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Visi n From St Catherine’s Church, Gorseinon Mehefin June 2019 | Rhifyn Issue 006

Easter Experience for Explorers

Leading the Hollywood way

Walking the Road to Calvary

Contact a member of our team Vicar

The Reverend Dr Adrian Morgan

The Vicarage, 40 Princess Street, Gorseinon, Swansea, SA4 4US. (01792) 892849 Assistant Curate

The Reverend Glynne James (01792) 893034

The Vicar takes a day off every Friday, so please be aware that any messages left will not be attended to until the next working day. In the event of an emergency only, please contact a Warden.

Church Wardens Heather Culliford Dhan Williams Ken Sullivan Rob Samuel

Director of Music Martin Bell

(01792) 533497 (01792) 699576 (01792) 892991 (01792) 415223

07957 870674

Book our Facilities Our Facilities, which include a large Hall, several smaller meeting rooms and well equipped modern kitchen, are available for hire throughout the week. All our facilities offer wi-fi connectivity. Check availability at or contact our Hall Co-ordinator: Kathryn Lewis (01792) 891482

Contributions for the Magazine Anyone wishing to contribute an article for the next edition of Vision should contact a member of the Editorial Team: Sheila New (01792) 927579 Sheila Fuge (01792) 809780 Rob Samuel (01792) 415223 Contributions can also be sent to

Welcome Mae’r rhifyn hwn o gylchgrawn Vision yn edrych yn ôl ar uchafbwyntiau’r Pasg.


nce again, it’s great to be able to celebrate all that God has been doing amongst us in this latest edition of Vision. Easter reminds us that we are loved by God— because Jesus died and rose again, those who believe in Him know that for them the power of sin has been broken and death has been defeated forever. As Christians we try to live out our new resurrection life by being the hands and feet of Jesus in our world. In this edition of Vision, we look back at some of the highlights of Easter, including the Road to Calvary, a deeply moving performance of Jesus’ Passion by the Clydach Players; the well attended Easter Experience for children and their families held on Good Friday; and the outstanding performance of Sir John Stainer’s Crucifixion by the St Catherine’s Community Choir. We also share how a trip to the HTB Leadership Conference gave people from Gorseinon a glimpse into the lives of two highly acclaimed Hollywood film stars, and we explain how launching Connect Groups will help people to develop lasting friendships, to go deeper with God and to support one another during the highs and lows of everyday life.

After twenty-three years on the streets, Russell’s life was transformed when God led him to St Catherine’s Church, but his journey makes for a gripping read. It is a miraculous testimony of God’s provision and goodness and I’m sure that you’ll be deeply moved as you delve into it. In Recommended Reads, Pepita Walters reviews a true to life story written by Colin Urquhart, loosely based on his experiences whilst serving as a Church of England Vicar. He tells the story of a Vicar who, when confronted with a situation in his parish, came to realise that he spent his working life talking about a God that he didn’t really know, but an experience of the Holy Spirit would soon bring his faith to life and his church experienced immense blessing and growth as a result. This month’s Five minutes with the Father is a reminder of how special and valued each of us is to God. We are beautifully and wonderfully made in His image. In recent months, we have lost some special people who have played a big part in the live of our church, and in this edition we celebrate the lives of Sheila Samuel Levensen, Elsie Coleman and Frank Cross. So boil that kettle, settle down and be prepared to be moved, encouraged and inspired by another really great read. With my love,

Adrian June 2019 Vision • 3

A first class Easter Experience for Explorers


ood Friday is traditionally a sombre day, with reflection focusing on the dark day of Jesus’ death on the cross, whilst looking forward expectantly to the joy of Easter Sunday, when Christians celebrate the fact Jesus didn’t stay dead, but came back to life! Explorers decided to pack all of this into three hours during our Good Friday family service, followed by lunch together, an Easter egg hunt and more Easter craft activities than they could carry home with them. Unlike the first ‘Good Friday’ with black clouds and darkness over the land, we had glorious sunshine all afternoon, so if we could, we stayed outside, taking part in a ‘100 Easter eggs’ hunt around the church grounds, and getting into the competitive spirit playing ‘egg and spoon’ races on the lawn. Mess was limited by racing with chocolate rather than real eggs! Before this though, Adrian helped remind us of the historical events that happened during Easter week, using not only his words, but the words of several children describing the Easter story in their own words whilst an adult cast acted out what they were saying on a YouTube clip. It was amusing and educational to watch, especially as the children reflected on what they thought Jesus might have been doing on his own in the tomb, for three days! Could he have been having a party all by himself, or playing board games on his own? Who knows, but we know that after three days he was out of there and

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meeting his friends, Mary and the disciples! Clare Kingdon added to this video clip by involving the audience in a traditional ‘Kim’s game’ activity. Developed many years ago, Kim’s Games are often used in Scout and Guide groups to help people improve their observational and memory skills. It involved placing 10-15 objects on a tray, and getting someone to try to memorise them for a moment, before covering them up. Then one item was removed, and the tray revealed again. The challenge was to see if the individual playing could identify what was missing! It’s harder than it sounds, as some of our Explorers will tell you, but it was worth the effort as there was a Cadbury creme egg prize at stake! The items of this Kim’s game were objects important in the Easter narrative and included silver coins (that Judas betrayed Jesus with), a bar of soap (Jesus washed his disciples feet before they ate the Last Supper,)’ nails (that hung Jesus on the cross), and an angel (who on Easter Day told Mary that Jesus was alive). Then parents, children and church volunteers alike contributed to a delicious ‘bring and share’ lunch, complete with a popular milkshake machine, and it gave everyone the chance to relax, chat and get to know each other. By 1.30pm anticipation had built for the annual easter egg hunt and almost 30 children eagerly left the Church Hall with one thing on their minds to find as many brightly patterned plastic eggs as

possible! And within fifteen minutes all eggs had been found, and the mini eggs found inside them were being quickly eaten. What took slightly longer was the reading of the personal message inside each egg to each child — ‘Jesus is alive and he loves you lots and lots - Happy Easter!’ — and the group work involved in collecting jigsaw pieces found in many eggs, and working together to piece the jigsaw together and finding out some interesting facts. One favourite was the fact that in Italy, a chocolate Easter egg was made that was taller than a giraffe, and weighed more than an elephant! For the final hour, the Church Hall was a hive of activity with four different crafts the children were able to take part in. There was a pretty white tree, empty and waiting for the children to decorate their own plastic eggs and hang on the bare branches. The children’s eyes lit up at the sight of twinkling sequins, colourful feathers and a kaleidoscope of

