Pool Mission Area

The Pool Mission Area in the Archdeaconry of Montgomery, Diocese of St Asaph of the Anglican Church in Wales consists of 16 churches divided in to 3 groups with one of the 3 stipendiary priests in the Mission Area rooted in each group and having pastoral responsibility for each of the communities and churches within their group:

Archdeacon: Venerable Barry Wilson;Church in Wales Shield
Tel: 01691 839667,                                                                                            email: archdeacon.montgomery@churchinwales.org.uk

The Rectory, Llandrinio SY21 6RW, Tel 01691 838533

1.         Pool South: Montgomery, Forden, Llandysill and Castle Caereinion;

Incumbent:  Rev’d Alexis Smith

Tel:  01686 641992; email:  smith.sparrowssong@gmail.com

2.         Pool Central: Welshpool  and Mission Church Belan;

Incumbent:  TBC (Contact: Revd Toby Jones, Tel: 01938 552265,  email:  tobyjonesministry@yahoo.com);

Tel 01938 553164, email:

3.         Pool North: Guilsfield, Buttington, Berriew and 2 Mission Churches (Fron & Pant y Ffridd);

Incumbent:  Revd Caroline Rhodes

Tel: 01938 554245, email:  CarolineRhodes@churchinwales.org.uk

4.        Border Bridges: Llandrinio, Criggion, Llandysilio and Penrhos;

Incumbent:  Revd Jim Thompson

Tel:  01691 828438, email:  lowhousefarm@hotmail.com

5.        Pool Quay

Incumbent:  Ven Barry Wilson

Tel:  01691 839667,  email: archdeacon.montgomery@churchinwales.org.uk

Latest Mission Area News

On-Line Services

The YouTube link for this week’s MA service is here:   https://youtu.be/hHwrrQkumPA

It will also be on the Pool Mission Area Facebook and Guilsfield Church pages on Sunday as usual.

This is the first of a new style of Sunday Service, so your feedback would be appreciated.  Please e-mail tobyjonesministry@yahoo.com if you have any feedback on the new service.

The link for the 09.30 am Zoom Sunday service is here:


The link for the 09:00 am Zoom Friday morning prayer (1984) service is here:


The Evening Hour

You are invited to attend a time of quiet reflection, meditation and prayer on Wednesday evenings throughout August.  Further details are at: Evening Hour Poster Aug 21.  Please bring a cushion if you would find it more comfortable. You are welcome to print the attached poster and display in your church or other suitable place, pass on to friends, or post on church Facebook pages etc.

New MA Leader

We are very pleased to be able to tell you that Roy Turner has agreed to be the new Mission Area Leader for Pool Mission Area, and this is now just subject to formal confirmation from Bishop Gregory. Other Mission Areas also now have Mission Area Leaders who are not clergy and are finding that it is very successful.   We wish Roy well in his new role.

Singing in Church

Covid cases are unfortunately still above the permitted level for singing in our churches at the moment.

On-Line Services

The YouTube link for this week’s MA service is here:   https://youtu.be/gPEQ7U23hqg.

It will also be on the Pool Mission Area and Guilsfield Church Facebook pages on Sunday as usual.

The link for the 09.30 am Zoom Sunday service is here:


The link for the 09:00 am Zoom Friday morning prayer (1984) service is here:


Bishop Gregory’s Pastoral Letter – July

Please see Bishop’s pastoral letter:  210715 Ourselves Your Servants for Jesus’s Sake.  Please note that there won’t be a pastoral letter in August.

Message from Toby about the Virtual Service

I hope everyone is enjoying the virtual service as much as I do editing it each week. The virtual service was already established when I started my curacy, but I believe that it was created as a product of the Coronavirus lockdown last year and has been serving the Mission Area well for the best part of the last 16 months in its current format. However, as we are now starting to see a return to something that we’d call ‘normal’, I’ve been thinking that we are now at a point where we can hopefully start to develop it and do some new things to make the service better suited to where we are now.

