Category Archives: religion

Revd Charles Miller’s new book

This evening, Revd. Charles Miller, from St Helen’s Church, Abingdon, gave an illustrated talk about his new book, ‘The Spiritual Adventure of Henri Matisse: Vence’s Chapel of the Rosary’.

Matisse was a solitary artist known for defying conventional academic art. His work lacked any obvious religious themes.

In 1941, diagnosed with colon cancer, Matisse entered what he called his ‘second life.’ While hospitalised, under the care of Dominican nuns, the idea for the Chapel of the Rosary was born. A Dominican novice, along with two friars, became his spiritual guides for the chapel’s decoration. Matisse said, ‘For 50 years I worked relentlessly, never looking up…now I appreciate life in a completely new way.’

By 1948, Matisse said, ‘When I go to the Chapel, I have a feeling that my whole self is there – finally, all that is best in me.’

(Thanks to Mrs Backstreeter for this report. I was at the Abingdon Town Council annual Parish meeting and will type up that report tomorrow.)

Good Friday Procession

Abingdon commemorated Good Friday with a Walk of Witness, drawing participants from the town’s churches. Organised by the Church in Abingdon, the event has become a tradition for decades, uniting the Christian community.

Despite the earlier rain, the skies cleared as the procession, led by a large wooden cross, made its way through the precinct. The symbolic walk ended in the Market Place, where a crowd gathered for a short message delivered by Pastor Ellie Ball of the Vineyard Church. Traditional Easter hymns were then sung on the day when Christians remember Jesus Christ being crucified.

Be a part of it!

Thanks to Karin for this piece …

It’s great to see the Abingdon Passion Play 2024 taking shape. The evenings are getting lighter, and singers and actors are progressing with rehearsals. We had lovely smiley faces from the APP singers and Musical Director Sally Mears one cold February evening at St Nicolas.

In the meantime actors have been immersing themselves in rehearsing the script, meeting in the spacious play area at All Saints Methodist Church on Friday nights, moving to a more intimate space at St Edmunds on Mondays. St Edmunds is where the cast first rehearsed Jesus’ death on the cross. Someone wrote I.N.R.I. on a piece of paper and placed it on the wall above Jesus, and two actors rolled imaginary dice for Jesus’ robe. It was a very moving moment, reminding all of us why we want to bring this story to the people of Abingdon.

Theatre is a joyful event, and we also have a lot of fun as we get to know each other over a cup of tea (and sometimes delicious homemade cake!) in the break. There is still room for additional actors to be temple guards, soldiers, disciples and crowd, so do get in touch or join us at one of our rehearsals if you want to be part of this exciting community project.

Rehearsal times can be seen at

Abingdon Passion Play Preview evening

An Abingdon Passion Play information meeting took place, with around 70 people attending, at Trinity Conduit Centre last night. The committee members, easily spotted in their red sweatshirts, explained that the play will be performed outdoors in the Abbey Gardens on June 22nd, with two separate shows. They said that it will be free as a big community participation event for the people of Abingdon and the area. It will be the fourth Abingdon Passion Play, part of a tradition of passion plays that started with the play in Oberammergau in 1634.

The director talked about the stage and promenade areas for different parts of the play, plus the different scenes, and musical backing. Actors for roles like Jesus have already been chosen, and others are still open. If you’re interested in acting, you can go to a rehearsal evening, and the director will give you a chance to showcase your skills. There are 12 main parts and 28 backing parts. (Acting rehearsals – Fridays from 9th Feb 7:30 to 9:30 pm at All Saints Church or Mondays from 12th Feb 7 pm to 9 pm at Our Lady and St Edmund Church Parish Centre. Singing Rehearsals – Every 2 weeks on Thursday (next one 22nd Feb) 7:30 – 9:15 pm, at St Nicolas Church).

But acting isn’t the only way to get involved! They need volunteers for everything from helping out with security to sewing costumes. I’m helping in my small way to publicise things but and social media will have much more.

It takes place on the same day as the Mayor of Ock Street ceremony. So that is going to make it a busy day in Abingdon. And you can catch both.

The pictures show the Abingdon Passion Play in 2013, 2016 and 2019.