mosaic tiles they had at their disposal to personalise their own egg with. Other children decided to start by painting Easter cards - but in this case ‘painting’ involved rolling marbles around in a mixture of paint colours to make a uniquely coloured pattern they then transferred to their cross shaped Easter card. Definitely the messiest craft of the afternoon! A more sedate table saw children make transparent, jewelled bookmarks with Easter bible verses on, that were then laminated so they could use them as decorations that catch the light through them as they dangle, or as individual bookmarks. And finally, each child went home with their very own home-made ‘Edible Easter Empty Tomb’ which through the use of a ring donut as a tomb, and a ginger biscuit as the stone in front of the tomb entrance, reminded them of the biblical truth that Easter Sunday is a day to celebrate because Jesus’ tomb was empty, because he was no longer dead, but alive. By this time it was three o’clock and time to say goodbye, and everyone left in good spirits, laden with their crafts and easter eggs. The Explorers and St Catherine’s volunteers who took part had a fantastic and fun time, and one child who attended St Catherine’s for the first time commented that this had been ‘the best party he’d ever been to.’ And that’s a good note to end on, for it was a good party, focusing on the Good News of Jesus beating death and sin for our benefit, and enabling us to be God’s friend again. The truth is, the Bible tells us that there is a party in heaven for every person who asks Jesus into their lives to be his friend. If we’re Jesus’ friend now, here on earth, there is a promise from God of an even better party to come.

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Leading the Hollywood way! Clare Kingdon reflects on some of the highlights of the Holy Trinity Brompton Leadership Conference.


or the second year running, eight members of St Catherine’s church packed their bags, hopped on the train, sipping Prosecco as they travelled to London for The Holy Trinity Brompton Church Leadership Conference 2019. Its venue is an impressive one – The Royal Albert Hall seats thousands, and by 9.45am on Monday 6th May we were seated and ready to join with people from every corner of the world. After last year, we were excited and expectant as we waited to hear from world class speakers about how they lead in their day to day lives, to join in praise and worship together and be encouraged many times over by what we experienced over the next two days. There were Christians there from all denominations and walks of life. Just as many dog collars were on show as Roman Catholic crucifixes, as well as hoodies and trainers! One of my favourite moments was watching a middle aged nun really getting into the lively worship music and hip hop dancing passionately in the constraints of her seat space! You may think that a leadership conference is just for ‘leaders’ up the front, and a Christian leadership conference is for church leaders only. But actually

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there are many ways in which we lead, whether in our workplaces, in our homes amongst our families, or in other areas we are passionate about. We all have a sphere of influence, and for me, as a qualified nurse working in the NHS, it was great to hear from other professionals sharing their experiences of leading in their non-church workplace. My favourite speakers were David and Jessica Oyelowo. You may recognise David from his critically acclaimed headline role in the 2014 film, Selma, where he played Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. He received a Golden Globe nomination for this film, and in 2000 played the title role of Henry VI, becoming the first black actor to play an English King for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Both he and his wife, Jessica are Hollywood film stars and I was a bit in awe when Nicky Gumbel, the leader of Holy Trinity Brompton Church initially introduced them via pre-recorded video link all the way from Hollywood. They have put their hands into directing films now, and their schedules were too tight for them to physically talk to us from the Royal Albert Hall. But it turns out these Hollywood A-listers grew up

in London, and as they told their stories their bubbly, quirky, humble and hardworking personalities were evident. David was born in Oxford to Nigerian parents and was brought up a Baptist in Tooting Bec, South London until he moved when he was six to Lagos, Nigeria before returning and settling in Islington, London when he was 14. He trained in theatre studies, where he met Jessica and they discovered they were the only Christians on the course, and naturally spent a lot of time together. By the time they completed the course three years later they were engaged to be married. Talking about his only experience of racial abuse, David tells an amusingly sweet story of three youths about to jump him and beat him up as he walked home with Jessica from the tube station. In his head he was preparing for the first blow when suddenly Jessica was in front of him, arms out wide, shouting at the top of her voice ‘Don’t you even dare!!’ leaving him to wonder in amazement who this small, but feisty girl was he was going to spend the rest of his life with. David and Jessica were quite involved with Holy Trinity Brompton church when they lived in London, and talked fondly of their times there. They praised the marriage preparation course they had attended when they were first married and shared that the advice they received there had really helped them in the past twenty years of marriage. For example, they learned early on that it was important to spend quality time together, and made a pact that they would never spend more than two weeks apart. Easy to manage when they weren’t international film stars living in Los Angeles and having to fly across the world to shoot their prospective films. But they said they have kept that rule for over two decades, as difficult as it was at times, and their relationship has

reaped the benefits of that commitment. They shared something of their personal faith in Jesus, and how they make time to pray and spend time with God each day, listening to what he has to say to them. They ask God’s advice regarding which film scripts to accept and decline! David said God clearly told him that he would play Rev. Martin Luther King Jr, many years before the film had even been conceived, and before any script was given to him. David has asserted that ‘I always knew that in order to play Dr. King I had to have God flow through me because when you see Dr King giving those speeches, you see that he is moving in his anointing.’ Currently they are involved with directing films as much as acting in them. I was enthralled to hear them say that they can see now how God has been training them through their many years of acting, to enable them to have the skills they need to creatively craft stories that need to be told to the world. That reminded me of Jesus, who was the master in telling stories his fellow man could relate to (although he called them parables, not Hollywood blockbusters). And as you look at the films David has been involved in, like Captive (2015) and United Kingdom (2016) you can see a theme emerging. Captive investigates the real life transformation of a methamphetamine addict and a killer on the run as they discover the grace filled message of Jesus, and United Kingdom tells the real life story of racial prejudice between an African prince and his white, British wife across both continents, and how their love overcame seemingly impossible barriers. David and Jessica told us they are seeking to serve the actors and film crew they are working with as directors, and asked us to pray for them and other Christians in Hollywood. That message seems so