As the virtual service is here to serve the Mission Area, I would like to know what your thoughts are, and so, if anyone has any comments, questions, queries, thoughts, ideas, requests, please let me know either in person or by emailing me at: TobyJones@churchinwales.org.uk

Toby Jones

The Latest Regarding Singing in Church

Singing in church can only take place where there are fewer than 50 cases of Covid 19 per 100,000 people in the local area.  The figures were checked on Friday and unfortunately all areas where our churches are based have cases above the level of 50 per 100,000 and cannot sing currently.  This situation is changeable and we will be checking and updating you on a weekly basis regarding this.

Final Reflection

Given that I came here from Cardiff and am now going back to Cardiff you might imagine that I’m in a rush to go back ‘home’ but I can assure you that this is not the case. After spending most of my life in South Wales and being in Cardiff for 18 years, I imagined when I first came here that it would be very difficult to adjust to living in such a different area. But in truth I felt at home straight away, literally from my first day in Welshpool. In part that was down to my very strong sense of being ‘called’ here – being sure this was where God wanted me to be at that time – but it was also down to the warmth of welcome that we felt, not just from the church family but also from the wider community. And that sense of warmth has continued throughout our 10 years here. This is true not just in the churches where I have been vicar, but also elsewhere in the MA – despite the fact that my role as MAL has been about instigating changes that were never going to be universally popular. So many of you have disagreed with me at times but, more or less without exception, have been gracious about it and often willing to embrace the changes, even if they weren’t welcome – and for that I thank you.

We are fortunate in Pool MA to have many wonderful, deeply committed Christian people and that makes me confident that the MA and its churches are in safe hands, even though it is a wrench to be leaving.

My new role in Cardiff is a temporary one in the first instance. I’ll be working in the Garth MA in NW Cardiff which covers Radyr, St Fagans, Pentyrch, Tongwynlais and Taffs Well, helping that newly formed MA to find it feet whilst the posts for the new team members are reshaped to allow for the several thousand new houses being built in the area. That may become a permanent job in due course, or we may move on after a while, it will become clear in time. Our new home will be at 33 Castell Coch View, Tongwynlais, Cardiff. CF15 7LA. I don’t yet know what our phone number will be. I am also changing my email address which will now be stevewillson@cinw.org.uk

I can only finish by wishing you every blessing as you continue on your journey together and thanking you, from my family and myself, for your prayers and best wishes and many kind words or gifts we have received. I hope to be able to reply to people individually when the dust has settled a little! I look forward to hearing how Pool MA continues to flourish whilst sharing with folk in Cardiff some of what I’ve learned with and from you over the last 10 years.

Looking Ahead

As previously explained the clergy’s roles are changing as a result of my move. So, as of next Monday, the Vicar for each church will be as follows:

Buttington, Guilsfield, Berriew, Fron, Pantyffridd – Rev’d Caroline Rhodes 01938 554245

Castle Caereinion, Forden, Llandyssil, Montgomery –

Rev Alexis Smith 01686 641992

Criggion, Llandrinio, Llandysilio, Penrhos – Rev’d Jim Thompson 01691 828438

Pool Quay – Ven Barry Wilson 01691 839667

Belan & Welshpool – are vacant until my replacement is appointed but in the meantime Rev’d Toby Jones (01938 552265) will pick up a lot of the day-to-day stuff, supported by Caroline. We hope the vacancy will be short. The role of MA Leader is also vacant for the time being, but there is a chance that may be resolved before too long as well. Both roles are key appointments for our plans for the MA as a whole, as Barry outlined a couple for weeks ago, so please pray that the right people will be appointed to them. Barry will keep you informed of developments.

Until a new MAL is appointed Caroline or Barry will pick up on things that need attention with the support our Lay Leaders, Roy Turner and Carol Davies (MA wardens) and James Turner (MA Lay Chair).

The Mission Area -Planning Ahead

Archdeacon Barry writes:

Like you, I will be so sorry to see Steve Willson and his family move away. Steve has been a wonderful colleague and friend and his imminent departure will leave a big gap that will be difficult to fill.

Unlike some of you, I have known about Steve’s plans for some time and have been able to work with him, the other clergy in the Mission Area, the Shared Ministry Team and the Mission Area Executive to prayerfully discern what might happen next.

