Diocesan press releases

The Bishop of St Asaph to celebrate the first Christmas in HMP Berwyn

The Bishop of St Asaph will celebrate the first service of Christmas Day inside HMP Berwyn.

The Rt Revd Gregory Cameron will join the Senior Chaplain, the Revd Alan Pierce Jones inside the prison’s purpose-built chapel for the Communion service of Christmas Day at 9.30am.

HMP Berwyn, a category C prison, opened in February and can accommodate up to 2, 106 men.  It is the largest prison in the UK, split up into three houses named after local bodies of water in North Wales – Alwen, Bala and Ceiriog.

Speaking ahead of Christmas Day, Bishop Gregory said: “Although the men are of course separated from their own families at Christmas, we want them to know that we welcome them as members of our local Church family – that the good news of God coming to bring joy to the world, is also an offer of God’s blessing for them.  For me, there is no more fitting group with whom I can celebrate the Eucharist on Christmas Day.”

The multi faith chapel was formally opened and blessed by the Bishop of St Asaph and the Roman Catholic Bishop of Wrexham, the Rt Revd Peter Brignall in a joint ceremony in July. 

The senior chaplain, the Revd Alan Pierce-Jones said: “Our team of full time and part time visiting Chaplains work together to look after the spiritual and religious needs of everyone at HMP Berwyn. All faiths are affirmed and respected, but you do not have to be religious to get help from us.  We look after the general welfare of everyone.

“Christmas can be a difficult time for all connected with prison, the men themselves, their families, those who have suffered as a result of crime and of course the staff who are also working long hours away from their families.  The presence of faith communities inside, bringing the message of peace that lies at the heart of Christmas is appreciated by all.  We in our turn are immensely grateful for the local churches who continue to pray for us and some of whose members join us in worship.”

The purpose-built Chapel and Multi-Faith Room in HMP Berwyn holds regular services for Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jehovah’s Witness, Jewish, Latter Day Saints, Muslim, Pagan, Rastafari and Sikh traditions.   There is also a regular Welsh language Christian service.