Letters from the Diocese
I hope you all had a happy and peaceful Christmas. December was very busy in our churches with festivities starting early in Machynlleth with the lighting of the town Christmas tree on November 30th, Carol singing around the Town Clock, mulled wine and mince pies, followed by a candlelit walk down to St Peter’s for more mulled wine, mince pies, singing and lots of Advent crafts for the children. It was a lovely evening enjoyed by all and we finished off the mulled wine after the 11am service the following day. On the 18th December we welcomed the Honourable Mrs Shân Legge-Bourke, Lord-Lieutenant of Powys, and her deputy, Mrs Tia Jones, to our Carol Service at St Peter’s. There were plenty of children to make up the Nativity scene at the Crib Service on Christmas Eve and the Midnight Communion service was also well attended. It has been a joy to come together to celebrate the most wonderful event that changed the course of human history forever – CHRISTMAS.
But sadly December also brought tragedy to many people – to the families of the 132 children and 13 adults murdered in a school in Peshawar, Pakistan; the six Christmas shoppers killed and many injured in the road accident in Glasgow; the loss of loved ones in our own communities. These losses are devastating whenever they happen but it always seems worse at this time of the year but if the miraculous events at Bethlehem 2000 years ago show us one thing it is this – God became human; God is here, in this fractured, hurting world. God is with us in the dark nights and the hopeless situations, in the midst of the light and the darkness giving us strength and hope for the long haul of life. So look up and walk forward into 2015 with the good news ringing in your ears – a Saviour has been born for us – Glory to God in the highest!
With every blessing to you and yours for 2015
I’m including two short reflections on “remembering” in this month’s magazine – I found them interesting, I hope you do too.
I’m sure most of us have seen the amazing sight in London of the 888,246 ceramic poppies filling the moat of The Tower of London. Each poppy representing a British or Colonial soldier killed in the First World War. This year is the centenary of the beginning of that most awful war and on the 9th November we will come together to pay our respects and to remember those who have sacrificed their lives in war. So why do we remember?
“They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore”.
Micah lived in a world of war and violence about 700 years before Christ, but he prophesied a future of hope, a world where nations come together in peace instead of war. His vision saw a time when the arms of war would be turned into farming tools and people would live in peaceful community.
Our understanding of peace is more than the avoidance of war or the absence of conflict. It’s about building relationships between people, communities and nations, which positively creates a love and care for others founded on justice for all. As we remember the sacrifice of those who died in the First World War, our response must be to look practically at how we can build relationships of peace and justice in our world, starting with our own families, colleagues and neighbourhoods. As Micah says, “we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever” (4:5). We always need God’s presence and power to change us into the people who have a passion for peace and justice, and compassion for everyone.
“They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them”
The peace of God to you and yours
(adapted from a meditation on what Peace might look like - The Rev Paul Hardingham)
I hope you’ve all had a pleasant summer and are refreshed by the warm sunshine we’ve had – maybe not quite so warm in the last couple of weeks!
In July I was fortunate enough to spend the day on Ynys Enlli – Bardsey Island. It’s a place that’s been on my “to visit” list for some time and it certainly didn’t disappoint. I love to watch and listen to the sea but to travel on the sea is not a favourite of mine and it looked a little choppy on that Monday morning! I had no need to worry, though, in the capable hands of Colin who has navigated Bardsey Sound for many years and my return trip caused far less anxiety.
Our boat was escorted into the Quay on the Island by an inquisitive seal checking out the first visitors of the day. As I got off the boat making my way up the quay, I stopped to look back at the sea – I don’t know what I expected but what I experienced at that moment is hard to describe – a feeling I was part of something good and much bigger than I have words to express. As we walked, mostly in silence, on our pilgrimage around the Island, we stopped at places along the way– the lighthouse, Maen Duw, the birdwatchers hide, the Abby ruins – taking time to pray for ourselves and others and to feel God’s presence in the wonder of creation all around us. Our pilgrimage took about two hours but there are more places on this beautiful island that “invite us to join the prayers of those Christians who have sought God here for almost 1500 years and to join in what we might think of as the island’s own prayer – the wordless, indefinable link between creation and Creator” (Pilgrimage, Andrew Jones p186)
Ynys Enlli has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries with 20,000 saints buried on the island, I had read and been told that the accumulation of prayer over this time is almost tangible and now I know that it is.
With every blessing to you and yours
I’ve just come home from a lovely morning spent in the company of good friends worshipping together and enjoying a meal together. I have been at Holy Trinity Church, Corris, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Reverend Canon Martin Riley’s priesthood. Bishop Andrew gave thanks for Martin’s dedicated service to the people of our Diocese as a Parish Priest and as a “retired” cleric. Martin has never retired and continues his ministry in Corris and beyond. Next Sunday (29th) we will all be gathering together at St Peter’s to celebrate a new ministry as we welcome our Curate, Naomi Starkey. Naomi will be ordained at our cathedral on Saturday the 28th June, photos and reports will be in the August edition of the magazine.
We give thanks to God for these two people – for Martin as we look back on his 50 years of spreading the Good News; for the countless lives he has touched in God’s name; for the countless people who have heard God’s voice through him. For Naomi as we look forward to the future with renewed hope as she begins a new ministry; as she takes up the story. Martin’s ministry will continue, at a slower pace maybe, as Naomi’s grows over the years to come. I felt very humble in the service today as I looked at Martin and I thought about Naomi and gave thanks to God for calling us to this place of service. “God is good – all the time”
On Sunday afternoon, 27th July we come together again at St Peter’s for another “new beginning” as the Bishop affirms our Ministry Area of Cyfeiliog a Mawddwy, licences the Ministry Team and The Rev Roland and me as team leaders. Please pray for us and support us at the service.
with love and every blessing to you and yours
There is a change to services in June as you will see from the list with two special occasions to celebrate.
June 22nd there will be a united service at Holy Trinity Church Corris at 10.30am when Bishop Andrew will be present with us. This is to celebrate the Reverend Martin Riley’s 50th anniversary to the priesthood. There will be refreshments served at The Institute in Corris following the service.
CONGRATULATIONS Martin and thank you for your continued ministry among us.
Congratulations also to Martin and Beryl on their Golden Wedding Anniversary on June 6th
June 29th there will be a united service at St Peter’s Church Machynlleth at 10.30am to welcome Naomi Starkey as Curate to the Ministry Area. There will be a Parish Lunch at Plas Dolguog following the service. Each Church Warden will have menu choices to be paid at the latest by the 22nd June with Church Wardens passing list and payments to Ken Searson or Geraint Davies by 24th June. Cost per person £13.00. Please join us for this lunch.
Naomi will be ordained on the 28th June in Bangor Cathedral, all are welcome to this service, please contact Rev. Kathleen or Rev. Roland for further information.
Please hold Naomi in your prayers as she prepares for her ordination and the journey she is about to embark on.
It’s not every day we can celebrate a 50 years Ministry and a brand new one
I sit in sackcloth and ashes! The Bible Study I advertised last month had all the wrong information – I’m blaming a senior moment. It did start on May 14th but every fortnight (not weekly). The dates for June are 11th & 25th at St Peter’s Church (not Parish Office) 11am-12.30pm.