Around 100 people including civic dignitaries and church leaders were able to safely gather on November 20 for a Mass celebrated by Canon David Bagstaff.
Canon David’s homily recognised the extent to which the Abbey Gardens is appreciated by visitors and its importance as the site of the Abbey of St Edmund. Noting that at times in the past tensions existed between the Abbey and townspeople, he explained the extent to which the monks had helped the community and the importance of not trying to rewrite history but to learn from it.
The life of St Edmund, he said, had been inspirational in that Edmund had been prepared to stand up and be counted for his beliefs and was dedicated to prayer. Edmund’s renown was evident as the former patron Saint of England, coins and statues featured his image, churches were dedicated to him, and he remains an intercessor at times of plague.
A relic of the Saint was exposed in the church and an anthem dedicated to him by a former priest, Rev John Barnes, was sung. In common with other buildings in the town, the flag of St Edmund hung from the flagpole.
Following the service, guests adjourned to the church crypt to enjoy the tasty annual tradition of ‘ale stew’. A mini-exhibition relating to St Edmund included various works of art, including the local talent of Clint Rose who has produced a carving of the martyrdom and a picture of Edmund by contemporary artist Brian Whelan.
Many events will be staged in 2022 as part of Abbey 1000, details of which can be at www.visit-burystedmunds.co.uk/abbey-1000
Pictured above are guests enjoying the ale stew in the Crypt of St Edmund’s.