Archive for April, 2013
The Diocesan Pilgrims staff, enroute to St Asaph, has left the Cathedral Church of St Woolos, Newport it is due to arrive at Abergavenny at 5pm today (MONDAY)
We will host the Archbishop of Wales’ Award for Church Music Service and Awards at St Mary’s on Saturday afternoon, April 27th.
There are two levels of award: AWACAM and a Certificate of Merit.
The A.W.A.C.M. is a major award which is aimed very much at senior and professional level for those who are organists and choir-trainers. It was created in 1997 by the then Archbishop Most Revd Alwyn Rice Jones.
The preacher at the Service will be the Dean of Hereford,The Very Revd Michael Tavinor.
The Priory Church Choir will sing Bruckner’s Locus Iste and Vaughan Williams Antiphons. The setting for the service will be Moore with the Canticles sung to Stanford in B flat.
Among those being awarded an AWACAM are Tim Hill, Head of Music at Henry VIII School, Abergavenny and the Organist at St Martin’s Church, Roath.
The Archbishop of Wales’ Award in Church Music will be presented to:
• Timothy Hill, Organist and Director of Music at St Martin’s Roath. He has been involved in church music for more than 25 years. He has established a high standard of music at this parish and has been instrumental in the establishment of the Music Foundation which will fund young music students via bursaries/scholarships. He has also established a Liturgical Choir and a Junior Section of this choir as well, encouraging boys and girls as young as seven. St Martin’s Choir sang at Westminster Cathedral in February 2013, performing a work which Mr Hill commissioned himself to celebrate his 25 years in Church music.
• Simon Pearce, Assistant Organist at St Davids Cathedral. He has been assistant organist since 1998 and during that time has played a pivotal role in the development of the choir. He has accompanied for BBC broadcasts on Radio 3,4 and the numerous cathedral choir CDs. He is the director of the Cathedral’s voluntary choir, the Cathedral Singers, who completed their first CD in 2004. He has also played an important role in the work of the St Davids Cathedral Festival, most notably in its outreach to local schools through the Festival Children’s Chorus. He also serves as Chairman of the RSCM in West Wales.
• Richard Moorhouse, Organist and Master of the Choristers at Llandaff Cathedral. He has served in this position for 12 years and has maintained the high standard of the Cathedral choir. He has developed good relations with the University and the Royal College. He has acted as the consultant for the new organ and worked tirelessly to ensure its installation. The Choir has made a CD in October 2012.
The Archbishop of Wales’ Certificate of Merit in Church Music will be presented to:
• Adrian Gillard, Organist at All Saints Newport for the past 40 years. Has also played the organ at Llanfrechfa for Evensong for the past 25 years.
• Alun Jones, Choirmaster at St Michael’s Maesteg since 1988. Recognising work in developing the talents of young musicians.
• Meurig Watts, Organist at St Mary’s Cardigan, founder of the St Mary’s Singers who have added to the liturgical worship of the parish.
• Mrs Isobel Scutt, Organist at Golden Grove Church, Carmarthen, for more than 50 years.
• Mrs Margaret Body, Chorister at St Martin’s Haverfordwest since 1979. Founder member of the St Davids Cathedral Singers, Chairman of the Dyfed Choir.
..at Abergavenny Priory on April 29th. The Pilgrim staff will be laid in the Priory Church overnight.
Monday 29 April Usk – Abergavenny 15 miles
passing Kemeys Commander, Bettws Newydd, Llanfair Kilgeddin, Trostrey, Llansantfraewd, Llanfihangel Gobion, The Bryn, Llanover, Llanellen, Llanfoist, Abergavenny
Tuesday 30 April Abergavenny – Llanthony 12miles
passing Llanfiangel Crucorney, Cwmyoy, Llanthony
At the halfway point the Bishop of Monmouth will ceremonial hand over the pilgrim staff to the Bishop of St Asaph as the Year of Pilgrimage is passed from this Diocese to that.
THE Trustees (Parochial Church Council) of the Parish of Abergavenny have published their report for the year ended December 31st 2012.
The trustees have pleasure in presenting their report and the financial statements of the charity
for the year ending 31 December 2012. The organisational structure, administration details and
governance of the charity are set out further in this report while the activities of the church form
the first part.
