JAN
23

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Easter Reflections

A number of people expressed their appreciation of the poems which were used to introduce the Easter Sunday services on 23 March. For those who missed them, and for those who enjoyed them, here they are

Easter Song (by George Herbert)

I got me flowers to straw Thy way,
I got me boughs off many a tree;
But Thou wast up by break of day,
And brought’st Thy sweets along with Thee.

The sun arising in the East,
Though he give light, and th’ East perfume,
If they should offer to contest
With Thy arising, they presume.

Can there be any day but this,
Though many suns to shine endeavour?
We count three hundred, but we miss:
There is but one, and that one ever.


Resurrection Dawn (anon)

The day of resurrection

dawns quiet as the women approach the tomb.

No girlish chatter breaks the silence for

they know

that their visit in the half-light

of morning is to do with unfinished business.

They come to anoint their beloved whom

they buried hastily on Friday, before the
gloom

of the most miserable Sabbath they had ever endured.

Through the half-light they see

something amiss. The cave is open, the guard gone.

Inside they see no body. The place is empty.

They run to tell the men, wondering as they go. But Mary

stays, weeping. A man’s voice softly, tenderly,

speaks her name. She sees

only the light – only the light of her beloved,

shining, glowing, burning the love of eternity into her heart.

And then she knows, as she already half-knew, that,

because her beloved lives, there is nothing
she can do

to make him love her more;

and there is nothing she

can do

to make him love her less.

Editorial

As I often do, I’m writing my page for the magazine on my computer, being distracted by the many birds feeding energetically from our bird-feeders. We especially love watching the colourful siskins and goldfinches as they lay claim to the niger seeds which are provided in special feeders which only they are small enough to access.
We also love to watch the colourful great spotted woodpeckers as they bully every other bird off the nut feeders, pecking fiercely at any smaller birds who come within range; and the nuthatches, feeding like upside-down woodpeckers.
It makes me wonder as always at God’s amazing creativity. Who but God could have invented quite so many different shades of green in the process of creating the world? Who else but God could have created slugs and given them a special role to play (even if it’s one which we gardeners loathe!)? Who else but God could have created such an infinite variety of human beings, all different, all with something valuable to offer the world?
And who else but God could have come up with the plan of salvation which we’ve just celebrated at Easter? What an amazing idea: instead of making us work our socks off for the whole of our lives trying to earn our place in heaven, God sent his Son, Jesus, to show us what God is like, then die the death of a criminal in our place, so that we could become sharers in the life of God, both now and in eternity, absolutely freely! That’s better than winning the lottery! Actually it’s better even than playing the lottery, because there’s more chance of being struck by lightening than winning the lottery, but the gift of sharing the eternal life of God is an absolute guaranteed win!
The challenge for us is to live the life of God here in time, on earth, not in order to earn our share in his life, but in order to show others how amazing is that life of God.
That’s what Easter was all about, and it’s what every day is all about.
So how do we show how real our faith is? By doing what God does, and there is a line in the Lord’s Prayer which tells us. “Forgive us our sins” we pray “as we forgive those who sin against us”. God forgives all who have sinned against him, and he calls us to do the same–to forgive all who sin against us. Why should we? Well, partly because we only hurt ourselves by withholding forgiveness, but mainly because it’s the most God-like thing we can do.

Good News for Parish Finances

In the previous edition of Y Cribarth, I sounded a slightly pessimistic note about Gift Aid. I advised you that the promised 2% reduction in the basic rate of Income Tax would reduce the amount of money we get from the government under the Gift Aid scheme. It appeared certain that, instead of receiving an extra 28.2 for every £1 donated, we would only get an extra 25p.

But, hidden in the small print of his speech, the Chancellor of the Exchequer took us all by surprise!! Although he has indeed reduced the basic rate of Income Tax (which means that those who pay tax at that rate are paying a bit less Income Tax), he has also bowed to pressure from charities (including the Church in Wales) and has agreed to subsidise us directly by allowing us to receive Gift Aid at 22% for a further three years.

That means that, if you’re a UK taxpayer, and you give under the Gift Aid scheme, we’ll continue to receive what you give plus an extra 28.2p of tax rebate from the government added to every pound you give.

Although not everyone will be better off as a result of the Budget (especially some of those who have been benefiting from the now abolished 10% rate), the good news is that all our contributions under Gift Aid will carry the same value as before.

So if you’re a UK taxpayer who is not yet giving under the Gift Aid scheme (which replaced the old Covenant Scheme) and you’d like to increase the value of your donations to the parish churches by 28.2% at no cost or risk to yourself, please contact the Gift Aid Officer for the church where you regularly attend worship. If you’re not sure who that is, please ask.

