For us at St. Wilfrid of York, our interest in St. Wilfrid really all began because of the former Rector’s, Fr. Michael, interest to find out more about our obscure saint. Prior to his desire to learn as much as he could, no one at the church seemed to have considered researching our patron saint. At first glance, there wasn’t much to learn unless you really started to dig. Yes, you could find some Wikipedia or Google info, but it wasn’t much. He’s not even listed in our Book of Saints: Holy Men, Holy Women.
A large part of Wilfrid’s legacy, in our parish, lives here on Chapel Lane in Huntington Beach, California is because of our relationship with the Ripon Cathedral. This relationship began with Fr. Michael. Because Fr. Michael’s interest in St. Wilfrid grew, he would share what he learned with us. Over time, we became thirsty to learn more about St. Wilfrid, especially as we knew so little. Our parish’s connection to St. Wilfrid begins with the Ripon Jewel Window. I will attach the CLARION from 2015 where Fr. Micheal recalls how it started. It’s quite a moving and personal tribute to his journey to learn more about Wilfrid. It took him across the pond and tells of how he discovered the Ripon Jewel in the upstairs Treasury room at the Ripon Cathedral. Something called him there…I always suspected that it might be St. Wilfrid himself! The article also contains information about how we commissioned our local parishioners to design the Ripon Jewel Windows that were later blessed and installed into our majestic church doors. Our parish Ripon Jewel Windows are a perpetual reminder of the famous jewel that some say could have been worn by Wilfrid himself! This undeniable ‘star in the crown’ of Ripon’s treasures dates from the 7th century, but was only found about 40 years ago on the south side of the cathedral when the grounds were being excavated for a new parking lot.
Then in 2018, a pilgrimage from our church went to England on a ‘Walking in the Way of St. Wilfrid’ tour. Our choir and other members of the church went to London to do a residency and sing Evensong at both the Westminster Abbey and the Ripon Cathedral. We made stops along the way in Canterbury to find the final resting place of St. Wilfrid. We stayed in Ripon for a few days and marched in the St. Wilfrid’s procession, where the entire clergy from the Ripon Cathedral came and marched with us for a time, joining in holding our banner as we marched through the streets of Ripon. A show of Christian fellowship at its finest! Fr. Michael was also asked to do a reading at one of the evensong services. To hear our choir sing evensong while our rector was reading at the lectern was very moving! An honor for all.
We were then asked by Dean John to please sit on the altar in the cathedral after the parade where the entire town joined in the continued celebration. Our banner was also laid on the altar, along with the Yorkshire flag for all to see. The church was packed with clergy, staff, dignitaries, guests, parade participants, and locals! The entire town was there. Dean John introduced us and asked Fr. Michael to please come forward to share in his story about why this Cathedral means so much to him. It was at that time, the town of Ripon heard the story he outlines in the 2015 Clarion. They gasped and cheered and clapped when he ended by saying and that is why he wanted to share this special place with more of the people of St. Wilfrid’s of York in Huntington Beach, California.
In closing, what do I think is the legacy of St. Wilfrid here on Chapel Lane? Besides our fabulous Ripon Jewel Windows and our global relationship with the staff and clergy at the Ripon Cathedral, it is:
1. Our Mission Statement: St. Wilfrid’s is a Christian community, seeking to know and unconditionally share God’s unfailing love.
Isn’t that what St. Wilfrid did? Devoted to a religion’s life at a young age. Studying at Lindisfarne as a teen, traveling throughout Europe to learn from Kings and Bishops. To be firm in his convictions and favoritism to the Roman Church over the Celtic and to share his ideas in many lands. Despite his trials, he never gave up in sharing and preaching and dedicating his life to serve God.
2. Christian Community/ Fellowship: We strive to be a community of faith where relationships are nurtured and loving care is provided for everyone. The love and grace in which God extends to us, we extend to each other and those around the world. ( St. Wilfrid traveled throughout England and Rome and many other parts of Europe and started the beginning of the movement by Christian Anglo-Saxons in Britain. He preached in Sussex and taught the starving people there how to fish, saving the lives of many.) Through our many ministries, we now fellowship on local and national and global levels. We serve local people in need through Laundry Love, SHIP, BCIS, Robin’s Nest, CareNet, Prayer Chain, Grief Groups, Sunday Hospitality, etc. We serve on a national level participating in Youth Conferences in both Detroit, MI and Houston, TX. We serve on a global level with our past trips to Nicaragua with our AMOS (A ministry of Sharing – Health and Healing) Ministry, and for our support of youth in Tanzania wanting to make a Godly difference in their communities. We support refugees from around the world and pray continuously for all who are sick, struggling and/or suffering.
3. Knowing/Experience God’s unfailing love: We share what we experience ourselves. Experiencing God’s love in this special place, as in the churches and crypts St. Wilfrid built in Europe, we make it a safe environment for us to encounter His love. Our ministries foster, support and enrich our knowledge and experiences of God’s unfailing love through our Acolytes, Altar Guild, Choir and Table Musicians, Flower Guild, Sound Crew, Lectors, Intercessors, Godly Play, Stewardship, Bible Classes, Vacation Bible School, etc.
4. Unconditionally sharing God’s unfailing love:
Sharing the same love and grace that God has shared with us we can move beyond the walls of our church and share His love with those around the world.
As a reminder – St. Wilfrid’s crest is part of our banner carried in at special events and is also on our tablecloths.
I’m enclosing some pictures that will help with the story visualization.