Apr 1  Thanks to Helen for representing FCCW at the Wales launch of Christian Aid’s new Global Strategy. It was a very well attended and successful meeting. The speakers included  Eluned Morgan A.M; Dr Rowan Williams and Amanda Mukwashi (Christian Aid’s Chief Executive).

Apr 4  Attended a whole-day workshop at the SWALEC Centre organised by the Welsh Government’s Education Department to discuss the new curriculum. It was organised for the benefit of BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) stakeholders and Chaired by Mrs Uzo Iwobi OBE, Chief Executive, Race Council Cymru. Presentations were given by Welsh Government education officers and by teachers who have been involved in the developments. There were lively discussions. There was an opportunity to view and discuss the documents to be  published on April 30th.

Apr 30   Attended the inaugural meeting of Faith in the Community of the Noah’s Ark Charity at the invitation of The Rt Hon The Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Cllr Dianne Rees,JP. Had a real eye opener about the Children’s Hospital for Wales. They need the practical support of the faith communities. A real opportunity for us as free churches.

Some of the attendees with the Lord Mayor and her consort

May 7 Unable to accept an invitation (on holiday abroad) to an event addressed by the Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales, Elin Jones AM, and First Minister Mark Drakeford AM in the Senedd chamber to mark 20 years of devolution.  There was no permission to send a deputy!

May 19   Attended celebrations organised by Sikh Council of Wales to mark the 550th anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak Dev ji.

Left to right(in view) Rheinallt Thomas(FCCW), SallyThomas(URC), Katie Mccolgan (Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints), Sasha Perriam(CYTUN)

May 20  Was privileged to chair the Gethin Abraham-Williams Lecture 2019 delivered in the Senedd by Canon Aled Edwards, OBE on the topic “Faith, Devolution and Global politics”. A memorable lecture with an excellent representation of faith groups and politicians.

May 22  Attended the meeting of the First Minister’s Faith Communities Forum in the Pier head Building in Cardiff Bay. A wide range of subjects were reported on and discussed including Hate Crime /The New Curriculum/Brexit.

May 23  Our Council Meeting. There was a good attendance for a day, once again, with a  full Agenda. There were follow up reports on Theological Training and the progress made; the Area Ministry Document; the Covenanting Churches Document on Shared Ministry and the response of Health Boards re chaplaincies. Special thanks were related to Peredur O Griffiths who has created an up date of our website. Vaughan Salisbury had a substantial list of education matters for consideration as well as the completed questionnaire on the new curriculum which could be used/shared by members. The usual reports were received by Gethin Rhys on behalf of  CYTÛN and by the Treasurer Martin Spain. Gethin also gave a report on the correspondence and meetings that he had been involved in regarding bank closures and Post Office facilities as well as reporting on SACRE nominations.  Rev Sally Thomas was thanked for her contribution over the years and we wished her well for the future.  

A full copy of the minutes can be seen on the web site or obtained by e mail from Mrs Helen Jones, FCCW Secretary  (rhys.helen.jones@btinternet.com). The next meeting is on November 14th.

June 10  Attended the Annual Meeting of the Baptist Union of Wales at Cardigan and witnessed the installation of their new President  Mr David Peregrine.

June 12  Attended the celebration at Brecon Cathedral of 20 years of “Open the Book” and 10 years of “Agor y Llyfr”. Clearly there  are a lot of dedicated groups which devote their time to these important presentations at schools in Wales. The advent of the new curriculum will give even more opportunities for churches to go into primary schools to “Open the Book”. These opportunities should not be missed.

June 19  Attended the  CYTÛN  AGM at Shrewsbury which included a wide range of matters as is appropriate at an AGM. I had been invited to give an overview of the activities of the FCCW during my period of office which I was pleased to be able to deliver.

July 1  Attended the 20th Anniversary of Devolution Reception at the Welsh Government Office. There were several relevant speeches given by some of the original 1999 members as well as by the current First Minister Mark Drakeford.

left to right: Rheinallt Thomas (Free Churches Council of Wales); Naram Patel (Hindu Council of Wales);Aled Edwards (CYTUN); Christine Abbas(Bahai Community Wales);Saleem Kidwai (Muslim Council for Wales)

Jul 8-10 Attended the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Wales in Wrexham – by invitation. Processed in the Moderator’s parade as the Rev Brian Matthews. transferred the Moderatorship to the Rev. Marcus Robinson There were the usual reports, presentations and lectures along with meaningful acts of worship. A very special  experience for me personally was to witness my Minister (Rev Evan Morgan) not only being elected as Moderator of General Assembly for 2020-21  but also hear him deliver  a moving and memorable Lecture entitled “The Inclusive Church”. It will be published in due course.

left to right: Rev Marcus Robinson (Moderator Presbyterian Church of Wales 2019-20); Rheinallt Thomas (Free Churches Council of Wales); Rev Evan Morgan (Moderator Elect of Presbyterian Church of Wales 2020-21).

Jul 16 Meeting of the Inter-Faith Council of Wales. Once again a good cross section of the representatives of the different religions present and everyone contributing openly.  Details about various interfaith events including Inter faith Week were shared (details on Wales Inter Faith Council website:  https://www.interfaithcouncilwales.cymru). Presentations were also given on Network for Interfaith European and North American Concerns’ visit to Cardiff on 9th September by Ainsley Griffiths; on the New Curriculum by Paula Webber and by Dean Atkin on The Capital Cities Faith Forum.

Following the meeting Aled Edwards, the Secretary, circulated the photo and tweeted  “It’s alleged that one of our singers made a remark about Muslims and buses in Cardiff. Today, the Interfaith Council for Wales met in friendship. We come as  friends from all over Wales. There is an exceptionally warm friendship between us all. Insulting one belief is an attack on every belief. As fellow Welsh persons we wish to state this”.

Aug 6 Served as a member of a panel at the National Eisteddfod,set up by the Church in Wales, to discuss interfaith relations in Wales. I was there as a member of the Interfaith Council of Wales. The discussion was chaired by the Rev Canon Robert Townsend and the  other members of the panel were Bishop Andy John (Bangor), Arooj Khan (Muslim Council of Wales);Joanna Thomas (Head of Ysgol Y Faenol, Bangor); Dr Dai Lloyd, A.M. A very open discussion ensued with many examples of how interfaith relations and activities in Wales promote friendship, tolerance and respect. It was generally agreed that all faiths  have more in common than they have of differences and that the common enemy to all faiths these days is humanism and secularism. It was encouraging to hear the view that interfaith relations in Wales are giving a lead to the nations of the UK and that we have avoided many of the tensions found elsewhere by talking to each other.

PHOTO: left to right: Joanna Thomas; Dai Lloyd; Andy John; Arooj Khan; Rheinallt Thomas; Robert Townsend

Aug 9   Nerys Siddall (a North Wales representative on the FCCW) and I conducted the Worship at the CYTUN stand at the National Eisteddfod in Llanrwst.

Rheinallt A Thomas


                  E mail: rheinallt@talktalk.net