Joyce Bond and her husband John, former Dean of Connor, were in York Minster Cathedral on Maundy Thursday where Joyce received the Maundy Purse from King Charles III.
As we reported on the day, Joyce was nominated for the honour by the Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev George Davison.
Joyce, a long-standing member of Mothers’ Union, has kindly provided a report of her visit to York Minister which she describes as ‘a wonderful experience’ for both her and John.
By Joyce Bond
John and I arrived at the South Door area of the Minster on Maundy Thursday (April 6) at 8.45am. It was misting but staff from the Minster greeted us warmly with umbrellas. By coincidence, our daughter Susan’s godmother arrived by car behind us. Margaret was nominated by the Bishop of Middleton, Manchester Diocese, and was confined to a wheelchair due to a fall some weeks ago. She was seated in the north side of the Nave with her companion. Our son Allan and granddaughter Lauren were seated at a short distance behind us in the South Nave.
We were checked by the Police and escorted into the Minster to be welcomed, registered and escorted to our labelled seats, row seven in the South Nave, by a schoolboy. He pinned on my badge and ensured John and I had our Orders of Service – Office for THE ROYAL MAUNDY in THE CATHEDRAL AND METROPOLITICAL CHURCH OF ST PETER IN YORK ON 6th April 2023. The emblem of the Royal Almonry is the Great Ship ‘Harry’ – ‘Henry Grace de Dieu’ (1515) created when Cardinal Wolsey held the office of Lord High Almoner to King Henry V111.
We also received a copy of Daily Prayers for the Coronation of King Charles III produced by the Church of England. I sat on the aisle seat and John was seated next to me beside Sarah Brown who has written a book on the history of York Minster – a very interesting lady and a specialist in stained glass. York Minster has some of the oldest stained glass in England.
The Archbishop of York, the Most Rev and Hon Stephen Cottrell, greeted us warmly and welcomed us to the Minster. We had met him before when he was Bishop of Chelmsford. He had a word for other Maundy recipients as he passed along the aisles. The music before the service was fantastic, played by the Sub-Organist of His Majesty’s Chapel Royal and the Assistant Organist of York Minster who chose music composed 1665-2023. The service was sung by the Choirs of York Minster and His Majesty’s Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, London, and the Minster Organist played for the Service.
There was a powerful organ fanfare at 11am as their Majesties King Charles and his Queen Consort arrived at the Great West Door and were presented with traditional nosegays – posies with daffodils, primroses, freesias, stocks, purple statice, ivy, hebe, and rosemary and thyme herbs. The nosegays were originally used centuries ago to disguise odours as the Monarch washed the feet of Maundy recipients.
The Minster Procession proceeded to their places in the Sanctuary, followed by The Ecumenical Procession, The Royal Procession also led by a Cross and Acolytes, various dignitaries, the Archbishop of York, more dignitaries, the Dean of York, the Very Rev Dominic Barrington followed by HM The King and HM The Queen Consort, and the Lord-Lieutenant of North Yorkshire.
The Almonry Procession was extremely colourful with various Office Bearers, the Yeomen of the Guard carrying the Dishes containing the Alms, Children of the Royal Almonry, Wandsmen, Officers of the Royal Almonry and finally The Lord High Almoner, the Rt Rev Dr John Inge.
The Hymn, Praise to the Holiest in the Height, filled the Minster with joy and thanksgiving. The Lord High Almoner set the scene for the Liturgy – ‘Jesus said: I give you a new commandment. Love one another: As I have loved you, so you are to love one another.’ (John 13:34). Members of the Minster Canons, with the Choirs, led the versicles, Psalm 138, and The Prayers. The hymn When I Survey the Wondrous Cross reminded us of Christ’s death on the cross for us.
The first lesson, John 13:1-13, was followed by the Distribution of Maundy Gifts by HM King Charles to recipients on the South Side of the Nave in the Minster, of which I was the seventh. The Choir sang during the Distribution.
His Majesty said to me, “Joyce, thank you for your service to the Church and Community.” His hands were warm, and his eyes were kind as he spoke and placed the red and white purses with his Gift of coins in my hands.
I said, “Thank you, your Majesty,” and curtsied appropriately. He continued down the South Nave and around to the recipients seated against the wall looking outwards towards the South Aisle.
I will always remember the Yeomen of the Guard, some carried the huge dishes with the Maundy Gifts, the rest with enormous wands which gave a loud regimental thud on the floor. It reminded me of the time we visited Jerusalem, with a group from a former parish, and what it must have been like when Jesus was on trial before Pilate and heard the thud of the Roman soldiers on the stone floor.
The second lesson (Matthew 25:31-46) was read by the Dean of York Minster followed by the Distribution of Maundy Gifts by the King to recipients on the North side of the Minster.
One of the pieces of music sung by the Choir was Zadok the Priest by Handel.
The Prayers were led by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Middlesborough and Canons of York Minster. The final Hymn was Love Divine All Loves Excelling. The concluding prayers were led by the Dean of York and the Blessing was given by the Archbishop of York. There was no sermon, and the Gospel Readings focused our mind on the happenings on Maundy Thursday.
At the end of the service, the Processions went down the aisle and the King and His Consort went out into glorious sunshine. The Pageantry and Music concluded for another year for another Cathedral, in another city.
The King opened a new Refectory at the side of the Minster to serve the thousands who come through the doors of York Minster. They received a warm welcome from the waiting crowds.
And what of our memories – wonderful music, Liturgy, the kindness of people we met for the first time, the beautiful posies (nosegays), the great privilege of meeting His Majesty King Charles who with HM Queen Camilla will need the prayerful support of people throughout the UK for the task of serving God’s people. They will need the patience of Job.
The Processions, the children and the colourful Yeomen were memorable as was the skill of craftsmen who built the Minster in which we were privileged to worship.
A wonderful experience for John and myself, our son Allan (who drove us to York) and granddaughter Lauren. Thanks most of all to Bishop George for his kindness in nominating me to be a recipient of Maundy and to the people we have been privileged to serve in ministry. ‘Jesus said: I give you a new commandment. Love one another: As I have loved you, so you are to love one another. (John 13:34).
It was lovely to see Lynne Tembey, Former Worldwide Mothers’ Union President, a Lay Canon of the Minster, in Procession. I have met Lynne on previous occasions and she gave me a warm smile.
I really appreciated the many good wishes, cards, emails and phone calls and messages I received and feel very humbled by it all.
What to know more about this year’s Maundy Purse? View the pdf.