CANON PATRICK’S 88th LETTER

Dear friends,
I was partly drawn to the Church in Wales by a deep fascination with the heroes and
heroines of the sixth century ‘Age of Saints’. For me they have long been a source of
spiritual inspiration (as well as providing material for some of my early books). On the face
of it, for example, St David may seem a rather forbidding character. He liked to pray while
partially immersed in a freezing river, and existed on a diet of water and water-cress which
even the most hard-line modern vegan would find distinctly unattractive.

However, looking more closely at his achievements, we discover someone who has a great
deal to say to the twenty-first century Welsh Christian. During the early stage of his career
St David was constantly on the move, establishing new ‘outposts of the Kingdom of Heaven’
in all sorts of improbable places. He journeyed all over South Wales, as well as crossing to
Ireland, North Devon and Brittany. We hear much talk about ‘mission’ and ‘outreach’ at
present. David didn’t bother with the jargon – he simply got on with the real thing.

The next phase of his ministry involved establishing a community that became a spiritual
power house to which others could come to experience the essentials of Christian living.
‘Community’ is a fashionably cosy buzz-word at the moment, but the sad reality is that
learning to love others as God loves us is extremely demanding and can be very difficult.
Every community contains the potential for conflict: jealousies, rivalries, suspicions, the
small or great irritations that can breed anger and even hatred all easily emerge (St David
himself was nearly murdered by some of his colleagues). Creating a Christian community
involves starting from a realistic view of human nature at its worst, as well as its best.

The culmination of St David’s work was the wisdom expressed during his final years: that
combination of joy even in the most difficult times, Christ-centred faith and those ordinary
extraordinary little things which are the true reflection of God’s loving-kindness. It is a
wonderful sign of hope for our Church’s future that Bishop Joanna, Dean Sarah and
Archdeacon Dorrien are now putting such an emphasis that very special spiritual heritage.

ZOOM SERVICES: Sunday 28 February (ST DAVID/DEWI SANT) 9am ST DAVID’S DAY FAMILY
EUCHARIST (children’s readings); 11yb CYMUN BENDIGAID GŴYL DDEWI (darlleniadau t.241); 5pm
EVENING PRAYER; Wednesday 3 March (ST NON) 10.30am HOLY EUCHARIST (readings
p.290); Thursday 4 March 7pm ‘Holy Habits’ Lent Course; Friday 5 March (‘World Day of
Prayer’) 11am Cymraeg; 2pm English; Sunday 7 March 9am HOLY EUCHARIST (readings,
p.83); 5pm EVENING PRAYER Canon Patrick

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