Music teacher, educationalist and priest, The Reverend Prebendary Edward Mason has been Rector of Bath Abbey since 2004. Set in the heart of Bath, and with a large congregation of its own, the Abbey is one of the most-visited churches in the country and has an extensive ministry to the city and region.
Recently, Edward had to stop a service of worship because of the intrusive busking outside and the consequent media interest has given the issue a wider public airing.
Edward believes we must recognise the value of the quiet space in a city environment. Ancient (sometimes holy) places and magnificent architecture help us to flourish as human beings and live together better. But such places need quiet to allow their voices to be heard – be it a beautiful garden, a place of remembrance or reflection, or a place set aside for public prayer.
In other words, he says, this can’t just be a debate about protecting a particular quirky religious behaviour. It’s about (in our case) what 500,000 people per year value.
For all Edward lives in a city-centre, he loves Orkney and goes there as often as he can to sit, walk and listen.
He is married to a musician and has just become a grandparent, a new adventure, he says, with pressing questions of what a future city environment should be like.