Church Reports from South West Gower



St David’
s, Llanddewi           
This autumn we recognise that we have been blessed by a good summer in many ways in Gower. Our Parish Harvest service was hosted by Llanddewi. It was a joyful event, with a well-filled church. Hymns were beautifully accompanied by the music group, Coppercaillie, each using a different instrument, while Gower Young Farmers attended, read the lessons and helped serve the tea: it was so special having them there with us. Gareth Davies spoke about the work done by Tir Dewi, and updated us on new ideas for supporting famers that they have promoted in the course of the year.  He based his talk on the parable of the good Samaritan, who was socially isolated in the place he was in, and yet who generously cared for someone in need there. He spoke of the need farmers have for physical, emotional and spiritual support in their particular situation of isolation, risk and responsibility, and encouraged them to share their problems.  Rev Canon Roger led the service, and we are grateful to him and to everyone who helped prepare before and participated on the day.

We approach winter in a time of uncertainty in almost every sphere of life, locally, nationally and globally.  The challenges prompt fear and anxiety, and pose real problems for basic survival. We depend on governments and institutions of major influence identify the causes of and means to resolve the problems.  But we need to guard against ourselves being frozen by a sense of helplessness, hopelessness or refusal to confront the problems and do what we can to help. Our Christian response is to trust in the Lord, ask him to show us his way, encourage and give us hope, recognise the resources he has given us and use them in faith and love.
Penny Henderson

St Illtyds, Oxwich
It is not yet winter but numerous crises abound throughout the world, climate change being at the top of the list. Floods are affecting Pakistan, Cameroon, Nigeria and Australia  while drought is causing enormous hardship elsewhere. For too long we have ignored the warnings of climate change and devastation has come to pass in countries which have not been causing this change. It has been caused by the first world countries’ exploitation of the planet for their own benefit, regardless of the effect on poorer countries living a more environmentally friendly way of life. Let us pray that the annual Climate Change conference , COP 27, soon to be held in Egypt, will come to conclusions causing the world to change its ways, making the planet a safer place for both rich and poor.

War still rages in Ukraine where Russia is not just attacking military targets but  hospitals, schools, transport links, power stations and people’s homes hoping to frighten the general population into submission. The effect of this is felt throughout the world and must surely be one of the biggest crises of the moment. Let us pray for man to see the futility of war.

Nearer to home, the political scene is in chaos and millions are now concerned about paying their mortgages, heating their home and feeding their children, let alone celebrating Christmas. Although leading comparatively sheltered lives on Gower, may the churches in our locality do all they can to help this situation, supporting food banks and all agencies working to support the poorest families. It should not need to be said, that we should love our neighbours at this time.

Helen Keller author and disability rights activist said ‘Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement and nothing can be done without hope’ whether it be war, politics or climate change. As Christians we should add that prayer must be one of our greatest weapons.
Rosemary Wigley

St Andrew’s, Penrice                                                                                   

The funeral took place at St. Andrew’s on 22nd Sept of Mrs Gwyneth Bevan of Cwm Ivy. A large number of family, friends and neighbours gathered to pay their respects at the service conducted by Father Tim Ardouin. Mrs Bevan came from a large Gower family with many connections to Penrice and Oxwich. She was highly respected and will be deeply missed by her sister, Enid, and other members of her family. We send them our deep sympathy.

The theme this month is ‘Winter Crisis and the Christian response.’ Reading the newspapers and listening to news reports makes one think the world is doomed as we hear of crises in the NHS, financial markets and cost of living etc, but surely the Christian response to all this should be practical and local. Individually we cannot solve any of these major problems but in a small way we can help those in a less fortunate positions than ourselves by caring, volunteering and being generous with time and money especially as we near the Christmas season.    

The Penrice Calendar 2023 will be available shortly. There are some stunning photos of Penrice and the surrounding areas taken by Richard Dorran using a drone. The calendar makes a splendid gift for those living locally or to send away. The cost is £7.50 and can be delivered within a reasonable area and full details are available in the advert on another page.

Sadly the numbers of our small congregation have been depleted recently owing to Covid but hopefully all will be well again soon and back to normal. We are so grateful to the Rev Roger Donaldson and Rev Hilary Evans for conducting our services. Each brings their own special gifts and sentiments making every service special                                             

Angela Barnett     

St Cattwg’s, Port Eynon                                                                             

 The funeral of Betty Gill took place on October 1st, with the church full of family, friends and villagers. There were favourite hymns and songs and touching recollections of Betty by her son, daughter and grand-children. Afterwards, Caffi Cattwg premises provided a spread of savouries, cakes, tea and coffee, provided by many villagers.  We celebrated a mini Harvest Festival next day, taking advantage of the lovely autumn-hued flowers from the funeral, on the altar, with plump apples around the church and a sheaf of flax provided by Roger Button.

In common with the rest of the Parish during the interregnum, we have had several services relying on visiting clergy and Worship Leaders. With the Parish, we enjoyed Llanddewi’s Harvest Festival which included an eloquent talk by Gareth from Tir Dewi, reminding us of the caring and sharing of problems between volunteers and struggling farmers. St. David’s, as always, had gorgeous decorations of produce and flowers and provided a delicious tea.

