A Wonderful and Blessed Ordination Day!

 Bishop June, Ordinants and Clergy at Llandaff Cathedral 

Saturday 30th June 2018 was a very special day for the three new deacons and five new priests who were ordained by Bishop June at Llandaff Cathedral. Our very own Charlotte Rushton was amongst them and here she tells us about her day in her own words.

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“Following three peaceful days on retreat at Llangasty, the morning of Saturday 30th June had arrived. I woke at dawn - because who would want to sleep on such an exciting day - before departing Llangasty for a McDonald’s breakfast! After filling our tummies, we headed to Llandaff and to the Bishop's palace. Bishop June greeted us with coffee and flapjacks, and we had some quiet time with our families before the legal requirements were met. Everyone’s family went to the cathedral while we took our Canonical Oath of Obedience to the Bishop and received our licence to officiate.

As the service started, I remember looking into the cathedral from the steps and feeling in awe of both the beauty of the place and the gravity of what was about to happen. As I took the long walk down the aisle to the nave, all I remember is seeing the smiling faces of the people of this parish, my family and friends. The ordination service was beautiful and emotional. I came away feeling blessed by God and given a clear ministry to fulfil by the Bishop.

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The evening saw the joyous celebration of my first Eucharist at St Tydfil’s Church. I honoured the Anglo Catholic tradition of this parish, while Fr Mark led us in some Evangelical worship! It was perfect. I feel blessed that the whole parish came to show their support and celebrate with me. Thank you to my friends Edward LeBrun Powell and Ian Hodges for assisting in the celebration and to the Rev Christopher Burr for his fun and challenging sermon and the kind words about me.

The day of my ordination to the priesthood was a very special day; one that will live in my memory for the rest of my life. Thank you everyone who played their part in preparing me for that moment, and for all the hard work the parish put in to make it such a special day. God bless you all in abundance.”

And God bless you too Charlotte, we are so pleased, proud and fortunate to have you in our parish.

Many thanks to MLA Photography and Mike Komor for the lovely photographs.

 

Parish Play and Pray!

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It's been a fantastic week of playing and praying in the parish, with Messy Church does Science at St Tydfil's and prayer events at St David's as part of Thy Kingdom Come, the global wave of prayer. 


Science puts the Mess in Messy Church!

  Dr Josie Parker & Dr Claire Price

Dr Josie Parker & Dr Claire Price

Messy Science was our biggest Messy Church yet, with over 60 children attending accompanied by their families, and everyone having an amazing time. It was a joint event with Swansea University Medical School, represented by Abercanaid churchwarden, Dr Claire Price, and her colleague and fellow STEM Ambassador, Dr Josie Parker. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics and is a global initiative to inspire and educate children and young people in these subjects. Dr Claire explains "I love science and really wanted to try and bring that joy and enthusiasm to a wider audience. What better place than Messy Church to do that? So I spoke to Rev Charlotte about a potential collaboration and the rest, as they say, is history. We wanted to share that science and religion are not mutually exclusive - science is amazing but doesn't mean there is no space for God."

  Decorating volcano bottles! 

Decorating volcano bottles! 

The crafts undertaken during Messy Church does Science were a showcase for God's vision for us, in that we are all unique. Three simple white powders; sugar, bicarbonate of soda and cornflour, look similar to the naked eye, but each possess properties that make them unique, like each of us. When you look at each powder under a microscope you can see that under magnification they look very different. We then used sugar to make a sweet treat by decorating yummy biscuits. Snowflakes were made and decorated as no two snowflakes are the same, they are unique like us. Cornflour was mixed with water to produce Oobleck slime! And finally, bottles were decorated to make volcanoes, which were erupted using bicarbonate of soda and vinegar.

  Fr Mark, Dawn Bowden AM and Rev Charlotte

Fr Mark, Dawn Bowden AM and Rev Charlotte

With songs, stories and a picnic to top things off, it was a really special event, and we were pleased to welcome Assembly member Dawn Bowden and Martin Eaglestone, Welsh Policy Officer for Labour, who  came along to see the action and also to support Rev Charlotte as she prepares for her ordination as the first female priest in the Parish of Merthyr Tydfil.

We hope you enjoy the photographs and don't forget the next Messy Church is at St Tydfil's on 7th July from 2-4pm and it's called 'Fish caught in the net'.


Thy Kingdom Come

Our prayer events at St David's were part of the Thy Kingdom Come global prayer movement, which invites Christians around the world to pray between Ascension and Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus Christ. The movement began as an invitation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York in 2016 to the Church of England and has grown into an international and ecumenical call to prayer.

  A quiet moment of prayer

A quiet moment of prayer

  Paper aeroplane prayers

Paper aeroplane prayers

As well as a service for the National Day of Prayer for the Police, the parish also held 24 hours of prayer for Merthyr Tydfil over two days. Different prayer stations were set up and people could stay for as long or as short a time as they wished. The photographs show the Mothers' Union prayer station, the Garden of Gethsemane and paper aeroplane prayers. Churchwarden Dorothy Evans said "I went along to this today and would recommend it to anyone who hasn't already been. There was a lot of information and guidance to help with prayers and also plenty of food for thought." Thank you to everyone who attended. 

  MU prayer station

MU prayer station

  The Garden of Gethsemane

The Garden of Gethsemane

A Marvellous Messy Easter!

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What a fantastic Messy Easter was enjoyed by everyone of all ages - as our photos show! That's the secret of Messy Church - it's all-age and all-fun! From games and songs, to building the Jerusalem arch and enjoying a picnic - it all happened at Messy Easter at St Tydfil's old parish church. Thank you to everyone who attended and to our fantastic Messy Team - we couldn't do it without you.

And don't miss our next event on Saturday 12th May 2-4pm - it's Messy Church does SCIENCE! See you there! 

