Protect Yourselves From Scammers

X7 BUS TIMETABLE

First Cymru X7 Bus Timetable From 30th August

The Obituary Notice of Mrs Maureen Davies

All of us at Resolven District News are so sad to have to report the death of Maureen, beloved wife of Mike our R.D.N. photographer.

Our thoughts are with you Mike and all your family.

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Recalling Memories of Resolven Forestry during WW2

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“My Life in the Land Army”

Betty Charles in uniform
Betty Charles in uniform

When war broke out I was a shop assistant in Phillips Bros in Neath.  I had never done any heavy work except for a bit of housework.  Just before my 18th birthday I was called up to work in a factory in Neath called the “Metal Clad”. This changed my whole existence. The first shock to the system was starting work at 6a.m.  Then the noise of the factory machinery!  I was put to work on carrying out inspections – we were making detonators for shells.  The second shift was 2.00 to 10.00 p.m. and was long and monotonous.  The work itself was quite soul destroying and I hated it.

So…I volunteered for the Land Army.

I was nearly 19 years of age when I started in the Forestry Commission. Our big chief was Lady Whitten Brown and her deputy was Mrs. Major Bevan, Glyn Clydach.  I had my medical and passed fit.  I was told to report to the forestry at Resolven catching the 7a.m. service bus from the station in Neath.  On arriving at the station I met Rita, Hazel, Nita and Betty.  We looked as if we were going on a safari to the Far East!  We had taken all our clothes with us – overcoat, hat, stiff oilskins, boots, putties, breeches, skirt, pullover and dungarees. When we got out of the bus at Resolven we had to walk to the forestry house.  I’m sure that Mr.Smith (the head forester) was dying to laugh.  He took us up to the work centre – which was a large shed – and there we met the other girls.  There were two from Cardiff and the rest from Swansea.  There were also a few young boys (not old enough for the army), a ganger called Ted and another chap called Mr. Farily, who was a very tall Australian.

The next day we were put into gangs and were taken to a shed where all the tools were kept.  I remember Mr Farily trying to teach me to cut hedges.  Two of the Swansea girls lodged with Ted the ganger and the two girls from Cardiff lodged on the same estate.  One thing I will always remember is that they would open their sandwiches and it was either Spam or cheese.  We were all given an extra cheese ration!

During the first few weeks we spent our time near the huts weeding small trees.  Then one day we were sent to different places.  I was sent with Sheila, Olive and some young boys to Pentre Clwyda where we did more weeding using billhooks.  Whilst there, I sliced off half my nail and we had a strike – but we soon settled down.

On running for the bus one night I stepped out of my wellingtons and got my feet soaking wet.  Very often we had lifts home with Craven Llewellyn, Mr Parry Davies or Mr Danny Thomas.

One summer I did “whinberry patrol”. This meant watching out for people coming onto Forestry land to pick whinberries.  They were supposed to have a pass which in those days cost l shilling.  I did not sell my passes as the pickers were old stagers who knew how to dodge me. They had quite a little business going on.  They would come early in the morning equipped with some big baskets and stay all day.  They then sold the whinberries to stall holders in Neath market – rather them than me as whinberries are very difficult to pick.

Once I remember spending all day weeding which was quite back breaking.  When it came time to finish I was tired and stiff.  I happened to be first in line walking down the mountain path when I was suddenly yanked back and the chap behind me bent down and hit out with his stick.  I yelled out “what’s the matter?”  He replied “It’s OK; it’s only a snake and you were about to step on it”!  You can imagine how I felt.  Another day I had to walk up to the top of the mountain where there was a plateau where new trees had been planted which were about a foot high.  Our job was to walk between the trees looking for a certain kind of beetle and the name of the project was “beetle drive”.  In the middle of the day the forester, Mr. Smith, appeared.  I didn’t hear him until he was right behind me and he got hold of my shirt collar and said he had put a beetle down my back.  I went frantic trying to get it out until he burst out laughing and said it was a joke!  The fact was that he was checking up on us as we all had jam pots to put the beetles in and he could then see how much work we had done.