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at odds with the messages we usually hear about famous stars being self-obsessed and selfish about meeting their own needs above others. Listening to David and Jessica, I could tell having God in their lives turned all the stereo typical traits of Hollywood on its head. It was refreshing and exciting to hear! I’ll leave you with a very sweet story, that highlights this point. David smiled as he shared this one. One day he got a call that he’d won two prestigious film awards for his acting and he shouted in the house to excitedly share this amazing news with his wife and four children. But initially the house was silent. After calling out again he got a solitary response; ‘Daddy, I’ve done a poo-poo!’ ‘And that was how I found myself

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half an hour after finding out I’d won these awards, wiping a four years old’s bottom – that was humbling!’ And put the glitz and glamour of Hollywood right back into perspective. The leadership conference is over for another year now but I’m sure we’ll be going again next year too. If you want to find out more about this please visit If you’d like more information about The Marriage course, and would like to find one local to you to attend please visit And finally, if you’d like to learn more about David Oyelowo’s film Selma, you can watch a trailer here

Building real community as people come to the table I

n March we held our first bring-and-share lunch, giving members of our Church family the chance to enjoy food and fellowship together. The idea behind a bring-and-share is easy. Anyone who wants to come along brings a plate of their favourite food to share with others and when everything is brought together, it makes a real feast! Decorated with balloons and bunting, with music playing away in the background, the scene was perfectly set for a party. There was enough food to feed the five thousand, including sandwiches, lots of finger food and stunning home made cakes. “After relaunching our Sunday Café, moving it from the coffee room into the main Hall, we were just thrilled to see that more and more people were staying on a Sunday morning to enjoy a cuppa and a chat,” the Vicar, Adrian Morgan, said. “After a while, people started staying so long, our volunteers thought that they’d never get home for lunch—so we brought lunch to church,” Adrian said. The first bring-and-share lunch coincided with Pancake Day and people of all ages gathered to

enjoy fellowship, fun and lots of food in a beautifully decorated Hall. There was a real buzz in the air as children and adults alike played parachute games, giant jenga and competed against each other in a pancake race. There was also a chance for the children, and a couple of recycled teenagers, to toss their pancakes in a frying pan before decorating them with lots of delicious toppings—chocolate sprinkles, hundredsand-thousands, peanut butter or chocolate spread and lots of other treats too. “This is what authentic community is all about,” Adrian said. “People of different ages and stages in their life, getting together to build community and getting to know each other better. Church isn’t an organisation that you join, but a family where you belong.” The first bring-and-share was such a success that we are now planning to make it a more regular occurrence, so watch this space!

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Community choir raise the roof H

oly Week celebrations at St Catherine’s Church begun with a stunning performance of The Crucifixion by the St Catherine’s Community Choir. Set up in 2014 for people of all ages who simply love to sing and enjoy sharing their singing experience with others, the choir meets from the third Sunday in January until Easter every year. The Crucifixion was the handiwork of Sir John Stainer (1840-1901), one of the most distinguished musicians of his generation. In 1872, Stainer was appointed organist of St Paul’s Cathedral, where he raised performance standards and greatly expanded the repertoire. Composed in 1887, the piece was dedicated to Stainer’s pupil and friend William Hodge, assistant sub-organist at St Paul’s Cathedral and organist and choirmaster at Marylebone Parish Church, where the cantata was first performed in February 1887, conducted by the composer with Hodge at the organ. When he composed the work, Stainer’s intention was to provide a Passiontide cantata written in a musical language and on a scale that would put it within the scope of most parish choirs. Its structure is clearly modelled on the scheme of choruses, chorales, recitatives and arias of J. S. Bach’s St Matthew’s Passion, which in 1873 Stainer had introduced into the music for Holy Week at St Paul’s Cathedral. Today the work continues to be amongst the most popular of all English choral works and vividly portrays the events of the Passion of Christ. “The outstanding performance by the St Catherine’s Community Choir was the ideal way to begin our journey through Holy Week towards

Easter,” said the Vicar, Adrian Morgan. “It was a vivid portrayal of Jesus’ last days, bringing the reality of his suffering and death to the forefront of our minds,” Adrian said. Scored for tenor and bass soloists, organ and mixed choir, the piece combines recitatives, solos and masterful choruses that range from the graphic mob shouts of ‘Fling wide the gates’ and ‘Crucify Him’ to the ethereal and beautiful meditation at the work’s centrepiece, ‘God so loved the world.’ Stainer’s setting of the seven last words from the cross is highly effective, followed by the stark final statement from the tenor soloist, ‘And He bowed His head and gave up the ghost.’ Although the St Catherine’s Community Choir is supported by the Church and meets in the Church building, it is not the Church choir. Anyone can join, whether they have any or no connection with the Church. This year the choir, conducted by Martin Bell, was supported by two wonderful soloists Gwyn Morris (Bass) from Cardigan and Richard Allen (Tenor) from Loughor.

The choir are already busy planning their performance for next year. New members are always welcome, so if you’re reading this and thinking about getting involved, then please get in contact with Martin Bell on 07957 870674.

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Are you ready to get connected? “Church isn’t an organisation that you join, it’s a family that you belong to.”


ave you ever felt that there must be more to church than the weekly visit on a Sunday? Then a Connect Group might be just what you’re looking for! They’re called Connect Groups because we hope that they will help people connect with each other and with God. Connect Groups are all about helping us build authentic community. They are smaller groups of people that meet to do life together, building friendships by sharing a meal, exchanging stories, having fun, and transforming what we mean by ‘pastoral care’ by supporting and encouraging one another during the good and bad seasons in our lives. At the heart of each group is prayer, worship and sharing what God has revealed to us through the scriptures during the week. Connect Groups are a great way of getting plugged into the church

community, to learn about yourself and about where others are on their faith journey. Get connected now and enjoy this amazing way to experience the blessings of community, to learn from each other, to develop your understanding and to be challenged by God’s Word. Our vision is that there will be many Connect Groups at different times of the week, so that everyone has the chance to get connected! To begin with, though, there will be one group meeting on a Thursday evening, but as it gets bigger we anticipate that people will break away to form other groups meeting at different times.

If you’d like to learn more about Connect Groups, please contact Karen Davies on 07949 0155 15.

