General Assembly of the Church of Wales: mixed economy in Swansea and Brecon

PRESENTATIONS were not alien to the main business of the meeting, but aligned with the vision and aspirations of the 10-year plan and the funding announcement.

The photo from Swansea and Brecon showed a cross section of ministries, legacy and new, the challenges and conflicts of holding worship and strained business ventures at Brecon Cathedral, in the heart of the National Park, at the ‘retirement and advance” tactic which has led to St Thomas, Swansea becoming a thriving community centre.

The meeting heard that Wales has the highest child poverty rate of any country in the UK, with around one in three children living in poverty. Figures showed 9,972 children were absent from primary school and 15,797 from secondary school in July this year. Swansea is one of the most deprived areas and the diocese works closely with the charity Faith in Families, whose CEO, Cherrie Bija, addressed the meeting.

Reverend Andrew Perrin, regional ministry officer for West Radnor, spoke of one of his 25 churches: the isolated medieval church of St Michael’s, which still holds monthly and Christmas services. He was trying to change attitudes in rural areas, encouraging people to go to another church when there was no service in their own church, but he questioned the closing of church buildings. church in glorious places, which had such potential.

“Churches are assets, valuable resources. We could easily do more with them,” he said. “The people are the church. I want to tell them, ‘Be bold. Look at your buildings differently.’”

Reverend Stephen BuntingVicar of St Thomas’s, Swansea, was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honors List for raising £1.4m to redevelop the church into a home for all of its ministries, including food bank and support associated with Baby Basics, showers for the overnight shelter, “Breakfast with Board Games” (to remove the stigma of free meals), a cafe, a wedding and conference venue, and more, to meet material and spiritual needs.

“Bacon sandwiches, good coffee and toilets with toilet paper” had drawn people to St Thomas. “We are transforming lives by reducing poverty,” Mr. Bunting said. The Bishop of Swansea and BreconThe Rt Revd John Lomas said the Church in Wales had “decided to be the kind of church that invests in the world we live in”.

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