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Issue No 149

Magazine for the Irfon and Wye Valley Churches February 2013

STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN OR PATHWAY TO HELL? by Revd Marian Morgan The Bible has much to say about how we should live and how we should die, the Psalmists in particular call upon God to tell them the time of their death: “LORD, let me know mine end, and the number of my days; that I may be certified how long I have to live. Behold, thou hast made my days as it were a span long, and mine age is even as nothing in respect of thee;” Ps. 39 “The days of our age are threescore years and ten; and though men be so strong that they come to fourscore years, yet is their strength then but labour and sorrow; so soon passeth it away, and we are gone. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom”. Ps. 90

The Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) was developed in the Liverpool University Hospital in 1996 but its use has become widespread recently as the number of very elderly frail people has increased and since there appears to be a financial inducement, incentive or reward for those hospitals accelerating the ‘throughput’ of elderly patients by the active management of the ‘end of life’ for those who are assessed to be dying. The procedure involves the withdrawal of fluids and food, and the administration of sedative drugs. The human body is a very complex organism; it is able to survive about three minutes without air, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food. For patients placed on the toxic combination of this ‘Pathway’ death occurs in approximately 33 hours. Sedation without hydration kills! Government estimates of the

number of people whose lives have been ended in this manner vary between 60,000 and 120,000 over the past year.(One wonders if this is the kind of insidious approach which allowed the Holocaust to gain momentum and apparent ‘acceptance’.) Guidelines developed by the Tees, Esk and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, which were issued on 1st April 2010 state: “All members of Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust staff will adhere to the parameters of trust policies. The consequences of non-compliance may include disciplinary and/or legal action.” It is evident that most clinicians would have the best interests of their patients at heart but they – especially Junior doctors - undoubtedly will defer to pressure from senior doctors or managers where performance ‘targets’ or financial inducement is involved. Ironically, perhaps the greatest incentive of all is the empty bed! On registration as a medical practitioner most doctors will swear an oath in which they state inter alia • The health of my patient will be my first consideration; • I will not permit considerations of religion, nationality, race, gender, politics, socioeconomic standing, or sexual orientation to intervene between my duty and my patient; • I will maintain the utmost respect for human life; even under threat, I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity; The next part seemingly concerns euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, saying: "And I will not give a drug that is deadly to anyone if asked, nor will I suggest the way to such a counsel."

Continued on page 15

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Deanery Notices Brecon Cathedral DEANERY SERVICE

Sunday 17th February at 3.30pm

Sunday 10th FEBRUARY

Installation of

Alan Jevons *Music* *Praise* *Witness* *Fellowship*

as

Archdeacon of Brecon

ALL AGE WORSHIP 18.00 ST. MARY’S CHURCH BUILTH WELLS

"Marriage for You" Exhibition St Mary's Church, Brecon 8th & 9th February for National Marriage Week Promoting various aspects of preparing for marriage including cost cutting ideas and a display of wedding gowns through the decades from 1940. Refreshments will be available in the Tower Cafe.

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LLANGASTY RETREAT HOUSE 19th to 21st February 2013

“Bread in the Wilderness” Lenten Retreat Led by Fr Martin Williams - A retreat based on the teaching of Thomas Merton on the Psalms There will be addresses covering subjects such as: The Psalms as Prayer; The Psalms as Poetry; The Psalms as Scripture in Miniature; The Psalms as Vision of the Kingdom; The Psalms as Consolation. There will be a mid-day Eucharist on the Wednesday and Thursday and daily Morning and Evening Prayer and Compline. Silence will be observed in the House for most of the retreat. Fr Martin Williams is a retired Archdeacon of the Church in Wales and a Trustee of Llangasty Retreat House. Arrive 4pm Tuesday and depart after lunch on Thursday. Cost £155 Drop-In Quiet Days are on Tuesday 19th February and Monday 18th March and offer an opportunity to pause for prayer and personal reflection - come for all or part of the day. Bring your own lunch. Coffee and tea provided. No charge, but donations welcome. No need to book.

Food for Thought

“The The Voice of God:

Local churches in the Builth Wells area have joined with the local Community Support to start a lunch club for the over 60's at the Jubilee Hall at Llanelwedd, the first meal was held on Friday 9th November with the team serving up beef casserole and trifle. With a cost of only £4 for main course, dessert and tea/coffee as well as a short activity after the lunch, you'd have to look hard to find a better bargain! If you are over 60 and live in Builth, Llanelwedd, Cilmery, Aberedw, Builth Road, Cwmbach and are interested in attending, then please contact Builth Wells Community Support at 14 High Street, Builth Wells. Tel 01982 553004 for a membership form, numbers will be limited so please contact them soon. Volunteers are still needed to help prepare & serve the meal, set up the hall, provide transport & organise the after lunch activities, if you can help then please contact Builth Wells Community Support.

