michaelmas 2016 to Michaelmas 2017.

Wednesday night’s service was preceded by a lively organ fanfare and an Introit, Locus Iste by Anton Bruckner, sung by the combined and robed choirs of Saint Nicolas and of Saint Michael’s churches, who sang throughout the Mass. Colin Fletcher, Bishop of Dorchester presided and preached. Father Paul Smith, the Vicar, had even penned the lyrics to one of the hymns.
Saint Michael
Previous vicars, a Deputy Lieutenant of Oxfordshire and other special guests attended the packed service. During the offertory hymn, a collection was taken for two charities supported by Saint Michael’s. The Abingdon Bridge works with vulnerable young people agreed 13-24 in the Abingdon area. Tariro – Hope for Youth in Zimbabwe, is a UK based charity, supporting young people in various cities in Zimbabwe.

Saint Michael’s is within what is referred to in the commemorative book published to mark the occasion, as the ‘high church’ tradition of the Church of England. This manifests itself amongst other things by the use of bells and incense to mark significant points of the service, although as the book says, it is “within certain limits”.
Saint Michael
Originally built for those who had settled in Abingdon to work in the then expanding brewing and tanning industries, Saint Michael’s today contains “a vibrant community of faithful people.” Father Paul Smith said in the introduction to the service that “we give thanks for all that is past and look to the future with hope and faith.”

6 thoughts on “Saint Michael and All Angels Sesquicentennial Mass

  1. proud of my town

    i’m so glad to see that “charity begins at home” is not a universally observed slogan , and that àt least some abingdonians are happy to help overseas human beings with gifts. i look forward to this becoming the no once again!

  2. Captainkaos2

    Been thinking about this post and I find it odd? even slightly synical? you don’t have to bang a tambourine to be the only ones who are charitable and it does begin at home, hopefully home is our safe place, our sanctuary from where we consider our good fortune and make our judgement on the world around us.
    When you thing Abingdonians support a well stocked Oxfam Shop, Ditto Action for Children in conflict, the Heart Foundation shop trains overseas doctors, Cancer Research is not just for us either, their research benefits the world.
    We are by nature a charitable nation so knock us !

  3. ppjs

    Captain, you did get out of the wrong side of bed 😉

    Who equated charity with tambouring bashing? Surely you weren’t having a go at the Salvation Army…

    Charity may begin at home, but as you suggest it gets out beyond our front door. If an Englishman’s home is his castle and he keeps the drawbridge up (sanctuary), how does the outcast or the homeless or the exile find that sanctuary.

    Charity is not an activity confined to people of faith – certainly not. But people of faith (like the congregation of St Michael’s) ought to practise charity and care for those beyond their doors. That is why their strap line this year is “Into the centre, out from the edge.” We find our resources at the centre; we got beyond the edge to share them.

    Love to all!

  4. Captainkaos2

    I concur with you PPJS but the statement “some Abingdonians are prepared to help with some overseas human beings” is both sweeping and subjective, to me it suggests that being charitable is a visible thing, ” look at me I’m in church supporting something charitable” and that is an un Christian attitude.
    My late grand mother, a devout baptist, always said of a gift “take it in the spirit it was given” now that takes some thought ?

  5. ppjs

    Right, Captain, I see where you are coming from. But I am not sure that St Michael’s would endorse the comment you complain of. They certainly don’t make it themselves!


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