Welcome to Tewkesbury Abbey.
1 Tewkesbury Abbey
TEWKESBURY ABBEY is an ancient parish in a growing market town with a
population approaching 9,500. The parish encompasses part of the historic centre
of Tewkesbury; Priors Park, a 1950s housing estate classed as an area of urban
deprivation, with high levels of teenage pregnancy, adult illiteracy and
unemployment; a rapidly expanding area to the east in Walton Cardiff, consisting of
two new privately developed estates, which have led to a significant increase in the
population. The Abbey’s congregations tend to reflect the social diversity -
professional and managerial people, along with the skilled, unskilled and unemployed
- of the parish, although more needs to be done on Priors Park Estate to attract
these residents into the life of the Abbey. Families, singles and all ages are reflected
in the worshipping life of the Abbey.
In addition to the Abbey, Tewkesbury has two other Anglican parishes: Holy Trinity
in the town centre and St Nicholas, Ashchurch, on the eastern outskirts. Other
denominations, including Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Independent
Evangelical and the Salvation Army are also well established and ecumenical links
between all Christian churches are strong, formalized through the organization of
‘Churches Together in Tewkesbury’.
Within the parish boundaries are two Primary Schools and in the neighbouring
parish of Holy Trinity, is Chance Street Church of England School with both Vicars
being on the Board of Governors. There is a close relationship between Dean
Close School in Cheltenham whose Preparatory School is the Choir School of the
Abbey and provides the choristers who sing Evensong on weekdays, during term
time, in the Abbey. The Abbey enjoys cordial relations with Tewkesbury
Comprehensive School, covering ages 11 to 18, with an excellent reputation. The
Vicar is also Anglican Chaplain to Tewkesbury Cottage Hospital where Holy
Communion is taken to both wards once a week by the lay Assistant Hospital
The town’s geographical location at the junction of the M5 and M50 motorways is in
commuting distance from Cheltenham, Gloucester, Worcester, Bristol and
Birmingham. By rail London is easily accessible via Cheltenham, Gloucester or
Evesham. With two rivers, a Marina and Caravan Parks, Tewkesbury is a popular
tourist destination - the Abbey being the principal attraction for visitors.
2 Gathering for Worship
8 am Eucharist - Book of Common Prayer
9.15 Parish Eucharist - Common Worship (Contemporary language)
11 am Sung Eucharist - Common Worship (Traditional language)
5 pm Evensong - Book of Common Prayer
Morning and Evening Prayer are said daily using Common Worship Daily Prayer and
the Eucharist is celebrated daily at various times. During term time, Evensong is
sung at 5.30 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday by Schola Cantorum of Dean
THE ABBEY’S MINISTRY
The Abbey is a parish church. However, its size, historic significance and
architectural complexity require an extensive team of vergers and other professional
staff to ensure its proper maintenance. It is a member of the ‘Greater Churches
3 The Sacrament Chapel
The church tradition is essentially Catholic, the liturgy reflecting different styles of
worship, both traditional and contemporary, and welcomes the ministry of women.
Music plays an important role in the worship of the Abbey and, with the full time
Organist and Director of Music, is to be maintained and developed. The strong
local congregation is augmented by many visitors. The Abbey offers ministry to
every member of the parish, and beyond, regardless of belief, faith or no faith.
The Abbey is regarded as the Civic Church and is strongly committed to the life of
the Town and Borough; a number of special services of a civic nature take place
during the course of the year. Both clergy and laity are heavily involved in many
local community groups.
ORGANISATION AND ADMINISTRATION
The Vicar is Chair of the PCC which meets every other month with the Standing
Committee meeting in between. The PCC has five Committees: The Standing
Committee, which has a Finance sub-committee; Music and Liturgy; Mission and
Ministry; Young People and Children; and Fabric.
There are four full-time Vergers who live in close proximity to The Abbey. The
Abbey Office is managed by the Executive Officer, who is line manager to one full-
time secretary, the Head Verger, the Finance Officer and the Shop Manager.
Gardening and cleaning are managed by contract staff. The offices occupy the
second floor of the Visitor Centre which incorporates a Parish Hall and Touching
Souls Tea Room. Abbey Lodge, which provides the living quarters for one verger,
also includes apartments which are commercially let.
