Sunday reflection

Reflection on Bible Sunday and marriage registration.
Jesus said to (the blind beggar), “Go, your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way. St. Mark 10:46-52.

“We must come together…..and be the light that refuses to be cowed by the darkness.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, preaching after the murder of Sir David Amess. 
In today’s Gospel, Jesus stops to answer the call of Bartimaeus, a blind beggar sitting by the roadside. At first, those with Bartimaeus urge him to be quiet, but when Jesus calls him, they then change their minds and tell him to get to his feet. When Jesus asks him what he wants, the blind man requests his sight – and Jesus tells him that his faith has healed him. Bartimaeus finds his sight restored but, instead of returning to his usual way of life, then follows Jesus on the way. Perhaps there are events or people we meet today about which we also need to change our minds or lifestyles, although we don’t always notice them: “There are many people sitting at the side of the road, shouting to us to have pity on them, but they often shout in strange ways: by behaving badly in the classroom; by taking drugs and alcohol; by sulking, remaining silent or locked up in their rooms; sometimes by insisting that they are happy to be at the side of the road while others pass by. Like Jesus, we need to stop… that we can hear them express their deep longing to have their sight restored to them.” – Theologian Michel de Verteuil.
However, it’s not just a matter of seeing and hearing but taking action, too. For some years now, various changes have been asked for in the registration of marriages, not least because the name and occupation of the father was noted but not the mother of those getting married. Those changes have now been enacted and, at a wedding here yesterday, history was made at St Melangell’s when the names and occupations of both fathers and mothers were recorded on the new marriage document that is being used. This was also the first time that, due to the changes ongoing in the Church in Wales, a Special Licence was needed from the Archbishop of Canterbury in order to be married at St Melangell’s – a Special Licence for a special couple and a special place. 
The change from a paper based system of registration by the clergy – who were termed Clerks in Holy Orders because of this – to an electronic system registered by the Local Registration Office is a profound one. As I completed the marriage document for the first time, having used the previous system for 31 years, there were a couple of points to be checked with the Archdeacon for clarity. However, it is now clear that the previous system is no longer appropriate in light of the changes that are needed for life today when it is expected that women as well as men will be made visible in the records that had previously excluded them. As was said yesterday, “How on earth has it taken so long for this to happen?”
As we look back on the traditions and systems that have brought us to this turning point, Psalm 119:105 reminds us this Bible Sunday that God’s word is a lamp to our feet and a light for our path. In reflecting on the Gospel today, perhaps we have been literally or inwardly blind to some of the things that need to change or are unable to see, like Bartimaeus, until faith brings healing. If Jesus asked you today what you want him to do for you, what would you ask for?
With my prayers; pob bendith,
Christine, Guardian.

Bishop Gregory’s Pastoral Letter


A Pastoral Letter for the Teulu Asaph from the bishop: October 2021  

One of my very favourite poems is by George Herbert, the seventeenth century Anglican theologian and minister. Entitled “Love (III)”, it is for me an interpretation of the very heart of the Gospel – the Good News that we as Christians are called upon to proclaim.

LOVE bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,

Guilty of dust and sin.

But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack

From my first entrance in, Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning

If I lack’d anything.

‘A guest,’ I answer’d, ‘worthy to be here:’

Love said, ‘You shall be he.’

‘I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,

I cannot look on Thee.’

Love took my hand and smiling did reply,

‘Who made the eyes but I?’

‘Truth, Lord; but I have marr’d them: let my shame

Go where it doth deserve.’

‘And know you not,’ says Love, ‘Who bore the blame?’

‘My dear, then I will serve.’

‘You must sit down,’ says Love, ‘and taste my meat.’

So I did sit and eat.

Jesus himself spoke about the Kingdom of God as a banquet, a great party, which God would hold at the end of this world, and which would inaugurate the next. In Herbert’s poem, Love (God himself) invites us to this heavenly feast.

However, as set out in Scripture, there is a problem, what theologians name our inherent “sinfulness”. In other words, a flaw at the heart of our being makes every single one of us less than perfect, unqualified for heaven. The subject of the poem – the “I” – knows the problem: he has marred the divine image in his life and he is “guilty of dust and sin”, so that shame (what we might call repentance) will not let him enter the feast.

