Welcome to the website for the Hafod Group of Churches, which are St. Mary’s Johnstown, St. David’s Rhosllanerchrugog, and St. Thomas’ Penycae. We are a group of Anglican churches (also known as the Church In Wales (similar to the Church of England)) that are part of the Offa Mission Area.
What is the Offa Mission Area?
In preparation for the centenary of the disestablishment of the Church In Wales, in 2020, the Church In Wales embarked on a project to make us fit for the next 100 years. This meant looking at our structures, and taking seriously the challenge of falling attendance. The Church In Wales decided that rather than managing decline, it would go for growth and so commissioned a report. This report became known as the Vision 2020 report. This report looked at some of our historic structures, like the parish, and realised that they were no longer fit for purpose. While the report noted that it was important that there be a link between the place in which people lived, and the place in which they worshipped, the old parish structures were hindering modern ministry. In order to get the best out of it’s most important asset, the people, they needed to be able to work across the old parish boundaries. It also took seriously the idea that many people no-longer lived in the parish where they went to church. Most people now drive to church, and often pick a church that has a special connection for them. Maybe the one they grew up in, or the one they felt more comfortable with the style of worship.
To make this work, the old parish boundaries had to go. The new legal entity became what used to be the old deanery. In our case, this includes Rhosymedre, Ruabon, Chirk, and of course, Johnstown, Penycae, and the Rhos. This means that the clergy, and the people can work more freely across the whole area, sharing their expertise and helping to grow God’s Kingdom in this place.
Why the Hafod Group?
Initially, St. Mary’s and St. Davids were grouped together in a single parish, known as the Parish of Rhosllanerchrugog, St. Thomas’ was in it’s own parish of Penycae. As the churches move towards being part of a mission area, there was a tendency to refer to all three churches simply as The Rhos. As the three communities are very different, there was a danger of alienating the communities of Johnstown and Penycae. We began looking for a group name for all three of us that would work. We tried many names, but The Hafod was the one that seemed to work for everyone. The Hafod mine had been a big part of the working history of all three places, and a very real part of the living life of some of the older members of our congregations. We chose The Hafod Group, as a way of referring to all of us who are working to share the love, life and good news of God over all of those communities.