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Issue No 158

Magazine for the Irfon and Wye Valley Churches December 2013 and January 2014

Flight and Plight A Sunday School Teacher was telling the story of Jesus’ flight to Egypt and then asked the children to draw a picture of the scene. The teacher expected to see a depiction of Joseph, leading Mary seated on a donkey, holding young Jesus in her arms. She was surprised to see one boy’s drawing of an airplane with four people peering through the windows. When asked why he had drawn an airplane the boy answered: “It’s a picture of Jesus’ flight to Egypt.” The teacher enquired: “But why are there four passengers?” The boy explained: “There are only three passengers – Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus.” The teacher further queried: “But there are four people, who is the fourth passenger?” The boy stated what he thought should have been obvious: “That’s not a passenger, that’s Pontius the Pilate!” After all of the Christmas celebrations are over – one aspect of the story which seems to be avoided is the fact that Jesus and his parents have to flee persecution and most probably death at the hands of an oppressive state spearheaded by Pontius Pilate. In this country and across the western world Christianity is seen as being in a privileged position, a part of the establishment. However this is not the case for most of the globe. According to the International Society for Human Rights, (a secular observatory based in Frankfurt, Germany), 80% of all acts of religious discrimination in the world today are directed at Christians. Statistically speaking, that makes Christians by far the most persecuted religious body on the planet. The picture is expanded upon by the Pew Forum, who state that between 2006 and 2010 Christians faced some form of discrimination, either de jure or de facto, in a staggering total of 139 nations, which is almost three-quarters of all the countries on earth. According to the ‘Center for the Study of Global Christianity’ in

by Fr Neil Hook

Massachusetts USA, an average of 100,000 Christians have been killed in what the centre calls a ‘situation of witness’ each year for the past decade. That works out to 11 Christians killed somewhere in the world every hour, seven days a week and 365 days a year, for reasons related to their faith. North Korea is widely considered the most dangerous place in the world to be a Christian, where roughly a quarter of the country’s 200,000 to 400,000 Christians are believed to be living in forced labour camps for their refusal to join the national cult around founder Kim Il Sung. In Nigeria, the militant Islamic movement ‘Boko Haram’ is held responsible for almost 3,000 Christian deaths since 2009, including 800 fatalities last year alone. India’s north-eastern state of Orissa was the scene of the most violent anti-Christian pogrom of the early 21st century. In 2008, a series of riots ended with as many as 500 Christians killed, many hacked to death by machetewielding Hindu radicals; thousands more were injured and at least 50,000 left homeless. Why is this fact largely ignored in the western press? Partly because the victims are non-white and poor, partly because it doesn’t fit in with western secular preconceptions of an elitist Christian church and also because of the Church’s own history as an oppressive force. In the minds of Christians here in Wales the idea of religious persecution of our brothers and sisters across the world hardly figures – so this Christmas don’t just let the story end with a heart-warming nativity scene, spare a moment to remember Jesus’ flight into Egypt and the continuing plight of persecuted Christians across the globe.

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Deanery Notices .

Builth High School

Carol Service

Diocesan Mission and Ministry Festival with lunch

Sunday 8th Dec Sunday 12th Jan

30th November 12.00 noon St. Mary’s Church, Builth Wells

*Music* *Praise* *Witness* *Fellowship*


Wednesday 18th December 6.00pm


at Brecon Cathedral All are welcome to come and explore the work of the Church in the wider Diocese

All welcome

Monday 6th January

Feast of the Epiphany

Deanery Service


7.30pm Eglwys Oen Duw, Beulah

RETREAT HOUSE The Diocesan Retreat House at Llangasty has a drop-in Quiet Day every month. This day is set aside from10.00-16.00 for anyone to just turn up, no booking necessary and use the facilities of the house to pause for a day and engage in prayer, personal reflection or even attend the midday Eucharist. Bring your own packed lunch - there is no charge, just leave a donation of whatever you can afford.

Welcome to All

Drop-In Quiet Days are on 2nd December and 20th January

Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution

County Carol Service St. Mary’s, Builth

Mid Wales Deaf Church and Club Sunday 15th Dec and 19th Jan 3-4.30pm at St. Mary’s, Builth

6th December 7.00pm

Services every Third Sunday of each month

All are welcome to come and join in and get in the Christmas Spirit

Simple Open Service fellowship afterwards with refreshments and social time

all welcome 3

The Colwyn Group of Parishes Dear Friends

Services for December 2013 1st December Advent 1 Llansantffraed 10.00 RK Eucharist Glascwm 7.00 JO/MJ Village Service

When I was at school I was a member of three clubs. The first was a Nature Club, which I excelled at; the second was a Modelling Club and the third was the Astronomy Club. This I failed miserably at. Stars and planets are not my thing at all! I never seemed able to reconcile the huge mileages between them in the universe and like many a young boy, I lost interest. But of course this is the time of year for stars, and in particular the ‘star in the east’. Well, without wishing to upset the late Patrick Moore or other eminent astronomers, the star or planet in question I am led to believe was probably Venus. But of course some say it was a configuration of Venus, Saturn and the Sun and Moon. Others say that this was not possible because the size of the Sun would have cast a shadow in the wrong place, thus blocking out the effect of such a star! All this contention and over such a thing as a star! What does matter however is that that particular star, which still appears in the east, acts as herald for each one of us as it did for those early shepherds and the Magi. What really matters is the fact that we can be led to the wonderful babe – a babe that means so much to us in our lives. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could help lead other folk to follow that star in their lives – to experience for the first time the wonder and awe of seeing the babe in the manger just as the shepherds and Magi did all those years ago. What a Christmas present! Happy star gazing!! Liz and Raife join with me in wishing you all a very Happy, Blessed Christmas and Peaceful New Year.

