Touch Base Home Page: Current Issue (August-September 2017)

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York City Centre Churches; Facebook

Individual websites:
All Saints, Pavement
Holy Trinity, Micklegate
St Denys, Walmgate
St Helen, Stonegate
St Lawrence, Lawrence Street (+FacebookTwitter); 
St Martin, Coney Street
St Olave, Marygate (+Prayer Cycle

Services for the current month in the City Centre Churches

Diocese of York (+FacebookTwitter

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 Previous Issues of Touch Base 

The deadline for the next edition (October) is 22 September 2017. Please send articles to the Editor at this address 


Dear Friends

It is some time since plans for the parishes were put in place to discern how God is calling us to grow the churches – numerically and spiritually. I preached about Christian hospitality a couple of weeks ago and realised that new people in our churches had no idea that there was a vision for Christian Hospitality in our churches.

I came that they might have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10) Come and see (John 1:39) Christian Hospitality is being used as a means to grow our churches across the City Centre with focussed tasks for each of the parishes. Alongside this, we will seek ways to add to the life of the City of York and join in where we see God at work, building bridges between the City and the church.  Our churches will become known for a high standard of Christian hospitality to further the kingdom of God and to grow our churches.

Saying to others ‘Come and see’ (John 1:39) and call them by name will mean that everyone who uses our churches and halls knows that they are in a space where a warm welcome, friendship and hospitality are very important. But what exactly is Christian Hospitality? It’s more than offering a cuppa, more than opening up our homes to others, it’s more than we can ever imagine.  Jane Regan (2016) in her book ‘Where two or three are gathered’ uses the stories of the visitors to Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 18:1-15); the Great Feast (Luke 14:16-24) and the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-46). Through the study of the scriptures, she describes the core characteristics of Christian Hospitality in our responsibility as followers of Christ:-

In being hospitable, in welcoming the other, particularly the stranger, we are welcoming God. God is present in the stranger.

Christian hospitality is extravagant- God’s extravagant hospitality serves as the foundation for our own hospitality shown to others.

Hospitality is at the heart of the Christian message, and, in turn, at the heart of the Christian’s life.

She asks some questions which are pertinent to our parishes too….

1.     How does the church presently express hospitality?

2.     How has welcoming the stranger been an experience of God’s presence in our churches?

3.     How can we be more effective in offering hospitality to all who attend our churches and those outside the parishes?

I find the questions challenging and I hope you do too. I hope that you will find time over the summer months to reflect on what you think Christian Hospitality is and how it can be offered in our churches and beyond. Feel free to send me your thoughts.

Where ever you are over the summer months, in York or elsewhere, I hope that you encounter Christ in strangers and that you offer and are given the extravagant, generous hospitality we are called to show in our lives.

With love and prayers



A letter from Rev’d James MacDonald who will be licensed to our parishes on Wed 20 Sept 2017 at 7.30pm at St Lawrence. You should have the date in your diary…….please check!


Hello everyone!


It's a great pleasure to be writing to you this month to introduce myself and my wife Rachel. We're both excited about the next chapter of life in York. It'll be something of a home-coming: Rachel read English at York and I read Geology at Leeds. We're looking forward to getting to know you and more of what God is doing among you. Please pray for us as we prepare to move house (always a little stressful!) and be assured of our thoughts and prayers for you.

So, I'll begin at the beginning! I grew up in Oakham, Rutland with my parents David and Denise - a school premises officer and a childminder - and younger brother, Gary. Rachel also grew up in Rutland and we both began our Christian journey by joining our respective parish church choirs. We met at sixth form college and both had some time working before heading to Yorkshire for university: I worked for a local wine merchant and Rachel for Burghley House Estate Office.

During my time at Leeds I began to formally explore my vocation, which had been with me since my time in the choir. I occasionally attended All Hallows parish church which is very inclusive and engaged in its community. It was a real mix of different social and ethnic backgrounds - quite different to Oakham! My main church community at Leeds was the university chaplaincy's 'Cafe Church', an ecumenical 'fresh expression' involving coffee, cake and discussion, drawn together in the Eucharist. The chaplain, his wife and those who led obviously got something right, as I'm by no means the only former member who is now ordained!

After Leeds I worked as a pastoral assistant-cum-youth worker at St Albans Cathedral and was involved in everything from leading a Beaver Scout group, to helping at the annual Alban Pilgrimage, to serving at the choral Eucharist. During my time there I was recommended for training and chose to go to Cuddesdon near Oxford. Rachel graduated from York the summer before the move to Oxfordshire and we were married just two weeks before moving there!

