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Canadian choir, church challenge, ecumenical festival

Latest news from across the Diocese of East Anglia includes an international choir in Cambridge, a church challenge day in Bury St Edmunds and an ecumenical festival in Ely.

Our Lady & the English Martyrs, Cambridge, welcomed 40 boys from the Saint Michael’s Catholic Choir School, Toronto, Canada on April 27.  The entire choir school of some 200 boys were on tour to the UK, where they performed, among other places, at Westminster, Coventry and Ely cathedrals.  The boys, who were joined by a large congregation, including parents and staff, sang the regular lunchtime Mass.  Pictured above with the boys is choir director, Maria Conkey, Organist Philip Fillion, from the Cathedral Basilica in Toronto, and Rector of OLEM, Monsignor Eugene Harkness, who celebrated the Mass.  

An unusual fundraising event is being organised to raise funds for Coldham Cottage Church, Lawshall, Suffolk.  Coldham has a renowned hall and other buildings associated with the Jesuits who operated across England and Europe during times of recusancy and the suppression of Catholicism.  Dating back to 1870, the Church, a grade II listed building, is now in great need of restoration.

On Sunday July 31 there will be ‘The Tease’, a trail in Bury St Edmunds of 35 locations accompanied by 15 challenges, followed by a strawberry tea in the Crypt of St Edmund’s Church.  Teams of six (adults £10 under 14s £5) will discover some of the lesser-known features and beauty of Bury St Edmunds in a way that provides fun, learning and companionship. 

Organiser and local historian, John Saunders, said: “It is 12 years since I ran a similar successful event which attracted around 200 people.  Whether you are an ultra-competitive team or just want to stroll around, perhaps bringing a picnic, this will be the perfect way to enjoy the Sunday.  I am hoping that groups from other parishes will form into teams and challenge our local entrants!”  Registration of teams needs to be done as soon as possible because numbers are limited; full details of the event from John at

Ely’s St Etheldreda SVP conference joined other churches and Christians Together in Ely at an ecumenical FUEL festival held on Ely’s Cathedral Green on April 22. SVP Conference members presented information about the SVP and St Etheldreda’s RC church in Ely, and activities for children around the subjects of ”Jesus gave Bread and Fishes- what can I give?” and “Forget me Not” – remembering others in prayer.

Joan Wall, President East Anglia Central Council, said: “It was great meeting and chatting with old friends and making new friends with offers of help and co-working.

“There were stalls from the churches and Christian organisations in Ely; music, food stalls, plant stalls, information and lots of activities for children. There were representatives from the Christian Motorcyclists Association and Christian Weightlifters culminating in the battle of the vicars for the weightlifting championship. The sun shone and there was a wonderful atmosphere of Faith, Unity, Enlightenment and Love.”