Seven Anglican parishes in the Tenby area have joined forces to create a new Ministry Area as the Church in Wales seeks to update the way it serves its local communities.
The new grouping will be known as Caldey, after the island that dominates the view from the Tenby coastline.
The new organisation was inaugurated and blessed by the Bishop of St Davids, Rt Revd Wyn Evans, at a special service in St Mary’s, Tenby on – appropriately – Advent Sunday, attended by representatives from all seven churches: St Mary’s and St Julian’s in Tenby itself, Gumfreston, New Hedges, Penally, Manorbier and St Florence.
It’s the second Ministry Area to be inaugurated in Pembrokeshire as the Diocese of St Davids starts to implement its Strategy for Growth, Growing Hope, in the run-up to the centenary of the Church in Wales in 2020.
Each parish will retain its individual identity and boundaries. But all have agreed to pool resources in the new federation, bound together by a ministry team of both ordained and lay ministers, led by the Rector of Tenby, Canon Andrew Grace.
“We are delighted to be making this important step forward,” Canon Andrew said. “Change can often be a challenge but everyone involved has been engaged by the process, which will help us to ensure that we offer the best possible ministry to our people wherever they are. It’s been most heartening.”
Candles representing each of the seven parishes were laid on the altar at the ceremony to mark their union. And each parish member at the service – and the ministry team – signed formal agreements enabling the new Caldey to come into being..