Church leaders in Wales reaffirmed their commitment this week to providing chaplains for the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show.
A team of 12 chaplains offer pastoral care and support for farmers, visitors and people who work at the showground throughout the Show which is taking place this week at Llanelwedd.
The team was set up by member churches of Cytûn – churches together in Wales – eight years ago in response to a request from the show organisers. They work throughout the year covering all the shows that happen within the Showground. During the Royal Welsh Show there are three services a day and the chaplains walk around the showground in orange high visibility jackets with ‘Chaplain’ on the back.
A new partnership agreement was signed at the start of the show by the Archbishop of Wales, the Revd Dr Jennie Hurd, chair of the Wales’ Synod Methodist, the Revd Sally Thomas, ecumenical officer for the United Reformed Church and Dr Patrick Coyle, chair of Cytûn.
The Archbishop, John Davies, said the Show’s chaplaincy service was needed as much as ever this year. He said, “It has been a difficult year for farmers due to heavy snow at lambing time and now a prolonged period of dry weather which is causing great problems feeding animals as the grass has stopped growing. They are also anxious about the implications of Brexit and what effect it might have on the financial support on which many of them depend.
“Chaplaincy is a route through which people can have confidential conversations and support. It helps people when they are under pressure and there are a lot of engaged in rural life at the moment who are. The chaplains are easy to spot around the showground and at the Cytûn pavilion and can be approached or contacted at any time.”
The Revd Canon Aled Edwards, chief executive of Cytûn, said, “Chaplains seek to meet people’s needs and offer them the hand of fellowship, not just on the showground but in the days, weeks and months to come, involving other agencies where necessary. Our new agreement strengthens the churches’ commitment to the service as it continues to grow and develop.”
The Revd Michelle Bailey, the Show’s lead chaplain for the Church in Wales, said, “As chaplains, we are here for everyone, whether they have a faith or not. We are not here to evangelise but to come alongside people where they are and in what they are doing. We are very friendly and approachable so if you see us in our orange jackets please do stop and talk to us, or alternatively come along to the Cytûn pavilion and have a cup of tea.”
Showgoers can join in services at the Cytûn pavilion every day this week at 8am, 11am and 5pm. The Chaplaincy team is available from 8am to 6pm offering help and advice.
The Chaplaincy Centre is situated in the room off the foyer in the Clwyd Glamorgan Hall. The Christian Centre for Rural Wales is situated upstairs in the Clwyd Glamorgan Hall.
Support our farmers
Archbishop John is also urging people to support Welsh farmers and rural industries by buying Welsh produce.
“It is extraordinary the range of food and drinks produced in Wales – many of which we wouldn’t even associate with our nation. There is a huge range of produce available. So please, bearing in mind the huge pressure rural communicates are under at the moment, do your best to support local producers here in Wales.”
You can watch a film of Archbishop John at the Show here https://youtu.be/abjRtcc_Z7Y
The photo above shows the Show chaplaincy team with, from left, Canon Aled Edwards (standing), Dr Patrick Coyle, Archbishop John, the Revd Sally Thomas, the Revd Jennie Hurd and Canon Carol Wardman (standing).