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Clydach Players walk the Road to Calvary


he events of Holy Week and Easter were brought to life for the people of Gorseinon this year with a performance of the much-acclaimed ‘Road to Calvary’. The play, which is a vivid portrayal of Jesus’ final days, his trial and crucifixion, was performed by the Clydach Players and anyone who has ever witnessed a performance, as Michael Sheen did prior to performing his own passion play in Port Talbot, will tell of how gripped they become by the sheer realism of the players acting and the musical score that accompanies parts of the play.

needy families, to fund employment projects and to assist people with disabilities.

The players have been performing this Brian Griffiths inspired work for thirty three years and in that time they’ve raised thousands of pounds towards the charity work of the St Vincent de Paul Society, a group that aims to tackle poverty in all its forms through the provision of practical assistance to those in need.

Performing about six times during Lent, the cast have clocked up some two hundred performances and travelled thousands of miles in recent years.

The money raised has been used afar afield as India and close to home in Swansea, enabling the work of soup kitchens, providing furniture and holidays for

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Over the years, the players have travelled the length and breadth of England and Wales to perform and raise funds, visiting Newcastle and Barrow in Furnace, London and Liverpool, Bristol and Bodmin, not to mention churches and chapels all over Wales. “The players have an ecumenical approach and they’ve included in their cast a number of Christians from different denominations,” Rob Samuel explains.

“I don’t suppose any of us thought we would still be doing the play thirty three years on as it started as a one-off, but we enjoyed it so much it soon grew into what it is today,” says Peter Daley who has been involved with the Clydach Players from the very beginning.

Although the play has helped to support many good causes over the years, its primary purpose has been to share the Good News of the Easter story and to enable ordinary people engage with Jesus. “It raises money for needy causes and helps people to engage with the Passion of Christ and what the key people were thinking and feeling in those days leading up to Jesus’ death on the cross,” Peter explains. Peter initially took the part of one of Jesus’ disciples before playing the part of Pontius Pilate for many years and it was not long before other members of his family began to join in too. In fact, some fourteen members of the Daley family have taken part in the play and Michael, Peter’s son, now takes the part of the troubled Pilate whilst Peter helps out with the sound and lighting tasks. As well as the hard work involved, there is a lot of camaraderie and fun. Peter recalled, for example, the time when an actor playing Jesus was stuck in a backstage room in a church in Morriston when he should have been on stage. “I was supposed to present Jesus and Barabbas to the crowd to give them an opportunity to choose which of the two should be released, but the soldiers only brought Barabbas onto the stage. I quickly asked about Jesus’ whereabouts and one of them whispered that he was stuck in a room unable to open the door!”

“We had to ad lib for five minutes or so and Jesus was eventually brought out onto the stage, much to my relief,” Peter laughed. For many years members of the congregation at the Blessed Sacrament and St Catherine’s have been supporting the play by acting out some of the more minor roles. Our former curate Tim Ardouin, our Vicar Adrian Morgan and Rob Samuel have all been disciples and this year, Russell Fieldsend joined the cast for the very first time. Anna Bruty, who helps with the scene changes, shared how another great aspect of the play was the way it had enabled people with additional learning needs to feel part of something special. “Many of you will know about the Faith & Light Community that has been meeting in Gorseinon for more than four decades to support Christians with additional learning needs. Many members of that special community, including James Wall, John Wood Griffiths, John Hayes and Sean Jordan have all enjoyed playing their part in the Passion Play and being part of something like this has helped them to thrive and to flourish.”

If you were not able to be at the performance this year, please do keep an eye out for next year’s schedule, or if you want it performed in your Church, Chapel or Hall then give Peter Daley a call on (01792) 845283.

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Frank Cross, a loyal Tenor Martin Bell reflects on the life of the late Frank Cross, a much loved member of our Church choir.


n February this year, everyone at St Catherine’s was saddened to hear of the death of Frank Cross, a devoted member of our Church choir for many years. Frank was brought up in Northwich in Cheshire where he developed a love of singing at an early age as a choir boy in St Winifred’s Church in Dagenham. After completing his schooling, Frank worked as an engineer in the local county until he would eventually meet Wyn while he was away on holiday in Pembrokeshire. The couple married on 1 February 1955 and built a life together that lasted over fifty years. Together, Frank and Wyn went into business, opening two Newsagents shops in Northwich before they eventually moved to Swansea to take over the Conway Road Post Office in Penlan. After Wyn’s death in 2007, at the age of eighty five Frank married Liz and embraced another family. After moving to Gorseinon, Frank found a spiritual home in St Catherine’s where he rekindled his love of music by becoming a member of our choir. Soon after joining the choir, Frank felt so welcomed that he decided to take them all out for a meal to say thank you. In the latter years, despite his failing health, Frank never missed a practice on a Tuesday or on a Sunday evening. Frank was hard of hearing

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and it was not unusual for his hearing aid to begin buzzing during Evening Prayer. He would gaze intently at the Vicar during the sermon, something that we initially thought that he would do because he struggled to hear, but anyone who chatted with Frank would quickly realise that he had a deep and living faith in Jesus

which meant that he was eager to listen to the scriptures explained. Frank loved fishing and he also had a passion for photography too, but more than anything he loved people and he was always generous with his time and enjoyed the company of many friends. He will be really missed by everyone.

Farewell to a dear friend, Sheila Samuel Levinsen (1923-2019) B

orn in 1923 and christened Sheila Betts, she was one of twins born just two days before Christmas.

the lunch club with a group of volunteers from St Catherine’s and Brynteg Chapel and having a host of visitors to see her in Dunvant.

Brought up in the village of Sutton Valence, Sheila attended the local school and reached her teenage years just as the storm clouds gathered before the outbreak of World War II. She joined the Land Army in 1942, wanting to do her bit as so many other women did. She loved these years in her life and she was very proud when the government finally officially recognised the contribution of the Land Army in 2010.

Sheila had learned to drive (quite badly) in the 70’s and this gave her the chance to travel anywhere she could, so choirs became a big part of her life. She sang with the Singleton Singers, Evergreens and the Gwalia Singers, performing in many concerts at venues including the Royal Albert Hall and St David’s Hall in Cardiff. She loved her sport and watched Motor Racing, Tennis, Cricket and Snooker.