Yet, where the Bible identifies the problem, the Bible also reveals a solution: “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, so that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3.16). In the poem, Love takes on the sin and shame of the world: “Who bore the blame?” It is a reference to God’s sacrifice of himself in Jesus upon the cross, where God takes on himself all the pain, fault and cost of human failure (Colossians 2.13,14), and pays the price of salvation, the price of entry into the feast. To pray this poem, and make it our own, is to be a Christian.

The Church’s central purpose is to live into this promise, and to invite others to live into it as well. God longs for us to attend an eternal feast that none of us are qualified to enter, but by his love and grace, by his sacrifice, the way is made open, if we will but accept that the price is paid. It is this exchange which is at the heart of the Gospel, the good news of salvation: it is what salvation means, and it is reflected throughout the New Testament as a description of God’s action in Jesus. “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4.10) “If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8.31). What greater invitation could there be?

As we come out of lockdown, and enter again into our mission, which is the purpose for which God sends us into the world, let us remember that the proclamation of reconciliation through the Cross is the heart of everything we believe and do. This is the Gospel of the Lord, and throwing the doors of our hearts wide open to Jesus is the one action, above all else, to which we are called.

Bishop Gregory

Sunday reflection

Reflection for the Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity.

”Many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.” Jesus, in Mark 10:17-31.

”Daisies are our silver, buttercups our gold

This is all the treasure we can have or hold.” Children’s hymn by Jan Struther.

It’s timely that, as energy and fuel prices escalate, the £20 uplift is removed from universal credit and the cost of living is becoming a concern for many, this week’s Gospel concerns a rich man asking what he must do to inherit eternal life. The unnamed man calls Jesus the Good Teacher and is told off by him as practising Jews name only God as good. At this stage, the man has not divulged that he is wealthy but perhaps his clothing or manner made this obvious because Jesus then reminds him of the commandments that deal with other people and instead of You shall not covet substitutes You shall not defraud (10:19). A rich man might not need actually to covet because he already has so much but could perhaps be tempted to increase his wealth by robbing in other ways as the actions of many scammers and loan sharks today show.
In the time of Jesus, wealth was seen as a sign of God’s favour and the prosperity Gospel is still based on this, especially in America. To some extent it’s true – for example, Quakers were known for their hard work and could be trusted, which made people want to do business with them. Living simply, Quakers then became wealthy and so banks such as Lloyd’s and Barclay’s or manufacturers like Rowntree, Fry, Cadbury and Clark shoes prospered. Nor is there anything wrong with money in itself: one of the most frequently quoted verses in the Bible suggests that money is the root of all evil, whereas actually it’s The love of money is the root of all evil. (1 Tim. 6:10.) Money can do a great deal of good when it is used to help others and, as currently it’s being suggested that some of the poorest people may not be able to afford both food and fuel this winter, industry is also paying the price with some energy suppliers, factories and businesses already closing down. All this in a country which is so wealthy compared to many others. 
However, the rich man’s question is not about lifestyle. He asks what he must do to 
inherit eternal life and, for anyone to be able to inherit, usually a death has occurred. Inheritance often involves a family and Jesus’ uncompromising reply to the man makes it clear that he is inviting him to have spiritual treasure in heaven through redistributing what he has to the poor and following him. The man would be joining a different family, the household of God, through Jesus and his teaching, but it’s too much for him: “He was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.” (10:22) Significantly, Jesus did not go after him, but gave him freedom to live by the choice he made. What the rich man did is in contrast to the heritage here, where the wealthy Prince Brochwel so generously gave this part of the valley freely to Melangell and an abbey was established, leading to the tradition of sanctuary, healing and hospitality which still flourishes today. 
All this is a costly business both spiritually and practically and there is no such thing as cheap grace, as the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote. But as the economics of life today become more complex in addition to issues such as the pandemic, pollution and climate change, before all of us are stark choices about lifestyle and the consequences of it now for those who will inherit the stewardship of creation long after we are gone. If, as Jan Struther suggests, creation is to be treasured then pray for COP26 – all previous targets the leaders of the nations set themselves have not been met. Will future ones?
Those leaders – and each of us, no matter what our circumstances – will have chances to make a difference to the lives of other people as well as ourselves. That matters as, like the rich man, we also have freedom to live by the choices we make and the possibility of a change of heart. For now. 
Did the rich man change his mind later? Were the words of Jesus mulled over for a delayed response? Mark tells us that, nevertheless, Jesus loved him and it may be that we find ourselves, for all sorts of reasons, also unable to respond to something being asked of us. It’s never too late but it’s so easy to keep God and our neighbour waiting or at a distance rather than respond now to that love that is richer than gold………. better than splendour and wealth.” Estelle White.
With my prayers; pob bendith,
Christine, Guardian.

