Touch Base Home Page: Current Issue (April 2017)

A letter from our Priest-in-Charge, Jane Nattrass

Dear Friends 

Alleluia, He is risen! Easter brings the promise of new life, of hope and peace beyond our imagining. There is some new life in the Vicarage garden. Four hens arrived in March (they have to be kept covered at the moment due to avian flu threats). Each day they provide 3 or 4 eggs. Some people might think that I have enough to do without looking after chucks but the hens are a joy. They cluck as I wander down the garden; somehow it is quite soothing to watch them at work – some days they look as if they are digging for victory and have managed to escape at least once a week; but most importantly they are helping others. The first three eggs were auctioned off at St Olave’s raising £30 for the Christian Charity ‘Accomplish’. A further £25 was raised when the eggs were used for cakes and a further £20 has been donated. Not bad for a month’s worth of eggs. My neighbours have taken an interest in the hens and regularly visit to see them with the children, families and friends. The children have named the hens Alice, Abby, Isabella and Effy. The hens are a great hit and they have strengthened the community around the Vicarage as we now spend a little more time together. I have enjoyed giving the eggs away, sharing the generosity, and the chats with many people who have wandered down the garden to meet the chucks before and after meetings. It’s a form of Christian Hospitality which has brought new life to us. Before we celebrate the new life Easter, there is the business of Holy Week. Marking the journey of the events which led to Good Friday and Easter is a remarkable thing to do. I do hope that you will join in. Come and you will see. This year, we are using the Stations of the Cross based on Auschwitz. There will be readings and reflections on the pain and the hope of Auschwitz. As Easter approaches and Lenten exercises come to an end you might like to consider the words of the baptism service: It serves as a reminder that Christ has entrusted his light in us, and that he now depends on us to let the light of goodness shine in the world today. 

Do you turn away from sin? 

Do you reject evil? 

Do you turn to Christ as Saviour? 

Do you trust in him as Lord? 

Do you believe and trust in God the Father, source of all being and life, the one for whom we exist? 

I believe and trust in him. 

Do you believe and trust in God the Son, who took our human nature, died for us and rose again? 

I believe and trust in him. 

Do you believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the people of God and makes Christ known in the world? 

I believe and trust in him. This is the faith of the Church. 

This is our faith. We believe and trust in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In the name of Christ, hold up your heads. Never be ashamed of the light of Christ. Then Christ will not be ashamed of you before his Father in heaven. Go in the light and peace of Christ. Alleluia, alleluia. Thanks be to God. Alleluia, alleluia. 

And finally, a prayer………….God of love and mercy, through the resurrection of your Son, you have kindled in our hearts the hope of eternal life. Guard this hope with our grace, and bring it to fulfilment in the kingdom of heaven. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

With every blessing for a Happy Easter. 


Accomplish Update

Sunday 23 April bring and share lunch St Olave’s Hall 

There will be a presentation about the work of Accomplish after Church on Sunday 23 April during a bring-and-share lunch. All are very welcome. It was reported in last month’s Touch Base that Chris Action is stepping down from his treasurer’s work at St Olave’s to concentrate on working with Accomplish. This is a Christian charity which seeks to support children and young adults with disability in Africa. Its current work is in Uganda in the areas of education, medical outreach and income generation projects. It mainly funds the salaries of Ugandan staff including primary school teachers, vocational teachers, occupational therapists and physiotherapists. It also makes grants towards sustainable project resources. Chris will be making a presentation about the work of Accomplish after Church on Sunday 23 April during a bring-and-share lunch. All are very welcome. The story of Jane’s hens is helping to raise funds and awareness. We will be pairing with some hens at one of Accomplish’s projects in Uganda. Please look out for opportunities to buy them. Maybe we could call this Eggcomplish. 

Lenten Addresses – thank you 

Thank you to all those who answered the call to give an address during Sunday services at St Olave, St Denys and Holy Trinity Micklegate. People were given the theme The Games People Play and had to take Monopoly, Scrabble, Cluedo and Snakes and Ladders as a basis for the addresses, linking it to the Gospel. The addresses were well prepared and were appreciated by those who heard them. The comments and discussions provided evidence that the project was a huge success and we will look for more opportunities to do something similar in the future. It was very obvious that we have some very talented people in the pews. I wonder what they are being called to do in the future………….. 

