One hundred and fifty years to the day that the church in Albert Park, Abingdon was consecrated by the Bishop of Oxford and dedicated to Saint Michael and All Angels, a Dedication Festival Mass was celebrated last Wednesday evening. It was part of a series of special events to commemorate the Sesquicentennial, running from Michaelmas 2016 to Michaelmas 2017.
Wednesday night’s service was preceded by a lively organ fanfare and an Introit, Locus Iste by Anton Bruckner, sung by the combined and robed choirs of Saint Nicolas and of Saint Michael’s churches, who sang throughout the Mass. Colin Fletcher, Bishop of Dorchester presided and preached. Father Paul Smith, the Vicar, had even penned the lyrics to one of the hymns.
Previous vicars, a Deputy Lieutenant of Oxfordshire and other special guests attended the packed service. During the offertory hymn, a collection was taken for two charities supported by Saint Michael’s. The Abingdon Bridge works with vulnerable young people agreed 13-24 in the Abingdon area. Tariro – Hope for Youth in Zimbabwe, is a UK based charity, supporting young people in various cities in Zimbabwe.
Saint Michael’s is within what is referred to in the commemorative book published to mark the occasion, as the ‘high church’ tradition of the Church of England. This manifests itself amongst other things by the use of bells and incense to mark significant points of the service, although as the book says, it is “within certain limits”.
Originally built for those who had settled in Abingdon to work in the then expanding brewing and tanning industries, Saint Michael’s today contains “a vibrant community of faithful people.” Father Paul Smith said in the introduction to the service that “we give thanks for all that is past and look to the future with hope and faith.”
Lombard Street, a small road in the town centre, has been closed to vehicles for the last week as repairs to water pipes are carried out. The work should be finished by Tuesday 31st Jan.
Traffic has been denied this short cut between East and West St Helen Street during the closure. Even the recycling lorry has not picked up the green bags.
In 2006 the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) moved from the Courtyard, off Lombard Street, and for a while the Courtyard was used by smaller businesses until becoming fully residential.
Macnab Clarke, the defence lawyers, also moved from Lombard Street after merging with another firm in 2015. They are now part of Cartwright King in St Aldates, Oxford, near the Police Station and courts. They are still available on call if needed at the Abingdon police station.
A few businesses remain in Lombard Street including Greenius, Kingwood, and Syndicut who share one property, and AAH Photography is on the corner of West St Helen Street.