Sheila met Walter towards the end of the war when he was billeted with the Royal Signal Corps in Sutton Valence, in readiness for supporting the invasion of France. A romance blossomed and the couple eventually married at St Mary’s Church Sutton Valence in July 1945 and the best man was Walter’s closest friend Hans Levinsen. In 1947, the couple settled in Rhyddings Terrace close to Brynmill Park in Swansea. Their son, Robert, was born in 1948 and twin girls, Mary and Judith, followed in 1950. In 1951, the family moved to Eiddwen Road in Penlan, an estate full of other young families and although Sheila still pined for Kent she settled well in Penlan and made lifelong friends with many of her neighbours in what was a really strong community where everyone helped each other. When the children left home, Sheila and Walter realised their wish to buy their own home and moved to 131 Dunvant Rd in 1981. They had happy times there with a bigger garden and a view over Swansea Bay. Sadly, Walter died in 1982 and Sheila found life hard without him, but she got on with life travelling the world to see family and friends, working in

Sheila was an extremely proud Grandma to Simon, Helen, Katie, Rebecca, Jacquie & Mike. Always encouraging them in whatever they did and interested in their progress.  She was a doting Grandma Wales to Johnny, Sean, Dylan & Owen.  Her eyes lit up the minute she saw them. Sheila had kept in touch with her and Walter’s friends in Norway and some years after Hans wife Ruth had passed away they seemed to be forming a closer relationship, eventually resulting in their marriage at St Catherine’s Church in 2005. They enjoyed a loving and happy marriage until Hans sadly passed away in 2014 aged ninety five. Sheila eventually moved to Llys y Tywysog, where she spent over three happy years. She made new friends and prospered under the care of all the staff. Sheila was a faithful Christian and some of the moments she enjoyed most were in prayer and reading her Bible. She would often sing hymns and she knew all of the words without looking at a book. This wonderful lady will be sadly missed by everyone who had the pleasure of knowing her, but she is now safe in the arms of Jesus.

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Remembering Elsie Coleman (1929-2019) E

lsie was born in Railway Terrace in Gorseinon on 13 September 1929, a daughter to Florence and Jacky Davies and a sister to Harry, Emlyn and Janet. A Gorseinon girl through and through, she attended school locally before beginning to work at Moruzzi’s Café, a job that she loved because it meant that she got to meet people. Elsie met Bob in a dance in the Lucania Dance Hall in Gorseinon and the couple later married at St Catherine’s Church on 31 May 1952. They first lived in rooms in Fforestfach before moving to their own home in Railway Terrace, the place where Elsie had been brought up. Later in 1952, they moved to a new home in Bryneinon Road in Gorseinon, where Elsie would live for the rest of her life. Together Elsie and Bob had a daughter Susan, born in 1953,

and a son, Rob who was born in 1956. The children enjoyed a happy childhood and they have many happy memories of time spent together in Tenby. Because they didn’t have a car, they would have to carry a giant case from their home to Gorseinon bus station, where they would catch the number two bus into Swansea before catching the steam train from High Street Station all the way into Tenby. Elsie was heavily involved with St John’s Ambulance, where she trained as a first aider. She also loved attending art classes and for a while she went to Welsh classes too because she was keen to master conversational Welsh. Her other passions were music and the garden, where she was always at her happiest. Elsie adored her grandchildren, Natalie, Gareth, Luke and Scott and in the fullness of time she

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41.10)

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became a great grandmother to Scott, Oliver and James. A faithful member of St Catherine’s, Elsie would read her Bible every day to nourish her deep faith in Jesus. She will be sadly missed by the Church family.


Gorseinon bookworms share something about the books that have blessed and encouraged their Christian journey

Pepita Walters reviews My Father is the Gardener (Hodder Christian) by Colin Urquhart


s a child and all through my teenage years I was subject to the rules and regulations of a strict Pentecostal upbringing. I obeyed all the Pharisaical rules and followed all the boring regulations. I knew there must be more to faith than this and I wanted it badly. I did the right things, praying regularly but never touching Heaven. The Christian life was boring and never enjoyable. Being brought up in such a strict Christian life was sucking the life out of me. One day a friend became my spiritual mother. We had lots of little talks and I had to unlearn a lot of the doctrine that had been enforced on me. She told me I could find freedom in Christ, which I totally didn’t understand. She gave me a copy of a book called My Father is the Gardener to help me get to a place where the penny would eventually drop. This book changed my life. I soon began to realise that Christ wasn’t just in Heaven. He’s real. He’s my saviour, brother and my friend. The book is a true to life story written by Colin Urquhart, loosely based on his own experiences whilst he served as a Church of England Vicar. The story is set in St Gabriel’s Church, where the Vicar, Christopher Dean, faithfully completed all of the day-to-day activities that went hand-in-hand with shepherding his flock, but deep down he knew that something was missing.

He was desperately unhappy and one night he found himself speaking to a void: ‘What am I to believe and who am I to believe?’ To his amazement, he heard a voice that encouraged him to turn to the Word of God for understanding.

The Vicar was not the only member of St Gabriel’s Church that found himself struggling. Tom, a young husband and father who attended the church religiously, sitting in the third pew from the front on the left hand side with his wife, Ann, and his children, had begun to despise the person that he had become. He worked too hard, always chasing contracts, but never felt that he achieved anything. His situation affected his family life too and Tom was at his wits end.

“Sorry to barge in on you so late at night,” said Alan, a work colleague, “but people have noticed you are under considerable strain lately. I thought I might be able to help.”

When the Vicar would greet them at the end of a Sunday service, Tom often thought to himself: ‘What does he know about life?’

Reluctantly, he picked up a Bible and began to read John’s Gospel and then, out of the blue, there was a knock at the door.

The two men began to chat and conversation soon turned to the book that Tom was reading. His colleague was a Christian and during the course of the next few hours they read the Gospel together. That gave Tom some food for thought. A further encounter with a hitch-hiker, while he was away working on a contract also challenged Tom to think more deeply about what he had been reading. The student, called Martin, was a committed

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Christian and he too helped Tom get to grips with the Bible.

They advised the parents to return home and to come back in the morning after the doctor’s rounds.

A few weeks later Tom walked home from work, his mind full of the new things that were making him feel alive. He once again met Alan who asked, “How are you enjoying your new life in the Vine?” It was a rhetorical question, as one look at Tom gave him the answer.