There was a forester, Deputy Mr Lloyd, Foreman Mr Farily and Ted.  One of these would appear out of the trees sometime during the day to check up on us.

I remember Mary Wheaton from Cardiff very well.  She had a beautiful voice and would burst into song at various times during the day.  One day we were singing a duet of the “Indian Love Call” while sawing branches off the trees on the Resolven side of the mountain and really enjoying ourselves.  When we came to the end Mr Smith appeared from the trees and said “You come here to work not sing” and with him was the area forester who didn’t say a word.

You may wonder how we managed the toilet. It doesn’t take much imagination to know how to deal with passing water as many of you will have been caught short yourselves and gone behind a tree or bush.  When it comes to a big job we had to dig a hole in the ground and then fill it in afterwards.  There was no water to wash your hands so hygiene wasn’t the best.

There was a forestry hut where we kept our tools.  It was a stone hut with big gaps between the stones where the wind whistled through.  We complained about this and were left a bag of cement and sand and told to fill the gaps ourselves! We were only allowed to stay here if it was raining first thing in the morning and if it cleared up we were expected to go out to work.  Sometimes we would be up to two miles up the mountain and it would come to rain.  We carried a tarpaulin with us and if it rained we would tie each corner to a tree and shelter under it.  If it was still raining at 3p.m. we were allowed to go home.  Many a time we would be standing watching the rain come up the Neath valley, collect our tools ready to clear off when the rain would turn back on reaching Clyne and we had to carry on until 4.40p.m. ready to clear up and catch the 4.55 train to Neath.

I remember one morning we were told that some German prisoners had escaped from Stormy Down and had not been recaptured so we were quite scared.  By this time we knew most of the men on the 6.30 bus and they would pull our legs about lots of little things especially when we used to fall asleep after the bus had left Neath and the conductor would wake us up when the bus got to Clyne.  In winter it was dark so going up amongst the trees at half light with Germans about made it a bit scary. We worked very close together that morning and were very relieved when someone came to tell us that the Germans had been recaptured.  Incidentally I was courting my husband Frank at this time and he was one of the soldiers who recaptured the Germans who were hiding in a railway truck in Llandow.

Whenever you travel near a forestry take a good look and you will see every so often a wide space between the trees which is called a “Ride”.  It is put there in case of fire and it is to stop the fire spreading.  Another thing you may notice is that the branches of the trees are cut off at a certain height from the ground.  This is called “Brashing”.  The funniest thing was when they brought us our axes to fell the trees it took a few days to master the technique of swinging the axe over the left shoulder as well as the right.  The difficult part was getting the axe into the exact same spot on the base of the trunk so that the tree would fall the right way when it was felled through.  When the tree fell we would shout “TIMBER” so that no one would be in the way.  We then set to work sawing off all the branches with a girl on each side of a big cross cut saw to cut the branches into pit props.  I should also mention that after taking the branches off we had to carry the trunk to the “level”.  These trunks were very heavy and we either had to carry them on our shoulders or drag them with a rope down the mountain. 

We had to take sandwiches and a thermos of drink with us every day.  A thermos was a tricky thing to handle as we had to have a permit to buy one and they were not easy to come by.  We were also given an extra cheese ration which was no good for me as I didn’t eat cheese but my father benefited from it.

At this time I was an opera fanatic and when the Carl Rosa opera company came to Swansea I used to try and get to see them during the week.  So, my sister Lena and a few friends would go down to Swansea Empire after work and queue for tickets in the upper circle (the “Gods”).  I would go to work in the morning in my best uniform and then wear a pair of dungarees on top to cover up.  At the end of the day after a quick wash in the stream I would dash to Neath, change buses and get to Swansea at about 6p.m. to join the girls in the queue and eat whatever they had brought for me.  It was then up to the front of the gods for the performance.  It didn’t matter how hard the seats were as I was lost in the world of “Madame Butterfly” or “La Traviata” and kept singing all the way home.  Another thing I recall was working on the Glynneath side of the mountain near Aberpergwm colliery.  We used to sneak into their canteen and I used to buy the most delicious slice of bread pudding for a penny.  On the other side of the mountain was Glyn Castle Colliery.  The coal came from the top of the mountain and was sent down in drams.  There was an overhead control cable for the drams and if you wanted to stop the drams you put the two cables together for them to stop.  If we were working at the top of the mountain we used to stop the drams, jump in and have a ride to the top.

