The Priory Choir will hold its Annual Summer Concert on Saturday evening July 6th. This free event is not ticketed.


During the first half talented Choristers will perform individual items, showing of their skills in  both voice and instruments

For the second half the full choir will perform  Mozart’s charming lyrical Piccolomini Mass.



Speaking at the Monmouthshire County Council Civic Service at our Daughter church of Christchurch today, Canon Mark Soady reminded the Civic Leaders that Jesus’ kind of Leadership was Servant Leadership; as he reflects on leadership in a week that the Conservative Leadership Campaign reaches a key stage.


He said Leaders have  duty to develop others in to leadership roles as Jesus did with the apostle Peter.

Jesus saw something in Peter from the very outset, even when Peter himself thought he didn’t deserve to be called in to God’s service. A key action of any leader, and especially the leaders in the voluntary and public sector is to be that discerner of people. To see what the person before you can become, if he or she is allowed to grow.

In every aspect of her public life Sheila has used her position to help develop others, be it as a Warden here at Christchurch or helping Chris with the junior football team. Speaking in Christchurch as part of our sermon series last Lent She described her purpose as achieving “a better life for all”.

Noting Jesus question to Peter ” “Will you also leave me?” –  A call to be loyal. Fr Mark praised Sheila for her loyalty to the principles she believes in, and for her loyalty to her faith.

Fr Mark concluded his address with a challenge to all civic leaders present :

All of us in leadership need to hold Jesus before us, he in his servant leadership gives us the ultimate template for Leadership.

Let us go out from here committed to following his example.

The Chairman of Monmouthshire County Council, Cllr Sheila Woodhouse is the Sub Warden at Christchurch.

In his Pentecost Sermon this morning our Vicar, Canon Mark Soady reminded us that people of different languages can work together, if God is their guide.


Fr Mark said:

This week our Royal Patron, Prince Charles and his mother our Queen have been rather busy.

The week started with the State Visit of the President of the USA. The visit reminded me of that old saying ” we are divided by a common language”. They say “garbage’ we say” rubbish”, and they have no idea what ” a pint’. Although people speak the same language they do not always understand one another, at the first Pentecost the assembled crowd did understand the disciples even though they all spoke different languages, they understood one and other because they all had the same morals and ideas – the coming of the Holy Spirit had united them.

So to the second event the Royals took part in this week the 75th Anniversary of D Day. D Day saw troops who spoke English, French, Greek, Czech , Slovakian and Norwegian take part in one common gaol. The goal being to defeat the evil of Nazism. Unlike in the Genesis account of building the Tower of Babel, different languages did not result in disaster because all involved had the common goal of GOOD.

Yesterday saw HM The Queen’s Birthday Parade of Trooping the Colour. One of the greatest British sights! In this great display we saw some very complicated moves all executed perfectly because all on parade were following one command and working to one end. If we follow Jesus in love great things can happen to the church and the world.

In today’s Gospel Jesus says:

Very truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name…

Let us go forth and do just that in the power of the Spirit.

Our Priory Choir will be the Choir-in-Residence at St.Patrick’s Cathedral Dublin from July 30th – August 4th, during high time they will provide the music for the Cathedral’s services.


The current Cathedral buildings dates from the 13th Century and is believed to be built on a site of St Patrick’s Well.

Although the Choir has been in- residence in many English Cathedrals, this year will see their first time across the water in a different nations capital.

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The Choir at Gloucester Cathedral last August 

The Choir will be on its Summer Holiday from July 15th – 29th and August 5- 10th &           12th – 24th

On this Ascension Day, and at the start of the Thy Kingdom Come initiative we spend an hour in prayer this morning for the police.


Canon Mark Soady, Chaplain at Gwent Police lead prayers for the congregation which included a former HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary and senior and other officers from the Gwent Force, along with members of the public at the start of today.


Fr Mark on Patrol

Fr Mark prayed for the police officers and their families along with victims of crime and the criminals themselves. Prayers were also offered for all involved in the justice system.

Deputy Chief Constable Pam Kelly tweeted her thanks:

A huge thank you to Canon Mark for leading an hour of prayer for Gwent Police…a powerful way to show support and care for those that police our communities.. Thank You


Preaching at St Mary’s Priory Church on Rogation Sunday, Canon Mark Soady  said the Peace which Jesus offers us in today’s Gospel, is like a piece of heaven. See Gospel of John 14.27


Walking on Water


He refered to the paintings of our Artist – in -Residence, Jez Thomas which showed an aura of peace around Jesus, even though he was situated on a tempestuous Sea of Galilee.His is an inner peace.  A peace unaffected by the goings on around one. A peace given by God, not learnt in Yoga, Ti Chi or some other relaxation therapy.

This peace passes all understanding because it is so deep within the soul it can not be taken away. This peace is called shalom in Hebrew. In Welsh Tangnefedd, a powerful word which is similar to  nefoedd – the Welsh word for Heaven. Is it implying that we are having a taste of heaven?



Calming the Storm

Nine of Jez’s Paintings taking us through the Gospel are now on display at St Mary’s Priory Church. He is almost a third of the way through his 30 paintings of the Gospel  project, as part of our Proclaim it Afresh series.


A recent meeting of the Greater Churches Network took place in Lancaster, hosted by the Chair of the Network, The Revd Canon Chris Newlands, Vicar of Lancaster. The decision was taken to rename the group as the Major Churches Network, and to adopt a new constitution. This was a significant move and, though several questions were raised in the discussion, the vote by the members of the Network was unanimous in favour of the change. The Greater Churches Network was therefore formally closed, and the new “Major Churches Network” was formed, and the Inaugural General Meeting took place.


The tombs in the Benedict Chapel are key in designating the Priory a Major Church

The Greater Churches Network had been formed in 1991 as a support group for clergy and laity who had responsibility for churches with a “cathedral-like” building and ministry, but without the resources available to cathedrals in the Church of England. This informal network had no official link to the Church of England, but its informal nature meant that the members could come together to share best practice and bring in experts to advise on matters of importance to their ministry and mission. Regional meetings have also been set up to allow members to meet together for mutual support and encouragement.

More recently an important study has been commissioned into “Major Parish Churches” under the auspices of the Church Buildings Council, the official body with overall responsibility for the Church of England parish churches and chapels. This resulted in the appointment of a “Cathedrals and Major Churches Officer” within the CBC, and the identification of 305 churches in England which met certain agreed criteria. These define a “Major Parish Church” as having exceptional significance, being physically very large (over 1000m2 footprint), listed as Grade I, II* (or exceptionally II), open to visitors daily, having a role or roles beyond those of a typical parish church, and making a considerable civic, cultural, and economic contribution to their community. Major Churches are also recognised by Historic England, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, and as such the Network is recognised too, where Greater Churches were not.

Churches in Great Britain and Northern Ireland that meet the criteria of a Major Church are welcome to become Associate Members of the MCN, and attend the annual conferences, which will have many elements which will be relevant to their ministry and mission, even though they do not fall under the auspices of the Church Buildings Council of the Church of England.

The new constitution was formally adopted at the General Meeting, and officers were elected, and a number of new members were welcomed into the Major Churches Network (MCN). All churches who are recognised as Major Churches by the CBC are eligible to join the MCN, on payment of an annual subscription, if they feel that membership would be of benefit to them.

The Network will meet annually, the next meeting in 2020 being a Day Conference in London hosted by the Church Buildings Council, and the next residential Conference in 2021.

Our Vicar, Canon Mark Soady was Secretary of the Greater Churches Network and has now been elected Secretary of the new Major Church’s Network at is Inaugural General Meeting at Lancaster Priory.