Early the next morning, Ann rang her Vicar, Christopher Dean, to inform him of the situation and he said that they’d put him on the prayer list.

“How’s St Gabriel’s?” he continued. “Very much the same for everyone else, but totally different for me! I can’t explain to the rector or even to my wife, but the Bible has come alive. The Holy Spirit is guiding my path.” “Sounds like so far you have been able to keep pace with God’s purpose for you, but I must warn you that the time will come when He will ask more of you than you expect. Keep trusting, obeying and praising,” said Alan. Little did Tom realise how soon his new found faith would be put to the test. He arrived home to an empty house, no sign of his wife or his young son Tony. His wife had found their little boy in a pool of blood. He’d suffered a brain haemorrhage and he was at death’s door. Ann, his mum, was obviously inconsolable. “If you believe in God Mr Billings,” said the surgeon, “Tony could do with your prayers.” The words came like a whip! So much for new found faith!

“That’s what we need to talk to you about,” Ann explained. The Vicar told them to call at the Vicarage and their meeting was emotional as the couple pleaded with him: “How can we make ourselves believe in the way that we need to?” “That kind of faith is what I’ve been searching for, but it’s always eluded me,” he replied. It was at that moment that Christopher realised that he had spent his life talking about a God that he simply didn’t know. God was using this couple to help him see that in order to experience renewal in his Church, his own life and faith needed to be sorted first. This was the beginning of an exciting journey, not only for the three of them, but also for the whole congregation. This book is too spiritually enlightening to miss. It changed my life after thirty-seven years of drudgery and I pray that it will change yours too. My Father is the Gardener (Hodder Christian) by Colin Urquhart, ISBN 978-0340213278. Available from £3 on Amazon.

“We must pray Ann,” said Tom. “What has God got to do with all this? You go ahead! You’re the expert. Leave me out of it,” his wife insisted. Reluctantly Ann went with Tom to the chapel. Alan had said it was always the right time to praise God. How could this be the right time? Tom couldn’t back out now, so he thought he’d give it a go! “Lord we praise and thank you. I believe you are going to heal our son. Please forgive my lack of faith,” Tom prayed. Much to the amazement of the doctors, the boy soon began to show miraculous signs of recovery.

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WOULD YOU LIKE TO SUBMIT A RECOMMENDED READ REVIEW? I’m sure that between us we have a wealth of books worth sharing. If you have a book that has helped you in your Christian faith and daily walk with God, and would like it to be considered for review in Vision magazine, get in touch with me by telephoning the Vicarage on (01792) 892849.

Inspirational people change lives A theme of inspiring women has emerged over the winter and spring meetings of the Mothers’ Union.


irstly, we welcomed Debra Jones, an actress who undertakes a great deal of research into historical figures, who spoke of the life of an Edwardian housemaid. Dressed in character, with a few props from the period, she welcomed us all as though we had come to be interviewed for a job at the “Big House.” While waiting for the Housekeeper to arrive, she proceeded to fill us in on what we could expect if we were fortunate enough to gain employment, with quite a bit of gossip thrown in for good measure, especially about the much maligned footmen! Her talk was highly entertaining but almost without realising it, we were learning a tremendous amount about the life of people “in service” at the turn of the twentieth century. The pecking order amongst the servants was rigidly adhered to – a girl as young as twelve, known as a “tweeny” (short for between stairs maid) would be expected to carry heavy buckets of coal for the fires while those better equipped to do so would not be allowed to help. Hours were long, especially when there were house guests, and the scullery maids, who would have to do all the washing up if there had been a large dinner party, would be lucky if they got to bed at all! The pecking order not only applied to servants within the one establishment, but if servants accompanied house guests, they would be treated in accordance with the social standing of their employer. Seating people for meals - both upstairs and downstairs - required a wealth of knowledge and diplomacy.

Debra had chosen to talk of life in an establishment with good employers, where staff were valued and looked after when they retired. However, she pointed out that her research unearthed some very different experiences, sometimes showing the darker side of human nature. We were struck by the fact that, a little more than a century ago, people not only worked incredibly hard, but were under the complete control of their employers and we made our way home feeling admiration for them and gratitude for our way of life in the twenty-first century. We looked at the situation of women in much the same period the following month when Catrin Stevens, one of our own Church members, spoke of “Deeds not Words”, outlining the various campaigns which sought to gain the vote for women. As Catrin pointed out, most history books focus on the role and actions of men. The Women’s Archive of Wales, which celebrated its twentieth anniversary last year, was established to capture the history of the women of Wales before it is lost for ever. The Archive collects information and records firsthand accounts given by women throughout Wales and one of its projects has been to collate archive material on the fight for women’s suffrage. Although the Pankhursts, who led the Suffragette movement, were the “poster girls” of the cause, both women and men had been campaigning for decades. The Suffragists were committed to peaceful, non-violent campaigning and had been writing and lobbying from the middle of the nineteenth century. However, the suffragettes were impatient for change and

June 2019 Vision • 19

their campaign embraced public disorder, arson and criminal damage. Many were prepared to face imprisonment for their beliefs and, claiming the right to be treated as political prisoners, went on hunger strike. As the Government did not want them to become martyrs to the cause, they passed the infamous “Cat and Mouse Act,” where women who were dangerously weakened by starvation in prison would be released and then, when their health had improved, taken back to prison to continue their sentence. Campaigning ceased at the outbreak of the First World War and there is an ongoing debate as to whether the granting of the vote to some women over the age of 30 in 1918 was the result of the campaign or the fact that women had, for the first time, undertaken many roles traditionally reserved for men for the duration of the war. As part of the centenary commemorations last year a statue of Millicent Fawcett was unveiled in Parliament Square – the first statue of a woman to be erected there. Millicent Fawcett led the suffragist movement and was responsible for co-ordinating the various groups which were working throughout the country so

