A CARPET of snowdrops thought to date from the 13th century is beginning to appear in a churchyard.

This is in time for St Tysilio's Church's annual Snowdrop service, taking place on Sunday, February 9 at 3pm.

The service celebrates the Church Feast of Candlemas. It was custom in medieval times to bring Snowdrops into church to be presented during the feast.

The Snowdrop is a symbol of purity and of Jesus Christ being the hope for the world.

Father Lee Taylor, vicar of Llantysilio, said: "The snowdrop service is an opportunity to give thanks for God's gift in creation. Christians believe that, as global citizens, we have a duty to work for the sanctification of the whole world and care for our green spaces.

“The service will also focus on the hope of spring bringing restoration and new beginnings.

“The readings, poems, prayers and music at this service will reflect those whose work seeks to ‘protect’ the natural environment and promote care and respect for creation.

“Snowdrops will be placed on the altar and people will be invited to light a candle as a symbol of their commitment to caring for creation. Water will be blessed in watering cans and sprinkled over the snowdrops in our churchyard.”

The service coincides with the launch of a consultation on rural churches, asking how churches in the Diocese of St Asaph, like St Tysilio’s, can better meet the needs of the community.

The consultation is being shaped by a working group chaired by the church warden at St Tysilio’s John Gambles.

Mr Gambles said: “At this time of year the churchyard at St Tysilio’s has a breath-taking display of Snowdrops, heralding that spring is on its way, and we have a stream of visitors who come specially to see the tiny flowers and how they stretch like a carpet across the church yard.

“Rural communities are very much in touch with the seasons and nature, and it could be that ‘our’ Snowdrops have been celebrated since the foundation of Valle Crucis Abbey in 1201 as there is evidence that monks often brought the tiny flowers that are native to the East Mediterranean, to plant as a symbol of their own purity.

“I’d encourage people to join us for our Snowdrop service at which we celebrate God’s creation through this simple flower that symbolises the light that shines in the darkness.

"And do join us for cake, tea and coffee afterwards.”