Good evening you lovely lot!
How are things with you all?
I must confess I have a glass of wine by my side, getting ready for a very much needed day off tomorrow – the last couple of weeks have been extraordinarily busy and the thought of brunch out with Will, a little bit of retail therapy, and no emails is sounding very appealing!
I love the people part of ministry. Time with you all, and preparing for services and then leading them, are real highlights. I enjoy being creative and you all offer me so much motivation with your energy and enthusiasm for mission and community. I do wish that I could reduce the time I spend doing admin though. Emails aren’t always horrid, but I do like to give full and helpful responses, so they take time to do well, and always feel squeezed into the wrong part of the day. I am aware that there are several outstanding messages that I haven’t got back to this week. Please accept my apologies. I will get to them on Saturday or Sunday.
Next week is going to prove to be challenging, and my admin situation probably won’t improve! I just thought you should know. On Monday and Tuesday I am in Cardiff with Kevin, Sarah, and two others, on a coaching course recommended by the bishop. Then on Thursday and Friday I am on a provincial training course that the bishop has asked me to do, on the subject of deliverance ministry. The timing of two courses in one week isn’t great so please accept my apology that you won’t see much of me next week.
If you’d like to know more about either of these courses, I would love to tell you!
Despite my timetable next week, please know that I will continue to pray for you all, every day. Prayer is the bedrock of my ministry and faith – it energises, strengthens, revives, and protects me. If you’d like to know more about prayer and praying, don’t hesitate to ask :0)
I hope you enjoy our harvest season and look forward to seeing you soon.
With much love,
Good evening lovely people,
And how are you this week? It’s very much been a week of two halves I think – the beginning started with those extraordinary and very special services on our televisions, including the funeral for Her Majesty, and then we sort of fell into the rest of the week, slightly dazed and not sure where we were! Or was it just me?
There are a couple of important things to give you this week.
First there is a lovely afternoon planned by a church nearby, specifically to offer an opportunity to sing Welsh hymns. Please pass on the message below to anyone you think may be interested.
Here in Llanddewi Rhydderch, a bit east of Abergavenny, we are running an afternoon of Welsh hymn singing during the afternoon of Saturday 8 October. All the details are available on. https://uk01.z.antigena.com/l/tU6ruzsxF80ajTWSHAjZExwWagOJQPArWFJySx6v~sY3Fzv4faPfjyEEw3zRVQQ3EjKCaQTUG4M9cvRlIbtLfLwHlmJCtt_oPGbdkD-65r6eiXBMvh9IuuscyWUMhuI-hsuu2dqU006zou–v2obzBPaB2FLpTQbYQ0qV64z0rRyVroa .
Also, I suspect many of you are already aware, Kevin’s dad very sadly died this week. Kevin was with him at the end and I know he has been very comforted by your prayers over the recent weeks. Kevin is hoping to return to Wales this weekend but as I am sure you understand, there will be things that require him to go back to Kent, and he will need time to grieve. Please keep him and his family in your prayers.
What else do I need to update you on?
Perhaps that is it!
As we enter Autumn, and the diary begins to fill, thank you for your patience when I am not as quick to respond as I would like to be, and thank you for all your prayers and support. Don’t hesitate to be in touch if you need anything or just fancy being in touch, I am always pleased to hear from you.
Be assured of my prayers, I know many of you are carrying heavy stuff.
Good evening lovely people,
A couple of really important things to tell you and I don’t want you to have got bored with the wittering and not spot them, so straight in with them –
Sunday Service in Tredunnock change
Just this Sunday, 18th September, the service at Tredunnock has moved to be in Llanhennock Church at 10am. This is to combine congregations to cover a short notice change to the rota to accommodate Kevin’s compassionate leave. Thank you very much to Canon Arthur Edwards for being willing to adapt, and well done Gerry and Jill for coming up with the plan! Thank you too to the congregation of Tredunnock for being willing to worship in Llanhennock, it was certainly the most sensible way round to share. I really am very grateful for the flexibility and cheerful way that you all cope with this sort of thing, thank you!
Ministry Area Service for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth
There is a service in Raglan Church on Friday (16th) at 7pm, which everyone is invited to, across the whole MA. I know some churches have already had local opportunities to reflect upon the death of Her Majesty, but this promises to be a lovely service and I hope that some of you will be able to make it.
And now for the chatty bit!