The Feast of Epiphany, January 6, saw the installation of the Reverend Mark Soady as Vicar of
Abergavenny. He serves St Mary’s Priory Church and its daughter church Christchurch as Vicar; St
Peter’s, Llanwenarth Citra, as Rector; and Holy Trinity Church, Abergavenny, as Priest-in-Charge.
Schoolchildren from the local comprehensive came to St Mary’s for the second of these special
services, to commemorate Holocaust Day, when victims of the Holocaust and subsequent ethnic
cleansings were remembered. Links with local schools became a feature of the churches’ year. A
number of classes visited St Mary’s as part of their curriculum; Cantref Primary School squeezed all
its pupils in to Christchurch for its Harvest Thanksgiving; while four of the local schools celebrated
Christmas at St Mary’s through Christingle and carol services and concerts. Fr Soady also visited
the schools in his incumbency on a number of occasions.
Two further services saw a celebration of our journey through Advent to Candlemas, and a
thanksgiving and celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne. The
Queen’s Jubilee was further celebrated with a Big Jubilee Lunch in June when members of all four
churches packed St Mary’s Priory Centre to share a meal.
In July, members and veterans of the Armed Forces filled St Mary’s to commemorate the 30th
anniversary of the Falklands War, meeting on the date the surviving members of the Welch Guards
returned to this country in 1982.
Fr Mark ‘hit the ground running’, organising and officiating at four special
services in his first month. The first was the Memorial Service to his
predecessor as Vicar, the Very Reverend Jeremy Winston, attended by
800 people, from this country, the USA and Europe, and including four
bishops. An appeal was launched at this service for a permanent
memorial to Fr Jeremy, who had been Vicar of Abergavenny for 18 years.
Work is continuing on the project to create a stained glass window to
‘complete’ the Jesse Tree, of which the larger-than-lifesize wooden
sculpture of Jesse, one of the treasures of St Mary’s, may form the base.
We continued to try to enable ordinary people to live out their faith as part of our parish
• Worship and prayer, learning about the Gospel, and developing their knowledge and
trust in Jesus.
• Provision of pastoral care for people living in the parish
• Missionary and outreach work.
This year also saw two members of the congregation taking a step further in living out their faith. Philip Godsell became an Ordinand at St Michael’sTheological College, Cardiff, continuing his journey to becoming a full-time Stipendiary Minister, while Robert Wade began studying at St Michael’s to become a Licensed Lay Minister.
Worship, prayer and pastoral care
The Churches continued to achieve its objectives (listed below) by carrying out acts of worship
every day of the year, and by continuing pastoral care, through, in particular, the visiting of, and
on occasions taking Communion to, parishioners who through sickness or age were unable to
come to church. The number attending the main Services at the churches on Sunday is just under 150 ( the same as last year) , and the number reported to be recorded on the Electoral Roll for both churches on 31 December 2012 was 258 (2011: 252).
In addition to our regular services, we enable our community to celebrate and thank God in the
milestones of the journey through life. Through baptism, we thank God for the gift of life, in
marriage public vows are exchanged with God’s blessing and through funeral services friends and
family express their grief and give thanks for the life which is now complete in this world and to
commit their loved one into God’s keeping. This year, we have celebrated 31 baptisms, 8
weddings, with over 50 funerals conducted by parish clergy.
Eucharistic services were held at care and nursing homes and retirement complexes throughout
the year, as well as harvest thanksgiving and carol services at the OAP hall in the town.
In October 13 young people and adults were Confirmed in their faith by the Bishop of Monmouth,
the Right Reverend Dominic Walker OSB at a service attended by 156 friends, family and
parishioners from all four churches.
The Parish Fellowship held evenings of reflections for St David’s Day, Lent and Advent which saw
parishioners gather to share poetry, prose, prayer and memories.
Ecumenically, the parish shared services of Compline and Stations of the Cross with the Roman
Catholic Church of Our Lady and St Michael’s, Abergavenny, during Lent, as well as participating
fully in the Abergavenny Council of Churches.