8th December Advent 2 Cregrina 10.30 RK Eucharist & Double Baptism Llanelwedd 11.15 JO Eucharist 15th December Llanfaredd 9.30 Llansantffraed 10.00 Glascwm 11.15 Rhulen 11.15 Llanelwedd 6.00

Advent 3 RK Eucharist ET Morning Prayer JO Eucharist Eucharist - CANCELLED LK/RK Christingle Service

22nd December Advent 4 Bettws 10.00 RK Group Carol Service Rhulen 7.00 RM Carol Service 24th December Glascwm 4.00 Llanelwedd 4.00 Llanelwedd 11.30

Christmas Eve JO Crib Service RK Crib Service RK Midnight Mass

25th December

Christmas Day

(All Services either Eucharist or Extended Communion)

Rhulen 8.00 RK Cregrina 9.30 JO Llanfaredd 9.30 ET Bettws 9.30 RK Llansantffraed NO SERVICE - to join with Bettws Glascwm 11.15 JO

Vicar Richard

29th December Christmas 1 Family Service & Communion Hundred House Hall 10.00 RK

Crib Services 4.00pm Christmas Eve

Llanelwedd Church

Rhulen Carol Service

Glascwm Church Please bring your children along to either of these Services to hear the wonderful story of Christmas re-told using the young folk themselves. We will be producing a tableau with young folk dressing up into their roles.

Sunday 22nd December – 7.00pm Come and experience what is now a legendry and unique Carol Service

Llanelwedd with Llanfaredd, Llansantffraed-in-Elwell, Bettws, Cregrina, Glascwm and Rhulen Revd Richard Kirlew, The Rectory, Llanelwedd LD2 3TY, Tel: 01982 551288, Email: 4

The Colwyn Group of Parishes FIRST WORLD WAR CENTENARY

Confirmation Group Group

Jacksons of Hebden Bridge have produced a range of kneelers, pew cushions and altar kneelers to mark the Centenary of the First World War. If you wish to remember a member of your Family who served during either of the World Wars or lost their lives during a conflict please contact Evy Foran on 01982 570384 or come along to the Thursday Sewing Group to see the designs. Dates on the tapestries can be adapted to suit individual needs. The cost will be approximately £40 to £60 each depending on chosen style.

We hope to be running a Confirmation Group in the New Year for Confirmation at Easter. If anyone wishes to join us, please contact Vicar Richard.

The next Messy Church will be on Friday 31 31st January from 3.30pm 3.30pm in the Jubilee Hall. Crafts, Crafts, Worship, Games and a cooked meal!! What’s not to like about it then!!!

Services for January 2014

Llansantffraed & Bettws Churches

5th January Epiphany Llansantffraed 10.00 RK Eucharist Glascwm 6.00 ET Village Service

Coffee Evening The Christmas Coffee Evening will be held on Friday 13th December at 7.00pm in Hundred House Hall. Despite a busy schedule, Father Christmas will be in attendance! More details next month!!

Baptism of Christ 12th January Cregrina 9.30 RK Eucharist Llanelwedd 11.15 RK Eucharist

Concert Saturday 18th January 2014 7.30pm Jubilee Hall, Llanelwedd

“Voices in Unity” Tickets £5 in advance or on the door

19th January Llanfaredd 9.30 Llansantffraed 10.00 Rhulen 11.15 Glascwm 11.15

2nd Sunday of Epiphany RK Eucharist LK Morning Prayer RK Eucharist JO Eucharist

26th January Cregrina 9.30 Bettws 9.30 Llanelwedd 10.45

3rd Sunday of Epiphany DD Village Service RK Eucharist LK/ET/RK Worship4All

Group Carol Service

In aid of St Matthew’s Church, Llanelwedd

Sunday 22nd December at 10.00am

Coffee Morning

St. Mary’s Church, Bettws Disserth

Fountain Inn, Builth (with thanks to Ann)

“Come and sing carols – what a super start to Christmas!”

Saturday 14th December 10.00 - 12.30 Cake Stall - Raffle etc. Call in while you’re shopping!

Llanelwedd with Llanfaredd, Llansantffraed-in-Elwell, Bettws, Cregrina, Glascwm and Rhulen Revd Richard Kirlew, The Rectory, Llanelwedd LD2 3TY, Tel: 01982 551288, Email: 5

The Church’s New Year Advent is a season of expectation and preparation as the Church prepares to celebrate the coming (adventus) of Christ in his incarnation, and also looks ahead to his final advent as judge at the end of time. The anticipation of Christmas under commercial pressure can make it difficult to sustain the appropriate sense of alert watchfulness. We can use the Advent prayer ‘Maranatha’ – ‘Our Lord, come’ (1 Corinthians 16.22) to focus our thoughts at this time. Church decorations are simple and spare, and purple is the traditional liturgical colour. Advent season falls at the darkest time of the year, and the natural symbols of darkness and light are powerfully at work throughout Advent and Christmas. The lighting of candles on an Advent wreath is a common practice and Christingle has enjoyed great success in Britain with services taking place before or after Christmas. The last days of Advent are marked by the sequence of Great ‘O’ Antiphons, which continue to inspire modern Advent hymns and meditations.

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Hedgehog numbers continue to decline around Britain, and people are being encouraged to help reverse the trend. Simple ways to help are to ensure that there is a route in and out of your churchyard (they need a 5in gap). Take care to move piles of rubbish before burning them, and check before you stick a fork into a compost heap. Reducing your use of pesticides can also help to create a hedgehogfriendly area. Hedgehogs nest in a hibernaculum throughout the winter, although they may wake up several times. The nest is about 20" (50cm) in diameter. The hedgehogs nest are mostly made of leaves, grass and various other plants. Hedgehogs will also nest in semi-manmade structures, such as a pile of logs, or purposefully manmade hedgehog nests, in the form of wooden nest boxes. Hedgehogs are insectivores with over 70% of their natural diet being insects and beetles, some worms and a very tiny amount of slugs and snails. And for a final piece of advice, do not give them bread and milk – they are better off with some tinned dog or cat food (no fish).