In the end, our discussions about the way forward were shaped by a number of things. We were aware, for example, of the heavy responsibilities that Steve has carried in his capacity as Mission Area Leader. We have also been aware that as well as caring for a significant town centre church, he has also had responsibility for a number of rural churches. Whilst he has undertaken each of these responsibilities with grace and ability, Steve has often felt pulled in too many directions, and we do not feel that this model of ministry is sustainable for the next person who joins our team.

When Steve leaves in early July, therefore, Rev Caroline will temporarily take on the role of Mission Area Leader while we prayerfully discern the way ahead. If other Mission Areas are anything to go by, the next Mission Area Leader could be a lay person with the necessary experience and skills. However, we will have to wait and see. This role will be appointed by Bishop Gregory following a process of consultation.

Rev Jim and myself will also be taking on new pastoral responsibilities. From July, Jim will be looking after the ‘Border Bridges’ group of churches – Llandrinio, Llandysilio, Criggion and Penrhos. I will be supporting him but also looking after Pool Quay for a while. Alexis will take over responsibility for Castle Caereinion.

This will allow us to appoint a new priest who will minister in Welshpool, with the specific challenge of growing multiple congregations and groups over a five-year period. To support this, the Diocesan Board of Finance has agreed to fund a half time children’s worker specifically for this area. It will be my responsibility to mentor the new cleric and support them as they find ways of encouraging and nurturing spiritual and numeric growth in the Welshpool area.

We would really value your prayers as we undertake this endeavour. We are keen to appoint someone with an infectious passion for mission and ministry and a proven track record of growing existing and new congregations. This will not be easy, but we trust that the right person will both hear and respond to Gods call. I will keep you informed of how things progress.

July Services

There will be a few changes to the pattern of services in four churches in July in order to accommodate the changes Barry has described above:

  1. Criggion’s communion and morning prayer services will swap round again
  2. Llandrinio’s services will all now be at 11.15 except for an evening Communion at 18.00 on the 1st Sunday of the month,
  3. Llandyssil’s Communion service will now be on the 3rd Sunday of the month.
  4. Welshpool’s services remain the same currently but when we are able to have a monthly communion service in Church House again that will be on the first Sunday of the month as will Messy Church when that is able to restart.

Our apologies if any of these changes disrupt anyone’s routines, but they will help to ensure the rota is robust and things will run smoothly. Thanks for your forbearance!

Latest Welsh Government Covid Review

The only changes to that relate to churches being opened to visitors. This primarily relates to Pilgrim Churches but if you are keen to be open to passers-by Opening_churches_for_visitors_7_June_2021 clarifies the steps you will have to take to permit this.

Delta variant cases are creeping up in Wales, but the vaccination programme is also continuing well with 40% of the adult populations in Wales now fully protected and nearly 70% having had their first jab. The potential for further easing of restrictions in Wales this month therefore remains very much in the balance – so please keep in your praying!

Funding Possibilities

Funding Possibilities offers a whole range of funding options that are currently available to churches. There may be something to suit the situation of your church or which covers something you are wanting to do in your community? One of the deadlines is very tight though, so you will need to act quickly on that one.

Changes to the Pattern of Services in June

We are pretty much up to the usual pattern of main Sunday services in most churches. There are a few gaps* where there are other services (baptism/weddings) scheduled. This is because we still can’t have services within 72 hours of each other unless the church can be thoroughly cleaned in between. Hopefully, this will change shortly.

We have also made some changes to the usual pattern of services for some churches so that we can continue to provide the on-line worship and cover everything despite not having a full team available to us. It is also designed to enable us to continue to cover services after Steve has left, although having Jim & Toby priested (and therefore able to celebrate communion) will help with that a lot. Currently we are short of LLMs (Lay Readers) but that should be resolved when Rosemary Rogers is licensed in September.

Because of the changes to the pattern in some churches, Service Rota June 2021 is a copy of the June rota so as many people are aware of the changes as possible.

