Stroke club speaker reflects on life as a clergyman’s wife

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

– Local People

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Porthcawl Stroke Club welcomed speaker Mrs Pat Richards, whose topic was ‘The life of a Minister’s wife in a Methodist Church’.

Pat came from Bedlinog, a small village in the Taff Bargoed valley 10km north of Pontypridd.

At the age of 19, Pat got married to Colin Richards, minister of a Methodist Church in Skewen, Swansea. At that young age, Pat wasn’t ready for the role of a minister’s wife and she found it quite daunting at times; especially once her first child was born, balancing husband, family and church.

Pat was expected to know everything, events, planning and the needs of the flock. She was a sounding board for her husband, questioning progress or goals, yet encouraging and steadfast in supporting the vision that God had given them. They worked as a team to do God’s work. Pat was a counsellor, a protector, a wife and mother.

In 1969 Pat and Colin moved to Porthcawl, where the manse was in such a mess they had to seek help to be able to turn it back into a home. Colin knocked down an inner wall, while their first child John lay in his cot; in between all this, Pat had people in and out of the manse for various reasons and because Colin would never turn anyone away, he often invited people unexpectedly for a meal – which Pat gracefully provided.

Colin’s work at Trinity Church in Porthcawl, although rewarding, was indeed a hard one. his day started at 8:30am and would finish late evenings; the work is a true calling from God and there are not many who would be able to fill the tasks.

Colin not only provided worship in Porthcawl, but Cefn and Kenfig Hill – it was a vast circuit to cover. He was also the chaplain for the RAF.

In 1971 the first alterations and extensions to the church started, making way for more facilities. The large hall now hosts various functions. Colin even laid a carpet and knocked down walls.

RAF Saint Athan built a circled structure outside the church, depicting the three wooden crosses of Jesus and the two criminals and the figures of the people at the cross, all made in steel. One was Jesus’ mother, can you imagine the effect on her, seeing her son die in such a way?

Trinity Church is the hub of the community and was one of the first churches to use a computer for church services, so you can imagine how delighted Colin and Pat were after using a printing press for years.

There were family swaps: a young family from the USA. Although Pat and Colin are now both retired they are still involved with the community, what remarkable people! You could hear a pin drop when Pat give her speech and believe me, that is unusual in the Stroke Club. Happy Easter everyone!

Anyone wishing to join the Porthcawl Stroke Club can contact Keith and Mary Duggan on 01656 773376.

Barbara Matthews

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