Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Accession Day service

To mark the Diamond Jubilee the Clever Boy betook himself to one of his old haunts, Pusey House, which was marking the day with Sung Evensong as laid down in the Book of Common Prayer for the anniversary of the Monarch's accession.

This was a well attended and suitably splendid occasion in the main chapel of the House and presided over by the Principal, resplendent in his Convocation habit as Bishop of Ebbsfleet. The Te Deum was sung solemnly, complete with a 360 of the thurible on cue at "Thou art the King of Glory..."

The text of the service is a fine example of the tradition of state prayers in the Anglican tradition and expresses in elevated language those human aspirations for good governance that are so well served by monarchy as a system and so lacking in other forms of government.

Afterwards there was a reception under the watchful eye of a portrait of Her Majesty against the backdrop of a draped Union Jack, and the display of a chasuble and stole made from the blue and gold hangings used in Westminster Abbey at the coronation of her parents.

It was a good occasion, in both senses, on which to meet up with old friends from the House, St Barnabas and St Thomas'.

This is the prayer composed for the Jubilee which was used at the service:

God of time and eternity
whose Son reigns as servant, not master;
we give you thanks and praise
that you have blessed this Nation, the Realms and
our beloved and glorious Queen.
In this year of Jubilee,
grant her your gifts of love and joy and peace
as she continues in faithful obedience to you, her Lord
and God
and in devoted service to her lands and peoples,
and those of the Commonwealth,
now and all the days of her life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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