Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Mission Area Pilgrimage




On Sunday 2nd July Denbigh Mission Area joined with Aled Mission Area for a pilgrimage from Llannefydd to Llansannan. The Pilgrimage started with a time of prayer in St Nefydd’s Church before beginning the five-mile walk along the Pilgrim’s Way to Llansannan. The walk began from the back of the Church and after the initial steep climb the route levelled out along the Pilgrim’s Way. The views of Coast and Country were stunning. The walk took a couple of hours and cup of tea and a piece of cake was most welcome when the walkers finally arrived at St Sannan’s Church.  Llannefydd’s Mission Area Candle was carried from Llannefydd to Llansannan and lit at the start of the closing service as a sign of fellowship and unity. The walkers were joined by members of both Mission Areas for the refreshments and a service of Sung Evensong. Everyone enjoyed the day, the stunning scenery along the way, the company of fellow travellers and time to worship together at the close of day. 

Our thanks to Roger Mullock for arranging the day. Val Rowlands

Sunday, 12 March 2017

From the vicar - March 2017

February encompassed almost every type of winter weather imaginable, from warm spring like sunshine to raging storms we saw all manner of weather conditions, we even finished the month with a flurry of snow. The damage caused by Storm Doris was immense and it was a sober reminder of the power of nature.

Storms are frequently mentioned in the Bible and are often used to demonstrate Jesus’ command over the forces of nature. The Calming of the Storm is a story we know well and Jesus’ response reminds us that he is ultimately in control.

The weather on Lake Galilee can change very quickly, a boat can set off from the shore in fine calm weather but by the time it is half way across the lake the weather can change and the once peaceful waters become the raging waters of the storm. For those looking down on the lake from the mountains which surround Lake Galilee the dramatic picture of the storm unfolding is something they can only watch and hope that those caught up in it can make it safely to shore.

The disciples were seasoned fisherman and yet the storm still caused them to panic, you can almost hear Jesus sighing “Don’t panic” as he says to them “Why are you afraid? Don’t you trust me?” Jesus hears the fear in their shouts and rebukes the wind and the rain, “Peace, be still”, and the storm subsides.

When an earthquake happens survivors are desperate to find those who have been trapped in the rubble, pulling and tugging at the fallen masonry. But when the trained rescuers come along the first thing they do is to pause, to listen and try and locate where the people are trapped. And then again from time to time, asking for complete silence so they know where to search using their skills for the very best results. And we too need to be willing to pause, to stop the frantic search, to pause our random busyness, in order to listen and to act wisely. To seek the things God really wants to do in our lives, and not the million and one things we think he wants us to do.

Lent is a time for stillness and reflection, to pause and journey with Jesus into the wilderness. We may think Lent is just a good time to give up chocolate, but it primarily it is a time of prayer and repentance as we watch and wait with Jesus, in preparation for Holy Week and Easter.

This Lent we will once again be collecting our change for WaterAid. Last year St Dyfnog’s sent £343 to WaterAid and through your generosity lives have been changed as we have helped to bring clean, safe water to more and more villages in areas of the world where water is in short supply. Thank you.

This Lent may we know Christ’s peace and stillness as we reflect on the sacrifice Jesus made for each and every one of us.

Val Rowlands

Friday, 30 December 2016

Carol singing around the village



During the evening of December 16th, about twenty of us spent a couple of hours carol-singing around Llanrhaeadr. This was an idea from Pam Evans - it wasn’t to raise money for anything, and we didn’t make a collection, it was just to spread a little seasonal cheer in the run up to Christmas. Choirmaster John Roberts organised our singing, and we made about a dozen stops at different points around the village, singing two or three carols each time. We’d checked out the route beforehand, so we knew where we could stop under street lights, in order to be able to see our carol sheets! Predictably enough, we ended up at the King’s Head …


After we’d sung ourselves hoarse, we returned to Church Walk, and a splendid supper at Pam and Adrian’s, provided by some of the singers who’d produced a number of variations on shepherd’s pie. Must have been good, ‘cos Alan had four helpings (no doubt to fortify himself for his role as Santa’s Little Helper - see pic!) Pam had also organised entertainment of various sorts, and a visit from Santa himself!

Very many thanks to Pam and Adrian for their hospitality, and for having had the idea in the first place. A good time was had by all. Repeat next year, please!