Confirmation Service in 2017 

If you would like to be Confirmed this year , please speak to the clergy or send an e-mail to . So far there are candidates for All Saints Pavement, St Olave, St Lawrence and Holy Trinity Micklegate it’s not too late to ask. No date has been set yet. 

Deanery Synod – all change 

The Annual Meetings (see p. 14) will include elections to the Deanery Synod; thank you to all those who have served. The structure and purposes of Deanery Synod are changing. Our Rural Dean will be an Area Dean and a Deanery Leadership Team will be put in place to encourage deanery wide working together; this links to the Diocesan strategy. The Archbishop and his leadership team are offering three specific goals to every parish and the whole Diocese alike: 1. Reach the people we currently don’t 2. Move to growth 3. Establish sustainable finances Deanery Synod Report York Deanery Synod met for a final time on 22 February. There were two presentations, the first from Rev John Day, Archbishop's Advisor on Mission Strategy and Church Revitalisation, who challenged everyone, both present and in our respective PCCs, to consider that moment when we first took on our beliefs for ourselves and to reflect on the ways our church seeks to reach and minister to that age group. He accepted that Evangelism is a word many feel uncomfortable with but encouraged PCCs to wrestle with it together. The second presentation came from the Rev Jackie Doyle-Brett, Assistant Diocesan Advisor on Young Vocations. We were delighted to be one of only two delegations who could say a Reader would be preaching in their church on Reader Sunday. There was a reminder to see Vocations Sunday as an opportunity to encourage reflection on both ordained and lay vocations. Our churches’ strong recent record of identifying vocations to the priesthood stood out; something to be proud of! We were reminded that we all have a role in identifying vocations in those around us. 

Terina Hurley, Deanery Finance Advisor, happily reported that every parish had achieved its Free Will Offering contributions, and reminded us of the benefits of Standing Orders. She also reminded us to notify her or Terence of new Deanery Synod members. Finally, we received advance warning of a service at York Minster on Saturday 23 September to commission the new deanery structures.

Holy Week in the City Centre Churches 

Evening Services in Holy Week 

Monday 10 April 7.30 pm St Olave Eucharist with Stations of the Cross from Auschwitz 

Tuesday 11 April 7.30 pm St Denys Eucharist with Stations of the Cross from Auschwitz 

Wednesday 12 April 7.30 pm St Helen Eucharist with Stations of the Cross from Auschwitz and Couperin’s Lamentations with the St Helen Choral Scholars 

Maundy Thursday 

11.00 am Chrism Mass York Minster 

7.00 pm Passover Supper in St Olave’s Hall. Jewish ritual, meal and Eucharist followed at 9.15 pm by a journey to the Garden of Gethsemane in church and Watch until midnight. The meal is £6 per head (children free). Let Jane know if you are attending. 

St Lawrence 6.00 pm Sung Mass followed by St John Passion with the Utrecht Student Choir and Orchestra (starts at 7pm). Come for some or all. 

Holy Trinity Micklegate 7.30pm Eucharist with St John’s Consort Byrd’s Mass for 4 voices

Good Friday 14 April 

All Saint Pavement 10.30 am The Foot of the Cross 

St Denys 10.00 am Good Friday Service 

St Helen 2.00 pm O Sacred Head : Meditations and Music based on the Passiontide hymn. 

