April 2022 News Update
Looking back over the years, the “church news” has tried to keep all the community up to date with what has been happening in the church during the seasons of the church’s year. Why do we wish to do that, for those who go to church regularly will know what is going on, what has taken place and what is planned for the times ahead of us. That is not always the case and in the 10 years or more that it has been my privilege to report of church matters, the whole community is given the choice of reading the monthly reports or not, for as has often been said on this page, the church is the church for all the community. It is the rallying point for those of faith or no faith, when occasions arise that the wider community need a place to gather to say farewell to a friend or neighbour, or when a child is brought to be baptised or a wedding to be celebrated. St Mary’s doors have always been open for those who seek to know more about Jesus Christ.
The reason we have a church here is simply because over many generations in the past 800 years, the church has been there to take care of the poor and oppressed. Somehow these earlier members of the community kept the faith alive and growing during the most difficult of times, in our country’s history. The past ten years have been fairly typical of what has been happening in the country at large. We have seen priests come and go, our congregation is often to be said to be made of very elderly worshippers, but young families bring their children to our “Pebbles “ group. When “Messy Church” starts up again, the opportunity will be there to bring young and old together, in an attempt to support family life and “family togetherness”. The “Chattery Group” is an opportunity for those to meet up and talk about all sorts of things, for hospitality in any form is part of the tradition of the church which is offered to friend or stranger alike. We have had two years of severe restrictions due to COVID, when our church was closed for a time, and then allowed to re-open under the Welsh Government rules for gatherings, and yet thanks be to God we have weathered the crisis and we can now offer a Sunday service at 9.30 am when singing is not only allowed but is encouraged. Do feel free to join us, you will be assured of a great welcome, and if you are new to the village, do come and say hello.
The scaffolding has now been erected around the tower in readiness for the work of repointing to begin. The condition of the stone work of the tower was never great, and previous work over the years has revealed that many of the stones have been damaged by poor choice of materials and the application of cement based mortar, rather than a lime based mortar. It is thanks to the generosity of donations from local people as well as fund aiding organisations that we have been able to raise the money to carry out the repairs.
The contractors for the new interior lighting scheme hope to be on site in May to install the new and latest LED lighting units, which will completely change the way the church will be seen. This work has been made possible by the generous gift in the will of the late Ron Thomas, of Walston Rd, who with his wife, had been a worshipper at St. Mary’s for many years. His gift will greatly enhance the experience of worship in St. Mary’s as we will be able to highlight different parts of the church during the times of service, and once we get to know the different combinations of the lighting circuits, demonstrations will be possible on open days etc.
During May we shall be celebrating the 75th anniversary of Christian Aid with a house to house collection and other fund raising activities which Jude Billingham has written about elsewhere in “What’s On” Please give as generously as you can, in these difficult financial times when we are all facing huge increases in the cost of living, but we are in a much better situation than those who rely on organisations like C.A. where their standard of living is much poorer than ours.
The season of Lent came to an end with a glorious celebration of the Eucharist on Easter Day, when Kevin presided. The church was beautifully decorated with Lilies given in memory of loved ones and our organist Robert excelled himself with voluntaries and other pieces of music as well as the hymns, sung with much gusto. The preaching cross in the churchyard was once again decorated by Mike and Glenys Tucker, which announces to the world that there was something great happening, that Jesus has risen from the grave and is alive in the world. The Easter Garden in the porch was assembled by Brian Jones who with Sandra, his wife, arranged the supply of flowers for the church decoration. It is little acts like this that states that here is a live and active church, by no means a museum piece, also the flag flying from the tower and the bells ringing out all proclaim that here is a live breathing building with a welcoming church family awaiting to greet you all.
The Annual Church Vestry meeting of the Joint Church Councils of St Mary’s and St. Bleddians has also taken place and the churchwardens were elected for another year of office. The arrival of our new priest has been delayed for various reasons and the successful candidate remains under wraps until the announcement is made by Bishop June, but we are promised we will not have to wait much longer than is necessary.
St. Mary’s church is now part of the Ministry Area of De Morgannwg, all enquiries to Fr Andrew James of Dinas Powis, Tel No. 02920512555.