Address: Lower Brynmawr, Kerry, Powys, SY16 4NQ, Wales. Telephone 01686 630575
or mobile no.07891633487 or 07974794378.
Friends’ newsletter ed. & co-ordinator:
Juliet Wells. Tel. 01686 670312 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
November, December, January,
Over the last quarter we had 62 visitors and 23 guests. August has been the
busiest month (as usual)
A new development is a growing interest from the surrounding community. We have
had two visits from branches of the Mothers’ Union and two visits from Women’s’
I have had three bookings to talk to local church groups. Locally there has been
an increase in pastoral support in the form of prayer as well as providing
retreat facilities. At the same time we still have the international dimension
in that we have people coming from all over the world and keep in touch with
some who are overseas..
This Newsletter will be a little less ambitious than of late. The reason being
that Juliet [Rowan]* has undertaken an MSc.course at Keele University. This not
only involves much study and is requiring long dissertations but also practical
placements in Llandrindod Wells. The first year is particularly challenging, not
made any easier by the fact that Rowan and her husband are in the process of
It was Rowan* who founded and set up The Friends of the Monastery. Then,
undertook to develop the old Bulletin into a Newsletter. So, quite
understandably she has had to temporarily withdraw from a more prominent
involvement. Rowan has however, agreed to send out the Newsletter electronically
once things have settled down.
In the interim period Dorothy has undertaken to proof read in order to keep the
letter going out. And to keep you all informed.
*As from 4/9/06. Juliet has chosen to change her first name to Rowan
Eucharist/Communions November 19th, December 17th, January 21st, February
Open Christmas Day (for those who are unattached or away from home. Phone
Dorothy on 01686630575).
The Newsletters will be available on our Web Site: www.saintbarnabas.co.uk
ANCHORITE Fr. BRYAN
My work in Birmingham was as a chaplain in the multinational, multicultural
and multi-denominational Centre for Black & White Christian Partnership in Selly
Oak Colleges. Since my retirement from the College there are less people coming
from that sphere and the significance of this monastery for the local people is
becomes clearer. However, our national and international links, and provision
for those wanting a time apart in the monastery are still ongoing. Together with
that we have become a resource within the local church scene; a place where
prayers are offered and people can come and make use of our resources from
church or chapel.
This ministry is similar to that of the Poustinia in Orthodox Russia. We are
continuing, in this Severn Valley location, the monastic ministry pioneered by
Fr Barnabas at the Monastery of St Elias at New Mills.
Fr. Barnabas was known locally in both church and chapel - particularly as a
guest preacher at Harvest Festivals. In some ways we are better developed for
this kind of ministry than his monastery was because of our ecumenical
dimension. Most monasteries are strictly within the structure of one or other of
the recognised historic churches.
All monasteries have a discipline of practice and a stability of tradition to
offer. At St Barnabas The Encourager we can respond in a more informed way and
with greater flexibility to a wider range of churches because we are not bound
within the confines of the historic churches. Thus we have a greater flexibility
to respond to any Christian church or house group: being more fully: “All things
to all men”. Yet, as a Monastery, we are anchored in a time tested monastic
routine governed by that rule of life. We are part of the Anglican Church
providing us with a solid Anglican spine and the oversight of an Anglican
Therefore, within this security we are free to fit into the total church scene.
Since leaving Birmingham I have increased my involvement with the local
communities. I have endeavoured to familiarise myself with the local churches
with which I had lost contact over the last 15 years in Birmingham. I recollect
when I first came to Newtown some years back. I felt called to set up a Prayer
Group made up of members and interested people from five very different
I have always maintained and understood ‘The Church’ to be the body of all
believers. This is no more and no less than our oneness in Christ. However, I
feel that each person should be free to worship and practice their faith in the
‘Establishment’ in which they feel comfortable. And above all where God is
prompting them to be. But realising their choice is only one ‘facet’ of ‘The
Church’. For all believing Christians are part of Christ’s mystical body. And
that is just as various as all God’s Creation. In my experience the idea of one
church (Institution) endeavouring to meet the needs of all the people all the
time is totally unworkable. For any establishment to claim it can cater for all
people is quite unrealistic..
Since my return to Newtown I find the churches are a lot more together. The
Council of churches seems active. People are moving more freely from church to
I can see where the unique role of our monastery can fit into this mosaic for
reasons I have indicated. The Council of churches (Cytun in Welsh ) is a means
by which ‘churches’ can share understandings and recognise each others
spiritual, practice, evangelical, and historical treasures. Ever since I became
a committed Christian my whole understanding has been drawn to the mystical body
of all believers. How absolutely basic yet how fragile this concept can be. In
the free world any new concept could become yet another denomination.
This understanding of The Church is one that is challenging me. I feel that
this is the only type of church that will survive under threat to religious
freedom, should that happen. It seems that we need a concept of Church in which
Christians can be free to grow through sharing between the various churches
their treasures and insights both ancient and modern as they travel the