A Great Cloud of Witnesses

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Last week, Fr. Paul and I had the opportunity to travel to General Theological Seminary, in New York City, to hear former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams share two lectures about his life as a Christian.  What a powerful witness!  Even as we move forward as Anglican Communion with various disagreements and differences, it was a gift to hear how we are united in our faith in Jesus Christ!  The Archbishop shared about key influences in his life, including Mother Kara’s favorite theologian Karl Barth and one of my own spiritual heroes and former Kentuckian, Thomas Merton.  Surely, we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who light our path home to God. The Archbishop also encouraged us to engage with our local congregations as we seek to serve our world.

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Rowan Williams  [Photos: Tommy Dillon]

Rowan Williams [Photos: Tommy Dillon]

In that spirit, Trinity Church continues to forge a partnership with St. Michael’s Church in Trenton.  On President’s Day, I had the opportunity to lead their annual service of Commemoration for General George Washington. In preparation for that service, I did a little research and found out the following about St. Michael’s: 

When George Washington and the Continental army surprised the Hessians on December 26, 1776, some of the fighting of the Battle of Trenton happened in St. Michael’s church yard.   There was hand to hand combat with swords, muskets, and bayonets on church grounds.  Later in the war, the church was used by George Washington’s Continental Army as a hospital…

In 1801, the Fifth General Convention of the Episcopal Church met at St. Michael’s.  One of the most significant actions of this convention was the adoption the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion… Another historical event at St. Michael’s was the Diocesan Convention of August 1815, where The Rev. John Cross was elected the first Episcopal Bishop of New Jersey.

 In 1843, the church added the Warren Street frontage. The Gothic Revival Style of the building façade resembles a castle. The principal sanctuary of St. Michael’s was renovated to resemble Lambeth Palace, the official London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury in England. St. Michael’s had two turrets and a bell tower. The turrets and towers remain, but the bell tower is no longer standing. Standing across the street on Warren looking up at the front of the church, you will see the likeness of Lambeth Palace. [Source]

Lambeth Palace

Lambeth Palace

St. Michael’s Church, Trenton

St. Michael’s Church, Trenton

Whether it’s their role in the American Revolution, the early foundations of the Episcopal Church and our Diocese, or their place in the greater Anglican Communion, we’re partnering with a congregation that has profound importance in the story of our nation and our church!  I’m so grateful to Fr. Paul and our Vestry for their decision to minister alongside the people of St. Michael’s Church!

In peace,

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Br. Chris McNabb, OSF
Curate