Friday, 5 June 2020


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Monday, 11 May 2020

Message from our Mission Area Leader

The Rectory
11th May 2020

Dear Friends

As the weeks go by I hope that you are all keeping well and safe. We are all trying to do what we can and not be too disturbed by what we cannot do. It does seem sometimes though that we are being challenged out of our comfort zones and into new ways of working within the system we have at the moment. I don’t find this a very comfortable place to be in but I am sure that many feel the same way. I have included two pieces to share with you this morning. One is the well known piece attributed to St. Francis of Assisi and the other is from Rainer Maria Rilke. I am sure that you are all finding different pieces that give you hope comfort and strength. Would you like to pass them on to me or Norma and we can share them with the others in the M.A.?  I have found the Celtic Daily Prayer from the Northumbria Community very useful with services and reflections and have been sharing them in little prayer packs every month. I can recommend it as an excellent resource.

God, Grant me the serenity to accept that the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things that I can change,
And the Wisdom to know the difference.”
St Francis of Assisi.

“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart,
and try to love the questions themselves
as if they were locked rooms
or books written in a very foreign language.
Do not search for the answers, which could not be given to you now,
because you would not be able to live them. 
And the point is to live everything.
Live the questions now. 
Perhaps then, someday far in the future,
you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
Rainer Maria Rilke.

Yours in Christ


Mission Area Leader

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

from Norma Rowles

Good afternoon everyone,

GOOD NEWS  -  and we need some don't we?

We have been awarded a grant of £2,500  towards the cost of retaining our MA Administrator! It is very good news that we can keep Anna's excellent services for at least another year as she is so efficient.  I am sure you will all agree.

I trust that you are all keeping safe and well,

Every Blessing,


Thursday, 23 April 2020

Thoughts on isolation - notes by a submariner

Sent in by Bishop John Davies.

The following is written by an altar server at St Bride's Scottish Episcopal Church, Glasgow, who is also a submarine commander based at Faslane naval base on the Clyde.

We are naturally sociable creatures. Faced with the prospect of isolation at home, we will have to adapt in many ways. No doubt initially, for some at least, it will be an adventure and an opportunity to get on with all those chores and projects that daily life shunts down the priority list. I, for example, got out an old airfix plane today which had sat in a partly painted state for at least two months. Even those who are most content when in their own company may lose something by solitude being enforced. 

What, in your day to day life, provides the structure to create fulfilment and satisfaction at the end of the day? Work is the core component of a lot of people’s routine. The daily sequence of breaking one’s fast, dressing, commuting, clocking on, breaking for coffee &c. turns twenty four hours into defined, bound chunks. Weekend routine mid-week, from being made to stay at home, can develop lethargy, apathy and restlessness. Without work, something else needs to be created to punctuate the passing hours in the day. 

Those of you that have retired will have already made the transition to a self-driven routine but I suspect that scheduling, for some at least, is new and essential. Rather than looking ahead to a distant and undetermined end date, busyness and focus can be generated by working towards the next short term task. As each is accomplished and rewarded with satisfaction, we gain the motivation to tackle the next task.

On patrol on a Royal Navy Submarine, the commanders know from tradition the importance of routine. The day is split into six hour watches, with everyone on board alternating an on watch with an off watch. These regular handovers make the days pass surprisingly quickly and handing over to the same person four times a day creates a specific sort of social bond which is a hook to support the individual’s overall sense of contentment.

The layers of habit do not stop there. Famously, a sailor knows which day it is by the meal he is served for dinner. Some of these are old traditions with origins in the Church such as fish and chips on a Friday and a Sunday roast, but also curry Wednesdays, Steak Saturdays and other meals throughout the week. Modern innovation creates a Chinese takeaway night or a Nando’s night. The expressions ‘an army marches on its stomach’ and ‘a good chef means a happy ship’ are grounded in truth: food is vital to morale in the armed services and will be to those stuck at home too. Making nourishing meals with what you can will keep you healthy and happy. Perhaps not only for the food itself, but the time spent preparing and the satisfaction of creating.

