Thursday, July 03, 2008

Holiday 6

Uncertain weather today led us to drive down to the coast, first to Porthmadog, where we looked at the narrow gague Welsh Highland Railway terminus, which will be where trains departing from Caernarfon will arrive when the final parts of the rail link are completed in the next nine months. That 25 mile journey will be well worth taking when the time comes. We went then to the other narrow gague terminus for the Porthmadog Harbour to Blaunau Ffestiniog mountain railway, the grandaddy of them all. The car park was full, and there was terrible traffic congestion due to BT engineering works just outside. It was just impossible. We watched one train chuff out along the causeway alongside the toll road from a traffic queue, then headed out of town to Cricceith, where we had lunch, and a walk around before heading up towards Snowdon on the road that took us to Beddgelert, a delightfully clean and neat village at the conjunction of three valleys and their incredibly clear mountain streams. A visit to Gelert's grave in the water meadows beyond the ancient church and churchyard was essential. Eglwys Santes Mair was kept open and welcoming to visitors. The ministries of the Parish Priest, the local Catholic Priest and an Evangelical Pastor with the Snowdon Christian Fellowship were all advertised on the church noticeboard. Most gratifying to see, as was the conversion of a Victorian extra north aise to provide a meeting space and kitchen screened off from the nave. We stopped at a tea room in Rhydd Du on the way back to Dyffryn Nantlle. Clare asked for herb tea in Welsh and met with a look of puzzlement and switched to English. She hadn't realised from his accent that the proprietor was Dutch! I'd noticed that some of the ornaments around the room, not to mention tea room cake specialities, were Dutch rather than Welsh. It makes a change from ubiquitous Asian and Chinese eating houses in the National Park.

World at One gave us the other CofE Bishop Tom today. Tom Wright of Durham. An evangelical biblical scholar and teacher of renown, who has remained a loyal member of the episcopal establishment, unlike some others who won't be going to Lambeth. He was also strongly critical of the GAFCON statements, saying it cannot work and has no respect for existing agreed working processes in the Communion. No olive branches from him. The Guardian yesterday reported on a packed meeting at All Souls Langham Place at which GAFCON leaders were reporting back to British evangelical dissenters, and enlisting additional supporters to its declared cause. And still nobody is using the 'S' word.

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