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Holy Week Festival 2011 Mini Blog UDATED 19/4/11

17 April 2011 No Comment



It was good to see the Riding Lights actors again as I'd bumped into them in the Whole Hog after Basketball on Thursday Night. And really great that some guys from from basketball came to see The Narrow Road. Very strong performance, great cast and some thoughtful theology behind the script. Memorable was the side-by-side depiction of Abraham preparing to sacrifice Isaac as Christ was praying and sweating blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, then crying out 'where's my scapegoat.' Also having Jesus and Barabbas bound back to back as Pilate interrogated them - the son of the father (Bar-Abbas) with the Son of the Father (Jesus.)


8am Morning Prayer was small and blissful. Zaccheus wanting 'to see who Jesus was' pretty much said it all for my prayers;  getting a fresh, clerarer, closer view of Christ would be a good result for Holy Week. Nicky Smith descended with the blessing of fresh coffee and croissants 
after prayer which in itself makes the alarm clock more bearable. At 10am I interviewed eight students from Malmesbury School who for 45 minutes gave us insight into their artwork in the Stations of the Cross. 50 people there, fascinating, really helpful to see how deep each had gone with the Biblical text, and left me wondering why we hadn't interviewed the artists in the last three years.


I was encouraged to see about 60 people gather for a young and fresh new artist. There is no doubt that Luke has his own distinctive sound with cracking melodies but also a real gentleness to his solo ballads. As I participated in my fourth cup of coffee for the evening it felt that people were getting in to the music and the atmosphere was more and more relaxed. No stagediving though which was what I was planning on see… ah well, maybe next time. It made me think that maybe the Abbey should do an all-dayer with a wide range of local and not so local talent on display for the community. Big well done to Luke & the band!


Mixed emotions this morning as I opened up the Abbey for 24/7 Prayer to continue at 7am. Later I go to Brokenborough Church for their Palm Sunday service knowing that John Smith won't be with us, R.I.P., and myself and the whole congregation will be carrying a lot of sadness. Then it's Rodbourne at 10.30am with a pony called Smartie, or is it Marmite, reminding us that the events of the first Palm Sunday were messy and unpredictable.



Over 100 people gathered for what was without doubt a musical gem. A tight and talented band with great grooves led by the soaring voice of the Soul Singer Sally and she most definitely has a well of soul- the Abbey was ideal as it had enough room to let her voice fill it. The Night Stage with the new logo shining on the east wall it felt we were part of a great event all taking place on the sacred ground holding the Labyrinth put together by Sandra Chin and her team- massive thanks- a wonderful night!

The Labyrinth from Tom Price on Vimeo.

Monday Morning

Six at Morning Prayer this morning, only three last time. Two observations. Observation one - there will be less croissants to go around afterwards with our fresh coffee. Did the monks actually manage to pray early in the morning before coffee? Also with a preference for strawberry jam emerging we urgently need intercessors to join us who prefer apricot jam or honey with their croissants. Observation number two - the growth is phenomenal, 100% in one day. At this rate in two weeks time we will have 24,576 at morning prayer and I'll be able to launch my own TV channel. Exciting times.

Monday night was a time of grace and beauty. One of those times where God was at work in the conversing and the praying and the singing and the listening. Walter Dirks was moved, and moved us, as he recounted strories of the heroic and unknown people he has met and photographed around the world - Daniel Ruffinatti's story was jaw dropping in it's pain, brokenness and the power of the redemptive love of Christ. Lee Barnes blew us away with powerful and personal poetry reminding us that we know a God who is in the business of reclamation, reclaiming that which is broken and forlorn. And, after the stillness of Night Prayer, Tristan Cork exploded on the Night Stage with Maximo Park, West Country Gangsta (Gingster?) Rap and Amazing Grace. At times his voice was as beautiful as Paul Tilley's shirt. (Paul was incidentally quite brilliant and cutting edge in his percussion play.) Look out for Lee's poetry and Walter's photography as the week progresses, and buy Walter's incredible book if you have any sense.

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