Imagine a place where the veil between heaven and earth is so thin that the presence of God is tangible. A place where to breath the air is to breathe in the essence of God. These places exist Ffald y Brenin in South Wales is one such place. It is not the only one, Iona off the west coast of Scotland is also such a place and dare I say it our own humble sanctuary can be that at times as well.
It is a wee while ago now that the Book Groups read “A Grace Outpouring: becoming a people of blessing” by Roy Godwin. One of the groups came by it by chance, having read one book they were looking for another when one of the members said “ I picked up this book at a book exchange in an out of the way place in Australia, shall we read it together?” And so we did. It tells the remarkable story of how Roy Godwin became the director of Ffald y Brenin, a retreat centre in Wales and of the amazing outpouring of God’s grace that occurred there and on its surrounds as they sought to become a house of prayer and a people of blessing. Physical and emotional healings, folk finding the peace of God in the midst of turmoil and so much more.
It turns out that Ffald y Brenin is a short drive away from where we stay with friends in Pembrokeshire so on this last visit Sharon and myself decided to visit for the day. So on a sunny day in July we headed along country lanes and up the very steep track to this vantage point on the hillside which at one point had been a hill farm. We signed in, were greeted warmly and shown round…. The footpath to the high cross was pointed out, the day lounge with tea and coffee making facilities as well as huge picture window looking out over the Valley, the prayer room, the book stall, accommodation facilities (though we were not staying on this occasion) and finally the chapel right at the top of the farm buildings.
Here our host blessed us in the name of Jesus and left us to spend the day as we wished. In that moment I simply enjoyed sitting in the chapel with its large chunk of bedrock sticking up forming an impromptu Communion Table. Towards midday we took a wander around the beautiful gardens before joining in with the Midday prayers with staff and other guests (at 12.45pm!), joining our voices with others in the responses and praying for the nations of the world.
We then took lunch in the lounge chatting to a couple of folk who had spent the week there and it showed in the peace of their demeanour. After lunch we took the short path to the High Cross. While in the chapel I had been challenged by a burden I was carrying and it was to the cross I was to take it and lay it there which I did. We then found ourselves drawn back to the chapel to sit in the Lord’s presence and simply enjoy the peace without any distractions.
A browse of the book stall and a final cup of tea rounded off our day. My lasting impression the simple joy of sitting at peace in the presence of the Almighty - I thoroughly recommend it . There was also the affirmation that there is to bean outpouring of God’s Grace coming our way in this part of beautiful Angus as we seek to be a house of prayer and a people of blessing.