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Established 1999
A Wesleyan-Anglican Church in Boise, Idaho


An English Pilgrimage

Entry 1 | Entry 2 | Entry 3 | Entry 4 | Entry 5 | Entry 6 | Entries 7-9 | Entry 10 | Entry 11 | Entry 12 | Entry 13 | Entry 15 | Entry 16 | Entry 17 | Entry 19 | Entry 20 | Entry 21 | Entry 24 |

Entry 11, Friday, Second Week of Advent:
York: Ministration of Angels

Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?
- Hebrews 1:14 (NIV)

We proceed to Thirsk, north of York, and enter and park on the cobblestones in the village square (a triangle, actually). We ask a gentleman who is ready to depart the next space over, about whether payment is required to park there. "Gentleman" is the right word, too, for after he explains that parking is free for two hours but requires the display of a parking disk available from a merchant, and he tells us he will get one for us. In his sixties, I guess, he immediately runs from one to another, and then another, merchant maybe 300 feet away. Soon he returns, again at an unwinded run, sets the on-your-honor disk to give us one-half hour more than the general limit, expresses a friendly (even jovial) interest in Idaho's weather and potatoes, and is gone.

We marvel thankfully at the kindness of his ministration, all of which was in the costume, visage, dialect and warmth of any of many of the characters in Alf Wight's books about country veterinarian "James Herriot" and the "All Creatures Great and Small" television series based on them.

We walk through the market-town square and into narrow Kirkgate Street, to No. 23, the actual "Skeldale House" in and from which Mr. Wight conducted his "James Herriot" practice, and in front of which street scenes in the television series were filmed.

The house is now a museum, and a superbly conceived and executed one at that. Best of all, for this visitor, is that the gentleness which the books and television series portrayed is evident in the home (a better word than "house") today, even as now a museum.

We lunch in the car, now removed to Kirkgate Street to provide us with a full view of the parish church in which Mr. Wight and his bride were married-a scene replicated in the television series.

James Herriot (?), ready to attend.
James Herriot (?), ready to attend.

Can I get a Wesleyan point out of this? Of course, I can; how can you question that?

I think of John Wesley's famous line (here shortened) from his sermon on "The Use of Money", "Gain all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can." Throughout his adult life, John Wesley carried and promoted the cause of the poor and needy-hence, "Give all you can."

"All Creatures Great and Small" evidences, as much as any other, the value behind "Give all you can." In the phrase of the Siegfried Farnon character, "We must attend"-whatever the hour of the day or night, whatever the animal in need (and therefore, whatever the need of its owner).

Professing Christians should follow that injunction: "We must attend"-to the worship of Christ and the needs of those around us.

We proceed to York, its world-famous York Minster (cathedral), and its still-walled inner city. York has been a town since 71 A.D., when it was established by the Romans as part of their pacification of the north of Britain.

As we walk toward the Minster-the largest medieval cathedral in Britain-most of the pedestrian traffic is in the other direction: St. Peter's School students in their uniforms, professors and monitors in gowns, and dressed-up parents. They've come, we learn, from a carols/leaving-for-the-holidays service at the Minster. A monitor in gown tells us that the school was established many centuries ago by the Archbishop of York, and as a consequence a close relationship has been retained between Minster and school ever since.

Very cold by this time, we learn that choral Evensong is scheduled in the Minster, for 6 p.m. As we stand in the plaza in front of the Minster and wonder where we can find a cup of tea and be warm until the service (the Minster is temporarily closed after the school service), a middle-aged Englishwoman appears seemingly out of nowhere and asks whether we'd like a place to have tea. Upon our enthusiastic "Yes!", she highly recommends a place just a half-block away and says they can seat us now. We ask how she could tell what we wanted, she demurs, and she is gone as quickly as she came.

Yorkminster by night, obviously
Yorkminster by night, obviously.

We do indeed receive immediate seating, have our tea, scones and sweets, and return to the Minster for choral Evensong-and hear the voices, so it seems, of angels. They sing antiphonally from side to side, and enunciate precisely on the top of each word without sinking into the words as we Americans generally do. Taken from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, the readings and prayers are comfortably familiar to the Wesleyans.

These voices and prayers rise past the Advent candles, hung high overhead on what must be a 15-foot-diameter ring.

In this place, where worship has occurred since Saxon times, and in this house of God which began to be constructed in the 1220s, one would have to be sorely spiritually disabled not to have one's spirit soar with joy, in awareness of God's enduring faithfulness to, and presence with, his people.

Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we your unworthy servants do give You most humble thanks for all your goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all people. We bless You for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life, but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ, for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. Amen.

- Christopher

Theme Verse

Luke 1:78-79

Scripture Lessons

Jun 30: 1 Kings 19:15-21, Psalm 16, Galatians 5:1, 13-25, Luke 9:51-62

Jun 23: Zechariah 12:8-10, 13:1, Psalm 63:1-8, Galatians 3:23-29, Luke 9:18-24

Prayer Emphases

Nation: Iran

Denomination: Conservative Congregational Churches

Congregation: First Presbyterian Church, Hollywood, CA, and the Rev. Dan Baumgartner

Ministry: Love, INC of the Boise Community

Parishioners: Those living on Poplar Drive

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