Alun Brookfield

The Sign of the Fish

The Sign of the Fish

You may have seen this symbol on Christian artefacts or on the back of cars, and wondered what it means. It’s a Christian symbol, used by early Christians to communicate with one another in a hostile environment. It’s a fish. Why a fish? Because the Greek word for ‘fish’ is ‘ichthus’, and the five Greek letters of the word stand for “Iesus Christos Theou Uios Soter”, which means “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Saviour”. So now you know!

Parish Diary April/May 2008

Capel Coelbren Sunday 9.30am
Holy Communion on 2nd, 4th and 5th Sundays of each month
Morning Prayer on 1st and 3rd Sundays
Also Wednesdays 10.30am Morning Prayer (Welfare Hall)

St David, Abercrâf Sunday 11.00am
Holy Communion on 2nd, 4th and 5th Sundays of each month
Morning Prayer on 1st and 3rd Sundays
Also Thursdays 10.00am Morning Prayer (Welfare Hall)

St John, Callwen Sunday 3.00pm
Holy Communion on 1st, 3rd and 5th Sundays of each month
Evening Prayer on 2nd and 4th Sundays
Also Tuesdays 9.00am Morning Prayer

Weddings and baptisms at any of the three churches by arrangement with the Vicar, Alun Brookfield (T.01639 730640; M.07791 443159; E.revalun@tiscali.co.uk).

Apr 6 3rd SUNDAY OF EASTER
6.00pm United Parish Sunday Night Extra at St David’s, Abercrâf – Taize Prayer Service (see separate notice in this magazine for details)

Apr 8 7.00pm Mothers’ Union meeting at Abercrâf Welfare Hall

Apr 13 4TH SUNDAY OF EASTER

Apr 15 Induction and Installation of the Revd Lyndon Taylor as Vicar of Clydach. Please contact Alun or Mary if you’d like to attend.

Apr 20 5TH SUNDAY OF EASTER
4.30pm United Parish Annual Vestry Meeting at St David’s, AbercrâfThe United Parish Annual Vestry Meeting
This very important annual event in the life of our parish takes place this year on Sunday 20 April at 4.30pm at St David’s Church, Abercrâf. It’s something we have to do by law, but it’s also the time when we elect the people we want to lead our parish for the coming year. That means the People’s Wardens, the Sidespeople and the members of the Parochial Church Council (who are by default also members of the Local Leadership Team for each of the former parishes.
If you come to the meeting, you also receive the Annual Report and Accounts, which, if you compare them with previous reports and accounts will give you an idea of how we’re doing financially and numerically as a parish.

Apr 27 6TH SUNDAY OF EASTER (Rogation Sunday)

May 1 ASCENSION DAY
7.30pm United Parish Holy Communion for Ascension Day at Capel Coelbren

May 2 Consecration of the Rt Revd John Davies as the next Bishop of Swansea and Brecon (service at Llandaff Cathedral)

May 4 7TH SUNDAY OF EASTER/SUNDAY AFTER ASCENSION DAY
6.00pm United Parish Sunday Night Extra (details to be announced)

May 11 WHIT SUNDAY/PENTECOST
4.30pm First meeting of the new PCC - at Coelbren Welfare Hall

May 13 7.00pm Mothers’ Union meeting at Abercrâf Welfare Hall

May 16 Wedding of Martin Tyler and Lisa Williams - at St John’s, Callwen

May 18 TRINITY SUNDAY
4.30pm Area Deanery Conference at St Samlet’s Church, Llansamlet

May 24 2.00pm Enthronement of the Rt Revd John Davies as Bishop of Swansea and Brecon. Service at Brecon, attendance by invitation only, but please pray for Bishop John as he takes up new responsibilities.

May 25 2nd SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
11.OOam Baptism of Elliot Thomas Hughes (at St David’s, Abercrâf)
3.00pm Baptism of Edward David Rose (at St John’s, Callwen)

June 1 3rd SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
6.00pm United Parish Sunday Night Extra (details to be announced)

June 7 11.30am Wedding of Rhys Davies and Karleigh Corcoran

June 8 4th SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

Archbishops (Rowan and Dewi), Cawl, Quiz, Coffee and Easter

At the beginning of February a group from the parish were privileged to join the conference at Brecon Cathedral and to be inspired by the challenging words of Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury. He encouraged us to “Renew the Mission” and reminded us that we have received God’s gift of grace freely and must therefore be prepared to give freely of ourselves to others.

