Archive for May, 2019

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


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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.

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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.


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ON ASCENSION THURSDAY, MAY 30TH we will start our Novina of prayer as part of the Thy Kingdom come initiative.A global wave of prayer calling all Christians to pray between Ascension and Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus Christ.


Prayer for the Police

The day starts with an hour of prayer for the police. In association with the Christian Police Association during the hour we will pray for different aspects of the police work, including giving thanks for the service of police officers, prayers fo victims of crime and the offenders, leadership, relationship with communities, restoration and revival and for officers family life and homes.

Ascension Day Eucharist

The former Bishop of Ascension Island, The Rt Revd Dr Richard Fenwick will celebrate and outdoor service in the Prince of Wales Courtyard (next to the Priory Church) at 6.30pm.

Thy kingdom come initiative

From May 30th (Ascension Day)  to June 9th (The Feast of Pentecost) visitors tot hey church will be able to take part in a Bible based prayer trail. There will also be an opportunity to share in the Benedictine practice of Lectio Divina ( praying the scriptures).

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Our experienced volunteer Sir Trefor Morris will be holding a public tour of the church on Saturday the 25th Of May at 11am. Come and listen to the inspiring and intriguing stories as you step back in history and are filled with the interesting facts of our church monuments and medieval effigies. Your guide Sir Trefor will deliver an entertaining and knowledgeable tour with a chance to ask questions and learn the history of the site which you may not have known before.

Donations are welcomed and greatly appreciated.

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At the Annual General Meeting of Monmouthshire County Council held tonight at County Hall, Usk, Cllr Sheila Woodhouse, Assistant Warden (with responsibility for Christchurch) was elected Chairman by the Council.


Canon Mark Soady, who she has appointed as her Chaplain, congratulated Sheila on her election; ” In you, the County will have a good ambassador over the coming Civic Year. Your voluntary work over many years will stand you in good stead for this role”.

Read here what Sheila said about how she uses the Gifts God gave  her for the good of others.

Cllr Woodhouse’s Civic Service will be at Christchurch, North Street at 3pm on June 23rd.

She has previously served as Mayor and Mayoress of Abergavenny, and was Chairman of the County Council’s Consort, when her husband Chris served as Chairman.


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We will host Bishop Richard’s Farewell Eucharist here on Sunday, July 7th.



Canon Mark Soady said, “It is an honour to host Bishop Richard’s Farewell Eucharist on the occasion of his retirement,  as we did for Bishop Dominic before him.  He was  a much loved Bishop”.


Please note this is a ticket only event due to the constraints of space. 


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We are pleased to announce that we will be hosting a visit from the World Wide President of the Mothers Union here on September 4th.


During the visit the new Mother’s Union Diocesan President and Diocesan Team will be Commissioned by the World Wide President Sheran Harper, in the presence of the Provincial President, Revd Kay Warrington.


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At the Easter Vestry last night Tim Pratt was re-appointed as Vicar’s Warden and Caroline Woollard re- elected as People’s Warden.


Sheila Davies and Robin Smith stood down after many years of service first as Wardens then as Asst Wardens. Sheila is currently very unwell and Robin wants to concentrate on the increasingly busy role of Treasurer.   Canon Mark Soady expressed his thanks to them for the years of service in that role.


The Vestry elected Catherine Jones as St Mary’s Asst People’s Warden.

Fr Mark appointed :

-Sheila Woodhouse as Christchurch’s Asst Vicar’s Warden

-Lyndon Evans as St Mary’s Asst Vicar’s Warden

Eunice Marsh continues as PCC Secretary and Robin was re-elected as Treasurer.

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