Friday, December 01, 2023

December First -- The Feast of Nicholas Ferrar

Nicholas Ferrar, an Anglican Deacon born in the late 16th Century is celebrated today.  Nicholas was the founder of an Anglican religious Community, Little Gidding, which existed in the Midlands of England through the reign of Charles I, until it was suppressed by the Puritans under Oliver Cromwell.

After Nicholas had been ordained as a deacon, he and his family and a few friends retired to Little Gidding, Huntingdonshire, England, to devote themselves to a life of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. They restored the abandoned church building, and became responsible for regular services there. They taught the neighborhood children, and looked after the health and well-being of the people of the district. They read the regular daily offices of the Book of Common Prayer, including the recital every day of the complete Psalter. (Day and night, there was always at least one member of the community kneeling in prayer before the altar, that they might keep the word, "Pray without ceasing.") They wrote books and stories dealing with various aspects of Christian faith and practice. They fasted with great rigor, and in other ways embraced voluntary poverty, so that they might have as much money as possible for the relief of the poor.

Nicholas Ferrar, in his ministry to his community of Huntingdonshire, exemplified what it is to be a Deacon and what it should look like in our modern age.  His ministry extended well beyond the Chancel rail and into surrounding world.  Yes, our Lord was worshipped and adored.  His people were also cared for.

Remembering Deacon Nicholas in today's Eucharist, we pray:

Lord God, make us so reflect your perfect love; that, with your Deacon Nicholas Ferrar and his household, we may rule ourselves according to your Word, and serve you with our whole heart; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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