A service to say thank you and goodbye to Wales’ first Missioner in Residence will take place in Wrexham on July, 17.
Mark Yaconelli, a world renowned youth and community activist, has been undertaking a six month residency in the Diocese of St Asaph to help churches reconnect with their local communities.
Throughout his time in north Wales, Mark has been running youth worker training, storytelling workshops and spiritual retreats.
The service of farewell is open to everyone and will take place at St Giles’ Church, Wrexham at 3.30pm on July, 17.
The Bishop of St Asaph, the Rt Revd Gregory Cameron, who extended the residency invitation to Mark, said: “Our Missioner in Residence has shared with us some profound truths about the role and purpose of Church in our society. We’ve been challenged to consider how we can better demonstrate and communicate the life-enhancing message of the Christian faith.
“Hundreds of people across the diocese have come into contact with Mark during his residency and will be continuing to work to build a legacy based on the training and experience he’s imparted.”
Mark’s six month residency will not actually end until mid-August but with the summer holidays approaching, Bishop Gregory was keen that as many people as possible could attend the farewell service.
Mark, who’s been living in Llangollen with his wife, Jill and daughter Grace, during the residency said: “My family and I have been deeply blessed by our time in Wales. The land, the culture, the humble and honest faith of the people are lodged deeply within our hearts. My hope is that I have helped mirror back to the diocese the great freedom and possibility that they have in God.”
There will be a final opportunity see Mark in Wales when he hosts a story-telling event at Llangollen Pavilion on July, 29. Entitled, “A Stranger in a Strange Land” the event will hear real stories from people who’ve found themselves in a strange land for all sorts of reasons. This is a free event with a suggested donation of £3. Money raised will go to Flintshire based SHARE, which supports homeless and assists refugees everywhere.
Mark added: “This is a time of new beginnings within the Church. I have seen and felt this in the leadership, within many of the clergy, and within the people. New ideas, new projects, new expressions of faith are happening all across the diocese. This gives me great hope for the future that in this time of great change, God is doing something new here in north Wales.”
As well as running training courses and preaching or speaking at many events in the diocese, Mark has been the key note speaker at a conference on Mental Health and Wellbeing, preached the sermon on BBC Radio 4’s Sunday Worship and featured on BBC Wales’ All Things Considered.
As he ends his time with the diocese, Mark will be writing up his experiences and perspectives, as well as developing training materials to be used by the diocese.
You can see Mark in St Giles’ Church, Wrexham on July, 17 at 3.30pm and in Llangollen Pavilion on July, 29 at 7pm.