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Songs of Praise at Rushen Abbey 17 July 2006

On Sunday 23rd July 2006, Manx National Heritage and Churches Together in Mann are inviting worshippers to join them for a special open air ecumenical Songs of Praise service in the grounds of Rushen Abbey at 2.30pm.

The service will be held in the area of the original Abbey Church of St Mary the Virgin, where the original church last held regular acts of worship in June 1540. Shortly after this date the Abbot and six monks were expelled and the Abbey and church fell into disrepair following the dissolution of the Monasteries ordered by Henry VIII.

Since acquiring Rushen Abbey for the Manx nation in 1998, Manx National Heritage has carefully excavated and conserved the site, and Rushen Abbey was reopened to the public on Good Friday 2000.

A number of community based activities have taken place at Rushen Abbey since its opening, including the open air services, which commenced in summer 2001 when the first regular acts of worship were held at Rushen Abbey for over 460 years.

The Songs of Praise service has become an annual interdenominational event arranged by Manx National Heritage in conjunction with Vicar of Malew, Reverend Michael Roberts, who said:

“The Open Air Service is always a popular event and enables both the local and the wider community to enjoy worship at Rushen Abbey, where it is very fitting to have such acts of praise and thanksgiving”.

Jon Cain, Southern Museums and Site Manager for Manx National Heritage, said:

“2006 is the sixth consecutive year in which Manx National Heritage has worked with the Churches Together in Mann to host the Songs of Praise Service at Rushen Abbey and Manx National Heritage very much look forward to welcoming worshippers to this year’s service”.

During the service, local Manx singers including Terry Qualtrough, Helen Ainsworth, Sarah Mourdant and Jane Mayne will lead the hymns. Visitors are advised to bring seating or blankets, although in case of wet weather the service will be conducted at the Abbey Church, Ballasalla, approximately 100 yards away from Rushen Abbey.

Rushen Abbey is part of the award-winning Story of Mann, and is open from 10am to 5pm daily until 31st October 2006.

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