At Cuddesdon, aside from the academic training of the Oxford BA in theology, I acted as joint director of music for a year, was 'Admiral' (social secretary) for a term, helped look after guests and and undertook a number of placements - from an Oxford College chapel to a rural benefice. Meanwhile Rachel volunteered in a number of libraries in Oxford and then began her career as a librarian, first at St John's College and then at Balliol College. 

I was pleased to be offered a curacy at St Peter's Brackley - just inside my home diocese! I've enjoyed working with Father Nicholas in this market town, with the challenges of its many care homes and schools and large housing developments. My particular roles have been work with the schools, developing our music and liturgy and assisting in our outreach. I've also kept up my academic theology with an MA; my particular interests are the Reformation, liturgy, spirituality and mission. I look forward to bringing my experience into the York city centre context and learning new things there. Alongside my curacy I've recently become a padre to the Army Cadet Force. I'm joining Oxfordshire ACF for their annual camp later in August - wish me luck!

As many an Anglican cleric would be, I'm very excited to be coming to the home of the NRM! But unlike many Anglican clergy I'm not a fan of cold quiche or milky tea - but we know that strong tea won't be a problem in Yorkshire! Another Anglican stereotype is a fondness for a G&T (lime not lemon) though I'm also partial to real/craft ales. I love music, especially listening to and singing choral music and I look forward to the musical life of the city centre churches. I'm also a keen bellringer, as is Rachel, and we hope to make some progress whilst in York! My other interests include history, architecture, walking and food. And my favourite parable is the parable of the prodigal Son - God reaches out to us in Jesus Christ whether we've wandered far away or grown stubborn and proud nearby. I'm really encouraged by the ways that God is working through you to reach out with his love, purpose and hope into the city and look forward very much to sharing in that with you. In the meantime, I wish you every blessing for the summer.

Fr. James

Bumps, babies and toddlers

meets every Thursday in the Upper Room at St Martin Coney Street. Following the footsteps in church… a warm welcome awaits.

Thanks to Jess Galley for all she does to welcome the children, parents and grandparents.

St Olaves’s Churchyard Tour – Open day July 16th 2017

St Olaves had its second Church Explorers Open Day on July 16th. A number of activities were featured including Church and Churchyard tours, despite the rain! Churchyard tours were offered to highlight significant graves and monuments of historical significance inside the church and outside.

Gravestones and monuments of interest: Internal monuments

William Thornton 1670-1721 

Well regarded York born Architect who participated significantly in the design and restoration of St Olaves post the English Civil War. He was influenced by Roman/Baroque style but the restorations at St Olaves were very much in keeping with its medieval origins.

Thornton had previously worked with Vanbrugh on Castle Howard. He was responsible for the design of Beningborough Hall.

Thornton was brilliant and inventive at what he did.  He designed a means of repairing Beverley Minster which was in a poor state of repair in early 18th century. The north wall of Beverley Minster was leaning 4 feet into the street. Thornton’s solution was to remove the transept roof and erect a wooden cradle to be placed on both sides. Over a period of 11 days, the cradle, by the use of ropes and pulleys, was raised and the wall slowly returned to an upright position. 

He died early which contributed to his obscurity.

Royal plaque on left interior church wall near organ casing

Plaque dedicated to the memory of Prince Henry, first born son of James 1st of England and V1 of Scotland.

Prince Henry, a Stuart, was born at Stirling in 1594.. He was the elder brother of Charles 1st. Henry was brilliant and accomplished, showing great leadership promise. He was more popular than his father which created tensions between them. His brother Charles was devoted to, but overshadowed by him. Charles was quite a sickly, delicate child.

Prince Henry died in 1612 aged 18 of Typhoid Fever. He is buried at Westminster Abbey. Charles was 11 at the time and his brother’s death was considered a National tragedy, prompting a succession crisis as the sickly Charles now became heir to the throne. His parents had to make provision should Charles die. His sister Elizabeth would become heir.

Charles lived and became King.  His fate was to be executed after the English Civil War and the abolition of the Monarchy by the Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell. English history could have been different if Prince Henry had lived to become King rather than Charles.

Assumed the plaque to Henry was erected by parishioners or perhaps significant York Royalists in memory of a much admired Prince of Wales.


Frances Worsley 1758-1837

Frances Worsley was the second daughter of Thomas Worsley Esq of Hovingham Hall near Castle Howard. Thomas had 8 children with his wife Elizabeth Lister. He designed and built Hovingham Hall.  The Hall housed a riding school where Thomas taught the future George 111 to ride.

Thomas was devoted to the royal family. He was a Whig MP for Oxford which may explain why his daughter Frances was Christened at St Martin’s in the Fields parish church in Westminster. He  later became  MP for Callingham. Apparently he wasn't very interested in politics but became MP through a friendship with Lord Bute.

Thomas died in 1778.

