Anyone who has been baptised will be able to receive Holy Communion in church, regardless of whether they have also been confirmed, under new guidance coming into effect in November.
The Church in Wales is re-adopting the practice of the early church on admission to Communion – the sharing of bread and wine – in an effort to strengthen ministry to children and young people in particular.
In recent times, people wishing to receive Communion have usually had to have been confirmed first – confirming promises made on their behalf at their baptism as infants. However, from the First Sunday in Advent – November 27th – everyone who has been baptised will be able to receive Holy Communion. The policy will be rolled out across the parishes and ministry areas over the next year.
Announcing the change in a pastoral letter, the Church’s bishops said,
“In the Church today, there are many who believe that the witness of the Church to Jesus Christ, and the process of nurturing children and young people in the Christian faith, would be immeasurably strengthened by recovering this earliest symbolism. Baptism alone should be seen as the gateway into participation in the life of the Church, including admission to the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
“In conjunction with advice from the Doctrinal Commission of the Church in Wales, and from the Governing Body, the Bench of Bishops wishes now to re-adopt the practice of the early Church with respect to admission to Holy Communion. It is our conviction that all the baptised, by virtue of their Baptism alone, are full members of the Body of Christ and qualified to receive Holy Communion.”
However, the bishops warned that, as children under five were not allowed alcohol, they should only be offered Communion in one kind, the bread. Parental permission would also be required for older children to receive the wine so parishes would need to keep clear records.
The bishops said the policy would lead to a strengthened understanding of the rite of Confirmation.
“It will be no longer the gateway to Communion, but take its proper place in the sacramental acts of the Church as a channel of God’s grace, affirming disciples of their place in the fellowship of the Church and commissioning them for service in the Church and world.”
Most, but not all members of the Parish are possibly aware of the, “Virtual Fair Gift Day”; a fund-raising activity which provided important and essential funding for the parish, which actually helps us to meet our financial obligations throughout the year.
Unfortunately, year on year, support decreased considerably and last year donations were down to half of that received in the initial years. This prompted a re-appraisal of the scheme, which as yet, has not resulted in any new ideas of how we propose we might move forward on this or similar.
At the commencement of the scheme, it was hoped that parishioners would put aside a small sum of money each week and then donate whatever had been ‘put aside’ as a Gift Day offering.
The background to the scheme as reminded over the years is as follows:
“Some years ago, it was our practice to hold a bazaar in the run-up to Christmas and this was organised and run by a small band of ‘volunteers’. Sadly, because of the busy-ness of life, the bazaar was often poorly attended and it was realised that it was those then who had worked so hard setting up the Bazaar were often the ones who attended and spent on the stalls which they had only just set up. Such a huge commitment on their part.
With reluctance, it was decided that it would be easier for most people to put a little aside each week throughout the year, perhaps 40p/50p which would then be donated in a lump sum of about £25 to the Parish at the Virtual Fair, or to place their donation into the normal collection plate, suitably enveloped and labelled.
It is course possible for taxpayers, to enable the Parish to regain the tax on donations by the process of Gift Aid; simply write your name/address OR your ‘weekly’ envelope number on your envelope.”
Many people have maintained their commitment to this scheme and have put ‘that small amount of money aside’ and others waiting to hear when they should make their donation. So if you are amongst those willing to maintain this system of offering, we would be really grateful if you could bring the donation to Church on the First Sunday of Advent, which is the 27th November. Hopefully, the sums raised may then be banked before the Church annual account closes on 31st December.
It would be lovely to see your continuing support for this Gift Day initiative.
RECEIVING COMMUNION AND BAPTISM
This month the bishops of the Church of Wales issued a joint statement on baptism and the Eucharist. The Press Release (see pages 10/11) states that receiving communion should be open to every baptised member of the Church – even very young children. This ruling comes into effect on Advent Sunday this year.
In the period between now and Advent Sunday, we will explore how we can best implement the teaching that our Bishops have given us. Bishop Richard of Monmouth has stated that, in practice, it will mean that baptised children from the age of five should be helped, through first communion preparation, to understand how to receive Holy Communion. All adults who are baptised will be encouraged to come to a simple preparation session so that we can explain what Holy Communion means, and how you go about receiving it at the altar.