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Religious Hallucinations and Mental Health” Health Thursday, 28th February at 19.00 Callaghan Lecture Theatre, Swansea University Dr Simon Dein (Senior Clinical Lecturer in the Mental Health Sciences Unit in the Faculty of Brain Sciences at UCL; Consultant Psychiatrist at Princess Alexandra Hospital Essex)


The Colwyn Group of Parishes Dear Friends

Goodbye/Hello! Goodbye/Hello!

By the time you read this I will have changed – emerged from some sort of ecclesiastical chrysalis and become something new! Perhaps I should now entitle this column, “From the Rector’s desk”, which is common in some parish magazines. Whilst I have changed my title, to Rector, which followed as part of the Installation & Induction as Incumbent late last month, I haven’t really changed. I am still ‘me’ and in fact you will see that the term ‘Vicar Richard’ is still being used. You will still see me walking around, looking pretty much as I was before! Yet again I mention that dirty word in church circles, “change”! But why is that word seen as a dirty word? Well, I guess it’s a fear of the unknown – of what we are used to. Our comfort blanket is snatched away. What we like and think is good for us is wrenched from our grasp. In his book, “God of Surprises”, Gerard Hughes encourages us to realise the truth of Jesus’ words — “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field” — and suggests ways to find that treasure within ourselves. If we are to really follow Jesus and we must become flexible, adaptable and become able to respond to his call. This cannot be achieved if we rigidly retain some of our comfort blankets. Now please, don’t run away with the idea that I like change just for the sake of it; I don’t, I actually loathe it! But there are times when we must change or risk dying out completely. The way ahead for the whole church over the next few years will be challenging, not just in terms of losing clergy and changing Services, but financially as well. Changes have to take place even within our own group of churches to keep pace with what is happening nationally. The Church in Wales Review offers some exciting possibilities for mission and the way we ‘do church’. So, as Archbishop Rowan once said, “There is no such thing as change in the Church. Change usually indicates something completely different. Nothing is different. We still worship the Lord Jesus Christ daily. What Christians need to do is to adapt – adapt to our new surroundings. If we do this quickly, the pain will be so much less”. Seems like sense to me!!

st

On 31 January, Randolph Thomas, the Archdeacon of Brecon retires after forty-one years in ministry and exactly ten years as Archdeacon. On 17th February at 3.30pm in the Cathedral Revd Alan Jevons will be Installed as the new Archdeacon. A presentation will be made to Randolph at that Service. Please come and support both Randolph and Alan at that Service.

Services for February 2013 3rd February 2nd Sunday before Lent Llansantffraed 10.00 RK Eucharist Glascwm 6.00 ET Village Service 10th February Sunday before Lent Cregrina 9.30 RK Eucharist Llanelwedd 11.15 RK Eucharist 13th February RK Cregrina 7.00 17th February Llanfaredd Llansantffraed Glascwm Rhulen 24th February Cregrina Bettws Llanelwedd

Ash Wednesday Service of Ashing

Lent 1 9.30 RK Eucharist 10.00 MO Morning Prayer 11.15 JO Eucharist 11.15 RK Eucharist Lent 2 9.30 MO Village Service 9.30 RK Eucharist 10.45 RK/LK/ET Worship4All Family Service

Worship4All Family Service Our next Family Service will be on 24th February at 10.45am at St. Matthew’s Church, Llanelwedd. A different style service is on offer, with tea/coffee and cake afterwards.

Please come and join us!!

Lent Lunches/Course

Vicar Richard Richard

We will be holding Soup Lunches on four Tuesdays through Lent. We are combining that with a Lent Course entitled, “Table Talk” which explores various issues of the day as we lead up to Easter.

Ashing Service The Ash Wednesday Service of Ashing will take place on 13th February at 7.00pm in St. David’s Church, Cregrina. As in previous years this will take the form of the Imposition of the Ashes and Eucharist.

For further information please contact the Rectory (01982 551288).

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


Diocesan Vision Update Following on from the launch of the new Diocesan Vision and all of its associated materials at the October 2012 Diocesan Conference in Brecon cathedral the Diocese has released a brand new and unique five-week course that digs deeper into our Vision. Written by Canon Janet Russell, the Diocesan Director of Mission with Bible study material by Professor D. P. Davies ‘Growing more like Jesus’ has been released just in time for Lent – although the course can be run at any time! ‘Growing more like Jesus’ has been designed to be flexible enough to be run with a small groups meeting in someone’s home or as a deanery cluster or even in your local church! One definition of a vision is: “the dream you hope to establish” – our Diocesan dream is that we become: A family, rooted in Christ, committed to transforming lives by Gathering as God’s people, Growing more like Jesus, Going out in the power of the Spirit.