20 • Vision June 2019

that they could organise an effective campaign. The statue shows her holding a banner which declares “Courage calls to courage everywhere,” a statement she made on hearing of the death of Emily Davison, the suffragette who was trampled to death when she ran into the path of the King’s horse at the Epsom Derby in 1913. Perhaps the most well known of the Welsh suffragettes was Margaret Haig Thomas, later Lady Rhondda, who famously set fire to a post box. She inherited her title from her father but, as a woman, was not allowed to sit in the House of Lords. She campaigned tirelessly for this to change and succeeded, in 1958, although she died one month before women actually took their seats. A year after the centenary of partial women’s suffrage, we again left our meeting with a feeling of thankfulness. Peter Moule talked on a very different subject, the vital work of Blood Bikes Wales. This charity was formed in 2011 to plug gaps in the NHS delivery service. Bikes Wales are a Welsh charity based in Wales, providing a completely free courier service

to the NHS, delivering blood supplies, plasma, documents and other items all across Wales. The service is free of charge and operates between 7pm on Friday evening until midnight on Monday morning including bank holidays & even Christmas day! It is needed as otherwise, deliveries of blood and other vital products after 5.00pm on weekdays and at weekends would be paid for at great cost to the NHS. The service covers the whole of Wales and is totally dependent on volunteer bikers and organisers, with no charge being made to the NHS. What heroes they are! Deliveries to hospitals are not limited to blood and other blood products, such as plasma, and include breast milk for premature babies, which often involves riders from different areas working in collaboration as frozen milk has to be brought from a storage facility in the Midlands and handed over in Ross-on-Wye. Patient samples will also be taken to the appropriate hospital at weekends to be analysed urgently so that patients can receive the appropriate treatment on the Monday morning.

The charity depends on donations and grants and a number of organisations and companies are generous in their support. It has been calculated that for every £1 which goes into its work there is a saving to the NHS of £5. This is a charity well worth supporting. If you are interested in volunteering, it’s not just riding bikes that’s needed. From communications to admin, there are plenty of ways you can do your bit and get involved with Blood Bikes Wales. If you are interested in donating or volunteering please visit their website at

Mother’s Union meetings are held in the Hall on the first and third Tuesday of each month, starting at 2.00 pm. The Evening Mothers’ Union group (EMUs) meets at 7.00 pm on the last Thursday of the month. There will be a warm welcome for anyone who wishes to attend any of our meetings and find out more about the Mothers’ Union.

June 2019 Vision • 21

Special service offers food for thought F

or more than three years local Anglican churches have been getting together on a Tuesday evening each month to experience new forms of worship. Predominantly led by lay people, these services are relaxed, informal opportunities for us to delve into the presence of God together. The services also help to develop a growing sense of family and fellowship between the different churches because they are always led by one church and hosted by another. “It was our turn to lead the service in March,” said Sheila New. “A team of us got together to begin planning and, for a while, we were unsure where to begin but we prayed and, led by the Holy Spirit, things soon became clear.” “A chance remark about it being National Real Bread week sparked a conversation about the manna that God gave the Israelites in the wilderness and about Jesus being the bread of life,” Sheila explained. Tom Osmundson, a member of the group, enjoys making bread on a regular basis and he began to explain to the group how he does it. “You need three ingredients—flour, water and yeast,” Tom said.

would satisfy their deepest hunger—Jesus, the Bread of Life.

“While the Israelites were wandering in the desert God was shaping and moulding them just as bakers do with bread. The dough has to be kneaded, left to prove then kneaded again and occasionally knocked back!”

Soon the group began to think not only about spiritual hunger, but about physical hunger and the needs of the body. This gave Russell, another member of the group, an opportunity to share his story.

“We are the flour, the yeast is the Holy Spirit and God is shaping us.”

Before coming to St Catherine’s almost a year ago, Russell had lived for more than twenty three years on the road.

“The waiting in the wilderness is never wasted because God uses it,” Tom explained. When the Israelites were given manna to eat in the wilderness, they saw something of God’s unbelievable love and faithfulness, but the people who ate that bread would soon be hungry again. Yet Moses, who led them through the wilderness, was given a promise that soon a Saviour would come who

22 • Vision June 2019

“Twenty three years is a long time when you are relying on the generosity of others for your survival,” Russell said. “I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t do drugs and I don’t shoplift so I do remember not eating for days on end.” “God has made us beautifully and we can survive

without food for a week or two but really we have an inner need for sustenance on a regular basis. There were many times when I was desperate for food. People often say they are starving when they haven’t eaten for a couple of hours. They have no idea what starving really is, but I do!”

One time Russell struggled into a Church. The Vicar saw him and asked if he was okay.

Russell reflected on a particular time in his life when he had not eaten for several days. Walking along the beach in Barry, he cried out to God for help and miraculously his prayers were answered.

“No sir, I don’t want to pray about it I need you to help me eat!”

“I remember in particular one day in Barry when I hadn’t eaten for three days, nothing not a sandwich or a biscuit had passed my lips. I wandered on to the beach and I was all alone. The tide was going out and I was praying to God for provision. I was begging Him saying God I need food now,” Russell said. “I kicked a rock or pebble and there was a £20 note on the wet sand where the pebble had been. Thank you Lord I cried, as I picked it up. Today I will eat like a king! That was the first miracle. The second was even more profound. The sand was wet but the £20 note was bone dry and this was years ago before the plastic coated notes we know today!” The second occasion that Russell vividly remembers was again when he hadn’t eaten for many days. He staggered into a police station and was met by an officer behind a desk who asked if he could help. “I need food now,” Russell said. “What do you expect me to do about it?” The officer replied. “Give me something to eat please.” “I can’t do that,” he said, “this is a police station not a cafe.” “You have prisoners in here?” Russell enquired. “Well yes, we do,” he replied. “Do you feed them?” “Yes we do,” he said “but you’re not a prisoner.” “I need food and you are telling me that if I’d committed a crime you would feed me? What you are encouraging me to do is to go out and shoplift, get arrested and then you’d give me something to eat!”

“I’m not as it happens,” Russell replied. “I haven’t eaten for days.” “Shall we pray about it?” He asked.

