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‘A warm welcome and a real privilege’: Rev Liz Wilson Reflects on her Time at the Cathedral

Rev Liz Wilson, a curate from the Diocese of Leicester, has spent the past five weeks on placement at Brecon Cathedral and among the wider Ministry Area of Brecon, as part of her Curate’s training. Here, she tells us about her experiences, what she’s learned and what she’ll take away

Why Brecon? I can hear you ask.  Well, my parents live locally, and I wanted to experience something of rural and cathedral ministry in a very different context to Leicester’s cultural diversity.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Brecon.  I have received a very warm welcome from the four churches I have been helping out at, and a warm welcome from the wider town.  I think a times I have caused a bit of a stir, walking around Brecon in my clerical collar, with long blond hair, short(ish) skirt and yellow coat.

It has been a real privilege to get to know the churches and congregations of Brecon.  I have been welcomed into people’s homes for chats and tea.  Eaten lots of Sunday lunches (the Sunday with four services and two Sunday dinners was memorable).  Visited people in hospital and prayed for their healing, and led a several service at the Cathedral. It has been amazing how the folk here have taken me into their hearts and lives, sharing the ups and downs of being a disciple of Jesus.

I have also spent quite a lot of time dressing up! From a Tudor dress (to help out at a Tudor workshop run by Brecknock Museum) to a borrowed Cotta and Cope for Evensong on the eve of the Feast of Saint Luke. Cathedral worship is a bit more formal that I am used to at my local parish Church.  So it has been quite an experience to lead and take part in services.  Fortunately I have been surrounded by caring and forgiving Clergy and Lay Ministers who are happy to point me in the right direction or hiss ‘Liz’ at me when I have forgotten to do something.

The most important experiences have been the ‘spirit-led’ encounters.  The out-of-the-blue conversations about prayer in the Cathedral shop.  The queries about weddings while I am drinking coffee in Costa (other brands of coffee shop are available).  The questions about baptism from local school children.  I have even spoken about Jesus while being ‘weighed in’ at my regular slimming club. Making time for these unexpected encounters when I am in charge of my own parish will be hard. But one I am determined to learn from my Brecon experience.

The other unexpected opportunity has been to explore the differences between the Church in Wales and the Church of England. (Although I was born in Wales I started out in the Methodist Church and only became an Anglican as an adult in England). My impression is that the Church in Wales is much poorer (in terms of finances and resources) than at home. Everyone, lay or ordained, seem to be doing three jobs.  Yet your people are very faithful and have embraced this visiting Curate with open arms.   I have seen and heard about some exciting mission developments across the whole diocese.  It has also been great to be in Wales for the announcement of the new Bishop of St Davids.

As my time in Brecon draws to a close, I am taking away with me some great experiences, lots of learning and many new friends.  I shall look forward to visiting the Cathedral and Brecon Ministry Area churches again on my frequent visits to my parents. I will keep you in my prayers.

Rev Liz Wilson

Assistant Curate, St Denys Church, Evington, Leicester.