Not much has been discovered about Frances’s life- she was unmarried and lived in Bridge Street in York. She lived to age 79 - a good age for the times.

Assumed she was a forebear of the current Duchess of Kent – Katherine Worsley. Her branch of the Worsley family of Hovingham  were elevated to the peerage in the 19th century.


External graves:

The ‘ Littledale’ infants

Francis Ambrose  Dawson Littledale   aged 1 yr 6 months - died 1840

Pudsey Dawson Littledale aged 14 months – died 1838

George Dawson Littledale – aged 4yrs – died 1840

Sarah Blanche Mary Littledale – aged 14 months – died 1842

4 infants who died between 1838 and 1842 – 3 headstones on one base against the wall of the churchyard.

The graves illustrate the realities of Victorian era – there was horrendous child mortality often due to rampant infectious diseases. The parents of the Littledale children are mentioned in the census of 1841. They had 4 other surviving children but it is not known whether they survived to adulthood. Their father William was blind -  he was an investor,  so not without means. He came from Liverpool. They lived in the Manor House in Marygate. The family was well off enough to have a housekeeper, cook and maid. Perhaps their father came to York because there was a pioneering blind school here?


Thomas and Hannah Hardisty

Hannah died in 1796 aged 48

Thomas died in 1802 aged 64

Thomas was a renowned carpenter in York. The couple lived in Far Water Lane and were parishioners at St Olave’s. After a successful business the Hardisty’s moved to the more fashionable Castlegate. Thomas was well respected. His work included carving ornate detail on doors, mantelpieces ad staircases. A famous book on carpentry, by Robert Scaife, is dedicated to Thomas. 

Interestingly one of our former Church Warden’s and current member of the Congregation, is a descendant of the Hardisty’s but was unaware until recent years that her ancestors were buried in the churchyard! Coincidentally Doreen Gurrey (nee Hardisty) also married a Carpenter.


William Etty RA

William Etty has the most prestigious gravestone in the churchyard. Etty was a renowned Victorian Artist.

Born in York in 1787. He left school at aged 12 to become an apprentice printer. He was the 7th son of a Matthew and Esther Etty. Matthew was a successful baker and miller – the family were strict Methodists but William disliked the spartan methodist chapel style and liked to attend his parish church (St Olave’s) or York Minster. He was drawn to the Catholic faith but never converted.

William completed his apprenticeship in 7 years. He showed early promise as an artist, drawing in chalk on the floor of his father's shop. He drew in his spare time during his apprenticeship. He moved to London in 1805 to stay with his older brother Walter – who is also buried in the churchyard at the foot of William. Walter (and one of Etty’s uncles) encouraged and supported him with his artistic ambitions and he was admitted to the Royal Academy school (entry to which was testing).

His persistence with his studies paid off and he exhibited and sold his first paintings around 1810.

By 1814 he was becoming widely respected as an artist of historical themed paintings often featuring nude figures. He was acclaimed for ability to paint realistic flesh tones. He strongly influenced later pre-raphaelite artists e.g. Millais.

Major acclaim came after painting a study of ‘Cleopatra’s arrival in Celicia’ in 1821 prompting him to paint more nude studies. However his preoccupation with nude figures offended many and courted controversy. Some considered his paintings indecent and pornographic. He strongly defended his art but it fell out of favour in later years and he is less well known today.

He was elected to the Royal Academy ahead of his  contemporary, John Constable, who, ironically, is much better known than Etty.

Etty travelled widely in Europe and stayed in Paris during the revolution – painting while fighting raged in the streets around him. He fell in love whilst in Paris but was rejected. He never married

He lived in London for many years with his niece Betsy, who kept House for him and was present at his death. She did marry after his death but Etty did his best to dissuade her from marriage before this, fearing he would be left to look after himself.

Etty was a shy man, preferring to keep himself to himself, although he was popular with fellow artists. His day consisted of rising at 7am, painting till 4pm, having  a meal, walking, retiring at midnight - after 2 cups of tea.

He was considered unattractive and slovenly, short in stature with a large jaw and brows. His hair was wild and sandy in colour. His face was pock marked from Smallpox.

Etty returned to York in the 1840s and Betsy joined him. He lived in Coney Street.

He was active in the restoration of York City Walls and York Minster after the latter suffered fire damage in 1829. He joined campaigns to resist demolition of the parts of the walls and bars with the coming of the railways. He painted the four Bars and gave lectures on their preservation. He was then considered a leading influence, regularly writing to the York press.

He founded an Art school in York.

By 1849 he had declined in health – suffering Rheumatic fever and an Asthma attack. He died in Nov 1849.

He wanted, to be buried in York Minster but failed to make provision for this in his will. So he was buried at St Olave’s – his parish church.