One day I was working on the Clyne side of the mountain, lashing around with the billhook when I hit a bee’s nest.  You can imagine what happened.  The bees came at me from all directions – they were down my wellingtons, up my jumper, in my hair and I was petrified.  The girls rallied around to shoo them away and I was left there with stings all over. There was no first aid kit, so one of the girls went off to the nearest house and borrowed a blue bag.  After plastering this all over myself I looked a bit peculiar but it did the trick.

In hindsight we were very lucky never to have had a fire in the forestry as the little stack of fire brushes at the entrance would not have been much good in dealing with a big fire. My experience in the Land Army was very eventful but I was still very glad when the war came to an end and I was “demobbed”.

Betty Charles

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This article was published in “Hanes”, a quarterly magazine of the Skewen & District Historical Society

We are very grateful to Brian Charles for allowing us to reproduce the reminiscence by his mother Betty Charles and providing the accompanying photograph.

Also many thanks to Anne Morgan, Chair and the Committee of the Skewen & District Historical Society.

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The present owners of the “forestry house” mentioned in the article, (still known locally in Resolven as ‘Mr Smith’s House’) are Carol Wilshire and her husband. Carol is a member of The Skewen & District Historical Society and we thank her for showing us this article.

In Betty Charles’s article she mentions “……..Another day I had to walk up to the top of the mountain where there was a plateau where new trees had been planted which were about a foot high.……. “

The following photographs are of recent tree harvesting by Natural Resources Wales and are probably some of the trees mentioned by Betty Charles.

Photo’ taken 29 May 2020
Photo’ taken 30 May 2020
The same location as the previous photograph
Modern Machinery used instead of Man/Woman Power

According to Natural Resources Wales ‘the Neath Valley forest amounts to 2,806 Hectares’ (1 Hectare = 2.47 Acres) and the ‘Rheola Forest section is located on the North West densely forested valley side which descends from Sarn Helen Roman Road to the old A465 in the valley bottom.’

Four Photographs by Hugh Lewis

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Temporary Bus Shuttle Service

Resolven Canal Event

At Ty Bank, Resolven Canal

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Memories of Resolven Library ~ Circa 2005

RESOLVEN LIBRARY ~ {CIRCA 2005}

Pat, Mair and Sandra are Librarians of the highest degree

Before you have time to select a book – they’ve brought one for you to see…

Their library is a place of excellence, it’s clean, cosy and bright

With a clutch of computers and shelves of books to feed modern intellect that’s right….

.

There’s always a cheerful welcome, no matter how busy they may be

With a classroom of children and teachers, there’s time for a smile for me

It’s usually busy each weekday, there’s always some exhibition on view

A photographic, historical, delightful scenes of interest to me and you……

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I enjoy my visits to the library, to introduce my Grandchildren to books

And on those dark wet winter evenings, curl up in a cosy nook….

Those poems by Rudyard Kipling, to stimulate the deep recesses of the mind

Biographies of the great composers whose contribution had enriched mankind…

.

I love to read, study and remember, making up for years of lost time,

I’m truly grateful to the ‘Ladies of the Library’ for their contribution, and being most kind

So, do join us in our search for understanding, it’s well worth to pop along inside

Find a book that will stimulate your interest, even the ebb and flow of Swansea’s tide….

.

Time and tide waits, they say, for no man, there’s a need to be geographically aligned

With wisdom, knowledge and patience to meet the demands of modern times

Three cheers for Resolven Library, it’s a meeting place, a ‘rendezvous’

Where friends and family communicate, just as we ought to do.