St Martin noon Prayers for Good Friday 

St Olave 10.00 am - Noon Children's activities in St Olave's Church and Hall 1.30 pm Good Friday Liturgy 

Holy Trinity Micklegate 11am Choral Mattins with Litany and Bairstow’s Lamentations 

St Lawrence 2.00 pm – 3.00 pm Stations of the Cross 

Holy Saturday 15 April 

10.00 am Prayer at St Martin 

Noon Celtic service at the noon of the day at St Helen 

11.00 am – 12.30pm Messy Church at Jacob’s Well 

8.00 pm Easter Vigil at both St Olave and St Lawrence 


All Saints Pavement: 9.00 am Holy Communion; 10.30 am Sung Eucharist; 6.30 pm No service 

St Denys: 10.00 am Holy Communion 

St Helen: 6.00 pm Sung Eucharist 

St Olave: 9.00 am Eucharist 10.30 am Sung Eucharist with Baptism followed by Egg Hunt 

Holy Trinity Micklegate: 11.00 am Sung Eucharist with Easter refreshments 

St Lawrence: 9.00 am Eucharist 10.00 am Sung Eucharist 6.00 pm Solemn Evensong 

Work at St Olave’s There has been a slight delay in the completion of the work to widen the ramp and install the toilet. We are very hopeful that the work will be finished by Easter! Thank you to everyone who has been involved in bringing the plans to fruition. 

Annual Parochial Church Meetings 

The Annual meetings are an opportunity to hear about the good work across the churches in the year ended 31 December 2016 and to look forward to see what God might have in store for us this year. The following gives and indication of how we are joining in where we have seen God at work and where we have offered Christian Hospitality. What the churches in our parishes contribute to National Church, Diocese, Deanery, Parishes and the City of York – visitors, tourism, heritage, history 

1. People Ordinands – there are 7 people exploring a vocation to the priesthood from our parishes. Placements for ordinands – we welcome many people who spend time in our parishes to widen their experience and gain knowledge of the breadth of the Church of England. Dave Hobman will be ordained Deacon on 2 July 2017 in York Minster Peter Wells will be licensed as a Reader in November 2017 and there is 1 person exploring a vocation to be a Reader 

2. Generous Giving – contributions to the Common Fund 2016 

All Saints Pavement 31,000 

St Denys 5,000 

St Olave 56,000 

St Helen with St Martin 1,250 

Holy Trinity Micklegate 11,000 

St Lawrence 4,000 

Sub Total £108,250 

Plus payments from Holy Trinity Micklegate for half time priest and accommodation. 

Church Commissioners rent to Diocese for Holy Trinity Micklegate Rectory to provide a Bishop’s residence. 

Housing for University Chaplain in St Lawrence Rectory 

All Saints Pavement Rectory being used for the full time priest at St Lawrence. 

3. Contributions to engaging with the City of York 

We work with others in the city: Civic services and Civic Party, Richard III, York BID, Make it York, Visit York, Civic Trust, Charitable Donations from funerals and mission giving from churches, York St John University, The University of York, Community of the Cross of Nails, Changing Lives, Carecent, York City Council, Foodbank, Guilds of York. Support for St Paul’s Bookshop, St Sampson’s, St Crux supporting charities (£290,000 annually), retail chaplaincy, Churches Together in York, Prayer Book Society, Sunday Breakfast, Pop Church, Amnesty Group, student meals, reading and study groups, turning visitors into pilgrims, open churches, sacred space in the city. Sunday School. Apps and interpretation work with the Centre of Christian and Culture at the University of York. 

Weddings – the number of weddings has increased and we work in partnership with reception venues especially the Hospitium and the Merchant Adventurers Hall. 

Festivals Festival of Ideas, Food Festival, Jorvik Festival, Micklegate Forum Schools – The clergy and others join in with worship at St Peters, St Lawrence and Queen Margarets. We have good links with Bootham School and All Saints RC School. There is Sunday School at St Lawrence and St Olave and Messy Church has started at Holy Trinity Micklegate. 

Prayers – our churches are open, offering the opportunity to leave prayers on prayer trees, prayer boards or to light candles. Work among the homeless and beggars especially the Sunday Breakfast in Spurriergate . 

4. Contributions to the Music – secular and sacred 

Choirs – St Olave, All Saints Pavement, St Lawrence and plans for Holy Trinity Micklegate 

Choral Scholars – St Helen, with funding in place for All Saints Pavement and Holy Trinity Micklegate 

Junior Choir at St Olave 

Organist bursary – St Denys and St Olave (Assistant Director of Music) 

Venues for York District Organists Association and concerts 

St Olave’s Academy, Micklegate Singers, Cansing, Cantores, Ebor Singers, St Helen’s Consort and so on. 

