A supplement to our quarterly diocesan newspaper
Sadly, we are not always able to include everything we receive for publication. PD Extra provides an opportunity to:
- browse articles which got squeezed out but which we hope you agree deserve space
- include additional material for articles that did appear but in edited form
- translations into English of articles printed in Welsh
Atheist-in-Chief’s blindspot: an Easter reflection
Richard Dawkins relishes his role as Britain’s atheist in chief. I have no wish to malign him, yet, sadly, his scientific studies appear to have destroyed his aesthetic sense, as well as stunted his spiritual awareness. Take the following passage from The God Delusion:
“Religion devours resources, sometimes on a massive scale. A medieval cathedral could consume a hundred man-centuries in its construction, yet was never used as a dwelling, or for any recognizably useful purpose. Was it some kind of architectural peacock’s tail? If so, at whom was the advertisement aimed? Sacred music and devotional paintings largely monopolised medieval and Renaissance talent. … ‘What is it all for? What is the benefit of religion?” (page 164-5)
Now, who is the deluded one? This really will not do. If someone is unable to see the glory of a cathedral: the sublimity of Salisbury’s spire, say; the solidity of Gloucester’s tower, the loveliness of Durham seen from the river, or the breath-taking sight of our own St Davids Cathedral, the fault lies with the viewer not with the viewed.
A translation of Keri Morgan’s tribute to Mollie Davies, whose life was cut short while on active service in 1940. She is commemorated with a striking tombstone in Garnant. Keri considers the sacrifice made by Mollie and others like her:
Mollie was born to Handel and Miriam Davies, of London House, Garnant. Handel owned a successful motorbike business, with a branch in Swansea as well as a garage in Garnant. We can imagine that Mollie would be very used to her father’s work and therefore probably interested in motor bikes.
She must also have been used to riding a motorbike, as she joined the ATS at the beginning of the Second World War as a Despatch Rider in the 6th Welch Regiment. This was not an easy life of motorbike riding but a dangerous one of carrying messages and commands. She would have to move fast, finding the correct routes, often in darkness. Every rider was expected to look after and mend their own bikes.
There are many stories of riders being killed in world wars when the work was done on horseback. I would think the main worry would be knowing you were alone. There was no-one to turn to, and you were dependent on your own ability. Some riders did the work on home turf, but others went abroad, in foreign lands. There, not only were you in darkness but also in an unknown terrain in all weathers, travelling through areas of battle, fighting and bombing.
What of Mollie? As with others in the war, she was a young girl who had volunteered to be of service. Unfortunately, whilst carrying out her military duties, she died on February 13th 1940, aged 19. Her striking tombstone in Eglwys Crist, Garnant notes simply
Despatch Rider (ATS) 6th Welch Regiment
Beloved daughter of Handel and Miriam Davies
Swansea and London House, Garnant
Died on active service 13 February 1940 aged 19
As with many others of her age, she gave herself as sacrifice, her future for our present. May she rest in peace.
Page 16: Community Connectors / Cysylltwyr Cymunedol
Pages 1+10: Celebrations at Ysgol Penboyr (translation)
 A special assembly was held on Thursday September 29th to welcome Education Secretary Mrs Kirsty Williams and some of her colleagues to school. It was a privilege and honour to host her visit.
Two of the pupils led prayers they had themselves composed, the choir sang Ffrindiau and the whole school sang the song Dathlu 150 (celebrating 150) words composed by Ceri Wyn and music by Mrs.Wendy Organ.
Following the Assembly, Mrs Williams was shown around the school and classrooms by the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the School council and the Headteacher and the digital leaders demonstrated the school website.
Many other guests had been invited for her visit: Canon Brian Witt (Diocesan Director of Education), Archdeacon Roger Hughes (Chairman of the Diocesan Education Committee), Revd Dr John Gillibrand (chairman of governors), Marian Morgan (School Challenge Advisor) and Cllr Ken Howells.
 An open day was held for the whole community on Saturday, September 24th to celebrate 150 years of Ysgol Penboyr, and a large crowd gathered to support the school. The afternoon began with the pupils singing and a cake was cut by Mrs Wendy Thomas and Dr Carol James, the present head teacher. Many thanks to Mrs Stella Jones, previous teacher and school governor for baking the wonderful cake and to Mr Richard Jones for collecting old photographs and helping us with the exhibition. Also thanks to the Fire Brigade for coming to the school yard so that pupils and their families could have the opportunity to dress up and sit in the fire engine.
Celebrations continued the following evening when a Modern Gymanfa was held at St Llawddog’s church, Penboyr. The conductor was Dr Carol James, Headteacher, and the accompanists were Mrs Wendy Organ, Mrs Rhian Williams, Mr and Mrs Harwood (parents) and Mr Deiniol Organ on drums. Chairperson of the evening was Mrs Wendy Thomas, head teacher from 1989 to 2006. The school choir and staff also sang. It was a special evening of praise to give thanks for a hundred and fifty years of education at Ysgol Penboyr.
Page 6: The purpose of Confirmation
From the First Sunday of Advent this year, those receiving Holy Communion in our churches need not be confirmed. Ainsley Griffiths considers the question ‘What is the purpose of Confirmation?’
Page 12: Yr Hen Ficer
Page 17: Llanbadarn Odwyn
A very successful pilgrimage walk on the afternoon of Sunday 12th September 2016, from Llangeitho footpath towards Birchill Farm, Llangeitho, and across to Llanbadarn Odwyn Church, Llwynpiod, was followed by an evening prayer service under the leadership of Canon Philip Wyn Davies. After the service, the walk continued down the steep footpath towards Y Glyn and back along the road to Llangeitho for afternoon tea in the Hall. Generous donations were received for the restoration and repair works to be carried out to the church. Members of Llanbadarn Odwyn Church wish to thank all who walked, attended the service and prepared the tea.
Plant ysgol sul Penboyr a Phontsian yn dod at ei gilydd ar Sul Crist ein Brenin a chael hwyl yn dysgu drwy grefftiau
Penboyr & Pontsian Sunday School celebrates the feast of Christ the King in arts and craft
A Missed Opportunity
One of the great delights of travelling around Wales is to stop off at little churches. So many, despite being heavily restored, or even rebuilt in the 19th century, are found in wonderful locations. They are on ancient sites of Christian and pre-Christian worship and the graveyards tell stories of the people who were once the living heart of the community. Ted Harrison is disappointed that more churches aren’t open for visitors throughout the week