Weekly News from the Diocese

Diocese of Monmouth Esgobaeth Mynwy

Friday Update from Bishop Cherry

Black Lives Matter
The appalling situation in the United States has generated feelings of outrage, disgust and shame both in the States and across the world. The murder of an unarmed black man at the hands of white police officers has re-opened the whole debate about racism and why it is still so prevalent. The fact that the authorities at the highest level have responded in the ways that they have only goes to demonstrate how systemic the issue still is. Racism should have no place in our society today but sadly it is alive and well across the world, in the church as well as in our other institutions.
Many have spoken out about what has happened and I myself will be speaking about it again in my sermon on Sunday. Speaking out in solidarity is a start, but words alone are not enough. Each of us must be prepared to reflect on our own attitudes and behaviours and especially those of us who hold any kind of power or authority if the world is going to change. Racism and other forms of discrimination will not be stamped out until those who hold power choose to share it with those who haven’t. The questions is, are we prepared to use the power we have to empower and raise up those who are disadvantaged and discriminated against by the dominant culture of our society? Or are we going to use it to maintain the privileged positions that we enjoy?
We must pray deeply and intentionally for a conversion of our hearts and minds.

Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service
I am delighted to pass on the wonderful news that the Monmouth based charity Hands Around the World has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (qavs.culture.gov.uk).  It is the highest award given to local volunteer groups and is described as the MBE for volunteers. The crystal Award and certificate signed by the Queen will be presented at a later date on behalf of Her Majesty by the Lord Lieutenant and the charity will be entitled to use the distinctive QAVS logo.
Hands Around the World www.hatw.org.uk  was founded 25 years ago by Dr David Steiner who is a member of the church at Mitchel Troy and there are some people in the diocese who assist in the running of the charity in the Monmouth area as well as volunteers who pay their own fares to go and work overseas in Africa and India on various projects. The charity works in some of the poorest and most needy communities to support thousands of vulnerable children by providing food, education, vocational training and apprenticeships.
We send our congratulations to all involved.

Honouring People in Gwent
The Queen has agreed that the Birthday Honours List, scheduled for publication on 13 June, should be delayed until the autumn.  The Birthday List was formulated well in advance of the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and therefore does not reflect the extraordinary efforts currently underway to tackle and mitigate the crisis.
The Lord Lieutenant, Brigadier Robert Aitken, is asking for our help in ensuring that some of the exceptional contributions made by so many individuals across Gwent in response to Coronavirus are recognised at a national level. We are looking for people who have:
● Worked on the frontline of their organisation or in their sector to directly support the most vulnerable members of society and people who have caught COVID-19.
● Provided critical care to COVID-19 patients.
● Made significant innovations in order to support the vulnerable and those with COVID-19 ​or​ their communities and sectors.
● Gone to extraordinary lengths to keep critical services going.
● Volunteered in the community or for service organisations in support of those affected by COVID-19.
If you would like to nominate someone you know who fulfils one or more of these criteria, please use the information and from at
Live-streamed Services & Reflections: Catch up on Bishop Cherry’s Tuesday Reflection this week focusing on Addressing Racism here.

Join this Sunday’s Eucharist from Bishopstow at 11am here.
 And join a Sunday evening Reading & Homily, Preacher – Canon Paul Thompson, at 5pm here.Diocesan Financial Support Package for Parishes and Ministry Areas

As we have previously communicated, the Representative Body of the Church in Wales has generously awarded each Diocese a grant to minimise the financial impact caused by the Coronavirus Pandemic. We are delighted to announce that the Diocesan Board of Finance agreed at their meeting yesterday that this money will be used to help parishes and Ministry Areas. Instead of your normal 5% rebate for Quarter Two we are now 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.
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, we would ask any parish or Ministry Area that does not need its full rebate to consider allowing the surplus to be redirected to those parishes who are in the greatest 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.
This crisis has made us all feel more vulnerable, perhaps particularly in the area of finance. But there are some very practical steps that we can take to put us in a better position. This includes encouraging regular giving via Gift direct or similar scheme. More information on that can be found here.   

