In 2004 Simon and Helen Bowkett (and their four children) moved back to Wales from Kent, the garden of England. They settled near Llandeilo in the heart of rural West Wales. Their vision was to see a church planted and, beyond that, to see rural Wales reached again with the Gospel of the grace of God.
The intervening years have been both difficult and fruitful. Significant ministries to the rural communities have been developed and Simon has established himself as a ‘Rural Chaplain’ exercising a strategic ministry in the farming community and beyond.
Now, eleven years in, a group of trustees has come alongside Simon and Helen to form a charity that, we pray, will be able to build on this foundation. That charity is the ‘Grace Rural Wales Partnership’ – also known as ‘Y GRWP’ – a Welsh term pronounced ‘er group’ and meaning ‘the group’.
Grace Rural Wales Partnership is focussed on three areas – Mission, Training and building a network of small group ‘farm fellowships’.
On the ground . . .
As a Rural Chaplain Simon is an established presence in the livestock markets at Llandeilo, Llandovery and Carmarthen offering practical assistance to farmers, food bank support when needed, Gospel witness and spiritual counsel.
Simon is also establishing a network of small group ‘farm fellowships’ where people can meet for fellowship, Bible teaching and outreach.
Online . . .
In rural communities the smartphone is a lifeline for many. Youtube, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest are therefore significant tools in both rural evangelism and the wider work of community building. Y GRWP is committed to developing and using online tools that are specifically focussed on the needs of rural Wales.
And on the road . . .
Equipped with the Y GRWP ‘Chaplaincy Landrover’, Simon is a regular fixture at the various agricultural shows. He also supports the small groups of Christians who meet regularly in farms and homes for fellowship, teaching and outreach in Llandysul, Llandovery and Bronydd.
If the future of the Gospel in rural Wales is to be secured then the training and equipping of Christians and potential leaders must by a priority. In the light of this, a key part of Y GRWP’s ‘on the road’ strategy is the creating of contexts where high quality theological education and ministry training can be delivered.
If you would like regular prayer information, give financial support or explore the training opportunities as a Grace Rural Wales Intern then this enquiry form is the place to start . . .