An ecumenical service to celebrate family life took place on Saturday, 8th March in St David’s Cathedral, Cardiff. It was attended by leaders and members from at least seven Christian Churches and organisations from across the diocese: Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, free churches, Church in Wales, Evangelical & Catholic – with members from these churches playing an active role in the service through reading, playing music or bring symbols to the altar.
Archbishop George Stack welcomed everyone and the homily was given by Rev. Dr. Stephen Wigley, Chair of Wales Synod of the Methodist Church. In his homily,
Rev. Dr.Wigley referred to the importance of families but recognised that they are not always happy places for people, saying: ‘I know many who have been hurt and who still bear scars of painful memories.’ He referred to chapter 15 of the Gospel of St John which was read at the service, which reminds us that God is at the heart of all that brings life. ‘We are called to be part of a community that shares that love and life, a community marked by friendship, following his example and living in his love.’
Aiming to be inclusive of all families the service included a hymn and reading in Welsh and the hymn ‘Let There Be Love Shared Among Us’ signed by the Archdiocese of Cardiff’s Deaf Service. An adoptive father expressed his appreciation of the inclusion of adoptive parents in the prayer for those with vocations in many forms. Many of those who attended reported that it had been a lovely service, some saying they had found it ‘moving’ and ’emotional’. Confirmation candidates from the parish of Penarth & Dinas Powys were especially pleased to have been invited and took part by reading and carrying symbols of family life to the altar.
The event was organised by the Archdiocesan Commissions for Family Life and for Christian Unity (chaired by Mrs Carys Whelan) with the support of CYTUN, Churches Together in Wales. Mrs Anne Ballard, Chair of the Family Life Commission in the archdiocese, said that many personal contacts had been made in the preparation process and on the day. Both she and Mrs Whelan viewed the service as another positive step forward in Christian churches working together and thanked everyone who attended and helped make it such a success.
Photos and report courtesy of Anne Ballard, Chair, Family Life Commission, Archdiocese of Cardiff.