Church in Wales prepares to enter landmark centenary year

The first Archbishop of Wales, Alfred Edwards, at his enthronement in 1920.

A charity appeal, evangelistic initiatives and a visit by the Archbishop of Canterbury are some of the ways the Church in Wales will be celebrating its 100th birthday. 

2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the Church in Wales becoming an independent part of the Anglican Communion after centuries of being part of the Church of England. 

A historic occasion, the first Archbishop of Wales, Alfred George Edwards, was enthroned at St Asaph Cathedral on June 1, 1920.

The change also meant the disestablishment of the Church in Wales, with the historic Welsh Church Act severing the link between Welsh churches and the state.

The centenary year kicks off this weekend on Advent Sunday, which is the start of the Christian year. 

The Archbishop of Canterbury will be touring the province in April to coincide with the centenary.  During his tour, he will attend the meeting of the Church in Wales' Governing Body in Llandudno and visit a new diocesan venture, Hope Street in Wrexham, as well as a church-run family centre in Swansea, and the shrine of St David at St Davids Cathedral.

Then on June 7, celebration services will be held in all six of the Church in Wales' cathedrals. 

A Centenary Appeal has already been launched to raise £100,000 towards the work of Housing Justice Cymru in helping churches develop winter night shelters for the homeless, and Christian Aid, which is supporting the peace-building work of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan.

The Archbishop of Wales, John Davies, said, "Advent marks the beginning of the Christian year and, for the Church in Wales, 2020 is a very important year as it's our centenary as a province of the Anglican Communion.

"We will be celebrating this landmark birthday throughout the year in churches and communities across Wales, and I invite everyone to join in giving thanks and praise for the fellowship we have shared over the years and, at the same time committing to a future renewed with hope and confidence."

The Church in Wales is making evangelism a key theme of the centenary and has partnered with Christian rap artist Guvna B in a music-orientated social media campaign. 

A free evangelism booklet in English and Welsh has been produced with HOPE Together for churches to give out in their local communities, and in December Church in Wales will be launching a new mission-focused website to help people find out more about faith and church services in their area. 

The Provincial Secretary, Simon Lloyd, said, "The Church in Wales is involved in community life in all parts of Wales – in cities, towns, villages and hamlets, in both of our languages, amongst people of all ages. We welcome everyone.

"The centenary is an opportunity to share our story and our life together with our friends, our neighbours and our nation."