Parish of St Matthew the Apostle,
Douglas, Isle of Man
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40 Years Organist
During the Mass on our first Sunday back in church after the lifting of Government lockdown restrictions, Fr Duncan presented John Riley with a gift from the congregation to mark his 40 years service as our church organist. Records show that John is only the third organist at St Matthew's in the past 100 years and possibly only the 5th since the opening of the present building in 1897.
We were delighted to learn that our Organist and Church Warden John Riley has been awarded the MBE in the Queen's New Year Honours.
John has supported charities and organisations in the island and beyond. A retired headmaster, he devotes many hours a week to at least eight charities. He led and organised the Promenade Church Summer Concerts for many years, but is equally likely to be seen setting out the chairs for the audience as he is conducting the choirs and orchestras, playing the piano and singing. He has been described as the lynch pin that holds everything together and an invaluable contributor to the island’s community for more than 40 years. Over 10 years, he raised £250,000 for an orphanage, and was on the ground helping to build a school for the children of a remote village in the Himalayas.
Our Autumn Fayre at the end of October was a great success and has raised the wonderful amount of £2,426.75 which will help to provide a Sound System for the church. Many, many thanks to all those who helped at the event especially Val, Linda and Gill for organising the stalls and refreshments. We had some outstanding prizes in the raffle which were kindly donated by friends and the hospitality business. Well done everyone!
Organ back in Action
We are very thankful for the skill of local organ builder Peter Jones, who has built a new blower box for our pipe organ and got it back in action for us. Click here to see pictures of the complext process of making this essential piece.
Farewell to Fr Ben
Fr Ben Bradshaw celebrated his last Mass before leaving the Island on Sunday 16th August at St Matthew's with a High Mass for the Feast of the Assumption.
After the Mass we presented Fr Ben, Danni, Jorja and Bethany with some gifts from our church. We gave the two girls some books, a toy loghtan sheep and a jigsaw and we presented Ben and Danni with a Knox designed photo frame, some books and a Celtic cross
Mothers' Union Founder's Day
We were delighted to be able to welcome a large congregation of members of the Mothers' Union from across the Diocese of Sodor and Man to celebrate Founder's Day, giving thanks for the life and work of Mary Sumner. We were thankful also that the Isle of Man's current 'covid-free' status allowed us to mark the occasion in this way, when this is not possible in so many other places at present.
The Eucharist was celebrated by Fr Ben Bradshaw, Diocesan Mothers' Union Chaplain and the address was given by Mrs Danni Bradshaw, Diocesan MU Secretary. This was their last official MU engegement before they move to Walsingham, when Fr Ben takes up his new position as Shrine Priest
The reaffirmation of vision and mission and the concluding prayer were led by Mrs Gail Eagles, Diocesan MU President and representatives of St Matthew's Branch of the Mothers' Union read the lessons and led the intercessions
Our traditional Rogation Sunday celebration was cancelled this year due to the Corona Virus lockdown. However, as Sea Sunday fell after masses resumed at St Matthew's we were able to have our procession and quayside service on 12th July to mark that day. This year we remembered especially the vital role played by seafarers in maintaining supplies to the Island during the past few months.
We were pleased to welcome Fr Ben Bradshaw as our celebrant for the occasion and Douglas Town Band (in their first post lockdown engagement) led the procession.
After 3 months of closure due to the Corona Virus lockdown, masses resumed at St Matthew's on 28th June. Thanks are expressed to all those who helped in preparing the beautiful flower arrangements and cleaning and polishing to celebrate our return to worship.
Sunday masses will be as usual (9a.m. Low Mass and 10.30a.m. Sung Mass). Weekday masses during the interregnum will be on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays at 12noon. We are greatly indebted to Frs Robert, Duncan, Roger and ben for celebrating these masses.
Christ the King
The Feast of Christ the King was an especially joyous occasion this year as we welcomed Fr Ben Bradshaw and his family for the first time since his ordination to the priesthood in October
Fr Ben, who has been to St Matthew's on many occasions as a Deacon and the Bishop's Chaplain, was our celebrant and preacher, ably assisted by his daughter who joined our team of servers for the High Mass.
