A Seaside Tale: The Continuing the Story of St. Mary’s Church, Trecco Caravan Park – Part Four
During the 1970s, 80s and 90s we have not traced many records but we do know that Church Army summer missions continued and that Captain Denis Oxley C.A. came regularly in the 1990s. Some programmes continued on into the 2000s, with a Church Army caravan on the green by the church.
In 2007, Father Jonathan Durley, himself a member of the Church Army, was, by then, an assistant priest in our parish and he has been the inspiration for a new era in the life of St. Mary’s.
From that summer until 2011 with the assistance of Sister Anne, Sister Wendy from Cardiff, and others, a pattern was established, with Easter Services, four weeks in August with Sunday services and Monday to Friday Family Fun activities from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. in the afternoons. While Sister Wendy was with us, there were ‘Drop In’ or ’8 ’til late’ evenings for older teens with films, slide shows, strobe lights, music, refreshments and time to chat. Sometimes the young people came to talk about their concerns and there were serious discussions. These proved to be valuable times for residents of Trecco and for those on holiday. There was also an Easter Day service and Carols by Candlelight at Christmas.
In August 2011, Porthcawl’s Songs of Praise by the Sea was held at Trecco – putting the little church really ‘on the map’. In that same year, Ruth Birch, who was at that time President of Churches Together in Porthcawl, invited me to a meeting to tell the members about St. Mary’s and the activities there. During that talk I called the work and the opportunities there ‘a mission field on our doorstep’. This was thought to be something that Churches Together could, and would want to be involved in. Following that meeting Churches Together formed a group of interested members, two from each of the churches, to plan programmes for each August and Christmas from 2012. This has worked well.
The management of Trecco (now Park Dean), have been very supportive and generous, donating refreshments, heating, maintenance of the building and support in many ways. Members of staff have come to services, called in to family fun afternoons and have joined in our Carols by Candlelight, providing mince pies and other refreshments.
We, in the parish, have had a wonderfully willing band of helpers from our three churches – too many to mention by name here – but they and we know who they are. Four Churches Together teams – our Parish, Trinity, Gilgal and Stella Maris churches – have each arranged a Sunday service and lively Family Fun programmes for the week-day afternoons during the four weeks of August each year – a huge input and gift of their time as it is the summer holidays. Any afternoon, you could find them there (occasionally in the morning, too) and there would be handicrafts, games, stalls, possibly a beetle drive, quiz, pottery class, making of balsa wood Jesus boats…and always refreshments and a welcome.
The response of the holiday makers and residents is very good. Some need to talk, even the children at times. Our welcome is easy, no pressure, and many find that a help. We display the following statement of why we are there:
St Mary’s, Trecco SUMMER PROGRAMME
Why we are here…
To be a welcoming presence of Porthcawl churches here in the caravan park;
To give opportunities to meet and share time together;
To provide a place for family fun;
To be a listening ear when needed;
To make an open, peaceful place for all to come to.
Free to all. Refreshments provided.
Offers of help during our first week in August, i.e. practical help, contributions for refreshments or for the stalls are welcome. Since summer 2015, Carol Pearce (Tel. 785665) has been coordinating the programmes for our parish. Carol will be very pleased to receive help in any way for our week’s programme – the first week in August this year .