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Work has begun on redecorating the Bell ringing Chamber and improving the heating and lighting in there. Coe Stone Ltd and Hurst Electrical needed to find a way to get the scaffolding up there. Given the tower stairs are to narrow they used a hole built- in to erect the bells.

 

Meanwhile outside the North West entrance work has begun to prepare for the laying new gas pipes for our new central heating system.

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Maintenance and upgrading work on the Priory’s Ringing Chamber and Central Heating System scheduled for the Summer will now take place this month.

Robin Smith the Asst Warden in charge of works said, “October is a quiet month, so a good time to undertake these works before the busy November and December months”.

We do not expect any major distruption to services or visiting times.

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We will Celebrate Harvest Thanksgiving at St Mary’s Priory on Sunday, October 7th.

8am Holy Eucharist

9.30am All Age Eucharist

11am Sung Eucharist. Preacher: Fr John Humphrets

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This year the four  Anglican Churches in Abergavenny  will raise funds for two causes at all our Harvest Thanksgiving service –one overseas and one at home.

Embrace  (formerly Embrace theMiddle East) is making an impact across the Middle East and are continually encouraged by the stories of hope and transformation their partners share with them. They work in three main areas –  education, healthcare and community development.

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One example of their work in education is the provision of bursaries for children at 17 Christian schools in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. They want to extend this scheme to help more children get the education they deserve.

Children like Karim, whose father died suddenly of a heart attack. Karim has been living with his disabled mother and two sisters in one very small room. Despite sleeping on the floor every night, Karim says: “It is true, we are very poor, but we are happy together and can manage with whatever God provides, thanks to him!” Karim dreams of being an aerospace engineer; he loves science and maths. When speaking of the bursary he receives from Embrace he says,: “I am lucky and sincerely hope they will continue helping me to start in school in the coming years.”

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Last week our Vicar, Fr Mark met Michel Constantin, Regional Director of the Pontifical Mission in Lebanon, who was visiting the UK as a partner of Embrace the Middle East.  The event offered the opportunity for him to find out first-hand more about what is happening in Lebanon and the surrounding region, and how churches are responding to some of the most complicated and ever-changing circumstances in the world today.  The Pontifical Mission in Lebanon is part of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association

Abergavenny Town of Sanctuary  is a group of local people who want to offer a welcome to refugees and asylum seekers fleeing violence and persecution in their own countries.

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They help refugees settle in our town through providing practical help, such as Holy Trinity offering the use of the hall’s kitchen for a group of Syrian refugees to prepare produce for sale, and by organising events such as Syrian food stalls at the Clytha House Open Gardens or the Community Centre.

Other events have included a multi language walk and keeping refugees in our town in touch with those in Newport and Cardiff.

For more information, log on to www.facebook.com/Abergavenny-Town- of- Sanctuary

And we shall say:

“Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? And the King will reply: “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

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A book published by Gomer Press called Wales in 100 objects was launched this week at the National Musuem of Wales in the prescnce of our Vicar & Prior, Canon Mark Soady and Sir Trefor Morris, Chairman of the St Mary’s Priory Development Trust.

Written by Andrew Green, the former librarian of the National Library of Wales, the book follows years of research and travel by Andrew to libraries, museums and archives all over Wales in a mission to find 100 objects which represent key aspects of the history of our nation.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the power of objects in a historical context,” says Andrew Green. “Objects – even ones that look insignificant – can be used to tell a remarkable story.”

In its report on the launch of the book the Western Mail includes the Jesse Effigy in its top 10 of the 100.

The Western Mail reads:

Each object in Wales in 100 Objects and Cymru Mewn 100 Gwrthrych has been strikingly illustrated by photographer Rolant Dafis from Aberystwyth, who has worked for a number of well-known fine art galleries and auction houses over the last 20 years.

The resulting publication is a stunning volume that opens a door into Wales’ history and culture. Here is our pick of 10 of the most interesting objects showcased in the book.

 

Jesse

The Jesse effigy

 The Jesse

This extraordinary larger-than-life figure once formed the base of an intricate and elaborate construction, which depicted the lineage of Jesus Christ from Jesse, the father of King David.

So called ‘Jesse figures’ and ‘Jesse trees’ are not uncommon in stone and stained glass, but this is the only one in wood to be found in the United Kingdom – and probably the world.

In the BBC series A History of British Art, Andrew Graham Dixon describes it as ‘the only great wooden figure to survive the wreckage of the British Cultural Revolution’.

We do not know who carved it, but we do know that it retains its extraordinary command of our attention and fascination. Carved from one solid piece of oak, probably in the 15th century, it was originally highly coloured and depicted all the Davidic kings and descendants, surmounted by the figures of Mary and the Child, and Christ in glory.

