Autumn, local churches, and the community

The following article was originally published in the North Wales Weekly News newspaper on 30 October 2016.
The writer Albert Camus once observed that: “Autumn is a second spring, when every leaf is a flower.” That may be true of Provence, but it rarely is of North Wales.
However, this has been, by some distance, one of the finest autumns I can remember. The weather has been remarkably warm and the air unusually still, with none of the gales we coast-dwellers expect at this time of year. The consequence has been than the trees have turned to their autumn splendour slowly, and have retained their gold, yellow and russet cloaks for longer than usual.
It is, nevertheless, autumn, bringing with it the tinge of melancholy that comes from knowing that winter is approaching, with its long, dark nights and cold, short days. So it’s time to do something positive – to look to the future.
Last Saturday, I visited Llanddulas to meet a group of people who are doing just that. There, the congregants of St Cynbryd’s church have breathed new life into the old Glebe field, which had lain neglected for many years.
The people of St Cynbryd’s are doers – they like to get stuck in. They have already transformed the large churchyard into a green oasis in the village, complete with rest areas and a sensory garden. Now they have extended their ambition to the Glebe field. On Saturday it was full of local people celebrating what they have achieved so far. They have cleared the field and planted hundreds of bulbs and dozens of trees, the last of which was being ceremonially placed in the earth by local stalwart Brenda Taylor as I arrived. The field has returned to community use.
And what is being done by the parishioners of St Cynbryd’s is being replicated in churches throughout the area: St John’s Old Colwyn, St Paul’s Colwyn Bay and Rhos Methodist church, to name but a few. People have realised that their large buildings, often surrounded by green, open areas, should used not just on Sundays, but on the six secular days of the week, too. Gardens are being created, kitchens installed and spacious interiors reconfigured.
Our local churches, thanks to the hard work of their members, are being revived as assets that the entire community can enjoy. And that, this lovely autumn, gives great hope for the future.

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