First monastic community at Whalley Abbey in 500 years

An exciting new chapter is about to begin at Whalley Abbey with the establishment of the firstnew monastic community for the first time in nearly five centuries.

Wednesday, 13th January 2021, 4:34 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th January 2021, 4:40 pm
Whalley Abbey

Meanwhile, a new Director for the abbey has been announced, the Rev. Adam Thomas, who is currently Curate at St Cuthbert’s Church in Lytham.

He said: “I am so excited at this opportunity to ensure that Whalley Abbey is a place where all are welcome; where people can come for respite, rest and restoration.

“This is needed even more after what we have all been through in the past nine months.

The Great Hall

"People are searching for a safe place to make sense of what has happened; to have time to reflect on what matters most in their lives and to dig deeper into a relationship with God."

Activities at the abbey will be underpinned through the development of a new monastic community of prayer; lay and ordained, resident and non-resident.

Currently the aim is for the site to be fully reopened by September as a Centre for Christian Discipleship and Prayer, pandemic restrictions permitting, but the build-up will begin soon as bookings can be made from this Easter.

Adam added: “My wife Cathy and I feel privileged to be a part of this new community and hope that everyone who comes to Whalley Abbey, for whatever reason, feels in their heart that the abbey belongs to them.”

The Rev. Adam Thomas

The Cistercian Abbey ruins date back to the 14th century and the neighbouring Abbey House and its chapel will be at the epicentre of the new plans.

The Venerable Mark Ireland, Archdeacon of Blackburn and chairman of the Whalley Abbey Steering Group, commented: “Adam will work closely with the Steering Group to help reconnect the abbey with the parishes of the diocese; as well as enabling it to contribute significantly to the work of making disciples, being witnesses, growing leaders and inspiring children and young people that is part of our Diocesan ‘Vision 2026’.

“We have a strong business plan to make the abbey a real spiritual powerhouse and place of learning, as William Temple envisaged when the diocese was founded.”