Weekly News from the Diocese

Diocese of Monmouth Esgobaeth Mynwy

Dear Friends,

Opening Churches

It is good to see some of our churches open and available for worship and private prayer. I am very aware that feelings are mixed and whilst many have been longing to return to their church buildings, others remain anxious about coming back. Please remember that whilst all churches now can open, none are obliged to do so. It may well be more sensible to open one or two in an area, (if indeed that is possible), where there are people willing and able to ensure compliance with the regulations that we are, of necessity, having to put in place. Your Archdeacon will support you with any advice you may need.

Safeguarding the integrity of Creation

This is the Anglican Communion’s 5th mark of mission and there are various ways in which we can live that out both in our personal lives and through our churches’ worship, life and witness. Here are some things that you can explore:The Season of Creation is an annual global celebration of prayer and action for our common home. It runs from 1 September through 4 October each year, taking in that time when many churches celebrate Harvest Thanksgiving.  Many Christians across the globe unite during the Season of Creation to focus on our need for reconciliation with our Creator and his creation. The Anglican Communion Environmental Network partners with the Global Catholic Climate Network, Lutheran World Federation, WCC and other partners to promote the Season of Creation. More information can be found at http://www.seasonofcreation.org  As we slowly return to our churches, what a wonderful opportunity to consider rather worshiping in nature which is so much safer. Here are some guidelines from the Church of England https://www.churchofengland.org/more/church-resources/churchcare/advice-and-guidance-church-buildings/outdoor-worship
 This webinar with the Bishop of Oxford and the Bishop of Reading on the Green Recovery is worth looking at https://faithfortheclimate.org.uk/news/Faith-and-a-Green-Recovery-Thinking-Global-Acting-Local   St Mary’s Malpas is just one of our churches that has been exploring what it means to be come an Eco Church. By doing some simple things such as purchasing Fairtrade tea and coffee, using paper cups instead of polystyrene ones, using only environmentally friendly cleaning products and reducing paper usage, they have gained the Bronze Award from A Rocha UK. Jan Parsons, a member of the congregation, tells their story here.  
Grace House
Grace House in Newport supports women from all areas of society who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Some of you may know Stuart and Carolyne Johnson who run the project. As we ease out of lockdown, they are hoping that local churches will get involved to support the work through prayer and finance so that they can continue to offer support to what is expected to be an increasing number of vulnerable women in the coming months. A letter explaining their hopes and dreams, and the ways in which you can support them, can be found here.

As we move into the ‘holiday’ season, I pray that you will all find time for rest and refreshment, perhaps some time with family and friends, and an opportunity to take stock and attend to your own wellbeing.Live-streamed Services & Reflections: Catch up on Bishop Cherry’s Tuesday reflection here.

Join a Sunday Eucharist from Archdeacon Jonathan at the earlier time of 10:30am here.
 Continued Financial Support for Parishes and Ministry Areas
 We may be starting to slowly emerge from lockdown, but the financial impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic will be felt for some time yet! As a result, the Diocesan Board of Finance has agreed the same level of support for parishes and ministry areas for Q3 as they did for Q2.

Instead of the normal 5% rebate, we are able to make a 40% rebate across the board to all those parishes who can pay. For parishes and ministry areas who are using their rebate to pay arrears, this won’t happen this quarter and the full rebate will be paid directly to you.

This worked incredibly well during the previous quarter, enabling 90% of our parishes to pay their share – thank-you.

We are able to offer this support thanks to funding from the Representative Body of the Church in Wales which generously awarded each diocese a grant to minimise financial vulnerability.

We are incredibly grateful to the RB Trustees for the financial assistance that has enabled this rebate. Their financial package is guided by several key principles, in particular, an encouragement for us all to work together and an acknowledgement that we are all one Church. In this spirit, some of our parishes and ministry areas who did not need its full rebate for Q2 allowed the surplus to be redirected to those parishes in greater need.

Similarly, the RB Trustees have asked that Dioceses, Ministry Areas and parishes alike, make the most of the money they get in, in a way that enables us all to be stronger for the future.

To further encourage the financial security of our parishes, The Diocesan Board of Finance, also agreed at a recent meeting to trial ‘contactless giving’. This would help our parishes to adapt to a new way of working as we embark on life after lockdown. Exploring ‘contactless giving’ is an exciting opportunity and we will be giving more details soon.

If you have any questions about rebates or are interested in the contactless giving trial please contact Libby Morgan Owen, libbymorgan-owen@churchinwales.org.uk or ring 07508 801511.As more of our church buildings begin opening we want to thank all the volunteers and clergy who are working hard to make this possible.Diocesan re-opening church buildings grant scheme – one week left to applyWe will be keeping this grant open for applications until the end of July.
Please click here to view the application form with more information.Allchurches Trust has launched a new grants programme – Hope Beyond – aimed at enabling churches and Christian charities to meet changing need within their communities as the longer term impact of Covid-19 becomes clearer. 

Funding projects that will enable people, organisations and communities to flourish in life after lockdown, Hope Beyond will help churches, Christian charities and communities to adapt to the challenges and opportunities presented by the pandemic – building resilience and encouraging hope.

