Touch Base Home Page: Current Issue (February 2017)

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

Dear Friends,

Lent in the City of York 2017 is an opportunity for us all to deepen our faith and draw closer to God. Setting aside some time each day or each week to study scripture or discuss faith issues with others is a very good thing to do and you are encouraged to do so. There are several events going on during Lent. You will find details of Lent Groups and talks in this magazine to help you to decide how you will mark Lent. Feel free to attend some or all. You will be made very welcome. Hospitality is being provided by many people this year – they are opening their homes or hosting meetings in churches to welcome you to study, to pray and to enjoy the company of others.

Lent is also a good opportunity for lay people to give addresses instead of sermons. This will be happening in Holy Trinity Micklegate, St Olave’s and St Denys. The theme of the addresses is “The Games People Play”. Using the Gospel reading for Sunday and a board game, people are asked to consider how God is working in their lives. The games are Snakes and Ladders, Monopoly and Cluedo. Many years ago, the vicar at my church, gave these games to lay people in the congregation. I was very struck by one of the addresses given by a woman and I remember it every Lent. To me she seemed to have a lot on her plate…. Her daughter was ill, her husband had died… she talked about snakes and ladders. I expected her to talk about the slippery snakes in life which seems to plunge us into depths of sadness and despair. But no, she talked about God being with her on every rung of the ladder, supporting her and lifting her up no matter what happens. She saw the ladders representing God’s love on a journey to eternal life. I look forward to hearing the addresses this year and to hear your comments about them. Thank you to those who said yes when asked if they would like to give an address.  

I offer this as a flavour of what is to come during Lent. Harold Mozley will be leading two ecumenical groups – to be held in St George’s RC Church and St Lawrence Church. He has chosen the readings for Holy Saturday. He writes…….

‘and as it was the eve of the  Jewish Day of Preparation they laid Jesus…Early on the first day of the week while it was still dark..’John 19.42 -20.1

From earliest times the day in between, Holy Saturday, was one of vigil-watching and waiting, scripture and silence. 12 lessons were read interspersed with psalms and hymns. Over the centuries the service changed, moved to the morning and abolished by the Reformers. In the last century its original spirit was rediscovered by both the Anglican Church with Common Worship and the Roman Catholic Church following Vatican II. Today both churches specify a number of readings from the Old Testament-the bible of Jesus, the scriptures he expounded to the disciples on the way to Emmaus- for the Easter Vigil but hardly anywhere is the full set heard during the service. It is these reading that we will look at over 6 sessions this Lent. Pope Francis wrote in his letter closing the Holy Year of Mercy:

‘The Bible is the great story of the marvels of God’s mercy. Every one of its pages is steeped in the love of the Father who from the moment of creation wished to impress the signs of his love on the universe. Through the words of the prophets and the wisdom writings, the Holy Spirit shaped the history of Israel as a recognition of God’s tenderness and closeness, despite the people’s infidelity. I greatly desire that God’s word be increasingly celebrated, known and disseminated, so that the mystery of love streaming from this font of mercy may be ever better understood.

‘As the Apostle tells us clearly: ‘All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16).’

The group will meet on Fridays, from March 3rd at 10.15 to 11.30 in the sacristy of St George’s Church, Peel Street , after morning prayer and mass and in the vestry of at St Lawrence’s Church Laurence Street on Mondays at 7pm to 8.30, ending with Compline. This is an ecumenical study group to which all are invited ‘to hear, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest’ our common heritage of scripture. Please bring a bible; different translations help with the study.

The course begins with Genesis 1:1–2:2: God saw all that he had made, and indeed it was very good.

I hope that we can look back on Lent 2017 and say “and indeed it was very good”.

With love and prayers for a blessed Lent.


Lent in the City

1. All Saints Pavement 12.45pm Wednesdays

Finding the Mind of Christ through the Parables

Four talks for Lent by the Rev'd Canon Dr Chris Collingwood

March 8th The Prodigal Son (Luke xv.11-32)

March15th The Good Samaritan (Luke x. 25-37)

March 22nd The Sheep and the Goats (Matt xv 1-58)

March 29th The Secrets of the Kingdom (Matt xv 1-58)

Please bring your picnic lunch- tea and coffee provided.

