Get ready for the Priory Choir at Salisbury…

Originally posted on The St Mary's Choir Blog:

….and so the count-down begins. With just a week to go, there’s plenty of preparation going on, and a few matters still to be finalised. The polo shirts are on order; the music sorted and put in folders. We’ve got a few last minute rehearsals with soloists going on; and which of the possible outings shall we choose? What is certain is that we’re really looking forward to being in Salisbury next week.
As I write this, in one week’s time (to the minute) we will be finishing our rehearsal for our first evensong in this wonderful building. By the end of the week we should feel at home in its glorious acoustic, and hopefully will have some great services under our belt.
SC - quire
As always, we’ll keep the blog up-to-date throughout the week, so you can see what is going on. But if you want to come to experience it…

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In his address at St Mary’s Priory Church today the Vicar, Canon Mark Soady criticised politicians for their response to the crisis at the Channel Tunnel in Calais.

Fr Mark  preaching on the Gospel for the day ( John 6.24-35 ) said:

“The people in today’s Gospel followed Jesus because he had fed the 5,000 not in order to find spiritual gain. We as human beings  often are greedy about our material needs. Such greed can blind us to the fact that we own nothing- and that all that we have comes from God, we are mere stewards of it. The talk of people coming here to our country and stealing our jobs, homes and taxes is an example of this.

If our leaders stopped playing politics over the crisis in Calais – and stopped to ask why would these people leave the comfort and safety of their homes to embark on a treacherous journey to an unknown country, they may have a different perception of the situation.


One of this interviewed at Calais had left Syria to find peace

– had left a country torn apart for years by conflict.

– had left a country so badly devastated by war that the basic amenities are hard to come by.

– had left a country that on 15 January  the United Nations estimated 220,000  had died in its civil war.

We as Christians are called to be generous / hospitable people. Our Benedictine roots here remains us of that; St Benedict himself tells us to treat every living person we encounter as we would an encounter with Christ.  We are reminded of this in particular when we look at the place of Refectory as one of our Seven Sacred Spaces.*”


*Over the Summer months the Parish is looking at the Sunday Gospels in the Context of the Seven Sacred Spaces.

With one year to go to the start of the National Eisteddfod of Wales at Abergaveny it has been announced that Dr Rowan Williams  will be the preacher at the main Morning Service at St Mary’s Priory Church, Abergavenny on Sunday, July 31st 2016 – the first day of next year’s Natioanl Eisteddfod. The Service will be sung by the Priory Church Choir and will have some Welsh content.

Bishop Rowan on his last visit to the town in July 2014

Bishop Rowan on his last visit to the town in July 2014

The former Archbishop of Canterbury is  a Member of the Gorsedd of Bards where he is known as Rowan ap Aneuri. As a life peer he is also known as Lord Williams of Oystermouth.

Welcoming the news the Vicar, Canon Mark Soady said, “We very much look forward to welcoming Bishop Rowan back to Abergavenny, where he will be among friends. It will be good to share the worship with him as we welcome Christians from all over Wales and wider afield for the start of proceedings on the Eisteddfod Maes”.

We have two choir Concerts over the Summer months.

Saturday, July 25th, 7pm

Pontnewydd Male Voice Choir in aid of Welsh Warrior

Monday, August 17th, 7.30pm

Cologone Philamornia Choir perform Mozart, Verdi & Tchaikovsky

Tickets available from the Tithe Barn

St Mary’s Priory Church Choir will be the Choir-in-Residence at Salisbury Cathedral for week commencing Monday, August 10th. The Choir will sing Evensong at 5.30pm every evening during the week .cathedral_salisbury5


Previous Cathedrals where the choir have sung include Peterborough, Coventry, Gloucester, St Albans, Lichfield and Hereford.


THE Choir will break for the Summer from singing at the Priory following the morning service on July 19th.


We at St Mary’s Priory are pleased to be one of the first two churches in Wales to be admitted to the Greater Churches Network.


The group was founded in 1991 as an informal association of non-cathedral churches which, by virtue of their great age, size, historical, architectural, or ecclesiastical importance, display many of the characteristics of a cathedral. Most churches in the group also fulfil a role which is additional to that of a normal parish church.

It aims to provide help and mutual support in dealing with the special problems of running a ‘cathedral-like’ church within the organisational and financial structure of a parish church; to enhance the quality of parish worship in such churches; and to promote wider recognition of the unique position and needs of churches in this category.

It also serves as a channel of communication for other organisations wishing to have contact with churches of this type.

We will be joined by St Giles, Wrexham which is staffed by Fr Jason Bray a former Curate of  St Mary’s.

Speaking at the Civic Service of the Mayor of Abergavenny Cllr Maureen Powell, her Chaplain Canon Mark Soady made reference to this week’s terrible terrorist attack on a Tunisian Beach and then reminded the congregation:

The New Testament  Greek word for witness and the word for martyr  are the same, ‘martyroi’. Today in many places, as it was for the early  church, to be a witness to Jesus Christ very often means death.

But for most of us  Christian witness is the  the day-to-day experience of living our lives in ways that reveal’s the love of Jesus Christ. That does sometimes mean being unpopular, but thankfully does not mean giving of our lives.

The particular and special role of political leaders, who like Maureen are disciple of Christ, is to show love by example – and to be the conscious of our fellow citizens.

Cllr Powell clearing litter early on a Sunday morning

Cllr Powell clearing litter early on a Sunday morning

Our Mayor’s love for us and this town is shown through in her commitment to her Ward. She not only deals efficiently with her casework load, but is a generous person in other ways. While most f the Citizens of Abergavenny are asleep on a Sunday morning she ( and her Consort John) will be up clearing the litter left over from the Saturday night partying.

In his letter to the Phillipians St Paul says, ” If you have nay encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love…then make my joy complete by being like minded” (2.1). He goes son to say, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit”, but take on “the very nature of a servant”.  That is what Maureen has done as  a local Councillor and what I pray God will enable her to do to during her year of office  as  Mayor – and not her only but all those of you  who serve with her on Abergavenny Town Council.


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