Choirs from USA, Sweden, Norway, Holland, good links with London agencies especially at St Helen 

Norwegian Choirs Festival with Make it York

5. Hall provision Our halls provide venues for many groups across the city to gather for various activities serving communities - St Olave, Jacob’s Well, St Martin Upper Room, St Lawrence, St Sampson, St Crux. The Vicarage too is used for many meetings.

Annual Meeting Dates 

St Lawrence APCM was on 29 March 

Holy Trinity Micklegate ACPM will be held on 30 April at 10.00 am 

For All Saints Pavement, St Denys, St Helen with St Martin and St Olave the APCM will be on Wednesday 26 April 2017 at 7.00 pm Election of Churchwardens & Annual Parochial Church Meetings to be heldon Wednesday 26 April 2017 at 7.00 pm in The National Centre for Early Music,Walmgate followed by refreshments. 

Meeting for the Election of Churchwardens Agenda 

1. Prayer 

2. Appointment of clerk 

3. Apologies 

4. Election of Churchwardens. Nominations in writing in advance for each parish. In the event of more nominations than places, voting will be by parish. Only those on the electoral roll or who are resident of the particular parish may vote. 

To note that the Admission of Churchwardens will be on Thursday 11 May 2017 in York Minster at 7.00 pm 

Annual Parochial Church Meetings Agenda 

1. Apologies 

2. Approval of the minutes of the 2016 meeting. 

3. Electoral Roll officers to report the numbers at 31 December 2016. 

4. Report of PCCs for 2016. Summaries from secretaries 

5. Safeguarding officers reports 

6. Accounts & Financial Report for 2015. Summaries are included in this report. 

Full accounts and financial reports will be on the notice boards in the churches at least 14 days prior to the APCM. A limited number of copies will be available at the meeting. 7. Church Fabric & Terrier Reports. 

8. Reports on church mission and ministry 

9. Appointment of Auditor or Independent Examiner as appropriate. 

10. Election to PCCs. 

11. Election of Sidespeople. Nominations to be received before the meeting. 

12. Election of Deanery Synod representatives. 

13. Priest-in-Charge: closing remarks and prayer 

There will be a short meeting of the new PCCs immediately following the APCM to appoint the officers of the PCC: 

1. Vice-Chairman 

2. Secretary 

3. Treasurer 

4. Electoral Roll Officer 

5. Where appropriate, two or more PCC members to the Standing Committee [this applies at least to St Olave's]

School Governors 

St Lawrence C of E Primary School is looking for Foundation Governors who will contribute and strengthen the work of the Local Governing Committee at St Lawrence. The school is part of the Pathfinder Academy. The school is a delightful community with many interesting challenges. Are you being called to serve? Please contact Rev’d Jane Nattrass

The Rigg Memorial in St Lawrence Churchyard 

It was so good see so many at the service to rededicate the Rigg Memorial by the Archbishop of York which was held on Saturday 11 March 2017 at St Lawrence. Over 130 people were welcomed to the warm church (the new heating system is working well) including the Deputy Lieutenant, York’s Civic Party, members of York Civic Trust and representatives from St Lawrence C of E School. It was a delight to see those who worked on the memorial at the service. We are very grateful to everyone who helped to plan, and ensure the success of, a very moving service and helped to provide refreshments afterwards. At the end, the choir led the procession to the memorial where the Archbishop censed and sprinkled it to rededicate it and remember those involved in the tragedy. The congregation laid Lenten lilies on the memorial. It was a splendid occasion and many letters of thanks were received. 

Remembering a boating accident on the River Ouse resulted in the drowning of four sons and two daughters of John and Ann Rigg, aged from 6 to 19. The family tragedy became a national tragedy and a monument to the six was built in the graveyard of St Lawrence’s Church, the cost being raised totally by public subscription. Over the next decades the monument became well known and was seen as a visitor attraction on a par with York Minster. The monument has been restored thanks to the work of York Civic Trust; it has a fine stone base and surround, brick back, and railings, with an ornate and sentimental inscription, including a poem in a Romantic style evoking the shock felt at the accident. 