Harvest festival reflection

Reflection for Harvest Festival
”Do not worry about your life….. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” Jesus in today’s Gospel Mark 6:25-33.

‘Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home!

All is safely gathered in ‘ere the winter storms begin.’ Henry Alford’s harvest hymn.
There’s an irony in singing some of the traditional hymns this year as Harvest Festival is celebrated today. Although the weather has often been helpful and the yields are mainly good, all is not safely gathered in due to a lack of labour, supply or drivers. As has been evident this week, there are empty shelves in the supermarkets and many garages still haven’t had deliveries of fuel although there is plenty of it. Brexit, Covid-19 and changes in work practices have had a marked effect worldwide as well as in the UK, causing Chancellor Rishi Sunak to suggest that the food shortages could be in place for many months yet. It’s still only autumn and already the storm clouds are gathering as suggestions of a winter of discontent begin to circulate, regardless of the winter storms of which Alford writes.
That’s why it’s important to hear again Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel. He reminds his followers that life is about much more than food and clothing and that worry will not help matters. What’s been clear this week is that anxieties about food and fuel supplies have been ratcheted up by suggestions of panic buying, thus bringing about the very thing that is feared. Jesus’ words are in stark contrast to this – seek first the kingdom of God, he says, and all these things will be given to you. 
Today, the harvest gifts at St Melangell’s will go to the local food bank to be shared with the growing numbers who need this support so that, in conjunction with other agencies, food and resources can be shared with those in need rather than stockpiled by those who have much. In that is hope for the future as well as practical support now, in contrast to the challenges of recent times when it’s understandable that some people have become worried and fearful. Whatever the situation, each of us can respond to the need around us now and the final verse of Alford’s hymn reminds us that the future hope is that, in the end, “all (WILL) be safely gathered in, free from sorrow, free from sin’. 

Meanwhile, in the words of Lance Corporal Jones of Dad’s Army, “Don’t panic!” 

With my prayers; pob bendith,
Christine, Guardian.

Sunday reflection

“Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”

“Do not stop him,” Jesus said. From Mark 9:38-50, today’s Gospel.
“You know full well that death and evil are what I hate. And whether you like it or not, we are together in the fight against them.” From The Plague by Albert Camus.

The disciple John was the brother of James and both were known as the Sons of Thunder, a revealing nickname suggesting stormy personalities. John certainly sounds tempestuous in the way he orders the unnamed person to stop healing in the name of Jesus but his complaint is because he’s not one of ‘us’. He probably expects that Jesus will be pleased about what he’s done but that’s not the case. Jesus always asked people to “Follow me”, not us, and he tells John not to forbid the exorcist because he is doing a mighty work, in the name of Jesus. 

John’s attitude may stem from the earlier failure of the disciples to exorcise a boy (9:14-29) and this must have been a confusing time for the disciples as they try to come to terms with all that’s happening and the contrast with what Jesus is teaching them. Just as John tries to exclude, Jesus includes and shows this in his lifestyle too as he mingles with tax collectors, lepers, children and those with whom a practising Jew would normally not mix. In telling John, “Whoever is not against us is on our side,” Jesus recognises the importance of tolerance and acceptance – qualities which are much needed today, too. 
With the consequences of Brexit and the pandemic, it’s easy to see the cost and benefit of separation and division as well as the cooperation and sharing that has developed. Having had to leave the UK, temporary visas are now to be issued to up to 10,500 European lorry drivers and poultry workers to overcome the problems with petrol delivery and food supplies –  but will they want to return?
The above words from Camus’ The Plague are said by Dr Rieux, an atheist, to the priest Fr Paneloux, after both had seen a young child die terribly. Rieux recognises that, although they hold different beliefs, both are united in the challenge facing them and the battle that lies ahead. So it is for us with our differing circumstances and beliefs as we face the worldwide, national and personal struggle against sickness, death and evil. Perhaps, Iike John, there are people we may have tried to exclude – or have been excluded by – who could and should be included in the ongoing plans and hopes? 
With my prayers; pob bendith,
Christine, Guardian.

