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Annual Report

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BMS Missionary

BU of Wales


Sarn, near Newtown, Powys, Wales

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Annual Report - Review Of Church Activities.


Presented to the Church Annual General Meeting on 24th June 2011.

For surely I know the plans for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. (Jeremiah 29: 11)

These words are from a letter which the prophet Jeremiah living in Jerusalem sent to the Jewish exiles in Babylon to assure them that God had plans for their wellbeing. They were to settle in the country where they were and to pray for the welfare of the city which was now their home. In a pagan environment they were to remain faithful to the God of Israel and to bear witness to the revealed truth of God. In many ways the situation of the Christian Church today in this country is not alike that of the Jewish exiles, for we are to bear witness by word and life to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The words of Jeremiah, however, continue to speak to Christian believers because in difficult times that they need to know that God has plans for their welfare. It is our task as followers of Christ to seek the will of Christ both for ourselves as individuals and for the life of our local church.

In my report last year I reminded the Church that I planned to retire not later than July 2013 but I would retire earlier if the Church wanted to form a joint pastorate with another church. I drew attention to the fact that the Baptist churches of Bwlchysarnau, Kerry and Newtown were exploring the possibility of calling a minister. I wondered whether we might explore the possibility of joining these churches so that we might have stipendiary ministry in the future. However, it was recognized that these churches would be unable to support a fulltime minister unless they received financial help from The Baptist Union of Wales. The Newtown Church regretfully decided that on financial grounds they were unable to proceed further with the proposal.

We were invited to attend a meeting at Kerry Baptist Church on 7th February to discuss whether there was now a way forward for ministry for Bwlchysarnau and Kerry Baptist Churches. Although at the time a formal decision had not been made by Bwlchysarnau, it was indicated that they too were unlikely to proceed any further because the distance between the two churches made such a link difficult. Revd John P. R. Davies, Association Superintendent, outlined various possibilities for future ministry. After a full discussion it was felt that the most viable option for future ministry for Kerry and possibly for Sarn was that of a Minister-In-Training (MIT) Scheme. Such schemes are operated by the Baptist Colleges at Bristol, Cardiff and Manchester. It was agreed that both Kerry and Sarn should hold Church Meetings to discuss the MIT Scheme. Both Churches agreed to explore the possibility of a MIT student serving as pastor of both Churches. So Revd Simon Woodman of Cardiff and later Revd Ken Stewart of Bristol spoke to joint meetings at both Chapels about their MIT Schemes and the Churches decided to ask whether either the Bristol or Cardiff Colleges would have students available. Subsequently we heard that the New Wales Baptist College, Bangor, was also planning to introduce a similar Scheme for 'Flexible Ministerial Training' and the College asked whether it might be possible to place a student in a church belonging to the Radnorshire and Montgomeryshire Baptist Association. So Revd John Davies and I told the College that Sarn and Kerry would be interested in such a placement.

On 23rd September 2010 our Senior Deacon, Miss Evelyn Evans, passed away at the age of 88. Throughout her life she made a notable contribution to the life of Sarn Chapel in so many ways and we thank God for every remembrance of her. At her funeral tributes was paid by Revd John P. R. Davies and Mr. P. A. V. Evans, former Director of Education for Montgomeryshire and Deputy Director of Education for Powys.

Our Church Anniversary Service on 27th June took the form of a Songs of Praise Service and it was led by Mr. William Powell, a ministerial student at the Bangor Baptist College. The Thank Offering was given to the College for its work. Members of the Fellowship were asked to choose hymns for this Service taken from our new hymn book, Christian Hymns.

At our Harvest Thanksgiving Service on 24th September we welcomed Revd Dr. David Pusey, a member of Broad Haven Baptist Church, Pembrokeshire, who gave us an interesting talk on the work of Operation Agri as well as challenging us about our own relationship to Christ. The Forden Singers led by Mr. Erickson Stafford took part in the Service, which was followed by a Harvest Supper in the Village Hall. On the following Sunday evening we welcomed as our preacher Revd Keith Fantham, of Welshpool. Unfortunately the soloists who had hoped to be with us were unable to do so and so Keith also sang two solos.

The United Remembrance Sunday Service took place at the Chapel and the preacher was Revd Michael Plunkett. The Community Carol Service was held at Holy Trinity Church. Unfortunately, a heavy fall of snow meant that some of those who had agreed to read the Lessons were unable to do so. Mrs. Anne Collis had once again arranged a group to sing some contemporary carols but the inclement weather meant that they too were also unable to get to the church. We thank them for all the hard work they put in preparing for the Service and we hope that they will be willing to take part in the 2011 Service. Although it was the most severe winter for a number of years, we only had to cancel one Sunday service.

We express our thanks again to Revd Prof. Michael Humphreys, of Knighton, who has led our services, often on the second Sunday of the month. Mr. John Walton, of Romford, has also conducted services when my wife and I have been away and his wife Mary played the organ. We are glad that they so enjoy visiting Mid-Wales!

On 19th October my wife and I attended the Licensing of the Revd Stephanie Fountain as Priest in Charge of the Ridgeway Group of Parishes. The Ridgeway Group continues to publish an Ecumenical Leaflet at Christmas and Easter, while we publish our own literature advertising our Harvest Services.

Mrs. Anne Collis continues to play the organ both in the Chapel and twice a month in the Parish Church. She serves as our Church Treasurer and for her support I am so grateful. She is also the Secretary of the Montgomeryshire Baptist Women's Missionary Auxiliary.

I continue as a member of the Radnorshire and Montgomeryshire Baptist Association Executive as well as being a member of the Baptist Union of Wales Ministry and Mission Boards. I was also co-opted as a member of the Kerry Community Council for the Sarn Ward following the resignation of Councillor Mrs. Pam Watkins. Much of our time has been taken up with plans to erect wind farms in Mid-Wales and their likely impact on the environment.

Whatever the future holds for us as individuals and a church we can be sure that God has a plan for us to give us 'a future with hope'.


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