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
eNewsletter March 2017 edition of the United Reformed Church National Synod of Wales
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
24 February 2016
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