Christchurch Priory hosts HeartEdge

The HeartEdge day in Wessex was at the beautiful church at The Priory Christchurch, with a timeline dating back to 1094. In addition to Services, today The Priory is also a popular venue for concerts, visits, heritage tours and events. The unique atmosphere and spacious acoustic make it an ideal place to enjoy a wide variety of music events. As this blog goes out, the fourth Christchurch Priory Music and Arts Festival 2022 is running from 11th-16th June and provides another wonderful opportunity to explore the universal language of music across all age groups.

The HeartEdge day waa an opportunity for churches and community practitioners from Dorset and Hampshire, to share reflections and experience from a panel of guests representing Commerce, Culture, Compassion and Congregation.

Each of the panellists were asked to share some top tips and takeaways, listed here with links to learn more about they do and ways to get in touch:

Commerce - Andy Gilbert, Operations Director Christchurch Priory


  • Review your assets and look to see if there are ways to leverage them in different ways.
  • Sometimes you must spend money to make money
  • Do not be afraid to revisit things that people think are going well and be prepared to stop doing something if it is not achieving anything
  • Visit the Christchurch website for more details about the music and events programming as well as the micro-site for the Priory House Project, an ambitious restoration project which will see the commercial side of the Priory updated.


Culture - Rev Gill Sakakini, Pioneer Priest in the Arts, Shepton Mallet


  • Join in with whatever is going on initially; it honours peoples’ projects / ideas / and shows interest and creates opportunities to build together.
  • Sit light to any notion of strategy.
  • Have eyes wide open to the activity of the Holy Spirit. Most of what has happened has presented organically
  • Think more radically - than what you do is radical.
  • Now I always say yes to things / items people offer me!
  • Visit her project ‘The Gleaning’ at Somerset Art Works in September 2022
  • The overall theme for this festival is 'Sanctuary' with the three strands, social / sacred / sustainable. Find Gill’s work on Instagram as the gleaning shepton.
  • Gill’s website is full of creative inspiration and ways to get involved in her workshops.


Congregation - Revd Rachel Noël, Priest in Charge, St Mark's Church, Pennington

See Pennington church or read more about St Mark’s hedge and how yarnbombing connected the congregation and the local community in creative ways

Or read the full case study in the  HeartEdge Resources. You will need to sign into the Members page to do so.


  • What may seem to be a burden can be seen as a blessing
  • Identify the barriers that we ‘accept’ as normal in our churches and challenge them. Can we open these up to reduce the barriers, and find new ways to include people
  • When we are producing new initiatives / ideas / projects we want to open them up for people to be involved, to be willing to improvise with whatever gifts come in.


Compassion- Tracey Blick, Projects Managing Coordinator, Christchurch Food Bank Plus+

  • Never Judge - meet people where they are and listen
  • Be prepared for a journey (it may be a long one)
  • Every day is different, and we learn new things with new people every day.
  • Each new ‘story’ is a learning tool for the next
  • Find the food bank here.


Published by


Date published

17th June 2022

Share this story