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Archbishop of Wales to celebrate 10th anniversary of Aberdaron’s Poetry and Arts Festival

09 Jun 2024 3 minute read
St Hywyn’s Church. Photo Llywelyn2000, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Archbishop of Wales Andrew John will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Poetry and Arts Festival at a special service in Aberdaron on Sunday, 16th June.

The Archbishop of Wales will preside at the Festival’s 10:30 Sunday service at St Hywyn’s Church, which has been an integral part of the annual festival.

Nicola Slee, Professor of Feminist Practical Theology at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam will be the guest preacher.

The festival is organised by the RS Thomas & ME Eldridge Society. St Hywyn’s Church in Aberdaron was the final parish of RS Thomas, the renowned 20th-century Welsh poet-priest.

The 2024 festival theme, “Anglican Spiritual Writers of the 20th Century,” coincides with the upcoming publication of a related anthology.

Great hymns

The Archbishop will also be the guest of honour at the festival’s Saturday night concert hosted by M. Wynn Thomas of Swansea, author of Poems from the Soul: Twelve of the Great Hymns of Wales.

The concert will feature performances by harpist Gwenan Gibbard and Côr y Heli, who will bring these beloved hymns to life.

Poems from the Soul reveals the heart and soul of Welsh poetry, with many of the poems written by blacksmiths, farmers, and preachers who have played a vital role in shaping Welsh identity.

The collection includes original illustrations by Ruth Jên Evans and highlights the transformative power of song in creating a modern nation.

Jewel in the crown

The Archbishop of Wales said, “It is a pleasure to be presiding at the 10th anniversary service of the Poetry and Arts Festival. For the past 10 years the festival has become a jewel in the crown of North Wales’ art scene.

“This year’s theme will celebrate our rich heritage of Anglican spiritual writers who have helped so many people deepen their relationship with God.

“RS Thomas, himself a priest of The Church in Wales, exemplified how ministry through poetry can connect deeply with the human spirit. Historically, the church has been a great patron of the arts, and this festival continues that rich tradition by celebrating the intersection of faith and creativity.”


Festival director Susan Fogarty, says, “People come from all over the world to visit St Hywyn’s and Aberdaron to see the places and landscape which inspired Thomas’s poetry.

“This year we have seen a higher demand for tickets with poetry workshops, lectures on poetry and spirituality and a pilgrimage being especially popular.”

Susan is recognised as a Lay Pioneer Minister in the Diocese of Bangor who specialises in reading RS Thomas’s work and engaging her audience to connect with poetry in churches and the natural environment.

For more information and to secure your tickets, please visit

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