Monday, 14 October 2013

Aberystwyth - the Bishop speaks

I am genuinely pleased to be able to post the pastoral letter from the Bishop of Menevia, Thomas Burns, on the topic of the Church of St Winefride's.

Quick recall - the Bish wants to sell the old church which is in need of major remedial works, and with the cash defray some rather eye watering Diocesan debts and build a new (nu?) Church but some way out of town.

I think that is a pretty even handed analysis of the situation although some might disagree.

And lest I am accused of hypocrisy, let me say that my sympathies are with those who wish to keep the Church in the town and, I believe that to be the majority of parishioners.

But I do believe in fair play and so I am pleased to feature the Bishop's letter (or, whoever it was who wrote it), here.................given to be read at the three Aberystwyth 'parishes' at Masses on 12th and 13th October.....and my thanks to my Menevian friends who alerted me to the letter......

OK, a good letter, whichever side of the fence you sit on.

But, it lacks one most important element; there is no mention of the Parish Priest, surely a lynch pin in all discussions and debates.

It would have been the decent thing to do for the Bishop to pay tribute to Fr Neil Evans without, in any way, favouring either party.

But, of course, I am never satisfied!


  1. It would be interesting to know, what the structural problems are with the buildings. The photo you have on your blog, shows nothing serious. It if is a question of the bearing of the rooves, instead of tearing down or redoing the rooves, the insertion of an interior frame might to do trick; one that takes the load off the stone walls.

  2. Anon 9:10 : I'm not a surveyor,but the buildings are on a dried-up river bed in a location parallel to the sea front. There have been problems from early on, the land was cheap to the North of town. A few decades ago, the old Methodist church (approx. 100m along the same road)) was rebuilt, and the cost of new foundations was greater than that of the actual building.
    Richard: The aim is just to cover the cost of the new parish buildings, nothing more. Let's hope that is still feasible after all this time. As I said in an earlier post, Fr Neil has stated he doesn't want to be involved in all of this.

  3. Anon @ 9.10 - I have it on the authority of one of the UK's leading geologists that there is nothing wrong with the site in terms of sub ground issues.
    However, I would not wish to diminish the fact that substantial works need to be done to the structure of the church.

    1. Ah yes, Richard, I know who you mean. Didn't know he'd carried out a survey - what were his findings?

  4. Sue, you need to ask the Bishop, I cannot divulge matters of commercial confidentiality even if they were within my writ.

  5. Well, Richard, I think it's best to trust the surveyors to do their jobs. The Ash Cost report was very thorough!

  6. Oops, sorry! Survey by James and Nicholas - my mistake.

  7. Sue, the gentleman who informed me of the geological formation upon which the church rests, gets my vote every time. There are only a few globally who have his experience and depth of knowledge.
    A shame that the authorities did not listen to him.

  8. Look, if it is a question of subsurface ground movement or deformation in a sedimentary deposit, why not consider injecting, piece by piece, a new concrete foundation under the present one; that would not require any structural changes in the building, unless it has already begun to subside...has anyone thought of that?

  9. Ms Smith, often noisy and rude to parishioners who do not share her aesthetic taste for new build churches and admiration of the bishop, has of course a right to her opinions, but she is a lone voice. Move away from the emotion to facts. The bulk of parishioners believe that pastoral care is not only the duty of a bishop, but is prescribed according to Canon Law. Bishop’s surely do not need secret meetings with a handful of admirers to be ‘persuaded to visit’ and consult with parishioners? Further facts - surveys by SAVE Britain’s Heritage and others in the public sphere. Opposition to demolition by the Royal Commission, the Victoria Society, the Civic Society, Aberystwyth Town Council, County Councillors to list a few, attest that the church is structurally sound strong and evidence that there are no grounds for demolition. The parish of Aberystwyth must reopen St Winefride’s church there is no sense in keeping it closed . The list of 260 parishioners keeps growing further notice this week of bus services being axed more students, hospital staff and all those that just will not make an out of town location are signing up. For the love of God and Catholicism maybe..

  10. My thanks to all who have commented.
    The comment box is now closed and any future comments will be removed.
    Perhaps we all need to pray for a speedy resolution.