Living Faith: Remembering the example of St Alban this summer
Revd Smitha Prasadam
St Alban and Skt Hans! Inspiring faith; restoring people! I am writing as St Alban’s celebrates its patron saint and Denmark celebrates Midsummer’s Eve! It’s a time when the sacred and secular unite.
Neither the placid nor regal figures of St Alban immortalised in our church windows do justice to faith under fire and the faithful witness to Christ over centuries. In around the year 250, when history records Britain’s tenth and most cruel persecution in which Christians were hunted and killed, Alban gave shelter to a priest in Verulamium, the Roman name for St Alban’s.
Observing the priest’s faithfulness and prayer, Alban committed himself to Christ and, when soldiers came baying for blood, he stepped up and took the place of the priest. Flogged and tortured to renounce his new-found faith, he was ordered to be executed and became the proto-martyr of England.
He sacrificed his life for his faith! Some of his mortal remains are said to be in Odense and he is popularised in Denmark by the beer that bears his name! Cheers!!
For many generations
As you crack open a beer to celebrate the summer, spare a thought for St Alban’s Church, present in Copenhagen for over 130 years, in Denmark for 400 years and hoping to be around for many generations to come.
I’m thankful to God for the blessings of past years and pandemic times, but remain conscious of the challenges that lie ahead. I’m excited by the potential we have to serve the Church of England by being ‘Simpler, Humbler, Bolder’ and the visible representation and participation of the worldwide Anglican communion in our midst.
And I am proud of our ecumenical partnership with the Danish and Swedish Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Methodist and Russian Orthodox churches who are our neighbours and friends.
Slowly spoiling spire
Even if you have not seen the figures inside St Alban Church, you may have been struck by the more iconic, visible and majestic spire and cross that dominate the Copenhagen skyline. This impressive architectural feature invites most passers-by through the doors of St Alban’s to enter sacred space and encounter God. Sadly, today, this proud spire is in need of urgent restoration work.
The pandemic has confirmed and strengthened what we do at St Alban’s, and new ideas and initiatives are emerging for hybrid worship and fellowship. We hope to continue to be a beacon of Anglican heritage and will continue the fine tradition of music and worship so many know and love (especially at Christmas).
The church, as both the building and people God has placed in our care, comprises precious gifts with an important role in worship and community engagement. They enrich the faith and artistic heritage of Copenhagen.
Sheltering St Alban
Restoring the cross and spire damaged by water ingress is critical, and we have already started the process of securing funds. We see St Alban’s as a place where we can know God, grow in Christ, build community and look beyond ourselves. That usually means meeting other people’s needs. Today, we look to you in our time of need.
The cost of restoring the spire is in the region of 4 million kroner. I would be truly grateful if you would consider the cost of a crate of celebratory beer or other, or dig deep into your pockets in thanksgiving for your life and health, the memory of a loved one or indeed the anniversary of your own wedding or child’s baptism.
Please give whatever you can via MobilePay 32664 or write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to help plan or sponsor a fundraising event to help realise our target.
St Alban once sheltered a priest. This priest is now asking you to shelter St Alban. Thank you for your generosity.
Revd Smitha Prasadam
Born in India, adopted by Wales and England, Smitha (email@example.com) is the priest of St Alban’s Church. Recently appointed Honorary Canon of the pro-Cathedral in Malta for outstanding work in Copenhagen and for bettering the cause of racial justice in the Church of England, she has travelled widely, working in advisory and advocacy capacity on matters of liturgy, vocation and social justice