St Alban, after whom the Cathedral Church is named isn’t, of course, a biblical saint. He is believed to have lived in the third century in the Roman city of Verulamium. Verulamium is close to the present cathedral and some of you may have been to the museum and ancient site.
Alban apparently took in a stranger called Amphibalus. He was a Christian priest who was fleeing from persecution. Alban was so moved by the man’s faith and courage that he wanted him to teach him more about Christianity – a then forbidden religion.
It wasn’t long before the authorities came to arrest the priest. Amphibalus was able to escape because Alban, now a Christian, urged him to exchange clothes with him.
Alban was arrested but staunchly refused to sacrifice to the emperor and the Roman gods. He identified himself saying: ‘I am called Alban and I worship and adore the true and living God, who created all things’.
He was taken up the hillside to the site of execution where he was beheaded. Alban is honoured as the first British martyr and his saint’s day was last Friday, 22nd. Sadly Amphibalus was later caught and also martyred.
In September, we are planning to organize another Saturday morning of visiting people in our parish. In a given area, we’ve gone in pairs from house to house and knocked on doors in order to declare that we are from their parish church and to assure them of a warm welcome to Christ Church. Depending on the time of the year, we’ve either given special invitations to Harvest, Christmas or Easter.
We’ve had mixed responses when doors are opened but we’ve all come back safe and sound. Amazingly, we’ve actually enjoyed the experience and heartened by some of the responses we’ve had. We’ve also known that our friends are praying for us back at The Junction and that has given us immense strength and confidence.
Can I encourage you to sign up for visiting when the time comes – either to knock on doors with another person or to remain in The Junction to pray. After all, not one of us will be martyred because we want to bring others who live in our parish to Jesus by initially offering them an invitation card, a cookie and yes, a really warm smile!!
With love, Anne Lovegrove