St Michael & All Angels Church

Men's Group


Is the time of preparation for Christmas. A time that expresses the joyful and spiritual expectation of the birth of Jesus Christ.

The season of Advent commences at the beginning of December and continues up to the Nativity of Our Lord that is celebrated on Christmas Day.

The season is marked by lighting Advent candles set in an Advent wreath at the front of the church. The wreath is circular in shape representing the Trinity - no begining or end. Evergreens that decorate it remind us of eternal life. There are five candles, the purple are lit each week of Advent and a white candle is lit on Christmas day.

Advent candles

The altar is the main focus of the church and is set at the east end. In Old Testament times an altar was a stone table on which sacrifices were made. The story of Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22:1-14) shows that God did not want human sacrifices; from then into New Testament times sacrifices were of animals or birds. Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross and this is remembered in the Holy Eucharist which is celebrated at the altar with the bread and wine reminding us of the body and blood of Jesus.

At the Last Supper (the final meal Jesus had with his disciples before his death) Jesus shared bread and wine with them all and said this should be done regularly to remember him (Luke 22:17-20). So the Holy Eucharist is also a reminder of the Last Supper and the altar is the Lord's Table, covered with a white cloth.


Baptism is the outward sign (sacrament) by which people, usually as babies but sometimes as adults, become members of the Christian Church. Since we are given our Christian names during Baptism the service is sometimes also called a Christening. At Baptism water is always used to show the washing away of evil (sin) and the beginning of a fresh "clean" Christian life. The priest also uses water to make the sign of the cross (the membership badge of the Church) on the forehead. Baptism takes place at the font (a basin holding water - the word "font" reminds us of fountain), which is normally placed by the main door of the church because Baptism marks entry into the Church.

The person being baptised (or the godparents on behalf of a baby) makes the promises required of a member of the Church. Godparents also promise to encourage a baby, when grown up, to confirm the promises before a bishop at Confirmation.

Jesus told his disciples to baptise people (Matt 28:19);

Baptismal Font



Parents with child at Baptism Service

The Bible is a collection of Holy Scriptures (scripture = writing) written by people inspired by the Holy Spirit. They are the story of God making himself known to all men and women through his people Israel (in the Old Testament), and especially through his son Jesus (in the New Testament). The story of the foundation of the Church and its early history is told in the Acts of the Apostles. The Bible also includes Psalms, poems and letters (epistles).
Different parts of the Bible were originally written down in different languages (Hebrew and Greek), but eventually the western (Roman) Church came to use a Latin translation. From the fourteenth century onwards the Bible has gradually been translated into over 1250 languages and is now the all-time best-selling book in the world. The whole Bible was published in English in 1535 (Coverdale) and in Welsh in 1588 (William Morgan).
Nearly all Church in Wales services include readings from the Bible. Ordained ministers are required to read parts of the Bible and to study it every day. All Christians are encouraged to have a Bible and read it regularly.
Bible on the altar
The Bible has many references to light and darkness. Light is a sign of good but darkness is associated with evil. People doing wrong often choose to do so under the cover of darkness. Even though we have electric lights, candles are used to remind us that Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12) by whom we can find our way on life's journey.
Candles on the altar remind us of God's presence in church. The candle-sticks on the altar in St Michael's were refurbished in 2004
Refurbished Candelsticks
The cup used to contain the wine used in the service of Holy Eucharist is a chalice. Often it is made from silver; the chalices used in St Michael's have been donated to the church and have many memories of faithful members of the church.
All Christians today belong to the world-wide Christian Church but the Church is divided into many denominations. These may have different practices and beliefs expressed in in various Creeds but all Christians believe that Jesus was born as a human, died on the cross, was resurrected and ascended into heaven. Some examples of denominations are: the Anglican Communion, the Roman Catholic Church and the Nonconformist or Free Churches (Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Uniformitarians, United Reformed Church etc.) The Church in Wales belongs to the Anglican Communion.
"Eucharist" means thanksgiving and this service of thanksgiving is at the heart of the Christian life of worship. It is the one service Jesus gave to his church and commanded us to use. (Luke 22:19)
The pattern of the service is very simple. It falls into two parts.
In the first, after preparing ourselves by asking God to forgive us for the wrong things we have done, we hear again in readings from the Bible about what God has done for us, culminating in the Gospel reading, a story of Jesus. The readings are explained in a sermon before everyone joins together to say in the Creed what they, as Christians, believe.
The second part expresses our response to God, beginning with prayers for the world and everyone in it. Then, after greeting one another with a sign of peace, we bring our thank-offerings to the altar - money, and especially bread and wine, as symbols of the gifts of the earth worked by human hands. In the great Prayer of Thanksgiving the bread and wine become the sacrament of the body and blood of Jesus. We then offer ourselves to the love of God asking Him to accept us and we receive the bread and wine of Holy Communion.
Then we go out from the service to live our daily life in God's love and to His glory.
Faith essentially means belief; the Christian faith is therefore what Christians believe and is set out in the Creeds. Faith can also mean trusting in someone; Christians trust in Jesus Christ.
Good Friday
Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday; it is the day when the death of Jesus on the cross is remembered (Mark 15:22-41). It is a day when there are solemn services in churches to remind us of the sad events of the first Good Friday. It is only 'good' because without the crucifixion there would not have been a resurrection to show how God overcame sin and even death itself. Hot cross buns are a reminder of the story of the first Good Friday.
Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is one of the three persons of God in the Holy Trinity.
Holy Trinity.
The Holy Trinity is the three persons of God:
God the Father,
God the Son (Jesus Christ),
God the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Trinity is remembered on the festival of Trinity Sunday.