It occurs to me that I always have something to thank you for. You all work so hard, and step up to be active parts of all that the church is doing locally, you really are amazing! I’ve noticed this week that some of you have just got on with organising local ways of ensuring that there are opportunities for reflection in our churches, many of you helped at the Usk Show, pastoral visiting, Open the Book, leading services, our work with older people, those from Ukraine, toddlers, everyone! And that’s before we think about all the work to ensure our buildings are safe and welcoming. It really is a huge team effort and I don’t want you to think that I don’t notice or appreciate every single one of you. You’re fab! Thank you for all that you do. I feel very lucky to be included in the life of all our villages and communities.
And now, I’m going to have a little glass of something and put my slippers on!
Lots of love to you all, you know where I am,
I must confess to wondering whether I should send my usual jolly email.
Like me I expect you are trying to gather your thoughts and process the sad news that Her Majesty the Queen has died.
There will be time enough in the coming days and weeks for us to respond in fitting ways, and I will be in touch with information about how the churches will mark this sadness as soon as I know more. For now let us give thanks for a life well lived, a faith well articulated, and a sense of duty second to none. May we all see and be glad of the example Queen Elizabeth set us.
Please remember her family in your prayers.
Prior to the news I had already written my letter which you will find below. If you would prefer to finish here then I completely understand.
Gracious God, we give thanks
for the life of your servant Queen Elizabeth, for her faith and her dedication to duty. Bless our nation as we mourn her death and may her example continue to inspire us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
God of love,
we thank you for the life of The Queen,
for her service to our nation,
and for her faith in you.
Be close to all of us who mourn,
that we may find comfort and hope in your love, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Everlasting God, we pray for our new King.
Giving thanks for his devoted service as Prince of Wales, we ask you bless his reign and the life of our nation. Help us to work together
so that truth and justice, harmony and fairness
flourish among us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
How are you all this week? Whilst I don’t buy into the notion that the beginning of September means that summer is over, I can’t help but notice the dampness in the air, and the autumnal smell that accompanies it. I am very glad to see things greening up after the rains, a sure sign that we are not quite into the next season I hope. (Although I love Autumn, I really do!)
Texas was fantastic – such a different place to be, vast, friendly, and always slightly unbelievable! I’m glad to be back and we seem to be full pelt into a very busy time, or is that just me?!
Afew things to tell you about this week –
Compline is not back yet – it feels odd to say Night Prayer when it is still light and bright outside. I’ll let you know when it restarts. I do have a different date for your diary though – St. Mary’s Usk is going to be having a Taizé service on Sunday 9th October 7pm. This is a gentle, reflective service, singing Taizé chants, with moments of quiet space, readings, and prayers. It’s a wonderful way to spend time resting in God, without any need to do or say anything. Our hope is that it will be a comfortable and easy service for everyone, and will be a perfect way to finish the day.
It is hoped that this might be a regular service but we are trialling it, so please let us know if you are interested, even if you can’t come on this occasion.
Another service to alert you to is that Bishop Cherry will be leading the Sunday service in Usk on 18th September. If you aren’t sure where to go to church that morning, I am sure the bishop would be very pleased to see you. Often we see her because of a special service or reason, so it is wonderful to welcome her to a normal service- it should mean there is more opportunity to chat and I know she loves meeting people.
Finally, can I say thank you to you all? Prior to my holiday I wasn’t at all well, I then spent time back at work but below par, and then I had a holiday. During all that time, everything still happened, and many things continued to develop, grow, and progress. You really are an amazing bunch of people – hard working, cheerful, and willing. You look after each other well, and you reach out into our communities with love and generosity. This winter is going to be a challenge on many fronts, and I am confident that with the spirit and goodwill that I see so much of, we will be able to look after each other into the winter and beyond. Thank you so much for being you – it’s that passage in the bible about the body being made of many parts – each and every one of you is essential to our whole church community, and I’m very glad to be part of it with you.
Much love to you all, and you know where I am.
Good afternoon friends,
How are you all?
A few important things to share with you this week so I’ll get right on with it.
I can now confirm that Rev’d Bob Greenland’s funeral will be on Thursday 1st September 10am in the Priory Church of St. Mary, Usk. This will be followed by a private burial at St. Thomas a Becket Church, Wolvesnewton. I expect that many of you will want to come and I know Scilla will be very pleased to see you. We will try to squeeze everyone into the church! If you would like to make a donation in memory of Bob there is an easy way to do this online, using this link – https://www.toveybros.co.uk/funeral/james-robert-william-greenland/ Altrenatively there will be opportunities at the funeral to donate by cash or cheque.
As a result of Bob’s funeral there will be no healing service in Usk on 1st September. I am sorry about that but also know that you understand.
