Our year in Raglan Group of Parishes

November, December - Advent

Darkness into Light, the Advent Carol Service is a special service which starts in complete darkness as we hear of the darkness of our world.. Light then spreads throughout the congregation as more and more candles are lit as we hear how Jesus came to bring us light into our darkness. It is held in the evening of Advent Sunday which is at the end of November or beginning of December. It is a joint service and moves around the parishes year by year. 

Carol Singing and celebrations - During Advent, Carol Services  are held in each of the Parish Churches.  In addition, Carol singing events are held in Raglan Primary School and in Raglan Village.  Raglan hosts a Christmas Party on a Saturday in December

December, January - Christmastide Crib and Christingle Services take place at St Cadoc’s Raglan on Christmas eve at 4,30pm. The children are invited to come dressed as nativity figures. The families arrive and are welcomed into our Café Church. Over a cup of tea they help the children make their Christingles and other Christmas crafts (30mins). Then we all move into the pews and sing carols as the children act the story of Christmas, build the crib and make themselves into a Nativity tableaux. Then we talk about the Christingles we have made and light them, then the lights are put out and the children sing ‘Away in a Manger’. It is a lovely service and the whole thing lasts about an hour. You are as always welcome.

The birth of Christ is celebrated at a joint Parish Midnight Service that begins at 11.15pm on Christmas Eve at St Cadoc’s church in Raglan

Each of the three Parish Churches celebrates Christmas Day beginning with 8.30am service at Bryngwyn, 9.45 service at Llandenny and 10.00 in Raglan

The Watchnight Service is held at 11.30pm on New Year’s Eve. We look back and thank the Lord for all his goodness in the year past. We look back and say sorry for the mistakes we have made in the year gone. We look forward and commit the New Year to God. We finish at midnight and listen to the chimes of Big Ben as we wish each other ‘A happy New Year’, than we sing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and share a glass of ‘Bubbly’ elderflower or Cava! Sometimes there are fireworks going off outside just to complete the evening. It is usually quite a while before the last folk have gone home!

Our Raglan Choir Concert is held in January at St Cadoc’s Church

February - Lent Deanery Weekend Away: Usually during February.  We first went to Llangasti, in the Brecons, but now go to the luxury of Glenfall House near Cheltenham.Everyone is welcome to come and spend time listen to what God might have to say to us at this time. Bursaries available.  Contact the Vicar in the first instance. 

February Pancake races held in Llandenny village

Lent Carol Service. Is like a Christmas Carol Service in pattern, but the theme and songs are on a Lenten theme. It is on the evening of the first Sunday in Lent and is a joint service, going round the three parishes. The readings are a powerful mixture of scripture and other poetry and prose.

Palm Sunday we have a joint service at 10am, this goes around the three churches in succession. We usually follow a donkey through the village, waving palm branches. 

Passover Meal cum Communion on the evening of Maundy Thursday begins at 7.30pm and moves around the parishes. We begin with the foot washing and the essential parts of the Passover celebration, including a full meal. With the consecration of the last bread and cup of wine we move into a celebration of the Eucharist. At about 10.30pm we then ‘go out in to the garden’, carrying the bread and wine, we walk in the night to the church. We strip the church of all trappings and consume the last of the bread and wine and then sit in the still church lit by a few candles. We keep watch in the quietness and hear the story read of Jesus time in the garden and through the following night of trials and torture. Having arrived ‘in the garden’ full of good food and feeling good after our celebration, we leave in a state of silent shock after the events of the rest of that night. It sets the scene for Good Friday, which follows.

March,April, May  - Easter

Easter Dawn is celebrated on top of the Blorenge Mountain, above Abergavenny. There is a car park on the top and people from all over the deanery and several dogs arrive after 5.30am for the first Eucharist of Easter at 6am. The sun rises behind the large cross as we celebrate the Communion. We finish with coffee and bacon butties and then get home by 7.30am ready for our respective church services of Easter Day. Some folk walk up the mountain, setting off at 4.30am! Most arrive by car. If you are coming please remember it can be 10C colder on top compared with the temperature at the bottom. It can also be very windy. This is no problem most years so long as you are covered up all over with multiple layers. One year there was a ‘Severe Weather Warning’ and the clergy did not expect anyone else to turn up. However 60 others came. Nothing could be put down or it blew off the mountain. The horizontal blizzard started just as we were finishing communion and we had to finish fast and get off the mountain before the track disappeared. Undeterred; twice as many came the next year! See you there? 

Mothering Sunday is celebrated in each of the churches at their normal service time. We have special songs and readings and all mothers are given a pot plant kindly donated by the Raglan Garden Centre, which is in the parish.

June-August - Summer Activities

Flower Festivals are held in summer months in different churches.  Llandenny hosts open Gardens at Cefn Tilla during the August bank Holiday. 

Raglan Music Festival is held over the second weekend in June. 

The church of St Cadoc hosts most of the Classical events. We have had concerts featuring ‘The Three Other Tenors’, from Welsh Opera, Harp and Flute, French Horn, Musical Theatre, Gilbert & Sullivan, Messiah from Scratch, String Quartets, Organ recitals and many more. We also host a concert most months of the summer. Watch the web for this year’s concerts. We have invited the Three Other Tenors for a return visit in 2010.

Garden Parties and BBQ’s.  

Summer is a time of Garden parties, BBQ’s and Tea Parties around the Raglan group of parishes:  The Bryngwyn Garden Party or BBQ is held in June. In Raglan we hold 3 summer events at the Vicarage: a Church BBQ,  a Garden Party and a Vicarage Tea Party. Most of our events are held in beautiful sunshine, but this being Wales we can’t always count on good weather.   In case of rain we erect marque’s or retreat to Raglan Primary School.  

September-  October - Harvest Festival Harvest Services are followed by lunch or supper in each church.

An Animal Blessing service is held the first week in October each year.  All pets welcome.  Apart from dogs and cats we have had unusual visitors to our church including African Snails and a python!

October also includes a special service to remember our loved ones who have died.  Please contact the Vicar if you would like to have the names of your loved ones read out.  You are also very welcome just to join us on the day

November  - Remembrance services

Services take place in the churches of Bryngwyn and Llandenny at the normal time on Remembrance Sunday each year and the names of the local men who fought in the wars are read out and wreaths laid. In Raglan there is a large gathering at the war memorial both on Remembrance Sunday and also on 11th Nov. Both services start at 10.50am. Wreaths are laid, the uniformed organizations present their colours and the trumpet plays the last post and reveille.