We will contact all Treasurers with more detail about this rebate for Q2 in advance of the payment date of 15th July. But, if you have any questions in the meantime please contact Libby Morgan Owen,
libbymorgan-owen@churchinwales.org.uk or ring 07508 801511
 Gift Aid Small Donation Scheme

HMRC have provided the following update regarding the operation of the scheme during the Covid 19 crisis saying,
“In respect of GASDS, guidance on the eligibility for donations for inclusion in this scheme is clear in stating that claims can only be made on cash donations of £30 or less; and contactless card donations of £30 or less collected on or after 6 April 2019. The decision over what constitutes an eligible donation is one for the church/charity to make for themselves, rather than for HMRC, but the conditions for something to be considered a ‘small donation’ are clearly set out in legislation. Where it is the case, for example, of separate donations being given in a single envelope, then if the church/charity official is happy these are clearly separate ‘small donations’ (and clearly stated as such) then they will be eligible for GASDS, as is the case where separate envelopes are used”

The website Charity Tax Group have provided more information on this saying,
“If, for example, a church member puts £200 cash in an envelope and marks it as 10 weeks of £20 weekly donations for the occasions where they have not been able to make a regular cash offering,  it appears HMRC would be happy for the church to regard them as eligible donations under GASDS. Alternatively 10 separate envelopes with <£30 could be included where these are clearly separate donations. This will help small charities and churches where they have an understanding of regular gifts by donors.”