Sunday reflection

“What were you arguing about on the way?” Jesus, in Mark 9:30-37, NRSV.
“I am a realist – but without hope there is nothing.” Rob Burrow, on being offered the trial of a new American wonder drug for the Motor Neurone Disease he is battling.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus and his followers have now come to Galilee, his home ground and familiar territory. This is where Jesus first called his disciples (Matt.1:16-20) and where he will spend his last moments on earth with them (Matt.28:16). He is spending his time teaching his disciples what lies ahead but they are struggling to understand what he’s saying and also afraid to ask him about it. Jesus tells them that he is going to be betrayed, that he will be killed and will rise again – this is the second of three times in Mark’s gospel when Jesus speaks of suffering, death and resurrection. No wonder, after so many miracles and such large crowds, the disciples find this hard to accept – there is such a chasm between what they anticipate and what Jesus is predicting. As they travel, the disciples distract themselves by arguing which of them is the greatest and, when they arrive at Capernaum, they fall silent when Jesus asks them what they have been arguing about. 
Jesus then calls the twelve to him and sits down, assuming the traditional posture of a rabbi when teaching. Although in his day children had little status, Jesus then calls a young child to him and takes the child his arms – a remarkable thing for a rabbi to do. He tells the disciples that whoever welcomes a child welcomes also Jesus and the One who sent him and this must have been astonishing for them, although it has already taken place with the birth of Jesus as a baby needing human love and care before growing up as a child in Nazareth.
Jesus happens to choose a child but is reminding his followers that all those of low status are to be welcomed, including the homeless, stateless, orphans, unwell, hungry…… In light of ongoing situations today such as the exodus from Afghanistan, the changing circumstances for those who remain and the worldwide consequences of the pandemic, do we accept those who come seeking welcome today? There is much to consider in what Jesus says whilst rising food costs, the increase in energy prices, climate change, the problems with the supply chain and the ongoing issues with Covid-19 mean that his words are as relevant now and that he challenges us today as well as his disciples then. 
As we consider all this, it’s easy to become distracted like those first disciples. Despite the huge challenges before us all – and after dire predictions about what might lie ahead about which there is much disagreement – the National Economic Recovery Taskforce has already been dubbed the Committee to Save Christmas. The huge changes being faced at the moment are about much more than a shortage of carbon dioxide affecting the provision of turkeys for Christmas meals – but it’s certainly possible to focus on that and the early panic buying of Christmas presents and supplies as a distraction. There is so much to consider: who are the unexpected ones of our day that we need to welcome and what might astonish and challenge us as we consider the practical realities of faith today? As Rob Burrows bravely states, without hope there is nothing – in the midst of so much disagreement and confusion, where might that hope lie?
With my prayers; pob bendith,
Christine, Guardian.

Sunday Reflection

”Who do people say that I am?…But who do you say that I am?” Jesus, in Mark 8:27-38.
“You’re even better than your dad thought!” Ian Raducanu to his daughter, Emma.
It’s good to be able to resume the weekly reflections after being unwell and I am so thankful for all the kind messages and prayers on the website that brought such encouragement at so difficult a time. My profound thanks to all who wrote and have given me a greater understanding of just what a difference prayer and expressions of goodwill can bring. 
That was also visible in contrasting ways in New York this weekend with the service for the twentieth anniversary of the atrocity at the World Trade Centre and the success of Emma Raducanu in winning the US Open at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queen’s. International messages of support and remembrance clearly showed that all those who had died in so terrible a way in the 9.11 disaster and since in Afghanistan are not forgotten, just as the many comments about the two young tennis finalists underlined that their dedication and hard work brought hope for the future as well as their current achievement in getting to the final as teenagers. Emma said that she would frame the encouraging message sent to her from the Queen as it meant so much to her and she has earned for herself not only a great deal of money but also the unofficial tennis title of Queen of Queens.
That has a Biblical resonance too, where Jesus is called King of kings by Timothy in his first Epistle (6:15). In the Gospel reading today, Jesus has taken his followers to Caesarea Philippi, away from Jerusalem and into Roman and Gentile territory. Much of Mark’s gospel until now has been concerned with miracles and healings – there has been much speculation about Jesus, who has brought sight to a blind man just before he asks the disciples who people say he is. They suggest John the Baptist, Elijah or one of the prophets but when Jesus asks them who they think he is, Peter then calls him the Messiah. Like the blind man, his eyes have been opened – but not fully, as Jesus then rebukes Peter when he argues about the suffering that must later happen. Jesus even calls him Satan for not accepting God’s will. How hard and confusing this must have been, not only for Peter and the disciples but for Jesus, too, as he works out who he is and what God is asking of him. 
Times like that can be hard for all of us, as we grapple with who we are, what is being asked of us and what we can do to increase hope and goodwill in the world as it is today. But the willingness of Jesus to persevere in adversity through suffering to a new way of being at his resurrection shows us what humanity can be capable of when inspired by love, violence, rebuke or hope. No matter how old we are perhaps, like Emma Raducanu who struggled at Wimbledon and had to withdraw, we are capable of being or becoming even better than those encouraging us thought possible at the time – or we ourselves think possible now?
With my prayers and thankfulness for the encouragement sent to me; pob bendith,
Christine, Guardian.