The Civic Services for both the Chairman of Monmouthshire Country Council, Cllr Maureen Powell,
and the Mayor of Abergavenny, Cllr Samantha Dodd, both of whom worship at St Mary’s, were
held at the church, with Fr Soady being appointed Chaplain to both.
Mission and outreach work
The year saw church members looking even further outward in their mission and outreach,
• St Mary’s starting on the process to become an accredited centre for a national marriage
preparation course, the first of which being scheduled to take place in February 2013.
• Members of our Mothers Union volunteering at a contact centre for children suffering
family break-up, which opened this year in Abergavenny.
• The Mothers Union also giving donations to enable disadvantaged children in the UK to
have holidays; helping to buy goods for people being re-housed locally; and collecting baby
items and food for asylum seekers in Newport.
• Families who had suffered bereavement during the year being personally invited to the All
Souls Service, with many taking up that invitation.
• The hosting of a weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.
• Members of the church becoming, or continuing to be, involved with the 7Corners project
in Abergavenny, which aims to provide a place for young people to meet. This was done
through helping at the project, providing funds and by Fr Soady becoming a Trustee of the
• Taking a bus load of youngsters and adults to see the pantomime in Bristol.
• The large number of motorcyclists who meet at Abergavenny bus station on Saturdays and
Sundays being invited to a Light up a Life service to commemorate those who had died in
road traffic accidents. While their attendance at the service was disappointing, it provided
an opportunity to chat about the work of the church. The service itself was attended by
others affected by RTAs.
• Members of the Mothers Union and other parishioners contributing to Velindre Cancer
Care by knitting chicks for Easter, which were then sold in aid of the charity.
• The Parish Fellowship also contributing nearly 30 Christmas parcels of items such as
toiletries, gloves, and small gifts for older teenagers in Abergavenny who, through no fault
of their own, are living by themselves.
• Contributing to the Bishop of Monmouth’s Lent Appeal.
The Bishop of Monmouth designated 2012 as the Year of Pilgrimage and members of the parish
went on pilgrimage to St David’s Cathedral in West Wales, praying at the newly-restored Shrine to
Wales’ national saint.
• At Christmas, the congregations filling boxes with small
items as part of the Shoe Box Appeal, sending presents
out to Eastern European countries
• Parishioners contributing staple foodstuffs and toiletries
to the Abergavenny Food Bank, which opened its doors
in the town this year.
The Llanthony Valley also saw members of the congregations join fellow pilgrims from all over the
country for the annual Fr Ignatius Memorial Pilgrimage, also in August.
The church bells, described as the finest ring of 10 bells in Christendom, were rung each Sunday, at
funerals and weddings, and on special occasions, including the journey through the town of the
Olympic Flame. They were also rung by a number of visiting groups of ringers.
The Priory Centre Hall and Christchurch Hall continued to be resources for the community. As well
as hosting church fundraising events and after-service fellowship, Christchurch Hall was used by
the Tiny Tots playgroup and provided a place for refreshment after a choir of schoolchildren from
Sweden sang a Christmas concert in the church. The Priory Centre provided the venue for various
fundraising activities and celebrations, including St Mary’s Patronal Festival lunch and the parish’s
St Mary’s itself hosted a number of concerts, including a series of organ and choral recitals in June,
the Gwent Bach Society concert in October and MA opera students from the Royal Welsh College
of Music and Drama in November.
Reference and administration details
St Mary’s Priory Church and its daughter church, Christchurch, is in the Parish of Abergavenny, in
the Deanery of Abergavenny and the Diocese of Monmouth in the Church of Wales.
Incumbent and ministers
The Incumbent is the Reverend Mark Soady. He was assisted by Associate Vicar, the Reverend Dr
Bernard Sixtus and two non-stipendiary ministers, the Reverend Dr Chris Walters and the
Reverend John Hughes. Dr Walters left to become NSM in charge of the Govilon group of parishes
St Mary’s Priory Choir took the Year of Pilgrimage to heart during
their Singing Week in August, with members of the choir walking
between St Mary’s, Patrishow Church, Llanthony Abbey and Dore
Abbey on the first three days, before singing Vespers at each
church, and then singing at services at Gloucester and Bristol
Cathedrals on following days.
