William Morgan – Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant

Will Tŷ Mawr, not William Morgan but the former custodian of the house that saw William Morgan (Esgob) to birth: As we sat in his kitchen at Wybrnant he recalls ‘they keep bringing us bibles – what do we want with them here? And I’m, taken to the old parlor where a large cupboard stands; it is full of bibles.  Family bibles, and bibles in all languages.  When Will says he doesn’t want their old bible they often say “Well, what should I do with it then?” To which he would reply “Read it.”  And so it begins. 

“O Deuwch i’r dyfroedd, bob un y mae syched arno, ie, yr hwn nid oes arian ganddo; deuwch, prynwch, a bwytewch; ie, deuwch, prynwch win a llaeth, heb arian, ac heb werth.”  Eseia 55:1 yn ôl y BWM

 

William Morgan. Neither first nor last of his trade

Like a drop in the ocean, the one drop that starts 

the overflow from the Wybrnant to the sea

of the institution, the establishment and yet

Independent at heart.   Time to rise up.

Can any good come out of Penmachno?

Deuwch i’r dyfroedd a gweld.

And the waters continue to flow from the hills into the sea.

 

Those waters overflowed the bowl on our inauguration day – Bro Gwydyr Ministry Area of the forest, rivers, valleys and hills.  The waters we poured into a bowl, brought and poured by members of each community, overflowed and tumbled to the ground symbolic of the overflowing grace poured out for us, for our communities laid up by those on whose shoulders we stood that day at Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant reading from the book in the language of the common folk. A language set down creates a new beginning and a new place of departure.  A humble beginning. But what beginning is not.  And so we walk humbly in pilgrimage each year from St. Tudclud, sacred home of ancient stones to wybrnant, nestled in the quiet valley between Penmachno and Dolwyddelan a place of birth, of baptism for us for William Morgan whose name would become an icon behind which the people of Cymru would rally. Icon of independence, language, culture, society.  With the language they (the monarchy) tried to break and tame those difficult folk in the west, yet the poetic language of the William Morgan bible became the call to rise to stand apart, we will not conform. The establishment always underestimated, always, what a bible could do in the language finally understood of its hearers a book heady with dissent with liberation for those who are oppressed and the Cymru heard the voice of salvation in their mother tongue and rallied to its cry.  They say it began the revolution, but the real moment, the catalyst: a cross, generations before had waited out its revelation.  Morgan’s contribution of the saying of the sages and the wisdom of the prophets laid bare for all to read and hear.  No longer cloaked in a hidden language, now voiced as a new birth, as an overflowing of the waters.

A Sanctuary and a Light

header_47Church Hostel Bangor is up for sale.  aka The Anglican Chaplaincy, more affectionately: AngChap or simply for those of us who lived and worked there ‘home from home’.

We were always walking a tightrope whilst juggling the twin identities of this place, Hostel and Chaplaincy.  Whether doing the accounts and applying for money, or justifying the existence of either to churches and dioceses.  We created an intentional community taking 25 or so students, throwing them together in a building attempting to create some form of community for a year.  Some years it worked better than others.

I’ve never been fond of church buildings in general because once established it is very difficult to let them go when they are no longer needed!  Hence the title of the book “Beyond these walls”. Though it is useful to have a place from which to come and go.  AngChap served that purpose well.  I was, however, surprised at the level of emotion welling up when I heard the news that Church Hostel was up for sale.  Hostel and Chaplaincy have for a number of years taken separate journeys in Bangor.  So as Hostel it was Sanctuary.  A home, a place of welcome and of hospitality.  Often with rather wild parties, gatherings and events.  Much like any other student accommodation I imagine.  This was met with Chaplaincy, which offered the Light (to lighten the gentiles).  It was indeed a place to come and go from.  A Sanctuary and a Light.  This twin purpose is perhaps the reason for the emotion.  For it is always in the relationships with others that such memories are formed.  The building for a time was, perhaps, a thin place.  But it was those who gathered there who made it so.  Gathered and scattered, more often than not scattered.  Though we often began at AngChap, we found ourselves around the world in that community.  Sent out to far and near for new experiences and challenges.  To discover new places and meet new folk.  To gather stories and return to tell others.  Every memory comes with people in mind, for it was the folk who gathered who made it what it was, who marked it out as special.  It was a place which spoke of, as the plaque in peace garden testifies, “The Love which moves the Sun and the other stars.”

bbq008I always remember one line from my dissertation written on Chaplaincy.  It was from another chaplain who did not have a building to work from.  He wrote that chaplaincy for them was ‘Abramic’.  One pitches ones tent wherever it is needed.  Perhaps then the tent will be re-pitched and one hopes that there will continue to be opportunities to offer both the Sanctuary and Light that so many of us enjoyed, revelled in and were moulded by in years past.