Cameraman in Machynlleth

7.30am Tuesday 2nd Oct, diverted from our planned story, told to drive to Mid Wales, location to be confirmed. From phone calls and Radio Five, we made a plan to report tragic news of April Jones’ abduction.

Approaching Machynlleth; people spread out, searching methodically on the ground, the thickets, hedgerows and bracken. Everyone soaked. Tim had closed his business for the day to bring his staff to help. “Well you have to do something haven’t you?” Dennis, a farmer was using his sheep dog. “We got to find ‘er, I can’t just stand around?” A young woman carrying her two year old, her silence speaking volumes. People from all walks of life, uniting and giving what they could.

The leisure centre was the focal point for all emergency services and broadcasters pitching their media circus. Volunteers worked tirelessly offering hot food, snacks and drinks for the exhausted rescue workers. All believed their efforts would prove fruitful in finding April safe, their collective spirit a driving inspiration.

The week unfolded as a race against time trying to piece together the events leading up to April’s disappearance. We went to villages, numerous woods, and to river banks with camera probes, boats, kayaks. Wherever our camera intruded, we were invited in.

John from a welding company where the suspect once worked painted a picture of what a lovely community Machynlleth was. He had settled there 12 years ago, “a place to bring up your children and have time to share and see it unfold”, highlighting the paradox of our own presence. Politely smiling at the thought of London life, he strongly “recommended” I think of an alternative.

With an arrest for murder, the atmosphere changed and hearts sank. We witnessed a town uniting, creating a spirit and energy that stays with one and reinforces the fact that true giving of whatever you can, is the way forward and restores faith, after such pain, in the human condition.

Harvest Offering

A massive thanks to everyone, and to God, as we have raised £10,260 in last Sunday’s harvest offering. This is amazingly encouraging. It means we have all but £1,600 of the £15,000 we needed for the building works. For those who have not yet given, please let Brian have it asap.

Welcare Richmond are extremely grateful for the amazing amount of dry goods you gave. Surplus going to other local charities.

Bright Colours and Smiles

Luca was 2 weeks premature. A perfectly happy child, the doctor said. He was good – almost too good: sleeping through the night, never cried. But for the next 2 months he would fall asleep after 2 minutes feeding.

Then good news: he gained weight. I stopped at a church to thank God for helping Luca. I sat with him in my arms and felt overwhelmed by this love for my child. I felt so peaceful knowing God is right next to me and Luca.

2 months later, another visit to the hospital. The pediatrician took longer than usual, concluding that Luca has Trisomy 21 (Downs). It was like falling deep into a dark nowhere, an emptiness. I could not cry. I sat on my chair and felt like a stone, unable to move or comprehend what this man just said to me. I have died: no, my child has just died. What is he saying?

And then everyone around me… sad. I felt abandoned by God who gave me my boy back just to take him away from me. WHY? Why me? And Luca: exploring the world crawling around the house behind the cat; laughing and happy.

When we were visiting Giovanni’s parents in Italy, Don Antonio, the village vicar called in ‘per un aperitivo’. With a smile he said, ‘God chooses the families well in which he places his special children’. With one sentence he broke the wall of sadness around me, and finally I was able to let go of the anger, sadness, and fear of the future. Above all I re-found my faith.

I have cherished every day with Luca and I am terribly proud of him. He does let not interfere with his life his so called “disability”. Some aspects need a little more input, more patience, and a great sense of humour. At times he just drives us crazy! He is very special and very much
loved. Who taught me more than I will ever be able to teach him. I often feel very lucky to accompany Luca through his life which is full of bright colours and smiles.

Jessica is a wonderful sister, and her lovely friends from the Blue School have always been so caring and kind to Luca including him in all the games…even dressing him up in girls clothes as boys were not allowed in the game!!


The Suspension is Lifted!

Bishop Paul surprised everyone by announcing on Thursday, much to everyone’s great delight, that St John’s is no longer a ‘suspended living’. For the past 32 years, we have had an uncertain future, as the Diocese has kept all its options open. BUT now, it is committing its full support to us – as a viable and flourishing congregation in a renovated building. Alleluia.

An Evening To Celebrate

What an evening? Full of celebration, fun and wit! It was Thursday, when we celebrated the Church’s re-furbishment, and gave thanks to God for who we are but especially for all who worked hard and gave the church building a new and wonderful look – pleasant and with a good feel to it.

Yes, it was the evening when St John’s invited family and friends and came together to celebrate through singing and music, poems, story-telling and other talents and skills including film-making and much more! Those who shared and performed were ranged from the youngest to the oldest. What a great community, where everyone has a place to take part in sharing their skill and talent in honouring God; where everyone is appreciated and loved!

The Church was full with people from our congregation and others, everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and appreciated the wonderful talent. The congregation showed they appreciated through laughter and by huge applauses at the end of each performance. It was thrilling and also inspiring for the young and old alike!

It was the evening when Bishop Paul joined us, and also invited us to pledge ourselves to sharing Christ in friendship, but this was not before he shared a great story, in which a woman bought a house but did not know where WC was located.

The celebration ended with the wonderful hospitality St John’s Church is well known for – food and drinks for all is a great way of meeting and making friends – after all, Christian faith is all about friendship!

By Mwila Kafwanka
(with help from her Dad)