Other dates to remind you of are that I am going to be on holiday, with tomorrow (Friday) being my last working day. I will be back in circulation from 31st August but will be busy with a number of large services at the end of that week so won’t be attempting to tackle my emails until Monday 5th September at the very earliest. Just FIve minutes will return on 5th Sept. and LIFT will taking a two week break. If you require anything while I am away please don’t hesitate to contact Rev’d Kevin Hasler on
Finally, just a brief reflection – it’s hard to believe that August is more than half way through! Today lots of young people found out whether their A Levels will let them begin the next phase of their lives, and next week will be GCSE results time. In just two weeks our younger children will be starting school, some of them for the first time. So much to give thanks for, so much to ask for guidance about, and so many to support through times of change, anxiety, and joy. Please will you join me in praying for all our young people and their families, whatever stage of education or life they are part of. We all have a part to play don’t we?
I shall look forward to seeing you all in a couple of weeks, and in the meantime, please know that you are in my prayers, as always.
Good afternoon on this hot summer’s day, I trust you are well?
I expect many of you have already heard, and it is with great sadness that I start this letter with the news that Rev’d Bob Greenland sadly died on Tuesday. He had a peaceful end at home, with his family, and I am sure you will join me in offering condolences and love to Scilla, their children and grandchildren, and all Bob’s family and friends.
No doubt you have stories and memories of Bob, he was a man deeply connected to so many parts of Monmouthshire life. We are very fortunate to have been able to know him, and his ministry amongst us and particularly in the community in Wolvesnewton, has been a shining example of God at work. Please hold the congregation and community of Wolvesnewton in your prayers as they begin to grieve the loss of their priest, and if you are not sure where to worship over the next few weeks, I can heartily recommend a trip into the countryside to be with them at the church of St. Thomas a Becket, to show your support and your care for them at this time. It’s a little gem of a church and you will be greeted like an old friend.
Funeral arrangements for Bob have yet to be made and I will update you in due course.
It feels flippant to follow such weighty news with a holiday announcement but I want to give you plenty of notice that I will be unavailable from Friday 19th August until Wednesday 31st August as I will be in Texas with Will. He is actually going out for a month to catch up with family and to take Isaac to university; it will be his first trip home in three years. If you have any urgent needs then please contact Kevin Hasler in my absence.
FInally a little thank you. I am watching and noticing so many acts of kindness, and moments of community care amongst you all, and it really is very touching and encouraging. I think our communities are wonderfully caring within and across the various villages and hamlets, so thank you! I listened to the Bishop of the Highveld speak yesterday about how he is quietly envious of our closeness geographically, and it occurred to me that this is a real plus point for us. He also mentioned how well resourced he thought we are, which got me thinking in a completely different direction, and that’s probably best saved for another day!
So to finish, love each other well, please continue to pray for those who need our prayers, and don’t hesitate to be in touch if you think I might be the person you need to speak with.
With lots of love,
Good Afternoon my friends,
I must confess to being completely distracted as my cat rolls around on the table by me, so brazen, as I tell him that cats aren’t allowed on the table. I need to get tough I think!
How has your week been so far?
It’s been good to be back out and to be in our communities and seeing people again, although it has been quite tiring! If you are waiting for a reply to something please can you resend your email or leave another message. I’m worried that things have slipped off my radar – it’s not my intention to ignore you, I promise!
What news do I have? Well now, sometime during the next couple of weeks I am really excited to tell you that Rebecca Woolridge will be joining us from St. Padarn’s, as a student. Rebecca is in her second year of three, training full time to be ordained. Her official title is that she is an Ordinand, and Rebecca will be with us for the next year, doing her academic training Wednesday to Friday, and then spending two of the remaining days on placement with us (Sunday of course, and one other day to be decided). It is a privilege to be part of someone’s training experience, and Rebecca comes with a wealth of amazing experience that I’ll let you find out about when you meet her. Please keep Rebecca in your prayers, and of course all those training for ordination, including Bill who has now completed Summer School and will be full time in St. Padarn’s from September, before God willing, his ordination next June/July. Bill is continuing his training in Newport and I know you all miss him.
As I know I say often, there is a lot to pray about, and this week is no exception. Please keep all those who are struggling, in your prayers, and also let’s give thanks for those who make our lives easier, lighter, and brighter. I especially give thanks for all of you and how you care about each other, and look after each other. Let us keep offering to those who have yet to find their way with their faith, a shining example of what Christian love looks like. I did a Just Five Minutes this week on the passage in Ecclesiastes that I’ve included below. It resonated with so many of you, and i hope will offer something of value to those who haven’t seen the little video.
With my love and prayers to you all. Please don’t hesitate to be in touch if you need anything or fancy a catch up. There’s always room for another cuppa!!
Ecclesiastes 3 A Time for Everything
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.