IN THE STEPS OF ST DAVID?
As I go around the diocese, I am always impressed by the sheer number of churches which are dedicated to the Saints of Wales. It is quite humbling whenever I come to such churches, small and rural as they so often are, and being aware of the ministry and service they represent ever since the days of their original founders. When I do this, I feel that I am indeed treading where the saints have trod.
That feeling on my part will no doubt be reinforced over the next two and a half years, for, God willing ac os byw ac iach, I intend to make my way around the diocese, visiting as many as possible, I hope all of the 340 or so churches which grace St Davids.
Part pastoral, part pilgrimage, part progress, it is intended to be a journey not a formal visitation, and I intend the journey to climax at the Cathedral, site of Dewi’s ministry and service in 2016.
I have of course been in to and celebrated the Eucharist and administered Confirmation, or preached at centenaries and reopening and rededication services in so many of our churches since I came into post in 2008. Moreover, over more years than I care to remember, I have been on antiquarian and archaeological pilgrimage to a great number, given their significance within the overall landscape of Wales, religious, cultural, historical and architectural.
This is a journey, however, not to historic buildings or sites, but to the congregations which give them life today. This journey is really about all of you who worship in our churches, however ancient, however modern, Sunday by Sunday and during the week. It is about the diocese of St Davids and all the good things in discipleship which you have been telling me about over the past five years.
I want to see for myself all the good things which are happening in this large diocese. It is, after all, 80 miles long by eighty miles wide. It is diverse: its three archdeaconries each have a distinctive personality, as have the sixteen deaneries. Indeed, if you consider the new ministry areas which you have seen on the maps and which you have been discussing at various levels over the past few months, they have a distinct relationship to the deaneries: they more often than not correspond to half deaneries. I want see for myself the things I hear that are happening across this far flung diocese of St. Davids
I want you to show me all the good things which you have told me about in the Deanery gatherings, the Clergy Synods and the several last Diocesan Conferences. I want you, the people of God in the diocese of St Davids, to tell me your good news stories, in all their variety, as you live out the kingdom of God in this diocese.
I am starting with the parishes and benefices served by the Area Deans, and by the time my next account appears I shall be well in to the journey and will be reflecting on the impression, the churches, the congregations and the diocese will have made on me.