Although not a complete surprise in light of the job losses announced in January, the recent decision of Tata Steel to sell all it’s UK business nevertheless comes as devastating news to communities across south Wales, not just to Port Talbot but also to the communities around the steelworks in Llanwern (Newport) and Llanelli, as well as Shotton in North Wales.
We recognise the importance of the critical talks underway involving both the Prime Minister and the Welsh First Minister and their cabinets about the future of the British steel industry, and we hope that in these discussions there will be the same kind of strategic consideration given to the importance of the steel industry as was given to the financial services industry when that was under threat, as well as a commitment to financial support for those communities most directly affected.
Our focus will be on being the church in the midst of just these communities, and for us this will involve particularly the Neath Port Talbot, Buckley & Deeside, Llanelli & Carmarthen and Newport & Lower Wye circuits, and so we ask your prayers for Rev’s. Chris Gray, Rosemarie Clarke, Flis Randall and Preben Andersen and their colleagues in these challenging times.
Some may ask ‘What is the message of Easter’ to these communities at such a time. There are no easy answers to give and the challenges are very real. However, I am reminded that the Easter message includes both the harsh reality of Good Friday as well as the joy of Easter Sunday and that our risen Lord still bears the scars of the Cross. It may be that our best witness will be simply to stand by the Cross in solidarity with those communities which are suffering and bear witness to the God whose love ‘bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.’
Stephen Wigley, Synod Chair
(We also understand that there may be a further article coming out in next week’s Methodist Recorder)