Sunday reflection

Reflection – Mary

“My soul magnifies the Lord and my sprit rejoices in God my Saviour.” 
Mary, in the Magnificat, Luke 1:46-55, RSV.
”We know the scene: the room, variously furnished, almost always a lectern, a book; always the tall lily…. the angelic ambassador, standing or hovering, whom she acknowledges, a guest.” From “Annunciation” by Denise Levertov.
Today, Mary the mother of Jesus is the focus of the Lectionary and the Gospel is her great hymn of praise, the Magnificat. Mary utters this when she visits her relative Elizabeth following the visitation of the Archangel Gabriel who brings the news that she is to give birth to Jesus. Her song is closely linked to that of Hannah in 1 Samuel 2:1-10, both women rejoicing at the birth of an unexpected child, and much is often made of Mary’s gracious acceptance of this, even though the pregnancy would bring shame upon her in those days as an unmarried mother. Part of Denise Levertov’s poem “Annunciation” follows and, as she writes, like Mary there are times for all of us when we may have the option of choosing light or storm, hard as those decisions may be when an annunciation or news of some kind is welcomed or resisted in our lives. 
Looking back, what choices were made at those times? If it was not possible then to be graciously accepting like Mary, does the passage of time mean that we can now praise and magnify God for them?
With my prayers; pob bendith,
Christine, Guardian.
From ‘Annunciation’.
“We are told of meek obedience. No-one mentions 


God waited.
She was free
To accept or to refuse, choice 
integral to humanness.
Aren’t there annunciations 
of one sort or another
in most lives? 
                        Some unwillingly 
undertake great destinies,
enact them in sullen pride,
               More often 
those moments
       when roads of light or storm
       open from darkness in a man or woman,
are turned away from
in dread, in a wave of weakness, in despair
and with relief.
Ordinary lives continue.
                                    God does not smite them.
But the gates close, the pathway vanishes…..
Called to a destiny more momentous
than any in all of Time,
she did not quail, 
                              only asked 
a simple, ‘How can this be?’
and gravely, courteously,
took to heart the angel’s reply,
the astounding ministry she was offered…….
She did not cry, ‘I cannot. I am not worthy,’
Nor, ‘I have not the strength.’
She did not submit with gritted teeth,
                                                             raging, coerced……
               courage unparalleled,
Opened her utterly.”
(C) Denise Levertov.

Sunday reflection

Reflection – Ann Griffiths

“It is written in the Prophets: they will all be taught by God.” Jesus, in John 6:41-51.

‘One of the best guarded secrets of the Island of Britain.’ Canon Donald Allchin, of the hymns of the Welsh poet Ann Griffiths.

This coming week sees the anniversary of Ann Griffiths, whose short life left only seventy stanzas of her poetry, formed into some of the finest Welsh hymns ever written. A rather romanticised picture of Ann hangs in the St Melangell Centre, although no-one knows what she actually looked like, and a photo of it follows this reflection. 
Ann Thomas was born in 1776 on Dolwar Fach farm in Llanfihangel-yng-Ngwynfa near Llanfyllin, not far from Pennant Melangell. Her mother died in 1794, when Ann was 17 -she then ran the household and, with her father’s death in 1804, she and her brother took over the farm. In October that year Ann married John Griffiths, who joined them both there. However, after the birth of their daughter Elizabeth ten months later, Ann died aged only 29, two weeks after their baby was buried – she lived for only 24 days. 

