Twelve months have elapsed since my last Diary of events and naturally very few significant events have taken place since April 2020 for obvious reasons.
The Revd Simon Walkling (my successor as President) agreed to serve on the Welsh Senedd task and finish group on matters relating to “worship and places of worship” as I believed that being on the “front line” he was much more aware than myself of the practical aspects entailed and I thank him for this. Otherwise I continued to represent, as required, and I note below the meetings which I’ve attended for May 2020 until now.
May 7 I participated again in two “Zoom” meetings organised by CTBI. At the morning meeting, which was attended by 26 “Senior Church Leaders”, we all contributed about our various situations in the four countries and the contact with the governments and discussed the practical implications of Covid19 on the work of the churches.
June 3 Attended the Welsh Government’s Faith Communities Forum through “Teams”. Key issues: opening of Places of Worship; Education Act; Marriages and Funerals; Remembrance Sunday; Racial Justice; Penally.
June 26 Attended the Welsh Government’s Faith Communities Forum through “Teams” Key issues:
Places of worship; Education Act; Penally; Srebrenica; Test & Trace; Human Rights.
August 4 FCCW was represented at the televised VJ Day 75 Service held at Llandaff Cathedral by Helen.
October 1 Attended the Welsh Government’s Faith Communities Forum through “Teams”. Key issues:
Education Act; Opening of Places of Worship; Racial Justice.
November 8 Helen represented FCCW at the National Service of Rememberance held at the National War Memorial in Cathays Park and presented a reading.
December 1 I sent Christmas Greetings 2020 to Council members and to the Denominational papers in Wales which generally updated the situation.
January 20 Attended the Welsh Government’s Faith Communities Forum through “Teams”. Key issues:
Ceremonies Group Update; Vaccination programme – all faiths supporting it; Membership of the Forum – addition of Black-led Churches.
February 24 Attended, via “zoom“, Cross Party Group on Faith. Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust gave a presentation on the “House of God” Report -The Economic and Social Value of UK Churches. She referred to over £500 thousand of grants have been given to Welsh churches in the last 5 years. Details on the National Churches Trust website.
March 3 Attended the Welsh Government’s Faith Communities Forum through “Teams”. Main Issues:
2021 Census; Pandemic update; Vaccination programme; Ceremonies Group Update
April 2 Was invited by the Editors of Cenn@d to greet members of the Free Churches in Wales on the eve of Easter. I wrote an article that ended with the following paragraph: “There is a great opportunity for us to come together as denominations collectively to use our human resources and buildings much more effectively. Why not sell all but one chapel in a pastorate/district and use that one for the area, and change the others into flats/houses for letting/selling to the area’s young people? There are many possibilities. Get on with it full of hope to think and organise.”
I cannot think of better words than the above to finish my last Diary of Events as President in the hope that they will bear fruit. May I wish much blessing on the future work of the Council with huge gratitude for the honour bestowed on me to act as its President.
Rheinallt A Thomas, President