Canon Janet Russell

Teulu wedi ein gwreiddio yng Nghrist, yn gweddnewid bywydau trwy: Gyd-gyfarfod yn bobl Dduw, Cyd-dyfu’n fwy tebyg i Iesu, Cyd-genhadu yn nerth yr Ysbryd

Perhaps ‘Growing more like Jesus’ can help this dream become a reality! Bishop John says “Getting to know the scriptures and other aspects of our faith more deeply can sometimes seem challenging. It’s easy to think that it’s only for experts. Well, not so. Each one of us has to get to grips with such challenges as the material is basic to our understanding and living out of the faith. Many people tell me that, whilst they were originally a bit scared of doing this, once they’d started, it became really exciting and they wanted more. He goes on to commend the new course to all within the Diocese as “a source of both blessing and growth for you and for our Diocesan family”. Available as a free download from the Diocesan Website or as a high quality print version from either of the two Diocesan resource centres the course is completely self contained and has within all the resources that participants will need to lead and participate in all five of the hour long sessions. Each session features a creative activity as well as a short piece of bible study and even material and questions to take away and reflect upon after the session has finished. Deliberately aimed at being userfriendly it does not presume any theological expertise but instead focuses on a personal response to the questions which face all of us in our shared aim of discerning a vision for our Diocese.

Download your copies of ‘Growing more like Jesus’ from: www.churchinwales.org.uk/swanbrec/ or order your copies by phoning the Diocesan Resource Centre (Brecon) on 01874 623716 5


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The Builth Wells Group of Parishes Prayers are said most weekdays in the Chapel of the Holy Name of Jesus in St Mary’s, Builth – see St Mary’s noticeboard for details.

Sunday Worship

Regular Events

03rd February (Candlemas) 10.30 Christingle Service at St. Mary the Virgin, Builth 15.00 Holy Eucharist at St. David’s, Llanddewi’r-Cwm

• A said Eucharist is celebrated every Thursday at 10.00 in the Chapel of the Holy Name of Jesus in St Mary’s, Builth Wells • Bellringing every Thursday at St Mary’s Tower at 19.45 – all welcome • SAINTS ALIVE kids club at Maesmynis Hall 16.00 on Dec 12, Jan 09 & Jan 23. • Youth Alpha – Every Friday between 19 January and 29 March

10 February (Sunday Before Lent) 09.30 Holy Eucharist at St. Mary the Virgin, Builth 11.00 Matins at St. David’s, Maesmynis 18.00 Deanery CELEBR8 Service at St. Mary’s, Builth 17 February (Lent I) 09.30 Holy Eucharist at St. Mary the Virgin, Builth 11.00 Holy Eucharist at St. Mauritius, Alltmawr

From the Vicarage We are often encouraged to be good stewards of all our resources, to think about following the biblical example of tithing a tenth of our income to the Church. Lent gives us the opportunity to tithe roughly that amount of time in our lives to God. Time to think and reflect on what it means to follow him; time to think and reflect on who we really are. This Lent we take the opportunity to explore not just as individuals but also as a community of faith why, how and where we are going – our preaching series during the first five Sundays in Lent will help us to reflect on the vision we are striving to create here in Builth. Although this process may, like Lent, be uncomfortable it will, Like Lent, end in something as uplifting as Easter. Blessings Father Neil

24 February (Lent II) 09.30 Holy Eucharist at St. Mary the Virgin, Builth 11.00 Holy Eucharist at St. David’s, Maesmynis 18.00 Sung Evensong at St. Mary the Virgin, Builth

Parish Diary 02 Feb Cath Woolridge X.Alt Event at Brecon Cathedral 03 Feb Christingle 10.30 at St. Mary’s, Builth 04 Feb Communion at Brynhyfryd Residential Home 08 Feb Lunch Club 12.00 at Jubilee Hall, Llanelwedd 13 Feb Holy Eucharist with the Imposition of Ashes for the beginning of Lent 19.00, St Mary’s, Builth 01 Mar Women’s World Day of Prayer Service, 14.00 in St. Mary’s Builth

Lenten Preaching Series

Builth Wells Wells Handbells

During Lent St. Mary’s Builth will be exploring the new Diocesan Vision goals through the lens of the Lenten readings. A variety of preachers will be leading us in our Reflections:

Although fundraising is still ongoing enough money has been raised to have an old set of 23 handbells retuned and refurbished. The handbells are at Whitechapel Bell Foundry and should be ready by mid-February 2013. Funding has come from Powys Community Regeneration and Development Fund, The Golsoncott Foundation, The Ashley Family Foundation, Builth Wells Town Council, Mr & Mrs JT Morgan Foundation and an interest-free loan from The William Hartley Memorial Fund of The Handbell Ringers of Great Britain. The intention is to set up a Handbell Ringing Group that will learn to ring traditional tunes, hymns, Christmas Carols and handbell arrangements. The group will meet in St. Mary's Church Hall, Builth Wells on a day and time to be decided. Anyone will be welcome to join the group which will be starting from scratch. You do not have to be able to read music as the music will be marked up for each pair of handbells. To express an interest please phone 01982 552419.

