Monday, 27 April 2009

All Saints North Street.

One of the more interesting small Churches in York is All Saints North Street, just on the 'wrong' side of the river for many tourists. York is full of little and not so little Churches, each one a gem of a place but of course, there are now far too many to meet the realistic demand. The Minster follows the national trend for a great increase in Cathedral worshipper numbers, with people more and more seeking out busy, but anonymous worship, a fine choral tradition with no pressure to bake cakes. Saint Helen's is a fine, simple place which is heavily used by the Oriental community, Spurriergate is a hybrid Christian cafe/community, another Church has become 'Visions', a strange place resembling a members club for goths which projects a new breed of Christianity, yet another Church is in the hands of the trust which looks after disused Churches, the name of which I forget. Other Churches have congregations of varying sizes and leanings and in the midst of this, All Saints offers a traditional Anglo Catholic 'Missal' Church, using the English Missal and attracting a congregation from far and wide.

This picture is taken from the Sanctuary looking out into the Nave. There is a very fine statue of our Lady on the site of her medieval appearances, but it was covered for Passiontide. There are two small side Chapels and a collection of stained glass which is almost unparalleled in any Church of this size in the world, including the famous 'pricke of conscience' window, about which I wrote a paper some years ago. I will see if I can find both the paper and a picture of the window, my camera is not great at taking pictures of glass.

Our Lady's South Creake is widely feted as being a wonderful Victorian replica of what a Medieval Parish Church would look like, but All Saints offers a more accurate idea. The rood must have looked remarkable centuries ago when it was polychromed.

The strong outdoor light and the great rush I was in conspired to make sure that I could not produce pictures of the quality you are accustomed to, but can I point you in the direction of their WEBSITE for more information.

Uniquely in my experience, All Saints offers a Low Mass in the morning on a Sunday and a High or Solemn Mass at half past five, allowing both congregation to travel and servers to finish Minster duties, as well as allowing occasional tourists like myself to enjoy a full day in York before coming to High Mass before a couple of pints of bitter around the corner.

From the outside, the tall thin spire is distinctive and recognisable from the main part of town at the other side of the river, which is just behind me.