Messy Church in the City 

A Messy Success! We held our first Messy Church in March - and what a success it was. As Saturday approached, nerves and stress kicked in, and I wondered whether anyone would turn up at all. God answered our prayers that day - we had 11 children, and six adults come along. Our Lent theme was around the temptation of Jesus in the desert. It was great to see the children mix with each other and learn while making the angels or desert cactus. Some of us were given a wrapped chocolate bar to keep until the end of Lent - let's see if we can resist temptation! It was great to see new people involved in the life and worship (albeit a different type of worship) of Holy Trinity. The children enjoyed the various crafts and the shared pasta meal. What surprised me most, was the enthusiasm (and dare I say it, a hunger for God) from some of the parents. Some of the crafts are on display in the church. We hope to add to our 'Messy board' as the months progress. Thank you to those who helped and to those who prayed for us. I am looking forward to our Holy Week Messy Church on 15 April in Jacob’s Well Mark

Looking Forward………….Thy Kingdom Come 

25 May to 4 June 2017 

Pray as one with Christians around the world for people to know Jesus Christ. 

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have invited all churches to take part in Thy Kingdom Come in its second year. This global prayer movement taking place between Ascension and Pentecost has taken on an ecumenical feel this year with support from Churches Together in England. The Diocese will be holding a Beacon Event in York Minster on Pentecost Sunday, 4 June at 7.00 pm. This will be a prayer and praise event aimed at young people but all are welcome. It is important that parishes take up the call to pray. The wave of prayer has three simple aims: people will commit to pray with God’s world-wide family - as a church, individually or as a family;
 churches will hold prayer events in different ways and different places; people will be empowered through prayer by the Holy Spirit, finding a new confidence to be witnesses for Jesus Christ. 

Planning for Messy Church on 27 May has started and will tie in with Thy Kingdom Come. The theme is the Ascension to Pentecost story, inspiring us to pray together and tell everyone about Jesus (Acts 1:3-2:4). There are lots of things that we can do in our churches: home prayer groups, prayer walks, prayer rooms and stations, night prayer. Do you have any ideas? Should we partner with nearby churches? If you have any suggestions or want to be part of the events, speak to Mark ( / 07492 067803), Rev’d Eric Robinson ( or Jane

Giving to Churches 

Weekly or monthly, your generous offerings pay for the ministry which ensures that our churches are alive and seeking to serve. We are all aware that the way we deal with our personal finances has changed over the last few years. Now there are several to ways give to the church 

Joining the stewardship scheme which allows you to give monthly through envelopes 

Joining the stewardship scheme and giving by standing order 

Internet banking 

By mobile phone using text messaging – currently St Helen with St Martin and St Olave 

On the collection plate at services or by using the donations safes. 

Leave a legacy to the church in your will. 

In due course we are expecting cheques to disappear from financial systems but the treasurers have all of that in hand. They will be pleased to talk to you about how to give or speak to the clergy. Each parish has a gift aid secretary to ensure confidentiality in regard to your giving. Please try to Gift Aid if you can as this allows the churches to reclaim income tax on your gift. Of course this can only happen if you had paid the tax. 

Internet Banking – if you are looking at this on the website then please contact the church treasurers for details. 

St Denys If you wish to contribute via a BACs payment please use sort code 40-47-31, account number 30726400 payable to St Denys PCC Please let the treasurer know if you are doing this and use Gift Aid if possible. 

All Saints Pavement If you wish to contribute e via a BACS payment please use sort code 20-99-56 account 00113549 payable to All Saints Pavement PCC Please let the treasurer know if you are doing this and gift aid if possible 

St Helen with St Martin If you wish to contribute e via a BACS payment please use sort code 40-52-40 account 00012035 payable to St Helen with St Martin PCC. Please let the treasurer know if you are doing this and gift aid if possible. 

St Olave If you wish to contribute via a BACs payment please use sort code 40 52 40, account number 00007806 payable to St Olave’s PCC Please let the treasurer know if you are doing this and gift aid if possible 

Holy Trinity Micklegate If you wish to contribute via a BACs payment please use Sort code : 05-04-54, account number 16846098, payable to Holy Trinity Micklegate PCC Please let the treasurer know if you are doing this and gift aid if possible 

St Lawrence If you wish to contribute via a BACs payment please use Sort Code 05-09-94, account A/c 25485880m payable to St Lawrence's PCC Please let the treasurer know if you are doing this and gift aid if possible. 

Textgiving using your mobile phone There are notices in some of our churches detailing how to do this. It is aimed at visitors, guests at weddings etc. We are not charged a fee for this service but individuals will be charged the usual text fee depending on the contract. 

St Helens and St Martin Text SHSM14 followed by the amount you want to give to 70070 Eg to give £10 SHSM14£10 to 70070 

St Olaves Text olav15 followed by the amount you want to give to 70070 Eg to give £10 olav15£10 to 70070 

Pastoral Committee Update: Do you know anybody in need? 

Nine of us regularly meet at the Vicarage to discuss pastoral matters across the City Centre Churches. We have no specific remit but have been considering how to ‘blend’ care across the city. Inevitably, much of our focus has been on dementia-friendliness and attending events organised by outside bodies to increase our awareness but we have remained conscious of the need to help anyone across our parishes.

Having someone to help with young children during services, or to arrange transport to church, bring home communion, make home or hospital visits, or just someone to talk to in confidence can make all the difference but we need your help in order to reach those in need. Please come and talk to us: Jane Nattrass, David Simpson, Kingsley Boulton, Tony Hunt, Janet Fox, Mary Brooks, Margaret Eyre, Tessa Helstrip and Monica Lawrence. 


Look out for the wedding booklets in our churches. At least once a week, a couple will phone to arrange an appointment to meet to discuss how they can get married in our churches. We are always very pleased to welcome and support them in the preparations for their wedding day. It was very clear at a wedding in March, that the guests appreciate the music. Two weeks before the wedding, the couple send out clips or links to the internet with the details of the hymns for the service. This has transformed the singing by the congregation. At a rehearsal in March, a bridesmaid arrived early. She was singing Jerusalem to herself outside the church, practicing the hymns for the wedding. She was delighted that she had been given the details of the hymns – it caused amusement among the guests that they had been asked to practice the hymns . What a difference it made to the service with lots of smiles as they joined in the singing. 

To book a wedding please contact: The Rev’d Jane Nattrass 07568 530503

The Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust Presents an evening with Dr David Starkey CBE FSA RHistS where he will talk on England’s Jihad: Henry VIII’s reformation five hundred years on Saturday 6 May 2017 Shepherd Hall St Olave’s School York YO30 7WA 4.00 pm – 7.00 pm Drinks and Canapes Tickets £25 for members, £30 for non-members Book on line or Enquiries 07786656883 Charity Number 700639

Dates For your diary 

Saturday 29 April the second of a two-part look at churchyards with York Buzz. The workshop days are about caring for churchyards for the benefit of wildlife and the environment. 

Wednesday 3 May 7.30 pm in St Martin Coney Street. A reconciliation event with interns from Coventry Cathedral. Part of the Community of the Cross of Nails. More details next month. Wednesday 

15 June 2017 7.30 pm in All Saints Pavement. Part of the Festival of Ideas: The Story of Things. (see opposite page) Sunday 

2 July 2017 10.00 am York Minster Ordination of Deacons – including Dave Hobman

A Personal Pilgrimage to Churches Sharing the Dedication of those in our City Centre Group: 1. St Lawrence 

I have visited very many churches over the years and I thought it might be interesting to highlight some which bear the same dedication as the churches in our own city centre group. I hope you will allow me to offer some personal reflections and reminiscences on the way. 

