News & Items of Interest
All the latest news from around the diocese.
Let us know about events you've organised.
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The Lent Course “Praying the Statues”
One of the best Lent groups I have experienced took us purposefully but enjoyably through the sometimes sad and solemn weeks of February and early March, and delivered us ready to appreciate the happiness of Easter.
The group of 8-10 people met in Machynlleth – firstly in the parish office, but later in an upper room (so apt) at the White Lion, and came from several churches across the area team. We were provided with a high quality course book, written specially for the season by Bishop Andy, and we decided that both we, and the content of the book, deserved such a good publication.
Each chapter/week provided photos of a particular sculpture or statue that Bishop Andy had visited and contemplated over several months, and had been chosen to illustrate and prompt reflections on key Gospel themes, and to help us pray around them.
The fact that the course was based upon very visual images made it immediate and accessible, rather than falsely academic or dry. It was ok to say we didn’t like a particular statue, or even that we loved it! But discussion didn’t stop at art appreciation, but seemed to flow spontaneously into sharing some very personal life experiences, and to our beliefs about what they had meant.
For example, we looked at Elizabeth Frink’s statue of the aged but still upright mother of Jesus. We contemplated the great sadness of losing a son, and found reassurance in Mary’s apparent ability to keep putting one foot in front of the other, to keep going through the years. We looked at the Broadbent statue in the cloisters of Chester Cathedral, and wondered at the level of intimacy portrayed in the encounter at the well between Jesus and the Samarian woman. The clutching embrace of the “Reconciliation” sculptural pair in Coventry brought to mind survivors and refugees. And another statue in Dublin was a graphic reminder of hopelessness in homelessness.
Of course we also had to then contemplate the suffering and crucifixion of Christ. We considered the terribly sad figure of the prisoner Christ in our own cathedral at Bangor; and then moved onto a depiction of the crucifixion, that had apparently frightened parishioners so much that it had been moved from the church to a museum garden. This was where I empathised with those fellow Christians who prefer an empty cross.
But, finally, we came to the surprised joy and relief of Mary Magdalene’s encounter with the risen Christ. The spindly, upraised arms of David Wynne’s “Noli mi tangere” pair of statues suggest urgent movement – and perhaps remind us that Easter ought to make us DO something, not just sit and ponder any longer.
This Lent course certainly deserves repeating, and I would like to go and see, touch, walk around and consider some of the statues for real. Pilgrimage anyone?....
Cathy Howe Browne, Cemmaes.
Lady Day - the Annunciation
This beautiful event (Luke 1:26-38) took place in Nazareth, when Mary is already betrothed to Joseph. The Archangel Gabriel comes to Mary, greets her as highly favoured, tells her not to be afraid, that she will bear a son Jesus, and that her elderly cousin Elizabeth is already pregnant (with John the Baptist).
The church calendar is never quite as neat as some would like it. To celebrate the Annunciation on 25 March does indeed place the conception of Jesus exactly nine months from his birth on 25 December, but the latter part of March almost inevitably falls during Lent. But the birth and death of Jesus are intrinsically linked - he was born to die, and thus fulfil God’s purposes.
The Annunciation is a significant date in the Christian calendar - it is one of the most frequent depicted in Christian art. Gabriel’s gracious strength and Mary’s humble dignity have inspired many artists. Certainly Mary’s response to the angel has for centuries been an example of good faith in practice - humility, enquiry of God, and trusting acceptance in His will for her life.
Appeal for Local Church Photographs
If anyone has a photograph of the following Churches (Corris, Llanwrin, Penegoes, Cemaes, Llanbrynmair, Mallwyd). Please can Maureen Hughes borrow them.
Maureen can be contacted on 01654 700377. Many thanks.
Eglwys Darowen Palm Sunday Service
A special Palm Sunday Service was held at Eglwys Darowen.
Complete with a donkey, parents and children had a wonderful fun filled service.
Pictures by Jen Evans.
Text by Rev. Roland.