Brynmor Morgan

{1931 ~ 2019}

Tŷ Gwyn

Resolven

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Road Closure Notice

CLYNE AND MELINCOURT COMMUNITY COUNCIL

B4434 Closure New Road Tonna

 17th August for 5 Days

Please note this road will be closed to all traffic

Commuters in Clyne and Melincourt, will have to travel to Resolven to connect with the A465

 The actual site is located on the bends approaching Tonna and the workmen could not work safely without complete road closure during the 5 days except for emergency vehicles. The closure will be during the hours of 8 – 17 daily. The road will be open outside those hours.

  For more information on bus passenger transport: Contact

 NPT Cllr Dean Lewis 07854 424162

 Keith Thomas 07577 644435/711000

NPT Council for Voluntary Services Information & HOT JAM

Information supplied by Carys Miles

Principal Officer Development

Neath Port Talbot Council for Voluntary Services

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There is no charge to take part

Andy Mulligan

Hot Jam

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Carriageway Surface Dressing -Abergarwed

Information on road works from NPT Council

We are scheduled to be carrying out Surface Dressing Carriageway works on the B4242 Neath Road, Abergarwed with the programme expected to commence on the 01.08.2020 for four days pending weather and plant breakdowns.

The first two days 01.08.2020 – 02.08.2020 will consist of applying the first coat of bitumen and chippings, after an initial sweep the contractor will return to apply the ‘seal’ part of the treatment on the 05.08 & 06.08 which is an emulsion spray that goes onto the first coat to lock in the chippings, this is usually a very fast process and is usually drivable on after around 30 minutes (weather temperature dependent).

The works will be under stop/go traffic management and delays should be expected/anticipate.

Neath Road, Abergarwed

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Children’s Playground Open today

The children’s playground in Resolven Park is open today. Hooray! Hooray

Village Lockdown Stories

The corona virus lockdown hasn’t been a pleasure as I am sure we all agree but just because adversity comes our way it hasn’t stopped Resolven making the best of a bad thing. So many negatives have dominated our way of living and loving life it’s sometimes been difficult to see a silver lining but there have been many. Community spirit came to the fore when so many local residents offered their help to those who were shielding and staying home as recommended — doing shopping, delivering essential supplies and generally supporting anyone who needed it. This has been prevalent throughout and that includes the local businesses that kept supplies stocked and did doorstep deliveries to so many households. Flour was in short supply mainly because the bakers among us made treats for NHS and keyworkers as well as for friends and neighbours. Where the taste buds benefitted from such delights, the waistlines have all probably suffered but for good reason..

 A Facebook page connected over 300 likeminded people who were always there to provide any help required and was a great success. The support shown towards the NHS and careworkers was inspiring and the clapping on the doorsteps each Thursday was quite astounding. We lit up windows with blue lights, decorated our windows with rainbows and a feeling of unity was all around.

THE WELFARE HALL LIT UP FOR THE NHS

There were moments of negativity and frustration and a lot of ‘fed up’ days but as a whole Resolven has stepped up and stayed in and stayed safe. The virus was kept at bay locally with very few reported cases and we felt both relieved and fortunate.

Working from home was a new experience for those able to comply and the word ‘keyworkers ‘ showed who it was keep the country moving and working .

Home schooling gave us all a new perspective on how teachers should be applauded and appreciated.

The silver linings had to be looked for but they were there. The internet played a huge part in keeping us all connected not only to our nearest and dearest but there were quizzes, music concerts from homes, online dance classes, video exercises, church and chapel services, video group chats and lots of photos through social media outlets that kept everyone up to date and most of the time amused with what was going on indoors and in gardens all over the village and new friendships were formed.

Walking became the main pastime and it reminded us of how blessed we are to live in an area that offers so many walking and cycling opportunities, with beautiful scenery. the lack of traffic and the sudden slowing down of life gave us chance to appreciate our surroundings in a way we hadn’t had the chance to for years .

Nant y Gleisiad Brook
THE RIVER
Wild flowers

Street parties with social distancing were organised for the 75th anniversary of VE Day where it was possible to party outdoors keeping social distancing and where that wasn’t possible family garden parties in the glorious sunshine. Flags and bunting decorated the whole village

V.E. Day Garden Party

Ynysfawr avenue continued the VE day success with street bingo and even organised live music to keep up moral, and Ynysfach Avenue followed suit.

