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Blackfriars Oxford - Church Ceiling Repairs Begin

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Blackfriars Priory Blackfriars Priory - Scaffolding in church The chapel at Blackfriars as you've never seen it before!

Works get underway

With the 'bird cage' scaffolding now in place, work has already begun on repairing and strengthening the ceiling panels (click here for the full story on why we are having to do this). While the church remains closed to visitors and worshippers, there will be an opportunity to see inside on the afternoon of Sunday 13th September, 2-5pm, as part of the Oxford Open Doors weekend, when tours of the priory will be offered to the general public. 

Support from Mass-goers

The congregation has been very patient with the temporary arrangements for Mass (using part of the friars' refectory) and extremely generous in their support. Many have sponsored one or more of the 160 ceiling panels (update: these have now all been sponsored!) and others have volunteered personal effort to raise funds. Among these are Nadia Hilliard and Emily Holman, who attend Mass at Blackfriars, and have volunteered to run the Oxford Half Marathon on 11 October. We interviewed Nadia and Emily who told us about their motivation to support the Priory.

Nadia HilliardNadia Hilliard

Tell us a little about yourselves.
Nadia: I recently completed my DPhil in Politics and I’m now taking up a junior research fellowship at Balliol College, Oxford. I’m originally from Virginia in the US, but I’ve lived in England for the past 8 years. I have a particular interest in accountability and political theology - something which resonates with Catholic social teaching and with the Dominican contribution to this.

Emily: I'm beginning the third year of my DPhil in English Literature. My research is on the kind of contribution literature makes to moral knowledge. I focus on the way in which literary form creates conceptual content. I strongly believe that literature can influence lives, if we let it, and try to make that manifest in extra-curricular projects as well as in my work. I am British-Lebanese.

What’s your involvement with Blackfriars?

Nadia: I go to Mass here regularly - I really appreciate the welcoming family spirit that the friars foster among the congregation. I also play guitar with the music group at the 9:30 Mass. I’ve missed being able to attend Mass and the Office in the church, so I’m keen to help them to reach their fundraising target for the ceiling repairs.

Emily: Like Nadia, I'm a regular at Mass and Vespers, and I really relish coming to Blackfriars most days. In some ways, we've benefited from having services in the more intimate environment of the refectory: faces become familiar faster when you're seated so closely. But it will be a joy to have the church open again, and I'm glad to be able to help raise money for the roof.

Have you done any running before?
Nadia: This will be my fifth half marathon - I’ve previously done the Great North Run up in Newcastle.

Emily: I have done one half-marathon, unofficially - I just ran for a really long time! But apart from that, I generally run around the 10k mark. I've had an ankle injury for a while so I'm a bit out of practice.

How can people support you in your run?
Nadia: Please do sponsor us! You can easily donate via our JustGiving page.

Emily: Thank you!

Emily HolmanEmily Holman

To find out more about the emergency ceiling repairs, click here.


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