I am starting with St Lawrence, for two reasons. First, there is a link, though indirect, with the beginning of my journey of faith; secondly, I have lived in the parish of St Lawrence, York since January 1979. 

Although I was baptised as a baby I did not start to attend church until I was 11. My secondary schooling took place in Slough. One day I was minding my own business in the playground when I was approached by an older boy who asked me if I would like to join a church choir. Throughout my life I have found it difficult to say ‘no’ and so began my full membership of the Church. 

St Mary’s. Slough is a very large brick and stone Victorian/Edwardian place of worship firmly in the Anglo-Catholic tradition. I sang in the choir there as boy and man until 1972 when my parents moved away from Slough. St Mary’s was built in the centre of the town to replace the medieval church of St Laurence, Upton which by the early nineteenth century had fallen into disrepair. However, the old church was saved from demolition by a local farmer and restored in 1850-51. The church is notable for being the final resting place of Slough astronomer Sir William Herschel (1738- 1822) who discovered Uranus. 

It is said that the churchyard provided the inspiration for Thomas Gray’s 1751 Elegy in a country churchyard, though St Giles, Stoke Poges also claims that honour. 

St Laurence’s is situated in a leafy suburb of Slough and still has the character of a village church. Unlike St Mary’s and the other daughter church its churchmanship is central (middle-of the-road). It was the first church I encountered which had the services of a Reader. Little did I know that I would be following that route some twenty years later. 

Slough has a regular train service to London, and in my later teens I explored a number of the Wren churches in the City of London. This is a remarkable collection of churches built after the devastation of the great fire of 1666 and the vision of one great architect, Sir Christopher Wren. One of these is St Lawrence Jewry, which is particularly noted today for the regular organ recitals held there. It is my plan to revisit a number of these city churches in the near future. 

Arguably the famous church dedicated to St Lawrence is San Lorenzo in Florence. The unfinished rough stone façade does not prepare you for the splendid harmonious interior. Particularly noteworthy is the New Sacristy designed by no less than Michelangelo. Although I visited Florence briefly as part of a school trip to Italy in the late 1960s, I did not see this church until a second, extended stay in Florence in 1982. Around that time a couple in St Olave’s congregation. Pat and Margaret Cook arranged a number of parish holidays. Pat was the Ombudsman for Local Government Administration and was based in York. This holiday comprised a week in Florence and a week on the island of Elba, but I decided to continue to stay the second week in Florence, which proved to be a wise choice. 

The previous year I went on a coach holiday with an itinerary through various European countries. This included a brief stay in the south German city of Nuremberg (Nürnberg). Despite the extensive destruction during the Second World War there is still enough to remind visitors of its former mediaeval glory. The largest of the city’s medieval churches is dedicated to St Lawrence, St Lorenz. It was one of the first churches in Germany to adopt the Lutheran Protestant faith in 1525. Like many large German city churches it was severely damaged in the Second World War but was soon restored. Although much was destroyed many movable works of prices religious art were saved. This is a city to which I would like to return one day to explore more fully and to experience its darker side as the spiritual centre of the National Socialist regime and the location of the post war trials. 

In 2015 I discovered another German city, Erfurt, in the eastern part of Germany, formerly the German Democratic Republic. Although there was some damage in the Second World War Erfurt was spared the extensive destruction experienced by cities such as Nuremberg. As a result it is packed full of historic buildings and has at least as many, if not more, mediaeval churches than York. In the last few years it has been good that Jane has revived the practice of parish holidays, now for all the churches in our city centre group. The trip Jane organised last year was to Leipzig as a Luther and Bach pilgrimage, and I spent a few days on my own beforehand in Erfurt. Although that part of the country was the birthplace of Lutheranism and today remains largely Protestant a number of the mediaeval churches in Erfurt remained Roman Catholic, including the cathedral. One of the smaller Roman Catholic churches is dedicated to St Lawrence (Lorenz) and contains an interesting statue of the saint dating from around 1480. 

