Archive for December, 2018

Another full year is planned for St Mary’s Priory. We will join the other Anglican Churches in the town by Proclaiming it afresh – it of course being the Good News of the Gospel.


The year of Proclaiming it afresh will see local artist Jezz Thomas painting key scenes from the Gospels to be displayed in the Priory Church and elsewhere in the town.


Jezz’s painting the Annunciation is in progress


The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity kicks off the year with a special service here on January 19th.

On National Flower Arranging Day (May 3rd) we will host the National Association of Flower Arranging Societies South Wales & West Regional Diamond Jubilee Service, when the church will be decorated with arrangements of flowers by NAFAS’ best. Later on in the spring we will join other Anglican Churches to stage a Proclaiming it afresh Flower Festival at Holy Trinity Church, Baker Street.

In addition to marking the usual Festivals of the Church year , Remembrance this year will mark the 75th Anniversary of the  D Day Landings(World War 2).

The week of the August Bank Holiday weekend we will again host a Festival of Liturgical Music. The Priory Choir will be the Choir-in-Residence at Dublin Cathedral a month earlier.

On October 5th  we will host a ‘Taster Day’ for Anglican Religious Communities.


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This Christmas local artist Jez Thomas has launched an exhibition of paintings telling the Gospel story through art. On display now at St Mary’s Priory are scenes from the Nativity of Jesus Christ, other paintings will be added as the year progresses.


Reflecting on his work, Jez said:

“I simply aim to inspire people with the story of the Gospels, it has been extremely profitable to me spiritually already.”

When all thirty are completed they will tell the whole story of Jesus. The plan is to take the painitings on  tour of Churches, Chapels and especially pop-up venues around the country, when their time at St Mary’s Priory comes to end.

Alongside the painting will be poems reflecting the scene written by Fr Tom Bates, the Priory’s Sub-Prior.


The Prior, Canon Mark Soady said, “It is great to be working in partnership with such a talented artist as Jez on this exciting project”.


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One of the pleasures of being Vicar of Abergavenny at this time of year is watching how the different local schools and groups interpret the Nativity. We have  great deal of musical and acting talent in town which is a real blessing.

During the many Nativity Plays  I attend, I play a game with myself to see what additional ‘non-biblical’ characters will appear in the story this year.

This leads me to ask the question, “Who would you be in the Nativity?”.

Everyone is represented there:

  • the unmarried mother: The Blessed Virgin Mary
  • the homeless, soon to be refugee: Jesus
  • the individual for whom Christmas is a busy time full of hassle: The Innkeeper
  • the rejected in society: The Shepherds
  • the person wanting to do the right thing in a tricky situation: St. Joseph
  • off stage in the wings is the Tyrant Leader: King Herod
  • in the subtext are the invading forces, who census sets the scenes: The Romans
  • later arrive wealthy intelligent men : The Magi

Jesus came in to the world for people all conditions, so who ever, what ever we are, we can be sure Jesus came for us. Sometimes we forget this, and think Jesus came only to save ‘the likes of me’.

However, He will not force himself on us, we need to welcome him in.

My prayer is that all of us will welcome him in to our homes and hearts this Christmas…..and through out the coming 2019.


Blessed Christmas


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Jesse Tree Blessed


Items ready to go on the Advent Tree

 As in previous years, St Mary’s Priory Church will feature a number of trees over the festive season, the first of which— the Jesse Tree— was blessed at All Age Eucharist on the first Sunday of Advent.

The Jesse Tree takes its name from a passage in the book of the prophet Isaiah 11:1: “A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, a branch out of his roots.” It is, in short and simple terms, the family tree of Jesus illustrating his descent from Jesse of Bethlehem, the father of David.

In the New Testament the lineage of Jesus is illustrated by two of the Gospel writers: Matthew and Luke. Luke describes the ‘generations of Christ’, beginning with Jesus and tracing backwards through his ‘earthly father’ Joseph all the way to Adam. Matthew opens with the words, ‘The genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham. (1:1). Jesus is explicitly represented as being from God’s holy people.


Each week the symbols of this genealogy are added to the tree in St Mary’s. All of the following figures / events are incorporated:

The Creation of the World, Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samuel, David, Elijah, Hezekiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Habbakuk, Nehemiah, Zechariah, Elizabeth, John the Baptist, Mary, Joseph, Jesus. Jesse

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