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St. Bart's Youth Experience the Anglican Church in Historical and Modern Contexts

Seeking to provide the young people at St. Bartholomew’s, Pewaukee with experiences in daily prayer and knowledge of the long and rich Anglican Christian history as well as learning about opportunities for extended prayer and service that exist in different communities, the youth leaders planned an extensive and varied pilgrimage to a few places around England. They wanted the youth to pray, worship, and encounter God and the works of God’s people throughout history in England.

Thirteen St. Bart’s youth and leaders departed for their journey in mid-July and traveled first to Lastingham. Lastingham is a village in the North Yorkshire Moors and site of Church of St. Mary and its famous Norman crypt.

While in Lastingham, their guides were Bishop H. William and Judith Godfrey. Fr. Joel and Tammy Prather were acquainted with Bishop and Judith Godfrey from their missionary work in Peru. They had been missionaries in South America for thirty years where they planted the thriving Anglican Diocese of Peru, which grew from one congregation upon their arrival in 1998 to roughly sixty congregations with an array of social outreach ministries and two seminaries. Bishop and Judith retired from Peru returning to their home in England, where they now serve four congregations in the Benefice of Lastingham, and have created the St. Cedd Centre, which offers retreats and the Festival of Northern Saints for pilgrims coming to see one of the key holy sites in the founding of Anglican Christianity. 

The crew from St. Bart's served as volunteers for the Festival of the Northern Saints. They repaired fencing, painted sacristy and altar walls, and oiled the pulpit among other tasks.

In addition to their time in Lastingham, the youth also visited and worshipped other churches throughout England including York Minster, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Bath Abbey, and Lambeth Palace. In addition to praying the Daily Office, the youth experienced a variety of worship services at the places of worship they visited — Evensong, informal evening service, Holy Eucharist.

Another highlight of their trip was being received at Lambeth Palace by Dean Simon Lewis to learn about the Community of St. Anselm. The Community of St. Anselm was started by Archbishop Justin Welby “to give young people a profound experience of prayer, service and living in community.” Members between the ages of 20 and 35 live and worship at Lambeth Palace for one year, serving the most vulnerable locally as well as receive Christian leadership and service training from world-wide speakers each week. 

Below are pictures from their travels as well as captions and commentary from Fr. Joel Prather, rector of St. Bart’s.


Bishop Godfrey and his fun-loving dogs led us on a three-mile hike “over the Moors.” This beautiful trail from the Village of Rosedale to Lastingham goes through the beautiful North Yorkshire Moors National Park and is the same path saints such as Cedd and Chad would have taken into Lastingham on their way in from the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. 

On our hike, Bishop shared a beautiful teaching on prayer with us describing how whenever our Lord Jesus prayed in the Gospels, he always opened with “Father…” and how we too can turn anything we're thinking or feeling into a prayer — anger, frustration, worry, joy, need — simply by adding the Name of the Father to beginning of what we’re feeling. For example the sigh of, “I’m so worried about what’s going to happen tomorrow” immediately becomes a prayer when we add, “Father, I’m so worried about what’s going to happen tomorrow.” This teaching made a huge impact on us and we prayed this way together praying for the remained of our pilgrimage. 

Part of our pilgrimage was our service for the Festival of Northern Saints. Our group was divided into three teams to assist with projects at St. Mary’s Lastingham, Rosedale Abbey and St. Gregory’s Cropton. Typically our days began at 8:30 am, after prayer and breakfast, at our worksites until mid-afternoon when we would then head out to pilgrimage sites that included Hadrian’s Wall and Whitby Abbey, the site of the Synod of Whitby in 664 A.D. which was a watershed moment on history of Anglican Christianity.

Fr. Joel, Jude, and Dietrich removed a fence to make way for the new fencing at St. Mary’s.

 

Tammy and Laylo oiled the altar and painted altar-wall at Rosedale Abbey, which was founded in 1158 A.D. (now the Parish Church of St. Mary & St. Lawrence). 

  

Paw Nyaw Htoo, Terkweley and Raylo oiled the pulpit and painted the altar-wall at Rosedale Abbey.

 

St. Bart’s pilgrims pictured with Judith and Bishop Godfrey (front left) and their three dogs at the entry to the village of Lastingham.

 

On Wednesday of our first week in Lastingham, we had the privilege to worship in the Crypt Chapel of St. Cedd, which is below the Parish Church of St. Mary. This is the chapel founded by St. Cedd in 654 A.D., as described by the Venerable Bede in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Worship has been offered in this holy place continually since it founded by St. Cedd — over 1,300 years! 

Bishop Godfrey invited Tammy Prather to read the Scriptures and Father Joel Prather to celebrate the Holy Communion at this Eucharist. Pictured in the photo is the stone altar, which is over 1,000 years old. The red sanctuary light and icon at the foot of the altar indicate that St. Cedd is buried directly below the altar.  

Praying Compline in the cool night air in front of our Youth Hostel in London.

Each day we prayed the Daily Office informally together as a group in all manner of settings as well as attended daily worship in some of the most historic Churches in English Christianity, including Evensong at Westminster Abbey, York Minster, St. Paul’s London; the excellent informal evening service at Bath Abbey; and Eucharist at Lambeth Palace. A special highlight was worshipping in the Crypt Chapel of St. Cedd in Lastingham, which dates back to 654 A.D. 

 

St. Bart’s Pilgrims were thrilled to be received at Lambeth Palace by Dean Simon Lewis to learn about the Community of St. Anselm, which he leads with the Archbishop of Canterbury. We had an amazing tour and joined community members for the Eucharist that the bishop at Lambeth, Tim Thornton, celebrated and preached on the Feast of William Wilberforce. 

  

Pay Nyaw Htoo gathered the youth in Trafalgar Square spontaneously to pray for the Rhythms of Life Ministry of St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields Church (red t-shirts) and those they were providing meals for (pictured right). Paw Nyaw Htoo is one of the Karen Refugees from Myanmar St. Bartholomew’s sponsored ten years ago to come to the U.S. and is now one our the dynamic members of our congregation and Youth Ministry.

St. Bart’s Pilgrims in front of the Modern Martyrs over the Great West Doors at Westminster Abbey where they attended Evensong.


This trip was the fruit of a great deal of hard work and planning by Tammy Prather, Ilse Frayer and Karl Mueller from St. Bart's and Mary Pettitt from the St. Cedd Centre.

To learn more about the St. Cedd Centre and how you might make a pilgrimage of your own to Lastingham, you can contact their amazing coordinator Mary Pettitt at  and visit www.LastinghamFriends.com.

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