In view of the Coronavirus situation no services will take place until further notice. Further information is given
on the www.churchinwales.org.uk website.
For the whole Parish news, we are printing the May entry from Rhossili which reflects our appreciation across the six churches of the work of Revd. Justin in the two years since he started his first full time job as a cleric in South West Gower. Full of energy, optimism and hope he has offered a ray of light here. During this period, he has ceaselessly worked to lift our spirits, renew our faith, and take the essence of Christianity into all our communities. He brings qualities of wisdom and knowledge, acumen, consideration, friendship, good cheer and plentiful wit as he ministers to his ‘flock’. We have much to be grateful for.
Easter Day this year saw no church services, no coming together to celebrate the resurrection of Christ and no gathering for the usual traditions and rituals that bind us in communion. The churches are closed and locked as never before. Instead, new ways of keeping faith are in progress, nationally and locally, while we are in coronavirus lockdown. Online Easter services are drawing in thousands of attendees not usually seen in our churches. Local virtual ‘get-togethers’ are confirmation of the continuity of Christian life.
For Justin, his energy, optimism and hope still abound. In his parish work, with no face-to-face interactions possible, he must rely on other methods. He cycles round the villages to deliver weekly service sheets to everyone, together with his thoughts and inspirations to lift us up. Essential for those not connecting online, these are universal and local messages for local people. At Easter, the most important moment in the Church’s calendar, it must be so difficult for Justin – indeed all priests – to serve the pastoral wants and needs of parishioners, yet spiritual nurturing and support is paramount in these unprecedented times of uncertainty and death.
REPORTS FROM THE CHURCHES
St David’s, Llandewi
Few will have guessed how much life would have changed between writing the notes for April and May. Everything we had planned and all our routines have been set aside since the Coronavirus spread. Our imposed confinement means we are having to adjust to new rhythms of life, new ways of providing for our needs and of using our resources: of prioritising what matters. Llanddewi Church, along with all others, closed its doors mid-March. While we miss the fellowship of our gathered church, the spiritual life of the church is encouraged by weekly resources for worship delivered by our Parish priest, Justin, who also has pointed us to a rich store of worship that is available on-line. We are able to participate in regular prayer and Bible study on-line or with telephone groups.
Knelston school and some local business have had to close, sadly. However, Knelston shop, Scurlage Village shop, the Pharmacy, the farm shop and garden nursery remain open. Alongside them, Justin, Nigel Clarke and others are serving those communities, bringing shopping to the doors of the more vulnerable. We are aware more than ever of the value of communities and the care of those around us, and are deeply thankful for them. We are also more aware of our privilege of being surrounded by outdoor space and having gardens to tend. We rejoice that Spring has arrived, with its signs of new life. In May, having remembered the death and resurrection of Jesus during Holy week and Easter, we will remember His Ascension into heaven followed by Pentecost, when the promised Holy Spirit was first given to the Lord’s believers.
The Lord is risen and is with us! He offers us new life through his unending love and peace. May this Spring be a specially blessed time as we hold fast in faith. After this time of human confinement may we find signs that creation’s restoration has begun.
St Illtyd’s, Oxwich
This is a most difficult time with which we find ourselves having to cope. Easter is usually a meditative time and then there is the joy of Easter Sunday. Hopefully we will still experience the joy of the risen Christ in spite of not being able to attend our usual places of worship.
We will all be experiencing different challenges depending on where we live and how much support we receive. Most of us are fortunate to live in a house with a garden where we can enjoy this wonderful sunshine. In my family I have one son and family confined to a small flat in Barcelona with two small lively children. I have a daughter who is a medic. and another son working from home with his family around him. My second daughter lives in Australia and is in charge of a Special Needs School, still open though having to manage with reduced staff and pupils. None of these situations is usual and each has its particular stresses and strains.
