News

June 26, 2017

Llanfair Uniting Church, 25th anniversary celebrations

May 22, 2017

Check out the article bellow from  the World Council of Churches’s website.

Rebecca Lalbiaksangi, our partner in mission attended a meeting co-ordinated by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Council for World Mission (CWM) in Johannesburg about “Evangelism from the margins”.

Evangelism from the margins is focus of Johannesburg meeting

Evangelism from the margins is focus of Johannesburg meeting

Participants of Johannesburg meeting, 6-12 May 2017, South Africa ©WCC

May 18, 2017

Grassroots practitioners, academics and evangelism project managers gathered 6-12 May in Johannesburg, South Africa, where they renewed their understanding and practice of evangelism from the margins.

Co-organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Council for World Mission (CWM), it was the second in a series of Explorations in Evangelism and focused on the theme Evangelism from the Margins. The first one, addressing Evangelism in the City, was held in Sydney, 2015.

As they shared personal stories, learned about each other’s context and challenges, and visited local communities, the participants found that the work of evangelism focusing on marginalized communities has a more important role than ever in today’s world.

The meeting allowed participants to embark on what at times was a harsh rediscovery of the role of evangelism in the midst of injustice, pain and suffering of all kinds, noted Kyriaki Avtzi, WCC programme executive for evangelism.

“Ending our time together with still many unanswered questions, we prayed that the prophetic voice of the church willl echo the message of love and solidarity to all, for all,” said Avtzi.

Difficult questions and troubling settings did not deter the group from exploring the new faces of evangelism, said Peter Cruchley, CWM mission secretary .

“They each challenged us to ask, from where does Jesus’s Good News come? We began a very important conversation which could offer us a new horizon for understanding evangelism.”

A key question brought to the table was, how much responsibility do Christians have in sharing God’s love around them?

One participant, Rebecca Lalbiaksangi from the UK, answered: “Justice, equality, sharing resources and people, simply understanding each other, and the willingness to change if required are some important factors for God’s kingdom here on earth.”

Lalbiaksangi was joined by another participant, Rev. Abraham Nkhata from Zambia, in expressing gratitude for the opportunity to learn about a contextual way of doing evangelism from the margins.

“We want to be grateful for the ability to find blessing in adversity as one of the most valuable gifts,” reflected Nkhata.

Since the 2013 launch of the WCC mission statement, Together towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes, the concept of mission from the margins has received considerable attention from scholars and theologians, as well as agencies directly concerned with mission and evangelism, observed Metropolitan Dr Mor Geevarghese Coorilos, CWME moderator.

“However,” he added, “the concept of ‘evangelism from the margins’ hasn’t been adequately addressed so far. In this sense, this consultation is indeed a pioneering effort that CWME and CWM can be proud of.”

Learn more about the evangelism from the margins

https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1G1-471000874/evangelism-from-the-margins-experiences-of-the-ironic

Read more about changing paradigms in evangelism

https://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/news/evangelism-in-europe-in-radically-changing-landscapes

May 8, 2017

May 3, 2017

Contemporary Shrine and Temporary Church

On our visit to South Wales last week we were privileged to visit exciting churches. The first is built next to a Mediaeval Shrine, and the second is a coming together of two traditional denominations by the seaside! Neither is what you would expect!

Llanfair Uniting Church, Penrhys

Here is Penrhys, supposedly a visionary estate designed to lift the mining community out of the Rhondda valley-bottom up onto the hilltop – it may have given the residents amazing views, but also created terrible housing problems and social isolation. When I was a social worker, I was there in the 1970s and have awful memories of life on Penrhys. Is it coincidental that it is on the Holy site of pilgrimage to Mother Mary, considered in Medieval times as one of the great shrines? For it has been the Church which took up the vision of building the Kingdom of God. Set up as an eight denomination LEP, its ethos is in its strapline “A Church for everyone” The local primary children come each week to the church. Over the years its ministers and people have built a chapel ‘Llanfair’ in English, ‘Church of Mary’, and developed a couple of derelict flats for community use, with second-hand boutique, laundry, homework club, craft sessions and much more, all despite huge battles over funding, and sadly with some really-needed facilities having to close. But for me this is Church at its best, giving dignity and hope to all – at present with no minister, though with ministerial support, the local people are training to be accredited worship leaders. The picture above shows us celebrating communion and I can tell you the quality of their worship is of Heaven. A former minister of the church, John Morgans took many groups to Caldy Island for Bible study weekends. I remember the abbot there saying that all the thousands who go to the island looking for God will find God, but God made in their own image. If they want to meet the real God, then they must go home and into their community and God will be there.
God is certainly in Penrhys – it is a contemporary shrine!