2. Ecumenical Lent Bible Study.

The group will meet on Fridays, from March 3rd at 10.15 to 11.30 in the sacristy of St George’s Church, Peel Street , after morning prayer and mass and in the vestry of at St Lawrence’s Church Laurence Street on Mondays at 7pm to 8.30, ending with Compline. All  are invited ‘to hear, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest’ our common heritage of scripture. Please bring a bible; different translations help with the study.

Reading 1: Genesis 1:1–2:2, God saw all that he had made, and indeed it was very good.

Reading 2: Genesis 22:1–18, The sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith.

Reading 3: Exodus 14:15–15:1, The sons of Israel went on dry ground right into the sea.

Reading 4: Isaiah 54:5–14,  With everlasting love the Lord your redeemer has taken pity on you.

Reading 5: Isaiah 55:1–11, Come to me and your soul will live, and I will make and everlasting covenant with you.

Reading 6: Baruch 3:9–15. 32–4:4, In the radiance of the Lord make your way to light.

Reading 7: Ezekiel 36:16–28, I shall pour clean water over you and I shall give you a new heart. 

3. The Lectionary in Lent Wednesday 11am

A look at the readings for the following Sunday with commentaries and inspiring art.

Venue: St Martin, Coney Street in The Upper Room

4. Bible Studies in Lent

Bible Studies in Lent on the Epistle to the Philippians.organised by Holy Trinity Micklegate

Thursdays: March 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th 7.30pm.

Venue is The Montague, 310 Tadcaster Road, York YO24 1 HF. Contact Rev Eric Robinson 07964 061810. Compline will be said at the end of each study. Please contact Eric to book a place.

5. Reading Groups in Lent

Thursdays – no booking required.

2 March  with Rodney Troubridge Venue:  53 St Denys Rd ,

9 March  with Canon Derek Earis Venue: 49 St John Street

16 March with Rev’d Jane Nattrass Venue:  The Vicarage, 52 Bootham

Dethroning Mammon  by the Archbishop of Canterbury and Glimpses of Glory The Mowbray Lent Book 2017

Both books available from St Paul’s Bookshop, Fossgate.

6. York Minster Thursday lunchtimes

The Lent Talks will take place North Transept every Thursday for five weeks starting on Thursday 9 March from 1.15 until 2.15pm

The Rigg Memorial in St Lawrence Churchyard

There will be a service to rededicate the Rigg Memorial by the Archbishop of York on Sat 11 March 2017 at 3pm at St Lawrence.

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 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. Over the decades it has become overgrown and dilapidated, and much of the inscription was no longer legible.

The original cost was raised by public subscription in York and nationally, and local craftspeople (masons, stonecarvers, bricklayers, and iron workers) were employed to build the monument. 185 years were record our grateful thanks to the masons, stonecarvers, bricklayers and iron workers of our generation and to the Civic Trust for their vision, planning and oversight of the project to restore the Rigg Memorial

