What's the St. Michael's Cross?
Some years ago, two members of our congregation with family in South Africa returned from a visit there with great enthusiasm for something they had seen in an Anglican Church about 25 miles outside Johannesburg.
It was the custom in this Church to periodically hand a cross to a member of the congregation. The recipient would pray for the Church and the Church would pray for the recipient.
It was a custom adopted by St. Michael’s about 20 years ago. One of our congregation, a skilled craftsman in wood, made several crosses, which were called St. Michael’s Crosses.
Every two weeks, one person, or a couple or a family, is presented with St. Michael’s Cross during worship at our Sunday morning Eucharist in a simple ceremony. The Minister making the presentation says to the recipient:
'Do you undertake to pray for all who belong at St Michael's, as we undertake to pray for you?'
The recipient replies: 'With the help of God, I will.'
The minister then hands over the cross to the recpient with these words:
'I entrust this cross to you. May God help you to be faithful in prayer, and pour upon you the riches of his grace. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.’
The recipient is named on our weekly Notice Sheet and remembered at Morning Prayer during the week as well as on Sundays.
Some years ago, one of our congregation visited the Sudan as part of our link with the Diocese of Yambio. She presented some of our St. Michael’s Crosses to the Rural Dean of Yambio as symbols of our love and friendship.
Thus the idea of St. Michael’s Cross, which was born in Africa, has moved full circle with the gift of these crosses to the church in Yambio.