Thursday, 18 August 2016

Christ reigns

Hugh Winfield, North East Lincolnshire Council's archaeologist, was at St Nicolas' again yesterday, looking with a colleague at the south aisle we are soon to repair and adding to his collection of pictures, and he has shared this good quality view of the 1920s east window with us. We had a Grimsby Telegraph journalist with us at the same time and an item should appear soon about the major grant we have received to do the work.

The notice which I prepared a while ago and is placed near the window reads:

The main east window of the church is a memorial to Canon James Quirk who was Rector of Great Coates for 35 years.  It shows the risen and ascended Christ on a throne - the window was made four years after the Pope made ‘Christ the King’ a feast day in the calendar of the Catholic Church.

The saints either side of Christ are his mother and St Nicolas.  There is a small anchor in the curve of St Nicolas’ crozier which is a reminder (in this Humber bank parish) that he is a patron saint for sailors. 

The coats of arms are those of the Bishop of Lincoln (on the left) and the Archbishop of Canterbury (on the right). 

We still pour water into the font for Baptisms from a brass jug (or ‘ewer’) which he gave in 1907 in thanksgiving for the Baptism of his five children (who are named on it - the date of each Baptism is then added against each name).  Meanwhile, Canon Quirk’s grave is a short distance the other side of the window. 

I’m troubled from time to time that the image reinforces a view of God which all our teaching and singing about ‘the servant King’ fails seriously to undermine.  As it happens, a paragraph in my last post addresses this dilemma directly:

...  ‘ever potent’ echoes the Latin ‘omnipotentiam’ which is really ‘all powerful’ - an idea which the life and teaching of Jesus seems to subvert.  I was trying to get nearer to a dynamic ‘ever creative’ than a static ‘almighty’; inexhaustible potential rather than irresistible force....

But there it is, literally.

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