(* No service at Montgomery on 13/6, Llandysilio 20/6 or Forden 27/6)

 All services remain subject to change if local Covid levels increase. It also remains important to minimize risk, so please continue to follow the guidelines – both in church and outside afterwards. Thank you.

Thanks from Steve

“A big thank you to the many people who have got in touch with me since the news of my new appointment last week. I’m sorry that I have not had chance to thank you all personally, but your messages and best wishes have been much appreciated. I’m sad that I will not have chance to visit all of our churches before I go. I’ve managed to fit seven in on the current rota (which isn’t bad given I’m away one Sunday) and will be in Welshpool on 4th July, my last Sunday.”

A Message from Our MA Leader – 23rd May

I just wanted to make sure that you were all aware that the following announcement has been made in our churches this morning:

“It is with considerable sadness that I need to let you know that I have accepted a new role in the Diocese of Llandaff and will be leaving the Mission Area shortly. It has been both a privilege and a joy to have been MA Leader here and to have been Vicar to the churches in my care. I do however believe that now is a good time to be moving on and for family reasons we will be returning to South Wales. We will be working with the churches in NW Cardiff, based in Tongwynlais. Archdeacon Barry and I have already been working closely to plan for the future, further details will be available in due course.”

My last Sunday in the Mission Area will be on 4th July but I’ll hope to see many of you between now and then.

Thanks and best wishes,

Google Maps – Make sure no-one misses your church

Anna Morrell, Church in Wales Director of Communications, writes:

I’m contacting you to make you aware of an easy way to ensure your church is more accessible to people, particularly now as we begin to re-open our buildings. Most of us regularly use Google Maps to find places but not many people realise how you can add or change information on the app. We have just published a guide on the Provincial website which shows you how you can manage your online presence and “claim” your church on Google Maps. Here is the link: https://www.churchinwales.org.uk/en/news-and-events/how-add-your-church-google-maps/.  Please contact me if you have any queries or comments about it.

Grant Opportunity

The ‘Giving Movement for Good’ awards are Ecclesiastical Insurance’s annual awards to charities for projects working in the community.  500 charities will each receive a donation of a £1,000; anyone can get involved by simply nominating an eligible charity online. There is no long form to fill in, you simply nominate a project/charity and then get your supporters to vote for the charity.

This is an ideal opportunity for Mission Areas, as registered charities to be nominated and highlight how the churches in your area are reaching out within the community, whether it is through online services, Community Angels schemes or providing meals for the vulnerable, isolated and less fortunate.  There is some brilliant work happening out there so nominate your Mission Area and hopefully get a £1,000 to distribute within the Mission Area.

The usual process is for a charity to be nominated and as many people as possible click on the site to support it.

The application process will open on Monday 24 May, further updates will be available on the Ecclesiastical Insurance website – https://www.ecclesiastical.com/movement-for-good/

If you need any further information please contact Martyn Schlangen martynschlangen@churchinwales.org.uk

Vacancy – MA Safeguarding Officer

Anybody who is on the Electoral Roll of any of our churches is entitled to be nominated for any MA post, all of which are re-elected at the AVM or the next meeting of the MA Conference. We are particularly keen to appoint a MA Safeguarding Officer to help ensure our care for children, young people and vulnerable adults is of the best possible standard. Full details are on the MA Safeguarding Coordinator Role Description. Please give it your consideration.

MA Strategy

The Mission Area has recently been updating its Strategy which was originally set out 5 years ago (some of you may recall being part of the open meetings when the MA was first proposed, where we started thinking about that). The updated document (Pool MA Strategy – commended by MAC 04.21) was commended by the MA Conference last week and all church members are invited to reflect on it and offer any feedback they have to Jenny – JennyPoolMA@outlook.com

The strategy document along with our Mission Statement which was revised earlier in the year (Mission Statement – revised Jan 21). Church Committees are encouraged to discuss the Strategy document, when they are able to meet again, and to particularly reflect of section 1d, about the key characteristics each church should aim to embody.

Also see another document reflecting on the challenges of Post-Covid rebuilding (Post-Covid Reconstruction). The Shared Ministry Team and MA Exec have both been working on this and again it is commended to you by the MAC.