Revd Kevin Watson, Moderator of the General Assembly, URC

https://assemblymoderators.urc.org.uk/contemporary-shrine-and-temporary-church/#more-3598

 

March,17

eNewsletter March 2017 edition of the United Reformed Church National Synod of Wales

Llanfair Uniting Church, Penrhys
In early January, the former moderator of General Assembly, John Ellis, visited Penrhys to see and experience the life at Llanfair Uniting Church. He also joined church members and ecumenical representatives for the January Sponsoring Body of the church. John has recently taken up the role of Treasurer within the Council for World Mission (CWM), and he was particularly interested to hear about the links Llanfair has with CWM. The URC, along with another 3 of the 8 sponsoring denominations, is a member of CWM. One of the team working at Llanfair, Rebecca Lalbiaksangi, is a CWM mission partner and she, together with her family, have had a huge impact on the life of the church and the wider community over the last few years. Recently, the work being undertaken at Llanfair was recognised by the General Secretary of CWM, Colin Cowan, when he referred to it in an address to their General Assembly, ‘this life affirming community in which the needs, interest and well-being of everyone is considered and in which the strategic role of the church in the very centre of life in the community that encouraged and inspired us’.The Sponsoring Body of Llanfair requested John write down some reflections following his visit. What he had to say was encouraging, and a challenge to those privileged to support this special church. Here are some of his thoughts.

Striking Features

1  Cheerfulness: Despite plenty of statistics to suggest the setting could be depressing, everyone at Llanfair comes across as positive and cheerful, which in itself radiates hope. Rarely have I experienced homework being done with such delight.

2 Integrated and Separate: Looking out from the flat window, you see the Penrhys estate and the traditional Rhondda valley, but with a space between. This seemed to speak both of how the Penrhys story cannot be understood except as part of the Welsh Valleys story, but also that is cannot be understood unless recognised as having its own unique features.

3 Chapel culture for the 21st Century: Traditional Welsh chapel culture embraced social events, children’s activities, community building and personal support as well as worship, a focus for the lives of those it reached. Llanfair is just as central to the lives of Penrhys families as it reinvents in a new form the embracing care of the old chapels. But two differences are striking: in Penrhys the Christians offer this ministry as a united body not as competing denominations; and in Penrhys the worshipping community is small, leading to very few people to share all the demands of sustaining this comprehensive view of ministry.

4 Non-stop programme: Llanfair is busy every day. There is far more activity in the premises than in many churches with larger worshipping communities and larger premises.

Striking Questions

1 Ministerial Deployment
Any model of ministerial deployment that relies on gathering a substantial number of church members or worshippers under one minister will be of little relevance to Llanfair. Penrhys illustrates acutely the importance of a church leader living amongst the community their church is seeking to serve. How can denominations with fewer ministers respond?

2 Locating Responsibility
Especially with few leaders on the ground, Llanfair highlights the need to be clear which parts of Church structures should be responsible for what types of support.  Are regional Church bodies most valuable when they provide administrative and technical support to individual congregations, rather than when they attempt strategies of their own? How in ecumenical projects do we avoid responsibility always being with that other denomination? What is properly expected of funding bodies?

3 Communications
Local church leaders work willingly with continuous intense demands but deserve adequate communications from outside Penrhys to provide support on matters that others can carry and to give them personal support. This includes having clear and responsive points of contact with partner organisations and sponsoring Churches. How is this best achieved and co-ordinated?

One of the Regional Meetings of Synod is at Llanfair in March. If you’ve not been before, it’s worth a visit where you might be able to pick up on some of the features John has referred to above.

 

Eglwys Unedig Llanfair, Penrhys

28 February 2017

Here is a video of the life and work of Llanfair in the Penrhys community, thanks to Rhodri Darcy of the Union of Welsh Independents who filmed during his recent visit.

 

Christian Aid Events 

5 May 2016

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House to House Collection: Sunday 15th – Saturday 21st May
Rich/Poor Supper: Monday 16th May at 7 pm (Tickets £3)
Christian Aid Service: Sunday 22nd May at 3 pm
Children’s Film with Popcorn: Thursday 5th May at 6 pm
Children’s Prize Bingo: Thursday 12th May at 6 pm
Children’s Auction: Thursday 19th May at 6 pm
Children’s Pyjama Disco: Thursday 26th May at 6 pm

Ny Ako is Coming to Penrhys !!!

