Sunday, June 29, 2008

Holiday 2

Attended a nicely bi-lingual Parish Eucharist at St Peter's Machynlleth on their Patronal festival day, and shared in their welcome to a newly ordained Deacon. A retired cleric preached to the moment about the significance of ordination and Apostolic Succession in a very traditional way. I parted company with him when he spoke of ordination imparting authority, as opposed to simply authorising the recipient. There was a time when it seemed like that because most people tended to treat the ordained person with reverence and respect, and take seriously their pronouncements. But there came a time, in his life time, and certainly during my childhood, when Paul Tillich stated prophetically that the time had come when people who need to 'earn the right to speak of God to others'. To my mind, that time has been with us for the last quarter of a century in relation to the general public, and as time passes, even within the community of faith. It's a good to be reminded that authority is not a property in its own right, but something one person has when another person is willing to value and respect what the other says or does.
We called at the Centre for Alternative Technology on the way out of Machynlleth, but the heavens opened and that discouraged us from spending time on a visit. We travelled further north on the coast road through Dolgellau and Barmouth up to the edge of Porthmadoc before heading into the heart of Snowdonia to Beddgelert and Rhydd Du, where we turned down into Dyffryn Nantlle to discover the Trigonos residential centre at Plas Baladeulyn, a Victorian country house with a glacial lake down the garden, just above an historic slate quarrying village. Such a beautiful setting, with the rain easing off and evening sun revealing the great and simple beauty of this valley, at the east end of which looms cloud festooned Eryri five miles away from where we stay this week.

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