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Last Updated: Monday, 21 May 2007, 16:20 GMT 17:20 UK
Church post filled after 20 years
Rev Williams
Rev Williams changed career after a health scare
A heavily-tattooed vicar has filled a post on Anglesey which has been empty for more than 20 years.

Former builder Reverend Emlyn Williams, 42, said the job, near Gaerwen, was a daunting one as the churches were now so used to "doing it themselves".

The Church in Wales advertised the role numerous times after the previous vicar left in the late 1980s, but never filled it.

Locals say they hope Rev Williams can attract younger congregations.

Rev Williams, who was once mistaken for an inmate while working in a prison, said his appearance often got people talking to him.

He said the tattoos are "part of who I am," adding: "They are covered when I take services in the church anyway, so it does not matter.

"If a roughty toughty construction worker can see the worth in his faith, then I can pass that on to other people in a language they can understand.

Rev Emlyn Williams
Vicars are rare and we have found one here who is an extrovert, and bi-lingual, and I hope younger people will be attracted to the church
Carol Peacock, secretary, Llangristiolus church

"I turned back to my faith because of illness when I had a scare with cancer and had a tumour removed.

"Many people change their lives after illness, or a loss of some kind, and I've come back to work in a rural community which is where my roots are."

A Church in Wales spokesman said they had advertised "numerous times," but could not explain why they never managed to fill the post.

As vicar, Rev Williams now covers the churches of Llanfihangel Ysgeifiog, Llangristiolus, Llanffinan and Llangaffo.

The spokesman said attendance in the area was low, but it was hoped Rev Williams could boost the congregations in the area's churches.

Carol Peacock, treasurer and secretary at Llangristiolus church, said she was "jubilant" the post had finally been filled.

"Before we had no continuity, but now we have someone to lead us forward" she added.

"Vicars are rare and we have found one here who is an extrovert, and bi-lingual, and I hope younger people will be attracted to the church."

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