A new priest has been welcomed to Penarth as works gathers pace on the creation of a new ministry area for the town.
Mr Jones takes over from Canon Roger Williams who retired as Rector of Penarth and Llandough earlier this year.
Mr Jones has moved to Wales from Wiltshire with his wife Kathy and their ten-year-old daughter Sophie. Originally from North Wales, he joins the Llandaff Diocese from the Diocese of Salisbury where he was Rector of Edington Priory and four other churches.
The Archbishop said, “It was a pleasure to license Mark to Penarth at an exciting time in the history of the town when the two parishes are working together to form a ministry area. Brought up in Gwynedd, he has returned home to his native Wales and understands both its language and distinctive culture.”
Mr Jones was also licensed as associate priest in the parish of All Saints, Penarth, which will enable him to get to know people in that parish before the formal creation of the ministry area for Penarth.
Born and brought up in Bangor, Mr Jones is delighted to be back living not only in Wales but by the seaside.
“It’s great to be back by the sea and able to go for a walk along a pier again,” he said.
“I’m really looking forward to working with everyone and being part of the community in Penarth and Llandough.
“There are huge benefits to be gained from working towards the creation of a ministry area – not least the sharing of ideas between parishes and clergy.”
After university, Mr Jones worked as a teacher for many years before deciding to seek selection for ordination. During his time as a priest he was heavily involved in work with the local schools and co-ordinated children’s work and Messy Church.
One particularly popular venture was the staging of Pilgrimage Days when local schools were invited into church to take part in up to nine different activities, plus worship and also to enjoy a picnic lunch.
“These Pilgrimage Days were great at getting children used to being in church and were a good way to involve the local community as they needed quite a number of lay people to help stage the activities.”
Edington Priory, where he was previously Rector, is a Grade 1-listed church of cathedral-like proportions, which hosts an annual Music Festival in August each year with about 5,000 attendees.
An unusual feature of his previous post was that he had to arrange with the army to visit the remote village of Imber, which was part of one of his parishes, as the access roads to it cross the Salisbury Plain Military Training Area.
On one of his last visits to take a service at Imber, the choir and himself were escorted there and back in a military convoy, so that the range could be opened up for live firing (as soon as they had got back safely!)
“Members of the congregation from nearby towns and villages drove in for the service, some of them coming in a fleet of red London Routemaster double decker buses – which was quite a sight as they travelled across the flat Salisbury Plain in front of burnt-out tanks!” he said.
In his spare time, both Mr Jones and his wife enjoy walking. He also enjoys cycling, nature and watching Wales play rugby.
- The Revd Mark Jones
- St Augustine’s Church, Penarth