Latest thought estimates the height of the ‘tree’ growing from Jesse’s side to have been between 25ft and 30ft.

In her study of the Jesse Murial Adams claimed it was commssioned by Jaspar Tudor.

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Preaching at Harvest Thanksgiving at St Michael’s Church, Myddfai, Carmarthenshire, Canon Mark Soady addressed the question of depression and suicide in today’s farming community.

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St Michael’s Church, Myddfai

Speaking at the Church near the Prince of Wales’ Welsh Residence of Llwynywermod,    Fr Mark said:

As we gather in this ancient church to give thanks for the Harvest, I am aware that some of you may not be feeling that thankful.

The Farm Safety Foundation’s Report published earlier this year highlighted the fact that every week one farmer in the UK takes his life. I remember from my days as a Psychiatric Nurse in Dyfed in the 1980s how rural isolation could lead to depression, alcoholism and drug addiction.

The report noted “Whilst UK farmers are renowned for the attention they give to their livestock, crops and machinery, it appears they do not have such a good track record when it comes to taking care of themselves and their own wellbeing.”  This occupation is dominated by men. We traditionally are less able to admit to our poor mental health and are less able to talk to others about the problem; add to this the often isolated working of farmers.

With the uncertainity of Brexit and  the extremes of weather we have had this year there has been plenty for farmers to worry about. Farmers tell me that they have already used up their winter stock of silage to feed their animals through the summer drought, and do not know how their animals will be fed through the winter months.

So how does that fit in with our Lord’s instruction in the Gospel of Matthew.

The authorised version of St Matthew’s Gospel states,” Take no thought for tomorrow”. Earlier translations have it as “Do not be full of care”. The Bible Society’s Testament Newydd uses the Welsh word “Pryder” which could be translated in to English as “Anxious” or “worry”.

In tonight’s Old Testament reading we hear that as a result of Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s Dream, Pharaoh did plan for the forthcoming famine.  He rightly had a ‘care’ for the future! We would be very critical of our rulers today if they did not plan as pharaoh did. So we need to draw a contrast between having a ‘care’ for tomorrow, planning for tomorrow if you like; and being anxious about tomorrow.

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Fr Mark with a bale of hay

Jesus tells us in the Gospel if God gave us life surely we can and must trust him to give us the things that sustain life.

Insightfully, Jesus also reminds us that far from ‘being anxious’ achieving something positive,  it  can actually make us ‘ill with worry’.

You will not be surprised to hear me say that Jesus lived what he taught. Unlike the rest of us he did know what the future brought. In his case it brought a most terrible death on a cross. If we knew that was to befall us, I am not sure we would come across as cheerful as Christ does in the Gospels.

So friends however, bad things seem let us remember that Christ is with us – and God will provide. That is what we need to be most Thankful for this Harvestide.

 

 

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HARVEST – October 7th

8am Holy Eucharist
9.30am All Age Eucharist
11am Sung Eucharist

Our Preacher at 11am is Fr John Humphreys Priest-in-Charge of the neighbouring parish of Llanddewi Rhyddrech.

Our collections at all the Harvest Thanksgiving services in the incumbency this year will be split 50:50 between Embrace the Middle East and Abergavenny Town of sanctuary.

 

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A series of services and activities at  St Mary’s Priory are planned to mark the Centenary of the ending of hostilities in World War 1.

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A couple of silhouettes representing those killed in World War 1 in the foreground and their names on a Memorial in the background at St Mary’s Priory.

 

The Church is working with the Town Council on a number of opportunities for the local community to pause and think.

A number of silhouettes have been placed around the church as a reminder of those who gave their live sin the war – some of them at a very young age. These silhouettes will also form the centre piece of an event following the Act of Remembrance on November 11th. A display of poppies will be created at the Priory alongside others at key points in the town.

At 7pm on Saturday, November 10th (The Eve of the Centenary of the Ending of Hostilities) The Gwent Bach Choir are staging a Concert in Church.

Programme includes: Mozart’s Requiem; Purcell’s Funeral Sentences and
Handel’s The Ways of Zion do Mourn

Our remembrance will end will us bell ringers joining  a national peel of church bells at 7.10pm on Sunday, November 11th. Church bells across the UK remained restricted throughout the course of the war and only rang freely once Armistice was declared on 11 November 1918.

Earlier in the day Fr Tom Bates will lead an Act of Remembrance in the Priory Church from 10.50am , while Canon Mark Soady will lead the Town’s Act of Remembrance at the War Memorial.

The Priory Choir’s CD of Remembrancetide music is on sale in the Tithe Barn.

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