One can understand the popularity of Lawrence, deacon and martyr, who sacrificially gave his life for his faith and for the Church. As one for whom the wealth of the Church was not its material possessions but its people, and especially the poor, Lawrence may have felt a little uncomfortable in the fine churches subsequently dedicated in his name. Yet, he would surely have approved of their founders’ overriding motive of glorifying God. 

Kingsley Boulton 

The Deck of Cards 

Growing up during the years of World War II, most things were in short supply, especially toys. One day I was given an old deck of playing cards and taught how to play ‘patience’, a challenge which passed many hours waiting for ‘the all clear’. I have experienced many challenges since, but I was reminded of those ‘long ago’ days just recently when I read the following story. In the night of fear and despair a light rises resplendently. It is Jesus! 

This is the old story about a soldier in the North Africa Campaign in World War II. 

After heavy fighting the soldier returned to his camp. The next day being Sunday, the Chaplain had arranged for a Church service. The men were asked to take out their Bibles or Prayer Books. The Chaplain noticed one soldier looking at a deck of cards. After the service, he was taken by the Chaplain to see the Major. The Chaplain explained to the Major what he had seen. The Major told the young soldier he would have to be punished if he could not explain himself. The young soldier told the Major that during the battle, he had neither a Bible nor a Prayer Book, so he would use his deck of cards and explained: 

You see Sir, when I look at the Ace, it tells me that there is one God and no other. 

When I see the ‘2’, it reminds me that there are two parts to the Bible, the Old Testament and the New Testament. 

The ‘3’ tells me of the Trinity of God; The Father, God the son and God the Holy Spirit. 

The ‘4’ reminds me of the Four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. 

When I see the ‘5’, it tells me of the five unwise virgins who were lost and the five who were saved. 

The ‘6’ makes me mindful that God created the world in just six days and God said that it was good. 

When I see the ‘7’, it reminds me that God rested on the seventh day. 

As I look at the ‘8’, it reminds me that God destroyed all life by water except for eight people: Noah, his wife, their three sons, and their three sons’ wives. 

When I see the ‘9’, I think of the nine lepers that Jesus healed. There were ten lepers in all but only one stopped to thank Him. 

The ‘10’ reminds me of the Ten Commandments, carved in stone by the hand of God. 

The ‘Jack’ makes me remember the Prince of Darkness. Like a roaring lion he devours those that he can. 

When I look at the ‘Queen’, I see the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus. 

As I look at the last card, ‘The King’, it reminds me that Jesus is Lord of Lords and King of Kings! 

There are 365 spots on a deck of cards, and that is the number of days each year. There are 52 card to a deck and that is the number of weeks in a year. There are 12 picture cards and that is the number of months in a year. There are 4 different suits in a deck and that is the number of seasons in a year. 

And so the young soldier then said to the Major, ‘You see, Sir, my intentions were honourable. My deck of cards serves as my Bible, my Prayer Book and my Almanac’. 

A deck of cards should most importantly remind us that we need Jesus 365 days, 52 weeks and 12 months a year and that we should always pray for others. May you never look at a deck of cards in the same way again. 

Barbara Woodley, St Denys Church 

The Reconciliation Debate What's at stake? 

Mercy Justice Truth Peace 

Wednesday 3rd May 7:30pm St Martin Coney Street, York 

You're invited to join international members of the Reconciliation Ministry Team from Coventry Cathedral in an evening talk and workshop at St Martin Coney Street, York. The talk will explore foundations in reconciliation theory as well as the gospel imperative that is central to the work at Coventry Cathedral and the global network of The Community of the Cross of Nails. The workshop following the talk will engage participants in conversation about crucial components on the reconciliation journey and offer practical tools for becoming people who live reconciliation boldly in the world. 

For more information on the evening or to RSVP, please email

Wandesford House Almshouse Charity—Accommodation Available 

We have a vacancy of a one bedroom first floor flat suitable for a single woman. The flat is one of 12 situated within a Georgian house with a chapel and gardens, located on Bootham, close to local amenities, the city centre and York Minster. Wandesford House offers independent living for women over 50 in need, within a secure, small, supportive and welcoming community with a Christian ethos. For more information please contact Emma on 01904 655200