The early spring this year brought out the daffodils around Coelbren in time for the celebration of St David’s Day at Capel Coelbren, a day to remember the example of a Christian bishop who dedicated his life to bringing God’s message of peace to Wales in the 5th century. The celebratory service took the theme from St David’s words, “Gwnewch y pethau bychain”, reminding us of the importance of the everyday caring deeds that we do for others.

This service was followed by a traditional evening of cawl and a Welsh quiz at the Welfare Hall. Attendance was good, brains were oiled, music played and the evening provided a lot of fun and raised £297 for the Restoration Fund. Thanks to the quizmaster, Mr Gareth Lewis, and all who spent time preparing for the event.

Coffee Mornings continue to be a good weekly social event in the village and all the proceeds from Wednesday 12th March – a grand total of £100 – went to the Meningitis Trust.

At Easter we shared together in the events of the Passion of Christ and continue to bear witness in the village to the reality of an empty tomb and the resurrection as central to our faith in God’s amazing love for us.

Non Evans and Anne Hughes

ABERCRÂF THURSDAY COFFEE MORNINGS

These have continued to be well supported.

We also would like to say a big thank you to the committee who have faithfully organised our Coffee Mornings and raffle week by week.

New members are always welcome. The venue is the Abercrâf Welfare Hall. Why not come along and join us? Morning Prayer is at 10.00am and the coffee or tea is served at 10.30am.

My Favourite Things

(can be sung to the tune of that name!)

Horlicks at bedtime and needles for knitting
Zimmers for walking and new dental fittings
Bundles of magazines tied up with string
These are a few of my favourite things…

New Stannah stairlifts and deaf aids and glasses
Large tubes of Fixadent and Bristol bus passes
Pacemakers, golf carts and gardens with swings
These are a few of my favourite things…

When the pipes leak
When the bones creak
When the spirits sag
I simply remember my favourite things
And then I don’t feel so sad.

Hot tea and crumpets, corn pads for bunions
No spicy hot food, or food cooked with onions
Warm flannel nighties, the comfort they bring
These are a few of my favourite things…

Back pains, confused brains, and no scope for sinning
Thin bones and fractures, hair that is thinning
Pensions depleting will not clip my wings
When I remember my favourite things…

When the joints ache
When the hips break
And the eyes grow dim
Then I remember the great life I’ve had
And then I don’t feel … so bad (crescendo).

(Contributed by Ruth Holdsworth)

Noah’s Ark

Noah’s Ark

Everything I need to know about life, I learned from Noah’s Ark…

1. Don’t miss the boat.

2. Remember that we are all in the same boat.

3. Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.

4. Stay fit. When you’re 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.

5. Don’t listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.

6. Build your future on high ground.

7. For safety’s sake, travel in pairs.

8. Speed isn’t always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.

9. When you’re stressed, float awhile.

10. Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.

11. No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting.

(Copied from the newsletter of Outlook Trust, with permission)

ONLY SIX?!!!

Only Six!!!

For this issue, the Vicar was asked “If you could keep only six of your CDs/tapes/records, which would you choose, and why?”

Here are his answers:

1. Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet, because it is probably the most sublime piece of instrumental music ever written.

2. Sibelius’ 2nd Symphony, because it conjures up pictures in sound of our South Wales mountains in all their meteorological moods.

3. Queen’s “Greatest Hits”, because Freddie Mercury (Queen’s lead singer/songwriter) was probably the most creative rock’n’roll genius of all time.

4. “Officium” by Jan Garbareck and the Hilliard Ensemble, because of its inspired combination of plainsong with improvised jazz saxophone - spine- tingling and total chill-out.

5. Nat King Cole’s “Greatest Hits” because I’m a romantic at heart.

6. Oscar Peterson’s “Night Train” album because this is one of the greatest of all jazz pianists at his best. I never tire of listening to it because it can warm my heart on the most difficult of days.

(Idea contributed by Anne Hughes)

Tapestri Glaniad y Ffrancod

Ychydig fisoedd yn ol fe fues i gyda nifer o wragedd yn Abergwaun i weld y tapestri uchod yn ei gartref sefydlog yng ‘Nganolfan yr Ymwelwyr’ yn Nueadd y Fref.

Mae deng mlynedd wedi mynd heibio er grewyd y tapestri i ddathlu dau gan mlynedd oddiar y glaniad yn agos i Abergwaun yn 1797. Bryste oedd pen y daith i fod i’r bedair llong Frengig ond oherwydd y gwyntoedd cryfion bu rhaid o’r llynges hwylio ymlaen i Sir Benfro.

