Songs of Praise factsheet for Sunday 15 June 2008

Songs of Praise Gorton Monastery II

Presented by Aled Jones

 Aled Jones revisits East Manchester to tell the story of the newly refurbished Gorton Monastery - a former Franciscan monastery built in 1861. It is masterpiece of Catholic architecture by distinguished C19th architect, EW Pugin (son of the famous Augustus W Pugin) which was very nearly lost forever when the monastery closed in 1989.

Aled meets the people who have rebuilt it as a resource for the whole community, joins with them to sing hymns which include Angel Voices Ever Singing and Hail Redeemer, King Devine and performs a special version of Be Still.

 JOHN GRIFFITHS - Member of Monastery of St. Francis and Gorton Charitable Trust. John describes Gorton Monastery as a "special place", as he talks about his memories of Gorton Monastery as a young boy. After the Monastery closed he tells how he'd park up outside and just sit there looking at it. John performs the solo piece "The Old Church Is Still Standing" in Gorton Monastery.

BERNADETTE McGREAVEY - Member of congregation before closure of the Monastery. Bernadette describes the interior of Gorton Monastery - walking in through the big wooden doors there were holy water fonts on each side for people to bless themselves. She explains how Gorton in East Manchester used to be a very tight, close-knit community and the church was the heart of that community.

JANET WALLWORK - The Friends of Gorton Monastery and Member of Monastery of St. Francis and Gorton Charitable Trust . Janet explains that the last Mass at the Monastery was a very emotional occasion for everyone as they were still quite stunned that it was closing. Janet has been instrumental in the restoration of Gorton Monastery - she spotted the twelve Saints Statues that had been "removed" from the Monastery in a Sotheby's catalogue and they have now been rescued, restored and returned to the Monastery.

ILMA SCANTLEBURY - Formerly Arts and Education Director, Monastery of St. Francis and Gorton Charitable Trust.
Ilma tells the story of how the monastery was built with the help of the congregation and how she believes it's a 'touching monument to humanity'.
Ilma explains the unimaginably sad circumstances of Illir's death. The Serbian forces rounded up the young men of the village and among them was Osman's Caka's elder 24 yr old son. Illir stepped forward and told the soldiers to leave his brother alone - so they freed his brother but shot dead Illir instead. Osman approached Ilma Scantlebury at Gorton Monastery who was so impressed that Osman wanted to remember his son with a symbol of giving, tolerance and love that she felt the Monastery must help him.

MICHAEL RHOADS - Member of congregation before closure of the Monastery.
Michael remembers how the priest used to bless everyone with the incense and how that smell of incense stays with you all your life and always reminds him of Gorton Monastery.

PAUL GRIFFITHS - Chairman, Monastery of St. Francis and Gorton Charitable Trust. As a boy growing up in Gorton, Paul was an altar boy at Gorton Monastery. It was a fateful train journey in 1996, when Paul saw how derelict and dilapidated the Monastery had become, that led to the setting up of the Trust and the subsequent fight for funds to restore the Monastery. Paul is sure that all the prayers and thoughts of the thousands of people who have been married, baptised and prayed in the church, will be in the fabric of the building and therefore it will always be a very sacred place.

ELAINE GRIFFITHS - Project Director, Monastery of St. Francis and Gorton Charitable Trust. Elaine went to visit Gorton Monastery with her husband Paul and was also appalled at how it had been left to fall in to disrepair. Elaine gave up her job in marketing and began the fight for funds to save the Monastery. Elaine explains the new vision for Gorton Monastery which will generate enough income to keep it going. She feels it's appropriate that the building has this new life as it will reach even more people.

OSMAN CAKA - Muslim Kosovan Refugee now living in Manchester with his wife and son. Osman tells the tragic events that took place on 13th April 1999 when Serbian forces came into his village in Kosovo and killed 15 people. Seven of these were from his own family and included his 17 year old son, Illir. Osman and his family subsequently fled war-torn Kosovo. Following his son's death, Osman had a dream in which Illir asked him to have a sculpture, in honour of Mother Teresa, made as a symbol of peace. Osman hopes the sculpture will unite people from different faiths.

