Weekly News from the Diocese

Diocese of Monmouth Esgobaeth Mynwy

Dear Friends,

It is the time of year that we would normally be celebrating Harvest, with special services in churches and schools and, in some places, harvest suppers. Like everything else, Harvest too will be different this year. However, the importance of saying ‘thank you’ remains unchanged. We have so much to be thankful for, not least the extraordinary array of foods that remain readily available to us, even in these restricted times.

Some of you will know the Revd Mark Lawson-Jones who used to be a parish priest in this diocese and now serves as Port Chaplain to The Mission to Seafarers in the whole of South Wales. Through this work, Mark is brought into contact with thousands of seafarers who come to the ports each year and his role is part of a network of Chaplains who serve in the ports across the world. This gives Mark a global picture and an understanding of how dependent we are on the ships who bring vital resources to our shores, including food. It also enables him to support and care for those who spend months, sometimes years, away from their families with all the stress and worry that can bring.

Mark has kindly written a piece on Harvest in the light of his work with the Mission to Seafarers. In it, he says

‘This year, 2020, we have all become aware of what can go wrong and how ‘food security’ shouldn’t be something we take for granted. The system is much more complex than we ever imagined, and if we think of all those who have worked through the various ‘lock-downs’ to bring us the things we need, we should also remember seafarers, fishers, and their families…Seafarers bring us over 90% of the things we need and enjoy in the UK, so when I give thanks to God for the harvest, I also give thanks for seafarers. It seems right to do so.’

Mark’s full article can be found at https://missionsouthwales.wordpress.com/2020/09/21/harvest-thanksgiving/

This gives us much food for thought as well as for prayer as we give thanks this Harvest for all the good things that sustain our lives and the many people involved in bringing to our shops.
 Live-streamed Services & Reflections: Watch Bishop Cherry’s Tuesday reflections in her Creationtide Series here.

Join a Sunday Eucharist from the Cathedral here.This year’s Diocesan Conference will be held on Saturday 17th October at 9am via Zoom.

Conference Members and Clergy should now have received their papers, please contact monmouthadministration@churchinwales.org.uk if you have not.

If you would like to attend as an observer you can register here.
 Church in Wales Guidance
Guidance from the Church in Wales about local lockdowns, face masks, holding Vestry and PCC meetings online and revising the Electoral Roll can be found here.Worshipping Safely during the Pandemic
Over recent weeks churches across the Diocese have been opening for worship, having first carried out a thorough risk assessment. As regulations are constantly being updated we thought it would be useful to remind you of the basic guidance that will help to keep us all as safe as we can be.
The most up to date guidance can always be found on the Church in Wales website at https://www.churchinwales.org.uk/en/clergy-and-members/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance/.
The basic rules that we need to keep in all aspects of our life underpin the opening of our churches – 2m social distancing and regular hand washing or sanitising. To this has recently been added the need for everyone to wear a face covering in indoor public spaces, including places of worship, unless there are legitimate medical reasons for you not to do so. The Welsh Government have also said: “We consider that those leading worship or a ceremony may have a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering if they cannot effectively do so while wearing one, as long as they have taken other sufficient mitigations such as staying continually over 2 metres away from others and/or wearing a visor.” We will leave clergy and worship leaders to apply this as they feel appropriate but recommend that you wear a face covering when administering communion and when moving through the church before and after the service.
The celebrating and administering of communion is a particular area that needs careful planning with many of our usual ways of operating not appropriate at the moment. Full guidance on celebrating communion can be found at:  https://www.churchinwales.org.uk/en/clergy-and-members/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance/guidance-celebrating-holy-communion/. We strongly advice all clergy make sure they are familiar with these regulations and apply them at all times.
There are two sections that we would particularly draw to your attention:
Q. What elements can be offered to communicants?
A. At present, Communion should be administered in one kind only with no sharing of the common cup. The president alone should always take the wine, consuming all that has been consecrated; other communicants should receive the bread only, in the hand. As the Liturgical and Faith and Order Commissions have made clear, this is still ‘complete communion’. In order to minimise overall risk, intinction (dipping the bread into the wine) should not be practised.
Q. Should the altar rails be used?
A. We suggest that in order to avoid touching it and to maintain physical distancing, communicants should not come to kneel at the altar rail, but instead they should form a line maintaining two metres’ distance to receive the bread, standing, from the priest. It may also be possible for the priest to take communion to people in their seats. The details of how this will be enacted will depend on the local situation, particularly the layout of the building.
If you have any questions around any issues around the re-opening of churches then please contact your Archdeacon.The COVID hub on the EIG website has been updated to give a clearer message to Churches regarding insurance and their responsibilities  
In particular please note the following confirmation:
‘No church legally open for worship and which is only closed for the pandemic will be classed as ‘closed’ or incur any additional premium or restriction in cover. They remain churches insured as normal.
With regard to inspection and maintenance we continue to take the view that church members, clergy or PCC’s should follow Government/ national guidance plus any guidance you may issue yourselves. If it is safe and practical and legal to conduct these activities then that remains a local decision. We would not wish to put anyone at risk for any real or perceived insurance requirements.
In summary we regard the churches still closed as above, i.e. “legally open for worship”. This is the case until you tell us otherwise. A general condition of the insurance, notwithstanding Covid-19, is that the property is inspected and maintained and kept in a good state of repair and we do appreciate that whilst churches may be closed still they are still being looked after and inspected. I would say that this needs to be no more than ‘normal’ as they are neither officially closed nor redundant. So I would not prescribe any timeframes or conditions in this respect. We have always said that a church may hold a service once a year and it is still classed as an ‘open’ church and not unoccupied as this is the nature of the building.’Ordinations
 Download the Ember list here.Spotlight

