Johnstown was once a small village close to the county town of Carmarthen, although these days much of it is a very drab and depressing urban sprawl of trading estates, with a little light industry thrown in.
The recession and Carmarthenshire County Council's continuing love affair with retail development elsewhere in the town, which it sees as the answer to all our economic woes, have both taken their toll in Johnstown, now pock-marked with empty buildings and derelict sites. In fact, the council apparently sees Johnstown as a rural community because it has taken to using European Rural Development money to award grants to Towy Community Church and its proposed bowling alley/food bank/furniture recycling/debt counselling/therapy/performing arts centre/church/auditorium in the former St Ivel creamery.
|A rural idyll|
Incidentally, Towy Community Church says that several hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of work have been carried out on the old creamery. Can you spot it?
Now it seems that Towy Community Church could be getting some competition in Johnstown, with the announcement that Bethel Community Church wants to take over the former MFI premises there as it expands its operations.
Whether there is a doctrinal difference between the two churches is hard to say because both seem to believe in pretty much the same brand of evangelical religion.
There is nothing in the announcement or on the church's website to suggest that it will be seeking funding from the county council, although given the generous support shown for Towy Community Church, Bethel Community Church must surely be tempted. They will, however, need planning permission for whatever it is they want to do with the MFI building.
Watch this space.