17 February (Lent I) Mrs Gina Ayling - Rooted in Christ 24 February (Lent II) Rev Michael Sobell - Transforming Lives 03 March (Lent III) Rev Norman Boddicoat – Gathering as God’s People 10 March (Lent IV) Rev Fr Phillip Morris – Growing more like Jesus 17 March (Passiontide) Rev Canon Janet Russell – Going out in the power of the Spirit

Find us in Cyberspace at: www.builthgroup.org.uk facebook.com/BuilthGroup twitter.com/BuilthGroup

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: frhooky@gmail.com 7


The Erwood & Painscastle Group of Parishes back on the year gone and give thanks for all its blessings and we look forward to the year to come full of confident expectation in the knowledge, and the belief, that, as St Paul tells us, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8; 28) The Churchwardens and PCCs, under the guidance of the new Archdeacon and the Acting Area Dean, the Revd. Ben Griffith, will run the churches with the support of visiting clergy during the inter-regnum, which I pray will not be too long. It will surely be a time of continuing growth and confidence as more people are drawn into leading various aspects of worship in response to God’s call. I am delighted that the parishes now have a new Rectory. As the birth of the Christ-child brought, and continues to bring, light into a very dark world, I pray that his peace, hope, joy and love will fill your hearts, your homes and your communities. I pray especially for the lonely and the housebound and for those on the margins of our churches and communities, and for those who believe in God but who do not know how to cross the threshold from believing into belonging. I pray for a new incumbent who will lead, cherish, nurture and empower the people of these parishes that all may feel precious in God’s eyes and valued by the church. I know the Lord is preparing, right now, the next occupant of our new Rectory and I pray that he, or she, will find, as Leslie and I found, a real sense of joy and true friendship as they minister here. With my love and prayers for you all; may you have peace and good health in the coming year.

Letter from Trefechan It is with a sense of great sadness that I write this, my first and last letter, from the new Rectory in Aberedw. I know, of course, that retirement comes eventually to all of us in paid employment but it still comes as something of a shock especially when the future remains unclear. At this time of taking stock I suppose it is natural to feel an overwhelming sense of failure; failure to do enough visiting; failure to encourage more people, especially young families, into church; failure to develop and sustain our ministry to children and young people. But, hopefully, most of our churches are stronger, with more people involved in leading worship and with a real sense of mission, purpose and fellowship.

I have been so grateful for the support and cooperation I have received here, especially after Leslie died, and for the commitment and sheer hard work of all of the churchwardens and PCC officers in what can sometimes be a very demanding and difficult task; it is never possible to accommodate even the reasonable wishes of all of the people all of the time. I have been encouraged by the way in which those who do not attend church regularly help with the upkeep of our churches and churchyards and by the army of invisible helpers who do the cleaning and the flowers, especially at festivals and for special occasions. One of the real blessings of our parishes lies in our small group of organists who enrich our worship so wonderfully. I have been encouraged by the way in which people have raised money for the ever increasing costs of keeping our churches open. I owe a particular debt of gratitude – if you will forgive the pun – to the Treasurers of our group for the careful way in which they have worked to ensure that all of our churches remain solvent, albeit with difficulty. None of us knows what the future holds for us but, as Christians, especially at this time of year, we look

Revd. Marian Morgan, your parish priest

PAINSCASTLE MOTHERS UNION Do join us for our meeting on Tuesday, 12th February at 7.30pm in Painscastle Village Hall. Speaker: Simon Guinane, Registered Osteopath Fran Shaw 01982 560480

Aberedw w Llandeilo Graban w Llanbadarn-y-Garreg w Crickadarn w Gwenddwr & Bryngwyn w Newchurch w Llanbedr Painscastle w Llanddewi Fach Priest-in-Charge: Revd Marian Morgan, Trefechan, Aberedw, Builth Wells LD2 3UW Tel: 01982 560359 and 01982 560702 E-mail: mkemorgan@btinternet.com 8


The Erwood & Painscastle Group of Parishes Sunday, 3rd The Second Sunday before Lent 9.00 Newchurch H. C.(1662 Short) (HJF) (Followed by refreshments at Rose Cottage) 9.30 Llanbadarn-y-Garreg HC (MM) 9.30 Gwenddwr MP (AO) 10.30 Newchurch M. P. (1662) (MO) 11.00 Llandeilo Graban HC (MM)

