August 2013

Treasure unearthed

I am writing this on the Tuesday after the Treasures of the Black Mountains Festival, and am still struggling, frankly, to take it all in. It was, quite simply, the most extraordinary weekend with a bewildering array of offerings over a huge area – both geographical and topical. Inevitably some things stick in the mind more firmly than others, but, as my own recollections are no more valid than anyone else’s, I will keep them to myself. Looking back, however, there are three factors which seem to me to be very important, and which should form the legacy of an extraordinary achievement.

First, there is the financial one. Initially, the target as to raise £6000 with wild hopes of £10000. Well, as I write, the final figure is unclear, but one thing which is certain is that wildest hopes have been exceeded. It underlines one crucial fact, which is that fund-raising for small village churches is likely to be much more successful if churches come together in joint enterprises.

Secondly, everyone seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. There can be a tendency for fund-raising events to be worthy rather than fun and that must be wrong. I think it should be the aim of anyone putting on such occasions that people should have a happy time and not just a good one.

Thirdly – and by a wide margin most importantly – this was a magnificent example of a community coming together. Neither I, nor, I suspect, any else, has the remotest idea of exactly how many people helped in any way with festival. All I do know is that, although it was designed to raise money for Clodock, Craswall and Llanveynoe Churches, many of those who helped are not worshippers and so have no direct interest in the maintaining of those buildings as places of Christian worship as such, but they nevertheless gave freely of their time and their talents.

In short, the festival was an inspiring example of what can be achieved when a community comes together for the sake of some common good. That is really encouraging in a place where there are clearly community needs not necessarily as tangible as church buildings, and I hope that an ever closer spirit of community will help us all to identify and address those things which need to be done for the sake of the community. That way the treasure will grow ever richer.

I cannot finish this, however, without offering on behalf of the Parish Church Councils of Clodock, Craswall & Llanveynoe the most profound thanks to everyone who in any way helped with the Festival: you did so much more than anyone could ever reasonably have asked, and for that we are very very grateful.