Michael and all the Angels

St. Michael’s Vicarage, Alnwick
October 2021

Dear People of Alnwick,

Have you noticed how the evenings are already getting darker? We’ve not yet put the clocks back and yet dusk is with us by late afternoon.

Turning out in the dark for meetings or activities is something we have got out of the habit of doing since the first lockdown began but it is heartening to know that social activities in the evening are slowly beginning to take off once again. It’s lovely, for instance, to know that our indoor bowlers at St Michael’s are back in the Parish Hall each Tuesday evening.

Of course, for some, it’s equally good to be able to draw the curtains, put another log on the fire and enjoy the cosiness of an evening at home as the weather turns darker and colder.

In church on Sunday evenings we’ve revised our pattern of worship. We hope that, before too long, we might be able to reform our choir but, at least until then, it is quite a challenge to have a weekly sung Evensong without the lead of our choristers.

Our new pattern leaves Evensong on the first Sunday of the month but this is followed by an Iona-style service, the lovely evening office of Compline and then a Taizé-style service on the second, third and fourth Sundays of the month respectively.

So far this pattern has met with the approval of our Sunday evening congregation and, indeed, we have found that it has attracted others who might not otherwise have been evening worshippers.

Each of these lovely forms of worship have particularly engaging and memorable prayers within them. At Evensong the comforting ‘Lighten our darkness we beseech thee, O Lord and, from Compline, ‘Visit, Lord, we pray, this place and drive far from it all the snares of the enemy. Let your holy angels dwell here to keep us in peace ‘

By the time you read this we will have celebrated once again St Michael, chief of the angels and the co-patron of our parish along with St Paul.

Perhaps we should have greater regard for the angels not only as messengers but also as protectors. I, for one, particularly bring them to mind as evening draws on. Perhaps that is from training in a theological college which sung Compline every evening — or maybe it comes from even further back

I suspect I was not the only child of earlier years who regularly sang at the end of the school day:

‘Lord, keep us safe this night, secure from all our fears.
May angels guard us while we sleep,
’til morning light appears. ‘

May you know Michael and all the angels watching over you both day and night.

With every blessing,


This entry was posted in Letters. Bookmark the permalink.