What about confirmation?
Confirmation will remain an important sacrament that every parent and godparent who’s child is baptised promises to embrace. If you are baptised as a child, your parents and godparents promise to bring you up in the faith to the point where you can make (confirm) the baptismal promises for yourself – promises that have already been made for you.
This is why every adult who asks for baptism must be included in a confirmation programme, because the promises to God made at a baptism can, for adults, proceed straight to confirmation. At confirmation we confirm our desire to follow Christ for the rest of our lives. God confirms that decision with the grace and help of His Holy Spirit. I know that some of you will have heard of parishes where adults are baptised but are not guided towards confirmation. But this should not happen. An adult who desires to make the life-long promises for him or herself at baptism needs to follow these promises through to confirmation and will have no problem doing so if they mean what they say at their baptism.
Holy Communion, like baptism, does not depend on a child (or adult) understanding what is happening, as the action of God comes first in both cases. It’s what God is doing that matters most, not what we understand. We don’t wait until children understand about nutrition before feeding them. The basic thrust of what the bishops are saying is: if you baptise them, you should feed them.
This principle is true. In any case, children, in my experience, readily understand that to receive Holy Communion is to receive Jesus. It is that simple. It is that profound.
Do I understand how that can be? No.
Do I trust Jesus when He tells me that it is so? Yes!
As we move towards, what are for us, the new guidelines about receiving Holy Communion do encourage friends and family to come and talk to us clergy. We are here to help you.
In addition to our usual expenditure this month, we committed ourselves to purchasing a new organ – well, new for us anyway; the cost of a brand new organ is extremely prohibitive, so we had to do some scouting around and eventually we found a very suitable second-hand instrument for £5,500.
However, shortly before confirming our purchase, we heard that a church in Barry is having to close, due to building subsidence and they were very reluctantly selling their organ as they were relocating into a smaller hall. The instrument was an absolute bargain which we could not miss and agreed to its purchase for £3,600. We are extremely fortunate, as it is a very high specification instrument, better than the one that we had first looked at, and our organist Nicola tells us that it has many advanced features and even superior to our present organ in St David’s.
You may ask why we should purchase a new organ when we have a long list of things that we could spend money on? Well unfortunately, the organ at St Timothy’s is now showing its age and, (just like an old car) maintenance costs would be very high. Not only that, Nicola plays it to the best of her ability, however there are so many problems with it, that she has to, ‘make-do’ in order to produce the sounds that she should. It is apparently so bad that an organist who is not familiar with the instrument, would find it almost impossible to play properly and it would be wrong of us to put a visiting organist in this position.
Furthermore, when an organ does reach this stage, it is on borrowed time – and it must be remembered that the organ at St Tim’s is of the bellows and pump variety … and when problems do occur, as they will, it would be extremely costly to put right! In view of this, the decision was made at the last meeting of the PCC, that that we should purchase a new instrument. After this decision, the Finance Committee then considered the financial implications of such expenditure and it was concluded that the necessary funds could be made available.
Musically, the organ that we would like to purchase, has a far greater ’range’ with many superior features suited to a large church, however it would not be best suited for St Tim’s, as it would be too powerful and its advanced features wasted within the smaller accommodation there. It would however be extremely well suited to the greater proportions of St David’s, where its superior features would be better suited, especially in consideration of the larger congregations, and would come into its own during the major festivals and also the large number of weddings and funerals.
Plans are now afoot and in due course, the organ should be removed from St Tim’s and potentially we may be able to get some spare parts/scrap value for it. The present organ at St David’s will be relocated to St Tim’s and the newly purchased instrument will be fitted into St David’s. These are of course subject to the normal ‘Faculty’ documentation through the offices of the Diocese.
It goes without saying, that the movement and installations will be undertaken by a firm of professional organ fitters and the physical move under the experienced care of Mason’s Removals and it is planned that the work will be completed before we catch up with the planned redecoration of our churches.
September the total income into the parish was £3,588. This included £1,658 that we gave by Gift Direct and also the older system of the weekly envelopes (September 2015: £1,869). In addition to this, £296 was received from loose collections on Sundays (2015: £415). Surplice fees, (i.e. fees received for weddings and/or funerals) continue to be an essential source of income – £330 for the month, which is not a good place to be, as we really shouldn’t need rely on these fees simply to ‘pay our way’.