Daethent i mewn i bae bach pentref Llandwnda.
Yn ol pob chwedl aeth cannoedd o wragedd yr ardal yn eu gwisgoedd cochion a’u hetiau duon i syllu ar y frwydr rhwng y Militia lleol a’r goresgynnwyr ac o’r pellter fe gredodd y Ffrancod mae’r fyddin Brydeinig, y cotiau cochion oedd yno ac fe ildio nhw i’r Arglwydd Cawdor.

Fe arwyddwyd y Cytundeb ar fwrdd yn y Royal Oak mis Chwefror 25, 1797, ac mae’r bwrdd yno o hyd i chi gael gweld, hefyd y gloch a seiniwyd i alw’r Militia i’r gad.

Bu yn wraig yn wrol dros ben, Jemima Nicholas oed ei enw. Hi oedd crydd Abergwaun ac yn fenyw fawr gryf – fe aeth i Llanwnda a’i picfforch yn ei llaw ac fe ddaliodd deuddeg milwr wrth ei hun. Roedd Jemima yn un o gyndadau fy ewythr, Capten Raymond Jones a oedd yn enedigol o Dinas, ger Abergwaun. Yn ol Capten roedd chwaer ei fam yn debyg iddi yn ei maint a’i ffersenoliaeth! Mae bedd hi ym mynwent yr Eglwys gyferbyn a Neuadd y Dref.

Cafodd y tapestri ei ddylunio gan Elizabeth Cramp a’r ymgynghorwyr ynghylch y brodwaith oedd Rozanne Hawksley, Eirian Short ac Audrey Walker. Bu saith deg saith o bobl eol yn helpu ei lunio. Mae iddo batrwm tebyg i Dapestri Bayeux sy’n adrodd hanes y Goresgyniad Normaidd yn 1066, sydd o’r un lled hefyd. Fe gymerwyd pedair blynedd i orffen Tapestri Brodiog Glaniad y Ffrancod, ymddiriedaith Canolfan Goresgyniad Abergwaun sy’n berchen arno. Mae’r tapestri yn dehongli yn greadigol am adeg arwyddocaol na wyr neb fawr amdani yn Hanes Cymru a Phrydain.

Beryl Macho

THE GRAND SLAM: I WAS THERE!

In the words of Max Boyce, “they went up by train and by car”, but I went up by bus with the Ospreys Choir, ready to fight for the right to sing our anthem on the pitch with the Welsh team and about 70,000 others! We arrived at THE stadium at 12.30pm and spent the next couple of hours practising with the four other regional choirs at the home of the Cardiff Blues.

The day was wet and we got wetter, but did we care?.....NO! Then the moment came and we made our way to the Dragon’s Mouth (the bit underneath the stadium where the band enters and leaves). The excitement was almost unbearable, with everyone wishing good luck to each other, then on we went.

We, the Ospreys, brought up the rear as that was the position we had drawn along with the hymn that nobody wanted ..….. Myfanwy. I was lucky enough to have been there last year with Codi Canu, but it was still just as exciting. We gave it our best shot, but unfortunately the judges decided to award the honour of singing the anthem to the Gogs. So off we marched, then it was one mad rush to get our tickets and run (yes, run, and I don’t usually ‘do’ running) to our places in the stand and get there before the game started. We made it just in time to join in with Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau. Phew!!

The confidence that the boys had gained from beating England at Twickenham had grown with every game, as had that of the supporters. We already had the Triple Crown; could we do it? Could we get the crowning glory?

The rest, as they say, is history. What a fantastic game. A dream come true. Everyone will have their favourite moments: Shane’s dancing feet, Mark Jones’s brave run, Tom Shanklin’s tackling (there–I’ve given each region involved a mention!); but my favourite moment, for obvious reasons, was seeing the French scrum going backwards at a rate of knots in the second half!!!!! One against the head, for any rugby purists reading this.

Yes, we did it and the majority of Wales basked in the glory of what the boys did on that wonderful day.

And to finish as I began, with the words of Max Boyce, “I was there!”

June Jones

Garden Diary

Spring is springing up fast in the garden. Frogs have managed to find our pond and the two clumps of frog spawn have now turned into numerous tadpoles.

In the autumn I planted up two window boxes with a mixture of polyanthus and scilla bulbs. The polyanthus have done quite well through the winter, despite the constant wet weather, but the scilla, which I had expected to have their heads well above the polyanthus, turned out to be only about three inches high and at first could hardly be seen. However, the intense royal blue of the flowers is now making itself noticed. I think I will transfer them to the garden border when they have finished flowering. Planted close together they should be really effective next spring.

The trench for runner beans has been dug and well manured with a friend’s gift of cow manure. The beans growing on in pots have to be well out of reach of the mice in the greenhouse. We don’t want a repeat of last year’s disaster, when I had to buy a second lot of seed, the first having provided the mice with a “bean feast.”

