Two months after joining the Holywell Community, Brother Sebastian sat down with the editor of the Parish Magazine to talk about how he’s settling in.
Br Seb came to Abergavenny from the other side of the country – Thorpe-le-Soken, around five miles from the nearest beach on the east coast of Essex.
His parish priest there, Fr Jeremy Dowding, used to serve and worship at Holy Trinity so knows Abergavenny well and suggested this would be a good move for the 18-year-old, after leaving college where he’d been studying English and maths.
Seb, who recently featured in a Church of England campaign to raise awareness of living with autism and exploring vocation, says he found moving away from home and settling into a new environment a bit confusing.
But, he went on, it’s been a really good experience, meeting new people and learning new ways of church.
“I served in Thorpe for two years,” he said, “and it was similar but St Mary’s is much bigger and there are differences in how things are done.”
Living away from home has also been a new experience but Seb told himself he had to move on and feels he’s settled down quite quickly. He’s enjoys sharing with Br Josh and is missing him being there but is looking forward to when he returns from New Zealand after Christmas.
“I tell myself any person my age would love to be living in a four-bedroomed house by themselves,” he said.
Seb has also had lots of new experiences since joining the Community – he assists with verging in funerals and is now reading the lessons, having never done that before.
“It took a lot of practice but I think I’m getting the hang of it now,” he said.
He also enjoys being part of the Crafty Women group, although he says it felt a bit odd at the beginning, being one of the only men there. But, he says, they are really good people and it hasn’t bothered him as much as he had thought it would.
Br Seb with Fr Tom OSB at Buckfast Abbey
Little Footprints is another of his duties and, while Seb says he’s taking a bit of time to get to know the parents and toddlers but he’s getting there. The parents are lovely and the kids very good and they’re getting to know each other more. He also enjoys making the crafts and, according to Fr Tom, is very good at it.
As to the future, Seb is helping to plan the Christingle service and both he and Josh will play a big part in the Thy Kingdom Come initiative next year.
Summing up his time here so far, Seb said: “I’ve tried to do everything the best I can and everyone has been lovely; thank you for the welcome.
And discussing the Community at a recent joint wardens meeting, it was agreed that this charming young man has grown in confidence and become a valuable member of the Church.