St Michael and All Angels' Church, Park Road, Abingdon


line drawing of St Michael's Church

We are open: Sundays Said Mass 9.30 am booking essential, see news sheet, Thursdays Private Prayer 11 am to 1 pm

Team Vicar:
The Revd Paul Smith
Tel: 01235 534654

Service Times following introduction of National Restrictions on 5 November

Sundays 9.30 am Said Mass. Pre-booking will be essential; see Pew Leaflet for details.
Thursdays 11 am to 1 pm Church open for Private Prayer. On the first four Thursdays of Advent there will be an Advent Centre piece and a reading, prayer, and reflection for those attending.

The Parish Office in St Helen's Court is now closed again to visitors. The Parish Administrator can be contacted as usual on Mondays to Wednesdays and Fridays, leave a message on the office phone 01235 520144 or use the new office mobile: 07395 943957.

For Baptisms, Weddings or Funerals please contact the Parish Office.

Church address for correspondence:

St Michael's Church, Parish Office, St Helen's Court, Abingdon OX14 5BS

Churches in the Parish Open for Private Prayer

St Michael's Church: will be open on Thursdays between 11am - 1pm. Hand-sanitisation, social distancing and other protective measures will be in place. Labyrinth Walks will not be possible this year, but each Thursday during Private Prayer, there will be an Advent Centre piece and a reading, prayer, and reflection for those attending. Also, the Church Advent Candles will be lit, as appropriate. The church will not be open on Christmas Eve.

St Nicolas Church will not be open for private prayer during December, but should re-open for the sale of "Cards for good causes". Please check the church's web site for up-to-date information.

St Helen's Church is closed until further notice.

From the Vicar "O come quickly ... Alleluia, Come Lord, Come!"

Dear Friends

Today it is a joy to welcome Luke and Keri and family as they bring Emelia for Thanksgiving in preparation for baptism. We also bring our Thanksgiving Offering for this year which we would have done on Christ the King. A very big thank you to you for your continuing generosity especially in this challenging year. Those words are sung at the end of the great Advent hymn: 'Lo He comes, with clouds descending'. Unfortunately, we cannot sing them this year, but we can, nonetheless, meditate upon them. It's easy to think of Advent as the time of preparation for Christmas. It is partly that, and it is right that we make appropriate spiritual preparations. It is also the second penitential season in the church's year when we make ourselves ready for that unknown time and moment when the Lord shall return 'to judge the living and the dead' - as we say in the Creed. The first Christians were in a constant posture of expectation. That generation of followers of Christ believed that the Lord would return very soon, that justice and mercy would be established as his kingdom came and that the suffering and persecution of their time would be over.

Today we are in the midst of a pandemic and Climate Change is said to be the defining moment of our time. There is much for which we can and should pray as we await the coming of the Lord. But our prayer can also be turned into action as the Christian life calls us into a particular way of living. Our action is not so much about a list of what we should do to prepare for the Lord's return, but a 'role description' (to use a familiar phrase) as to what kind of people we should be.

It is wonderful that on this Second Sunday in Advent we can return to church to worship together in person. I do want to stress, however, that you respect one another's safety and observe social distancing if you are going to gather outside church following the Mass. Details below are what we have at present in terms of keeping one another safe in church.

As we move through this season we do indeed pray: 'O come, quickly….Alleluia! Come Lord, Come!'

With love and blessings Fr Paul

Prayer and Worship Resources (Covid-19)

Links to resources for prayer and worship are available through the Parish Resources page A link to a recording of the Eucharistic Service at St Helen's Church on Sunday 6 December should be available on that page sometime that day. Our Prayer and Worship Resources page contains links to further worship resources, including service booklets for this Sunday. Please check these pages regularly as there are frequent updates.

Please study this week's pew leaflet carefully.

Issue 10 of A Candle in the Window, the last issue of the year, is available to download. The Summer 2020 issue of the Church in Abingdon's magazine, Christian Focus, is also available to download, likewise Pathways (pdf) the summer edition of the Diocesan magazine.

Forthcoming Events

Our regular events are suspended until further notice.

News Please bear in mind that if you shop online you could be raising money for our church. For more information, follow the link. The unique link to our charitable cause is, the Church of St Michael and All Angels Abingdon. Over 2400 well known retailers including M&S, Boden, Waitrose, House of Fraser, and many more will donate a percentage of what you spend to St Michael's when you shop with them, via fundraising website

The Abingdon Area Archaeological and Historical Society has created a web site that contains information about the most interesting historical buildings, streets and people in the town.


St Michael and All Angels' Church is a Church of England church located in the west of the town, adjacent to Albert Park. The Church of England churches in Abingdon are organized into two Benefices, Abingdon-on-Thames and Abingdon North. Abingdon-on-Thames is a Team Ministry, to which St Michael's church brings a distinctive Anglo-Catholic tradition. Almost all the Christian churches in the town are members of a Local Ecumenical Project, called The Church in Abingdon. The Local Ecumenical Project recognizes a spirit of co-operation and ecumenism that has existed in Abingdon for many years; Christians of all denominations unite to work together whenever common action is possible and to share in and be enriched by each other's traditions of prayer and worship. St Michael's Church has very strong links with our neighbours at Trinity Church. Within the Anglican Parish our Team Vicar is also Team Vicar of St Nicolas'. St Helen's, St Michael's and St Nicolas' are the three Anglican churches in the the Benefice of Abingdon-on-Thames.