REV DAVID GRAY - Community Coordinator, Monastery of St. Francis and Gorton Charitable Trust. David is a Franciscan Tertiary who ministers to Anglican and Methodist congregations and who moved to the Gorton area in 1989, the year the Monastery closed. With Gorton having suffered the terrible legacy of the slum clearances, David Gray's aim was to help build relationships and therefore rebuild Gorton community. He soon realised that there was a very positive Franciscan footprint left by the monks of Gorton Monastery so the Monastery could be a great catalyst for change. His hopes and vision came together when Elaine and Paul and other members of the Trust became involved because they believed in each other and community.

ANDREW SCANTLEBURY - Committee members of the Monastery of St Francis and Gorton Trust held a competition for the design of the Mother Teresa sculpture and they chose a winning design, submitted by Didsbury sculptor Andrew Scantlebury. Made from a cast of Mrs Caka's hands, the sculpture sits in the Monastery gardens and will include a plinth inscribed with English and Albanian text.

Gordon Stewart

Music Advisers
Geoff Ellerby
Robert Prizeman

Graham Eccles

The BBC wishes to thank all the members of local Choirs and Choral Societies who came to sing as part of the congregation. These include:

Bury Choral Society -

Salford Choral Society -
Manchester University Chorus -

and The Cavendish Singers (info via David Scantlebury at Manchester University Chorus)

Composer: Robert Prizeman
Performers: Robert Prizeman, Maurice Murphy, Steven Geraghty
Sheet music for the Songs of Praise signature tune, composed by Robert Prizeman, is published by Chester Music, catalogue number CH55835. You can listen to the theme tune on CD 2 of the Songs of Praise Album.

Music One

Name: Hail Redeemer, King Divine!
Music: Charles Rigby (1901-62)
Words: Patrick Brennan (1877-1952)
Tune: King Divine
Arranger: Paul Leddington Wright
Source: SOP Hymnbook #123 pg238/9 Oxford University Press
Performers: Brass quintet + organ + audience at The Monastery Manchester

Music two:
Name: Angel Voices Ever Singing
Music: E G Monk (1819-1900)
Words: Francis Pott (1832-1909)
Arranger: Darius Battiwalla
Tune: Angel Voices
Source: SOP Hymnbook #205 pg396/7 Oxford University Press
Performers: Brass quintet + organ + audience at The Monastery Manchester

Music three:
Composer: Martin George Stephenson
Music Publisher:Kitchen Music Ltd / SBK Songs Ltd
Performer: John Griffiths (soloist) / Bill Scriven (guitarist) / Geoff
Ellerby (organist)
Arrangement and additional instrumentation: Geoff Ellerby

This track is available on the following CD:
CD Title: Gladsome, Humour and Blue
Track 5 - The Old Church Is Still Standing
Performed by: Martin Stephenson and the Daintees
CD Label: 1988 FFRR Records Ltd (trading as London Records)
CD No. 8280912

Music four:
Name: Jesu, Lover of My Soul
Music: Joseph Parry (1841-1903)
Words: Francis Pott (1832-1909)
Tune: Angel Voices
Source: SOP Hymnbook #151 pg284/5 Oxford University Press
Performers: Organ + Audience at The Monastery Manchester

Music five:
Name: All Creatures of Our God and King
Music: Melody from Geistliche Kirchengesang, Cologne 1623
Words: William H Draper (1855-1933) based on St Francis (1182-1226)
Arranger: Robert Ramskill
Tune: Lasst uns erfreuen
Source: SOP Hymnbook #1 pg2/3 Oxford University Press
Performers: Brass quintet + organ + audience at The Monastery Manchester

Music six:
Name: Be Still for the Presence of the Lord
Musicandwords: David J Evans (b1957)
Tune: Be Still
Source: SOP Hymnbook #207 pg400/1 Oxford University Press
Performers: Aled Jones

 Congregational hymn singing took place in The Monastery Manchester, Gorton.

For more information please visit:
Tel: 0161 223 3211 / Fax: 0161 230 8741
The Monastery of St Francis and Gorton Trust
The Angels
Endcott Close
M18 8BR

Other Information: