Christian Aid Week 11th – 17th May
‘Thomas Coke (1747-1814): From Brecon to the World’
3-16 May 2014
Thomas Coke was the minister appointed by John Wesley, along with Frances Asbury to superintend the Methodist movement in America, and who went on to play a pivotal role in organising Methodist missionary work around the world, dying on his final journey to undertake missionary work in Sri Lanka in May 1814.
On Saturday May 3rd. the 200th year celebrations commenced with a series of lectures putting Coke’s life into the context of the town of Brecon and then his legacy for American Methodism.
In the afternoon of May 3rd, the Cathedral was filled to capacity for a Gathering of Methodists from most of the Circuits in South Wales and beyond and folk from other denominations to celebrate Coke’s life and his contribution to Methodist Missionary work. Entitled ‘Thomas Coke – Looking back, Looking forward’ the lead speaker at the Gathering was The Reverend The Lord Leslie Griffiths of Burry Port. Contributions also came from, amongst others, Revd. Cathy Gale (Superintendent of the Gwent Hills and Vales Circuit) on Coke’s Mission to the West Indies, Revd. Jennie Hurd (Chair of Synod Cymru) on the Concern for the Welsh Speaker and Revd. Soba Sinnathamby (a former Minister in the Newport and Lower Wye Circuit) on Coke’s final journey to Sri Lanka (then Ceylon).
Those of us who were there found the Gathering afternoon extremely informative and well put together. It is hoped that Leslie Griffiths will be making available a transcript of his speech if anyone is interested.
On Sunday May 4th. there was an Ecumenical service of Holy Communion in the Cathedral at which the preacher was Bishop Thomas Bickerton of the Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church and in the afternoon, Glasbury Methodist Church at Cwmbach (the last remaining chapel of the old Brecon Circuit) hosted a buffet tea followed by a service at which the preacher was Revd. Cathy Gale.
From 3-16 May inclusive, Brecknock Museum will be open (ground floor only) every day 10am-4pm for the temporary exhibition ‘Thomas Coke (1747-1814): From Brecon to the World’. In addition to a wealth of illustrative material, it contains many memorable personal items that will never be seen in Brecon again, including his ‘writing slope’ (with inbuilt tea-caddy) that travelled the world with him, and his memorial ring.
Clergy in Barry will be bringing the Easter story to life with a modern twist by cleaning shoes in the town centre on Maundy Thursday.
As Jesus washed the feet of his disciplines on this day, ministers from two churches will be carrying out their own take on this by cleaning the shoes of passersby.
Rector Ben Andrews of Cadoxton-juxta-Barry will be carrying out these ‘Acts of Kindness’ along with Revd Peter Taylor and Deacon Sam Taylor of the Crossway Methodist Church in Kings Square, Barry, on Thursday, April 17, from 11.30am until 1pm.
To read the full article on the Church in Wales Website click here
Please click on the link below to read The Synod Chair, Rev. Dr. Stephen Wigley’s Easter Letter.
The Act of Worship on Radio 4 (LW) at 9.45am on Friday 11th April comes from Cardiff, and is led by our Synod Chair, Rev. Dr. Stephen Wigley.
The congregation at Tondu were delighted to welcome Wales’ First Minister, Rt. Hon Carwyn Jones AM to open The Wesley Centre at Tondu Methodist Church this Saturday, March 22nd, after a £450,000 re-development scheme supported by the Methodist Church, the Welsh Government CFAP scheme, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Veolia Environmental Trust and various other funders. Celebrations continued on into Sunday with a United Area service at which Rev. David Deeks, former General Secretary of the Methodist Church, was the preacher. The photo shows the First Minister in conversation with Rev. Dr. Stephen Wigley, the Synod Chair and the Area Superintendent and minister at Tondu, Rev. Gordon Sollis, with the scheme co-ordinator Prof Jeff Jones also in the the picture.
Rev. Irfan John and his wife Raheela proudly show the Synod Chair, Rev. Dr. Stephen Wigley, the Guinness World Record Certificate they received for the largest number of different nationalities to have taken part in a Nativity Play. This follows on from the special Nativity event which they organised at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff last November (see our earlier news story). Our congratulations to Irfan, Raheela and to all who took part in it.
A world record for the largest ever multi-cultural nativity play may have been set in Wales on 30th November 2013.
People were invited to take part in the attempt by Rev. Irfan John, synod enabler for the Methodist Church in Wales. Rev. Irfan John is employed to work with culturally diverse congregations and acts as a conduit between churches and Synod, as well as supporting asylum seekers and refugees.
Rev. John said: “It’s a way of building the bridge of care between people and taking the message of peace around the world…If people from different countries, different backgrounds, different nationalities, different religions, with different languages are working together in Cardiff, why not in other parts of the world?”
And the record looks set to be confirmed with 56 nationalities gracing the stage at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff to make up the seasonal scene.
The Superintendent of the Cardiff Circuit, Rev. Peter Holwell, who was a narrator in the event said: “The whole event was tremendous, but one of the most powerful moments was at the end where each country and the name of the representative was called out and the names of many of the nations that are in the news daily were heard, but instead of in the context of violence or tension it was of a group of people kneeling together around the 6month old baby who represented the Christ-child and knowing peace and harmony. This was a profound moment that should encourage us to work for the same result in the context of our daily lives.”
On December 3rd 2013 the Archbishop of Wales opened a charity shop set up by churches to support people in debt.
The Storehouse Community Shop is the first charity shop in Aberkenfig and will be run by eight local churches. It aims to raise about £600 a week which will go towards setting up a Christians Against Poverty debt centre and also local causes.
The shop employs a manager and a deputy manager part-time who are helped by about 20 volunteers from the churches. It sells good quality second-hard clothes, books and CDs.
Cutting the ribbon to open the shop, the Archbishop, Dr Barry Morgan, said, “This shop is an excellent example of Christianity in action – people working together to respond to a need and help others in their community. It will provide a service by selling second-hard items and the money raised will all go to helping others, particularly those among us who are facing increasing financial hardship and struggling with debt.”
Revd Stephen Pare, priest-in-charge of Aberkenfig, said the shop, on Bridgend Road, was the idea of church leaders from a variety of traditions in the community. He said, “It’s the result of nearly two years of regular, weekly-united prayer meetings. Our aim is to provide a service for the community – we talked to people and found out that they wanted a second-hand shop as there isn’t one at all in Aberkenfig. There was also a need to help people facing debt. So we hope this shop will raise about £6,000 to set up a debt centre. The charity, Christians Against Poverty, supports those in debt, helping some 20-50 families a week become debt-free.
“None of the money the Storehouse raises will assist the running costs of the churches and chapels – it will all go to the community.”
The Revd Chris Gray, Assistant Chair of the Methodist Synod, cut the cake to mark the occasion.
Rev’d Gordon Sollis, minister of nearby Tondu Wesley Methodist Church said that the idea for the shop arose out of the regular weekly meetings that local church leaders had been sharing in over the last two years. “We became aware of the impact of the current economic climate on our community and felt we had to do something in response. The shop will provide a service in itself but also create an income to enable us to buy in debt-management services from the Christians Against Poverty (CAP) organisation. CAP also enables local people to be trained to run courses giving people the skills that they need to prevent them getting into debt in the first place.”
Tondu Wesley Methodist Church is nearly at the end of a refurbishment programme that will provide community facilities. Rev’d Sollis said that he saw these two projects as complementary.
“Our new facilities will be an ideal place for the money management courses.
RELATE, the organisation that helps people with their close relationships, have been using our premises for three years already and are eager to move into the Wesley Centre when the work is completed early in the New Year.”
The churches supporting it are: Aberkenfig Bible Church; Aberkenfig Church of God; Wesley Methodist, Tondu; Nazareth Baptist Church, Bryncethin; St Roberts Roman Catholic Church, Aberkenfig; Smyrna Baptist Church, Penyfa;, The Parish of All Saints Penyfai; and the Parish of Llansantffraid, Bettws and Aberkenfig.
The shop is open Monday -Thursday 10am -4pm and Saturday 10am – 1pm.
The photograph shows Mr Tony Jones, Senior Elder of Aberkenfig Church of God; Rev Stephen Pare, Vicar of Aberkenfig; Rev Gordon Sollis, Superintendent Minister of the Bridgend United Area; and Pastor Paul Homans of Aberkenfig Bible Church. Sadly, Father John Meredith, Priest of St Roberts Roman Catholic Church, who had been closely involved in establishing the Charity Shop, died just before the photograph was taken.