We were delighted to welcome the Asker Church choir from Norway to sing at our Solemn Mass on 6th October.The choir, under their conductor Ingvild Køhn Malmbekk, sang three pieces during the service, the traditional Norwegian psalm Herre Gud, ditt dyre navn og ære (Lord God, your precious name and honour), Jubilate Deo by Arild Sandvold and This is the Day by John Rutter. Asker Kirkekor is the oldest church choir in Norway (founded in 1918) and was visiting the Island with a 200 strong contingent of Norwegian church choirs who later that day gave a wonderful concert in the Cathedral at Peel.
The superb choir who sang Messe Solenelle by Gounod in St. Matthews Church on Sunday afternoon 1st September with talented soloists Christine Bregazzi, John Snelling and Graham Crowe superbly accompanied by Gareth Moore and conducted by John Riley. A wonderful concert which raised £500 for the charity Alzheimer's Society Isle of Man.
On 19th May we were very pleased to welcome Fr Kevin Smith SSC, Priest Administrator of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, as our guest preacher and the 10.30am Solemn Mass. Later the same day we were able to enjoy a lovely and varied recital of songs given by South African soprano Michele Corbin, accompanied by our own John Riley, who also played several organ solos.
Earlier this month the PCC decided to encourage visits from cruise ship passengers. Working in conjunction with Seonad Duggan and the Cruise Team the church will be opening its doors between 1.30pm and 3.30pm whenever a cruise ship is in Douglas Port. This will give visitors the chance to step inside and admire the beauty of the church. The first visit of a ship, 'Hanseatic Nature', brought 230 passengers from Germany and several of them spent time at St.Matthews chatting with the parishioners who are volunteering in the church and being intrigued by the stories and photographs on display of the old harbour, steam ferry boats and quayside. Oliver Cheshire, Douglas Town Centre Manager, is also working alongside St.Matthews Church promoting these events and those events scheduled for the forthcoming months. More news on these later. Of course, St.Matthews Church has a daily Mass so the church is always open at the times of the services also.
On St Matthew's Day (21st September) we celebrated our 310th Patronal Festival with a Concelebrated Solemn Mass. Pictured at the image of St Matthew are our Parish Priest Fr Tom Davis, Fr Ian Faulds and Fr Edward Carr SSC, Assistant Parish Priest of St Paul, Addlington, who was also our guest preacher.
We were delighted once again to welcome Fr Owen and his party from All Saints In London, who joined us for worship on Sunday during the annual stay on the Island
Fr Owen was our guest preacher and some of his young people provided our readings and sang for us
Organ and Euphonium Concert at St Matthew's
As an alternative to the World Cup and Wimbledon John Riley and Martin Norbury provided an enjoyable afternoon of music for organ and euphonium.
The recital, featuring a varied programme of music from the 17th to the 20th century, was followed by strawberries and cream in the church hall.
Concert at St Matthew's "Music for Voice, Organ, Piano and Clarinet"
Many thanks to all those who came and listened to Max Smith (Organ), Debbie Gooding (Mezzo-soprano), John Rimmer (Bass), David Cowley (Tenor), Tim Price (Clarinet) and John Riley (Piano and Organ) on 19th June. A fantastic sum of £400.37 was raised for the Organ Fund. We are particularly grateful to John Riley who arranged the concert.
May 2018 - Rogation Sunday
On a beautiful sunny morning we held our annual Rogation Sunday procession led by Douglas Town Band followed by a short service on the quayside. Fr Tom read the Gospel account of Jesus calming the storm and led us in prayer for seafarers. The service concluded with the singing of the Manx Fishermen's Evening Hymn.
More photos can be found on Douglas Town Band's Facebook page
March 2018 - Mothering Sunday and Palm Sunday
We were delighted to have Bishop Glyn with us on Mothering Sunday to celebrate and confirm Ben and Sam. Holy week started with our Palm Sunday procession along North Quay to St. Matthew's.
February 2018 - Manx MSA
Niall Carey from the Manx MSA (Multiple System Atrophy) Trust visited St Matthew's at the end of January to receive £1,000 which was raised for this community charity at the concert of Carols and Readings in December (see below). The Manx MSA Trust was formed to make a central hub in the Isle of Man for anyone affected by MSA as well as raising funds for research. MSA is a progressive neurological disorder that affects adult men and women. It is caused by degeneration of nerve cells in several areas of the brain, which can result in problems with movement, balance and automatic functions of the body. The generosity of those who attended the concert has given the Trust a real boost. Thank you. .
