THE newly-appointed Rector of Bala has said the church can help to tackle the loneliness epidemic amongst millennials as well as fulfilling its more traditional role, such as helping people in later life face up to ‘the big questions’.

Reverend Dr Carol Roberts was installed for her new role at Christ Church, Bala during a Sunday service on October 14 and will now oversee the Penedeyrn Mission Area, which includes Cerrigydrudion, Bala, Maerdy, Llandderfel, Llandrillo, Cynwyd, Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr and the communities of Llawrybetws, Pentrefoelas, Betws Gwerfil Goch and Ysbyty Ifan.

Mrs Roberts moved to the town with her husband for 26 years, Dafydd, and their golden retriever Mollie two weeks ago to take up the role, but needs time to “get to know the area to see where the gaps are” that need the church’s providence.

“My initial focus will be on learning about Bala; there is a lot to learn about a new community,” she said.

“Each community is different, though they also have similarities – for example, there are always people that are lonely. And it is not only elderly people – a hidden loneliness has recently been revealed amongst young people, which I think is caused by social media as they do not speak in person.

“In the coming months I will have the opportunity to look at where loneliness is in Bala.

“We need as a church to see how we can help young people.

“Hopefully I will offer a fresh pair of eyes.”

School pupils will be attending the church for harvest ceremonies and Mrs Roberts will visit their schools in due course.

“We will also carry out our traditional work, caring for the bereaved and giving people help with the big questions,” she said.

“We need to support people who are not sure about the church.”

Mrs Roberts is looking to offer “new ways of worshipping”, such as an informal café meet-up “for people who feel a traditional service is not for them”.

“People can come to ask questions about faith, people on the margins or those who don’t know much about faith, who may be in their middle age and have never encountered faith.

“When older people get to a certain age they feel they are supposed to know everything, but this is not the case.

“Being present in the community is important because you get to know people, chat and they realise that you welcome questions.

“But you need a relationship for that to happen.”

Mrs Roberts, who is a keen fresh water swimmer, as well as a walker, gardener and reader, could be seen swimming in Llyn Tegid in coming summers.

“This is a beautiful area and people are very friendly and chat to you in the street.

“If you love God’s creation there is nowhere better!”