by the Rev. T. James Snodgrass, rector, St. John’s Havre de Grace
A new Sister City relationship between Havre de Grace, MD and Mumbles, Wales, UK has provided the opening for a bond between our two Anglican churches. The Mayor of Havre de Grace and an official delegation, including two parishioners from St. John’s (Bill Price, Sr. Warden and Casi Boyer, City Councilwoman), will visit Mumbles for the Sister City declaration during the opening concert of the Mumbles Music Festival presented by the Swansea Bay Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, 7 September 2019.
On Sunday, 8 September, Bill Price and Casi Boyer will attend the ancient, 6th Century church, taking with them reserved sacrament from St. John’s to share in Holy Communion with All Saints.
The Rev. Keith Evans, Vicar of Oystermouth, has written that the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury and now Lord Williams of Oystermouth, grew up in Mumbles and “was nurtured and encouraged in the faith here.” He adds, “All Saints’ Church was founded by St. Illtyd, sometime in the 6th century, who was reputed to be the first cousin of the legendary King Arthur. This Celtic saint also found a monastic school Llanilltyd in ‘Loynarth,’ an early form of the Welsh name for Oystermouth, which is now Ystumllwynarth. Parts of the church building date from the 11th century.”
Rev. Evans also noted that our two churches both are mission-oriented churches, serving the needs of our respective communities in several ways each week. Our two communities share long histories of oyster harvesting – the oyster beds of Oystermouth almost wiped out by disease in the early 20th century, the oyster beds of the Chesapeake also threatened but now revitalizing.
Our churches will pray for one another on a weekly basis, and as the Spirit moves and guides us, additional expressions of ministry and mutual care will emerge.
Almighty and eternal God, You have brought together the peoples of St. John’s, Havre de Grace and Oystermouth and All Saints, Mumbles in a bond of prayer, mission and mutual affection: so draw our hearts to You, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly Yours, utterly dedicated to You; and then use us, we pray, O Holy Spirit, as You will, and always to Your glory and the welcome of Your people, through Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
[page 832, The Book of Common Prayer]