We also had our harvest festival this month – and £702.48 will go to Water Aid; a long standing decision by PCC that whatever we collect on Harvest Sunday will go directly to Water Aid. A number of people who missed the service have asked if they can still donate? – Well the answer to that is a simple, ‘Yes’; just put your donation in an envelope marked ‘Harvest’ or ‘Water Aid’ and we will send it on. (If you’re a tax payer … remember to put your name on the envelope so that we may reclaim 25p in the pound. A £5 donation would become … £6.25! )
I’ve also been asked about people who did not give on Harvest Sunday – but give a once-a-month donation to the parish. We’ve thought about that too. A proportion of all monthly donations in September is included in the amount we are giving to Water Aid, (for all of you that remember GCSE Maths – we take the monthly donation, divide by 30 and multiply by 7).
Along with the associated Gift Aid, this will allow Water Aid to fund a number of good things. For example, a hand-pump bringing safe clean water to a whole village costs £200, a rainwater harvesting tank to catch and store clean rainwater for use in the dry season costs £340, and £597 could train local people to maintain and fix a village water point, ensuring that it works for the long term.
This is so brilliant, as we are not only helping the third world by providing them with the water that they need today, we are also helping them to provide for themselves in future years!
What a beautiful legacy for the future, so thank you everyone who has help us to raise such a fantastic sum of money to support “Water Aid”.
Once again a coach load of passengers from our parish, with many of our regular friends from St Peter’s Church in Fairwater and the Church of the Resurrection departed for one of our regular lunches at the Abercrave Inn.
It is quite amazing the degree of support that these trips get, and as in almost all previous trips, all thirty eight seats of the coach were filled!
It must be said that it is a very relaxed trip, with plenty of chat and catching up done, in between watching the scenery go by. Traditionally we travel outward by the ‘pretty route’ via the A470 and beyond, and returning by the faster M4 route.
The outward bound route provides ‘on-board entertainment, in the guise of Gayle Hook (accompanied by whoever is brave enough to volunteer to help her), both careering up and down the bus, almost performing a choreographed dance together, actively relieving folks of their small change in exchange for raffle tickets… This is followed soon after by the exchange of those same raffle tickets by the lucky winners, who then carefully choose the most alluring gift wrapped prize in the bag of goodies. Once again, Gayle and partner’s choreography as delightful as ever…
It has to be said however, that homeward bound, the coach is very much quieter; of course stomachs full, everyone ‘talked-out’, and helped of course by having enjoyed a glass or two of luncheon wine, some have even been known to give in to the opportunity to take, ‘forty winks’.
On arrival back home, they have been known to remark … “What! Back already?”
What has not been mentioned however is the splendid lunch that is provided at the Inn. The selection of starters, main courses and puddings is really impressive and believe me, portion sizes are so generous and cannot be faulted. The food is well prepared, well presented and well served by very friendly and helpful waiting staff. All of which adds to what was a lovely, lovely day out … In the country.
All that remains to be said, is a very big thank you to Pauline Boughton and Gayle Hook for organising this lovely day … once again.
We had such a great harvest thanksgiving meal last month at St. Timothy’s. Thank you everyone who came, shared and ate with us. It was relaxed and fun. Great work!
When you sit down and share food with people, a hormone is released in the brain (oxytocin) that promotes closeness, bonding and connection. It’s as if we are hard wired to do certain things together, like eating. It’s an important way that couples, families, groups and churches deepen their common life. As Christians, we know this through what is at the heart of our faith: The Eucharist.
In the mass, the Eucharist, we share food with Jesus and with one another. He holds us together in comm-union. It’s a sacred act that we must repeat again and again if we want to obey Jesus’ command to ‘take, eat and do this to remember me’ …
(‘remember me’ = ‘make me present’ – literally, to re-member).
Every shared meal at a shared table links-in with the Eucharist that Jesus gives us. When we bless our every day food with a grace, it becomes a little act of communion. A Prayer of gratitude (said silently or aloud) makes food become love – God’s love.
