Welcome to the website of the Benefice of Panteg and Griffithstown.
As summer draws to a close and for many the holidays are now over we not only prepare ourselves for the long dark nights which will soon be upon us, but also a return to the normal routines and business of daily life. I would like to wish all the children and young people every blessing as they return to school. We also want to remember those who did well in exams this year and send them our congratulations and good wishes as they start a new stage in their life either on the road of employment or the next stage of their education at college or university.
Our lives go through seasons of change and transitions from infancy through to our senior years. As we see as we grow …. from school to college – to employment and a career – to relationships and maybe marriage – bringing up a family – to retirement and having that precious time to reflect on your life and enjoy the future before you, giving thanks to God for all his good gifts.
There are many gifts which God provides us with throughout our lives, friends, family, the beauty of creation, the seasons, springtime and harvest. People have been giving thanks for the harvest since farming first began and the custom is still thriving in many countries of the world. In the Christian Calendar, harvest traditionally started at Lammas tide (1st August) when the firstborn of the new crop was made into bread and taken to church to be blessed. It finished at Michaelmas, or the feast of Michael and all Angels which is celebrated on the 29th September every year. As it falls near the equinox, the day is associated with the beginning of Autumn and the shortening of days.
There are traditionally four “quarter days” in a year – Lady Day (25th March), Midsummer (24th June), Michaelmas (29th September) and Christmas (25th December). They are spaced three months apart, on religious festivals, usually close to the solstices or equinoxes. It used to be said that the harvest had to be completed by Michaelmas, almost like marking the end of the productive season and the beginning of a new cycle of farming. It was the time at which new servants were hired or land was exchanged and debts were paid, and so Michaelmas came to be the time for electing magistrates and also the beginning of legal and university terms.
St Michael is one of the principal angelic warriors, protector against the dark of the night and the Archangel who fought against Satan and his evil angels (Revelation 12:7-9). At Michaelmas is the time that the darker nights and colder days begin – the edge of winter – the celebration of Michaelmas is associated with encouraging protection during these dark months.
Michaelmas marks the start of change and we are in the midst of change within the Church in Wales. We give thanks for the election of our new Archbishop John Davies who has served as the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon for the past 9 years, chosen as the 13th Archbishop of Wales. His election is also historic as this is the first time a Bishop of the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon has been elected Archbishop of Wales. His hope for the future of the Church in Wales is that the Bishops will ‘lead us with hope into the future that we may flourish and serve the communities in which we are called.’
As we move toward 2020 and the opportunity to CELEBRATE put Centenary as a Province, Diocese, Deanery and within our own Benefice, let is all seek ways in which we may flourish within communities and be the people God calls us to be. As we thank God for is goodness let us pray:
I give myself to you Lord.
With my mind and its thinking.
With my hands and their working.
With my eyes and their seeing.
With my body and its actions.
With my heart and is loving.
I GIVE MYSELF TO YOU.
With every blessing. Yours in Christ. Anne (Rector)