Locally, in Oxwich there is a much greater feeling of community and we are fortunate to have a “Whats App” Group on our phones, keeping us in touch with each other. Offers of help appear everyday whether it be to collect food, prescriptions or any other needs. My neighbours often ring when they are going shopping to see if there is anything I
require. Via What’s App we also receive bits of village news and the odd joke or two to give us a laugh.
This present isolation is bringing about the best in people and so much care and concern is being shown to those of us of a particular age! Let us hope that this attitude continues when we return to more normal times.
I give thanks for these personal friends but also for the magnificent devotion to duty shown by all those working in the NHS and in all the caring services. We are so fortunate to have such people prepared to put themselves In Danger for the rest of us. Let us hope and pray that this virus will soon be overcome and our lives can return to some sort of normality. Unfortunately there will be many who will not be able to return to their employment but let us pray that they will not be forgotten and will be helped in every way possible.
A short prayer for Easter - Thank you risen Jesus that you are my Lord and Saviour. In you we have joy and hope always. Amen
St Andrew’s Penrice
Despite the anxieties of the times we live in there is much to be thankful for as there have been so many acts of kindness and offers of practical help within our community. We are very fortunate to live in such an area.
Phyllis Edwards, who recently retired as Treasurer and is our bell ringer celebrates her 103rd birthday on May 4th. Happy birthday to Phyllis who has recently had a spell in Morriston Hospital and is now quietly recuperating at home. We send her all good wishes for a speedy return to good health.
To all the Ministry Area and their families keep safe and well.
St Cattwg’s, Port Eynon
In common with churches nationwide, St. Cattwg’s has reluctantly closed its doors until further notice. We can only pray for all Christians everywhere and indeed for all citizens of the world that this horrible affliction will be lifted and people will be stronger and more loving afterwards. Rev. Justin’s service sheets have proved comforting. Also cheering are the images of local churches and the jokes.
The interior repairs to the church are due to start on April 14th and are so far on target. Obviously we will not be travelling to other churches for services for the time being.
A wonderful group of under-70s in the village has been supporting & shopping for the many over 70s and keeping their spirits up with phone calls. Also, the very generous Gower Gin Company has given out free hand sanitisers, followed up by refills, on everyone’s doorstep.
Another kind thought has been the box of paperback books left in the church porch for anyone to borrow. During the renovations this will have to find another home.
Congratulations to Peter Brookes for the beautiful and inspiring sunrise photo taken at Glastonbury and used in the last magazine.
St George’s, Reynoldston
Since the Church was closed, it was very uplifting and warming to hear the Church bells ringing at 10.30 on Easter Morning after the end of our shared home worship. In response to the request from the Archbishop, bells were rung in many churches, reminding us all of the message of Easter Day and the physical presence of the church in our community.
On the top of Cefn Bryn we have appreciated the Cross that was placed there on Good Friday. No annual procession and service for church and chapel members this year but at least the Cross is a focus for thoughts about Good Friday and its meaning.
In the village there have been countless examples of good neighborly offers of help and support. The Reynoldston Facebook and What’s App groups have been very active with news and activities. A popular Easter Egg Hunt was superbly organized by Dawn and Stuart Thomas with their vast scouting, adventure and environmental studies experience.
With the help of a detailed downloaded Hunt Map, showing control points and markers, participants were rewarded with access to buckets of eggs in four different places. Lots of fun and chocolates! .
We pray for Helena Wilkinson, still recovering from her very serious accident last July and now losing her Dad who she was unable to see, and for other families in the village who are mourning the recent loss of loved ones. We also pray for Claire Dinsdale and her work as well as any others in the NHS and the caring sector. We hope their contribution is recognised and will be remembered in the future.
St Mary’s Rhossili
See the introduction to the South West Gower section
Rev Justin Davies, The Rectory, Knelston, Reynoldston,Swansea SA3 1AR Tel 01792 391384
Rev Justin Davies
©The Parish of South West Gower is part of the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon in the Church in Wales