Dear friends,
Thank you to Val, Delyth and the children for the wonderful Candlemas Eucharist on Sunday. Lent
begins next week. Delyth has a pancake party (enthusiastically supported by the ‘Christ Church
Chicks’) on Zoom on Shrove Tuesday (February 16 th ) at 11am to raise funds for Plant Dewi, our
diocesan children’s charity. Please let her know if you would like to join in, as it sounds as though it’ll
be an extremely cheerful affair. I’ve just been diagnosed with diabetes (to add to my other woes),
and Helen is keeping me on a ferociously strict diet, which suggests that the pancakes are probably
out for me – but that needn’t stop you from enjoying them. The finest pancws that I’ve ever tasted
were made by Mrs Dewi Bryn Stores in Brechfa – I spent many years trying to persuade her to give
me the recipe for the parish magazine, but sadly never succeeded.

Delyth and Kristie will be in charge of our Zoom Lent course this year (with the old chap filling in
whenever there’s a gap). There’ll be more details in my next letter. There will also be a Christ Church
Council meeting on Zoom on Thursday 18 th at 7pm. Covid hit us during last Lent and brought the first
lockdown. We have had something of a rollercoaster ride since then. At times I’ve been reminded of
the poster which used to hang on the wall in St Non’s Retreat House (‘And things were bad, and I
said to the Lord, “Lord, they could be worse,” and lo, they were worse.’) Still, they’re getting better
now that so many people have had their jab. I am extremely grateful to my talented colleagues in
our ministry team and our wonderful team of church officers for the way in which they have guided
us through the past year with so much skill, good humour and practical common sense.

Sunday, as well as being Quinquagesima (with St Paul’s wonderful description of loving-kindness as
the epistle for the day) is also St Valentine’s Day. Forty-five years ago, as a rather shy postgraduate
research student in Aberystwyth, I sent a Valentine to a pretty young undergraduate from the
College of Librarianship in Llanbadarn, who was a fellow member of the Anglican Student Society.
The following Saturday I managed to sit next to her during a Quiet Day led by the formidable Bishop
John Richards. I hoped that she might guess who the card came from. She did – and, as a Victorian
novelist might have put it, “Reader, I married her” (albeit after an engagement that lasted two long
years). And she’s still as lovely in 2021 as she was in 1976. Life may have its difficult patches, but it
also contains all sorts of unexpected blessings. As the old hymn advises us, sometimes it’s worth
counting them up and being gloriously surprised.

SERVICES (all on Zoom): Wednesday 10 February 10.30am HOLY EUCHARIST (readings p.69);
Sunday 14 February (QUINQUAGESIMA) 9am HOLY EUCHARIST (readings p.72); 11yb CYMUN
BENDIGAID (darlleniadau t.72); 5pm EVENING PRAYER; Wednesday 17 February (ASH
WEDNESDAY) 10.30am HOLY EUCHARIST (readings, p.75) ; 7pm LENT COURSE; Sunday 21 February
9am HOLY EUCHARIST (readings, p.77); 5pm EVENING PRAYER; Wednesday 24 February 10.30am
HOLY EUCHARIST (readings, p.343). Canon Patrick

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