Find out more here.Climate Sunday: churches launch year-long environmental campaign
Churches are being urged to focus on climate change in an initiative launched today (June 5) to mark World Environment Day.
From holding a climate focused service to calling for bolder government action, churches are asked to take part in the Climate Sunday year-long campaign ahead of the COP26 climate meeting in 2021.
It starts on September 6, the first Sunday in the annual season of Creationtide, and is being organised by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, with support from charities including CAFOD, Christian Aid, Tearfund, A Rocha UK, and Operation Noah.
Churches are encouraged to hold a local Climate Sunday any time during the year and there will be free resources to suit every tradition and style of worship. They are invited to:Hold a climate-focused service, to explore the theological and scientific basis of creation care and action on climate, to pray, and to commit to action.Make a commitment as a local church community to taking long term action to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions.Join with other churches and wider society in calling for the UK government to take much bolder action on climate change in this country in advance of COP26, and to strengthen its credibility to lead the international community to adopt a step change in action at COP26. 
The culmination of the campaign will be a national Climate Sunday event on Sunday 5th September 2021, to share church commitments and pray for bold action and courageous leadership at COP26. 
Chief Executive of A Rocha UK, Andy Atkins, and chair of the coalition, said, “With the climate crisis accelerating and the UK due to host the COP26 climate talks in November 2021 in Glasgow, we believe the time has come for all churches across the UK to pray about and act on the climate crisis, as we have done in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our vision is to leave a lasting legacy of thousands of UK churches better equipped to address this critical issue as part of their normal discipleship and mission; and to make a very significant contribution to civil society efforts to secure adequate national and international action at the COP26 conference.”
Canon Carol Wardman, spokesperson for the Church in Wales’ environmental group, CHASE (Church Action for Sustaining the Environment), said, “Our heightened appreciation of the nature over the past weeks has reminded us how precious is the natural environment around us.  We have all enjoyed cleaner air, quieter roads, clearer skies, and hearing the song of the birds.  But the extreme weather this year, with devastating winter floods followed by the driest spring on record, have brought home to us the impact of climate change.  Climate Sunday is an opportunity to focus together on how we can better care for God’s creation, and remind ourselves that we must not treat protection of the environment as a luxury, but place it at the heart of our plans to recover from the pandemic emergency.   
“We encourage all our churches to take part in whichever way they can.”
In 2017, the Church in Wales’ Governing Body passed a resolution that all dioceses and churches should achieve eco-diocese or eco-church accreditation.  Several churches across the Province have now received the Silver award, and four out of our six dioceses are registered for accreditation.  
To register for Climate Sunday visit the website: www.climatesunday.org
Find out more about the initiative by reading a blog by Andy Atkins, CEO of A Rocha UK and Chair of the Climate Sunday Steering Group: www.climatesunday.org/blog
The photo attached shows St Joseph’s Church, Cwmaman, which was the first solar powered church in the Church in Wales.World Enviroment Day
Watch a video here by the Churches of the Gwent Archdeaconry that encourages us to reflect on the world around us, which we have all noticed more since lockdown. The Ever-Changing Landscape for our Diocesan Church Schools
We are keeping all our Diocesan schools in our prayers as they prepare for the next stage, click here to see a letter from the Diocesan Director of Education, Dr Annette Daly.So, what does vocation mean? We share stories from across the diocese of what it means to those around us. 
Check it out here.A prayer for volunteers
Lord, we give thanks for our tireless volunteers 
across the diocese who answer your call 
on their hearts with a resounding 
‘Here I am Lord’. 
We pray you continue to offer strength to their bodies 
and minds; comfort to their spirits; and courage to 
their hearts. 
Enrich us with your love that is without limit; 
pushing us to become the people you call us to be.
Let us become lights in the darkness as we reflect 
the love and life you grant each of us. 
This we pray in the name our Savior Jesus 
Christ, this day and evermore. 
Amen. St Padarn’s Ministerial Support Hub
St Padarn’s have put together this hub which includes their ‘Voices from the Province’ Project as well as a range of the best resources from The Church in Wales and beyond.
Check it out here.Creating a Virtual Community that Continues After Lockdown
Join a webinar at 2pm on Monday 8th June with South Wales Baptist Association. Find out more here.#goodnewsworthsharing
 Ecclesiastical Fundraising Hub
This is a new resources launched by Ecclesiastical Insurance put together to help churches cope with the financial pressure that the Covid19 situation has caused. There’s lots of advice and resources to aid churches in their fundraising activities and applications for grants and financial support.
Click here to go to the hub.
 Celebrating Pentecost
Red and coloured ribbons sprung up at St Thomas’s, Overmonnow, St. Michael’s Mitchel Troy, and some other churches in Monmouthshire to mark Pentecost last Sunday. Pentecost, which used to be known as Whitsun, marks the time when the Bible says God sent the Holy Spirit on his followers to bring fresh courage, hope and inspiration.The Vicar of Monmouth, Revd Tim Dack explained “Our churches are sadly closed but God is still with us, we  are not alone, and we thought it would be a good idea to use ribbons to show that we still need his Spirit in our community and that we miss gathering together in our church buildings for worship.
“Everyone was also encouraged to wear red – to show that we belong together – and to say a prayer for our community. Church members are still actively in touch with those who are isolated, shopping and helping others where possible. We are holding our services online for the time being, and looking forward to churches reopening before too long, with necessary changes to keep everyone safe.”
Click on the photo to enlarge.
 Doves of Hope are continuing to appear in new places across the diocese, take a look and add yours here.
Donations for Chepstow Community HospitalAs a result of an increased need for toiletries at Chepstow Community Hospital during the current Corona Virus crisis, the Lay Chaplaincy team of Jan Pain, Tony Utting and John Gale launched an appeal for supplies from their parishes at Tintern, Mathern and Chepstow. Much to their amazement, the response was enormous and gift after gift flooded in!! The supplies were taken to the wards by Hospital Chaplain Rev Carol Taplin who was warmly received!! It is anticipated that more supplies will be needed for the future and in this event a further appeal will be made. In the meantime much appreciation to those who donated so generously.Uniformed groups in Caerleon Ministry Area made gift boxes for Village Services. A wonderful gesture to bring a smile to the vulnerable in our community. Fabulous idea and team effort. Well done everyone.Rev John Collier has once again been able to take a car full of donations to the foodbank.St Georges Church would normally be visiting Bedwellty Residential Home regularly so are now sending their love with some gifts for the residents and staff. The gifts were very much appreciated.Magor Ministry Area are running a Life Explored course starting on the 16th of June. Find out more here.
Add your story to #goodnewsworthsharing
Please send anything you’ve been doing to debragoddard@churchinwales.org.uk or share on social media with #goodnewsworthsharingChildren, Families & Young Peoples Resources
 Cyncoed Ministry Area – Online Sunday School
Trinity 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.Mainly Music
For this session bring a set of keys and a scarf – here’s a session about left and right and opposites.
And for this one you’ll need a small blanket or towel – as you’ll be rowing a boat.
https://youtu.be/YGVEndthkuECare 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 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.For 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.