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The Builth Wells Group of Parishes Prayers are said most weekdays at 9am (BCP Eucharist on Thursdays at 10am) in the Chapel of the Holy Name of Jesus in St Mary’s, Builth


Parish Diary

01 December (Advent I) 09.30 Sung Eucharist at St. Mary’s, Builth 15.00 Said Eucharist at St. David’s, Llanddewi’r-Cwm 18.00 Service of Healing & Wholeness at St. Mary’s, Builth

Said Eucharist is celebrated most Thursdays at 10.00 in the Chapel of the Holy Name of Jesus, St Mary’s, Builth Handbell Group Tuesday at 19.00 in St. Mary’s Hall Bellringing Thursdays at St Mary’s Tower at 19.45

08 December (Advent II) 09.30 Sung Eucharist at St. Mary’s, Builth 11.00 Nativity Celebration at St. David’s, Maesmynis 18.00 CELEBR8 Service at St. Mary’s, Builth

SAINTS ALIVE! ALIVE! kids club at St Mary’s Minor Hall 16.00 on 11 Dec, 15 Jan and 29 Jan. Our Ωmega Youth Group (11 – 17) is on hiatus - awaiting exciting developments!

15 December (Advent III) 09.30 Sung Eucharist at St. Mary’s, Builth


Builth Christmas Fair 1st December St. Mary’s are running a home-made mince-pie stall at Builth Christmas fair this year and we are looking for as many of these lovely treats we can sell a possible. If you are able to help us out then please bring your ‘festive fancies’ to St. Mary’s for the 09.30 service where they will all be blessed prior to being sold that afternoon!

22 December (Advent IV) 09.30 Sung Eucharist at St. Mary’s, Builth 15.00 Carol Service at St. Mauritius, Alltmawr 18.00 Sung Evensong at St. Mary’s, Builth 29 December (Christmas I) 10.00 United Christmas Eucharist at St. Mary’s, Builth

Christmas Services

05 January (Epiphany) 09.30 Sung Eucharist at St. Mary’s, Builth 15.00 Holy Eucharist at St. David’s, Llanddewi’r-Cwm 18.00 Service of Healing & Wholeness, St. Mary’s, Builth

Christmas Eve Christmas Communion 11.00 in Brynhyfryd / Glan Irfon Christmas Communion at 15.00 St. Mauritius, Alltmawr Crib Service 17.00 at St Mary’s, Builth Carols & Communion 19.00 at St David’s, Llanddewi’r-Cwm Midnight Mass 23.30 at St. Mary’s, Builth

12 January (Epiphany I) 09.30 Sung Eucharist at St. Mary’s, Builth 11.00 Said Matins at St. David’s, Maesmynis 18.00 CELEBR8 Service at St. Mary’s, Builth 19 January (Epiphany II) 10.00 Cytun Communion at Alpha Chapel, Builth 11.00 Holy Eucharist at St. Mauritius, Alltmawr

Christmas Day

26 January (Epiphany III) 09.30 Sung Eucharist at St. Mary’s, Builth 11.00 Holy Eucharist at St. David’s, Maesmynis 18.00 Sung Evensong at St. Mary’s, Builth

Christmas Communion 09.30 at St. Mary’s, Builth Christmas Communion 11.00 at St. David’s, Maesmynis

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Builth Wells with Llanddewi’r-Cwm & Llangynog with Maesmynis & Llanynis with Alltmawr Revd Father Neil Hook, The Vicarage, 1 North Road, Builth Wells LD2 3BT, Tel: 01982 552355, Email: 8

The Builth Wells Group of Parishes Prayers are said most weekdays at 9am (BCP Eucharist on Thursdays at 10am) in the Chapel of the Holy Name of Jesus in St Mary’s, Builth

20 January St. Mary’s PCC meeting at 19.00, Minor Hall 22 Jan Ecumenical Prayers for the week of Prayer for Christian Unity 12.00 24 Jan Vigil Eucharist of the Conversion of Paul, Apostle 09.00 St. Mary’s, Builth

From the Vicarage At the end of the classic children’s story about Christmas by Dr Seuss the scrooge-like character of the Grinch is described, thus: “And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?” I pray that we may all find a little bit more of the message of the Christchild this special season.

New Statue in St. St. Mary the Virgin Many of you will have noticed the magnificent new statue of The Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus in the Sedes sapientiae style which has been erected in the nave of St. Mary the Virgin. Donated by the John family in memory of Elwyn – a former Vicar of the parish and ultimately archdeacon of Brecon, the statue is a twin in style to one which Elwyn himself placed in St. Mary the Virgin, Brecon whilst he was Vicar there. Our thanks must go to Pam and the family for this generous gift and to John Price of Smithfield joinery for the wonderful plinth on which it is mounted. The statue itself will be formally blessed and dedicated at a Eucharist in the New Year – in the meantime please look out for it just to the right of the lectern.

Blessings, Father Neil

Special Events 30 November Mission & Ministry Festival, Brecon Cathedral 01 December St. Mary’s Stall at Builthfest Christmas Fair 14.00 02 December Reserved Communion in the Brynhyfryd / Glan Irfon Centre 11.00 04 December Builth & Maesmynis Mothers Union 18.30 05 December Gwasanaeth Carolau Nadolig yr Ysgol in St. Mary’s 06 December RABI County Carol Service in St. Mary’s 19.00 07 December Llewellyn Memorial Service at St. David’s, Llanynis 11.00 13 December 60+ Lunch Club in Llanelwedd Hall 12.00 14 December Fundraiser for the Philippines’ Typhoon Appeal 10-14.00 venue TBC 16 December Town Carol Service 19.00 at St Mary’s, Builth 20 December Sixty Plus Christmas Lunch Club, Llanelwedd Hall 12.00 06 January Deanery Epiphany Service in Eglwys Oen Duw, Beulah 19.30 08 January St. Mary’s Fundraising Committee at 19.30

Planting Money to Watch it Grow! Grow! In Jesus’ Parable of the Talents a master gives a sum of money to his stewards who nurture it into something greater. Always keen to follow a biblical example St. Mary’s Builth are holding a ‘Talent Challenge’. In January members of the congregation (and others) are going to be given £10 each. All we ask is that you put the money to good use using your own talents to ‘grow’ the money into something bigger. Perhaps you use the money to fund a coffee morning, or print up some sponsored dog walk forms – maybe even buy brushes and paint to create that picture to be auctioned. All of the profits are going to be collected in at the Harvest Festival Service in September 2014 so you’ve got plenty of time to put your talents to the test!

Builth Wells with Llanddewi’r-Cwm & Llangynog with Maesmynis & Llanynis with Alltmawr Revd Father Neil Hook, The Vicarage, 1 North Road, Builth Wells LD2 3BT, Tel: 01982 552355, Email: 9

The Erwood & Painscastle Group of Parishes Christ and just think in a few years time you’ll probably look back on these past few months with perhaps a wry smile, I’m sure that I will and to complete the story of my own life, the church did indeed decide to ordain me and the rest as they say is history! With my love and prayers and warmest good wishes for a happy, blessed and joyful Christmas and God’s most abundant blessings in 2014.

Dear Friends, “We’re 9 churches, we’re 2 parishes and we’re on 1 journey.” At some point between the time when I write this and the time that you read it, an advertisement including these or very similar words will have appeared in the “Church Times” and on the Diocesan website advertising for a new parish priest for the Erwood and Painscastle Groups. For many I’m sure this development simply cannot come soon enough!! Many people feel, with some justification I’m sure, that the post should have been advertised long before this. But then an integral component of the human condition is a sense of impatience we want things to happen right now or even yesterday, as the words of that wonderful prayer express it,: “Oh Lord make me patient, but not yet!!” Some years ago, while I was undergoing the seemingly interminable process of the Church of England deciding whether or not it would ordain me, a very wise priest reminded me that there are two types of time, our time and God’s time and that they’re not necessarily the same thing! I’m sure that some who know me well would probably aver that there is a third to which I adhere!! I’m sure that the people of Israel while they waited for the promise of the birth of Immanuel to occur thought that it would never happen, maybe some even lost patience that it would ever come to pass. And yet, of course, it did, eventually the time was right and the promise was fulfilled and we’re now preparing for our annual thanksgiving and celebration of quite how triumphantly that promise was fulfilled in the person, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, so please don’t despair but instead let’s continue to use this time of anticipation in much the same way as we do Advent, giving thanks for the past and preparing ourselves to play a full part in God’s promise for the future not just of the Church but of ourselves as individual Christians, because the journey that the words of that advert, the adventure of our Christian faith is a journey that we’re on together and all of us whoever we are equally full members and participants none of us are more important or significant than any others. So hold onto that faith hold onto that hope, hold onto that excitement in

Ben Advent, Christmas & Epiphany in the Erwood & Painscastle Churches You will notice that in the following I have included an indication of who will be conducting services during Advent and Christmas, this is because I think that it is important that people are aware who will be leading worship at this important time and so I’m suspending my customary opposition to the practice. Sunday, 24th November: Next before Advent 9.30am Aberedw Holy Eucharist (CH) 3.00pm Llanddewi Fach Holy Eucharist (HJF) 6.00pm Bryngwyn Christingle (BG) Sunday, 1st December: Advent 1 9.00am Newchurch Holy Eucharist (1662) (HJF) 9.30am Llanbadarn y Garreg Holy Eucharist with Carols (BG) 10.30am Newchurch Matins (MO) Followed by refreshments at Rose Cottage

Sunday, 8th December: Advent II 10.30am Aberedw Holy Eucharist 11.00am Llanbedr Holy Eucharist Friday, 13th December 6.30pm Aberedw Carol Service Sunday, 15th December: Advent III 10.30am Crickadarn Holy Eucharist 11.00am Bryngwyn Holy Eucharist 2.30pm Llandeilo Graban & Moriah Chapel Carol Service Sunday, 22nd December: Advent IV 10.30am Llandeilo Graban Holy Eucharist with Carols 3.00pm Llandewi Fach Holy Eucharist with Carols 6.00pm Llanbedr Carol Service

Aberedw w Llandeilo Graban w Llanbadarn-y-Garreg w Crickadarn w Gwenddwr & Bryngwyn w Newchurch w Llanbedr Painscastle w Llanddewi Fach

For information during the interregnum please contact the Acting Area Dean: Revd Ben Griffith, 2 Highbury Fields, Llanyre, LD1 6NF, Tel: 01597 823321, Email: 10

(PJM) (MS) (PJM) (CH) (MS) (PJM)

(MS) (HJF) (PJM)

The Erwood & Painscastle Group of Parishes But was does it mean for us truly. Well to me Christmas is for love. It is for joy, for giving and sharing, for laughter, for reuniting with family and friends, for tinsel and brightly decorated packages. But mostly, Christmas is for love, and above all to remind us of Christ’s love for us and our love for him. My sister Linda has spent her entire teaching life at Cefnllys CinW School (formerly in Oxford Road) in Llandrindod and some years ago was looking for a Christmas activity to do with her infant class. She had read of a story about a young boy from a poor family who couldn’t afford to buy a present for his mum so he thought of a brilliant idea to make one. On Christmas morning he crept slowly into the kitchen where his Mum was, with his hands concealing something behind his back. "I have your present," he said timidly, “I hope you like it." He held out his hands, and there lying in his small palms was a tiny box shape wrapped in bright Christmas paper. "It's beautiful”, said his Mum, “I wonder what’s in it”. She began to unwrap the present. “Don’t unwrap it”, said the young boy, “because you can't see what's in it, and you can't touch it, or taste it or feel it, but I promise it makes you feel good all the time, warm on cold nights, and safe when you're all alone”. "What is it," his Mum asked gently, "that will make me feel so good?" "It's love," he whispered softly, "and as you’ve told me it's best when you give it away." So Linda got her children to wrap boxes of ‘Love’ for someone close to them. She made one for our Mother; mum keeps it in her lounge and only smiles as inquiring friends raise quizzical eyebrows when she explain to them that there is love in it. Why don’t you make a ‘Love Box’ for someone dear to you or perhaps to a lonely neighbour, a box full of the “Love of Christ” Yes, Christmas is for gaiety, mirth and song, for good and wondrous gifts. But mostly, Christmas is for love, as we celebrate the birth of our Saviour. As St John wrote in his Gospel ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.’ May you all have a happy and blessed Christmas and may the New Year bring you all you wish but above all peace, good health and the Love of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Tuesday, 24th December

