THE ARCHBISHOP of Wales has paid tribute to renowned Welsh poet and priest, Canon Gwynn ap Gwilym, who died on Sunday after suffering from cancer.
As well as a respected clergyman, Canon ap Gwilym was a Welsh language poet, writer, editor and translator. Originally from Machynlleth, he served in the Church in Wales in the dioceses of Bangor and Llandaff before taking on the roles of Bishops’ Advisor for Church Affairs and Language Officer. He translated all the Church’s liturgy over the past decade into Welsh and also wrote an acclaimed translation of the metrical psalms.
The Archbishop, Barry Morgan, described him as a ‘scholar priest’ and said the Church had lost a ‘brilliant language officer and translator’.
He said: “Gwynn ap Gwilym was in the old Welsh tradition of being a scholar priest ‘un o’r hen offeiriaid llengar’. He was a Chaired Bard of the National Eisteddfod, and was about to publish a scholarly book on one of his predecessors at Mallwyd – John Davies, who had helped translate the New Testament into Welsh. He also produced a metrical version of the psalms in Welsh – translated from the original Hebrew – Salmau Cân Newydd. He succeeded in his aims of making these psalms accessible and singable without deviating from their original meaning. That was only possible because of his Hebrew scholarship, his ability as a poet and his deep knowledge of the Welsh language. Welsh congregations were able, often for the first time, to sing and understand the meaning of the psalms since they were translated in such a way that they could be set to familiar Welsh tunes.
“He was a brilliant Language Officer and translator for the Church in Wales. He translated most of the Church in Wales’ liturgical material, again using his gifts as poet and linguist. In later years, he brought the same thoroughness and energy to ecumenical relationships when he took on the task of being the officer responsible for the Church in Wales’ relationship with churches across the world. His attention to detail, his meticulous observations and his ability to communicate will be gifts that will be sorely missed, as will his thought provoking sermons, which always used the scriptures to illuminate contemporary issues.
“Our hearts go out to his widow Mari and the family.”
Canon ap Gwilym, 66, began his ministry in Bangor Diocese after graduating from the University of Wales, Bangor, and training for ordination at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. He was Rector for 16 years of Penegoes and then Mallwyd, serving churches in the Upper Dyfi Valley area . In 2002, he moved to Llandaff Diocese, serving in Penyfai and then Eglwys Dewi Sant – a Welsh language church in the heart of Cardiff – until 2007 when he was appointed Bishops’ Advisor and Language Officer.
In 1983, he won the Welsh Arts Council prize for his volume of poetry, ‘Grassholm’, and 30 years ago, in 1986, he was Poet Chair at the National Eisteddfod in Fishguard for his ode, ‘Y Cwmwl’.
He published three volumes of poetry -‘Y Winllan Werdd’, ‘Gwales’ and ‘Yr Ymyl Aur’ – and co-edited an anthology of 20th century Welsh poetry – ‘Flodeugerdd o Farddoniaeth Gymraeg yr Ugeinfed Ganrif’.
A brand new Welsh language ukulele orchestra
CAN you play the ukulele and would like to join a ukulele orchestra? Or would you like to learn a new skill and to socialise in a Welsh-speaking environment? Why not join Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl?
On Monday, October 15, Cered: Menter Iaith Ceredigion, Aberystwyth Arts Centre and Learn Welsh will launch Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl which is a brand new, Welsh language ukulele orchestra in Aberystwyth for free, for those aged 16+.
Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl will practice weekly between 6pm and 7:30pm every Monday night during the school term and practices will take place at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre. There is no need for any experience or ability on the ukulele and there will be instruments available to borrow so that you can have a taste before buying your own ukulele.
Welsh will be the main language of Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl but there is a warm welcome to everyone whatever your level of proficiency in Welsh. Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl is supported by Learn Welsh as a great activity for learners to practice their Welsh outside the classroom in a fun and new way.
Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl’s conductor will be Steffan Rees who has held a number of Iwcs a Hwyl workshops over the last year as Cered’s Community Development Officer. Steffan is also a musician who composes and performs as “Bwca” and he has been playing the ukulele for years.
Steffan said, “I have really wanted to start a Welsh ukulele orchestra in Ceredigion for a while having seen the successes and popularity of those in Cardiff and South East Wales. The ukulele is an instrument that excites people of all ages and with some patience and perseverance, it is an easy enough instrument to master. I’m looking forward to developing a repertoire with the orchestra and play a few gigs; the National Eisteddfod in Tregaron in 2020 perhaps!”
Numbers for the first term of the orchestra are limited so contact the Arts Centre Box Office on 01970 632 232 to book your place in Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl.
Hanes Llambed meeting held
THE FIRST meeting of Hanes Llambed of the 2018/19 year was held in Lampeter’s Trinity Saint David’s Old Hall this week.
There was a good attendance as Cwrtnewydd resident Simon Evans gave the first of what will eventually be two talks about his home parish of Llanwenog.
Mr Evans spoke of how the parish was defined by the Afon Cledlyn and its tributaries, describing the region’s history from the Stone Age to the present day. The talk spoke of the several hill forts of the area, as well as Llanwenog church, founded around 500 AD, before it was built in its current form in the 14th century.
The Battle of Llanwenog in 981 AD between the Welsh and invading Danes was detailed, before the speaker went on to describe the Puritan struggle and the Civil War.
The talk then went on to the establishment of private academies by nonconformist ministers from 1750 onwards, and the founding of Unitarian chapels in the early 19th century.
The terrible agricultural situation of the 1840s was described, followed by the bad harvests, which led directly to the Rebecca Riots and emigration to the USA and elsewhere in Britain.
The next meeting of Hanes Llambed will take place in October when the subject will be the Cardiganshire War Tribunals of the First World War.
Former AM charged with child porn offences
SIMON THOMAS, the former Plaid Cymru AM for Mid & West Wales has been charged with three offences of making indecent images of children.
Mr Thomas, aged 54, was charged with the offences earlier today (Sept 18) at Aberystwyth Police Station.
He has been bailed to appear at Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, October 3.
At the time of his arrest, Mr Thomas was his Party’s spokesperson on Rural Affairs and Energy policy and had recently taken up a role which would have seen him perform a significant role in Plaid Cymru’s future campaigns.
His arrest in July was a shock both to his political allies and those in other parties in the Assembly.
Following his arrest, Mr Thomas resigned immediately as an Assembly Member and from Plaid Cymru. He was replaced as regional AM by Helen Mary Jones.
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