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Last Updated: Monday, 17 July 2006, 19:10 GMT 20:10 UK
Historic service held in open air
Rushen Abbey Church Tower - courtesy of www.gov.im
The original church last held regular services in June 1540
Worshippers are being invited to a special open-air service at an historic abbey on the Isle of Man.

The service, which will be filmed for the BBC's Songs of Praise, will take place in the grounds of Rushen Abbey.

It will be held in the area of the original Abbey Church of St Mary the Virgin on Sunday.

Open-air services began at the abbey in the summer of 2001, when the first regular acts of worship were held at Rushen Abbey for more than 460 years.

The original church last held regular services in June 1540.

After this, the Abbot and six monks were expelled and the abbey and church fell into disrepair following the dissolution of the Monasteries ordered by Henry VIII.

During the service, local Manx singers including Terry Qualtrough, Helen Ainsworth, Sarah Mourdant and Jane Mayne will lead the hymns.

Vicar of Malew, the Reverend Michael Roberts said: "The Open Air Service is always a popular event and enables both the local and the wider community to enjoy worship at Rushen Abbey, where it is very fitting to have such acts of praise and thanksgiving".

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