Christmas Eve 6.00pm Aberedw Christingle & Communion (PJM) 11.30pm Bryngwyn Midnight Eucharist (PJM) 11.30pm Crickadarn Midnight Eucharist (MS)

        Wednesday, 25th December

Christmas Day 10.00am Newchurch 9.30am Gwenddwr

Holy Eucharist (1662) (HJF) Holy Eucharist (CH)

Sunday, 29th December: 1st Sunday of Christmas 10.30am Llanbedr Group Eucharist (PJM) Please Note NEW pattern of Service Times & Dates

Sunday, 5th January 9.00am Newchurch 1662 Holy Eucharist 10.30am Newchurch Matins 9.30am Llanbadarn y Garreg Holy Eucharist 11.00am Gwenddwr Holy Eucharist 11.00am Llandeilo Graban Morning Prayer Sunday, 12th January 9.30am Crickadarn Holy Eucharist 11.00am Llanbedr Holy Eucharist 11.00am Aberedw Morning Prayer Sunday, 19th January 9.30am Llandeilo Graban Holy Eucharist 11.00am Gwenddwr Morning Prayer 3.00pm Llandewi Fach Holy Eucharist Sunday, 26th January 9.30am Bryngwyn Holy Eucharist 11.00am Aberedw Holy Eucharist 11.00am Crickadarn Morning Prayer nd Sunday, 2 February 9.00am Newchurch 1662 Holy Eucharist 10.30am Newchurch Matins 9.30am Llanbadarn y Garreg Holy Eucharist 11.00am Gwenddwr Holy Eucharist 11.00am Llandeilo Graban Morning Prayer

A Message from Father Pip Christmas ("Christ's Mass") is of course, as any child would tell you the annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ celebrated generally on December 25 by millions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it closes the Advent season and initiates the twelve days of Christmastide, which ends after the twelfth night.

Phil P.S. For those worried parents the average age of our Sunday School/Messy Church group is 6 to 7 years old not 67 as printed last month!!! (Apologies! – Ed)

Aberedw w Llandeilo Graban w Llanbadarn-y-Garreg w Crickadarn w Gwenddwr & Bryngwyn w Newchurch w Llanbedr Painscastle w Llanddewi Fach

For information during the interregnum please contact the Acting Area Dean: Revd Ben Griffith, 2 Highbury Fields, Llanyre, LD1 6NF, Tel: 01597 823321, Email: 11

The Upper Wye Group of Parishes Dear Friends,

December & January Highlights As you can see, there is, as usual a great deal going on

A four year old boy was asked to give thanks at the beginning of his family Christmas dinner. The rest of the family, gathered around the table, bowed their heads expectantly. Finally, the boy began his prayer. He thanked God for each of his friends all of whom he named. Then he thanked God for his mother, father, brothers and sisters, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. Having completed this, he thanked God for the Christmas dinner itself, the turkey and stuffing, the gravy, cranberry sauce, roast potatoes, mince pies, the Christmas pudding, even remembering the brandy butter. Then there was a pause while the rest of the family waited and waited to see what would happen next. Finally after a pause that seemed endless, he opened his eyes, looked his mother straight in the face and said: “If I thank God for the sprouts, won’t he know that I’m lying?” As Christmas draws ever closer it’s extremely tempting to allow ourselves to be so distracted by the myriad tasks that we are convinced absolutely must be done before the great day that unless we’re very careful the truly significant components of our Christmas celebrations can find themselves being ignored and excluded in a rush of busyness, and no. I don’t mean forgetting to buy the sprouts!! As you travel through the weeks of Advent this year, try to create some space to ponder the true meaning and significance of Christmas: that some 2,000 years ago in a small and insignificant little town in Judea there occurred the single most incredible event in the entire history of the human race - an event which at the time seemed so insignificant and unremarkable that nobody took any notice at all. It was only in retrospect many years later that anybody realised quite how momentous it had truly been. For us, this beautiful and ancient story has become so familiar that we probably barely notice it and yet it should still delight, excite and unsettle us in equal measure! So this Advent please try to put aside some extra time to ponder the birth of Christ so that when the great day arrives you’ll be ready for Christ to be born in your heart anew. For a Christmas that doesn’t begin with Christ is an empty celebration and that’s far more serious than forgetting to buy a present or even the sprouts! I’d like to wish you all a happy, blessed and joyful Christmas and God’s most abundant blessings throughout 2014. Ben

in the Upper Wye Churches throughout Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. We begin on Advent Sunday with a special Benefice Eucharist in the newly refurbished Llanfihangel Brynpabuan Church. If you haven’t seen it yet, it really does look fabulous; many congratulations are due to all who’ve worked so hard to achieve it. The same afternoon we’ll celebrate the beginning of Advent and a new church year with a Benefice Evensong at Llanfihangel Helygen.

Mothers’ Union Saturday 7th December - The Branch meets at Sugar and Spice in Llandrindod Wells for the annual dinner at 7.00pm for 7.30pm. Wednesday 18th December - Advent Service in Llanyre Church at 2.30pm followed by a bring and share tea at Highbury Farm - all are welcome Wednesday 8th Jan 2014 - A selection of members’ favourite prayers, poems and readings followed by a bring-and-share tea - meet at the Vicarage for 2.30pm. Sunday, 29th December: As is our custom we gather at Cwmbach on the Sunday of Christmas for a combined celebration followed by a bring and share lunch, if you’re heartily sick of turkey and sprouts then come and join us for fellowship and a change from Christmas Dinner or at least another recipe! New Year’s Eve Party in Llanyre Church Hall will be from 8.00pm until midnight How better to see in the new year than to join us at Llanyre Church Hall for our annual celebration. Dance along to or just enjoy the music of our talented friends Siârion. But bring your own drinks and food for a bring-and-share supper. NO charge but donations for the Hall will be welcomed!! Sunday, 5th January: A Festival of Lessons and Carols at 4.00pm in Llanyre Church. We conclude our Christmas celebrations with an atmospheric festival of Carols and Lessons with the Choir and Siârion: not to be missed!!