Birthdays were celebrated in gardens and via zoom conference calls as were wedding anniversaries so nobody missed a celebration.

As the weeks ticked by it stepped up a notch. The ukulele band known as the Indonesian Architects who practice at the Welfare Hall decided it was time to go on tour and played on the streets of Resolven to much acclaim and continue to do so when the weather permits.

Resolven AFC ordered new training tops with NHS logo that raised money for NHS charities doing their bit to show their support of the Health Service.

The carnival was cancelled but the ladies from the Welfare repeated last years successful painted rocks and created a rock hunt that children could search for on walks with their parents to make a stone snake on school road for all to view . So far there are over a 100 stones in the snake and its still forming. Mr. Morgan the headmaster of ynysfach primary has generously agreed to display the rocks on school property when they reopen in September.

PAINTED STONES

HIDING ST0NES IN THE RAIN

Local crafter Amanda Williams has created a magical fairy trail sited on the canal path that has enthralled not only so many little ones but their parents too and will hopefully be a lasting attraction that can be enjoyed by both locals and visitors to the wonderful tourist area that is the Neath Tennant canal. This in turn will encourage people to take the opportunity to hire canoes and visit Ty banc for ice cream or a coffee whilst enjoying the wonderful scenery on offer.

THE FAIRY TRAIL

ALONG THE CANAL

As lockdown is coming to a gradual close, the rugby club have opened their fields and club so we can begin to socialise slowly and safely once again and even though social distancing is still important its giving us the opportunity to come out of lockdown and begin to meet up again be together a bit more giving us a taste of the ‘new normal’ we all speak about.

From the very start Resolven community council and our NPTC councillor Dean Lewis have been on hand to provide regular information and support to all going above and beyond their normal remit answering the call whenever it was needed  for which we can all be grateful .

I am sure there was much more that could be mentioned so please send us your lockdown stories so we can share the smiles.

REPORT by DIANE SIMS

‘Indonesian Architects’ (Resolven Ukelele Group)

With the easing of Lockdown now continuing, in what has been the strangest and most challenging of times, it was enlightening and heartening to hear that the ‘Indonesian Architects’ (otherwise known as the Resolven Ukelele Band) have been  performing in different street locations around the village for the past month. (weather permitting).

They are a group of local enthusiastic musical players who have joined together, along with their different instruments, albeit with a strong leaning towards the Ukelele, (which seems to have become a fashionable instrument these days).  They are mainly from Resolven but have welcomed other members from Neath, Cwmgwrach and the Dulais Valley.

Unfortunately, due to the current Coronavirus restrictions, they are somewhat depleted and consist of only Resolven locals at present.

On Saturday, 11th July, with the weather fine and warm, we made our way to Williams Avenue, the street chosen by the Indonesian Architects to give their latest outdoor performance.

Word had obviously got around as there were several groups ready and waiting, having brought chairs and refreshments for this afternoon treat.

It was a very pleasant and enjoyable way to spend an afternoon in the company of this talented group who played well known sing-a-long songs and were clearly enjoying themselves too, as well as providing a great afternoon for all those listening.

As residents we thank you for the giving of your time and providing an occasion for the community of Resolven to enjoy being together in these unprecedented times.  It is also worthy of note that their successfully entertaining performances are given completely free of charge.

We understand that next week, on Saturday, 18th July around 4pm weather permitting, they will be performing at Rheola Avenue/Rugby Road.

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End of an Era

Our RDN photographer, Mike Davies, took these “before and after ” pictures of Clun Primary School-the latest image this week during demolition

The school opened it’s gates in1896 and the last home-time bell was rung there in July 2015. It was known as Clyne school until the name was changed to Clun Primary school in 1983.

Clos yr Ysgol, a housing development for 2, 3 bedroom houses and bungalows is being built on the site of the old school

All the pupils on their last day at a much loved school

Sardis-Message for 5th July from Pastor Fortunato Santos

Hello everyone’

I trust you are well and enjoying fellowship with the Lord.