The following is from the York Gazette and Herald 21 August 1830

AWFULLY FATAL EVENT SEVEN PERSONS DROWNED Never, we believe, has it been before the painful duty of a public journalist, to narrate so affecting an event connected with this city, as one which occurred on the afternoon of Thursday last – one by which seven individuals in the bloom of health and in the height of enjoyment were in a moment numbered with the dead. Indefinite rumours of the shocking event reached this city about five o’clock and when it was afterwards more distinctly stated, that a pleasure-boat had been upset in the river Ouse, near the Marquee, and that seven persons were drowned, an accident of such fatal extent was scarcely credited. The result alas! in this instance proved the rumour to be too numerically correct. In the space of three quarters of an hour both sides of the banks of the river were lined with several hundred persons, amongst whom were many on horseback. A party of pleasure consisting of nine persons, comprising seven of the family of Mr Rigg, nursery-man near this city [Fulford Road], a young lady, Miss Grace Robinson, only daughter of Mrs Robinson, a widow of Ayton near Scarborough, who was on a visit to their house, and Mr Seller, son of Mr Seller of the Falcon Inn in Micklegate, were going to Poppleton. The two elder sons of Mr Rigg had only returned on Tuesday from an eight weeks journey, which they had gone in consequence of their grandfather’s illness; and it was their intention to have set out again on business yesterday morning. They availed themselves of the interval of relaxation to enjoy this social and domestic excursion of pleasure, which alas has proved too fatal. At a little after four o’clock, when they had got past the Marquee, and had arrived at that part of the Ouse which forms an extensive circuit round the bank of Clifton Ings, a keel appeared ahead coming down the river full sail. There were only two men and a boy on board, and they immediately called to the party to keep to one side – this had not been sufficiently attended to – the vessel bore down upon them, stoved in the side of the boat, and sent the party, with the exception of Mr Seller and Jesse Rigg, a little girl of eight years of age, to the bottom of the river, whence they never rose alive. The above young man saved himself by catching hold of a rope belonging to the keel and was enabled thus to be instrumental in urging the sailors to endeavour to save the only other survivor of the party. From the remoteness of the spot it was some time before sufficient assistance could be procured for the recovery of the bodies. The last body remaining in the water was that of a little boy, for whom five boats were constantly employed in creeping, until a quarter to eight o’clock, when he was found near the middle of the river and removed to complete the awful group of victims to this sad misfortune. The names and ages of the sufferers belonging to Mr Rigg’s family are as follows: Ann Guthrie Rigg, the eldest daughter, in her 20th year Thomas Gorwood Rigg, the eldest son, aged 18 years John Rigg, the second son, aged 16 years Eliza Rigg, the second daughter, in her 15th year James Smith Rigg, aged 7 years Charles Rigg, aged 6 years The other unfortunate sufferer, Miss Grace Robinson of Ayton, near Scarborough, who was on a visit at Mr Rigg’s, was about 18, and is cousin to Mr Robinson of the firm of Simpson and Robinson, tea-dealers of this city. The following particulars have been communicated to us, and their recital may perhaps add to the melancholy interest of this affecting event.

Mrs Rigg has had 14 children, six of whom died in their infancy, and we believe three of them were interred within a very short time of each other. Two girls are now the only survivors of this numerous family. The grandfather of the sufferers has attained the advanced age of 84, and is very ill. The dreadful news, through prudential motives, was not communicated to him until the following day. Mrs Rigg’s health, from her attentions to Mr Rigg senior, has been much impaired and it was consequently found necessary to prevent her seeing her deceased family till after they were laid out [in their once cheerful home]; which by great exertion was accomplished by three o’clock yesterday morning. The family were the most united and happy of any we have ever heard of, and the stroke will consequently be felt with greater poignancy.

Giving to Churches

Giving by people in the past is being brought to our attention across the city. It might help us to reflect on our giving and leaving a legacy to the church. The Rigg Memorial at St Lawrence, built and restored by public subscription will be rededicated on 11 March. The Benefaction Boards in All Saints Pavement are being restored and one of St Olave’s benefaction boards is currently out of place as the work to install a toilet continues. 

Benefaction Boards

Will you leave money to the church in your will? Many of our churches have benefaction boards but we hardly notice them. If you do see them, they are difficult to read. The boards tend to be huge affairs which over time have soaked up the polluted air and become black. They are so dark that the writing is almost impossible to read. All Saints Pavement is having their boards restored, St Olave’s is having their boards brushed down. The boards are in effect details of wills, some dating back to the 17th century. They provide a fascinating insight into the giving of the people of York in the past.

At All Saints Pavement, one of the boards includes details of Jane Stainton. Progress has been made in many ways since Jane Stainton left an endowment for a sermon is preached on our around 30 January, for which the minster of All Saints Pavement, according to her will, receives 15 shillings a year. Five shillings, she willed, should also be given in bread to the poor who attend the sermon. 30 January 1649 was the date that Charles 1 was beheaded. Jane Stainton reminds us to recall that day and to think about our latter end -  death.  Her endowment was also used in the 18th century to support a soup kitchen for the poor and a school for six poor children.

