Chwilog, Pencaenewydd, Llwyndyrys, Tyddynshon & Capel y Beirdd Interdenominational Pastoratey
The period between mid-March and this present moment, has been one of adaptation, as we all search for new ways to reach our church members. When our normal services ceased, here as a pastorate (i.e. of three denominations and five different churches), we started by preparing a series of short meditations on paper which we posted or sent by e-mail. At the same time, we of course drew the attention of our members, to the Sunday morning service televised by S4C. Another important facet of the work was ensuring monthly telephone contact with each member, especially those people living alone.
We then started to hold weekly meetings via Zoom. Initially these took the form of chapel services. I was, at first, highly sceptical! I wondered how many people would participate. By the third week, we had over 50 screens and over 80 participants at worship! This has since continued in uninterrupted fashion. As a result, we have decided to continue right through the month of August. It is such a joy to see the congregation gathering for worship on a Sunday morning. It is encouraging to see members of other local churches eager to join with us because they miss live worship at their own churches. We have also held meetings for church officials on Zoom, to make sure that all is well with each of our members. For those of our flock unable to attend our digital meetings, we print the excellent service by Watcyn James to be found in ‘Y Goleuad.’ This we deliver weekly to each
household. The occasional copy is posted. At Easter and at Pentecost, we have also posted to each household, greeting cards, containing appropriate meditations. During Christian Aid week, Anna Jane joined in our service. An on-line collection was made, resulting in donations reaching £1,200. A similar Sunday School service has been held, with teachers giving on-line lessons using the Sunday School pack which is prepared weekly. It is a joy to see 15-20 children attend each week.
Another popular meeting, is the Cultural Meeting. By now, we have about 60 screens and 90-100 people gather. Partaking speakers include: The Rev Gwyn Elfyn, Rob Nicholls from London; our local AS Liz Saville Roberts; Elin Jones, the Chair of the Welsh Senedd and Marcus Robinson, the Moderator of the General Assembly. We have also been joined by two of our members who are far further afield: Lois who lives in Miami and Esyllt who lives in Patagonia. It was almost as if they were present in the next room! Another full and interesting programme is currently being prepared. This will be up- and- running over the next few weeks.