Fr Mark writes an open letter about his appointment to Merthyr Tydfil Christ Church and the many opportunites and potential this brings to ministry in Merthyr Tydfil.
"Most of you are, I suspect, by now aware that a couple of weeks ago I was appointed as Priest-in-Charge of the above parish as well as remaining Priest-in-Charge of Merthyr Tydfil St David and Abercanaid. It will mean that I am half-time in both parishes for a while but will, hopefully, be enabled by some lovely colleagues in both parishes as well as our curate Charlotte. I need to be very honest with all concerned and say that I did seek this appointment in the genuine belief that it was the right solution at this time. I am anticipating that it will mean an increased work load for a period of time but I am very excited about the potential for us all to be working together for the future of God’s kingdom in this place. Each parish has a lot to offer and they can certainly receive from each other. The journey of learning and growing, accepting and embracing, challenging and adapting will be refreshing for us all. It is hoped that in the not too distant future we will be able to invite a colleague to join us working across the whole area bringing new insight and expertise to our ministry in Merthyr Tydfil and its surroundings. That is very much in God’s hands, but on earth the Area Dean, the Archdeacon and the Bishop are very much behind our thinking. They are very encouraging as well.
There are some adjustments that will have to take place in the very near future. Our Sunday Morning Service times will have to change for some. No one likes change but if we accept these things and think not of ourselves but of the future of the church, good things will be enabled to grow. There are two reasons that we need this change. One is purely practical; in order to cover clergy holidays / sickness one clergy person always needs to be able to cover two services on a Sunday morning. The best times for this seem to be 9.30am and 11.00am. The second is that when clergy are not on holidays or absent for other reasons it provides what I call ‘room for manoeuvre’. Clergy have time to do other things that help the church and us to grow. One example would be that a clergy person could go out with the Young Disciples at the Quar. Another would be to run a Café style church in the afternoon. And yet another would be to run some training initiative on a Sunday afternoon or evening. In Merthyr Tydfil St David and Abercanaid we have already experienced the change that having two clergy with lighter workloads can make; how we have been taken forward so far and so fast in Charlotte’s first year. Imagine what might be achievable with yet another person in full time ministry.
It will be just one month short of my having served here for five years when I am licensed to Merthyr Tydfil Christ Church and in those five years I have learnt a lot and made quite a number of mistakes. I shall continue on both those paths – learning and making mistakes, but in the long run, if we hold one another before God, forgiving, forgetting and seeking His will His Kingdom will grow. All I ask for is your patience and your prayers for all who are involved in doing their best to make this situation really work for the best.
Bishop June will license Fr Mark at Christ Church Cyfarthfa on Tuesday 9th October at 7.30pm. All are welcome.