The Sub Prior, Fr Tom announced to the parishioners in Abergavenny this weekend that the Holywell Community would be suspended from the end of the Community year on the Feast of St Benedict ie next Friday.
Fourth Sunday after Trinity, 5th July 2020
In the emotional rollercoaster of lockdown life we are going through some highs and lows. This week we have had the joys of being able to open St Mary’s once again and knowing that plans for re-opening Holy Trinity are in the pipeline.
Over the last six years Abergavenny has been blessed with the work of the Holywell Community. I’ve been very fortunate to be alongside Fr Mark and the various members of the Community for most of that time, and it has been a real privilege to watch vocations nurtured and to see the wide range of activities which have been enabled in the parish. I have often said that I wish every parish could have a new monastic community praying at its heart. Of course, it has not been without its challenges but when you are doing something brave, pioneering and authentic then we were bound to encounter them. Fr Mark has always been keen to point out that pioneers go out to new places, carving a way for others to follow. The Holywell Community was at the forefront of the new monastic movement, and the church in Abergavenny should be justly proud of what it has achieved in this harnessing of the Benedictine tradition of the parish.
Last week I thanked Nicolas and Nathaniel for all that they have done in their time here and during lockdown. On this coming Friday which is St Benedict’s feast day and the end of the Holywell year, the Community will come to its conclusion. We wish both Nicolas and Nathaniel well in their future adventures. The parish has much to be proud of in what has been accomplished through the Holywell Community, but most especially the vocations which have been nurtured and realized in the lives of its members (and which are still coming to fruition around the world!).
It is important that in the coming interregnum a new incumbent should be appointed who will come with their own gifts and vision to discern with you for the future of the parish. As Christians we acknowledge that when something comes to an end it is sad, but we know that after death comes the joy of the resurrection and new life in Christ. I will certainly look forward to hearing about the new life which Christ has planned for the Church in Abergavenny in its next chapter.
Jesus knows that what life can throw at us can wear us down and in that knowledge, he offers us his gracious invitation: ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.’ As our collect this week says, it is through entrusting everything to Christ that we may pass through earthly busy-ness and keep our course firmly set on the things of heaven. I am reminded of that wonderful Compline prayer ‘protect us through the silent hours of this night so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this fleeting world may repose upon thy eternal changelessness.’
This year may have been a big year of change and upheaval, but there is one at the centre of our faith, our life together and our parish who never changes, and his promise is sure. To quote local poet Henry Vaughan whose words adorn the altar in St Mary’s:
“One who never changes Thy God, Thy life, Thy cure.”