Welsh used in churches

This is an announcement from the Diocese of Bangor which may be useful to some of you:

Archbishop launches new course to help learners experience church services in Welsh

The Diocese of Bangor has launched a brand new course to help Welsh learners experience church services through the medium of Welsh

The 10-hour online taster course is designed to give learners of all levels a taste of the Welsh language. The first part of the course introduces learners to basic conversational phrases. The second part is tailored entirely toward church and the Christian faith and helps learners to say the Lord’s Prayer in Welsh and understand a simple communion service. After completing the course, learners will better understand Welsh pronunciation and phrases which will help them participate in Welsh language church services.

Archbishop of Wales Andrew John, who has also learned Welsh, welcomed the course, “As a Welsh learner I am delighted that this helpful and practical course is available for learners to experience church services in the Welsh language. The course is a first for the Church in Wales and allows people to learn Welsh phrases and words associated with church services that often are not taught in Welsh classes.

“The Church in Wales is committed to growing Welsh language churches and our hope is that learners who complete the course will feel confident to attend a Welsh language service and, in time, become members of that community.”

The Diocese of Bangor has a strong commitment to promoting the Welsh language and encouraging new Welsh speakers. In 2022, the diocese received Cynnig Cymraeg recognition from the Welsh Language Commissioner for their robust commitment to promoting the use of Welsh. The diocese employs Elin Owen as Welsh Language Enabler whose role is to support the diocese to continually improve their Welsh language offer.
Elin said "The support that the diocese offers Welsh learners is fantastic and the enthusiasm here for learning the language is truly encouraging.

"We support staff and clergy to learn Welsh by investing in courses and providing them with a personalised learning plan. We have worked with the national Iaith Gwaith scheme to run a preaching through the medium of Welsh course at Canolfan Iaith Nant Gwrtheyrn. Many of our clergy and staff also regularly attend residential courses there and are working their way through the new course.”

Dona Lewis, Chief Executive of the National Centre for Learning Welsh said “The Centre works in partnership with different sectors and organisations to attract new audiences to the Welsh language. We are delighted to deliver this latest course for the church sector.”

To enroll on the course click here.

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Wow! We did something right!

I lived in Wales for 7 years before setting out on the formal road to learning Welsh, starting before SSIW existed, but later on helped enormously by SSIW. I had two principal aids before sitting in a classroom. One was working in the NHS in Carmarthenshire with so many Welsh speaking patients and so many Welsh speaking staff. And the second was being a member of a bilingual Church in Wales congregation, with bilingual services (or sometimes wholly Welsh ones) and a bilingual prayer book.

To be fair it took me years before I could recite Gweddi’r Arglwydd, the Lord’s Prayer, but now it’s the version I use when inviting people to pray in the language of their hearts. I would go to my neighbour’s home to be assisted through reading Bible passages in preparation to read them in a service the next day.

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Thank you Margaret for your assurances here. I’ve been using SSiW for some years, delighting in it and growing in confidence slowly but surely. I look forward to building Welsh used in churches into the language of my heart too - it seems a timely call and I’m grateful to SSiW for bringing it so generously to our attention.

Of interest too for people without any religion. The communion service is full of abstract vocabulary that’s good to know – it’s a stratum of Welsh that’s not deeply explored in mainstream courses. And not necessarily just relevant in spiritual/emotional terms. Christianity is fond of its financial metaphors. (Redeem, debt, owe, pay back etc.)

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