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Open Churches

COITY

Saturday mornings but due to the current crisis please ring beforehand.

NOLTON

Please contact the Vicar if you would like access.

Annual Vestry Report

This ancient South Wales parish, part of the Anglican Church in Wales, extends south of the M4 corridor between Junctions 35 and 36. It takes in the communities of
Coity, Litchard, Brackla,

and the area of Bridgend east of the River Ogmore.
We are grouped with the parish of Coychurch.


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vicar:

The Rev’d Maggie Thorne

Although I was born in London, I grew up on Tyneside. My father was the local Presbyterian Church minister (now the United Reformed Church) so church has always featured prominently in my life. I have two older brothers, one a retired minister living in Herefordshire, and the other a consultant forensic pscyhiatrist living in Canada. I left school after my A levels to study music in London and graduated with a Licenciate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (in clarinet playing) and a BA(Hons) in Music Education. For more years than I care to admit, I was a VMT or Visiting Music Teacher, teaching the clarinet in both the state and private sectors as well as running a successful private teaching business with my husband in the UK and in Australia. For many years I was Head of Wind and Brass at an independent girls’ school in Oxfordshire. We have two children who both now live in Cardiff with their other halves. My daughter is a community nurse and my son is a jazz musician. The call to serve simmered from childhood when I accompanied my father on his pastoral visits to a geriatric hospital and gradually that call became insistent. It’s a long story with more twists and turns than a mini-series and I’m happy to repeat it to anyone who wants to listen! The exploration of my vocation took me to London University where I successfully completed my MA in Pastoral Studies. Still exploring, my next journey was into studying psychotherapy and counselling which is now channelled into pastoral counselling and vocations advice. With the call ever-stronger, I was accepted for training to the Anglican ministry and studied at Cuddesdon Theological College in Oxford. Since ordination I have served in a suburban parish in Reading, an urban parish comprising two large housing estates in Oxford and a semi-rural/rural united parish of four churches in South Oxfordshire. Along the way I undertook further study in Sarum College, gaining my MA in Christian Liturgy. Lockdown this year has enabled me to learn more about virtual worship and communication through modern technology, but above all, my greatest interest is people and how each of us experiences God’s call on our lives. For the wider Church I am a vocations’ advisor and spiritual director, and am a member of SLAC (the Standing Liturgical Advisory Commission). Although I’m English and married to an Australian, we adopted Wales as our own 10 years ago and love living here. I’ve been learning the language for a couple of years, but although my reading of it is coming along, please don’t ask me to speak it yet! In love, I hold the people of Bridgend in my heart before God daily.

01656 652247 Email


Associate Priest

The Rev’d Chris Robinson 

It is a long way from Barnard Castle to Bridgend, in more ways than one. My home church, at the time of my youth was a gathering place for people who wanted society to be well behaved. That is my perception. There were many similarities between it and other organisations such as Boy Scouts, Round Table, Templars, Masons or any of the many other ritualistic organisations. We did church, to get it over with, to get it done. Church was definitely Sundays only. And because we had done church, looking for God or finding God or knowing God was never part of the conversation. The vicar at that time made it plain that one simply followed the rituals. Why would one search any further? Why would God call me to a church that had hidden Him? Possibly for the purpose of encouraging others to dig a little deeper. We moved to Sussex in 1991. Durham Diocese would allow me to attend Oak Hill Theological College because I would be “close by”. My wife took up a post at Christ’s Hospital for the duration of my training. This school is a charitable foundation, taking in children who have ability, but not the finances. After training and five years in church, it became obvious that my wife and I had a future together as house parents. Our task was one of creating a home for children who were at boarding school. We have three children of our own, and looked after about 60 girls aged from 11-18. These girls always had ability, but frequently lacked confidence or belief in themselves, or the school or adults. Mostly, what was needed to bring about growth was faith. The chaplain was adamant that we must make everyone ask the big questions and he was easy to work with, even if he set the bar very high. My son is in Australia, training as an A&E consultant. My youngest daughter has stayed on in Sussex and is hoping to be an accountant. My other daughter married someone from Bridgend. You might recognise this notion, but I was tired of telling God what to do. It leads only to frustration. There were a few options in front of us. The most promising doors were firmly closed. Besides, if was not meant to be? So, Bridgend it is, with an expectation that maybe something good can come out of this. And even better news, I have no idea what that something might be. May God be with you as you journey through life.