This winter’s expected crisis and how Christians should respond – those of us who are old have been through it before, when there were more professed Christians around than there appear to be nowadays. We managed, we got through; then and now nearly everybody helped their neighbour with the spirit that galvanises most of us when faced with adversity. We called on an inner strength, be it God or just goodwill. The Covid pandemic provided a taste of the generosity of neighbours and of other benefactors; surely this will appear again.  There are many instances in the teachings of Christ where followers were bidden to give up worldly preoccupations to help those in need. Our relatively prosperous community can donate money and food to the destitute without huge deprivation to ourselves. We just need to stir our stumps.                                                                                    

 Susan Morris   

St George’s,  Reynoldston                                                                         

The Harvest Supper was a great success, with well-nigh eighty people attending and with the Church’s Social Committee serving an excellent meal. John Mahoney and Sue Harvey took to the stage, presenting Dinner for One. This very funny sketch, despite being very ‘English’ in origin, is one of the most widely played comedy sketches on German TV channels. Well worth a look at on U Tube! Many thanks to those attending who brought so much desperately needed supplies for the Salvation Army’s Food Bank.

A reminder of Harvest times in years gone by when the Head Teacher at Knelston (then called Reynoldston School) reported in the School Log of 1874: ‘Admitted five more scholars. I persuade the children to come to school tomorrow and not go to Reynoldston Fair. Busy on farms. Boys at harvest.’ The Head Teacher would close the school on occasions as nearly all his pupils were working on the harvest. Our Parish Remembrance Day Service will be on 13th November at 10.30am and includes the laying of a wreath on the war grave of Lt.Col. R.E. Benson, who was killed in the first weeks of the Great War. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has introduced a project to provide special ‘War Grave’ notices to any church containing a registered war grave.

Our thanks to Peter Williams of St.Cattwg’s for loaning St.George’s a large number of hymn tunes in a CD collection. These have now been down-loaded onto our church lap top, which means we have musical cover when our organist, David Williams, is away or just would like a rest!

Reynoldston Village Hall now hosts a pre-school play group. Meeting on Friday mornings, this important community activity is attended by children, parents and grandparents from many parts of Gower.     

Hugh Jones

St Mary the Virgin, Rhossili 
Here at St Mary’s we continue to get a constant stream of visitors and from the comments in the visitors book they are often seeking a place of quiet reflection away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  There is considerable interest in the historical panels and the Edgar Evans connection which add another dimension to the visitor experience.

Many people leave prayer requests with over 30 being shared in the last parish service in October, when the intercessor sharing them around members of the congregation. People reading them found it a moving and very personal encounter. While we were not celebrating Harvest per se the window shelves were adorned with apples from a local orchard and a sheaf of Flax was placed on the altar steps as a token gesture to the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.
Roger Button

SW Gower PCC Special Meeting Minutes

Monday July 11th 2022 2.30pm Reynoldston St George’s church

Attendees: Alan Glass, Mike Barnett, Mary Attwell, Rosemary Wigley, Peter Williams, Caroline Johnson, Nigel Clarke, Sheila Williams, Vicky Charles, Val Fuller, Gill Wales, Hugh Dunthorne, Roger Donaldson

Opening Prayer from Rev Roger

1. Apologies: David and Diane Workman and Peter Davies

 It was agreed that the minutes of previous meeting would be agreed at the next regular meeting of PCC in September but in the interim a brief update was provided re the plant and cake sale proceeds which are being distributed to Ukrainian families hosted locally at £400 per family in cash (with a Ukrainian teddy kindly knitted by Gill)

2. HD provided calendar of services scheduled for July and August and it was agreed that we will aim to maintain this format requesting support from visiting clergy as needed. Wednesday 13/7 is the final Zoom service as Justin will be licensed in his new position on 17/7 His last service will be the joint Rhosilli on 14/8.

 The Port Eynon service 7/8 to be live-streamed to enable access for those affected by road closures.

Reynoldston and Port Eynon will continue to livestream some services (and Rhossili once connected)

CJ to check whether parish share is reduced as a consequence of not having a full stipendary during interregnum

The ministry leader going forward will be Peter Brookes

It was agreed that any 5th Sundays to be allocated on a rota basis with 30/10 being Llanddewi for Harvest Festival

Second Sunday in November 13/11 to be at Reynoldston, not Rhosilli for Remembrance Sunday service

CJ will produce and circulate a leaflet of Summer services very shortly

 3. CJ will continue to circulate the Redemptorist reading sheets electronically which will be printed locally with immediate effect

CJ will purchase and provide a lectionary for each church

Wine, wafers and candles to be purchased by each church separately from their preferred source

 The weekly newsletter will be temporarily discontinued during interregnum

CJ to obtain the email circulation list from Rev Justin

SW Gower parish Facebook to be updated by Karen Haynes on receipt of any articles forwarded to her

The rectory is responsibility of PCC during interregnum and the parish wardens (HD, AG) will have a set of keys. CJ is establishing process for payment of bills and transfer of costs to the diocese.

 The building is to be reroofed during Winter whilst permitted due to bats

Gardening contract with Fall Bay to be maintained

Ogi contract for Port Eynon to be transferred and paid locally PW to action

4. HD and AG have a parish profile drafted based on 2018 version. This is to be reviewed and updated as required. VLC will circulate to enable PCC members to give their input re section 3 The Clergy we seek. CJ to check financial section

 Vacancy has been announced and will be advertised in clerical press soon.

Interregnum expected to last until Easter at earliest

Key aspects to include are mission, youth and children (Knelston school) and the parish contribution to various charities (St Thomas, Welsh Refugee Council and Tir Dewi

 5. Following recent meeting with the Bishop various potential changes were discussed that are in the pipeline. These may include centralising of PCCs, employment of administrators to replace current local volunteers, and changes to the number of churches within a parish. However as these are all proposals at this stage we cannot plan until details are known. Agreed that a letter/ email be sent to Archdeacon Jonathan indicating some of our concerns about the proposals (AG,HD)

 6. Date of next PCC meeting 5/9/2022 5.00pm at Reynoldston Minor Village Hall

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