December 2017 - Evening of Carols and Readings
Another successful Evening of Carols and Readings at St. Matthew's took place on 28th December and raised over £900 for the charity MSA (Multiple System Atrophy). The concert included well known and lesser known carols, both choral and congregational, and excerpts from Handel's Messiah
Special thanks to Jane, Ruth and Timothy for their lovely solos, to Ruth, Emily and Domenico for their excellent readings, to the 60 strong choir for their superb singing. to Gareth for his marvellous accompaniment of the choir and soloists and especially to John Riley for organisation and musical direction.
October 2017 - Fr Tom Licensed as Priest in Charge
Fr Tom Davis was licensed as Priest in Charge of St Matthew's on 23rd October. He is pictured here with Bishop Glyn of Beverley and Bishop Peter who preached. The text of Bishop Peter's sermon is available on the Sodor and Man Diocesan website. Many guests attended the service to welcome Fr Tom, including representatives of other churches on the Island,The Mayor of Douglas and the Lieutenant Governor. The organist for the occasion was Mr Gareth Moore, while our regular organist Mr John Riley directed the Musicale Choir and friends who led the singing. The lessons were read by Mr Martin Wood and Fr Darren Smith, the General Secretary of the Additional Curates Society for whose support along with that of the Ring Trust we are very grateful.
August 2017 - Grand Choral Concert
This year's Summer Grand Choral Concert organised by John Riley was another feast of glorious music. The main work performed by members of several of the Island's choirs was Vivaldi's Gloria, featuring soloists Karen Elliott and Catherine Williamson. Another special treat was an excerpt from Karl Jenkin's The Armed Man featuring Cello Soloist Samuel Creer, who also delighted the audience with performances of Traumerei (Schumann) and The Swan (Saint-Saens). The concert also included solos from flautist David Kniveton. The choir was accompanied on the organ by Gareth Moore, who together with John Riley provided another highlight of the evening with an organ and piano duet. The concert raised £1,000 for Craig's Heartstrong Foundation.
July 2017 - Visitors
We are always pleased to welcome visitors to St Matthew's and in July we were delighted to have Fr Darren Smith of the Additional Curates Society (ACS) with us as Celebrant and Preacher. During his visit he was presented with a donation from St Matthew's towards the work of the ACS, to whom we are expecially grateful for their assistance with funding the appointment of our next Parish Priest. Fr Tom, who will be coming to us in October, also paid a short visit this month and was able to informally meet members of the congregation.
June 2017 - Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi was celebrated with our traditional flower petal carpet and Procession of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction following the Sunday Sung Mass
May 2017 - Barn Dance
A most enjoyable Barn Dance was held in our upper hall with music by the Shirtliff ensemble and a delicious Niarbyl Catering Hotpot supper
February 2017 - Pound Bazaar
Following a well attended Beetle Drive enjoyed by all the previous week, a most successful 'Pound Bazaar' was held at the end of February.
January 2017 - Farewell to Fr Bob
At the end of Fr Bob's final Sunday Mass as our Vicar on 29th January a farewell presentation was made to him and Brigid on behalf of the congregation by Mr John Riley.
Following this we shared a celebration lunch in the British Hotel to mark Fr Bob's special birthday
December 2016 - Bethlehem Peace Light Service
We were pleased to have the Lieutenant Governor, Sir Richard Gozney, and Lady Gozney at St. Matthew's for the Bethlehem Peace Light service this year
The Peace Light, which is lit from the eternal flame burning in the Grotto of the Nativity in Bethlehem, is carried to destinations across the globe each year by members of the Scout and Guide Associations.
October 2016 - Harvest Festival with USPG
We were pleased to have Janette O'Neill, the Chief Executive of USPG with us for our Harvest Festival this year. St. Matthew's has always supported the work of USPG since its formation in 1965 following the merger of the SPG with UMCA, with which St Matthew's also had a long association.
