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.