The Bishop of St Asaph will celebrate the Christmas Day Service inside HMP Berwyn in Wrexham.
For the second year running, the Rt Revd Gregory Cameron will join the Senior Chaplain, the Revd Alan Pierce Jones inside the prison’s purpose-built chapel for the first Communion of Christmas Day at 9.30am.
Bishop Gregory said: “Although the men are of course separated from their own families at Christmas, we want them to know that we welcome them as members of our local Church family – that the good news of God coming to bring joy to the world, is also an offer of God’s blessing for them. For me, the command of Jesus – to visit those in prison – means that there is no better place for me than with these men on Christmas Day.”
HMP Berwyn, a category C prison, opened last year and can accommodate up to 2, 106 men. It is the largest prison in the UK, split up into three blocks named after local bodies of water in North Wales – Alwen, Bala and Ceiriog.
The prison’s senior chaplain, the Revd Alan Pierce-Jones, said: “Christmas can be a difficult time for all connected with prison, the men themselves, their families, those who have suffered as a result of crime and of course the staff who are also working long hours away from their families. The presence of faith communities inside, bringing the message of peace that lies at the heart of Christmas is appreciated by all. We in our turn are immensely grateful for the local churches who continue to pray for us and some of whose members join us in worship.”
The purpose-built Chapel and Multi-Faith Room in HMP Berwyn holds regular services for Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jehovah’s Witness, Jewish, Latter Day Saints, Muslim Pagan, Rastafari and Sikh traditions.
Alan added: “Our team of full time and part time visiting Chaplains work together to look after the spiritual and religious needs of everyone at HMP Berwyn. All faiths are affirmed and respected, but you do not have to be religious to get help from us. We look after the general welfare of everyone.”