The Ealing Abbey 7pm Music Group Charismatic Grace at the service of the Church

Elizabeth Elive, of the Ealing Abbey Charismatic Prayer Group, traces the journey of their group over the past 15 years. Their focus now is on praying that the Charismatic grace may serve the Church’s life more fully, as they take an active role in singing at the 7pm Sunday Mass.

Starting a Prayer Group
Ealing Abbey Charismatic Prayer Group started in July 2007 at the request of the parish priest at the time, Fr Peter. One of the other monks, Fr James, told us how he had prayed for the resurgence of the Charismatic Renewal in the Parish for nearly seven years. Working in collaboration with the Westminster DST and Westminster Prayer Group, we organised retreats, Life in the Spirit Seminars, Pentecost Vigils, and Masses with visiting priests.

It was a prophetic dream that signalled the need for us to move more deeply into the service of the Church.  This call came at a time when our praise and worship was at its peak in the parish hall, while the parish itself needed a group to sing at the 7pm Sunday Mass. Many of the young people who originally sang at that Mass, had left for university so, for a period of two years there was no music at the Mass.  However, through a direct prophetic message, the Charismatic group decided to start singing at the 7pm Mass. Both the parish priest and the congregation were delighted and have remained grateful to this day.   

Charismatic Renewal at the heart of Worship
One thing I would like to explain here is that, even though many people call our music group a choir, we ourselves have never used that appellation to describe it. Our specific contribution to the celebration of the Sacred liturgy is the spontaneity of praise and worship, characteristic of Charismatic Prayer Groups.  The joy and beauty of the liturgy are thus enhanced and the participants are enabled to focus on the encounter with Christ through the action of the Holy Spirit.

Ealing Abbey 7pm music group (as we call ourselves), comprises members from all backgrounds. It demonstrates a specific aspect of the St Benedict Ealing Abbey Parish itself – a parish that is multicultural at heart and where everyone of every background, can contribute and receive.  Someone amazed us when she said that she advised a guest in the parish to attend either the liturgy at the Abbey at 10.30am or at 7pm.  Her presumption was that wherever you come from, you will find a liturgical celebration at the Abbey that best speaks to you.   We thanked God greatly for reaching out to our congregation through this endeavour.

Gratitude to all who have contributed over the years
Our pianists, guitarists, all other instrumentalists and our vocalists have made great contribution to our music over the years. They have not all been professional musicians, but  they have been ardent worshipers, who put their heart and soul into Praise and Worship and   endeavour to lead the congregation to a profound awareness of the presence of the Lord in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.  It is all about worship.

Here I would like to mention in a particular way the fabulous contribution of Mathew, our young and vibrant university student and self-taught pianist, whose tremendous voice so often moved the congregation!  Living at the opposite side of London, Matthew often defied bad weather and distance to serve at the 7pm Sunday Mass here at St Benedict’s Ealing Abbey Church. We thank you, Matt, and all our other dedicated singers who have gone to other parishes.  May the Holy Spirit empower you to serve the Church there too.

We share a close bond with the congregation. We have made this journey together.  Every Sunday, parishioners come and say a word of encouragement and appreciation. We on our own part, pray for everyone at the start of the liturgy and at the end, for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and gratitude for graces received.  I remember one lovely lady who came to present to us her youngest daughter who was born just before the Covid-19 lockdown and so, had never heard music in the Church until we returned. The child was so intrigued  that  the mother gave her the opportunity to talk to us. “On the lips of children and of babes you have found praise…” Scripture says. It was so touching!  Even the spontaneous round of applause by the congregation that very day, was a gesture of appreciation and joy that we were all together again.  It moved us to tears. The Church is here in the Liturgy.  Every music group is a particular sign of that reality! 

Everyone can join and make this experience real in every Parish
Charles Whitehead insists that the mandate of the Charismatic Renewal is the very mandate that Christ gave to His Church – “Go to the whole world, proclaim the Good News” – and the Good news is that Jesus is alive among you.  In every Eucharistic celebration, we experience the Risen Christ and participate in the heavenly liturgy. Here we are filled with the Spirit of God to go and proclaim Christ among us.  Every Liturgy is the encounter with the Lord.  Come, let us worship.  Join this music group or start new ones  in other parishes. The Charismatic grace is for the service of the Church. The music in the halls must return to the Churches. We all belong.

To conclude, I must state that membership of our music group is not limited to people in the Charismatic Renewal. Do you know that one of our best singers, Duncan, who has been with us from the beginning, is a member of the Neo-Catechumenate Way?  Working together for the good of the Church – that is our mission. New songs are introduced while we sing the old ones with  renewed vigour and devotion. Be part of it.

Elizabeth Elive




Comments 3

  1. Catholic Bible Society Douala says:

    Wow nice, how I wish our group can have some of you to visit us here.

    • Liz says:

      Thank you very much. It would be great. We could start meeting online or on Zoom. We are based in the UK at the moment.

  2. Liz says:

    Thank you very much. Of course, we would love to visit you but for now, we can meet only online. Do you have a choir?

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