Sunday 10th Sunday before Lent 2.30 Llandeilo Graban Group Eucharist with

CONFIRMATION Please join us for this very special service

Sunday 10th Sunday before Lent 2.30 Confirmation Service WEDNESDAY 13th ASH WEDNESDAY 7.00 Aberedw HC 1st Communion of Lent (MM)

HOPES, DREAMS AND PLANS

Sunday 17th Lent 1 9.30 Llandeilo Graban HC (MM) 11.00 Gwenddwr HC (MM)

A meeting to work together on a vision for the benefice

Sunday 24th Lent 2 9.30 Llanbedr (PJM) 11.00 Crickadarn HC (MM) 3.00 Llandewi Fach HC (HJF) 6.00 Aberedw HC (MM)

All are welcome rd

Saturday 23 February 9.30am – 12.30pm Painscastle Village Hall

Aberedw w Llandeilo Graban w Llanbadarn-y-Garreg w Crickadarn w Gwenddwr & Bryngwyn w Newchurch w Llanbedr Painscastle w Llanddewi Fach Priest-in-Charge: Revd Marian Morgan, Trefechan, Aberedw, Builth Wells LD2 3UW Tel: 01982 560359 and 01982 560702 E-mail: mkemorgan@btinternet.com

CHURCH REVIEW - group set up to oversee changes Their first report will be made to the Governing Body’s Standing Committee in February. A full report on progress will then be made to each meeting of the whole Governing Body. Judge Philip Price, chairman of the Standing Committee, said, “We are very fortunate to have a group of talented and insightful people who between them bring a wide range of experience and ability to the task ahead and we are very grateful to them for giving their time and energy to it. Theirs will be a challenging job but one which will hopefully bring exciting changes, enabling the Church better to serve today’s Wales.”

A group of five people will examine how radical proposals for the Church in Wales can be delivered. They will look at recommendations made to the Church following an independent review, which took place across Wales last year, and advise the Church on how they can be taken forward. The implementation group was appointed by the Governing Body of the Church and will report to it. It will review the recommendations and the responses received to them, draw up a timetable of action, act as a liaison point and monitor progress. Chairing the group will be Helen Biggin, director of the Welsh NHS Confederation. She is joined by the Bishop of Bangor, Andy John; business consultant James Turner; Nigel King, a market research professional and Stewardship advisor to the Diocese of Swansea & Brecon; and Revd Paul Mackness, Vicar of the Benefice of Haverfordwest. All five are members of the Church’s Governing Body.

Mrs Biggin said, “This is a really exciting time for the Church in Wales. The Review Group has made some radical and challenging recommendations, which offer great opportunities. Together with an enthusiastic team, I am looking forward to helping meet these challenges and deliver the changes that will enable the Church to thrive as it serves communities throughout Wales. 9


The Upper Wye Group of Parishes Bruce Mackintosh who was laid to rest at Llanyre following his funeral on 11th December Robin Grimwood who was cremated at Hereford following his funeral at Newbridge on 10th January.

Dear Friends, As you read this, we have reached one of those pivotal moments in the Christian calendar; moments when our focus shifts as suddenly and as dramatically as ever Sauron manages in The Lord of the Rings. On February 2nd, we celebrate the lovely feast of Candlemas when we recall how according to St. Luke’s Gospel 40 days after his birth, the infant Christ was presented in the Temple in Jerusalem in fulfilment of the Mosaic Law that every first born male of either human or animal belonged to God and was therefore presented to him and redeemed. Luke tells us little about the ritual but a great deal about what follows it when Simeon recognises the true identity of the child. Unlike popular custom, in church, Candlemas not 12th Night or even January 2nd marks the end of Christmas. It is also the moment when as an echo of Simeon’s prophecy we are reminded of the reason for Christ’s birth in the first place. It’s time if you like to put away the baby pictures and remember that the baby of Bethlehem didn’t remain a baby. Christ grew into adulthood and the same arms that are stretched out to cuddle in Bethlehem were also stretched out in blessing and eventually stretched out upon the cross. It is the adult Jesus who calls you and me and all people to live in loving service of and relationship with him. Eleven days after Candlemas we enter the season of Lent; the time in the year when we are encouraged to consider what the state of the relationship between ourselves and God is now and through the rigour and discipline of Lent we are enabled to grow deeper into that relationship becoming more like Christ, becoming more like the members of his family. So Candlemas this year marks the transition between the joy and exultation of Christmas and the rigour and discipline of Lent’s journey along the way of the cross; a time for growing into God and enabling him to touch our lives and hearts. I’d like to wish you all a blessed Candlemas and a happy, holy and joyful Lent. With my love and prayers, as always

May they and all the departed rest in peace and rise in glory.

Heartfelt congratulations to Emma Wagstaff and Leigh Wallace who were married at Llanyre on 8th December. Our love and prayers surround them James and Caitlin.