In 1911, belatedly, York recognised him with a statue outside the Art Gallery. Many of his paintings are held and exhibited there. There are also some works in the Lady Lever Gallery in Port Sunlight. In 2001, his paintings featured in a Tate Britain exhibition, which helped resurrect his profile.


Charlotte Pick 1803-1806

Charlotte was the daughter of James and Rebecca Pick of Stonegate York. She was christened at St Helen’s Church. It is not known what she died of but the inscription on her grave is poignant:

‘The cup of life just with her lips she pressed, found the taste bitter and declined the rest, averse then turning from the face of day, she softly sighed her little soul away’.

Charlotte  is buried with her parents. Her father James died in 1822 . Her mother, Rebecca, lived to 79 years and died in 1842. Rebecca was living  in Peasholme Green when she died.


WW1 stories from All Saints Pavement

As we approach the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1, more articles will be appearing in Touch Base during 2018. We have a lot of information about the people named on our memorial boards. Notices were put up alongside the memorials asking for help to research the names. St Martin Coney Street was the first to complete the records. Now, after three years, Colin Carbert has come forward to research the names on the St Olave board. Colin’s father-in-law, Eric Stephen Dale, sang in the choir at St Olave and went on to be ordained. Colin has offered to lots of research for us……we look forward to seeing the results of his work sometime next year.  

All Saints Pavement is working on a project for artwork in the Lantern from Nov 2017 – Nov 2018 and the launch of a year long project for Remembrance Day in 2018. The aim is to cover All Saints Pavement Church external walls with a display of handmade poppies. We hope to include readers of York Press and many community groups in this project – watch for more details.

In the meantime, there is a story from All Saints Pavement…… Some information about Arthur Hopkins (1859-1937) and his son Eric Arthur Hopkins (1885-1915).

Arthur Hopkins (1859-1937) was organist of All Saints', Pavement for nearly 50 years! He retired as organist in 1933. During his tenure as organist, he oversaw the fundraising and instalment of the 'Thomas Hopkins & Son' organ (his father/brother's business). He also wrote extensively in journals and periodicals (including articles on amateur choir training). There is a document which suggests that he resigned in 1916, before returning to his post. This might have something to do with his son's death.  He died himself on the 5th of September 1937.

Eric Arthur Hopkins was born on the 11th of September, 1885 at 16 Richardson Street, York. His parents were Arthur Hopkins and Annie Hopkins (née Tucker) Hopkins. Eric graduated with a BA from the University of Leeds and was appointed as a teacher at Elstow School, Bedford. At the outbreak of WWI, Eric enlisted in the army on the 3rd of August 1914. He was commissioned into the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion and served abroad with the 2nd Battalion from mid-September 1914. Second Lieutenant Hopkins was wounded during the First Battle of Ypres and convalesced at the Royal Herbert Hospital, Woolwich, until late November, after which he joined the 1st Battalion on the front. Lieutenant Hopkins was killed in action on the 5th of May 1915 (aged 29). He was among the long list of those who were killed defending Hill 60 and has no known grave but is remembered on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial to the missing.      

Max Elliott


Brunch & Bubbly with the vicar....

A shared celebration between the community of St Denys and the Rev Jane Nattress of One Year’s successful Friendraising and Fundraising in Walmgate...

On July 23rd we were privileged to say a huge “thank you” to all who have supported the St Denys community over the past year, so generously and in such different ways. We are now eagerly awaiting news of the Heritage Lottery Bid that we have made for funds to save our beloved church from falling into disrepair...we are quietly optimistic and noisily prayerful! And with the help and encouragement of our sister parishes and diverse friends we have made substantial progress towards raising our own match-funding- from creative events, from visitors, from generous donations, and from the Feoffees of St Michael’s Spurriergate. In particular, the Rev David Simpson’s photographic capture of St Denys’ heritage and its conversion to card-pack sales is contributing positively to ongoing fundraising.

We celebrated royally at 52 Bootham -  hosted by our priest-in-charge, Jane Nattrass, and with congregation members providing a splendid feast....And we were able to enjoy, in welcoming sunshine, Jane’s beautiful garden and gracious home - joined by friends from St Helen’s, St Olave’s, St Lawrence and Holy Trinity Micklegate.

So many, many warm thanks to all from St Denys’....


Chocolate in the parish of All Saints Pavement

You will remember Blood and Chocolate from a few years ago…..the drama unfolded in the streets of York and thousands experienced the story of soldiers and York’s chocolate – tins sent to the troops by Joseph Rowntree. In the production, All Saints Pavement opened its doors so that the audience could be given a drink of delicious hot chocolate.  This was provided by Sophie Jewett. She is bringing chocolate to the parish again…..this time on a more permanent basis. Sophie has been busy sourcing the best ingredients so that the finest chocolate can be made in York.

