April 2022 News Update

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.



Christian Aid Week


15 – 21 MAY

The drought in Zimbabwe is the focus for Christian Aid Week this year. In local communities the Climate Crisis is a matter of survival, and information and personal stories from those who have been helped by Christian Aid will feature in the morning service in St Mary’s Church on Sunday 1st May.

Our 2022 appeal begins with ‘Coffee – Cake – Bookstall’ which will take place in the Church Hall on Saturday 14th May from 10 30am till 2 30pm. Any donations of books you may have can be placed in the ‘Book Box’ in the Church Porch at any time, or taken to the Church Hall on Friday afternoon 13th May from 4pm.

This year the envelope collection will resume after two years absence due to the coronavirus. This will be a new type of envelope that will be delivered by volunteers with drop off points for householders to return them.

Gwenfo School will hold their annual ‘Big Brekkie’ during one of their lunchtimes and have a non- uniform day.

Thanks to your generosity last year we were successful in raising £3,000 (including Gift Aid) and we are hopeful of an equally good response this year.

Jude Billingham





March 2022 News Update

March 2022 News Update

March 2022 has seen the relaxation of most of the COVID restrictions imposed by the Welsh Government to safeguard the population against contracting this most awful disease. Churches were treated no differently from other organisations and the wearing of masks, social distancing, and lateral flow testing, became a part of everyday life. Now we are returning to a ‘new’ kind of normal. As of the end of the month, the wearing of face coverings in church will be up to the individual. Seating will be as before Covid and singing will be used during the services. The Easter Day Eucharist will be a sung eucharist to honour this most important day in the church’s year. The church will be decorated with the traditional Easter Lilies, donated by the members of the congregation in memory of loved ones who have passed into greater glory. Do please feel free to join us in this celebration. A most warm welcome is assured, ‘come old, come young, come those who are fearful to meet the risen Lord’.

This has been a time of anticipation and frustration in the church during March. Anticipation because we are awaiting the appointment of a new priest for Wenvoe, St. Lythan’s and Sully. The selection panel has met to assess and interview the three candidates who had applied for the position. The decision has been made and we await the timing of the announcement from the Bishop.

The frustration is due to the delay in the work on the tower. The exploratory work has revealed much more damage to the stone than was at first discovered. This has meant that extra costs will be involved, and then there is the discussion on the correct shade of lime mortar to be used. All this takes time and we are anxious that the work is put in hand as quickly as possible.

During the season of Lent, a series of Lenten talks have been held with church members in Sully on Zoom on the theme of ‘Growing Good’. This takes the analogy of a garden prepared for growth. Not just one season but many seasons are necessary for a garden to produce results. And likewise it is much the same with our churches. We have gone through two years of stagnation, and we, like many others have lost worshippers but are hoping that they will return to the fold in good time. Our future as a church will be to welcome our new priest who will lead us into fresh pastures, in the company of younger families from the community. We have a wonderful church school in Wenvoe and we look forward to a closer working relationship with the staff and the pupils in the months ahead. We have to nurture our children in every way we can and the church will be open to any ideas to help them grow into loving, compassionate members of the community. Likewise with the scouting organisations. All are welcome to use the facilities which the church can offer.

Christian Aid During the month we watched on our TV screens the horror that is taking place in Ukraine. The school appealed for clothing, bedding

and other goods to be sent to relieve some of the suffering of the population. They were overwhelmed with the response. In church we decided to support the Christian Aid appeal for money and here is Jude Billingham’s report.

Collection for Ukraine – Many thanks for your donations that raised £200. The Church has topped this up to £500 and it has been sent via Christian Aid. A contribution was also sent from St.Lythan’s for £100. Thank you to all who gave so willingly.

Christian Aid Week 2022 – As part of our fund raising this year we will be holding a ‘Coffee, Cakes and Bookstall’ on Saturday 14th May. Any books you have surplus will be much appreciated for either adults or children. A box has been placed in the church porch for your donations which will be emptied regularly.

Regards, Jude

The Ministry Area Council of De Morgannwg has met and have agreed the procedures for the setting up of Church councils. Here we will have a joint church council, with St. Lythan’s joining with Wenvoe for administration purposes. There will be no changes to the arrangements for services and the benefits from the new arrangements have yet to be seen. A new Electoral Roll of all members of the nine churches is being drawn up and application can be on line or on hard copies available in our churches. This remains an important part of church life as it gives an indication of the strength of the churches and the option of being a part of any voting that may be required for the positions of wardens who will look after the church buildings and with the Vicar will help forward the mission of the church to the community. The closing date for all applications is 30th March.

We are affected, like the rest of the nation in the cost of heating our homes and the church is no exception. We have kept the heating on during the winter months on a minimum setting to keep the building safe from condensation. The bills are very high and the decision has been made to lower the temperature even more during the week in the Summer months so that the thermostat will only bring the heating on, on very few occasions. Likewise our new lighting system will be by LED lighting and that will also help towards keeping our energy costs as low as possible.