Of habits that you may have, daily outdoor activity is one I encourage you to keep or pursue. It could be jogging, cycling, walking the dog, or gentle gardening (respecting the rules of social distancing). If you cannot go out, then open the windows and let the outside in, even just for five minutes. For months at a time, submariners are without the simple pleasures of breathing fresh air, looking at the sky or feeling the sun and wind. You do not have to be. Studies have proven that connection with nature can lower stress levels and improve individual’s wellbeing, so make time in your routine to do so.

One other major limitation to life on a submarine is the inability to communicate with family. Everyone on board receives a paragraph of unpunctuated block capitals text from home each week, but the necessity to stay hidden means that nothing can be sent in reply. Thankfully, life under COVID-19 is not quite as restrictive. Indeed, with modern technology we are always connected, and whilst pre-occupied with something else we can send an inane response to a joke that has been relayed from somewhere else. But not being able to support those quick messages with visits and face-to-face conversations will require adaptation. I urge you to schedule dedicated time for a real conversation with your loved ones, whoever that may be, a spouse, parent, child, grandchild or friend. Feeling locked in and alone will be softened by knowing that you have made time for others and they for you.

I expect that the proportion of people who can honestly say that they ‘have not noticed’ the effect of the virus will substantially diminish as we progress in these uncertain times. However, I trust that everyone will find their way through and that the turning point will become clear. We will adapt to new routines and find new ways to connect and communicate. Keep in touch everyone, and stay safe.

Saturday, 18 April 2020


Readings for Sunday April 19th, and Bishop Gregory's Pastoral Letter of April 15th are available to download on the NEWS page.

Friday, 10 April 2020

A message from the Archdeacons and Bishop of the Diocese of St. Asaph

Dear Colleagues,

I cannot help but feel that this year we are being given a profound insight into the Easter story. We are learning once again what it is to be powerless, when forces beyond our control shape our lives. And just like the disciples on Good Friday, we are learning what it is to be spectators, of or participants in, a story that is not of our choosing.

Like many of you, I have been deeply moved by the fear and  loss that some families are experiencing. I have also been humbled by the courage and generosity of so many who are putting themselves in harms way to keep our services, shops, pharmacies, surgeries and hospitals going. Maybe this is a glimpse into the realities of the kingdom of God, where those who appear to be the least are actually the most important.

We are also experiencing something of the isolation and trepidation that the disciples felt in the long hours after good Friday, when their hopes and dreams appeared to be shattered and they had no idea what the future would hold in the days or weeks that followed.

In many ways I am reminded of this time last year when I watched helplessly while Notre Dame burned. Except this time, the loss is much more profound and personal.

For many of us this Easter will be unlike any we have previously experienced. Not only because we will not have the joy of sharing with our congregations or wider families. But also because as a society, we know that it will be some time before we can move past our own Good Friday and find the hope, energy and possibilities that will come with a different kind of resurrection.

Easter Sunday transformed a small group of people, who in turn started a movement that changed the world. I hope and pray that as we go beyond our current situation, enough of us will also be transformed that we can make a similar difference.

Each year Christians throughout the world share in those ancient and profound words Alleluia Christ is Risen. He is risen indeed Alleluia. This year, as we face a global pandemic, I pray for the time when people throughout the world will utter fresh words of hope and thankfulness. And I also pray that our shared experience and shared joy will somehow bring us together.

With thoughts, prayers and best wishes for Holy Week and Easter.

Barry, Andy, John and Bishop Gregory.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Pastoral letter from Bishop Gregory

A Pastoral Letter to all the Faithful, Wednesday, 1st April, 2020

Christ is Risen!
He is risen indeed, hallelujah!

It is not quite time for this acclamation yet, and when we do proclaim it at the end of next week, it will probably have to be like the Italians, and proclaimed from our balconies (where we have them). What a joy filled acclamation it is! Go to NEWS to read Bishop Gregory's letter in full.