Drop in to see Sophie and the team in their new premises at 10 Castlegate where you will be able to test the prototype chocolate recipes. You can go to a Discovery Evening or their Open Day.

Open Day on Tuesday 8 Aug

between 10am and 7pm

York Cocoa Works

10 Castlegate


Sophie writes……York was once known as the Chocolate City with companies like Terry’s of York, Rowntree, Cravens and Lazenby creating chocolates that became the iconic household names of our childhood. Nearly every York family had someone working in one of the big York companies. The cocoa would arrive on barges up the River Ouse, the smell of roasting cocoa would linger over the city like a warm welcome to York and the railways would take products with the York name to every corner of the world.

We at York Cocoa House want to ensure that this story of York is not just a thing of its past: we want to make sure it continues to be part of York’s future.

We want to build York Cocoa Works - a Chocolate Production, Chocolate Academy and Chocolate Development Centre in the heart of York. We want to bring raw cocoa into York directly from farmers and communities from around the world to create our chocolate. We want to demonstrate to visitors how our chocolate is created, from the raw cocoa ingredients to our finished chocolates, cakes and drinks that you can taste, work with, learn from and enjoy. We want to share our passion, knowledge and chocolate with those who want to learn to work with chocolate innovatively in an environment where York's chocolate makers can share their skills with a new generation, where anyone can become a chocolate maker and work with us to create their own chocolate.

We want to bring chocolate making back and we're inviting you to join us. 

Help us create a future chocolate industry here in York!           



Celebrating completed projects… a nave roof, a new accessible entrance to the church and a toilet…….

St Olave marked the feast of St Olaf on 23 July. The access to the roof, the toilet room and access to the church were sprinkled with Holy Water and censed. The Ven Sarah Bullock, Archdeacon of York, blessed and dedicated the work. It was good to see Chris Cotton and Simon Lillywhite, from Purcell, in the congregation. They were the architects and are as pleased as everyone in church is about the results of the projects.

The following words were used at the blessing of the work

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit :

We bless, dedicate, and set apart the to the glory of Almighty God the work of the craftsmen whose gifts enabled a new roof and created facilities to welcome all, to beautify and make glorious the habitation of the Lord’s House, and the place where His honour dwells. Amen.

How awesome is this place.
This is none other than the house of God,
and this is the gateway of heaven.

I saw a ladder which rested on the ground
with its top reaching to heaven,
and the angels of God were going up and down it.
This is none other than the house of God,
and this is the gateway of heaven.

You will see greater things than this.
You will see heaven wide open,
and God’s angels ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.
This is none other than the house of God,
and this is the gateway of heaven.

You are the temple of the living God,
and the Spirit of God dwells in you.
The temple of God is holy, and you are that temple.
This is none other than the house of God,
and this is the gateway of heaven.

Company of Merchant Taylors - Charter Day Service

A wonderful service at All Saints Pavement with the Company of Merchant Taylors and the Lord Mayor and Sheriff of York, with Jeremy Fletcher taking his last service as Hon. Chaplain of the Company. Today's service honours the Jewish faith of the new Master of the Company, Philippa Lester, marking the service with a shared heritage of Christians and Jews in using the Sh'ma, recited by all faithful Jews and recorded on the lips of Jesus Christ in the Gospels.

Thursday 21 September 2017 Peace Day

Theme:Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.

The International Day of Peace ("Peace Day") is observed around the world each year on 21 September. Established in 1981 by unanimous United Nations resolution, Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace.

Starting at York St John Universtiy in the Peace Garden, there will be a Pilgrimage ending in the gardens of the Merchant Adventurers where we will be meet school pupils who have also been on a Pilgrimage that morning – we will meet Together for Peace.

To join us, please send Jane an e-mail.

York Organ Concerts 2017


All Saints’ Church, North Street

Last Fridays April -Sept

All Saints’ Church, Pavement

May Day and Summer Bank Holidays

Central Methodist Church

1st, 3rd, 5th Thursdays

15th June - 5th October

Holy Trinity Church, Heworth


St Barnabas’ Church, Jubilee Terrace


St Helen, Stonegate

4th Wednesdays at 1.10pm

May - September

St Martin’s Church, Coney Street

**Organ Plus Concerts**

2nd Thursdays May - Sept

The University of York


York Minster

Nave Console—Last Friday in April

Every Friday in May

Quire Console - Last Saturday in July 

Every Saturday in August

Pop Church in the Pub

Well, we are two services in with Pop Church in the Pub now with more people joining us on the second service, all active Christians, and from different corners of the city. Our songs on Sunday 25th June were Norman Greenbaum’s Spirit in the Sky, Pharrell Williams Happy, and Whitney Houston’s Greatest Love of all. All present joined in the singing with gusto, and on a warm evening with the windows open, our singing attracted the attention of many passers-by, for the right reasons I hope!

