April and May are usually very busy months for the Friends, putting everything together for the Annual Friends’ mailing. Things had to be revised this year – the uncertainty over whether the Friends Festival, AGM and other events could go ahead, being unable to access the Abbey for photographs and printing, and not being able to gather the usual team for putting things together led to it all being scaled back rather and a different timescale to work to.
But a Spring Report was produced and delivered, albeit in early summer! The closed Abbey doors on the front cover are rather poignant in the current situation. The report can be accessed for online viewing or pdf download via this link.
It is disappointing, but not surprising, that under current circumstances it is impossible for the Friends to meet on the first Sunday of July for the customary Friends’ Festival and AGM or to have the now traditional excursion on the following day. Council therefore recently passed a resolution to cancel Friends’ Festival and to postpone the 2020 AGM indefinitely. We very much hope to be able to hold the latter before the end of the year. A mailing to all Friends will be sent out at the beginning of June.
We are sorry but the following have been cancelled
Friends’ committee meetings
Friends’ Council Meeting, 18th April 2020
Fitzhamon Lecture, 25th April 2020
If you have pre-purchased tickets for the Fitzhamon Lecture please hold on to them and arrangements will be made for a refund to be made to you when the Abbey Shop re-opens, or they may be exchanged if the lecture is rescheduled for a later date.
The first Friends’ event of 2020 takes place on Friday 24th January at 7.00pm in the Parish Hall when Mr Simon Lawton, Curator of the John Moore Museum, Tewkesbury, will be speaking on ‘The Restoration of Tewkesbury Past – The Abbey and its Legacy’. Tickets are £7.50, to include refreshments, and are available from the Abbey Shop, or on the door.
In the magnificent surroundings of Peterborough Cathedral and its precincts, representatives from 36 Cathedrals, Abbeys and Greater Churches, including 2 from the Tewkesbury Friends, gathered for the 11th biennial Friends’ Conference on the weekend of 11th-13th October 2019.
As always the conference provided an invaluable opportunity to share experiences, challenges and successes with Friends from around the country. A full report of the weekend can be viewed from this link.
Photograph of Peterborough Cathedral from publicdomainpictures.net
At the Anniversary of the Feast of the Consecration on 20th October 2019 the Friends launched their 2021 Appeal to raise £202,100 for a ‘birthday gift’ to the Abbey to mark the 900th Anniversary of the Consecration in 1121. The Friends’ aim is to provide a new feature at the West End of the Abbey to transform the rather gloomy and untidy entrance to the Abbey. Over the next two years a specific project will be identified and the money raised. A page of this website has been created to provide regular updates on the plans for the Appeal and its progress – you can visit it via this link.
Lammas Bread is traditionally made using the first harvested grain of the season, and on Thursday 1st August a small group of Young Friends gathered in the Touching Souls Tea Room at the Abbey to make Lammas Bread under the direction of tearoom supervisor Margaret Gribble. The flour used came from nearby Stanway Water Mill. Go to the Young Friends page for a photo diary of their work, including a photo of the beautiful finished loaf.
The Young Friends have been very busy! You can read about their recent activities and upcoming events in the latest edition of the Young Friends newsletter which can be viewed and downloaded from this link. There are also photographs from the beating of the bounds at Rogationtide in May and the cleaning of the Gage Gates in June on the Young Friends page – do take a look!
This year’s Friends’ Festival is just over one week away. Our theme this year is ‘Conservation’ and the speaker after the Annual General Meeting at 2.30pm is The Friends’ Scholar, Ms Ellie March, whose studies are assisting the Abbey in the preparation of a Conservation Management Plan.
The visiting preacher at the 11.00am Sung Eucharist is Revd Tim Marks of Malvern Priory. Do join us for the service, stay on for the bring and share lunch in the parish hall and then what will be a very interesting afternoon. The festival finishes with tea, then Evensong at 5.00pm.
[If the sun is shining why not stay on to be entertained by Tewkesbury Town Band in the grounds of Abbey House? Bring a picnic, there will be a Pimms tent serving refreshments. Tickets are £10 on the gate]. We look forward to welcoming many Friends to this special day.