The voluntary quarantine of Eyam village

February 4, 2013

At the end of August 1665 bubonic plague arrived at the house of the village tailor George Vicars, via a parcel of cloth from London. The cloth was damp and was hung out in front of the fire to dry, thus releasing the plague-infested fleas. On September 7th 1665, George Vicars, the first plague victim, died of a raging fever. As the plague took hold and decimated the villagers it was decided to hold the church services outdoors at nearby Cucklett Delf, a natural amphitheater. On the advice of rector William Mompesson and the previous incumbent Thomas Stanley, villagers stayed within the confines of the village to minimize the spread of the disease to other villages.

To minimize cross infection, food and other supplies were left outside the village, at either the Boundary Stones, or at Mompesson’s Well, high above the village. The Earl of Devonshire freely donated food and medical supplies. For all other goods, money, as payment, was either purified by the running water in the well or was left in vinegar soaked holes. Because of the high risk of infecting the grave-diggers, family members buried their own dead. Twelve months after the death of George Vicars, the plague was still claiming its victims, and Catherine Mompesson, wife of the recently appointed rector William Mompesson, aged 28, died of the plague. She had loyally stayed with her husband and tended the sick, only to become a victim herself.

The Plague in Eyam raged for 14 months and claimed the lives of at least 260 villagers. By November 1st, 1666 it had run its course and claimed its last victim. Eyam’s selfless villagers, with their strong Christian convictions, had shown immense personal courage and self sacrifice. They had prevented the plague from spreading to other parishes, but many paid the ultimate price for their commitment.

Dear Heavenly Father,
We thank You for the courage and faith of the villagers of Eyam, in their lives and in their deaths. Your Son taught us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Yet, the Anglican Communion is torn asunder by heresies, greed, and power plays.
Lord, have mercy. Charist, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
We need Your assistance. Help us, in the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, to learn and to model a spirit of generosity, humility, and self sacrifice. Amen.

Hat tip: SF


Mark 7:24-30

February 4, 2013

From there he arose and went to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and wanted no one to know it, but he could not be hidden. For a woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him, and she came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, a Syro-Phoenician by birth, and she kept asking him to cast the demon out of her daughter. But Jesus said to her, “Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” And she answered and said to him, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children’s crumbs.” Then he said to her, “For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter.” And when she had come to her house, she found the demon gone out, and her daughter lying on the bed. (Mark 7:24-30)
      Jesus, thank you for every “crumb” you give us. Thank you for every gift of faith you give us by your Holy Spirit. Thank you for the deliverance and healing you have for us.

      Father, thank you for Jesus’ obedience to your purposes and will. Help us pray according to the mind of your Spirit.

      Holy Spirit, please help us in all our prayers to ask that the Father’s will be done. Let our hearts’ desire to be for his will rather than our own to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Thank you.

Monday: 56, 57, [58] * 64, 65; Isa. 51:17-23; Gal. 4:1-11; Mark 7:24-37
Tuesday: 61, 62 * 68:1-20(21-23)24-36; Isa. 52:1-12; Gal. 4:12-20; Mark 8:1-10

Albany Intercessor


Nicholas Ferrar, deacon

February 4, 2013

Nicholas Ferrar (1592 – 1637) was an English scholar, courtier, businessman and man of religion. In 1626 Nicholas Ferrar and his extended family left London and moved to the deserted village of Little Gidding in Huntingdonshire. They bought the manor of Little Gidding and restored the abandoned little church for their use. The household always had someone at prayer and had a strict routine. They tended to the health and education of local children.

To instruct the younger members of the extended family in the gospel story and to develop their manual dexterity, Nicholas devised a Harmony of the four gospels. This Harmony provided the narrative for the hourly gospel readings. To create it, individual lines were cut from the four gospel narratives and pasted together on the page to make one continuous text. The pages were also illustrated with engravings. Many of the family learned the art of bookbinding. Nicholas Ferrar died in 1637, but the family continued their way of life without him, and the religious life only ended in 1657 on the deaths, within a month, of his siblings.

The life of the Ferrar household was much criticised by Puritans, and their life attacked as a ‘Protestant Nunnery’. However, the Ferrars never lived a formal religious life: there was no Rule, vows were not taken, and there was no enclosure. In this sense there was no ‘community’ at Little Gidding, but rather a family living a Christian life in accordance with the Book of Common Prayer according to High Church principles.

The fame of the Ferrar household was widespread, and they attracted many visitors. Among them was King Charles I.

Dear Heavenly Father,
We thank You for the life and witness of Nicholas Ferrar and his family. We humbly beseech You to undergird the families in the Church of England with the spirtual discpllines of prayer, Bible study, and almsgiving. Replicate family models of sanctifying time that produce a harmony with the life of Your Son Jesus. Amen.

References: Wikipedia, littlegiddingchurch.org.uk