On that cheerful note, we look forward to the future and welcome you all to be part of the journey together with our new Vicar.

God bless and thank you for reading,

Parry Edwards



News Update for February

The Inaugural Service of the Ministry Area of De Morgannwg took place on the afternoon of Sunday 6th February, with Bishop June presiding at St. Peter’s church in Dinas Powis, with the congregation made up from representatives of the nine churches present. The MA Lay Chair, Mr Howard Rees, was commissioned to lead the new charity forward, bringing the nine churches into one to support the mission and the ministry of the church. Then followed the Licencing of the Reader and the Clergy. The first meeting of the MAC (Ministry Area Council) will now meet with the representatives from each of the nine churches together with the MAC Treasurer, to discuss how the Local Church Councils will be formed. Here in Wenvoe, we will have a Joint Church Council as St. Bleddian’s church at St. Lythan’s have decided to join with us, as we lay plans for the years ahead.

St. Mary’s remains in the care of the Area Dean, Rev. Andrew James of Dinas Powis until a new Vicar is appointed for Wenvoe, St. Lythan’s and Sully. The advertisement has appeared in the press and on line and the applicants have been short listed for a selection panel on the 9th March. The successful applicant will then need to give three months notice where he/she is at the moment, so we should be able to see a new priest installed sometime in the summer. In the meantime, Kevin, our curate, has been ordained and celebrated his first Eucharist with us on Sunday 6th February. This means that we will see fewer visiting priests at our Sunday morning services as Kevin will lead us until the new Vicar is in post.

The Welsh Government COVID regulations have been relaxed and there is now no need to book for attendance at our worship on Sunday mornings. Gradually we are getting back to as near a normal pattern of worship as we can. Attendance numbers in church are improving and our “Pebbles” children group, recommenced following the Half Term break in the church hall, and were welcomed back into joining in the worship. Singing is now allowed, and we have welcomed a new organist, Gareth, to the team, and it is wonderful to have the opportunity to sing the hymns that reflect the times of the year.

Good news on the tower, we can now close the appeal having reached our target figure of £61,000

It is with grateful thanks to the wonderful response to the Tower Appeal from our congregation and friends of St. Mary’s who have raised over £25,500 with contributions from the “Tucker stones for the Tower”, Funeral Offerings for two of our well respected church members, and many other most generous gifts from those who wish to see St. Mary’s kept in good repair for future generations. We are very thankful for the help from the grant aiding bodies, ie. The Representative Body of the Church in Wales, the Pantyfedwen Trust, the Welsh Church Act, the Garfield Weston Trust and Breedon Quarrying

We have a start date for the work on the tower with Taliesin Conservation for March 1st. Scaffolding will be in place with security fencing etc. There will still be full access to the paths in the churchyard, and the work is scheduled to last for 16 weeks, with completion in mid June. Work to remove the “snail creep” mortaring within the porch will be carried out at a later date as part of our general planning to improve the stonework of the fabric of the church. There should be no inconvenience in the use of the church during this time for Sunday services. The faculty for the “Church lighting Scheme” has been granted and we have a provisional start date of May 9th from the contractor as to when the work will begin. The cost of this work will be covered from the Ron Thomas Bequest made to the church and will be a lasting tribute to the great affection he and his wife had for the church during the time they lived in Wenvoe.

We continue to support the Barry Food Bank with items collected from the porch on Thursday mornings. The need for food and other items is greater than ever with the increasing cost of energy bills and foodstuffs in the shops, and again thanks to Jude Billingham, who organises this work, we are reaching out to those in greater need at this time.

H.M the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Plans are being made to celebrate this event with an open air service around the preaching cross in the churchyard, on Friday June 3rd with games for the children and a “bring your own picnic and chairs”. This is a community party to celebrate the Queen’s 70 years on the throne and is open to all. More details to follow, and suggestions and offers of help would be appreciated.

Christian Aid Week

Begins on week commencing 15th May, and we are hopeful of having a house to house collection this year, as in previous years before COVID 19. More news of this event will be published in “What’s On” nearer the appeal week.

Lent 2022

The observance of the solemn season of Lent has not been finalised at the time of writing. Ash Wednesday on March 2nd marks the beginning of the observance for six weeks before Easter. Please refer to the notice board in the church porch for any further details.


Look forward to see you in church. You are all welcome

Parry Edwards



Remaining In a Vacancy

We remain in a vacancy at the present moment, and during January we had to revert back to booking places in church for our Sunday morning worship.

We are finding our way in the Ministry Area of De Morgannwg, and have produced our first quarterly Ministry Area magazine. At present it is only online, but we hope to be able to print hard copies for those of the congregation that are not IT minded.

Our representative on the Ministry Area council (MAC) will be Jude Billingham, who will report back to the local church council, the decisions arrived at and will present any local concerns that need to be addressed, by the council on our behalf.

