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I’m New

If you’re new to Malmesbury Abbey and new to this website, you are really welcome, thanks for visiting. It can be pretty hard to work out what a church is about, so I’ve listed five things below that say something, not everything, about us and talk about what has been emerging in the last 5 years:

You know, this really irritates me We don’t want our songs and music and worship to be defined by a particular style or culture. Black & White TV has disappeared, so should Black & White church; we want a broad spirituality at Malmesbury Abbey. So, you’ll find worship that inspires you, and conversely you’ll find worship that really irritates you – tough, someone else will like it. The bottom line is that worship is for God anyway, church is not a concert. Have a look on our Services page and you’ll see the pattern and descriptions of our Sunday and weekday services. Over the course of the year you’ll find Advent Carols by Candlelight, Kid’s songs, the Byrd 4-part Mass, songs by Tim Hughes & Ben Cantelon, silence and incense, praying in tongues, praying in 17th century English, incense, a Ducati 900 and a Prayer Labyrinth. It’s not monochrome, come and join in – beginners welcome.

You’re doing what? As someone didn’t once say ‘church should go where God has boldly gone before’. If a community is following God, and the ‘if’ is an important question to ask, then the sort of things that the church community are doing should be surprising and live-giving and wild and fun and significant. The good news of God should break new ground and transform lives, that’s why we really like pioneering evangelism at Malmesbury Abbey. Skate Parks in the Abbey, Healing in the Streets, sports ministries, a creative arts festival in Holy Week, a drop-in for the Elderly, the Friday Night Thing for young people, the Barnabas Group for the unemployed, barn dances and bouncy castles, and coming soon Agnostics Anonymous. Expect God to surprise us in the next few years – be a part of it.

But I don’t like other people The church can often be fairly accused of gazing at its navel, being inward looking and irrelevant. Things have changed. We work in positive partnership particularly with Malmesbury School (art exhibitions, speech days, assemblies and drama productions) and Malmesbury CE Primary School where Rev Katie Windle from our staff works in a pioneering role as Anglican Chaplain. We also host a concert for the WOMAD festival each year and work collaboratively with the Riding Lights Theatre Company, the African Children’s Choir, the Springs Dance Company and Compassion. I guess we like other people.

Who’s that at the front? There is a team that works full-time in leadership at the Abbey – Neill, Mandy, Katie, Lee & Paul – kept alive and nearly sane by our parish administrator Sandie. You’ll often see us leading services or meetings up the front or standing around drinking coffee or chasing children at the back. Beyond that there is a broader team in leadership and a simply massive group of people who give hours and commitment and cash to keep everything going – that’s called church. We’re all the church, each one of us is vital, we just have different roles. One of our values at the Abbey is prophetic leadership, meaning that the people who lead need to see – to read the bible and pray and see the sort of community that God is calling us to become. Mainly we get this wrong – but God is merciful.

Am I going to stay like this? Following Jesus means knowing the mercy and grace of God, knowing that we can be a friend of God and live a glorious life not one weighed down by failure and regret. It’s really hard to follow Jesus 24/7, we sometimes don’t see the potential in us that God and others see in us, and every single man, woman and child at Malmesbury Abbey has areas of their life that disappoint them and frustrate them. But from this restless discipleship can come real personal transformation. We love the bible and theology at the Abbey, we want to be challenged and grow, and we believe that anybody, anybody, who meets with God will be changed. If you’re still reading…well you are a total miracle, thank you. Come a grab me or one of the leadership after a Sunday service or you can e-mail us from the leadership page.  

I’m always happy to come and have a coffee with new church members and answer questions. Neill Archer (Vicar) [email protected]

One Comment »

  • Hollingworth said:

    Enjoyed looking at the web site. We are actively trying to move to malmesbury and are thrilled to find such a vibrant church community. We will be joining you at the 11.0 am service this Sunday. For the future we would hope to offer our service to the church in some way. Please pray that our house id sold soon and we can join you at the Abbey
    Brian and Shelley Hollingworth

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