News

Presbyterian Church of Wales

08 07 24

For Immediate Release

 

General Assembly, Aberystwyth, 8-9 July 2024

‘We are in good spirits’ says the Moderator

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Wales (PCW) will be held in Aberystwyth from 8-9 July, 2024.

Although church attendance continues to decrease across all denominations in Wales, the mood is encouraging.

‘I’m really excited,’ said the Moderator of the  PCW, Reverend Aneurin Owen. ‘We have stories to tell about bold and ambitious projects in Wales and beyond. This is not a time to shrink back but to show our confidence in the God of all hope.’

The annual assembly of one of Wales’ largest non-conformist denominations will receive reports on the past year’s activities and pass key resolutions.

The opening session on Monday night will talk about celebrating ministry in its diversity.

The Assembly  will hear from Joseff Edwards, leader of an innovative new project called Craig Blaenau in Blaenau Ffestiniog. Since settling in the area two years ago, Joseff and his wife Lydia, with the support of others, have formed a faith community that includes children, young people and families from the town. Meeting in the town’s community centre, the little family has started the first Sunday school in the town for decades, attracting over 60 children and young people.

Another project gaining momentum is located in Pontypridd. Parc Arts is a project under the auspices of PCW, forming a creative and performing hub for the valleys. Led by Jess Morgan, Parc Arts is currently renovating the old Park Presbyterian Church in Treforest as a concert venue.

PCW’s concern about the condition of the town of Port Talbot as it faces the possibility of closing the Tata Steel Works will also be voiced. Margaret Jones, a member of the local Presbytery and the town’s Food Bank, will voice concern for the welfare of the town and criticize Tata and the UK government for their failure to care for the thousands of people affected.

EBC has long-standing international partnerships and these will feature prominently in the Assembly. Dr Sharon Singsit Evans, a Psychiatric doctor, who originally comes from Manipur, North East India, but now lives in the UK, will be interviewed about the conflict facing the people of her state. It is estimated that more than 148 Christians were killed in the riot and hundreds more were injured. Almost 400 churches were attacked, as well as over 4,700 places belonging to other Christians. Since then many hundreds of Manipur have fled their homes and are living in neighbouring states.

There will be performances by international groups from Madagascar and Mizoram. Ny Ako will bring the warmth and joy of Malagasy culture to Aberystwyth as part of their tour to the denomination’s churches in Wales and London. And the Mizoram Synod choir will share their love for God through songs of praise in Mizo, Welsh and English. Wales has close links with both countries. David Jones and Thomas Bevan, Independents (Annibynwyr) from Ceredigion arrived in Madagascar in 1820 at the invitation of Radama, king of Madagascar. They started a school and a church and learned the Malagasy language as they arrived. They translated the first Bible in the language, and its literary and scholarly quality was famous throughout Africa. Wales and North East India share a common Christian faith, mainly because of Thomas Jones (1810-1849), the first Welsh missionary who went with his family to the Casia Hills, known as the state of Meghalaya today, and who was the first from among hundreds he planted the seeds of the Christian Good News there. The connection with the state of Misoram goes back over 130 years since D.E. Jones from Llandderfel near Bala went there as a missionary in 1897 and the last ones from Wales left there in 1967. In 2018, the provincial government announced that 22 June would be celebrated as “Thomas Jones Day” every year.

Guests at the opening night will also hear updates of PCW’s work with children and women.

The Reverend Aneurin Owen said: ‘The sound of joy among us is something to be embraced. It is contagious, and can lift our hearts, but we must recognize the sound of crying that is mixed with it. Our prayer is that even in our longing for the glory of the past, the sound of our weeping will be turned into the sound of joy when we see what the Lord is doing in our day. Since the 2023 Assembly, nine individuals have responded to the Lord’s call to come and build on the new foundations that have already been laid. Six new jobs have been created, most of them under the pioneer worker scheme. We will continue to foster a climate of open dialogue and close cooperation between us all. We recognize the need to support and protect our pioneering ministry as it begins to grow and develop’.

Ends

Editor’s note:

The Presbyterian Church of Wales is one of the largest Christian denominations in Wales, with some 14,000 members and around 475 churches . Also known as the Calvinistic Methodist Church and ‘The Connexion’, the Presbyterian Church of Wales was born out of the Methodist revival of the 18th century.

Attached pictures feature: Rev Aneurin Owen, Dr Sharon Singsit Evans, Ny Ako, Cor Synod Mizoram

For interviews, please contact Gethin Russell-Jones, Press Officer, 07378 309268