Grants of up to £50,000 are available, and the amount you receive will depend upon the cost of your project and level of need in your community, ranging from 10% of project cost through to 80%. In developing the Hope Beyond programme, Allchurches Trust carried out an online consultation to better understand what our beneficiaries felt the key needs of people of all ages in their communities would be as a direct result of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

The Hope Beyond research report shows that more than two-thirds of church respondents expect loneliness and isolation to be the most pressing need in the next three months, with 58% of churches predicting the same when looking a year ahead. The issue of mental health and wellbeing was the second highest rated concern for around half of churches, while many also reported feeling limited by a lack of digital knowledge and/or technology – both within the church and in the wider community. You can read more about the findings here.

The Hope Beyond grants programme will, therefore, look to address these three themes:
•    Projects responding to the issues of loneliness and isolation exacerbated by the Coronavirus pandemic where new and/or enhanced support is being proposed.
•    Projects focused on growing community resilience and promoting mental and emotional health and wellbeing
•    Projects focused on growing technological capability and resilience and supporting those without online access to get online through training and support. 

To find out more information about the programme, read the research report and apply online, head to www.allchurches.co.uk/hopebeyondSpotlight

Taking a closer look at things with views from across the diocese.#HereIAmLord Liz Houghton was ordained on Saturday 27th June 2020 as Associate Curate to Newport North Ministry Area. This is a reflection on her Ordination and the first few weeks of curacy. Could God be calling you? 
The lead up to ordination, was challenging time and it wasn’t until our rehearsal that I allowed myself to realise ordination was going to happen, and what 4 people plus a videographer in a Cathedral would actually feel like.  

The ‘big’ day arrived. I remember feeling nervous but held up by all the well wishes and prayers. As I readied myself to go into the cathedral, I read a last message, it was from a special friend, who I’d met as we explored vocation and whom would have been ordained with me under normal circumstances. It simply said, ‘with you all the way’. Sounds odd, but it was if God had just whispered those words in my ear at that very moment. 

The service was deeply personal, just ‘us’ and God…… and a live link on YouTube watched by many who’d never have made it to the cathedral under any circumstance. An unexpected blessing! Knowing that I was Bishop Cherry’s first ever ordination was humbling and quite special. 

I was excited for next day as I was going to meet some of my new Church family on Zoom. I have been made to feel extremely welcome; I really look forward to the time when we can all meet face to face, and perhaps fit in a little hug here and there! 

2.5 weeks in, but so far, despite the challenging time, I’ve led morning prayer twice, a funeral, and one again next week, shared a story in Junior church, joined in with the MA Bible study, played escape rooms and done a quiz with the Youth Group, and answered some fab questions from Junior Church! I’m super excited for where God is going to lead in the future and remain open to respond to His call.Find out more about vocation and what it means to people across our diocese here. Digital Ministry Webinars with St Padarn’s Institute
Over the last few months, all of our lives have been changed in ways that none of us could have imagined, and the Church has had to rapidly re-imagine its mission, ministry and understanding of community.
With this in mind, St Padarn’s is pleased introduce a series of webinars focused on Digital Ministry. 
 Find out more about upcoming webinars, book your place or view previous webinars here. Diocesan Book Club Children, Families & Young Peoples Resources
 Our school hubs are continuing to operate throughout the summer, please keep them in your prayers.Cyncoed Ministry Area – Online Sunday School
Check out this week’s Sunday School here.
To join the Zoom Sunday school email matt@cyncoedministryarea.org.uk or join on Facebook here at 2pm on Sunday.
 St Teilos High School are providing weekly services for young people, you can catch up with previous services and watch this week’s here.Charles Williams Church in Wales Primary School have lots of child friendly services available here.Care for the Family
Care for the Family’s Kitchen Table Project is supporting churches and their work with families, watch their video here.
And find more of their resources here.Scripture Union
Scripture Union have a variety of resources available for children and young people, including daily craft and prayer activities and mental health resources. Check them out here.There are lots more amazing resources for children and families available on our website here.Other Notices

We have been asked to share the below job advert

Job Title: College ManagerSouth Wales Baptist College prepares candidates (mainly from the Baptist Union of Great Britain and the Baptist Union of Wales, but also with other denominations) for Christian Ministry.  It engages with churches both within and beyond South Wales in seeking to facilitate the mission of Christ.  The College is seeking to appoint a College Manager who will play a key role in the College’s operational and administrative management processes.Please submit your CV along with a letter expressing your interest and suitability for the role via email to the Chair of Trustees : Rev. Mark Thomas : mthomas@swbc.org.ukIf you have any questions about this role you are welcome to contact either of the Co-Principals  (principal@swbc.org.uk) or the Chair of Trustees (mthomas@swbc.org.uk)The closing date for receipt of applications is 31st July.Interviews will be via Zoom in early August.Location : South Wales Baptist College.Pay range : £31,000 – 35,000Permanent, Full timePart time / Job Share would be consideredFor a downloadable and printable version of this email please click here.

You can find the one-stop-shop for all you need to know and this week’s updates here.