Jude has kindly allowed me to include the items she wrote in the latest MA Magazine here:

Ministry Area Connections: St. Mary’s Church Wenvoe

We said farewell to Rev. Jonathon Ormrod, our parish priest for the last seven years in the Autumn. Jon, as he wished to be called had accepted the position of Priest in Charge of the church of St. Martin’s in Worle, outside Weston super Mare, and we wish him and his family every blessing in his work there. During his tenure here, together with the parishes of St. Lythan’s and Sully, much has been achieved. Under his shepherding, the congregation has swelled, our “Pebbles” group has grown, and during the past 18 months with the COVID-19 virus, he has been a rock to so many people, and he leaves the parish of Wenvoe in a better state than when he and Sheonagh arrived. Jon did not wish for any “fuss” when he left, no presentation was his wish, for he realised that in today’s uncertainty of the rising costs of living, he would rather people give to far more worthy causes than his leaving for another parish. So, it was with a final tea party at Sully (with a simple gift of a new Preaching Scarf) and his final services on the 30th October he bade us farewell. Those of us who were able to join him in his investiture in Worle were pleased to see him wearing his new preaching scarf!

The parish is now in the care of the Area Dean, the Rev. Andrew James of Dinas Powys, who with our assistant curate the Rev. Kevin Barry, will be the Ministry team until we enter the Ministry Area of De Morgannwg on the 1st January 2022. During this time other priests have been welcomed in to lead services until a new Vicar is appointed.

The Harvest Festival service took place and was well attended within the Welsh Government’s recommendations. At that time there was no need to book places to attend services, but the sanitizing of hands and the wearing of face masks remained mandatory. Singing was allowed and it was great to include the Pebbles group helping to lead the worship once again. The appeal for tinned or dry goods brought in a huge response and was taken to the Food Bank in Barry. A collection for the Christian Aid Harvest appeal was also taken which amounted to £326.00.

In the run up to Christmas we held the carol service in St Mary’s Church. This was a scaled down version of previous years, but still very moving with hope for the future. The midnight service was sparsely attended welcoming in Christmas more quietly, but enjoyed by those present. The Christmas Day service was at St. Lythan’s and the following St. Stephen’s Day was at Wenvoe. Thanks to the visiting priests who made this possible.

Christmas Appeal: Sully joined Wenvoe to take a Christian Aid collection for the Christmas Appeal. This year they featured how they could help women in obtaining clean water. The example was a woman called Adut in Southern Sudan who had no choice but to give her children dirty water to drink. Their water supply came from the local river where cows and goats drink and where villagers wash. With help from Christian Aid they now have a pump for clean water from an underground water source. With further funding other villages can have this too. The collection raised £116 and this has been sent to Christian Aid.

Donations to the Vale foodbank have continued from Wenvoe and Sully throughout 2021. Additional Christmas goodies were readily donated. Many thanks to all who donated for this Christmas Appeal and to those who give regularly.

Alongside foodbank donations many gave generously to the ‘Big Wrap’. This initiative helps families in the Vale who are experiencing difficulties to provide gifts for their children. This year the Big Wrap decided to concentrate on collecting for teenagers as other organisations often provide gifts for younger children and the older ones miss out. This proved quite a challenge! However, many thanks for all the imaginative ideas and gifts which filled the car boot, with an additional £312 to enable the Big Wrap to provide gifts.

A number of Faculty applications have been submitted to the Diocesan Advisory committee (DAC) for work we wish to undertake in the future. They are for the new lighting scheme, the disposal of 2 pews, the removal of the “snail creep” mortar within the porch and for the restoration of the reredos at the altar. These are on display on the church door, for inspection and comment.

Our curate the Rev. Kevin Barry, was priested by Bishop June in a ceremony at St. Peter’s church in Dinas Powys. on the 30th January. This church is the largest in the MA and to accommodate all who wished to be present it was decided to move the event from Wenvoe. This means that Kevin will be able to celebrate the Eucharist in our churches without the need for a visiting priest.

The church is open in line with the Welsh Government regulations. A warm welcome to all.

Keep safe and wear your mask.

Parry Edwards



Advent Windows Great Success


A St. Mary’s initiative for the whole community

Wenvoe Advent Windows 2021 was a great success. This is the second year residents volunteered to decorate a window on a given date in Advent, so that a new window was lit up each night from 1st to 24th December.

There were different themes including Santa’s workshop which opened the windows on 1st and other Santa scenes, snowmen, angels, nativity scenes, winter wonderlands, mousemas! village panoramas, stars, a story of a Christmas Mouse in the telephone box and even a portrayal of the film ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. Gwenfo School took an active part in providing 2 displays. The first included life size reindeers pulling Santa’s sleigh at the school and then a silhouette of the Nativity scene in the Church grounds on Christmas Eve. At this final lighting up we took the opportunity to invite children and their families to join us in singing carols to herald in Christmas Eve. Fortunately the rain that had been incessant all day stopped and it was a magical moment as families gathered with torches to see the nativity and to sing together.

Many thanks to all those who took part. There were many comments about ‘what I would do differently next year’ or ‘I have got a new idea for next year’. We wait to see what 2022 brings!

Jude Billingham



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