The choir has also introduced choral scholars to its ranks, providing
training opportunities for young people of sixth form age, who
might otherwise not either be involved in choral singing or come to
church. The choirmaster is working with the music department of
our local comprehensive school to recruit potential scholars.
St Mary’s was visited by people from all over the world and
from nearer home, with many groups such as U3A, local
history organisations, Mothers Union and other church
groups booking tours to learn about the collection of
medieval monuments in the church – said to be one of the
finest in the country – and to sit quietly in a church which
has been a place of prayer for nearly 1,000 years.
in January, while in September Fr Hughes joined the Llantilio Pertholey group as NSM. The
parishes are also served by Licensed Lay Ministers Jeff Pearse, Gaynor Parfitt and David Meredith.
Objectives and activities
We review our aims, objectives and activities each year, looking at what we have achieved and the
outcomes of our work in the previous twelve months. The review looks at the success of each key
activity and benefits of activities in a wide variety of cultural areas. The review also helps us
ensure our aims, objectives and activities remained focussed on our stated objectives. We have
referred to the guidance contained in the Charities Commission’s general guidance on public
benefit when reviewing our aims and objectives and in planning our future activities.
When considering our activities for the year, the incumbent and the Parochial Church
Council (PCC) have considered the Charity Commission’s guidance on public benefit and, in
particular, the specific guidance on charities for the advancement of religion. In particular,
The objective of the Charity is promoting in the ecclesiastical parish the whole mission of the
Church. Encouraging and facilitating the practice of the Christian Faith by the Churches includes
• The provision and maintenance of the fabric of St Mary’s Priory Church, Abergavenny, and
of Christchurch, Abergavenny and their associated buildings;
• The maintenance of Christian burial places;
• Promoting the study of Christian teaching, practices and Scriptures;
• To provide means and encouragement to promote fellowship within the membership of
the Churches and the wider community;
In addition to the above, Christian devotional acts and outreach work is carried out, including:
• Visiting the sick;
• Conducting regular Christian worship in both Churches;
• The celebration of the Holy Eucharist, including on a daily
basis at St Mary’s Priory Church; marriages, funerals and
• Leaving St Mary’s open to the public to enter and benefit from
personal spiritual contemplation; and to be able to view the
medieval monuments and learn about the Benedictine
foundation of the Church and its place in the history of
Christianity and of Abergavenny;
• Administering the Sacraments to those unable to attend regular acts of Worship, to the
sick and dying;
• Supporting pastoral work;
• Fostering ecumenical links between differing Christian denominations;
• Supporting the work of other charities through, among others, the Mothers Union and
Mission and Outreach Committee.
Further achievements in the year
Monies were raised by freewill offertory, fund raising activities and specific appeals. These were
used to support the work and administration of the churches and wider mission. Volunteers, who
helped at each act of worship to support the clergy, have donated their time. The churches expect
to continue with their acts of worship and pastoral care during 2013 and will continue to actively
try to increase its Electoral Roll, through its mission work in the community.
The activities of the committees and groups within the churches continued during the year. The
monies raised contributed to the general income of the churches. These activities are expected to
continue during 2013. All those involved in group activities and who assist with the main functions
of the churches are volunteers.
In order to continue to foster increasing unity between the different Churches and congregations
within Fr Soady’s Incumbency, regular meetings of the Wardens from all four Churches were held.
In addition, two meetings were convened to which all PCC members from the three Parishes were
invited. Arising from these gatherings, an informal grouping, Abergavenny Anglican Churches
Together (“AACT”) was formed in order to facilitate a co-ordinated response to issues, particularly
opportunities for wider mission.
