Friends of Our Lady of Tintern
Chair's Report 2020

It is always gratifying to see a good sized congregation for our annual ecumenical Service of Vespers and always a relief when it is not raining, although I don't suppose that the majority of those attending are aware of all the hard work and preparation that is put into organising the service each year. For that I am most grateful to all the members of the Committee and to those who volunteer on the day as well as to Sister Maureen Davies SSJ for printing the service sheets. Particular thanks also go to Dr Emma Gibbins and the choir of Newport Cathedral and to Colin Robinson and his band of servers from St Mary's Priory Church in Monmouth. Thanks also to the team providing refreshments before and after Vespers.

The Service in 2019 took place on the actual Feast of the Birthday of Our Lady and the preacher was the Revd Dr Tim MacQuiban who was the Methodist Fraternal Delegate in Rome. The Rt Revd Stuart Burns OSB, the former Abbot of Mucknell read from the Rule of St Benedict about monastic hospitality, Mother Katharine from Tymawr Convent led the intercessions and the Rt Revd Paul Stoneham, the Abbot of Belmost censed the statue.

The Archbishop of Wales, the Most Revd John Davies has accepted our invitation to preach at Vespers this year and the Rt Revd Cherry Vann, Bishop of Monmouth has agreed to become a patron.

We need to be able to raise additional funds with the sale of merchandise and a new venture last year was to produce a Calendar which was on sale at Vespers. Dick Coates kindly undertook this project and 60 Calendars were printed. We plan to do the same this year. We are also grateful to Dr Gail Blick for a donation following the Study Day at Tymawr Convent.

Dr Vanessa Dodds has been making good progress with the Pilgrimage Route project in raising funds and liaising with local authorities and other groups.

We are aware of the need to advertise the Service of Vespers and to promote the Pilgrimage Route when that is ready and to keep the website up-to-date.

My thanks to Jan Pain for her secretarial work, to David Benson for liaising with CADW, insurers, chair suppliers and the sound system firm and to David and Jane for hosting our meetings in their home. My thanks also to the Revd Vincent Calder our treasurer and to Dr Emma Gibbins for being willing to bring Newport Cathedral Choir to lead Vespers again this year and all who seek to honour Our Lady of Tintern and to keep this 'thin place' as somewhere built to the glory of God.

+ Dominic Walker OGS