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The Rev Shirley Murphy’s Christian message of hope for 2022

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SHIRLEY MURPHY, chaplain to the Bishop of St Davids at The Diocese of St Davids, has penned this Christian message of hope for 2022.

Originally published on the pembrokeshire.online website, here is what The Rev Shirley Murphy has to say:


“Amazingly, it’s that time. A new year is approaching right on schedule – again. This is the time of year so many of us start making resolutions to change a certain area or multiple areas in our lives. Maybe we have some extra pounds to shed. We might be committed to changing a specific, harmful behaviour. New Year’s resolutions range from simple desires to seemingly fool proof plans for extensive life change. What we all have in common is the hope that something will change, and life will be different (and better) in the year ahead.

Every year, people ring in the New Year with goals to live differently on some level. However, a few short weeks later, many of these very same well-wishers end up discouraged and filled with shame and remorse over their failed attempts to make their resolutions come to pass. Who knows? This may be the second, third, fourth or 15th year someone has tried to “kick the habit”. After so many misguided attempts, why would they even want to try again?

We’re all looking forward to a better year, a year where our lives can become what they were again. With the vaccines, we’re starting to hope once more. We are dreaming of holding our family and friends and we see a light at the end of this viral tunnel.

But the pandemic is not over yet. We’re in the middle of surging infections worldwide, with a scary number of hospitalisations and deaths. It’s not a time to back down from this fight. It’s time to double down our guard to protect ourselves and each other. We can do it.

In 2021 we have learned to appreciate the small pleasures and joys of everyday life. We have learned how we can adapt, pivot and come up with new ways of connecting with each other. We have become more patient and learned how to better handle our impatience. We have realised the absolute importance of cultivating inner peace, especially when the world around us trembles.

But most importantly, we’ve learned to be even more grateful for the gift of life, especially in this time where more people around the world have died in the past 18 months. It’s staggering to consider the loss and grief that so many families are enduring. I am grateful that, so far, I’ve been spared this pain. My heart and soul reaches out to all those who have suffered this year. I want to hold them in my arms and comfort them.

On a global level, it has sometimes felt like the world is collapsing around us. We have seen refugees fleeing their countries in search of safe havens for their family and children; sadly many have lost their lives in this attempt. In public commentary and behaviour, we’ve seen an unfortunate rise in anti-“outsider” sentiment and blatant racism. Terrorist attacks continue to inspire fear and sorrow around the world, and our hearts have broken wide open upon seeing the ongoing atrocities and slaughter in war-torn Syria and Afghanistan. As this rollercoaster year now draws to a close, I don’t think we are alone in contemplating what it has all meant; musings on life, death, human nature, the future occupy our minds.

As I look forward to 2022, I think we should give thanks to the Lord for getting us through another year as we look forward to what He has for us up ahead and praise Him that He is faithful and worthy to be praised!
May the Lord bless you and your family with a blessed New Year!”

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Pembroke and District Male Voice Choir’s fantastic Sunday evening concert in Templeton

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SPECIAL guests were among the audience when Pembroke and District Male Voice Choir returned to Templeton Parish Church for a Sunday evening concert – the Bishop of St Davids, the Rt Rev Dr Joanna Penberthy, and her Chaplain, the Rev Shirley Murphy.

Bishop Penberthy and the Rev Shirley were welcomed along with the choir and audience by the Rector, the Rev Martin Cox, who reminded that Rev Shirley had been Curate at Templeton before taking up her role in the Bishop’s office.

He also spoke of his long connections with the male voice, over more than 30 years, during which the choir had staged at his churches at Monkton, Gorseinon and now Templeton.

Musical Director Juliet Rossiter chose a varied programme in Welsh and English, with Carole Rees as Accompanist and Matthew John as MC.

Regular soloist Alyson Griffiths, on flute, played ‘Pie Jesu’ and ‘Somewhere’ – from the musical West Side Story – and First Tenor Peter Halifax accompanied himself on guitar with two items. Singer/songwriter Peter sang a folk song in the Ukrainian language, ‘Bili Kashtani’, and an original piece entitled ‘’Greater is He that is within you’, all to warm acclaim.

Juliet and Carole joined forces for a second concert duet at the keyboard to play two pieces by Johan Strauss – ‘Blue Danube’ and ‘Radetzky March’.

Before the encore – the traditional South African melody ‘Siyahamba’ – Bishop Joanna gave the Blessing and added how much she had enjoyed a live concert again.

