The Soupermen of St Mary's
St Mary’s Tenby - The Soupermen 10 years on
In 2008, as Harvest Thanksgiving approached, I had the idea to call together a group of men to put on a Harvest Supper at St Mary’s.
I advertised for men in the Pew Leaflet, fixed a date for a meeting, and waited. I was delighted that about a dozen enthusiastic men turned up for the meeting, and the ensuing Harvest Supper was a great success, the men feeding nearly 100 guests with a three-course meal.
But once Harvest was over we realised that we had something special here - we had hit on a rich seam of talent and enthusiasm, and there was immediately a sense of belonging. In church life we tend to have more practical happenings for women, but here was a group of men who had found a niche and a role with exciting possibilities and implications.
Archbishop Rowan in 2010 with some of the Soupermen:
Andrew Griffiths, Terry Evans, Bradley Davies, and Denis Chiffi
So the men just couldn’t leave it there. That Harvest Supper was not going to be a one-off. Regular meetings began to be arranged, because of their excellent soup they were named The Soupermen, and there have followed over the years a series of food-based events - banquets, Easter and Christmas dinners, barbecues, film nights (with food!), Alpha course, Lent lunches, etc. And all their proceeds go to local charities.
The Soupermen have grown in numbers and have become an integral part of our church life, with their own strong visionary leaders and social life. Their annual outing this year was to Ireland (almost adding even more complications to the Brexit negotiations!). And they have provided not just wonderful dinners and events but have encouraged and enabled our large congregation to get to know each other and to develop our fellowship and outreach, to such an extent that, for example, the recent Easter Dinner felt like a happy family gathering, and our guests could see that Church is extremely enjoyable!
In 2010 our guest preacher at St Mary’s 800th Anniversary Service was the then Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Rowan Williams. The Soupermen provided refreshments on the church lawn, and that day Archbishop Rowan became an Honorary Souperman! – marking the high-point of his career!
As we celebrate the Soupermen’s 10th anniversary this year,
Archbishop Rowan is coming back to celebrate and preach
again - this time for the anniversary not of St Mary’s but of
the Soupermen. All are most welcome to join us for this
Sung Eucharist in St Mary’s at 10 a.m. on 26th August. This
service is to be a gathering of all the churches in the Caldey
Ministry Area, so St Mary’s looks forward to welcoming that
morning the churches of New Hedges, Gumfreston, Penally,
St Julian’s, St Florence, and St James’ Manorbier.
All are welcome!
Canon Andrew Grace, Rector of Tenby, Caldey LMA Leader
Report for 2015
The St Mary’s Soupermen group have had yet another very busy year.
During the year we held a very well attended Passover Meal at Easter, celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation with a feast in keeping with the occasion, a much supported Harvest Supper and a very successful Christmas Lunch.
The BBQ season fared less well, ironically, due to the superb weather. We will review the situation for next year.
Also we featured other events such as three film evenings in which we put on tasty bites including a well received curry.
The Lent diet taken on by the Soupermen saw a total weight loss of 198 pounds resulting in a sponsored sum of £1614.17 which was donated to PATCH.
We also served wine and canapés for various church functions.
All in all a very busy and enjoyable year in which friendships have been strengthened. Importantly, our efforts have been self financing which has enabled us to donate £500 to the following charities - Air Ambulance and the Harriet Davies Trust.
We hope 2014 will be at least as successful and enjoyable as last year after which we will be in a position to donate further sums to various charities. A huge thank you to all involved.
- Terry Evans (Hon Sec)