We could relax here in the refreshing spiritual atmosphere of the whole locality and noticed hamlets named after places in the Holy Land (eg. Bethesda, Gethsemane) and many church references. Sauntering around nearby Newport’s Norman church, adjacent tower and bakery (below) we met and chatted with locals, who are so warm and friendly.
I could hear subtle singing! Is the building’s fabric impregnated with worship? It was only a simple hall, but perhaps it had been the parish church’s Sunday school? Or could it be the sound of worship ascending to the Holy, Living God for at least a millennium from the village, or even the region?
Ha, what a miscalculation! I was to learn that fell short by half a millennium when I read about the rich heritage of Christianity in Wales. It is evident all around, including ancient Celtic crosses, holy wells, and pilgrim routes focused on St Davids. Also, Blaenannerch Chapel, where Evan Roberts encountered the Holy Spirit so powerfully in 1904, is also nearby.
Behind the mountain…Ffald-y-Brenin
Now, time to visit friends from our church who’d taken up supervisory roles at a semi-monastic Anglican-style community at Ffald-y-Brenin, which means ‘Sheep-fold of the King’. Roger and Trisha’s new abode lies on the other side of 1140ft Mynydd Carningli brooding over Newport. From our hotel by Newport beach we wend our way along a single track road to this ‘nest’ snuggled high on Carn Ingli’s hidden shoulder.
Fortunately, our car’s champion at ‘breathing in’ to squeeze along Devon’s faster ‘rat-runs’. Here, in the secluded hills and valleys of the Preseli Mountains, traffic was only occasional. Nevertheless, having a dual-function radar dome of a skull, and being tongue-in-cheek!, I’m blessed with an invisible sensor that assesses the likelihood of oncoming vehicles, adjusting speed accordingly. Fortunately more often than not, approaching cars are met at occasional passing places.
Nevertheless, there’s an additional challenge of 1-in-2 gradients and tight hairpin bends. Of such was the 100 yards or more single-track entry drive up to Ffald-y-Brenin. Once there, apparently some visitors had great difficulty walking beyond the gate towards the beehive-shaped chapel because of the weighty presence of the Lord!
There’s definitely an awareness of the stillness of God’s presence. This has often been called “a thin place” – where the veil between heaven and earth has been pulled back. It is easy to pray, to be still, to listen, to worship. It is also a place of joy, of creativity and of learning, a place of encounter. Also, there’s a stunning beauty of the buildings and surroundings. Unbidden peace invades our hearts and minds.
We enter by the wider drive at the other end of the buildings. Our friends are pleasantly surprised to hear our call as we climb stairs to their residential floor. Meeting their visiting family we hear about the miraculous healing of a lady who’d been blind for eight years and now able to see her younger children – as in this brief blog.
The meditative place of a solitary cross presides over the area, as though in blessing the heart of the Preseli mountains, from which came the monoliths of Stonehenge.
Although there are many residents there were no signs of busy-ness between the set morning and midday prayer times. At the beehive-shaped, small circular chapel however, we can’t all enter as people are engaged in quiet prayer. On either side are short curved benches built into the wall and I manage to get to an end but Nina remains at the door, unable to stand! So we return to our friends and pray together outside – but doubled-up because of the holy atmosphere!
The Outpouring of Grace on Wales Continues….
The blessing of God continues to be poured out at Ffald-y-Brenin, a remote Christian House of Prayer and Retreat Centre in South West Wales, UK. People are pouring in from the nations and many are being blessed and healed.
The deaf hear, the lame walk, and joy arises to heaven! Increasingly we are seeing people make a commitment to follow Jesus Christ. Hundreds are launching into local prayer-based mission-shaped discipleship in Wales and the nations.
Visitors coming on retreat at Ffald-y-Brenin tend to find it restful, challenging or life changing, depending on their purpose in coming and God’s agenda for them while they are here.
Our Prayer Days and Conferences are packed as people recognise that Jesus is in the house, and, being present, he works wonders amongst us.
The beginnings of this move of God are described in the best-selling ‘The Grace Outpouring’ by Roy Godwin and Dave Roberts. Come, taste and see that The Lord is good!
At its heart, Ffald-y-Brenin is a House of Prayer. Everything that happens is soaked in prayer. Guests are welcome to join with us and gaze into the face of Jesus during our daily rhythm of morning, midday and evening prayer if they choose. Some have deep encounters with God at those times. Others have retreated to escape meetings and are equally welcome to choose not to join with us.
Individuals, families, groups of friends, church leaders, house groups, church groups of various sorts; art groups, study groups, youth groups; those searching to discover the reality of God revealed in Jesus; all find a warm welcome awaiting them.
You will understand that, as a Christian Centre, we are unable to accommodate any alternative religious worship or practices.
For more about the community from a personal perspective and review of the book, see David Pike’s excellent review The Grace Outpouring at Ffald-y-Brenin (2011), which concludes.
There’s a lion’s roar going out of Pembrokeshire right now. I feel it will be heard to the ends of the earth, in all four directions in the coming days.
Therein, I learn that the name of the mountain tor between Newport and Ffald-y-Brenin means ‘Hill of the Angels’!! SO did I hear them singing?
If you’re following me along this journey perhaps you’d like to consider a couple more things before I tell you what happened in Cardiff? Click here to mull over matters.