Assistant Curate

The Rev’d Ceri Holloway

I have been training full-time in St Padarn’s for four years and have enjoyed my time studying and worshipping as a community together here in Llandaff. Before starting my training I had my own business whilst busy bringing up my now adult children. Being a mum of triplets is an immense privilege, and I miss them so much when we are apart from each other. After finishing her degree last year, Grace is working in computer security in the Midlands, Charlie has just finished his degree in Maths, and Caitlin is half-way through a masters degree in Theology. These two are currently living in Exeter where they are at university. They may be joining me in Bridgend, at least for a little while, but proper plans haven’t really been decided as yet as the lockdown has turned their lives inside-out at the moment as it has done for so many other people. I have not had a lot of spare time for hobbies whilst training but I try to do a little yoga and meditation every day if I can. I love to be in nature, especially walking in woodland or by the coast, and spend far too much money on bird food and feeders for my garden. I read profusely, preferring the classics like Austin, Dickens, Wilkie Collins and anything and everything from P G Wodehouse! I have a great love of poetry, which I find helps me to reflect on my life and my faith, and enables me to find some peace within the lines in this busy world. I particularly love the poems of the American poet Mary Oliver, and of course, who could not love the work of our very own R S Thomas. Despite considering myself as a cradle-Anglican, my faith journey has seen lots of twists and turns along the way which has helped me to develop a contemplative but sacramental spirituality. I have organised and led many retreats over the years, and love connecting people to God through prayer, silence and the natural world. I feel that finding some time to take a break in our day-to-day lives, to reconnect with God, ourselves and one another, is vitally important to our own spiritual health and mental well-being.


Licensed Lay Ministers:

Chris Judd

From my very beginning, it was inevitable that I should have been drawn into Church life. We lived in a very old vicarage in the heart of Monmouthshire and it seemed that all the men in my family wore clerical collars – my father, grandfather, brother, godfather and several visiting priests. As I had a profound sense of God’s presence there, I was very sad when we moved on.  It was never quite the same for me leaving an idyllic, calm parish for a much busier one. But, God was still present. After completing my BEd at Cardiff University, I moved to Hereford to teach and sang in Hereford Cathedral Choral Society.  My claim to fame was being invited to interview for the D’oyly Carte Opera company but, reluctantly withdrew as I had other plans for my life. After Hereford, I came back to Wales to teach, achieving a grand total of almost 40 years teaching in all. It was then, I eagerly sought God’s will for my new journey ahead, “Here I am Lord, take me.”   And the best was yet to come ……I studied for six years at St Michael’s Theological College, gaining a BTh (Hons); and then embraced Licensed Lay Ministry as a Reader. Now there were new possibilities ahead and life has again become exciting and fulfilled. As a LLM, I still have time (and freedom) to pursue my hobbies; playing piano, singing in 3 choirs, walking my border collie, reading words useful for my sermons, poetry, visiting opera and ballet houses and returning to former hobbies – creative painting and textile designing. BUT above all, serving God and is people with all my heart, soul, mind and strength is indeed, the joy of my heart. Finally, a special message to those of us who have a desire to serve God and to seek his plan for their individual lives.  And there are several of you who might feel you are now too mature to serve him. Rubbish!! Finding myself in the more elderly age range and realising that lockdown has not seemed helpful at this critical time, I have learnt that age is unreservedly immaterial to God’s will for each and every one of us. So today’s hot tip for encouraging you all…….read the humorous poem, “Warning, when I am an old woman, I shall wear purple”, by Jenny Joseph. Google it. It’s great fun. Hopefully, you will be uplifted and encouraged as “older folk”, that you are still of value in God’s eyes. Moreover, this funny poem expounds that old age really does have its blessings too. I can confirm.

Peter Craven

 I was born, and grew up, in Brynmawr, Breconshire (before local authority reorganisation). My family moved to Bridgend just before my eleventh birthday. I attended Brynteg School and then went to the University of Bath, where I read Physics. I then went to Exeter University to gain my PGCE. After teaching in Devon for two years, I returned to work in South Wales. I married my wife, Alison, in 1985, in Saint Crallo’s, my sons were Christened there as well. We have lived in Bridgend and Coychurch ever since. I retired a few years ago, and spend my time reading, listening to music and trying to keep the garden under control.


Parish Administrator and Hall Manager

Allie Rogers

Hi, from September 2020 I became the new Administrator and Hall Manager at Nolton. I would like to introduce myself to you all and tell you a little bit about myself.  Although some of you may already know me through my parents, Anita and Colin Quick, who worshipped at St Mary’s Coity. My working background has always been in administration from the age of 16 when I enrolled in Bridgend College for business studies, and from there, Pitman’s Secretarial College. I moved to Germany in 1991 with the armed forces and was stationed Schloss Neuhaus, Bielefeld and Fallingbostel. I moved back to the UK in 1996 and was then stationed at Depcut and worked at the officer’s mess in both Depcut and Sandhurst where I met a few of the Royal family. My biggest and best accomplishment has been my three children: Becky, Andrew and Aaron, who I am extremely proud of, and I thank God every day for the privilege of having them in my life; my partner Darran who I love very much; and recently my two beautiful Grand-daughters, Maisie age 2 and Adi who is 1 month who I adore, and can do no wrong in their Nana’s eyes. My office door is always open, and so I look forward to meeting you all soon.


The Parish Office
Merthyrmawr Road North
Bridgend
CF31 3NH

Open 9.30am – 1.30pm weekdays

01656 667690 / Email

COMMITTED TO SHARING GOD’S LOVE IN OUR COMMUNITIES

Reg Charity: 1135927


CHURCH SCHOOL
Archdeacon John Lewis 
Church in Wales Primary School

Its website can be found here.

Headteacher: Mr John Tarran

01656 815520 Email

bracklaexteriorThe parish has a Church in Wales
Primary School at Brackla.

As a ‘faith school’ it has strong links with the new
Archbishop McGrath Roman Catholic Comprehensive in Brackla.