Janette gave us a most interesting talk updating us on the work of USPG in Sri Lanka, following which she was presented with a cheque from our USPG Lent Box collections
MV Karina Trip
After sharing in worship on Sunday morning, at which Fr Owen was celebrant and preacher, members of St Matthew's congregation and our friends from All Saints, Hatcham park, London, enjoyed a trip on the MV Karina along the coast to Laxey
Grand Choral Concert
A choral concert was held on 14th July. The main choral work was Messa di Gloria by Puccini. The concert also included other well known choruses and solos by Olivia Black and Graham Crowe with Gareth Moore at the organ.
A retiring collection raised over £1000 for the Nepal Earthquake Appeal
Queen's Birthday Concert
On 14th June a concert was held to celebrate the 90th Birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Lord of Mann. We were delighted that 'Her Majesty' in the person of Ella Slack, who for many years stood in for the Queen at rehearsals for Royal events, was able to be with us.
The evening began with a performance of Handel's The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba by John Riley (organist) followed by trombone solos from Juan Wright. Emily and John Rimmer, and Paul Lewin provided a varied programme of songs chosen for the occasion. The concert concluded with a selection of pieces from the Laxey Handbell Ringers. The audience also joined in singing the Royal Anthem and the hymns I Vow to Thee My Country and Jerusalem
Refreshments were served in the Hall and a Retiring Collection was taken for church funds.
After a busy Easter weekend at St Matthew's following the events of our Lord's passion through the Liturgy of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday, we joined with Christians of several other denominations on Douglas Head at 6.30a.m. for an Ecumenical Celebration of His Resurrection.
Fr Bob led the service with Fr John from St Mary's RC, Rev Richard Hall (Methodist) and Rev Steve Wild (President of Methodist Conference)
Following the service a very welcome Breakfast was enjoyed by all in St Matthew's Church Hall
High Altar Reredos Centenary
On 7th March 1916 the High Altar Reredos was dedicated to the Glory of God and in memory of the late vicar Canon Taggart. The centenary will be marked during the mass on Sunday 6th March.
The Psalms - prayers for today's church
A series of 5 Biblical studies based upon the Psalms
- Friday 19th February - Know that the Lord is God (Psalm 100)
- Friday 26th February - Out of the depths have I cried (Psalm 130)
- Friday 4th March - How long, O Lord (Psalm 13)
- Friday 11th March - You spread a table before me (Psalm 23)
- Friday 18th March - Unless the Lord builds the house... (Psalm 127)
St. Matthew's Church Hall
Evening of Carols and Readings
The Evening of Carols and Readings on 29th December was a great success despite the weather. With a choir of over 50 singers and an audience of 70 plus, we raised £614.80 for the Young Carers' Project and with a generous donation of £100 the total raised is £714.80. Many thanks to the two wonderful conductors, Angela Stewart and Julian Power and to our lovely soloist, Kristene Sutcliffe. We are also indebted to the readers and the other soloists as well. Many, many thanks to the wonderful friends who came to sing in the choir, especially those from off the island. Finally many thanks to our trumpeter, Helen Quaggin-Molloy, for playing superbly and for coming all the way from New Zealand to play for us.
FESTIVAL OF CRIBS
The annual Festival of Cribs when we join with Saint Mary's Church to organise this event in aid of the work of Friends of the Holy Land is to be held on Saturday 12th December from 10a.m. to 6p.m. Saint Matthew's will be hosting the festival this year. Please put the date in your diaries.
The idea of the festival is that families bring their cribs for display on that day in church together with a brief history of the crib so that visitors can read the story behind the exhibits.
Cribs should be delivered to the church from 6p.m. the previous evening 11th December.
We will need volunteers willing to help on the Saturday for a couple of hours during the day either with catering, craft activities with children in the crèche and generally talking with visitors. Please let Father Bob or the church wardens know if you are willing to help.
Great fun was had by all at our Beetle Drive Harvest Supper on 17th October followed by a delicious hotpot.
We welcomed Bishop Glyn of Beverley to celebrate, preach and confirm our four candidates on St. Matthew's Day
After sharing in worship on Sunday morning, members of St Matthew's congregation and our visitors from All Saints, Hatcham park, london enjoyed a fun afternoon in glorious sunshine at Noble's park.
Click here to see our Flower Festival Album
Saint Matthew's was one of 17 venues partaking in this year's Flower Festival from the 5th to the 11th July.