Our ‘congregation’ were invited to and did participate happily in leading our prayers and the readings. We had open discussion about the roots of the service and what folks would like to see in the future, along with an invitation to the group to develop a service of their own (with support of course). This is a core tenet of this service; encouraging and enabling others to build confidence in themselves through their own prayer, and relationship with God, in order to develop, prepare and lead/facilitate services. This may involve developing the liturgy, if it is used at all, and the music and songs, readings and prayers.

In originally developing this service and testing the concept in a number of church settings, my research led me to the book Personal Jesus written by Clive Marsh and Vaughan Roberts. Their book shows that popular music is used by religious and non-religious people alike to make meaning, enabling listeners to explore human concerns about embodiment, creating communities, and tapping into transcendence. They assess what is happening to Christian faith and theology as a result. The book asks how does popular music work? And what roles does it play for listeners who engage it? The book explores the theological significance of the ways pop music is listened to and used today, and has several examples of major popular artists using their music and song in a Christian setting. Worth a read. Professor Clive Marsh is Head of Lifelong Learning and Culture and Leicester University, and I went to see him in June to discuss the service concept. Clive is most supportive of the service and its mission objective of outreach to lapsed or other Christians, and just ordinary folk who like to sing long to popular songs. He encourages us to reflect on the service and how we take it forwards, always remembering this is a service reaching out to others, and to be prepared to change the nature of the service as may be appropriate.

Our next service at Brigantes is on Sunday 27th August at 6pm in the upstairs room. Please join us for a drink and a service with contemporary music and reflection and refection. For further details please ask me (Peter) later in the month as the songs haven’t been chosen or suggested yet. If you’d like to make a suggestion please let Peter know.

Thank you. 

Peter (Reader, Holy Trinity, Micklegate)

A Personal Pilgrimage to Churches Sharing the Dedication of our City Centre Group: 4. All Saints and St Crux

I started to attend Evensong at All Saints Pavement at the very beginning of 2010, having been brought up on Book of Common Prayer Evensong in my youth.

The best known Anglo-Catholic church in London with that dedication is All Saint’s, Margaret Church, noted for its fine Victorian architecture, its high standard of liturgy and its professional standard of music. I first visited the church on one of my trips to London in my later teens and I remember attending Evensong there sung by the then boys choir. Unusually for a parish church it possessed a choir school which had been founded in 1843. Sadly the choir school closed in 1968 and the boys’ voices were replaced by adult sopranos. When I was working in Wales before moving to York I happened to be in London on Ascension Day in 1975 and attended the evening High Mass. The church was packed and the preacher was none other than Archbishop Trevor Huddleston CR. He was best known for his anti-apartheid activism and his book Naught for Your Comfort.

                  When I arrived in York in late 1979 the Vicar of St Olave’s was Fr Alan Heslop. In 1987 he moved to become Vicar of All Saints, Northampton.  The church was built in 1675. It has a fine musical tradition and boasts no fewer than two organs. A number of us went down to attend Alan’s installation on All Saints Day 1987. Some of us went to visit Alan and Margaret again the following May.

                  In 2015 a group from the city centre churches spent a few days in Leipzig in what was East Germany before reunification in 1990. The theme of the trip was Bach and Luther, and we were able to visit a number of places associated with Johann Sebastian Bach and Martin Luther. One day we went by train to Wittenberg, where Luther spent a large part of his career. He is perhaps best known for the 95 Theses he posted, according to tradition, on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg on 31st October 1517. That date has since been celebrated as the symbolic beginning of the Protestant Reformation in Germany. Although the church is commonly called the Castle Church it is in fact dedicated to All Saints. In 2015 much restoration work was being carried out in preparation for the 500th anniversary this year of the posting of the Theses. As a result we could see very little indeed of the church apart from the scaffolding and sheeting. There was no access to the interior and only the famous doors were visible, though they were not the original ones Luther would have known. There was, however, much else in Wittenberg to give us an idea of the world in which Luther taught and preached.

Although the church of St Crux was demolished in 1887 the parish hall built on its site still retains that dedication. 

         The most famous church dedicated to the Holy Cross is arguably the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence. As I mentioned in the first article on St Lawrence, in 1982 a couple in St Olave’s congregation, Pat and Margaret Cook, arranged a parish holiday to Florence and the island of Elba. Santa Croce claims to be the largest Franciscan church in the world and may have been founded by St Francis himself. It is full of marvellous works of art, including frescoes by Giotto.