Highlights for February 2013 Shrove Tuesday, February 12th Llanyre Llamas will be celebrating with their usual combination of pancake frivolities on Shrove Tuesday itself. The Youth Club will be having theirs on Friday 15th. February 13th: Ash Wednesday This year there will be 3 services on Ash Wednesday! Eucharists with imposition of ashes at Newbridge at 10.00am and Llanyre at 7.00pm. There will also be an informal communion alongside Songs of Praise at Caerwnon Park at 2.30pm Compline: We’ve moved our Lenten services of Compline to the Sundays of lent this year. All of them will, as in the past, be sung by the choir. Palm Sunday’s will be a service of Tenebrae when the choir will be lead by Siârion and the choir. If you haven’t been to one of these very moving meditative services, you don’t know what you’re missing! Saturday February 23rd Concert Voices in Unity Llanyre Church at 7.30pm. An evening of musical delight from this talented local choir. Not to be missed!! Raising funds for Llanfihangel Helygen Church.Tickets from members of Llanfihangel Helygen Church and on the door. See you there!!

Mothers’ Union Llanyre Branch will be meeting at 2.30pm on Wednesday 6th February at “Bramcote” Pentrosfa Crescent, Llandrindod for an afternoon of favourite poems, prayers, readings finishing with a bring and share tea. Jeanne Hughes has more details. Newbridge and Cwmbach Branch will be meeting as usual 20th February at 2 .30pm but at the point of writing they’re not letting on what they’ll be doing. Maybe Gina Ayling will tell you!!

Ben From the Registers: We send our deepest sympathies and much love to the families and friends of:

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The Upper Wye Group of Parishes Services in the Upper Wye Group

Friday March 1st St. David / Dydd Gŵyl Ddewi Our celebration of our Patron Saint this year will be a bilingual Eucharist in Llanyre Church at 7.00pm followed by refreshments at the back of the Church. As in the past we are hugely privileged that our talented local artistes Siârion will be accompanying us. Dig out your daffodil and come along and join us to celebrate our national day!

Sunday 27th January: Epiphany IV 9.30am Family Eucharist Newbridge-on-Wye 9.30am Morning Praise Cwmbach Llechrhyd 11.00am Holy Eucharist Llanyre Sunday February 3rd: 2nd Before Lent/ Creation 9.30am Holy Eucharist Llanyre 11.00am Morning Praise Newbridge-on-Wye 11.00am Holy Eucharist Llanfihangel Brynpabuan 3.00pm Holy Eucharist Llanfihangel Helygen

And Finally I would like to conclude with an enormous thank you to everyone who contributed to our Christmas celebrations. All of our churches looked simply resplendent; there were mince pies and carols in profusion. A special thank you must go to Siârion who performed so superbly for our New Year’s Eve Party and for the Deanery 9 Lessons for Epiphany. Thank you to you all!

Sunday February 10th: Next before Lent/ Transfiguration 9.30am Holy Eucharist Cwmbach Llechrhyd 9.30am Morning Praise Llanyre 11.00am Holy Eucharist Newbridge-on-Wye Wednesday February 13th: Ash Wednesday 10.00am Holy Eucharist with Ashing Newbridge-on-Wye 2.30pm Songs of Praise & Holy Communion Caerwnon Park Social Club 7.00pm Holy Eucharist with Ashing Llanyre

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Sunday, February 17th: 1st in Lent 9.30am Family Eucharist Llanyre 11.00am Holy Eucharist Newbridge-on-Wye 3.00pm NO service Llanafan Fawr 3.30pm Installation of Archdeacon Brecon Cathedral 7.00pm Compline Cwmbach Llechrhyd Tuesday February 19th 7.30pm LENT COURSE BEGINS Sunday February 24th 9.30am Family Eucharist 9.30am Morning Praise 11.00am Holy Eucharist 3.00pm Lambing Service

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2nd in Lent Newbridge-on-Wye Cwmbach Llechrhyd Llanyre Llanafan Fawr

Friday March 1st St David / Dydd Gŵyl Ddewi 7.00pm Holy Eucharist / Cymun Bendigaid Llanyre (with Siârion) and refreshments

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: benedictgriffith@sky.com 11


The Parishes of the Irfon Valley & Blaenau Irfon doubt consulting other sources to discover if there was a correlation between their own spiritual questions, the astronomical and prophetic data. I find their story truly inspiring. We don’t know very much about the Magi, but we can surmise that they were much changed by their journey and their encounter with Jesus. The questions they would have returned home with would have differed from those they set out with and so it is with us. Our faith journey begins with certain questions, experiences or understandings of God and over the course of our lives we change and the issues and questions of faith we face change. So this year I am encouraging people to think about what questions of faith they are currently living with and as these are submitted (anonymously) or otherwise, we will embark on a journey together. We may not always find answers, but I hope that we will grow together as we grapple with our questions and perhaps experience a new encounter with God as we continue to faithfully follow Jesus, the Light of the world.