Never miss saying grace before you eat. It’s a good habit to develop, and over time becomes second nature.
All this comes to our mind at harvest time, a season for reminding ourselves of how dependent we are both on the labour of others and the generosity of the earth. A true harvest thanksgiving should deepen our sense of reverence for the world, but also kindle a desire for greater justice. This is not a poor world, but an unfair one.
This harvest, we are again supporting WaterAid. If you haven’t already done so, please take an envelope for WaterAid (found at the back of both of our churches) and return it this month with your donation. If you’re a tax payer, please sign at the back of the envelope, and WaterAid will also receive the tax money in addition to the amount you give.
May I please, through the pages of the magazine, thank whoever was responsible for the flowers, that were presented to the congregation on Mothering Sunday.
It is always lovely to receive flowers, particularly on a special occasion, however this year the posies were really beautiful. Wrapped in cellophane and tied with a bow, not only protecting them from being crushed, but made them so elegant to give and of course, to receive.
So, once again, a huge thank you for your hard work … It was so appreciated.
The church library is now open!
All books are available on loan or for exchange.
There is no fee, but if you would like to make a donation in aid of church funds, a collection box will be available.
This is a great opportunity to share with others, those special books that have made an impact on us, rather than letting them gather dust on bookshelves at home.
Our hope is that we may eventually accommodate a wide range of books for every age and stage of life – as well as different book genres, some new books, some classics, and some that you simply don’t want to miss!
So please look through your own shelves and see if you may be among the first to make a donation of books … whilst you are at it, take a look to see if something on our shelf catches your eye.
For further details, speak to Terry Budd or Karen Robjohn.
This month we elect a new group of people to serve on our Parish Church Council (PCC).
Many of you might not realise what the PCC actually does, and if you’ve ever found yourself wondering, here’s a chance to find out more.
Every Anglican parish is looked after by a group of elected parishioners who help, with the incumbent (Vicar-Parish Priest) and church wardens to lead the local church in its work and mission.
This group is elected each year at the Annual Vestry Meeting, [AVM) and our Vestry Meeting is to be held this week; those elected serve for a year, though they can be elected to serve again the following year.
Much of the work of the PCC involves the necessary but unglamorous tasks of making sure the local church is doing its job. The PCC, with the parish treasurer, makes sure that the money given to us each week and month, is all accounted for and spent in the right way. At the Annual Vestry Meeting, our annual accounts are published, and any parishioner can ask questions about the way our money is spent. Naturally, these accounts must be independently audited.
The PCC makes sure that essential repair and maintenance work is carried out in our Churches, and explores ways of making sure our Church is fully engaged with our local community. At our meetings, we often spend time discussing issues raised by ordinary members of our congregation, and these can range from questions to do with Church flowers to funerals, baptisms, children’s work, and many other subjects.
If there’s ever a question or issue that you would like us to explore, then don’t hesitate to ask a member of the PCC, one of our parish clergy or a Church warden.
The Heroism of Routine
I am enormously grateful to those who give up their free time to serve in our Church council. Archbishop Rowan talks of the ‘heroism of routine’ – how sometimes, often, what God asks of us is the carrying out of very mundane, common tasks over and over again.
PCCs are like that, but so are many other things in life, things that we don’t find emotionally fulfilling but which make so many other life-giving experiences possible. So thank you for the persistent efforts of PCC members. May we all find strength and inspiration from the truth that any task, however small or humble, can be done for the Lord, and when it’s done in His name, because we believe in Him and love Him, it even leaves a trace of …..joy Thank you
Of all the times to be unwell… Holy Week. Ugh!
I woke up on Palm Sunday feeling under the weather. After the S. Timothy’s mass I was shivering and aching, and Fr. Chris very kindly carried on at the 10.45 am on his own. All through holy week I suffered with a flu virus, which seemed to waken my old friend, shingles.
Even though I was only able to limp through Holy Week, it was still an enormous privilege to share it with you. Support for the worship and liturgy we offered to the Lord this Holy Week was amazing, especially during the Triduum (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Eve and Day celebrations). We had the best attended services since I’ve been here.
Well done everyone. You’ve set a great bar for next year.