The bank leading up to the garage is gradually looking better, the ivy now being replaced by the primroses, cyclamen and snakes head fritillary which we planted, along with some emerging wild flowers.

Rambling Rose

MOTHERS’ UNION

We were entertained at the February meeting with a reconstruction of Desert Island Discs, an enjoyable rendering and performance by a husband and wife duo - none other than our Vicar and his wife Mary. We now know more of the Vicar’s background and love of music. It was professionally introduced by Mary as disc-jockey, and was much appreciated, as speakers for our monthly meetings are not forthcoming.

The March meeting was an introduction to how Bill Toye became interested in collecting stamps and now old postcard pictures of different villages in Wales. We also know now why he was seen so frequently in the adjoining room to our meeting place!

A request please: if anyone is interested in attending our meetings and willing to give a talk or entertainment, they will be most welcome.

Beryl Scutts (Branch Leader)

SANTA PARADE 2007

This annual event, which took place on Sunday 16th December 2007, was once again a resounding success, well supported and well received. Santa and his little helpers travelled through the small communities of Caerbont, Caerlan, Abercrâf, Coelbren, Cae Hopkin, Ynyswen and Penycae, presenting gifts to as many children as possible and bringing lots of good cheer to all those he met.

This event is always sponsored by local businesses and the ’99 Supporters’ Club. It is also supported by Communities First Ystradgynlais and the Abercrâf Fire Brigade, and we thank them all once again for their continued support and good community spirit.

This year, Santa travelled on a new sleigh, especially constructed by staff and pupils of Maesydderwen School and this proved to be a great hit with the children.

Many adults we met said that they appreciated our efforts to maintain this annual event and praised the good community spirit with volunteers and groups working together.

One parent was quoted as saying, “Please keep the Santa Parade going every year. You are doing a marvellous job”. A volunteer said, “It’s well worth helping just to see the faces of the children when they see Santa arriving on his sleigh”. Another said, “This all helps with the magic of Christmas and we look forward to it each year”.

In 2008, the Parade will take place on Sunday 21st December, starting in Caerbont at 12.30pm, calling at all the venues and ending in Penycae at 4.30pm. Look out for the posters or check our website nearer the time.

If you would like to join us or become a member of the Sleeping Giant Foundation, then please contact us on 01639 731062.

Working together in the community brings its own rewards and all volunteers who take part thoroughly enjoy the experience.

The Sleeping Giant Foundation would like to thank all those who were involved in any way and to wish all a happy and prosperous New Year.

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda

Maureen Mountford

Parish People

Parish website: www.2day.ws/cwmtaweuchaf/
www.2day.ws/upperswanseavalley/

Vicar: The Revd Alun Brookfield, The Vicarage,
Heol Tawe, Abercrâf, SWANSEA SA9 1TJ
Tel: 01639 730640 Mobile: 07791 443159
Email: revalun@tiscali.co.uk

Church Wardens:
Callwen: Mrs Ruth Toye (730283) and Mr Leslie Davis (731170)
Abercrâf: Mrs June Jones (730515)and Mr Howell Williams (730869)
Coelbren: Mrs Non Evans (700209) and Miss Maree Stafford (701055)

PCC Secretary: Mrs Mary Brookfield (see above for details)

Treasurers:
Callwen: Miss E M Bannister (730759)
Abercrâf: Mr Darryl Williams (730307)
Gift Aid Secretary: Mrs Iris Lewis (730364)
Coelbren: Ms Vicky Arnold (841099)

Children’s groups: Abercrâf Sunday School 11.00am most weeks except school holidays
Contact Mrs Susan Davies (730434) or Mrs Bethan Evans (841580)

Youth group: ‘Pebbles’ (for 11 year-olds and above) meets at St David’s, Abercrâf on the 3rd Monday of each month at 7.15pm (except school holidays)
Contact Mrs Andrea Jones (730898)

Mothers’ Union: 2nd Tuesday of each month at Abercrâf Welfare Hall. Contact Mrs Beryl Scutts (730821)

Editor: The Revd Alun Brookfield

SUNDAY NIGHT EXTRA

Have you ever thought of going to church but couldn’t because the existing times of the three services in our parish at 9.30am, 11.00am and 3.00pm didn’t work for you?

Or did you used to go to church, but somehow just got out of the habit?

Or perhaps you stopped going
because you didn’t like the usual services?

Well, here’s a chance to try something different, at a different time of day!

at St David’s Church, Abercrâf
on the first Sunday of every month
at 6.00pm

Definitely something different!

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