 

Thursday, 8 September 2016

from the Vicar - September 2016

For several years Denbigh Deanery have hosted a Hospitality Tent at the Denbigh and Flint Show. It is a wonderful opportunity to show the Church’s hospitality through teas, cake and coffee and a chance for people to sit down and have a rest after all the walking round. Through Messy Church activities we welcome the children whilst their parents enjoy a cup of tea. My first involvement was last year and I was delighted to see how busy the tent was throughout the day. This year fine weather blessed the day and once again we were able to offer hospitality and a warm welcome to all who stopped by.

The gift of hospitality is a wonderful gift. Hospitality comes in many forms, it is not just about the physical giving of sustenance it is also about the welcome, time to listen, time to care, to enjoy each other’s company and provide a place of peace in our busy world.

In Paul’s letter to the Hebrews, he speaks of entertaining angels unaware it is a well-known expression: “Some have entertained angels without knowing it”. When I think of it I am always reminded of a line from a sketch: “Angels, I didn’t see any angels”. In the sketch the story is told of a man who tells God he wants angels to come and visit him. God promises he will send some, so the man goes home and waits for the angels to come. In the story, a lonely man, an elderly visitor, a young mother and a person in need all call at his door, but as each visitor comes to his house he turns them all away; he doesn’t want random callers, he is waiting for the angels. You can guess what comes next: as the sketch draws to a close, God asks him why when he has sent angels has the man sent them away. The man replies with the line that has stayed with me: “Angels, I didn’t see any angels”.  Gradually, of course, the light dawns and he realises the people who called were indeed angels sent by God, and instead of showing them hospitality he had sent them away.

As September begins we return to the routine of daily life after the holiday period. The new school year is just beginning and we wish all those moving to a new class, a new school or going off to university every blessing as they settle in their new environment.

With every blessing

Val Rowlands

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

From the vicar - May 2016

‘Thinking outside the box’, ‘blue sky thinking’, ‘straplines’, ‘vision statements’ are all expressions used in today’s business world. They conjures up an image of high fliers seeking to bring about new ways to energise a business.

Businesses have been doing similar things for decades, some of the expressions may be new but the need for renewed vision remains the same. Vision is essential and it is something that is steeped in scripture. God spoke to many people through visions, very often calling them to a complete change of direction and to seek the Lord’s will.

Where there is no vision the people perish Proverbs 29:18

The vision is yet for the appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and will not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come. Habakkuk 2:3

2020 Vision came about as a result of the Church in Wales review of 2012. It challenges the Church to become a Church for the twenty first century. In 2020 the Church in Wales will mark the hundredth anniversary of disestablishment from the Church of England. One of the initiatives of 2020 Vision is that all of the present Deaneries in the Diocese of St Asaph will cease to exist and become Mission Areas by the end of 2016. It is not simply a change of name, it encourages us all to prayerfully seek what it means to be the Church today.

On 16th April Denbigh Deanery held a Vision Meeting in St Mary’s Denbigh to consider how our Mission Area may look. The Area Dean, Colin Mansley, challenged us to do some ‘blue sky thinking’ for the future of the Church in this area. It was an informative and positive meeting. The new Mission Area will still consist of the same Parishes as the present Deanery but with a greater emphasis on mission and working together, sharing our gifts and talents, resourcing and supporting one another.

In many ways this has already begun taking place as we have begun to look wider than our own parish and with a greater emphasis on lay ministry. Our Grouped Parishes have all enjoyed getting to know one another and sharing in innovative styles of Worship such as TaizĂ©.  The Mission Area will encourage us to look even wider and to seek to support and encourage one another across the whole Mission Area.

As part of the discussions we were asked to consider the Five Marks of Mission, which briefly break down to five words beginning with the letter T: Tell, Teach, Tend, Transform and Treasure.  Tell - to proclaim the Gospel, Teach - to teach the faith, Tend – to care for others, Transform - to seek justice, and Treasure - to care for our environment.

We were asked to think of things we did in each of our parishes that bore the five marks of mission. There were many things already taking place but also things that we could grow and develop. There is much still to do but we have made a good start and the Mission Area will evolve as we seek to live out the Five Marks of Mission. No date has been set for the official commissioning of the Denbigh Mission Area but a service will be held and it is hoped that as many people as possible will attend.