Progress meant that in 1879, the minster’s fee for preaching the sermon was doubled, 12 children rather than six were provided with education and the dole of bread to the poor was also doubled.  What kind of progress have we made that Foodbanks have replaced soup kitchens?

The Company of the Merchant Adventurer’s own history as detailed in the magnificent book ‘The York Merchant Adventurers and their Hall’, suggests that the medieval mind saw philanthropy as an end in itself, but there all also the entrenched belief good works performed during a person’s life time would have a beneficial effect as the departed soul travelled towards the heavenly kingdom, via a stay in purgatory. There was complete integration of life on earth and life beyond.

Death was at the centre of Mediaeval life. With high rates of infant mortality, disease, famine, the constant presence of war, and the inability of medicine to deal with common injuries, death was a brutal part of most people's everyday experience. Some progress has been made in these areas, but on a worldwide scale, there is still much to do. As a result of the ways of Mediaeval life, attitudes towards life were very much shaped by beliefs about death: according to Christian tradition, the very purpose of life was to prepare for the afterlife by avoiding sin, performing good works, taking part in the sacraments, and keeping to the teachings of the church. Time was measured out in saint's days, which commemorated the days on which the holiest men and women had died. Easter, the holiest feast day in the Christian calendar, celebrated the resurrection of Christ from the dead. The landscape was dominated by parish churches, still evident in York today - the parish church was the centre of the medieval community.

We are grateful to Will Ellis who studied the benefaction boards in St Olave’s. The details are as follows:-

St Olave, Benefaction Board to south of Tower.

                  He That Despises

                  His neighbor, sinneth

                  But He that hath mercy

                  On the poor, happy is he.

                  Pro. Chap. 14 Ver. 21


Fabien Farley of St Mary-gate by Will

Feb. ye 18th 1607 gave to ye poor of this parish

One Cottage Barne &c. for ever lyeing and being

In Lassingham in ye Conty of Yorke.

Wm; Day of Bossal by Will. May: ye 1st 1622. Gave to ye

Poor of St Mary-gate 2s0 for ever, to be paid out of his =

Estate at Flaxton, Every Christmas Day.

The Revd; Mr; Tho; Mosley. A: M: Curate of this Parish, gave

By his last Will dated June ye 20th 1732. To the poor of St Olaves

Cum St Giles Xlib’s the interest whereof to be given every =

Plow-Day in Christmas by the Minister and Church-wardens.

Peter Hill of Acomb by his last Will & Testement

Bearing Date ye 20th of Sepr: 1632. Gave out of a

House & Certain-Lands in ye Sd Parish of Acomb

2 Pounds Yearly to be distributed to ye Poor-House

Keepers in ye Town of Clifton, at ye discretion of ye

Most substantial Inhabitants, on St Thomas his

Day. Before Xmas for Ever.

Mr Benjamin Legg late of this parish by his last

Will, bearing Date ye 26th day of April 1746

Gave to the Poor of St Olaves cum St Giles, the

Sum of 1s0 per Ann: to be given in bread every

Xmas Eve, Payable out of his two Houses, now

Occupied by Mr Brewster and Ralph Snowden.


Benefaction board to Left of principal entrance.


B  E  N  E  F  A  C  T  I  O  N  S  WILLIAM BOWES ESQOf Bootham in the Suburbs of the City of York, By Will dated December 22nd 1766

Gave to JOHN GRAVES of the same city, Gentleman,

The Sum of One Hundred Pounds, to be paid out by Him or

Sufficient security, and the Interest arising therefrom, to be annually

Distributed in coals, to the Poor Housekeeprs of Gillygate, Bootham

And the Hamlet of St Mary near the walls of York at Martinmas

For ever. N.B. The above legacy was paid Feby 21 1809 to


Placed the same upon interest in the Navy Five Per Cents.