          In 2010 I spent a week in the German city of Dresden. The terrible destruction of the city towards the end of the Second World War remains controversial. Much of the historic heart of the city known as Florence on the Elbe was reduced to rubble. Some rebuilding and restoration was carried out by the East German authorities but the city’s most famous landmark, the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) was left a fragment of a ruin. Only after reunification was it rebuilt to its former glory. Another of the city’s historic churches had been rebuilt, though: the Kreuzkirche (Church of the Holy Cross), though with a simplified interior reflecting a constant reminder of its destruction. The church has a famous boys’ choir and I was able to attend an evening service at which they sang. The original church had been destroyed in the Seven Year’s War in the eighteenth century and a new church built in baroque style. It is the main church and seat of the Landesbischof (State Bishop) of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Saxony, and the largest church building in the Free State of Saxony.    

                  Both the Frauenkirche and the Kreuzkirche in Dresden are partners in the Community of the Cross of Nails and, like St Martin’s, display their Coventry crosses prominently. Although St Martin’s did not become a partner until 2012 that was something we were discussing at the time of my visit to Dresden.

Kingsley Boulton


Bill Shiels Lecture – St Denys

 As part of our North Wall fundraising project Professor Bill Sheils gave us a fascinating talk on the religious life of York leading up to and beyond the cataclysmic event that was the Reformation. At the start of the period an astonishing 38 parishes served a population of about eight thousand which meant that there were about two thousand households in York or roughly 50 households per parish. It was a time alive with piety and the churches were invested in heavily by their parishioners, chiefly in aids to devotion and intercessory prayer such as the chantry chapel in Holy Trinity Goodramgate and the Pricke of Conscience window in All Saints North Street. Stained glass windows commonly featured St Christopher (who carried the Word), St George (who vanquished evil) and also St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist. Our own St Denys would have had many small chapels where prayers would be offered for the progression of souls to everlasting life.

Numbers of ordinations to the clergy, both priests and monks, kept up pretty well into the 1520s and five churches including St Michael le Belfrey were rebuilt in the same decade. Chantries were particularly popular; it is thought the Minster had up to 57 and even set up a separate college, St William’s, to house the clergy who offered prayers for the dead. Traditional religion also spilled out from churches onto the streets of York, the most famous being the Corpus Christi plays around midsummer. There were friaries in the city and monasteries outside and the very wealthy Benedictine Abbey of St Mary just outside the city walls.

Along came the Reformation; chantries were dissolved, the Eucharist was downgraded, the services were in English and preaching became an essential part of church services. Interestingly for York the reformed religion took a long time to take over and did not really get under way until the 1570s with the arrival of a red hot reformer as Archbishop of York, Edmund Grindal. On his arrival in York he was horrified by how much traditional religion had remained so set about remedying this partly by recruiting preachers and introducing books that challenged the old religion. The Reformation gained an upper hand from the 1580s (by 1604 the City Council funded four preachers) and became dominant in the 1610s. At Holy Trinity Goodramgate the pews were reordered (these were family pews that faced each other and not the east end of the church and the altar) and the pulpit was placed in a far more prominent place than the communion table. The central emphasis was on preaching and worship as a hearing rather than a seeing or praying activity by the laity. The Decalogue board in Holy Trinity Goodramgate indicates that the word was replacing iconography. All Saints Pavement had a fine new pulpit installed (luckily still in use).

One important source throws interesting light on these great changes - up to the 1570s many wills mentioned our Lady and the Saints; these features remained in wills until the 1580s after which they rapidly decline to almost zero. By the 1620s there is enough evidence of bequests for sermons, of charitable bequests to the poor and to protestant devotional books circulating in the city to suggest that the Reformation had not just become a way of life but a way of living. It had been a radical change in the years between 1500 and 1620 but a slow process and a piecemeal one.

We were grateful to Professor Sheils for his illuminating talk, not just for bringing a sliver of the past into the light but also making us look at our churches with fresh eyes.

Rodney Troubridge


More News from St Denys

On July 10th, Fiona Shaw gave a highly acclaimed talk involving local histories, in the last of our ‘Stories from St Denys’ series. Hers was the story of 19C chocolate making in York; of faith, social concern and class divides. An enthusiastic audience shared the secrets of the historical fiction writer’s trade - from the ferociously rigorous searching out of materials in both predictable but also unorthodox places, to the freedoms to allow characters to grow and tell their own stories, notwithstanding the original ‘truths’. Fiona generously donated (many) signed copies of her successful novel ‘The Sweetest Thing’ to contribute to fundraising for the North Aisle rescue fund.

On July 16th the Rev David Simpson and the congregation of St Denys welcomed a vibrant crowd of newcomers to their morning service – we shared in the christening of our good friend Pauline’s three grandchildren: Ebony Mai, Esme Leigh and Leylan. A joyous moment for us all....