The best part of a year ago, Russell was led to Gorseinon and eventually came to St Catherine’s where he met with people who welcomed him in Jesus’ name. “The first night I arrived in Gorseinon I slept underneath the shelter by Home Bargains,” Russell explains. “In the morning I looked for a Church. I had noticed St Catherine’s on the brow of the hill the previous evening. “That’s the one,” I thought. When I arrived I asked about the times of the services. I was told there was a Welsh service actually underway. Now I’m English, so I thought I’d give that a miss and hang around until the 10.15 service.” “As soon as I entered the Church I knew the Holy Spirit was there. I sat at the front. A lady came over and introduced herself. I asked if I could join her. The rest is history with a lot more stories about God’s blessings to tell but that’s for another time!” “I couldn’t have survived another winter on the streets. I’ve been in Gorseinon now for eight months and I’m not going anywhere ever again. God has placed me here for a reason and I’m excited about how He intends using me to help in building His Kingdom,” said Russell. “Since that day I have never gone hungry and I pray that I will never take that blessing for granted.” Thanks to the generosity of people in our Church family, Russell’s life has now been transformed. He no longer lives on the streets, but is thriving and flourishing in our community. He is a much loved and valued member of the Church and although he knows that he has been blessed, he too has been an immense blessing to those who have helped him get back on his feet.

Needless to say he managed to get Russell some food.

June 2019 Vision • 23


A snack from scripture to nourish and sustain you

You are special “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139.14)


id you know you started out as a single cell, and within that cell was enough DNA to hold the equivalent of 1,000 volumes of coded blueprints? Or that the DNA in that one cell determined the colour of your hair and eyes, the shape of your nose, and the size of your ring finger? Did you know nobody else has your fingerprints, the same sparkling eyes, the same laugh, or looks at things the way you do? You’re an original, and it didn’t happen by accident. God designed your DNA. He made you the way He wanted you to be. He gave you your voice, your smile, your

24 • Vision June 2019

freckles, your curly hair, all those things that make you who you are. And because God made you, you’re special to Him and to others. In fact, the world wouldn’t be complete without you. No wonder the psalmist said, ‘I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvellous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.’ Maybe you’re thinking, ‘Yeah, but you don’t know the limitations I live with and when it comes to my selfimage, I struggle every day to feel like I measure up.’ Jim Penner says: ‘I’ve talked

with and prayed for many who are dealing with physical issues … disease, diabetes, cancers, struggles with weight, muscular and autoimmune disease. The limitations the human family deals with on a daily basis are endless. Yet Ephesians 2.10 says, ‘You are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.’ God knew exactly what he was doing when He made you. You’re unique in all the world and that makes you special.’ Thank God that you are special, unique and wonderfully made. © UCB Word for Today, for more information visit


Exploring some of the traditions we take for granted in Church, what they mean and why we do them.

Seeing God in chaos: getting to grips with Pentecost P

entecost (Gk. Πεντηκοστή, ‘the fiftieth day’) was the Greek name given to the Jewish Feast of Weeks, which fell on the fiftieth day after Passover. In Judaism, the Feast of Weeks was a harvest festival in which the first-fruits of the corn harvest were presented (see Deuteronomy 16.9) and, in later times, the giving of the Law of Moses was also commemorated. It was at the Feast of Weeks, while the disciples of Jesus were all together in one place, that God’s Holy Spirit was given to them. God the Holy Spirit came to live inside of them, empowering and equipping them to be more like Jesus and to do the work that He’d called them to do. As you are sitting here reading this, how do you imagine that looking? An awe inspiring moment when bystanders couldn’t help but fall to their knees because it was evident that God was with them? Actually, no, it was chaotic! It was messy and didn’t make sense. People thought that the disciples were drunk and disorderly and they told them off because of it!

Genesis 11.1-9). Their big egos had fooled them into thinking that they could be equal to or even bigger than God as they attempted to build their own tower up to heaven. God confused their efforts by making them speak different languages and they no longer understood one another. Here at Pentecost, they are still speaking different languages but God unites them through understanding.

Suddenly, the disciples began making sounds that they didn’t understand, but many foreign strangers in the crowd were incredulous because what they heard was the disciples speaking in their own language. They were not simply speaking either, but sharing the Good News of Jesus in multiple languages without even realising it.

In the Early Church, people were often baptised at Pentecost and the word ‘Whitsunday’ is said to have derived from the white robes worn by the newly baptised as a sign that they were free from sin and had new life in Christ.

God doesn’t always work in the neat and tidy ways that we expect or want, but He had an amazing impact in the midst of the chaos of the first Pentecost. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see more of these unexpected, sometimes incomprehensible God incidents? We may, or may not, see events like this in Gorseinon today, but in other parts of the world they are still very common. Pentecost was the direct opposite of what happened in Babel, when men congregated and attempted to build a tower up to heaven (see

When we’ve asked Jesus into our lives, He promises that the Holy Spirit will come and live in us too. So we never have to do anything on our own or in our own strength. God is with us in a very real way, just like He was with the disciples at Pentecost. That same God can work through you. Jesus says, ‘Ask and you will receive.’ Do you want to see more of the Holy Spirit at work in your life? If you do, just ask. Listen out for Him and do what He prompts you to do. If the disciples hadn’t done that, there would not have been a Church today. Who knows how God might use you in some crazy, unexpected way, to share the Good News, to encourage and bless others? June 2019 Vision • 25

Rebecca Evans AM/AC Assembly Member for Gower Aelod Cynulliad dros Gŵyr

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26 • Vision June 2019

Lasting Powers of Attorney Probate Wills

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David Richards 17 Alexandra Road Gorseinon 01792 892880

“Siaradir Cymraeg yma” Quality • Friendly Service • Civility

June 2019 Vision • 27

Join us in our Weekly Worship Dydd Sul Sunday

9am Cymun Bendigaid yn Gymraeg. 10am – 11.30am

Explorers: Bible stories with fun songs, interactive games, arts and crafts for children in the Church Hall.


A traditional Communion with lively hymns, followed by tea and coffee in the Church Hall.

6pm Evening Worship.

Dydd Mercher Wednesday 10.30am

A short mid-week Communion, followed by tea and coffee in the Church Hall.

For more information on our weekly events and other activities, please visit our website where you will find the latest details. www @stcathgorseinon /stcathgorseinon

Do you share our vision?  I would like to meet with a member of the team.  I would like to know more about what’s going on at St Catherine’s Church.  I would like to get involved.  I would like to subscribe to this Vision magazine. Name Address Telephone Number E-mail Please return this slip to: St Catherine’s Church, Princess Street, Gorseinon, SA4 4US. A member our team will soon be in touch.

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