4 The Abbey Shop
Tewkesbury Abbey Ltd, a Limited Company by guarantee of which the Vicar is a
member and director, comprises of the Abbey Shop, Touching Souls Tea Room and
the Central Activities. The Shop is open daily and is staffed by paid managers and
employees together with volunteers. Touching Souls Tea Room has a volunteer co-
ordinator with a large bank of volunteers and commercial lets to charities. The
Central Activities, managed by the Executive Officer, includes the hire of rooms and
the Abbey for meetings, concerts and other activities. Together they make a
contribution to the Abbey’s revenue.
THE MINISTERIAL TEAM
Currently, we are reshaping the Ministry Team so that the Abbey will act as a
‘Minister’ to those parishes that lie in its hinterland. It will be an exciting
opportunity to play an important part in equipping God’s People in mission and
ministry. The intention behind this dual appointment is to ensure that the Associate
Vicar’s job will be focussed in the Abbey and in his or her work in the Diocese.
The Vicar - The Rev’d Canon Paul Williams. Has the Cure of Souls of the Benefice
and is Interim Priest in Charge of Severnside Benefice. Acts as Team Leader, chairs
the PCC and Standing Committee and has general oversight.
Associate Vicar of the Abbey and Diocesan Worship Officer – Please see
this documentation along with the Job Description of the Diocesan Worship Officer.
Associate Vicar of the Abbey - Vacant
This will be a full time stipendiary post with accommodation provided by the
Diocese at Apperly. The Associate Vicar has primary responsibility for the
Severnside Benefice and Twyning parish.
Curate - Vacant
This is a full time stipendiary post with accommodation provided by the Diocese on
the Walton Cardiff estate. The Parish has been designated as a training parish and
may receive deacons.
Pioneer Minister- The Rev’d Wendy Ruffle. This is a Fresh Expression of Church
on Prior’s Park working with unchurched families. A 0.5 post is funded by
Tewkesbury Parish Trust
Non Stipendiary Ministers
The Rev’d Charles Whitney
The Rev’d David Coulton
The Rev’d Wendy Ruffle
Honorary Assistant Clergy
A number of retired clergy make a considerable contribution towards the liturgical
and pastoral life of the Parish.
The Abbey has three Readers who are either licensed or PTO who participate
regularly in the liturgy along with some pastoral and teaching role. There are also
two Readers in training.
Mr Graham Finch– Vice Chair of PCC
Mrs Mary Green
Executive Officer – Philippa Shaw
Ministry Team Support Officer – Claire Redstone
Finance Officer – Derek Harbottle
Shop Manager – Bridget Hatter
Head Verger and Fabric Officer – Phil Commens
Organist and Director of Music – Carleton Etherington
Director of Music Schola Cantorum – Benjamin Nicholas
ROLE OF ASSOCIATE VICAR OF THE ABBEY
To maintain his or her own spiritual growth, particularly by giving time to
prayer, the study of the Scriptures and the Church’s tradition in today’s
With the Vicar, to develop and then hold the Abbey to an agreed vision.
To develop the leading of public worship, the administration of the
sacraments, and intercession for local and national concerns at all services but
particularly with the 09.15 service.
To develop the ministry of the Word of God through preaching and teaching
at all services but particularly at the 09.15 service.
To preside, officiate or assist in other services within the Benefice and local
To serve the parish by ensuring that pastoral needs are met and that the
‘Occasional Offices’ are conducted in an appropriate manner.
To assist with Christian nurture and the development of a Catechumenate.
To assist with the training of authorized ministers.
To attend, the Staff Meeting, the Diary Meeting, the PCC and Chapter.
To undertake other specific and agreed responsibilities.
To take proper care of themselves and their family through adequate time for
rest, recreation and family life and, as an example to others, to be involved in
some activity with those who have no church allegiance.
“HALLELUIAH – ON WE GO!”
Community: to encourage our congregations to interact with their local
community, offer pastoral care to each other and integrate new members.
Worship: to continue to review all aspects of our worship and make changes to
the liturgy. Spirituality: to become a MOP (Mass, Office and Private Devotion)
Parish. Young People: through the sale of land, a local Trust makes a grant so that
the Abbey can continue to employ and support a Families Worker who leads a
Fresh Expression of Church on Priors Park. We are also taking this opportunity to
refresh our children’s work and youth work in the Abbey. Stewardship: we are
currently reviewing and renewing our financial giving. Healing: the Abbey is
exploring ways in which the Healing Ministry might be strengthened and extended.
Nurture: we are currently exploring the introduction and implementation of a
Therefore, we are looking for an experienced priest who loves the Lord
Jesus, enjoys the ‘best bits’ of parish ministry, who has a good sense of
humour, works hard and plays hard and wants to be a member of a
fantastic team. Could this be you?