From the Registers We send our fondest love and prayers to the family and many friends of the late Sarah Myfanwy Pugh whose life was celebrated during her funeral service at All Saints Newbridge on Tuesday 29th October. May she and all the departed rest in peace and rise in glory.

Llanyre, Newbridge-on-Wye, Cwmbach Llechrhyd, Llanfihangel Helygen, Llanafan Fawr & Llanfihangel Brynpabuan Revd Ben Griffith, 2 Highbury Fields, Llanyre, LD1 6NF, Tel: 01597 823321, Email: 12

The Upper Wye Group of Parishes Services and Events

Llanyre Church Quiz at Doldowlod Hall Friday 29th November 2013 6.30pm £20 per head to include dinner and wine / soft drinks. Please contact Claerwen Gibson-Watt on 01597 860 395 or

Tuesday, 24th December: Christmas Eve 4.00pm Family Carol Service Llanyre 8.00pm Candlelit Eucharist Llanfihangel Helygen 11.30pm Midnight Eucharist Newbridge-on-Wye Wednesday, 25th December: Christmas Day 9.30am Christmas Eucharist with Carols at Cwmbach Llechrhyd Sunday, 29th December: 1st Sunday of Christmas 11.00am Cwmbach Benefice Eucharist followed by Bring & Share Lunch

Sunday, December 1st: Advent Sunday 10.00am Benefice Eucharist Llanfihangel Brynpabuan 3.00pm Benefice Evensong Llanfihangel Helygen

Tuesday, 31st December 8.00pm Llanyre Church Hall New Year’s Eve Party Sunday, 5th January: Epiphany 9.30am Holy Eucharist Llanyre 11.00am Holy Eucharist Llanfihangel Brynpabuan 11.00am Morning Praise Newbridge-on-Wye 3.00pm NO service at Llanfihangel Helygen today 4.00pm 9 Lessons & Carols with Siârion in Llanyre

Sunday, 8th December: Advent II 9.30am Holy Eucharist Cwmbach Llechrhyd 9.30am Morning Praise Llanyre 11.00am Holy Eucharist Newbridge-on-Wye Wednesday, 11th December 2.30pm Caerwnon Park Social Club Carol Singing

Sunday, 12th January: Epiphany 1 9.30am Holy Eucharist Cwmbach Llechrhyd 9.30am Morning Praise Llanyre 11.00am Holy Eucharist Newbridge-on-Wye 3.00pm Holy Eucharist Llanfihangel Helygen


Sunday, 15 December: Advent III 9.30am Family Eucharist Llanyre 11.00am Holy Eucharist Newbridge-on-Wye 4.00pm Christingle Service Newbridge-on-Wye Monday, 16th December Carol Singing around Llanyre (part 1)

Sunday, 19th January: Epiphany II 9.30am Family Eucharist Llanyre 11.00am Holy Eucharist Newbridge-on-Wye 3.00pm Holy Eucharist Llanafan Fawr

Wednesday, 18th December 2.30pm Llanyre MU Advent Service 6.00pm Carol Singing around Llanyre (part 2) Saturday, 21st December Children’s Christmas Party

Sunday, 26th January: Conversion of St. Paul 9.30am Family Eucharist Newbridge-on-Wye 9.30am Morning Prayer Cwmbach Llechrhyd 11.00am Holy Eucharist Llanyre

Llanyre Church Hall

Sunday, 22nd December: Advent IV 9.30am Holy Eucharist Newbridge-on-Wye 11.00am Holy Eucharist Llanyre 3.00pm Family Carol Service Llanafan Fawr 6.00pm Carol Singing for everyone around the Christmas Tree in Llanyre Monday, 23rd December 5.00pm Carol Service

Looking Forwards It was decided at a public meeting in Llanyre on 12th November that we should pursue the plans to build a new hall for the community of Llanyre and Llanfihangel Helygen on the Recreation Field in Llanyre. More details will be given when we have them, but in the meantime watch this space!

Llanfihangel Brynpabuan

Llanyre, Newbridge-on-Wye, Cwmbach Llechrhyd, Llanfihangel Helygen, Llanafan Fawr & Llanfihangel Brynpabuan Revd Ben Griffith, 2 Highbury Fields, Llanyre, LD1 6NF, Tel: 01597 823321, Email: 13

The seventh in an occasional series of articles outlining the Church in Wales’ official positions relating to some of the biggest issues facing Christians today…

6. WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT... Work Most people spend a large proportion of their life at work – whether in an office, a factory, a public institution, outdoors or at home. These different places reflect the glorious variety of God’s creation, and the diversity of gifts and abilities that He gives. For Christians, the world of work is where they try to discover what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. In caring for others, handling the earth’s natural resources or working for social justice, our daily efforts are just as much part of our discipleship as our worship in church on a Sunday. Whatever our position at work we are responsible for the decisions we make, the actions we take, and the way they will affect others, either locally or globally. Our behaviour will speak volumes about what we believe.

What are the challenges facing you at work? Can you ride the waves? 

The following Bible passages talk about work: 

1 Corinthians 12:12-26 St Paul writes about the diversity of gifts and abilities that make up the church; his description is just as applicable to the world of work. Think about what particular gifts you bring to you work, and contrast them with those your colleagues bring. There is no need for everyone to have the same gifts; all of us contribute something different; every gift is precious and we all need to learn to work together for the good of all.

Colossians 3:12-17 The Christian approach is not just for a Sunday; it affects all we do and are every day of the week. Everything can become the subject of prayer. All work is of value to God. We need to offer up the world of work to God.

We don’t believe…

2 Corinthians 4: 6-10 Here St Paul writes about the challenges in his work as a preacher travelling around the Mediterranean. He doesn’t try to run away from the difficulties he faces, but takes the good with the bad identifying these tensions with the pattern of death and resurrection.

that working harder will get us to heaven. We are saved by God’s free gift of grace which we receive through faith, not by our own efforts.

that earning more or being more successful is necessarily a sign that we are blessed by God. Success and wealth can be gained and used in both good and bad ways, and God is more interested in the state of our hearts than the state of our wallets.

that being a Christian means we should isolate ourselves from the rest of the world. As Christians, we are called to participate fully in life, not to separate ourselves away from it into “holy huddles”.

