Thursday, December 13, 2007

Active on several fronts at once

A valuable meeting today for Ian Thomas and myself with John Winton, the Welsh Apostle of Church Tourism, as I think of him, being the prime mover and director of Churches Tourism Network Wales John came over to St John's to share his considerable knowledge with us about organisations that may be willing to fund a project to help us develop further our activities in relation to church tourists and visitors.

Now that remedial work on window stonework in the northwest aisle is near completion, our minds are set on re-decorating the church interior in the New Year, and working on ideas to open up the west end of the nave and tower entrance to make visitor access safer and user friendly. We need to do this and work on new ways to promote St John's in relation to the mediaeval history of town and castle. Ian is certainly the man to do this, with his knowledge of the tourism industry and enthusiasm for making contacts with people all over the city centre. The church is becoming better known because it has several active lay people and a priest who are interested in the people who make this city the marvellous place it is.

In the afternoon I attended the meeting of St John's Ambulance Chaplains, assembled at HQ down the Bay for one of its two meetings a year. A most informative and useful briefing paper on caring for people of different religious and cultural backgrounds was discussed and welcomed - very much in keeping with the inclusive spirit of the organisations which happily and thoughtfully has been welcoming Hindu, Muslim and Sikh ambulance cadets now for decades. An Order of Chivalry dedicated to care and healing, with moral and spiritual roots in multi-faith eleventh century Jerusalem could hardly be otherwise. Ancient and modern, all in one.

Later, in the evening, 250 members of the Order came to St John's for the annual carol service, complete with Cwmbach's 60 strong male voice choir, a harpist and an operatic soloist with an unpronouncable Asian name - as I discovered when I tried to read it off the sheet unrehearsed during my welcome at the beginning.

It was a good event, but my mind was largely elsewhere, thinking about the fulfilling the tasks I have undertaken as Company Secretary (pro tem) of Cardiff Business Safe, to formalise its action-driven policy and help secure its future as an organisation in the service of the public and the retailers of the city.

Since the demise of the Cardiff Initiative, Local Government has not exactly been helpful towards this key enterprise serving the welfare of the city, and made it painfully difficult for those who have seen the need and cared about securing its future operations. Whatever the reasons, I am determined it shouldn't continue like this. I got involved because I can see the bigger picture, and want to see justice done. Where there's a will there's a way.

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