Fr David’s Letter

I write this letter for the magazine the day after Fr Richard’s final Mass as the Vicar of Hay, Llanigon and Capel-y-Ffin. It has been a real blessing to serve alongside and learn from him these past eight to nine months. Prior to last August I used occasionally sit ‘incognito’ in the congregation on a Sunday ‘off duty’ and then retire to the vicarage for a long chat.  I can but pray that I have absorbed enough of his wisdom and wit so as to serve you in the same manner.

All three churches are different to those which Fr Richard took on twenty-three years ago. People have moved on or have gone to their eternal rest.  Statues and icons have taken their rightful place. Hymn books have changed.  The church building and the community of the faithful of who we are a part, are subjects of affection for us. This affection naturally means that we are resistant to change and difference. This is both good and unhelpful.  Good in that it means we value that which is meet and right, be these practices that speak of God, or things given sacrificially with great faith. Unhelpful as it leads some churches to become museum-like.  We can forget that the church has changed and improved in recent years.  It is a personal sadness to walk into a church which feels as though it has been preserved in aspic. Our three churches are ones which are functioning Parish churches, rather than those in the care of the Friends of  Friendless Churches. Anything which is living naturally changes, sometimes with intent, but more often organically and silently.  The Catholic spirituality which both Fr Richard and I have, leads to a living tradition which connects and keeps us in union with the Saints of the past and those who are to follow on from us.

I write this not as a prelude to a manifesto of massive and major change, but rather as a hope that we continue as we are.  Namely, as people doing their very best for God, be that in His house or in the places in which we live and work, knowing that God gives us His best.  We continue as the living body of Christ manifesting the love of God in these very special and dear places.

Please God, let it be that the Blessed Saints, most particularly Our Lady, continue to pray for us.

Fr David