Ann lived in the same farmhouse all her life and it might seem that her outlook would be very limited in those days. However, she lived in an age of great industrial and social change and was thirteen when the French Revolution began, with Britain and France being at war for almost all her adult life. Coaches also regularly ran close by, going from Chester to Aberystwyth, London to Holyhead, Bala to Shrewsbury and Cardiff to Chester – it seems that Llanfihangel residents had better links to public transport then than now! 
Despite her limited circumstances and hard life, Ann was a woman of faith and intellect. Canon Allchin, so much involved at Pennant Melangell, applied to her these words from a poem by Waldo Williams: ‘Beth yw byw? Cael neuadd fawr Rhwng cyfyng furiau.’
‘What is living? Having a great hall Between narrow walls.’
Who would have thought that a young woman from rural Wales would have written the poem ‘Rhyfedd, rhyfedd gan angylion….’ ‘Wondrous, wondrous to angels….’ which the critic Saunders Lewis called, “One of the majestic songs in the religious poetry of Europe”? Or that one of her hymns would be translated by Rowan Williams and sung at his consecration as Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002?
Part of this translation from Ann’s “Yr Arglwydd Iesu” reads, “Under the dark trees, there he stands, there he stands; shall he not draw my eyes? I thought I knew a little how he compels, beyond all things, but now he stands there in the shadows. It will be Oh, such a daybreak, such bright morning, when I shall wake to see him as he is.” 
It may be that, as we continue to emerge from the shades and gloom of the pandemic, we may glimpse Jesus standing in the shadows because of what’s been experienced in the solitude and isolation that was necessary. Or, that life during the pandemic has taught us many lessons, not least to see things as they really are with having to remove the rose tinted glasses we sometimes prefer to wear. Just as Ann – or Melangell in this valley, or Mary Jones walking 26 miles to Bala to get a Welsh Bible – was not defined or confined by circumstances, so we need not be. What new horizons might develop spiritually for us if, like Ann Griffiths, we look and hope for the bright morning that will surely come? 

With my prayers; pob bendith,
Christine, Guardian.

Sunday reflection


“The crowd…. went to Capernaum in search of Jesus.” From John 6:24-35.

“…the very quality of the air changed. It became thick, charged with the spirit of those whom we loved and who were there with us.” Carolle Doyle, Donkathon participant.
In the Gospel reading today, crowds of people are searching for Jesus, not just for his teaching and healing but also because over five thousand of them had been fed by him with the five barley loaves and two small fish that had been donated by one boy giving up his lunch. These are people who perhaps have no work because they seem able to follow Jesus around and may be hungry because they want more of the actual food he gives them. An act of generosity enabled Jesus to perform this miracle and, without that boy willing to let him have his lunch, the crowd may not have been fed in that way. In just the same way, without Prince Brochwel’s generosity in giving Melangell this part of the valley to build an abbey, her legacy may not have survived in the way it has, feeding people spiritually still to this day.  
Acts of generosity were also at the heart of Donkathon when Polly, Peter, Wizard, Muffin, Blackie the pony and poodle Nelson rolled into Pennant Melangell last Sunday with their grooms, friends and supporters. Time and resources were donated by all those who undertook the journey, lasting over a month, and by those who gave them shelter and food each night. Sponsors, the sharing of stories and the generosity of those who gave money along the way enabled over £40,000 to be raised for Multiple Sclerosis Research, with £352.94 being raised on the day the Donkathon ended at Pennant Melangell. Further acts of generosity meant that the WI loaned their gazebo, with cakes and drinks generously being donated in support of what was happening. In this way, those who came could be fed and anything left over was used by visitors afterwards, enabling their later donations also to go to MS Research.
But this happened on another level too. Carolle Doyle writes of sensing the love of those who have died but were carried in the hearts and thoughts of those taking part in the Donkathon: “St. Melangell’s is my spiritual home and, like many others, I see it as a ‘thin’ place where heaven and earth meet. But as I sat beside my friend, Polly, on the final ‘Donkathon’ mile the very quality of the air changed. It became thick, charged with the spirit of those whom we loved and who were there with us: Peter’s Tessa and Katie who should have overseen this last week and whose scarf was wrapped around the carriage; my Don and my friend Sally, who used to drive my donkey with me, my parents too. All there, all with us as we passed the sign for Pennant Melangell and then the long journey was over and we were surrounded by friends.”

Not only food, journeys and experiences were shared throughout the Donkathon but also lives and love – the bridge between this world and the next. Where people are willing to reach out, seek the welfare of others and make a difference, wonderful things can happen. Jesus showed that, when so many people were fed by a boy’s meal and love multiplied. As Donkathon showed us, that can still happen and the money raised will enable other lives to be touched by that same generosity that is so much needed today. Well done Polly, Peter, Carole and all involved – especially Wizard, Muffin, Blackie and Nelson!  

Pob bendith,