A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our readers, from your Deanery Magazine 14

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The Parishes of the Irfon Valley & Blaenau Irfon Sunday 1st December: Advent 1 9.30am Eglwys Oen Duw, Beulah (HC) 11.00am St. James, Llanwrtyd (MP) 11.15 Llanganten, Cilmery (MP) 11.15 Llanlleonfel (HC)

Lucyann writes… I recently attended a symposium entitled ‘The faith lives of girls and women’ by Fran Porter, Ann Phillips and Nicola Slee which included the launch of their book by the same title. It was an inspiring time, hearing women from across the Christian spectrum presenting their research findings; ranging from the theology of prayers written by children in a hospital chapel, to a particularly memorable one, especially appropriate as we look toward Christmas, was the work of young woman exploring motherhood within the context of Charismatic Christianity. Today, as our parish bible study of Mark’s gospel concluded with our exploration of the women’s response to meeting the resurrected Jesus, we talked of the unsettling reality that Mary the mother of Jesus would probably have been little more than twelve years old. The symposium allowed us a brief glimpse into the lived experience of women, and what impact this has on their faith and what it might mean for our worshipping communities. Over the years I have heard many new mothers talk of how the Christmas story connects with them and I’ve also heard the dissonance they experience when the representation of Mary fails to talk about sleepless nights, leaky breasts or the desperation to have 5 minutes to yourself; let alone your guilt at feeling this way, when you know what your friend would give to have a baby. Christmas is a time when many of us experience the dissonance between our hopes and expectations and the reality of our particular situation. The wonderful thing about the symposium was realising that the research topics were all born out of an experience of dissonance. I came away feeling profoundly comforted in the knowledge that it’s when we pay attention to the dissonance; really listen, open our hearts and minds to it, that we then discover Emmanuel, God with us. So may you find unexpected blessings this Christmas which give you joy and hope for the coming year.

Advent Advent Carol Service Sunday 1st December at 7.30 pm St. Cadmarch’s Church, Llangammarch

Christmas Tree Festival Sat 7th December in St. James’ Church, Llanwrtyd followed by a

Carol Concert at 5.30pm Sunday 8th December: Advent 2 9.30am Eglwys Oen Duw (MP) 9.30am St. Cadmarch’s (HC) 11.00am St. James, Llanwrtyd (HC) Sunday 15th December: Advent 3 9.30am Eglwys Oen Duw (HC) 11.00am St. James 11.15am Llanganten Carol Service Sunday 22nd December: Advent 4 11.00am Eglwys Oen Duw, Lessons & Carols Joint Blaenau Irfon Benefice 11.00am Llanfechan, Service of Holy Communion Joint Irfon Valley Benefice Theme - Christmas on the Farm

Tues 24th December: Christmas Eve 9.30pm (2130 hours) Communion Service at St. James’, Llanwrtyd 11.30pm (2330 hours) Midnight Communion Service in Llangammarch

v t v t v t v t v t v

St Cadmarch’s, Llangammarch Wells; The Parish Church, Llanlleonfel, Garth; St Afan’s, Llanfechan; St Cannen’s, Llanganten, Cilmery; St. James’, Llanwrtyd Wells; St. David’s, Llanwrtyd; St David’s Tirabad; Eglwys Oen Duw, Beulah; Revd Lucyann Ashdown, The Rectory, Llangammarch Wells, Tel: 01591 620 244, Email: 16

The Parishes of the Irfon Valley & Blaenau Irfon Jan 12th The First Sunday of Epiphany The Baptism of Christ 9.30am Eglwys Oen Duw (MP) 9.30am St. Cadmarch’s (HC) 11.00am St. James, Llanwrtyd (HC)

Wed 25th December

Christmas Day 9.30am Eglwys Oen Duw 10.00am Llanlleonfel

(HC) (HC)

Jan 19th The Second Sunday of Epiphany 9.30am Eglwys Oen Duw 11.00am St. James 11.15am Llanganten

Sunday 29th Dec 1st Sunday of Christmas Joint Benefice Reflective Communion Service – Garth Hall

Jan 26th The Third Sunday of Epiphany 9.30am Eglwys Oen Duw (Family Service) 9.30am St. Cadmarch’s (HC) 11.00am St. James, Llanwrtyd (HC) Feb 2nd Candlemas 9.30am Eglwys Oen Duw, Beulah 11.00am St. James, Llanwrtyd 11.15am Llanganten, Cilmery 11.15am Llanlleonfel

Festive Events th

10 December at 6.00pm Ysgol Dôlafon

Christmas Concert in Victoria Hall, Llanwrtyd

(HC) (MP) (MP) (HC)

Winners of Friends of the Irfon Valley 200 Club October draw Congratulations to the following lucky people: £50 Giles Marshall £25 Richard Powell £15 Judy White £10 Amcotts Wilson £10 Rhys Jones £10 Rachel Fairhurst £10 Sue Parry £10 Mrs. E Cheffers £10 Kevin Jones £10 Sandra McDonald £10 Mr & Mrs Maltby £10 Philip Richards £10 Sara Davies

6.30pm Tuesday 17th and Thursday 19th in Garth Hall Irfon Valley School Concert

‘The Stars Come out for Christmas’ Monday 16th December Carol Singing around Garth meet at Garth Hall at 7pm Tues 17th December at 7pm Carol Service at St. David’s, Tirabad Tues 18th December at 6.30pm Carol Service Service at St. David’s, Llanwrtyd Thurs 19th December Carol Concert Concert at Garth Hall

Fairtrade Coffee Morning

5th January January 2nd Sunday of Christmas 9.30am Eglwys Oen Duw. Beulah (HC) 11.00am St. James, Llanwrtyd (MP) 11.15am Llanganten, Cilmery (MP) 11.15am Llanlleonfel (HC) Monday 6th January Feast of the Epiphany 7.30pm Join us for our Deanery Service at Eglwys Oen Duw, Beulah

