A quick trip to the UK

We've never really been present at the heart of the life of our wider family. When we married I was already in pastoral ministry (= no weekends) and living a long way from our folk, so when we came to France the situation didn't change all that much. Now we feel fine about leaving things at the weekend and we have more freedom than I think we've ever had, so it was a special joy to spend time with my folks in South Wales.

The occasions were firstly the appointment of my nephew, David, as bishop designate for the see of Bardsey in the diocese of Bangor in North Wales, and my 65th birthday. 

We flew to Manchester because flights to Bristol either left too early or arrived too late to be practical. The journeys were eventful - flights were delayed and trains cancelled, but we got where we needed to be and all was well eventually.

David made history by being the youngest ever bishop in the history of the Church in Wales. I'm never sure whether the history of the Church in Wales stretches back to the first century with the arrival of Christianity in these islands, or to 1920 with the disestablishment of the Church in Wales, but either way he's the youngest at just 37 years old. The appointment was formalised by what is called a "Sacred Synod", a moment inserted into Choral Evensong at St Woolos Cathedral in Newport, where the seven bishops of Wales sat at a table at the front of the church and heard attestations from church lawyers that David's appointment was legally valid, and promises from David to use the forms of worship authorised by law, to be loyal to the Archbishop of Wales and to submit to the courts and discipline of the CinW. This being done we concluded the Choral Evensong and David and his family went off to eat a hot buffet together at a local conference centre.

My birthday was the following day and was marked by a splendid walk to Cefn Onn park, one of my favourite Cardiff haunts, then a family dinner at a local restaurant, the Fynnon Wen. Cefn One is good place for Azaleas, Camellias and Rhododendrons, and April is a good time for them. We bathed ourselves in nature, as we say in France.

It was wonderful to spend time with the family, some of whom we've seen so seldom that we still have trouble with names and faces. We're looking forward to greater freedom for family time in the years ahead.


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