I hope everyone is keeping well and safe.
Another week has sped by and there are no changes to regulations again this week so please do continue to book in for our Sunday services via the website or phone your church warden or one of the clergy.
This Sunday we will be marking the Feast of Epiphany with the arrival of the Magi to complete our Nativity scenes.
I always feel a bit sorry for the Magi, arriving on 12th night when so much of the world have already finished their Christmases and packed away their decorations, luckily for them the Church remembers their arrival and keeps the party going and the decorations up until the end of the season at Candlemas on the 2nd of February. The arrival of the Magi is a major turning point in the story of our faith. When the Shepherds rushed down from the hill to Bethlehem to see the infant Christ they became the first of the Jewish people to recognise the Christ as God incarnate, but it is in the Magi that we first see those outside of Jewish faith caught up in God’s plan for the redemption of the world, it is through them that we become included in the story of our faith.
I often think of the pilgrimage these Magi made and compare it to our weekly pilgrimage to Church to celebrate the Eucharist and receive communion.
The Magi prepared for a journey, not quite sure what to expect but knowing that something important waited for them which they would miss out on if they didn’t make this journey.
So we to prepare before we set off for Church, reflecting on the week that’s been, setting off with a sense of expectation that something of import is happening and not wanting to miss out.
The Magi at their journeys end come to a place of encounter, the divine, God present in the fragile form of a baby, in awe they give their gifts and fall to their knees in humble adoration.
And we too in Church come to a place of encounter, the divine, God present in Christ, made new for us in fragile bread and wine, in awe we give our gifts in the collection and in humbleness receive communion with our God on bended knees.
Then, after their time in the presence of Christ the leave for home, but they go home a different way.
So we, when our Eucharist is over leave for home, but we go home different, not necessarily by a different route, but we go home different because we are changed, transformed by our encounter with the divine taking with us the sense of peace and graces received.
I hope you are all able to make this pilgrimage to your church this week. However we recognise that some are worried and cautious and so we will be uploading a reflection each Sunday to our Facebook page for you to listen to at home.
As part of our Epiphany celebrations we will be marking our church doors with blessed chalk, the blessing marks are 20 + C + M + B + 22. These marks represent the year and the C M B are the initials of the Magi, Casper, Malchior and Balthazaar. They also represent the Latin Christus Mansionem Benedicat, which asks for Christ’s blessing on all who pass through the doorway, that they may come to a place of encounter and discovery of the divine through what they find inside. There will be chalk for people to take home and mark their own door with, but if you would like me or any of the other clergy of the MA to come and bless your door at home then please do get in contact, whilst it is hard to visit during the pandemic this is a good way for us to come and visit without risking coming inside ourselves!
As our celebrations change flavour from Christmas to Epiphany lots of things are beginning to happen again. This week
– The Alpha course will continue on Wednesdays at 7pm, if you missed the 1st week then don’t worry, just contact Rev’d Stuart for the Zoom link.
– Friday Meditations in Llanfair will restart at 10am.
– Song School returns form it’s Christmas break and will meet again weekly at 4pm in St Peter’s Ruthin
Later in the month we will be starting a monthly Gosber and Evensong which will move around the Mission Area held in a different church each month.
Our first one will be Gosber on Sunday the 30th of Jan in Cyfylliog Church at 6pm
Then Evensong will be on the 6th of February in Llanfair church at 6pm.
Do come along and enjoy the beauty and old familiarity of these very moving traditional services.
Also this week we welcome Caroline back to work after her sick leave, she will be easing her way back into routine and we continue to hold her in our prayers.
We are also welcome someone new, Imogen will be starting with us on a part time basis for 6 months. She will be giving administrative help and assisting us with grant applications for our major building projects. She will be meeting with representatives of Clocaenog, Llanynys & Llanbedr churches on Friday. We also have a meeting with the Ruthin building committee on Tuesday to take forward the project there.
Please do pray for these projects which will not only repair our ancient sacred places but also give us much needed facilities from the basics like toilets to a full retreat and pilgrimage centre, pilgrim accommodation and much more to help us reach our potential as we reach out in Mission, growing faith, bringing hope and demonstrating love to all in our communities. While change and the sheer size of the projects ahead of us can be scary (I think we’re looking in the region of £3.5 million in the next 2 years!!!), it is so exciting to see such enthusiasm for the work of the church and if we only achieve half of what is planned the benefits will be amazing for all in our communities across Dyffryn Clwyd transforming lives. A recent academic piece of work done by the National churches trust (which used Llangynhafal church as one of it’s case studies) showed that for every £10 spent on a church building you get £30 of community benefit back, so imagine the return our communities will get from our investment in our places of worship! It is real testimony to the benefits of us working together as a Mission Area that we can put these dreams into reality undertaking projects that we would never be able to achieve alone.
Attached is the newsletter for this Sunday, and updated version of the Diary for 2022, the Bishop’s ad-clerum and the prayer cycle for January which is mostly for our Mission Area. It’s good to know that all we do is upheld in prayer by the thousands of Christians across our Diocese!
Mission Area Leader of Dyffryn Clwyd www.DyffrynClwyd.Co.Uk