Priest aims to bring his communities together
A NEW priest in charge has vowed to explore how the two Neath communities he serves can work together.
Reverend Andrew Meredith is taking on his latest challenge as a man of the cloth, after he was licensed by the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan to take over Cadoxton and Tonna parishes. He takes over from Reverend Carolyn Evans, who has moved to the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon.
Mr Meredith, aged 54, is returning to his home diocese of Llandaff from the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon, where he has served his entire ministry since being ordained in 1993.
Originally from Aberavon, Andrew is married to Linda, a nurse and the couple have three children — with the youngest being the last to leave for university shortly.
It was while living in Morriston, Swansea, and working for Barclays Bank that Andrew felt called to the priesthood.
"I grew up in the church — having being baptised and confirmed and then in my late teens to early twenties I began to do some bible study which led me on my journey to ordination," said Andrew.
After being ordained as a deacon, Andrew was assistant curate in Killay, Swansea for three-and-a-half years before becoming vicar at Waunarlwydd, Swansea, where he also served for three-and-a-half years.
From there he went to St Thomas and Kilvey in Swansea where he served for 13 years. During that time he helped to raise £500,000 for a project to revamp St Stephen's Church and was also involved in the refurbishment of St Thomas's church hall.
"I really did enjoy my time at St Thomas and Kilvey — it was a lovely 13 years but I felt the time was right for a new challenge in my life and with the last of our children off to university, it was also the right time as a family for a move.
"I am very excited to be in a new parish with fresh opportunities and challenges — one of which will be finding ways of drawing the two communities of Cadoxton- juxta-Neath and Tonna together."
Mr Meredith is responsible for St Catwg's Church in Cadoxton and St Anne's in Tonna with the two only having being grouped together in the last few years.
"I will be getting to know the parish and the people and exploring ways that we can all work together to make the best use of the gifts that God has given us all," he said.
Despite having moved dioceses, Andrew has only actually moved about eight miles which means he is still close enough to watch his beloved Ospreys rugby team play on a regular basis.
"I am a huge rugby fan and go to Ospreys and Wales games as often I can," he said.
Andrew also enjoys playing tennis and walking.