An incumbent, who may be either a Vicar or a Rector, is the priest in charge of a parish. Since the formation of the Benefice of Cwmbran in 1971 the Rector is the incumbent of all churches in the benefice. The team vicar at St Michael's is a member of the ministry team.

The Incumbent's Board in the church displays the names of the priests that have been in charge of the church from all known records. The earliest being Lewis Phillip dated 1590.

Incumbent's Board
Jesus was born about two thousand years ago. His mother was Mary and his father Joseph, and he was the eldest of a large family. He grew up in the small town of Nazareth in Galilee, a part of Palestine then ruled by the Romans. When he was about thirty years old he left his home and became a wandering teacher, story-teller and healer. A number of people became his followers, including twelve men whom he called his disciples. His teaching and way of life annoyed some of the Jews and they had him arrested, tried, flogged and crucified. His followers claimed that he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. They believed he was God's son and the Messiah or Christ.
Liturgy is the form of a Church service. The liturgy to be used in Church of Wales services is set out in the Book of Common Prayer and the Alternative Order of Service for the Holy Eucharist.
Lord's Prayer.
The Lord's Prayer is the form of prayer which Jesus suggested should be used (Matt 6:9). It is nearly always used in Christian services because it is the 'family' prayer of all Christians.
A marriage is when a man and a woman promise that they will be husband and wife as long as they both live. This promise is important in law and must be made in front of witnesses. Many people choose to get married in a church in a marriage or wedding service. They then make their promises or vows in the presence of God as well as witnesses (the congregation). Their marriage is blessed by a priest because marriage (Holy Matrimony) is one of the sacraments of the Church. Jesus was a guest at a wedding at Cana in Galilee and he did his first miracle there (John 2:1-12).
Non-stipendiary Minister (NSM).
Someone ordained after training but serving locally as a priest or deacon without receiving any pay (stipend). These ministers usually have another job or have retired from one.
Years ago music in churches was provided by bands of musicians playing stringed and wind instruments. These have been largely replaced by organs, a wind keyboard instrument played by a single person. In Under the Greenwood Tree the famous writer Thomas Hardy tells the story of how an organ replaced the band of musicians in one country church. Organs vary in size and there are huge organs in large churches and cathedrals; some very fine music has been written for organs by composers such as J.S. Bach.
Organ Console
Prayer is a conversation between God and people. It may involve only one person (private prayer) or many (public prayer - usually in a church service) but it always includes God. There are three main types of prayer: petition (asking for things), penitence (saying sorry) and thanksgiving (saying thank you). Silent prayer is important because, as prayer is a conversation, it is important to listen as well as to speak. Jesus told us that we should pray regularly like he did and he gave us the Lord's Prayer as a pattern for our own prayers (Matt. 6:9-13).
The church pulpit was created in oak in 1964 and is dedicated to the Glory of God and in memory of Emma Edwards (1881 to 1952)

Quota is the money which each Church in Wales parish is required to pay every year towards the costs of running the Church, especially of providing the pay (stipends) of the clergy.


Rood Screen
On the north side of the chancel arch the door to the rood-loft remains although the loft itself has long since been removed.

The rood screen in St Michael's Church depicts theCruxifixion of Our Lord Jesus Christ with Mary, the Mother of our Lord, and John (the apostle), whom Jesus loved, standing by. This is the traditional setting taken from the Bible.

Rood Screen

The recorded restorations or major repairs to the fabric of the church were carried out in 1899, 1921, 1967 and 1988.

During the restoration in 1921 the remains of an earlier building were uncovered. It was suggested that these formed part of a Celtic Church. The early church itself was probably built on the ste of a Celtic cell or retreat.

There is continual assessment of the maintenance requirements, ensuring the physical condition of our beautiful church as well as the spiritual aspect continues to survive.

A sermon is preached as part of a church service. It is the opportunity for the preacher to teach the congregation about an aspect of Christianity. A sermon is usually based on a passage of Holy Scripture and often introduced by a text, a verse or two from the Bible. The preacher then explains the passage to the congregation and shows why it is important to Christian life today.
An idea taken from the Old Testament by which people paid one-tenth of their wealth, at first in kind and later in money, to maintain the church and to pay the priests. During the 1870s and 1880s this became a very big argument in the debates about disestablishment. Eventually tithes were abolished and the Church in Wales became a dis-established Church.
These are the robes worn by clergy, readers, servers and choirs during services. They include cassocks, surplices, albs, stoles, scarfs, hoods, chasubles, copes, amices and cloaks.
The basic article of clothing for clergy is a cassock, worn with or without a belt. Over this, for choir services (morning and evening prayer) they wear a white surplice and a black scarf. (A Reader's scarf is blue.) Sometimes they also wear an academic hood.
For the Eucharist, too, they may choose to wear cassock and surplice, but now with a stole instead of a scarf. It will be the colour of the season of the year.
But the more usual practice for the Eucharist is to wear an alb (the word means "white") with an amice (a white square of cloth) round the neck and a white girdle round the waist. They will still wear a stole and may also wear a chasuble. This is a piece of material with a hole in the middle through which to put the head. It is often a very beautiful vestment. Clergy may also wear a cope (a colourful cloak) on special occasions, and they usually have a black cloak to wear outdoors in bad weather.
(back to top of Page)