755 visitors came into Saint Matthew's, many for
the very first time, to view our individual displays which incorporated The
Font, Corpus Christi Flower Petal Carpet, The Communion of Saints, Walsingham,
The Lady Chapel, The Chancel, The Royal National Lifeboat Institution, The Sea
Cadets, Sunday's Cool and the excellent reminder of "Saint Matthew's
Through The Ages" exhibition displayed by Kay and Thurstan Denne from
their splendid archives. A total of 18 stewards were on hand during the week to
assist our guests and to ensure each of them were 'clicked' in to help us
record our daily totals. It has been particularly rewarding to look at
the Visitors Book and read many generous and kind-hearted comments.
Mr Tom Long of Alexander Nurseries in Douglas met the requested requirements of Adele and Susan. All of a sudden we were awash with loose flowers and their heavenly scent. Setting up on Saturday 4th July meant all hands came to the pump. Our principal flower display ladies were particularly pleased how many members of the Saint Matthew's family came forward and were willing to give flower arranging a go with such pleasing individual results. Well done to all who 'had a go'. We have ideas in hand to incorporate your fledgling skills in the future.
Music which always seeps to the very heart of Saint Matthew's was well to the fore during the Flower Festival. A daily half hour organ recital by visiting organists was held from the Tuesday to the Saturday with Musicale under the baton of John Riley entertaining us with floral inspired music on the Friday evening followed by refreshments.
A team of 15 ladies throughout the week rallied in the Hall where covers for 36 people were available at any one time. All day coffee and biscuits, tea and cakes and daily light lunches from 12 - 2pm were available. Cheese and Ham Ploughmans and a selection of Quiches were the mainstay of our menu. Several visitors came for lunch more than once which in itself was a compliment to the Ladies of the Kitchen. Being open from 10.30 am to 6.30 pm meant being prepared, planning ahead and replenishing! Enormous thanks go to Miles, Proprietor of Noa Bake House who supplied and, on some days, gifted our daily fresh bread order. To Sarah Berry, Proprietor of Spill The Beans for the supply of home baked cakes to order and for her gifted cake. The very talented Judy Harding not only helped out in the kitchen on rota but baked all week for us. Bryan Harding not only served as Chief Steward but promptly delivered a series of cakes each morning which rapidly became our Today's Specials. The Isle of Man Creamery deserves our special gratitude. They were exceptionally generous with gifted milk and cheese and we are indebted to them.
Over and above the generous donations of parish members, some 21 separate businesses lent us their support through discounts allowed, fundraising gifts, donated and/or borrowed goods etc. We acknowledged each and every one of them during the Festival and know their kind heartedness made all the difference.
Sincerest thanks to everyone who joined the Flower Festival team and helped in so many different ways, There was a true sense of our community strength when we all pulled together. Special thanks to our friends at Saint Thomas's, Braddan and Saint Mary's for their time, help and loaned goods.
To everyone who visited us we hope we made an
impression and you enjoyed your time with us
at Saint Matthew's.
We are grateful for the support of so many individuals and organisations who helped to make the festival such a great success.
Tuesday: Gareth Moore
Wednesday: John Elliott
Thursday: Graham Kirkland
Friday: Peter Litman
Saturday: John Riley
Alexander Nurseries - Mr Tom Long
Appleby Charity Foundation - Mrs Sue Braide
Boots - MrsKaren Wigg
Clucas Florists - Mrs Cherry Salmon
Colebourn Home Entertainments - The Sales Team
Copy Shop - Roger Watterson
Feltons of Ramsey - Cleveland and Ruth Perry
Inner Beauty Salon Douglas - Sharon
Isle of Man Creameries - Paula
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company - Mr Convery
Little Fish Cafe - Sharn
Newsons on the Quay - Mr John and Mrs Dee Newson
Noa Bake House - Miles and Alan
Osbourne Fine Art and Antiques - Will and Sue rand
Sarah's Designer Flowers - Mr Colin and Mrs Glynis Berney
Segway Isle of Man - Mrk Davison and Jason Larosa
Shoprite - Gillian Harvey, Amanda Noble
Spill the Beans - Sarah Berry
Tesco - John Francis
Top Knot Hair Design - Hayley
Touring Tea Bus - Chrissie Docherty
Vannin Office Point - Sally Huxham