MOUNT Pleasant Church in Pontypool recently welcomed a special visitor- a Yupik Innuit woman from Alaska.

Eleanor Roehl is an ordained minister from New Stuyahok, Alaska, where Mount Pleasant Church is affiliated.

Reverend Victor Owens and representatives from his church make the trip to Alaska every January, and this year invited Ms Roehl to come to Wales and share her culture.

Her visit coincided with a Christian conference hosted by Mount Pleasant Church designed to encourage more visitors to come to Wales.

During her visit, Ms Roehl visited local churches and wore native dress and performed native dances.

Ms Roehl explained that her culture is very interested in the land, nature and people and found similarities between her culture and that of Wales.

Rev Owens said: "People were very interested in her culture and native dress. It was very powerful. Eleanor enjoyed the trip and promised to come back."

Mount Pleasant Church, a Grade II-listed building, was given a new lease of life when it was purchased by Rev Owens, a former police officer, who invested £40,000 of his own money to renovate the church and return it to the community.

He is keen for community groups to make use of the facility and has recently launched it as a new venue for wedding ceremonies.

Mount Pleasant is a free evangelical church, open to all faiths.