News and Forthcoming Events

On-Line Services

The YouTube link for this week’s MA service is here:

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 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:

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:

Church’s Count on Nature

Thank you to all who took part; a report on what was spotted can be found at:  CConN Thanks & Report.

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:

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

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).

Looking 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!

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.

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:  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 –

If you need any further information please contact Martyn Schlangen

Services and Funerals

We have re-opened for socially-distanced services on Sundays. Capacity is reduced to about 27 people, but we’re frustratingly still not allowed to sing. Bethan has been wonderful in trying to find creative ways to incorporate music in our services, and we’re very grateful. It has been wonderful recently to welcome some of our “summer migrants” back, who are  now able to stay in their local holiday homes and worship with us.  For details of In-Church and On-Line services in Guilsfield and across the Mission Area see regular updated information below.

We are very aware that no-one has been able to have a “normal” funeral since March 2020, and many people have been prevented from attending funerals that they would have gone to in unrestricted times, and we extend our sympathy to all who are grieving. When we are finally allowed to fill the church and sing hymns again we will be holding a memorial service to remember and give thanks for all the people whose funerals we have not been able to attend.


We’re beginning to look at managing our church yard to protect its biodiversity. We know we’ve got lots of snowdrops, and we’re trying to identify more of the wild flowers that grow there. We also know that slow-worms have been spotted there, and bats certainly roost in the church and possibly the yew trees as well. We would welcome any volunteers to help us. Contact Caroline 554245 for more information.

Church Finanaces

Like many organisations Covid has hit our finances hard. It costs almost £1000 per week to keep the church open and staffed, which is almost entirely raised by the regular giving of our congregation of about 50 people, and our fund raising activities (which haven’t been possible recently) In 2020 we recorded a shortfall of £14,900 and have a projected shortfall of £11,900. We had just received a grant of £7300 from the Covid Heritage Recovery Fund, for which we are very grateful, but we’re still £19,500 out of pocket. We have had to make a substantial withdrawal from our reserves which means that we will no longer have the income from those investments, which may precipitate a downward spiral necessitating further withdrawals and subsequent decreases in income if we are not able to stabilise the situation. If you are able to help us all donations will be very gratefully received, either through the vicarage letterbox (please mark the envelope “for the Treasurer” ) or on-line where you can make a one-off, regular, monthly or annual donation at: ‘Pool A232 Guilsfield, St Aelhaiarn, Guilsfield’ from the drop-down menu in the ‘Beneficiary’ box and ‘One-off’ or the frequency you wish to give from the drop-down menu in the ‘Frequency’ box).

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.

Services at Guilsfield

Covid-19 restrictions mean that the seating capacity of the church building is now reduced to approximately 25 persons. To avoid us having to turn people away at the door please contact the vicar (01938 554245) to book a seat for each service that you wish to attend. We may need to cancel services to accommodate weddings and funerals- the vicar will be able to let you know when if the service is going ahead when you call to book a seat.

Please pay attention to the signs with rules we have had to impose to ensure 2m social distancing. Thank you.

Bell-ringing and Choir

All bell-ringing and choir practices are cancelled until further notice.

Breathing Space Service

We have started a new kind of service on the Third Thursday evening each month starting at 8:00pm, particularly aimed at people who don’t find that traditional church services help them to encounter the Divine. Breathing Space will allow us time to step back from the busyness of life and spend time reflecting on a theme. The format will be welcome and opening prayer, a short bible reading and introduction to the theme, recorded music will play while we interact with an assortment of “prayer stations” eg lighting a candle, writing or drawing a response (anonymously!) or simply sit and ponder. A priest will be available for prayers and anointing for healing. When we have all returned to our seats we will conclude by saying the Lord’s Prayer together & the priest will bless us. It will probably last about 30-45 minutes. – cancelled until further notice

‘Guilsfield Gets Together’

The Dementia Friendly Guilsfield monthly ‘Guilsfield Gets Together’ café is held on the first Friday of the month from 10:00am to 11:30 am.  Come along on the first Friday of the month for this opportunity to have a cup of team or coffee and meet up with friends and neighbours.  All welcome; please do come along to the Old School and enjoy the cakes; £2 per person. – cancelled until further notice

New!!! – ‘Wander and Ponder’ Trail

There is a new way to appreciate and learn about St Aelhaiarn’s Church; why not pick up a leaflet and follow the ‘Wander and Ponder’ Trail?  As you wander around, you will see and find out a little bit more about the meaning and reasons for some of the items and images in the Church.  The leaflets can be found on the table part of the notice board to the left of the door as you enter the Porch.  The Trail will be changed several times during the year to feature different items and reflections; so, if you enjoy it, do look out for the new leaflets and come back again to enjoy the peace and serenity of our beautiful church.

Facebook Page

Why not visit our new Facebook page at and see the latest news, pictures and information about what has been happening at Guilsfield Church.