Looking forward to September……

St Helen’s new pattern

From September there will be a service at St Helen’s every Saturday at Noon. Of late the service pattern has been rather complicated which makes it difficult to build up a church community.  So, although there may be occasional services at other times,  the main service each week will be at the same time.  Two of the services (the first and third as at present) will still be Celtic Eucharists.  The others may vary.  So for example the services for September are:-

Saturday 2nd at noon      Celtic Eucharist  (theme  “Lindisfarne”)

Saturday 9th at noon       A Service of Reflection.  This has been particularly requested to help  those who have been affected by suicide.  It is very much open to all.  We will be welcoming some of our friends from the Cansing Council choir who are supporting this.

Saturday 16th at noon    Celtic Eucharist  (theme “St Ninian – Apostle to the Scots.  In honour of his feast day)

Saturday 23rd at noon    At the noon of the day.  A service of the word inspired by the Celtic tradition with prayer and music and reflection.  (theme “Great Expectations”).

Saturday 30th at noon.  Celtic Eucharist for Harvest   (our Harvest Festival) 

Due to unforeseen circumstances we will be without our Choral Scholars for the autumn term.  We hope to appoint some new scholars later in that term for the New Year.  The previous Choral Scholars and Organ Scholar all came to the end of their time with us at the end of the summer term and have moved to pastures new in many different parts of the country.  We wish them well and do hope they enjoyed their time with us.  We certainly enjoyed their singing and thank them and John Bradbury, their Director, for all their inspired music.  They left on a highnote with an inspiring performance of Vivaldi’s “Gloria”.  Here is a picture of them with John Bradbury  some of the supporting musicians after that performance and a picture during the performance.

Appointment        We are pleased to announce the award of an Organ Bursary to  student organist Jonty Ward.  Jonty will play for many of the services in the autumn term.  Jonty is an undergraduate at York University and will be entering into his second year there in the autumn.




Under the direction of Dr. Aaron Hufty, will present a concert at ST HELEN STONEGATE CHURCH, York, Thursday, August 03, 2017 at 1 PM. This renowned 50 voice chorale hails from the city famous for the Battle of The Alamo...which all Texans claim as their most prized heritage.

The citizens of San Antonio treasure the Commitment of First Baptist Church to Excellence in the Arts through this choral ensemble. Sunday after Sunday those who attend the church worship service experience the spiritual inspiration that the message and music of the Christian Faith as sung by the choir and the congregation present.

This is an invitation to the city of York to come for a concert of a great variety of Christian Music presented in this concert: The Classics

Of Church Music; English, Scottish and American Hymn Tunes; Spirituals; Traditional and Contemporary Hymn Tunes; Gospel; and American Christian Folk Music. Organist: Dr. N. Seth Nelson




Will also be singing at Christ Church, Turnham Green, London; Evensong at Great Saint Mary’s Church, Cambridge; Ely Cathedral; Fuller Baptist Church, Kettering; Durham Cathedral; and the Parish Church of the Holy Trinity, St. Andrews; Scotland.

For additional information concerning this concert call: St Helen Stonegate Church on: 01904 636512.

Harvest Festivals in September

24 Sept All Saints Pavement 10.30 and 6.30

30 Sept at noon St Helen

You may have had information from Anne Hall about the forthcoming visit of Archbishop Winston Halapua and his wife. They have been invited by USPG to come to York from 1-3 September.

You may like to know that there are details, plus photo, on the Greenbelt Festival website as Archbishop Halapua will be speaking at the festival during the August Bank Holiday.

Saturday Evening Event: On the evening of Saturday 2 September, Archbishop Halapua and his wife will attend a dinner hosted by St Edward’s Church, Dringhouses, at 7pm for 7.30pm. The Archbishop will speak on the subject of Climate Justice. Tickets cost £10, to include a glass of wine and are available from Ruth Sillar (

and from St Edward's Parish Office (01904 709111)

Giving to the Churches

A plea – please consider giving your offering to the church weekly or monthly using direct debit or the internet.

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. Please consider to give via the internet – it is a great help to the money counters, those who bank and the treasurers.

-        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.

1.              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 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

2.     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


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. 

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


Congratulations to James Kenny and Sarah McTiernan on their engagement. The proposal took place at the top of St Denys tower! From there they could see St Lawrence Church and York Minster. Both are PCC members of St Lawrence and work at York Minster. James is off to Durham in the autumn to train for ordination. What an exciting time for them both.


If you would like to be Confirmed this year , please speak to the clergy or send an e-mail to


Dates for your diary

Sat 18 Nov Ceilidh, more details nearer the time.