The trustees who served the Charity throughout
2012 until the end of the year were as follows:
The Reverend Mark Soady Chairman
Mr Anthony Aurelius
Mr John Auty representative on the Diocesan Conference
Mrs Sheila Davies representative on the Deanery Conference
Mrs Margaret Dodd
Mrs Glenyss Holland representative on the Diocesan Conference
Mr Clive Jones
Mr Steven Lamerton
Mr Vernon Lewis
Mr David Marsh
Mrs Eunice Marsh
Ms Louise McLeod
Mrs Anne Parr
Mr Jeff Pearse Licensed Lay Minister
Mr Robert Phillips
Mr Andrew Powell
Mr Tim Pratt
Mr Robin Smith
Mrs Sheila Woodhouse
Ms Caroline Woollard representative on the Diocesan Conference and member of the
Governing Body of the Church in Wales
Mr David Williams
In addition(from January 2012 to the Vestry meeting in April 2012):
Mrs Sheila Bevan
Miss Elizabeth Boyce representative on the Deanery Conference
Mr Gareth Davies
Mrs Pansy Davies, resigned Ju e 2012
Mrs Amanda Dore
Mr Philip Godsell
Mr Stephan Grabner
Ms Beverley Jones
Dr Mark Mitchelmore
Sir Trefor Morris
Mrs Sian Philllips
Mrs Julie Wybron
Structure, governance and management
The Parish of Abergavenny is part of the Diocese of Monmouth within the Church in Wales. The
Church in Wales is a Province within the Anglican Communion and, as such, exists to advance the
Christian Religion through world-wide mission. The object of the Parochial Church Council is to
ensure that the life and work of the Church within the Parish helps to fulfil that mission, both
locally and more widely.
The Representative Body of the Church in Wales holds the land and property of the Church in
Wales, including St Mary’s Priory Church, Christchurch and other church buildings, and including
the Garden of Rest at St Mary’s, and their contents. The Representative Body is an exempt Charity
and was set up under Section 13(2) of the Welsh Churches Act 1914. It acts on behalf of the
Province in paying the stipends of the full time clergy, and administers the Church in Wales
scheme of covenanted and gift aid giving recovering tax on behalf of the parishes.
The Parochial Church Council (PCC) is not a body corporate, its composition, procedure and
powers being regulated by the Constitution of the Church in Wales as amended from time to time
by its Governing Body set up under Section 13(1) of the Welsh Church Act 1914. Elections are held
at an Annual Vestry Meeting which must take place on or before 30th April each year. All persons
whose names are entered on the Electoral Roll are entitled to vote and stand for election. Before
assuming office, every member of the PCC publicly makes a declaration that he or she will be
bound by the Constitution. The Members and Officers of the PCC, including the Incumbent, on
appointment become Trustees of the “Parish of Abergavenny Parochial Church Council Charity”.
The PCC also appoints the Priory Trustees, a body set up under a 1925 Deed of Trust to administer
certain lands and properties held by the Representative Body as Custodial Trustees on behalf of
and for the benefit of, the Parish. The Trustees report to the PCC and their accounts are kept
separate but consolidated with those of St Mary’s and Christchurch within the Charity Accounts
presented with this report.
Property administered by the Priory Trustees includes the Priory Centre, the Tithe Barn and the
Curates House. The latter two have been purchased in recent years and their freehold values are
shown in the Accounts of this Charity.
Commercial operations undertaken in the Priory Centre and the Tithe Barn are administered by
The St Mary’s Priory House Company Limited, a Service Company registered with Companies
House and in which the Priory Trustees, on behalf of the PCC and the “Parish of Abergavenny
Parochial Church Council Charity” hold 51% of the shares.
The PCC has conducted it own review of the major risks to which the Charity is exposed and
systems have been established to mitigate those risks. The risks facing the Charity include the
state of repair of the Churches and the financial requirements to meet its stated activities,
including payment of its Annual Parish Share, bearing in mind the fall in the numbers of regular
worshippers and the reduction in regular giving. The structure of the Churches is continually
monitored by the Fabric committee and the Church architect, and the finances are controlled by
careful budgeting and encouragement and appeals to the worshippers and visitors.
The PCC is responsible inter-alia for promoting the mission of the Church, the parochial budget
and all expenditure there under, the care and maintenance of the fabric of the Churches and of
the Garden of Remembrance, and for action on any other matter referred to it in accordance with
the constitution. The PCC is also the normal channel of communication between the parishioners
and the Bishop of the diocese. All members of the PCC are volunteers.