Lucyann writes… We have a couple of friends in Hackney who took up a rather unusual Advent activity last yearthey created a star trail. They made large stars out of card and went around their local streets with a can of gold spray paint, leaving in their wake a trail of gold stars. Behind their actions was a deliberate desire to create something meaningful in Advent for their children who live and move among those urban streets. Yet there was also something left open and hopeful; an invitation to anyone who sees the star to follow it, which is both fun, interesting and perhaps more constructive than other pieces of graffiti? And of course it creates questions about who has created the star trail, and where is it going and perhaps, if they keep it up every year, someone might notice that the trail only appears in December and may begin to ask some meaningful questions leading to a dialogue about faith. As we enter Epiphany season, where we think about the revelation of Jesus to the world and the concept of spiritual awakening, we’ve also been thinking about the role of questions in our faith journey. The Age of Enlightenment, not often associated with Epiphany, with its emphasis on reason and scientific inquiry has often been set at odds with Christianity by presenting a false dichotomy of faith verses reason. For some people the very idea of asking questions about faith is frightening or perhaps even blasphemous. Yet we are exhorted to ‘worship God with all heart, soul and might’ and I would suggest that to do this we have to be honest before God about the questions that arise in our hearts and minds. The Magi set us a good example; they set out on an incredibly perilous journey, initiated by some observations, some careful research and a desire to see if their research really did lead to a new king. And all this as a result of attending to the night sky, researching ancient manuscripts and no

Notices A huge thank you to all those people who donated so generously to operation Christmas Child. There will be no clothing collection for Funzi Bodo Trust in March this year. However, we have had a recent letter letting us know what has been happening and thanking local people or their support. Recently the Trust has been able to do the following: Provide medical care for a baby with cerebral palsy who was unable to life his head and who is now making good progress. Last year some new birthing rooms were built and will open soon, providing a safer environment for women to give birth in. They have also obtained a new water ambulance and our working to fund a solar powered water desalination plant as the drinking water is 3 times more salty than is considered safe to drink.

Mothers Union The annual Lady Day Communion service will take place on Monday 25th March at 11am in St. James’ Church, Llanwrtyd.

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: lucyann.ashdown@googlemail.com 12


The Parishes of the Irfon Valley & Blaenau Irfon 17th February - Lent 1 9.30am EOD 11am St. James 11.15am Llanganten 11.15am Llanlleonfel

SERVICES Saturday 2nd February 11am Baptism of Henry Oliver at St. Cadmarch 3rd Feb - Presentation of Christ in the Temple 9.30am EOD LA 11am St. James Morning Prayer Team 11.15am Llanganten Morning Prayer JA 11.15am Llanlleonfel LA 10th Feb - Transfiguration Sunday 9.30am EOD Congregational 9.30am St. Cadmarch 11am St. James

LA (? Mike/Nigel) LA Morning Prayer

24th February - Lent 2 9.30am EOD Family Service 9.30am St. Cadmarch 11am St. James

YP LA LA

1st March - St. David’s day 1.30pm Old Parish Church St David’s Day Service LA LA

Sunday 3rd March. Lent 3 9.30am EOD LA 11am St. James Morning Prayer JA 11.15am Llanganten Morning Prayer Team 11.15am Llanlleonfel LA

13th February - Ash Wednesday 8pm St. James Holy Communion with Imposition of Ashes

An Alpha Course will begin in the third week of February on Tuesday evenings. The first date is the 19th Feb at 7pm. The Alpha Course will be held at Garth Inn, Garth, LD4 4AG. You can contact Jerry and Paula Garry on 01597 620327. The Alpha Course is for those interesting in learning more about Christianity or growing in their faith. 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: lucyann.ashdown@googlemail.com

The first in a series of articles about the Church in Wales official positions relating to some of the biggest issues facing Christians today…

1. WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT... MONEY Jesus teaches us to love people and use things – and not the other way around, as society often seems to do. Jesus told stories to help people understand how their attitude to money reflects what really interests them. He talked so much about money because he knew how our lives often revolve around it. Many of his sayings, including the one mentioned below, challenge people about how they use their money and possessions. Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.(Matthew 6:19-21) Christians believe that everything they have comes from God. Even the money we earn is derived from the gifts God has given us. So we believe that we should try and follow God’s teaching in how we use money. We are taught that our attitude to giving is more important than how much we give. We try to give generously whilst being cheerful about it. Some people say "the Church is always after your money" and that money shouldn’t be discussed in church. We believe that with over 2,350 verses in the Bible relating to money and possessions, the subject cannot be ignored. Indeed, the Church in Wales recommends that its members should give 5% of their take-home pay to the Church. We believe that the way we deal with our money speaks volumes about our discipleship. Giving money is part of giving the whole of yourself to God. 13


