A chance conversation at Fourteen Locks Canal Centre led to Revd John Collier being appointed as the first-ever Chaplain to the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canals Trust.
John is curate-in-charge of the Parish of Mamhilad and will be installed as Chaplain by the Bishop of Monmouth, Rt Revd Richard Pain, at a service of thanksgiving for the work of the Trust in Mamhilad church at 12 noon on 22nd February.
The canal is an important part of the Parish at Mamhilad. Boating and canoeing on the canal has become an important activity, and families, walkers and cyclists use the towpath. The hedgerows and reed beds are a haven for animals, and fish amphibians and insects live in and around the water.
The Trust aims to preserve the canal as a part of the history of the area, and make it available as a resource to promote a healthy lifestyle for locals and act as a tourist attraction. Members of the Canals Trust give their time and skills to improve the canal and towpaths for the benefit of others.
John hopes that the appointment of a Chaplain will forge stronger links between the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canals Trust and the Church. There has been a discussion about an annual service of thanksgiving, and the Trust will make a presentation to a volunteer who has given a long-standing commitment to their work.
John says, “The canal has been such an important part of communities along its route, and I am keen that the Trust will be enabled to bring back this importance. I see the cooperation between the Trust and the Church to this end to be important, and I am very pleased to accept the role of Chaplain to strengthen the bond between us, and to show that our Church is an active part of the community in which we live and worship.“
Bishop Richard says, “I am thrilled that John is taking on this role. As an active parish priest he has already built up community links in the area and his chaplaincy will remind us of the importance of tourism in Monmouthshire and the fruitful partnership of the church. People need to relax and the tranquil waterways of our canals provides an opportunity to reflect and find space. The church offers a similar sanctuary in life and I hope that locals and visitors alike will also discover the peace of our ancient and beautiful churches.”