The above sum was replaced in the Navy Four Per Cents


Feby 11th 1828, in the names of DAVID RUSSELL ESQR JOHN CAMLDON





Late of Clifton, by will Dated December 23rd 1799 Gave to his

Executors and his Nephew JOSH ELSTON the sum of Fifty Pounds

The Interest thereof to be distributed at their discretion unto the

Poor of the township of Clifton, half yearly for ever. - - - - - -



Late of Bootham, by Will dated 24th Jany 1866 Bequeathed to the

Official Trustees of Charitable Funds the sum of Five Hun=

dred Pounds the interest thereof to be paid yearly at Christ=

mas to the Incumbent of the parish of St Olave Marygate for the

time being to be distributed among the poor of the Said Parish

including the Widows in Bootham Hospital.


MARY DIXON 19th March 1867

Of Barton lane gave the sum of One Hundred Pounds to be

Invested in the name of the vicar and churchwardens of the

United parishes of St Olave and St Giles upon satisfactory

The interest to be distributed by the vicar yearly

On St Thomas’ Day amongst such of the poor of the same Par=

ishes as he should think fit. And the said MARY DIXON di=

rected that any portion of the same Parishes which should there=

after cease to be under the Ecclesiastical Jusrisdiction of the

Incumbent of St Olave should cease to participate in the ben=

efit of the same gift.



Of Gillygate, who died 9th February 1871 by Will left

£62-1-6 Consols upon trust that the dividends should

be applied in the distribution of bread victuals and

clothing, at the discretion of the minister and church-

wardens, amongst the deserving poor of Marygate

and Gillygate

Your Giving

You might like to consider leaving a legacy in your will to the church. Legacies are always gratefully received. They are often used for projects in the churches and sometimes the name of the donor is included somewhere in the design. Their names are recorded in the minutes of the Parochial Church Council. These minutes are eventually archived so the names are kept in the records for future generations to see. You will remember that the Frank Elliott Legacy at St Olave paid for an organist bursary and the replacement of the roof. At All Saints Pavement, the gift of Mary Clive paid for new steps around the lectern and a new bible. There are many other examples in our 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.

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 Helen's and St Martin

Text SHSM14 followed by the amount you want to give to 70070

Eg to give £10 SHSM14£10 to 70070

St Olave's

Text olav15 followed by the amount you want to give to 70070

Eg to give £10  olav15£10 to 70070


Publicity has been put into our churches to  further the work of weddings in our churches. The days have gone when couples were seen to be ‘using’ the church for pretty photographs. Many of the couples now keep their links with the church and continue to attend long after their weddings. It is a joy to welcome them into the family of the church.

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


York Residents' Weekend at St Denys' 28-29 January 

For the third year running, we opened St Denys for the annual York Residents' Weekend, and it was well worth it! At just a whisker under 250 combining Saturday and Sunday, visitor numbers more than doubled last year's: and though this event isn't really about fund raising, donations totalled nearly £300, well up on last year's £125. This included donations for refreshments, tirelessly served throughout the weekend by Kathy and Pauline.

Visitors included Walmgate residents or their descendants in search of their roots--grandparents and other kin were tracked down on our war memorials and collection of photographs of victory celebrations and outings. Many others came specially to look at the stained glass, including deputations of Minster guides and Heritage Management students, to admire Sister Margery's famous knitted Last Supper or to hear about our plans for repairing the endangered north aisle. We were particularly glad to welcome some of our Roman Catholic neighbours from St. George's, and the godson of our last full-time vicar, the much-loved pipe-smoking cake-maker Tom Preston. A lot more 'Friends of St.Denys' were added to the list by Lesley and others.

Particular thanks to the visiting organists, whom Alison persuaded to give short recitals at hourly intervals on Saturday. Many thanks too to the many members of the congregation and friends who helped throughout the weekend, including: Dianne, Margaret, Josie Tomlin and the other guides; 'welcomers' Lesley, Mary Brooks, Sam and Simon for putting up the banners and volunteers refreshments,Paul, Rodney, Eve, Rosie, Emily and Claire; Maxine for set-up and publicity and Alan for dealing with the cash; and of course refreshmenteers. Kathy and Pauline--who also deep-cleaned up afterwards. If I've forgotten anyone, apologies. I'm sure we'll be doing it again next year. With, fingers crossed, a renewed north aisle to show off.

