02 November 2006

AFTER an extended illness, Daniel John Rowlands died at his home in Aberporth on September 13, aged 79. Descended from a long line of Anglican clergy, he spent his early childhood in Somerset and Lincolnshire. During the war years, he attended Bromsgrove School, exiled to Llanwrtyd Wells.

On leaving school, he went to Glasgow University to read naval architecture, but, after one year, he left to join the Royal Navy, training as an electrician. At the end of the war, he changed paths and read theology at Pembroke College, Cambridge. After graduating, he attended Bishops’ College, Cheshunt, before being ordained.

After serving his title at St Mary’s, Woodford, he joined the Missions to Seamen, and worked for 22 years in Holland, Tanzania, Teeside and ultimately as Assistant General Secretary at the Missions’ headquarters in London.

In 1975, he moved to the parish of St Mary’s, Woodbridge, where he served for seven years. This was followed by a period in Gibraltar as Dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral. During his time there, he invited the Blaenporth male voice choir, from Ceredigion, to sing in the cathedral.

During their visit, the border separating Gibraltar from the mainland was due to be reopened, after years of closure. At midnight, hundreds of people gathered to watch the ceremony. Passions were running high, with antagonistic crowds facing each other on opposite sides of the fence. The choir decided there would be no harm in singing. As they started, the crowds stopped to listen, and the tensions melted away.

After leaving Gibraltar, John Rowlands returned to his roots in West Wales, and served as Rural Dean in Glyn Aeron from 1987 until his retirement in 1995. Until the very end of his life, he continued to officiate at services in Aberporth and the surrounding parishes.

Throughout his life, his unwavering faith and strength of belief set an example to us all.

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