Baptism is the ceremony of admission for new Christian believers, when water is poured on them to symbolize the washing away of sin. It is traditional to place the font near the church entrance. Immediately on the left of the church door is the old font, a victorian product of mass production on a high pedestal which makes it difficult to use. The present font, shown in the picture, was made in 1995. It is kept in the vestry when not in use.
If you are a believer, thank God for your faith in him. If you are not, consider whether your present way of life satisfies you, or whether you think there are things in it that you would prefer to forget and turn your back on.
Lord Jesus, help us to turn away from hatred, greed and lack of self-control, and give us the gift of your love.
As you stand with your back to the door through which you have come,
walk forward keeping the font and the choir vestry on your left and go
into the far left-hand corner of the Church (what is liturgically
called the north-western corner). This is the Chapel of St Chad. St
Chad was a seventh-century bishop who is thought to have first brought
the gospel of Jesus Christ to this area, but the present chapel is
named because it contains many of the furnishings that were originally
installed in the now-demolished church dedicated to St Chad in the
Waterside area of Barton down by Barton Haven, opposite what is now
the Tesco supermarket. The people of Waterside were a very close-knit
community and even on Sundays were reluctant to make the 10-minute walk
to their parish church, so in the nineteenth century they got their own
church dedicated to St Chad and consecrated by the saintly Bishop of
Lincoln, Edward King.
for a moment on one of the chairs and think about how the tight-knit
communities of workers or the extended families of people in the past
have now been dissipated into a much looser and less caring series of
connections between people. Ask yourself whether in fact we would be
better off if we could enjoy closer contacts with our neighbours and
friends than most people have at the moment. Think about
neighbourliness and how you can be of help to your friends and
neighbours and families.
Lord Jesus, you have called us to be menbers of your body, help us to remember that when one suffers, all suffer together.
Turn right to face towards another altar at right-angles to it which
is dedicated to St Thomas of Canterbury. This area is where people who
have asked for our prayers leave their requests and a place where you
can light a candle in memory of a loved one or as a symbol of your
openness to God. Please feel free to light a candle if you wish.
down for a moment near the ancient wooden chest and think about
the past. In particular think about Thomas à Becket, a senior churchman
who was also involved in higher politics and through a dispute with
those in power was murdered in his own cathedral in Canterbury. Think
for a moment about politicians and their need to serve their community
rather than simply be content to concentrate on their own careers in
government or opposition. But think also about whether you might be
able to get involved in for example local government. If you are a
believer, please thank God for the gift of his Son present in the
sacrament of the altar.
Lord Jesus, Help us to serve one another as you have served us.
right and then left to enter the chancel, with the two rows of seats on
either side used by the choir. On your right is the organ, built in the
19th century for St Peter's Church and moved here in 1971. In front of
you is the high altar used for worship on most Sundays. Sit for a
moment on one of the seats in the aisle, and look at the window in
front of you. In the centre of the window is a composite picture made of fragments of
stained glass dating from the Middle Ages, arranged to depict Jesus on the cross.
Ask yourself what you think
about Jesus, whether you see him as a historical figure and nothing
more, or as person who might never have existed, or as God himself in
human form. Think whether you had ever considered that he might have a
message for you.
Lord Jesus, as we remember your suffering, bring your comfort and healing power to all in distress.
As you face the high altar, on your left on the floor is a gravestone inlaid with a brass. This is the memorial of Simon Seman, a prosperous vintner of the 15th century, who died in 1433 at a ripe old age. The Latin text on the brass reads: "I believe that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last day I having arisen from the earth shall in my flesh see God my Saviour". Just in front of it, high on the wall next to the door into the vestry is a memorial in the form of a broken pillar to Jane Shipsea, a young lady who died in childbirth at the age of 22 in 1626.
Think about your own life. You may live to a ripe old age, or you may die tragically young. You may know someone who was killed in an accident. What would people remember about you, if you died young?
Lord Jesus, give your blessing to all who die in your love, and comfort and relieve those who have lost loved ones.
As you face the high altar, walk up to the altar rail and turn right,
and you will enter St James's Chapel. This is dedicated to James the
Deacon, one of the earliest Roman missionaries who came to York with
Paulinus the first bishop of York at the beginning of the seventh
century. After the Christian King Edwin was killed in the Battle of
Hatfield (near Doncaster) in 633 by the pagan Penda, King of Mercia,
Paulinus fled to Kent, but James remained behind in Northumbria (the
whole of northern England between the Humber and Scotland) continuing
the work of preaching and baptising near Catterick.
If you are a Christian
believer, ask yourself whether you could survive an assault on your
faith. Even if you're not a believer you can only admire a man who
stayed true to his principles in an era in which hostility to his
beliefs must have threatened him with death on a number of occasions.
Think if you can, of a world in which there is no violence or fighting.
Jesus Christ teaches that we can build such a world through our love of
him and one another.
Lord Jesus, you gave us your peace. Help us to bring that precious gift to all parts of the world where it is unknown.
You should now retrace your steps to the foot of the chancel steps and
turn left. You will emerge into the Chapel of the Holy Trinity. This is
used for the 8 o'clock service on a Sunday and for weekday services on
Wednesdays. In the corner is a nearly life-size coloured image of our Patron Saint, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Next to it, note the three seats in the wall of the Church where the
three officiating ministers sat during services in the Middle Ages.
Look at the pillars on your left beween you and the main body (nave) of
the church, and compare them with the row behind which is between the
nave and St Thomas's chapel. The second line of pillars was built 100 years earlier than the first.
Think how things change
with the passage of time. We get older, our children grow up, they
change and we change. Is there anything in life that does not change?
Think about that.
Lord Jesus, in a world of change, we place our hope on you, whose love never changes.
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