Excellent refreshments were provided by the church ladies and they were thanked by Choir Chairman John Hillier.

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Pembrokeshire prose and poems at Llangwm’s 5th Literary Festival

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‘LLANGWM’S fifth literary festival is a wonderful showcase for Pembrokeshire talent.’ says
Michael Pugh, Director of the Llangwm Literary Festival.

‘We some very powerful images from the renowned photographer David Wilson who lives in
the village.’ continues Pugh. ‘In his book ‘The Village’, David’s images capture the soul of
Llangwm’s tight knit former fishing community. These images are all the more important
because many of them were taken during lock-down. It is amazing to look back and see how
far we’re advanced from there and how the human spirit can triumph over adversity.
Local artist and photographer, Ian Jacob, who was born in Llangwm and lives there now is
excited to be unveiling his first book at the festival. ‘Body Rock Sand’ is the fruition of an
idea that developed in Jacob’s mind when, as a young art student, he was captivated by the
images of Lucien Clergue’s, ‘Née de la Vague’ (Born of the Waves). Clergue’s images are
the inspiration for Ian’s very own images on the interplay of skin, sea and sand in
Pembrokeshire’s beaches.

St David’s based master-forager Julia Horton-Mansfield returns to the festival for the fifth
time to invite guests to ‘Come Forage with Me’ and explore the richness of the Cleddau
shoreline and to find out more about the health-giving properties of the delicious foods
literally growing all around us. On a darker note, and for those who enjoy a spine-tingler,

Llangwm-based writer, Pippa ‘the Pen’ Davies, joins Pembrokeshire’s Diana Powell, and
Maggie Himsworth for the unveiling of an intriguing Crime Cymru anthology of short stories
by Welsh Women and to explore what it is that attracts us to read about crime!

For those who have their own story to tell, Narberth’s Emma Baines will be running ‘Write
by the River’; a creative workshop on the Cleddau for those who wish to write about the
mighty river and what it means to them.

Poets, and writers, and anyone who just wants to share a poem or song are warmly invited to
Llangwm rugby club’s ‘Poems and Pints’. This year’s session, inspired by the themes of
Joyce’s Ulysses, and Poems of War in connection with Ukraine, promises to be very high-
octane indeed. No festival in Wales would be complete without a song, and Llangwm is no
exception with its bold Village Voices to entertain with their latest repertoire.
Llangwm’s Ellie Brick, in support of the idea that you need a fit body to get the best out of
your mind, will be blowing the cobweb’s away with a Sunday morning stretch and dance.

And for those who just want to sit back, leave it to Deb Winter, local storyteller
extraordinaire. Her tales will take you to new horizons and undiscovered worlds.

For more information on the festival, please contact llangwmlitfest@gmail.com, or visit our
website: www.llangwmlitfest.co.uk

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Rhian scoops prestigious care award

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A PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL employee has been awarded at this year’s prestigious Employers for Carers Awards held by Carers Wales, which recognise and celebrate those who have supported unpaid working carers in Wales during the last year.

Rhian Bennett, Commissioning Manager, Social Care and Housing, scooped the Line Manager award at the event which was held last month.

The awards, which were part of Carers Week, are designed to recognise those in an organisation who have gone the extra mile in the last 12 months in supporting working carers – such as raising awareness, supporting peers and being a workplace champion, network facilitator or chair.

Rhian’s accolade recognises her efforts as a line manager who supported working carer’s and had a positive impact on helping them to balance care and work within the organisation.

She was nominated by a member of the team she manages, who is an unpaid carer – and this was in relation to her gratitude for the support that she receives and the wider team.

Rhian said: “It was a lovely surprise to win but it was an honour to be nominated and receive the award.

“It’s crucial to support and enable staff to provide care outside of their day job. This award is for everyone who is an unpaid carer and goes the extra mile to ensure their loved ones are supported.”

Carers Week was established by Carers UK more than 25 years ago and is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring and highlight the challenges unpaid carers face. This year’s theme was – ‘make caring visible, valued and supported’.

Jonathan Griffiths, Director of Social Services and Leisure, Social Care & Housing, added: “My congratulations to Rhian for this award, the recognition of her impact on supporting carers shows her commitment and drive to make a difference for people.

“To ensure employers protect carers time and support them, is essential and it’s pleasing to see Rhian’s approach has been recognised in this positive way.”

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