In addition to the election of members, the Officers, i.e. The People’s Warden, the Deputy People’s
Warden (St Mary’s) and People’s Sub-Warden (Christchurch) are elected at the annual Easter
Vestry; the Vicar appoints the Vicar’s Warden, Vicar’s Deputy Warden (St Mary’s) and Vicar’s Sub-
Warden (Christchurch) at the same meeting. New representatives are told of their responsibilities
and of the issues facing the Churches by existing representatives, and receive such additional
training as required. Other Officers, including the Secretary, Treasurer and Child Protection Officer
are appointed at the first meeting of the PCC after the Vestry Meeting.
As indicated, members of the PCC also serve as representatives on the Deanery and Diocesan
Conferences and the Governing Body of the Church in Wales. St Mary’s and Christchurch are active
members of Abergavenny Council of Churches and volunteers help run the Christian Aid Fortnight
activities in the town, organise Lenten study groups, and stage a town centre carol service.
The Churches are run entirely by volunteers as the clergy are remunerated by another charity
from the Share payments made by all the Churches in the Diocese. Without the work of these
volunteers, who, for example, enable St Mary’s to be kept open every day for members of the
public to visit and to pray, the Churches would not function.
The PCC met eight times in 2012 but between these meetings, a number of committees meet to
support the work of the Churches:
• The Mission and Outreach Committee
• The Finance Committee
• The Fabric Committee
• The Fundraising Committee
Regular inspections and maintenance of both Churches, plus the other buildings and the grounds,
were carried out during the year as required. The year also saw the completion of the work on repointing
the tower at St Mary’s.
The level of direct voluntary contributions at each act of worship, excluding tax reclaimed through
Gift Aid, amounted to £72,372 (2011: £73,841). This is a decrease of £1,469, or about 2%.
Other income included fundraising amounted to £156,870 (2011: £145,736). This included the
final part of the restricted grant from CADW of £41,658 (2011: £17,743) towards the cost of the
extensive repairs to the tower of St Mary’s and the initial fund raising towards the cost of erecting
a new window in St Mary’s in memory of our previous incumbent, the Very Reverend Jeremy
Winston. A total of £21,347 was raised in the year towards the estimated £140,000 needed for the
The net assets of the Charity at 31 December 2012 amounted to £271,495 (2011: £307,107),
including freehold properties valued at £362,641 (2011: the same). The principal liability remains
the mortgage on the Curates House of £195,000. The decline in net assets during 2011 is again due
almost entirely to payments for the repair work to the tower of St Mary’s, mainly using restricted
funds from a legacy as well as the CADW grant.
The level of expenditure amounted to £264,854 (2011: £291,152) with £96,772 being mainly exceptional
expenditure on the repairs to St Mary’s Tower, completed during the year (2011: £90,479). Other
expenditure included £20,000 to purchase a new organ, but elsewhere expenditure was below the
figures for 2011. The Parish Share paid to the Diocese during the year was £90,812 (2011 :
The reserves policy of Parochial Church Council (PCC) recognises the need to hold reserves to
ensure funds are available to provide continuing mission should the income levels fall. Reserves
are also required to meet the future maintenance programme for the Churches and Church
A minimum level of reserves needs to be retained to ensure the PCC can meet its legal
commitments should the Charity be unable to continue due to a lack of a sustainable income
stream. The Officers of the PCC have established a policy whereby the unrestricted funds not
designated for specific use by the PCC or invested in tangible fixed assets, i.e. free reserves, held
by the Charity should be between three and six months of the resources expended in general
The Charity is dependent on donations, grants and investment income. The current economic
climate continues to be uncertain and may have a negative impact on future income streams.
The Parochial Church Council (PCC), through its finance committee, has considered the most
appropriate policy for investing funds and agreed to achieve the best available rate from our
Bankers, e.g. through the use of three-month Bonds, within the constraint of maintaining rapid
access to funds in the event of a call on them.
Lloyds Bank, 54 Cross Street, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire NP7 5HB, and, HSBC Bank plc, 2
Frogmore Street, Abergavenny, NP7 5AF.
Dorrell Oliver Limited, Linden House, Monk Street, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire NP7 5NF.
Michael Bartosch, of Bartosch & Stokes, 1 Bath Parade, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL53 7HL
Approved by the Trustees
and signed on their behalf
by The Reverend Mark Soady, Chairman