Roedd Sul y Blodau yn ddiwrnod mawr yn Narowen eleni. A hithau’n dywydd braf a’r cennin pedr yn eu blodau ac ŵyn bach yn prancio o’n cwmpas, croesawom “Moses” yr asyn i’n gwasanaeth. Roedd y digwyddiad yn ein hatgoffa o hanes Iesu’n cyrraedd Jerwsalem 2000 o flynyddoedd yn ôl, i wynebu’r groes ac atgyfodiad. Arweiniodd Louise, “Dyfi Donkeys” Commins Coch, Moses i fyny’r llwybr at yr eglwys, a Deio Pritchard yn chwarae rhan Iesu a’r gynulleidfa yn eu croesawu o bobty’r llwybr. Rhoddwyd croesau palmwydd i’r gynulleidfa wrth iddynt fynd i mewn i’r eglwys.
Yn dilyn darlleniad o’r Beibl a chlywed stori Iesu yn cyrraedd Jerwsalem yn fuddugoliaethus (Mth. 21. ad 1 – 11) adroddodd y Parch Roland neges Gristnogol, stori’r Pasg gyda chymorth y gynulleidfa. – Neges o edifeiriwch, gofyn am faddeuant, dweud sori a pharodrwydd Duw i faddau i ni a’n caru a rhoi bywyd newydd i ni.
Arweiniodd Mrs Jen Evans ni yn abl mewn gweddi, a chymrodd y plant ran hefyd. Llawer o ddiolch i Jen, i Mrs Magwen Pughe am arwain y gân ar yr organ, Louise o “Dyfi Donkeys,” y plant i gyd am gymryd rhan ac i bawb â ymunodd â ni am ddiwrnod arbennig.
Palm Sunday was a red letter day in Darowen this year. Blessed with fine weather, daffodils and new born lambs, we welcomed “Moses” the donkey to our service. The event echoed Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem 2000 years ago, to face the cross and resurrection. Louise, of “Dyfi Donkeys” Commins Coch, led Moses up the path to the church, with Deio Pritchard riding in the role of Jesus and the congregation lining the path to welcome them. As we entered the church palm crosses were given out to members of the congregation.
Following a reading from the Bible, telling the story of Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Mt. 21. vs 1 – 11) the Revd Roland, with the help of the congregation, gave an illustration of the Christian message, the Easter story. - A message of repentance, asking for forgiveness, saying sorry, and the willingness of God to forgive and embrace us in love and new life.
Mrs Jen Evans then ably led our prayers, with the active participation of the children. Many thanks to Jen, to Mrs Magwen Pughe for leading our singing on the organ, Louise of “Dyfi Donkeys,” the children for their taking part and all those who joined us for a special day.
Cawl a Chlonc
Ar Chwefror 11eg daeth nifer dda o bobl at ei gilydd unwaith eto i Neuadd yr Eglwys Cemaes ar gyfer sesiwn lwyddiannus arall o Gawl a Chlonc. Trefnir y sesiynau hyn gan y Tîm Bugeiliol. Hyfryd iawn oedd gweld pawb yn cymdeithasu a chael sgwrs ddifyr dros ginio ysgafn. Hoffwn ddiolch i Canon Kath a’r Tim am gyfrannu a pharatoi’r pryd ac i’r Parch Roland a Des Reilly am eu cymorth gyda’r cludiant. Gobeithiwn gynnal sesiwn arall yn fuan iawn ac edrychwn ymlaen at drefnu gwibdaith yn ystod yr haf i gael te pnawn.
Another successful Cawl a Chlonc ( Soup and a Chat) organised by the Pastoral Team was held in the Church Room Cemaes on February 11th. It was wonderful to see so many present enjoying a good chat over lunch.
I would like to thank Canon Kath and the team for donating and preparing the meal, and to Rev Roland and Des Reilly for their help with transport.
We hope to organise another session very soon and we look forward to arranging a summer outing for afternoon tea.