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Sunday 10 a.m. Sung Eucharist. Common Worship (1 hour).
Sunday 10 a.m. All Age Eucharist. First Sunday of the month (1 hour).
Tuesday 9:30 a.m. Eucharist. (No Tuesday service in August)
Reading the Bible
The last Sunday of the Trinity season, which this year falls on 27th October, is often kept as Bible Sunday and is a time when the Church is invited to reflect upon the impact of the bible and to think about how scripture has the power to change and transform lives. Bishop Steven Croft, our diocesan Bishop, has over the last year or two encouraged us to think more deeply about our own bible study and in the “Dwelling in the Word” initiative has invited us all to read the bible in a more contemplative way in order to listen to God and to one another more effectively and prayerfully.
We can forget how easy it is for most of us in this country to read the bible if we wish to do so. But there are many people in the world today who do not have access to a bible in their own language. The implication of this is sometimes quite hard for us to appreciate. There is however a wonderful true story from much closer to home which helps illustrate how it might feel to want desperately to be able to read God’s word in your own language. It’s the story of Mary Jones and her Bible and, although it happened well over 200 years ago, its impact is still relevant today.
Mary Jones was born in 1784 into a poor family who lived in Gwynedd, North Wales. Her parents were Calvinist Methodists and the family spoke only Welsh. Mary learned to read in a school run by a preacher named Thomas Charles who was from the town of Bala and who spent much of his time teaching children from poor families. Mary regularly walked two miles from her home to a farmhouse where someone had a copy of the bible so that she could read it. Although she hoped very much to have her own bible one day the chances of being able to were slim. Even if there had been enough money, bibles written in the Welsh language were scarce. There was a possibility of buying one in Bala and Mary began to save up. Eventually after six years of saving she had enough money. And so, one day in 1800 at the age of 15, she set out to walk, barefoot as usual, to Bala, 25 miles away. Eventually she arrived and found where Thomas Charles lived. Imagine her heartbreak when she discovered that he had sold his last Welsh language bible just that morning! She broke down in tears. He was so touched by her story that he gave her one of the bibles he had already promised to someone else.
In fact, Mary’s visit had a great impact on Thomas Charles and he began to make plans to help those around the world who long to have access to a bible in their own language. In 1804 he achieved his aim with the formation of the British and Foreign Bible Society which was established in London that year and which still exists today as the Bible Society.
Mary Jones died in 1864 at the age of 80. She is buried at the graveyard of Bryn-crug Calvinistic Methodist Chapel. The 1799 edition of the Welsh Bible which she walked 25 miles to buy is now held in the Bible Society’s archives in Cambridge.
You may like to remember the work of the Bible Society in your prayers this month. To find out more about their work visit www.biblesociety.org.uk
With every blessing,
Reverend Canon Sally Lodge
Come join us!
You are welcome to join us at St Stephen and St Agnes, regardless of race or gender or sexuality. We are part of the Church of England and our worship style is modern catholic: this means the service uses contemporary English, but still has ritual and incense (‘smells and bells’). Services finish with Fairtrade tea and coffee, or a glass of sherry if that is what you prefer. There is a Fairtrade stall selling a variety of goods from Traidcraft (chocolate, biscuits, tea, coffee, rice, Christmas cards later in the year, etc.)
There are areas in the church that make it easy for parents with prams or people in wheelchairs to join the worship. Our congregation age ranges from babies to 98-year-olds. On the first Sunday of the month, we have a family service with home-baked cakes. Study and discussion groups are available throughout the year with special courses run during Advent and Lent.
We are committed to safeguarding children, young people, and vulnerable adults. The parochial church council has adopted the Church of England’s policies and best practice on safeguarding which may be found on the Church of England’s website. Our Parish Safeguarding Representative is Laura Betteridge and she may be contacted at church or by email.