The Christian Centre for Rural Wales has grown and flourished from a the beginnings of the inspired vision of its founders to a tangible source for Christian groups today. Over the fifteen years since its inception, the centre has realised that vision bringing different Christian denominational groups together, sharing their common faith.
The centre which is not a church, but rather a resource providing support alongside Cytun and local clergy welcomes everybody who calls themselves Christian under one umbrella.
Shortly before the end of the last millennium; the trustees joined together in their passion to form their vision thus establishing and t maintain a centre at the Royal Welsh Showground throughout the year.
In 1999 a close knit group formed the first committee, who then took a lease on one of the small buildings at the Llanellwedd roundabout. The group started by running the Alpha course there and this soon flourished into regular fellowship meetings where the shared supper, followed by worship and a speaker to address the group.
On occasion the twenty to thirty regular attendees swelled to over forty, filling out the ranks of the faithful that attended regularly over the following years. Unfortunately as some have become older and unable to go out at night and others have passed away the viability of the group dwindled. Consequently these meetings are now only held a few times a year.
From these early beginnings the centre has provided a stable and regular meeting place for other associated groups such as the ARM (Anglican Renewal Ministries) and FCN (The farming Community Network. Over the years Marcia Gibson-Watt has been the mainstay throughout providing food and hot home brewed coffee, She has also provided her books, together with her time and energy. Keeping the centre clean, warm and welcoming to visitors that arrive there. The time is now approaching to find someone younger to help her
Core Objectives and Ministry
The core objective has always been to create an oasis of peace and calm, especially during busy times at the Showground. This provides a focus for the work of the Christian Churches in rural areas, allowing them to share good practice and their ministry. This helps to develop a better understanding between urban and rural communities
A number of tragic suicides within the farming community has led to centre becoming a listening ministry, providing privacy and assured confidentiality to those in distress. The duty chaplaincy service grew over the years under the watchful eye of Reverend Richard Kirlew who at the time headed up the Rural Life Officers in the area. Reverend Michelle Bailey was appointed as the new Rural Life Officer to the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon in 2016 and has followed In Richard’s footsteps by growing the ministry at the centre even further.
Moving to a new location
The reasons for the move from the original building included the distance from the main showground. With all the sheep and cattle sales taking place at the top end of the showground the journey to Entrance A was simply too far for anyone to find the CCRW.
The building that the CCRW were in previously had to be vacated every July for the duration of the show and then reoccupied after the show. This was far from a practical arrangement. The leadership yearned for a place of their own to hang up their pictures and wall hangings. A place where disruption in moving everything back and forth would be no more.
Ideally the CCRW would be situated near the main ring or near the sheep sheds, where drinks can be dispensed and provide a quiet space for reflection and silence or even for a quiet chat away from the busy showground. Although it serves well it is not ideal as it lacks disabled access and can be difficult to find when the showground is busy, with tents being erected in the surrounding areas.
After disappointment when plans to build a purpose built centre fell through, the CCRW moved to its current location where it from three rooms it provides its ongoing service to the Christian public. The financial support in place and a steadfast and headstrong chairwoman has kept the CCRW going in what used to be the Old Food Hall at the Showground. Although it serves well it is not ideal as it lacks disabled access and can be difficult to find when the showground is busy.
With a small kitchen and a room for daily prayer during the show, it is perfect for meetings. The CCRW also have consent to use the downstairs foyer which is a large area ideal for larger fellowship groups, which when filled up is quite welcoming.
Following a small launch held by the CCRW last December a special carol service was held for the staff at the RWAS and a good time was had by all. This service is provided annually and is well attended.
Psalm 27: “Unless the Lord builds the house, we labour in vain” is considered particularly pertinent to the CCRW. We trust in his perfect plan and the CCRW has had some affirming prophesies that are encouraging.