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14

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doctors are sometimes not informing relatives of decisions to put patients on the LCP, and the question of payments to hospitals for meeting targets on their use of the ‘pathway’. The Daily Telegraph revealed last month that six out of 10 NHS hospital trusts had each received payments totaling £12 million or more for attaining these goals. In some hospitals more than half of all dying patients are put on the pathway. It has to be said that this is a problem of the NHS’s own making. Through important and effective Public Health measures, through improvements in medical and surgical practices and the availability of powerful drugs, many people in the UK are living into great old age. The number of centenarians and vulnerable immigrants has increased rapidly over the past 4 decades. Treatment which is free at the point of delivery has created an unprecedented and insatiable demand for increasingly complex and expensive health care. The effects of that increase have been compounded by the closure of local hospitals and the centralisation of services in large units where those who are chronically or terminally ill are seen to be ‘blocking’ expensive beds. Hence the expedient use of the ‘Pathway’, an apparently acceptable and ethical way of removing those whose life is deemed, by some, to have no intrinsic or residual value. All sensible people recognise the unsustainable pressure on the resources of the NHS but the indiscriminate and widespread ‘disposal’ of the dying is not acceptable, any more than is the pressure on General Practitioners to provide some kind of ‘hit list’ of those patients expected to die within the following twelve months. The promul-gation of these absurd, unethical, Machiavellian and Draconian measures is unworthy of any political party and of a Christian society, however secular it may have become, and will serve only to undermine the confidence of the public in the NHS and compromise the unique and necessary trust between patients and their doctor. Christian ministers must endorse the appropriate relief of suffering and uphold the sanctity of life; they recognize death as the ultimate healing and a precious gift, a gift from God. But, in the light of the present controversy regarding the LCP and a great deal of public concern, they should try to ensure, difficult as it sometimes is, that they are aware of those from their parishes who are admitted to hospital. If possible they need to be available personally, or through the designated Hospital Chaplain, to support them and their relatives as appropriate, and to provide prayer, spiritual comfort and such last rites of the church as may be desired. It is also vital that there is support for those doctors and nurses, who may not, for ethical or religious reasons, wish to be involved in such practices but who fear for their jobs, as indicated in the Tees, Esk and Wear NHS Foundation Trust policy, if they do not co-operate. I pray that the Independent Review will offer an acceptable, compassionate and affordable means whereby this heinous practice may be abandoned in favour of a more gentle and loving approach to ‘end of life care’.

STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN OR PATHWAY TO HELL? Continued from front page

Many eminent clinicians and professional organisations have deemed the LCP to be a humane way of relieving suffering and ensuring a peaceful and dignified death – see the Consensus Statement signed in September 2012. Those opposed to it see it as very little better than legalised euthanasia. Like so much legislation, what begins as a perfectly reasonable and rational approach, becomes abused and ill-applied in practice, for example, the current legislation on Abortion.

Whilst there are many reports of family members being grateful that the suffering of their loved one – and of themselves – was cut short by this procedure there are many, also, who feel angry and traumatised by the shock of the apparently premature death of a loved one for which they had not been prepared nor, indeed, consulted. There are many instances where patients placed on the LCP, but whose relatives gave them fluids, have survived – one of whom, a lady of 83, has booked a cruise! In the Tees, Esk and Wear Valley policy it is stated that “placing a patient on the Liverpool Care Pathway does not reduce the level of care given; it can give a more intense level of care and reduce distressing symptoms. It will not hasten death in any way. If a patient improves, the pathway is discontinued and treatments recommenced.” In section 6 of the same document, the spiritual and psychological needs of the patient are supposed to be assessed as are plans for after death. However, it states that valid consent is required from the service user. BUT “if a service user lacks capacity to consent, please refer to the Mental Capacity Act”. It also states that this pathway must be discussed with relatives and carers, but no mention is made of the medical response should consent be withheld. The pathway, designed to ease the suffering of patients in their last hours or days of life, has come under intense scrutiny recently. Many people have claimed loved-ones were put on the pathway without their knowledge. Some doctors have claimed it can, and does, hasten death. Norman Lamb, the Heath Minister has announced recently a wide-ranging review, to be overseen by an independent chairman who will report to him in the New Year. The Review will look at a number of issues, including why

by Revd Marian Morgan February 2013 15


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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: abihook@gmail.com For Advertising Queries please Richard Hussey Tel: 01591 620 648 E-mail: hhussey@btinternet.com ‘Signposts’ is printed by Powerprint, Llandrindod th

Deadline for next issue: Monday 11 February 2013 16


Signposts 149 February 2013