Vision Day and Onwards

  St Tydfil in Llandaff Cathedral    (credit  Llywelyn2000 ) 

St Tydfil in Llandaff Cathedral (credit Llywelyn2000

Fr Mark reflects on God's Vision for the parish...

Being a day filled with God it is hardly surprising that three clear things emerged from the parish vision day held at Margam Abbey on 10th February and led by Rev'd Dr Rhiannon Johnson.  

First, for each and every person there was a much better understanding of the story of Isaiah and the way the people had gone into exile, and how God, through the prophet, had ministered to them there. 

Second there was the journey to understand the different ways of being church. From the ark to the sheepfold via the ladder of perfection. 

And finally, there was the story of Merthyr Tydfil from the days of Tydfil the Martyr to today.  

These stories showed the faithfulness of God down through many centuries and helped us have an understanding of how His people’s relationship with Him and understanding of Him has developed. 

Using this information, we decided that we wanted to be a ‘sheepfold’ church. Jesus said ‘I am the Good Shepherd and my sheep know me.’ All of them know me, not just the Priest in Charge. This means that all of us should be going in and out of the sheepfold doing God’s work. Like having 106 vicars and not just one. The other side of that coin is that although the Priest in Charge has a special job, he or she is only one amongst many. 

A number of people already take on responsibilities in the church but each of us needs to encourage more people to help out, more people to witness. Each one feeling confident to share their faith in appropriate ways. At the end of the day, that’s all that Tydfil did and she has affected lives for many generations even if Merthyr has forgotten the story. 

The ‘onwards’ part is looking to our structures and making sure they encourage the maximum participation by all. Looking to create opportunities where many with varied talents can exercise those talents. Making sure that we honour the history of this place and yet providing the Gospel message in a fresh way to new generations. I call it my Tesco Theology. Tesco opens new tills when it wants to get more people through. Each of us needs to find our part in getting another ‘till’ open and another cohort of new people relating to God.

We pray for our work together as we seek further understanding of God’s Vision for Merthyr Tydfil St David and Abercanaid.  

Fr Mark 

Our Vision Day at Margam Abbey

 Gathered together on Vision day

We had a wonderful Vision day at Margam Abbey on 10th February with the Rev'd Dr Rhiannon Johnson. We listened to stories of God’s faithfulness, and thought about who we are as a parish and as a church. We enjoyed lunch together, provided by members of St Tydfil’s Well Church, before listening to ‘Our Story’. It was a very enjoyable and blessed day, more about our Parish Vision in next month's Highway magazine.

 Rhiannon leads the group in telling the story of the parish

Welcome Bishop June

  Bishop June preaches at St Tydfil's old parish church

It was a privilege to have our new Bishop, Bishop June, to visit us on Wednesday 15th November. We had a delightful evensong at St Tydfil's old parish church, where our choir led with their now accustomed musicality and enthusiasm. Bishop June preached sharing her confidence in a God who is incredibly generous and, from the story in Matthew of the feeding of the 4000, a God who will provide the resources necessary to grow His kingdom today. We look forward to her next visit to Merthyr - hopefully in the daylight!

All Creatures Great and Small!

  Fr Mark and Charlotte with Alan from Owls 4 U

Fr Mark and Charlotte with Alan from Owls 4 U

Thank you so much to everyone who took part in our Animal Service at St Tydfil's old parish church on Sunday 8th October. Not only were we blessed with beautiful Autumn sunshine, but we had lots of adults and children who brought their animals to be blessed, and a lovely petting zoo and owls as well.

Thank you very much to Hayden from Nant-Y-Coed Farm in Ynysybwl for bringing his donkeys, sheep, goats, chickens and rabbits and Alan from Owls 4 U in Barry for bringing three beautiful owls. And thanks as always to Elaine, Liz and the other ladies for the tea and cakes.  

Meet Messy Charlotte!

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Hello! I’m Charlotte Rushton and I’m so proud and happy to be curate in the Parish of Merthyr Tydfil, my home town. This is me and some of the young people at Messy Church last Saturday (23 September 2017) in our ‘Messy Selfie’ photo at St Tydfil’s old parish church. I say ‘some’, because a fair few youngsters, and their parents, were still making toffee apples at the back of the church! ‘Toffee apples’ I hear you say, ‘Why toffee apples in church?’ Well, we spent the afternoon thanking God for the harvest; and as part of our celebration we made messy things like toffee apples, pinecone bird feeders, seed art, autumnal name plaques, and many other crafts.

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But this wasn’t a quiet, calm service by any means. We kicked off with parachute games before crafts, and then the black team and the orange team had a race to see who could fill their team bucket with the most apples by carrying them under their chin. The youngsters were brilliant, not an apple was dropped! It ended in a draw, but next time…

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The action didn’t stop there, we had some high-octane worship with action songs, and of course our Messy Anthem, Jesus you’re my Superhero. I love storytelling, and I shared the story of Our Superhero’s amazing picnic, where Jesus showed us that by trusting God, amazing things can happen… like feeding over 5,000 people with just two fish and five loaves of bread! While we were jumping around, singing and dancing, the Mams and Dads enjoyed a nice cuppa and a chat.

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This Messy wasn’t just celebrating the harvest. We also gave thanks for and celebrated the newest members of the Church. Those who were baptised in the parish over the past few months received their baptism candle and certificate. This was a very special time, and we are all looking forward to watching the children grow and getting to know our amazing Jesus better.

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As usual, Messy church was full of energy, glitter, building, singing, praising, storytelling and laughter for all the family, regardless of their age. I’d love to see you at our next Messy Church – Messy Christingle between 2-4pm, on Saturday, 23 December 2017. Get into the Christmas mood with all of us here. I can promise you one thing… it will be Messy!!!!