This coming Sunday we are going to have Communion together. So, please have bread and wine at hand.

God bless you greatly.

C Message 15 – Matthew 13:44-46

In Matthew chapter 13 there are many references about what the ‘Kingdom of Heaven is like’. It is worth reading the whole chapter to learn the comparisons Jesus made. In verse 11 ‘The secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven’, in verse 24 ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field’, in verse 31 ‘the Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed’, in verse 33 ‘the Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast’ in verse 47 ‘the Kingdom of Heaven is like a net’. Today we are going to be looking at verses 44-46 ‘the Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field and like a merchant looking for fine pearls’.

There is a very good Christian booked called ‘Jungle Pilot’ and it tells the story of 5 American missionaries who went to Ecuador as missionaries and were killed by some tribal people. Jim Elliot  said a beautiful phrase ‘ It is no fool the one who gives away what he cannot keep to gain what one cannot lose’.

The Kingdom of Heaven is the most precious thing you will ever find. The Kingdom of Heaven is not just when we die and go to heaven, it is the principles of Jesus teaching being applied into our lives this very day. Once we have a better understanding of the Kingdom of Heaven, we will invest all of our energies in seeing it growing and prospering among mankind. I have met many people who have sacrificed careers, social position for the good of the Kingdom of Heaven. The Lord Jesus compares it with someone who finds a treasure in the field and sells everything he had to buy the field and then to own the treasure. Once we find the reality of the principles of the Kingdom of Heaven and we become convinced of its beauty we will not be afraid of investing in the Kingdom of Heaven. As any other Kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven has principles the subjects live their lives by. Just a few examples of the Kingdom of Heaven… ‘pray for those who persecute you’, ‘forgive as your Heavenly Father has forgiven you’, ‘do not worry about tomorrow’, ‘it is better to give than to receive’ etc. To be part of a Kingdom with such wonderful principles is an amazing thing. We must understand to be a Christian is not just having our sins forgiven, there is much more to be entitled to. We become part of a new Kingdom with principles different to the ones we are used to. The principles of the Kingdom of Heaven are healthy and promote the wellbeing of those who belong to it. It is a fallacy to think the Kingdom of Heaven starts when we die and then we go to Paradise. This is another facet of the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of Heaven starts when we accept Christ as our Saviour and Lord, and willing to start to live our lives by the principles of His Kingdom where He is the King. We see how valuable the Kingdom of Heaven is that we will be willing to do anything to promote it. The Kingdom of Heaven is priceless. People are willing to do whatever they can in order to gain the Kingdom of Heaven.

All of us we used to belong to the kingdom of darkness. We have been transported into the Kingdom of His marvellous light. The darkness can be very thick and intense in the kingdom of darkness. When we read the newspapers or hear the news of the TV it is shocking to see the wickedness in people’s hearts. There is no consideration for others and people will go out of their way not just to cause trouble but to cause destructions to others. It is truly horrifying what people can do to people. Once we have belonged to that Kingdom too. We can truly argue that we did not do such evil things or even approve of them and I believe what you are saying. Nonetheless, before we came under the Lordship of Christ we belonged to a kingdom where the rules were contrary to the teachings of Christ. We lived in the kingdom of darkness until we crossed over to the Kingdom of God. We call this conversion.

Now that we belong to a new kingdom with a different King and rules we need to learn to live and adapt into, social habitat of this new kingdom can truly prove to be a real challenge. We are living in a world where the majority of people do not live by the principles of the Kingdom of Heaven and even oppose  them. We need to learn to be in the world and not be part of it. We cannot do it in our strength and we truly need the King to aid us in our strife. However, once we have being liberated from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Heaven we give it such a value that we are willing to do anything in our strength to gain it. The Kingdom of Heaven becomes the most important thing in our lives. God bless

Today we are going to have Communion together.

You will need to have before you bread and wine (Ribena or  just water).

Read I Corinthians 11: 23-26 and then ask the Lord to forgive your sins.

Give God thanks for giving us Jesus who died for us and then eat the bread. Give God thanks for the blood of Jesus who washes away our sins and then drink the wine