Charles Kightly

St Olave’s Treasurer moves on – to become treasurer of Accomplish Children’s Fund

As some readers of the Porch Magazine will be aware, I have been treasurer of St Olave’s church for some seven years but will stepping down at the APCM this year.  I am, however, going to carry on being a treasurer for an organisation called 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.  

I spent two weeks in Uganda in April last year, and I will be returning for a further two weeks in May this year.  I’ll be accompanied by a paediatrician, a dentist and my daughter Jessie.  We’ll visit Accomplish’s projects to check on what they need, do some field work with the charity’s epilepsy outreach project, and spend time at Kagando Hospital.

The hospital’s mission is to proclaim the love of God by engaging in activities aimed at improving the physical and spiritual well-being of the poor and disadvantaged people in the district. The hospital and its community programs serve all who are in need regardless of their ethnic background or religious belief.

The district is criss-crossed by rutted dirt roads, is without electricity, and has severely limited access to clean water. Private motor vehicles are nearly non-existent. For the most part, people walk and carry. A few have bicycles which they overload with extraordinary amounts of goods of every description. Most families live in one or two room, thatched, wattle and mud huts. A few have a small concrete house with a metal roof. Only a handful have their own source of clean water. The people suffer from a high incidence of malnutrition, cholera, AIDS, and tuberculosis. 

The case study of Masika Rose who I met during my last visit sums up the sort of work that Accomplish does, in partnership with staff at the hospital.  

We found Rose alone in the house, sitting on the mud floor, rocking and calling out.  There were remains of pieces of food, including an avocado stone and mashed banana around her on the mud floor.  On enquiring with the children outside, attracted by our arrival, a man who said he was an uncle came to speak with us.  He was drunk.  Since Masika Rose was born, she has had problems.  The father is a business man working in town, the mother was up the hill picking coffee.  The mother cares for the child.  They told us they were very poor. Kagando hospital had provided a wheelchair.  There was a brother, who was a couple of years older who was asked to make sure the child had water to drink three times a day.  As the uncle, had clearly been drinking, it was felt that the young brother (probably 7 or 8 years old) would be the more reliable person to ask to care for Rose.

Accomplish is now helping Rose. 

I will be making a presentation about the work of Accomplish after Church on Sunday 23rd April during a bring-and-share lunch. All are very welcome.  Jane is also about to adopt some hens which we will be pairing with some hens at one of Accomplish’s projects in Uganda.  Sales of the eggs will help with our fundraising – so please look out for opportunities to buy them.  Maybe we could call this Eggcomplish?

Chris Acton

Every Lent, Christian Aid invites people to COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS and they publish a leaflet to help your reflections and prayers. See 


In 1996 I was working in Poland doing Aid Work. I was there to show them how to run language schools and how to train Teachers of English as a Foreign Language. In January Cecilia came out to spend two weeks with me.

As part of her visit we decided to go to Krakow. Krakow was the town where Schindler had his factory and where he saved his Jewish workers. The factory was long closed and the concentration camp was also gone leaving a large forlorn space which we visited.  We also found the Camp Commandant’s quarter with its balcony from which, using a high-powered hunting rifle he would shoot the inmates.

Whilst in Krakow we decided to take a coach to Auschwitz. We arrived on a bitterly cold winter’s morning. It was overcast with sleet and icy rain in the air. We moved through the infamous gates where incomers were assured that ‘Arbeit macht Frei’ (work makes you free) – a vile and sick joke because hundreds of thousands who moved through these gates never came out.

Our tour of the site was comprehensive and devastating. Initial nervous chatter stilled into stunned silence as one was shown – the shoes; dentures human hair; suitcases; glasses. It became too much for Cecilia and with a young Jewish American couple numbed by what they had seen had to leave and wait outside in the bitter winter weather. Then the incinerators; the cramped, filthy and congested barracks for the starving inmates; the sites of the executions; the cell where an heroic Polish priest was starved to death. All beyond belief.

We left returning to Krakow. Once there still numbed by what we had witnessed we crossed the Vistula to the area of the old Jewish Ghetto and went to a small Jewish restaurant which we had used previously. It was late afternoon and already dark. As the only customers, we were served Slibowitch and Jewish Golden biscuits. As we sat in shocked silence either side of the table staring at each other trying to come to terms with what we had just experienced we became aware of a small band rehearsing for the evening’s performance.