Taking a closer look at things with views from across the diocese.
 Space to pause, share and care: Reflecting on our first week of CMD Webinars

James Henley
This week we’ve had the joy of beginning our new series of webinars on ‘Being ministers in the new normal’. Perhaps the best thing about this has been hearing the many, varied experiences of ministry across our Diocese in the past six months.

For some, this has been a quieter period prompting opportunities for rest and reflection, and perhaps also occasional feelings of guilt at being unable to do more. For others, this has been a time of feverish activity — making difficult decisions, filling in risk assessments, and learning new technical skills for online ministry. And for many, their experience has been a mixture of the two extremes.

The same is true of our experience of online ministry. For some, this has opened up new opportunities to connect in a different way, and a real thankfulness for technology that has enabled our congregations to stay connected. For others, there is a fear that the virtual world might overtake the need for real, embodied encounters with one another. And a concern for those unable to easily access technology, whether because of age, socio-economic status, or other factors.

Of course, many of these questions and tensions had already begun to emerge pre-lockdown, as we gradually adapt to the new realities of Christian ministry in a rapidly changing, secular culture. However, as in many other areas of life, it appears that Covid-19 has accelerated this process.

This means that having opportunities for deeper reflection and discussion together is both vital and incredibly valuable. To be prompted to pray and reflect more deeply on our vocation as ministers, and challenged about the way in which we sustain and nourish ourselves as ministers. And to know that we are not alone, as we’re able to share our experiences — our joys and sorrows, hopes and fears — amongst our Diocesan family.

See below for details of our other upcoming CMD sessions.Please click on the image to enlargeBeing Ministers in the New Normal An Autumn series of webinars from Diocese of Monmouth, 
for clergy, lay ministers and any others involved in ministry. 
None of us could have predicted the impact of Covid-19 on our world, as well as our churches and Ministry Areas. In the midst of an already changing landscape, living in lockdown has also brought challenges and changes to our own identity and calling as Christian ministers. This series of webinars is an opportunity to reflect more deeply on all the past six months has brought, bringing our varied experiences into conversation with one another, and with our theology of different aspects of ministry. Each webinar will be repeated on Tuesday afternoons from 2pm-3pm, and on Thursday evenings 7.30pm-8.30pm. They will only last an hour, but include reflections from speakers within the Diocese, the opportunity for small group discussion, and to bring together feedback and ideas with the Diocesan Team. 
Lockdown Prayer & Spirituality — 6th / 8th October Speaker: Jane Butler Book a place: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/webinar-lockdown-prayer-spirituality-registration-120526296397   Social & Political Activism — 20th / 22nd October Speakers: Becca Stevens & Philip Avery Book a place: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/webinar-social-political-activism-registration-120526737717   Virtual worship and online presidency — 3rd / 5th November Speaker: James Henley Book a place: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/webinar-virtual-worship-and-online-presidency-registration-120527287361  Please keep all of our schools in your prayers as they continue working so hard in these challenging times.Annual Returns
The Church in Wales this week announced that the final deadline for Annual Returns is now the 30th of November.
This includes,
Membership Return
Finance Return
Churchwardens Fabric Report
A copy of your independently examined/audited 2019 Accounts
Diocesan Database Return

Although the official deadline has been delayed we would appreciate having the data as soon as possible and incumbents will be receiving an email next week detailing what’s outstanding for their area.
Please do not take any unnecessary health risks when completing the returns.

Please contact Libby if you have any questions or require any assistance.
07508 801511.

Thank-you to all the churches who have already completed their returns.#GoodNewsWorthSharing
New initiative to help attract more visitors to your churchNational Churches Trust has developed an exciting initiative to help churches create new ways to encourage visitors to their buildings.
The ‘Experiences by ExploreChurches’ project will be delivered through its tourism website Explorechurches.org, which is widely becoming recognized as the go to place for church tourism. It will promote the Experiences and help to bring new visitors and extra income for your church.