June 8 – June 23

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Ny Ako group organizes a Tour in Europe every two years. Thus, for 2016, this will take place from April 08th to July 8th. They will be touring Wales from June 8 to June 23, and will be based at Llanfair Uniting Church, Penrhys during this time.

  • They would like to point out that the objectives of the group are to:
    Share what they have lived and experienced, which others could tap into.
    • Make known to the world the riches of the Malagasy culture in terms of art: music and songs, choreography and traditional costumes, handcrafts and whatever can be displayed in the space of a show in the various places where the group is going to perform.
    • Weave fellowship links with people wherever they go. They are fully aware that they have a lot to learn from others as well, so they would greatly appreciate their input in our effort to improve their self- management skills.
  • Share their Christian faith, through music and dance.

This exciting and colourful group will be performing at Llanfair Uniting Church on 9 June at 6.30.  Everyone is welcome. Tickets will be on sale: £2 for adult and £1 for children. You are also invited to purchase from a variety of Malagasy crafts. Shop early for Christmas!

28 May 2016

 

Easter at Llanfair

Easter celebrations are well underway at Llanfair, the children are practicing the Easter Play that will take place on Good Friday at 3.00pm, following the Pilgrimage from the Well, and on Sunday afternoon at 3.00pm.  The full Easter Programme can be seen below. Please come and join us, everyone is welcome.

 

 

Easter times of services 2016-page0001

Festival of Light

Thirteen children and three adult volunteers went to  Clydach Vale on Thursday 17 March,to participate in the Lantern Parade organised by Citrus Arts.  This was not a religious celebration but a good time was had by all.

 

Anniversary Service

Llanfair celebrated its 24th anniversary with a special Service on Sunday the 28th of February. Led by Members of the Nurture Group and Sunday School children.

The bible readings were : Isaiah 40: 3-31 and Matthew 5: 1-16

The congregation sang the hymn to the tune of Llanfair (Welsh traditional) written by Fred Kaan for the opening service 24 years ago. We watched a video recording of the first anniversary service held in 1993, when resident musician at that time Hope Evans from Jamaica led locals in the hymn that she wrote “Penrhys, A Village on a Hill”.

The Service was followed by tea and cakes and a very enjoyable time was had by locals and visitors alike.

Many thanks to all who joined us on this happy occasion.

Next year will be our Silver Jubilee so watch this space for news of an extra-special celebration!

2 March 2016

 

Visit to The University of Wales Trinity St. David’s at Lampeter.

On a bright but very cold Wednesday morning, the Nurture Group travelled to St David’s, Lampeter, as part of the Nurture Study Course. John and Norah travelled down from Llanidloes to join us. We were officially welcomed to the oldest University in Wales by the Vice-Chancellor, Gwilym Dyfri Jones, followed by a short service lead by Father Allan Barton in the beautiful chapel. Dr. Catrin Williams gave us a lecture on “How to Study the Bible” and  Rev. Dr. Robert Pope, gave a talk on “Introduction to Theology”. They are both Heads of the school of Biblical studies, Theology and Islamic studies at UWTSD.

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Following a delicious buffet lunch, Peter Hopkins, Curator of the Roderic Bowen Library and Archives showed us some of the University’s treasures, which included a first issue, first edition William Morgan Bible printed in Welsh in 1588, a wonderful handwritten illuminated manuscript made in 1269, and my personal favourite a well-loved Book of Prayers that had belonged to an aristocratic Tudor lady, possibly in the court of King Henry VIII. Also a first edition, first issue King James “He” Bible.

Norah said that it had been a wonderful birthday treat. It certainly was a day to remember. The Nurture Group would like to thank Alex Hamer, Eve Warburton for their help with organizing the trip (and the goody bags), and the University for their warm welcome and generous hospitality.

Anne Lord

24 February 2016

 

Llanfair Uniting Church Penrhys's photo.

Communion in the Cafe!

We had communion service with a difference this morning at Llanfair – in the cafe with our friend Rev. Rosa Hunt leading and sharing an appropriate message relating to our Bible Study of the week, Jer 1.1-19 There were only 8 of us, but it was a wonderful, heart-warming experience.

As we have said many times:- “God is not only in the chapel, He is also in the Cafe’ and ‘out there’ in the community!”

Sharon, Michael and Paul

17 February 2016