The Parishes in our Mission Area are:
Llanrhaeadr, Nantglyn, Llandyrnog and Llangwyfan
St Mary’s & St Marcella Denbigh, Henllan, Llannefydd and Bylchau
Caerwys and Bodfari
Trefnant, Tremeirchion, Cefn and Sinan

A Mission Statement for our Mission Area is still being formulated but there is none better than the commandment Jesus gave:

Jesus said:  “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  John 13:34-35

With every blessing
Val Rowlands

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

From the Vicar - April 2016

Every Holy Week members of the Churches in Denbigh Deanery meet to walk the Stations of the Cross at Pantasaph.  It is very a moving event and a prayerful way to walk the Way of the Cross. Each of the 14 stations are placed at the end of a zig-zag path that leads up the hill at the back of the Priory. People travel many miles to visit but we are blessed to have it more or less on our doorstep, you can visit at any time, not just during Holy Week. I can remember visiting several years ago and being struck by the stillness of the Padre Pio Garden whilst listening to the noise of the A55 in the distance. The noise of the traffic reminded me that whilst the world rushes on the peace of Christ is there for those who pause to seek it.

After the events of Holy Week it is wonderful to celebrate the joy of the Resurrection. In the same way as spring brings new life and the promise of warmth, so in the Church Calendar the weeks following Easter Sunday are filled with hope and light. Our Easter weekend weather was far from spring-like, but as we celebrate Easter we know that by the death and resurrection of Jesus, the light of Easter Sunday will always follow the darkness of Good Friday.

Sadly in our world we know too that darkness still exists, the recent events in Brussels have brought dark days in Belgium, for all who suffered and all who lost loved ones. We live in a world where tragic events like this happen but we know that resurrection still happens in the unexpected moment, in the unexpected place; in the place where all seems lost and the future looks grim. The light of the resurrection does not make the darkness disappear; it helps us to live in the darkness with hope.
Whenever a Baptism takes place in Church the person being Baptised, (or a Godparent if it is a child) is given a lighted candle, lit from the Easter Candle which symbolises the Light of Christ. As the candle is given we say:

You have received the light of Christ; walk in this light all the days of your life.
Shine as a light in the world to the glory of God the Father.

All Baptised Christians are called to be the Light of Christ in our world, our homes and our communities.

Bishop Gregory in his Easter message said: My Easter message is simply that I hope whatever darkness threatens you, the light of Christ may be able to rise in your heart and give you new hope.

Alleluia! Christ is Risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Val Rowlands

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

From the Vicar - February 2016

February sees the beginning of the season of Lent. The word Lent is an Old English word which means ‘lengthen’.  Lent comes at a time of year when the days are beginning to get longer, albeit slowly. It is traditional for people to give something up during lent as a reminder of the temptations Jesus faced in the desert. Lent is also the way of good works and putting the needs of others before our own.

With this in mind, the congregation of St Dyfnog’s will be supporting WaterAid through their Jars of Change for Jars of Water Lent Appeal. By collecting and donating the small change we find in our pockets and purses throughout Lent we will be able to help bring clean water to communities around the world who lack the facilities for safe, clean water.

We are very privileged in this country to be able to have water on tap every day of our lives. In many ways we take it for granted and only stop to think when for some reason our water goes astray. Our daily routine begins and ends with the use of water, so imagine how it would be if every time we needed water we had to go and collect it from a well 2 hours’ walk away, and when we got there the water was cloudy and dirty.

This is the reality for many people in our world, the dirty water causes disease and sickness, but they have no alternative. Very often it is the women and children who walk for miles and return carrying heavy water containers, the water is soon used and the daily routine starts again.

The sad fact is:
Around 315,000 children die each year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. That’s nearly 900 children each day.

But it doesn’t have to be this way, with help from WaterAid communities can have clean water available on a daily basis in their own villages. WaterAid’s vision is of a world where everyone has access to safe water and sanitation.  They seek to achieve this by providing communities with the means to drill boreholes and install pumps, but this can only happen through the generosity of people like you and me.

A simple jam jar and your small change really can improve lives. I am delighted that people have been so enthusiastic about supporting this year’s Lent Offering, our Grouped Parishes of Nantglyn, Llandyrnog and Llangwyfan are also taking part, and I feel sure we can help make a difference in the lives of those who so desperately need our help. Thank you.

With every blessing,
Val Rowlands