Brief History

The church was designed by the architect Sir G.G. Scott, and built in the period 1864-1867. It was consecrated on 25th January 1867. The interior was redecorated in January 1999. Pevsner in his famous books The Buildings of England describes St Michael's as 'a quiet, dignified design'; a phrase that might also be applied to our main act of worship, the Sung Mass at 9.30 am each Sunday.

A history of the church, 1867 - 1967, was written for the centenary of the consecration of the church by J.C. Norris. The centenary was celebrated with First Evensong on 24 January 1967, High Mass and Sermon on 25 January, and Sung Mass and Sermon (preacher: The Revd Canon D. Nicholson, Vicar of St. Mary, Bourne Street, London and Superior General of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament) followed by Evensong on the Sunday in the Octave of the Dedication Festival on Sunday 29 January.

The church was extensively re-ordered in 2008/9, prompted by the identification of a serious problem with the floor timbers. The rationale for the re-ordering and the creation of a new liturgical space is described by Canon Peter Doll (Team Vicar of St Michael's at the time) in an article entitled "The Temple of His Presence", in Pews, Benches and Chairs, Church seating in English parish churches from the fourteenth century to the present, edited by Trevor Cooper and Sarah Brown, published by the Ecclesiological Society, 2011.

The Nave Altar was designed and constructed by local furniture makers Bates and Lambourne of Thame. There are photographs of the altar on their web site. The altar was consecrated by the Rt Revd Colin Fletcher OBE, Bishop of Dorchester (and at the time Acting Bishop of Oxford), on the Feast of Luke the Evangelist, 2015.

Until 2017 two of the three church bells had been unused for many years and had become derelict. They were restored by Whites of Appleton and re-dedicated by Bishop Rowan Williams at a Sung Mass and Confirmation celebrating the end of the church's 150th Anniversary Year on the Feast of St Michael and All Angels 2017.

The Abingdon Area Archaeological and Historical Society maintains a web site that contains further information about St Michael's Church and other historic buildings in the town.

Tradition and Worship

The tradition at St Michael's is Anglo-Catholic, with an emphasis on community, corporate worship, meeting God in the sacraments, in the scriptures and in one another, and above all seeking to teach and live the Gospel through our own lives in the situations in which we find ourselves.

The main Sunday service is a Sung Mass at 9.30 am. and Evening Prayer at 4.00 pm. The sermon is an important element of the Sung Mass. On the first Sunday of the month the 9.30 am service is a Family Mass.

During the week we have a Said Mass on Thursdays. For times, see the Calendar. There is a Said Mass at St Helen's Church on Wednesday.

On Festivals and other Holy Days we usually have a Sung Mass at 7.30 pm. See the Calendar for precise details. During Holy Week and Easter we celebrate the traditional liturgies for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil and Easter Day. The centre group of churches combine for the major act of worship on Trinity Sunday.

There are periodic quiet days and an annual pilgrimage to Walsingham.

The church has disabled access; large print service books are available and a hearing aid loop is installed.

For Young People

Young people and families with young children are important members of our congregation; they are in a real sense the messengers of our tradition.

Baptisms take place on Sundays, usually in the afternoon, but at other times by arrangement. We try hard to maintain contact with families after their children have been baptized. Our Carol Service on Christmas Eve is a wonderful magnet drawing families together to begin the celebration of Christmas.

Church Activities

St. Michael's Fellowship meets periodically. All members of the congregation and their friends are invited to meetings. The format is normally a talk followed by refreshments and discussion. Talks cover a very broad range of topics. Talks are frequently illustrated with slides and videos. The Fellowship is an important way in which a sense of community is nurtured, through sharing of background, interests and experiences of life.

Coffee and tea are served in the church after the main Sunday service. This is an important social meeting point for the congregation. Refreshments are served after evening Mass on major festivals. We have an annual Christmas lunch at a local restaurant, which is well-supported and family and friends are particularly welcome to come along.

The Church Room is used by various groups and enquiries about availability are welcomed.


Music is important at St Michael's. We have a small but committed choir, which combines with those of St Nicolas' and St Helen's for occasional services. We appreciate the services of very able organists.

Church Twinning

Through The Church in Abingdon we are building links with churches in Abingdon's Twin Towns.


St Michael's is a popular venue being located next to Albert Park with easy access. We have an important ministry through baptisms, weddings and funerals.

We support the work of TARIRO - Hope for Youth in Zimbabwe, local charity The Abingdon Bridge (TAB) who support young people in Abingdon in challenging circumstances and the Church Mission Society.

At Harvest Festival, we support the homeless through the Steppin' Stone Centre in Oxford. We also support the Abingdon Emergency Food Bank, run through Christ Church, Abingdon. We hold an annual Mini-mart, which supports the work of St Michael's and other nominated charities.

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Page last modified 2th December 2020 by David Duce

St Michael's Church, Parish Office, St Helen's Court, Abingdon OX14 5BS