They too noticed us and seemed to realise where we had been as we sat overwhelmed by our experience. Their rehearsal stuttered to a close and a young violinist in the group began to play slow, beautiful melodies of intense sorrow and longing. Cecilia and I just continued looking at one another as our tears fell. I had never cried in public before but that day …...!

Images of a mountain of tattered suitcases bearing the names of the victims; an obscene pile of human hair shorn from the persecuted; a huge collection of glasses that they would never need again! I have served in some terrible places and seen some frightful sights but that day which showed me what man’s inhumanity to man is capable of transcends anything I had ever experienced. It will never leave me.

John Jessop

The Friday Mailing

I am sure that many readers of Touch Base will be aware of the Friday Mailing.  In case you are not, it is a free weekly publication distributed by email to more than 2,500 recipients throughout York and North Yorkshire (and beyond) and is published by Christians in Communication (Registered Charity No 512656).  Many churches and Christian organisations use the Friday Mailing to publicise their forthcoming events and special services and the great attraction is that there is no charge to place an entry. Production costs are met by the charity, using funds raised through the modest sponsorship of each edition.  If you are not aware of the Friday Mailing but would be interested in receiving it simply send an email to and you will be added to the distribution list.  Of course, you may ‘unsubscribe’ at any time.

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Some British Saints in March

In March the Church of England continues to commemorate a number of holy men and women who contributed to the life of the Church and society in Britain.

The earliest is also one of the best known: Patrick, patron saint of Ireland (c390-c460) (17 March). He was actually born in Celtic Cornwall. When he was sixteen he was captured by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland as a slave. However, after six years he escaped and seems to have gone to the Continent.  After returning briefly to his family he went back to Gaul where he trained for the priesthood and was much influenced by the form of monasticism evolving under Martin of Tours. In his early forties he returned to Ireland as a bishop, making Armagh his base. His missionary journeys on foot covered the whole country. His monastic foundations were able to maintain the faith after his death.

Equally well known is David, patron saint of Wales (6th century) (1 March). He was known not only as a fine example of the ascetic spiritual life but also for his kindness and compassion especially to the poor and the sick. It is believed that he founded the monastery at Menevia, now St David’s, as well as at least a dozen others. His rule was based on that of the Egyptian desert monks, with an emphasis on hard work, abstinence from alcohol and refraining from unnecessary speech. He has been regarded as the patron saint of Wales at least since the twelfth century.

Cuthbert (c640-687) (20 March) is one of the best loved northern saints. Born probably in the Scottish lowlands he was brought up as a shepherd, which gave him ample time for prayer. It is told that one night he saw in the sky a dazzling light and angels carrying a soul up to heaven, at which point he decided to dedicate his life to God. Later he become a monk at Melrose Abbey. From there he began his missionary work, which he continued at Lindisfarne where he became abbot and then in 685 bishop. He travelled and preached all over his diocese. However, he felt his end coming, resigned his office and died on Farne Island in the company of a few of his monks.

Another much loved northern saint is Chad (died 672) (2 March). He was born in Northumbria, the youngest of four brothers, all of whom became both priests and monks. They entered the monastery at Lindisfarne where they were taught by St Aidan. Chad became abbot of the abbey at Lastingham on the death of his brother Cedd who had founded it. For a while he was Bishop of York before becoming Bishop of Mercia, a large diocese whose centre he moved to Lichfield. Like Cuthbert he travelled extensively and was much loved for his wisdom and gentleness.

Less well known is Felix (died 647) (8 March) who is regarded as the apostle to the East Angles. Born in Burgundy at the beginning of the seventh century he is reputed to have converted the exiled King Sigebert of the East Angles. After the king’s return to Britain he was consecrated bishop and persuaded by the king to convert his subjects. He made Dunwich the centre of his new See and established schools and monasteries.

The mystic Walter Hilton (1343-1396) (24 March) studied Canon Law at Cambridge and after a time as a hermit joined the community of Augustinian canons at Thurgarton in Nottinghamshire in around 1386. He was highly regarded as a spiritual guide and wrote a number of influential works in both English and Latin, including the Ladder of Perfection, as well as translating several Latin devotional works.

Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556) (21 March) is one of the central figures in the process of change that affected the Church of England in the sixteenth century. Recruited into the diplomatic service in 1527, in 1529 he joined the team working to annul Henry VIII’s marriage to Catharine of Aragon. In 1533 he was made Archbishop of Canterbury and he duly declared the marriage annulled. He went on to become a chief architect of religious change in the reign of Edward VI, producing two editions of The Book of Common Prayer in 1549 and 1552, the Ordinal in 1552 and the original version of the Thirty-Nine Articles, thereby leaving a lasting mark on Anglican liturgy. When Mary came to the throne he was convicted of treason in 1553 and of heresy in 1554. Though he made six recantations he was still condemned to death by burning at the stake in Oxford and made a final bold statement of Protestant faith.

John Donne (c1571-1631) (31 March) is perhaps best remembered today for his poetry and yet he was also a noted patristic scholar, moral theologian and preacher. He was brought up as a Roman Catholic, and was indeed a great-great nephew of Thomas More. His youth was marked by debauched behaviour and scepticism about all religion. However, after study at Oxford and Cambridge he discovered his Christian faith in the Church of England. He was ordained and later became Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral. He came to affirm his own vocation as a priest, loving and loved by the crucified Christ. People flocked to hear his sermons which were published.

Harriet Monsell (1811-1883) (26 March) was the wife of a clergyman. When he died she went to work in a penitentiary at Clewer near Windsor. Here under the guidance of the local vicar she was professed as a Religious in 1852 and became the first Superior of the Community of St John the Baptist. Under her the community grew rapidly, the sisters being involved in the care of orphans, running schools and hospitals and opening mission houses in parishes. By the 1880s there were foundations in India and America. Due to ill-health she retired in 1875 to a small hermitage in Folkestone where she died on Easter Day in 1883.

Edward King (1829-1910) (8 March) was very much revered as both a priest and then a bishop for his holiness of life and his wise advice, and is remember as an example of a pastoral and caring bishop to both clergy and laity. He became principal of Cuddesdon Theological College and then a professor of theology at Oxford, during which time he exercised a great influence on many ordinands. In 1885 he became Bishop of Lincoln.

Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy (1883-1929) (8 March) is better known by his nickname “Woodbine Willie” which he acquired during his time as an army chaplain in the First World War, after the brand of cigarettes he shared with the solders whose respect he soon earned. After the war he became a writer and his regular sermons drew large crowds. His preaching combined traditional sacramental theology with more unconventional theological views. He also worked tirelessly for the Christian Industrial Fellowship, but died at the early age of 45.

This concludes the monthly series on British saints. The information for the articles in this series has been taken largely from the service book Exciting Holiness.

Kingsley Boulton

 “St Helen gets its bells back” Come and See!

We are delighted to report that Whitechapel Foundry did not find any defects in our two bells and so they are due to return very soon. The scaffolding goes up again a week before to permit replacement of the floor in the bell cote. We don’t want to install the bells only to take them out again because the original Victorian lead floor develops a leak. So all that is to be renewed as an urgent extra job.

The bells will be brought back to St Helen on the morning of Monday 6 March. At 11.00 am Rev’d Jane will bless them and send them up to their bell cote “home” fit for another 400 years. Do please come and watch. It will be your one and only chance to, as Rev’d Jane likes to urge, “come and see”. Make a note in your diary!

A celebratory service will be held at the end of April. More details in due course.

Welcome to St Martin Coney Street, York, dedicated to peace and reconciliation and a partner in the Community of the Cross of Nails


We seek God’s forgiveness and commit ourselves to a closer relationship with God and one another by living lives of reconciliation.

Loving God, we seek forgiveness and freedom from the constraints of past hurts, division and disunity. May we, your children, develop healing dialogue with one another and live your love in building strong, diverse communities based on truth, love, justice and peace.  Amen

THE SEASON OF LENT ‘.....a time for addressing the barriers that divide us from one another.’ 

Jean Vanier, L’Arche Community