1st Saturday of the month 10.30-12 at St. James’ Church, Llanwrtyd Wells

St Cadmarch’s, Llangammarch Wells; The Parish Church, Llanlleonfel, Garth; St Afan’s, Llanfechan; St Cannen’s, Llanganten, Cilmery; St. James’, Llanwrtyd Wells; St. David’s, Llanwrtyd; St David’s Tirabad; Eglwys Oen Duw, Beulah; Revd Lucyann Ashdown, The Rectory, Llangammarch Wells, Tel: 01591 620 244, Email: 17

‘Nearer to God in a Garden’ – December and January - Holly Holly is a familiar Christmas decoration. The common holly found in woods and hedges is Ilex aquifolium. Holly bushes are either male or female, they have small flowers in May - July then the female bushes develop clusters of red berries that ripen in autumn. Bushes can grow into trees up to 10m / 32ft tall. There is a magnificent example of a female holly in St. Mary’s churchyard. There are a few other hollies in the churchyard including a male holly upwind of the females that acts as a pollinator. Growing holly from a berry can produce either a male or a female shrub. It is best propagated by layering. Be careful when buying a named variety as ‘Golden King’ is a female and ‘Silver Queen’ a male. ‘J.C.van Tol’ is self-fertile. ‘The Holly and the Ivy’ is a traditional Christmas Carol. It was first officially published in 1861 with the words from an older manuscript. The symbolism in the carol uses the white blossoms as the purity of Mary; the red berries, Jesus’ blood; the thorns, His crown and the bitter bark, His crucifixion agony.

Linda Lewis

Can You Name These Christmas Carols? 1. ABCDEFGHIJKMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ 2. On my list, I only desire my foremost dual incisors. 3. The smogless witching hour has arrived. 4. Exuberating to this orb. 5. 288 Yuletide hours. 6. Sir Lancelot with laryngitis. 7. Leave and do an elevated broadcast. 8. That small hamlet south of the Holy City. 9. Listen, the winged heavenly messengers are proclaiming tunefully. 10. Mom's mother was the victim of a "hit-and-run" by Santa's sleigh team. 11. I spied my maternal parent face-against-face with Father Christmas. 12. Whose offspring? You’ll find the answers on page nineteen.

The Best Christmas Pudding Contributed by M Thackwray from an article in the Horsham Times, Dec 1915

Take some human nature - as you find it The commonest variety will do. Put a little graciousness behind it, Add a lump of charity - or two. Squeeze in just a drop of moderation, Half as much frugality - or less, Add some very fine consideration, Strain off all of poverty's distress. Pour some milk of human kindness in it, Put in all the happiness you can, Stir it up with laughter every minute, Season with goodwill towards every man. Set it on the fire of heart's affection,

Leave it till the jolly bubbles rise, Sprinkle it with kisses - for affection, Sweeten with a look from loving eyes. Flavour it with children's merry chatter, Frost it with the snow of wintry dells, Place it on a holly-garnished platter, And serve it with the song of Christmas Bells. 18

A Fitting Memorial for 2014 … The Bishops of the Church in Wales have just recently added their names to the signatories of an open letter to the Ministry of Defence calling for an end to the recruitment of under-18s into the British Armed forces. As we move into 2014, the centenary of the start of World War One, the letter called on the MoD to raise the recruitment age as a ‘fitting memorial’ to the thousands of young soldiers killed in that ‘war to end all wars’.

Richard Clarke, Director of Child Soldiers International, said “It’s time for the MoD to recognise what more and more young people and their parents are realising – that enlisting at 16 is not in their best interests. Army training does not give young people what they need to succeed in today’s economy, especially in terms of qualifications. During the First World War the minimum age for recruitment and conscription was 18, with deployment at 19. To be recruiting 16-year-olds a century later makes no sense at all.” With seven WWI war graves in the churchyards of churches and chapels in our own Deanery ( in Aberedw, Builth, Cwmbach, Glascwm and Cefn Gorwedd) serving as a local reminder of the cost of the conflict, the Bishops of the Church in Wales are hoping that parishioners can continue to bring pressure on our elected officials to reform current policy.

Our own Bishop John said, “Young people at 16 are not allowed to vote, to drive or to buy alcohol yet are allowed to hold a rifle and train for warfare in the Army. My concern is that at the age of 16 young people are still technically children and however mature they may feel, they are not as robust and resilient as they think they are but are vulnerable and at risk and should be protected.”

Can You Name These Christmas Carols? ANSWERS: 1. The First Noel (no 'L'!) 2. All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth 3. It Came upon a Midnight Clear 4. Joy to the World 5. The Twelve Days of Christmas 6. Silent Night 7. Go Tell It on the Mountain 8. O Little Town of Bethlehem 9. Hark the Herald Angels Sing 10. Grandma Got Run-over by a Reindeer 11. I Saw Mama Kissin' Santa Claus 12. What Child Is This?

The MoD has responded by asking the Army to conduct an internal review, however whilst Former Minister for the Armed Forces Sir Nick Harvey welcomed the review, he expressed reservations about its scope. “I am pleased that the MoD has agreed to conduct a review of this policy but it must be independent, transparent and thorough. The time is right to look at under-18 recruitment again. It should not be limited to just the financial costs of training and recruitment, but must seriously examine the personal costs borne by recruits who enlist at this age – including in relation to their long term welfare and employability” he said.


How did you get on?

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All contributions (news items and ideas for future issues) are very welcome and should be sent to: Abigail Hook, The Vicarage, 1 North Road, Builth Wells LD2 3BT Tel: 01982 552 355 E-mail: Web: For Advertising Queries please Richard Hussey Tel: 01591 620 648 E-mail: ‘Signposts’ is printed by Powerprint, Llandrindod th

Deadline for next issue (February): Monday 13 January 2013 20

Signposts 158 December 2013 and January 2014  

Magazine for the Irfon and Wye Valley Churches

Signposts 158 December 2013 and January 2014  

Magazine for the Irfon and Wye Valley Churches