Join their online ‘Experiences by Explore Churches’ training on the 15th of October, 10.30am. 
The session will teach you all you need to know about creating your unique experience, including coming up with the idea, working with groups, identifying your audience, health and safety, costing the day and so much more.
More details and to reserve a place at this FREE training session, which will be delivered via Zoom can be found:  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/raising-income-from-bookable-experiences-church-tourism-workshop-tickets-122015075375
To request an information pack please contact Linda Patrick,
linda.patrick@nationalchurchestrust.orgWelsh Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund Grant
The Welsh government has launched a  grant schemeto protect sustainable organizations within the cultural sector in order to ensure the sector survives the Covid-19 crisis and remains vibrant, viable and sustainable in 2021 and beyond.
Grants can either be up to £10,000, or between £10,000- £150,000, although the process to apply for the latter is more complex.
Whilst this is primarily a rescue and recovery package it presents a unique opportunity to deliver transformational change within the sector.
The sector includes historic places of worship, and churches may apply for funding from this fund.
The funding is to cover the period from 1st April 2020 to 31st March 2021.
The grant fund will be open for applications from the week beginning 14th September and closing on the 2nd October.
Further details may be found at
https://fundchecker.businesswales.gov.wales/cultureThe Welsh Charity Awards recognise and celebrate the fantastic contribution charities, community groups, not-for-profits and volunteers make to Wales. Organised by WCVA, the awards took place for the first time in 2019.
With so many groups and individuals doing so much to support people in Wales during this difficult time, WCVA think it’s more important than ever to shout loud and proud about the work of voluntary organisations. 
Their #NotTheWelshCharityAwards campaign will take place throughout October and they’ll be sharing personal stories about how voluntary organisations or volunteers have made a big impact over the last year.
Send a video or share your story of a voluntary organisation or volunteer that has had made a difference to you.
Find out more here.Remember we still want to hear about all the good things you are doing #goodnewsworthsharing

Share your Harvest plans and celebrations with us!

Please send anything to debragoddard@churchinwales.org.uk or share on social media with #goodnewsworthsharingHomeless Sunday – 11th October

You can find resources for Homeless Sunday from Housing Justice, including prayers and scripture passages at
And a short film about their work in Wales here.Appointment: Dean of NewportFollowing the retirement of the Very Revd Lister Tonge, the Bishop of Monmouth wishes to appoint a new Dean of Newport.
The new Dean will be expected to lead the life and work of St Woolos Cathedral in Newport, developing the Cathedral’s ministry and sharing the oversight of the Church’s mission in the varied contexts of our diocese.
We are looking for an experienced priest whois resourceful, creative and a team player as well as team leaderis able to relate the good news in an engaging way in a variety of social contexts as well as the public squarehas proven ability to build effective relationships both inside and outside the Church and develop partnership-working to further its missionhas emotional intelligence and wisdomFor further details, please visit our website: https://monmouth.churchinwales.org.uk/en/about-us/jobs/dean-newport/

Closing Date – 12 noon on Friday 9th October
 Opening the Dialogue: Exploring Digital Church
28th September

Continuing from our discussions from August, we’d like to invite those who are curious about online worship or interested in trying it out to attend a zoom dialogue.
We’d like to know what kind of support we can offer parishes as we explore this new and exciting frontier of ministry together. We’d also like to hear your ideas for how technology could be used for a range of church activities. If your parish or ministry area has been trying something new, please come and tell us about it!
This is an open event for anyone to attend! We encourage you to invite any members of the congregation, churchwardens, secretaries, treasurers, or clergy who may have an interest. We look forward to hearing from you!
It’s also not too late to complete our survey on Social Media and Online Ministry: https://forms.gle/YhZSJUBGVZ4aisDT8Open the Book Air and ShareAre you already involved with Open the Book in primary schools?
Do you have an Open the Book team?

We want to know how to support our current teams especially with little or no access to schools, because of Covid 19.
We are hosting a Zoom “Air and Share” on Tuesday 29 September at 2pm to hear from you. Please contact Zoe Ward, zoeward@churchinwales.org.uk to book a place
or Rachel Nelmes, rachelnelmes@churchinwales.org.uk for more information.Digital Ministry: Remembrance Webinar – 7th October, 11amSt Padran’s is pleased to share that we are discussing ‘Digital Ministry: Remembrance’ with Rev’d Canon Dr Sandra Millar, Head of Life Events for the Church of England on the 7th October at 11am as part of the Digital Ministry Webinar Series.
There are few people who haven’t been touched by loss of some kind this year. Revd Canon Dr Sandra Millar explores how the church can help people to remember those who have died, particularly around All Souls Day and  Remembrance Sunday.  This webinar provides practical advice for finding new ways to be there for people, even though our usual patterns of worship may not be possible. 

You can register for your place as well as view any previous webinars you may have missed (including handouts) at: https://www.stpadarns.ac.uk/en/ministry/ministerial-support-hub/digital-ministry-webinars/.Wild Worship

Please click on the image to enlarge.Email libbymorgan-owen@churchinwales.org.uk to book.‘Reimagining music in church post Covid-19 Part 4 – Educational Choir focus’ – Tuesday 29 September, 18:30-19:30
Join here.Children, Families & Young Peoples Resources
 Cyncoed Ministry Area have Sunday School activities available here.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.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.