Dear Fathers, Friends in Christ,
St. Swithun, Bishop of Winchester, was born around the year 800 and died on 2nd of July 862 at Winchester (Hampshire). He was, say the chroniclers, a diligent builder of churches in places where there were none before and a repairer of those that had been destroyed or ruined. St. Swithun was buried, according to his own desire, in the churchyard of the Old Minster (Cathedral) at Winchester, where passers by might tread on his grave and where the rain from the eaves might fall on it.
His reputation as a weather saint is said to have arisen from the translation of his body from this lowly grave to its golden shrine within the Cathedral, having been delayed by incessant rain.
Hence the weather on the festival of his translation (15th July) indicated, according to the old rhyme, what it would be for the next forty days:
St. Swithun's day, if thou dost rain,
For forty days it will remain;
St. Swithun's day, if thou be fair,
For forty days 'twill rain na mair.
Interesting story regarding his reputation as a weather Saint is it not ? What stands out to me in the description of his life is that he was a diligent building of Churches in places where there were none. In 2015 we find ourselves more in a situation where Churches are being closed because the number of active Sunday worshippers is dropping all the time. We live in such a materialistic society where there is less interest in the Christian Religion. We, in the Anglican Catholic Church are constantly looking for the opportunity to start new Missions and we try hard to get church buildings of our own, but like I said in 2015 this is a tremendous challenge and we need to pray constantly that the Holy Spirit strenghen us in our endeavours.
So, whilst we give thanks for the life of Saint Swithin, we pray that we may have some of his courage displayed so many years ago. That is the wonderful thing about honouring a Saint of his or her day, we learn from their lives , and their endeavours in the name of Christ give us courage to work harder towards the coming of Christ's Kingdom on earth.
Father Ed Bakker
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne