Friday, 1 March 2013

St David will be turning in his grave today!

1st March, St David’s Day, is the day on which we Welsh fondly remember our Patron Saint. When I was at school we used to hold an Eisteddfod on that day – with singing competitions, and so on, which ended in four choirs vying for first place. In my last year my house choir of St Joan won the prize. Ah, happy days! And I have worn a daffodil on my lapel with pride on this day for as many years as I can remember. But St David must be turning in his grave as young Welsh people steadily turn their backs on God.  

According to new Census figures South Wales Valleys are among the most non-religious in Wales. The highest proportion of non-believers live in the area of Rhondda Cynon Taff, where 50% say they have no religion. In the decade since the last census the numbers of unbelievers there (here, it is where I live!) fell by 28%. In this area there are many young people who, along with so many others of their generation around Britain, have fallen prey to amongst other things: lack of good example by parents who eschewed regular church attendance, coupled with the influence of a steady drip-dripping of poisonous anti-God propaganda. As it is said that around the world 90% of people believe in God these youngsters are absolute outsiders, who, often through no fault of their own, are being led into darkness…

And so, as today I sing the hymn to St David, remembered (doubtless imperfectly) from childhood onwards I say: St David, thy help we now implore…

“Oh great St David still we hear thee call us,
Unto a life that knows no fear of death;
Yea, down the ages still we hear thee call us,
Strong happy words, be joyful keep the Faith.

Oh Cambria’s son stretch out thy hand in blessing,
On our dear land thy help we now implore,
Lead us to God with humble hearts confessing:
Jesus Lord and King forever more.
Jesus Lord and King forever more.

Happy St David’s Day
Love and blessings
Teresa x

Guest Blog

Guest Blogger is Pauline Lewis, author and teacher who lives in Porthcawl, South Wales

Bible Explorer – a school course for youngsters
By Pauline Lewis

Asked to write something about Bible Explorer, I thought I should first tell you how it was the doors are open for me to teach in our local schools.

I thought I had gone into teaching because I didn’t have confidence to do anything else. Surely it would be less daunting to deal with children? But children too can be scary, especially on mass.

Teaching in London’s tough East End, God asked me to love these needy children for him. I wasn’t a very good disciplinarian, but God did love them through me and lives were changed. Somehow along the line I realised it was God who had called met to teach.  In a remote village on a mountain in Papua New Guinea, I read the verse in Hebrews, ‘the children God has given me,’ and knew that, though spoken of Jesus, it was also God’s word to me.

After my adventures abroad and five years in UK as a pastor’s wife, we retired to Porthcawl. There were a few young families in our close and I felt I had a responsibility to these children. Our plans to rent a hall for a children’s club fell through, but then God put a key in my hands. My first book, the High Hill, had been published. Advised to promote our own books, I sent a copy into each of our four primary schools, offering to speak to the children about it.  I went on from there to taking assemblies, always using the Bible, the ‘world’s best seller’ as my source.

When I heard of ‘Bible Explorer,’ a course for 10 & 11 years olds, which traces through the Bible stories, beginning with the story of creation, and leading on to the death and resurrection of Jesus and the spread of the Gospel to all the world, I felt all my previous years of experience had qualified me to teach this. I wasn’t free to go away to train at that time, but a few months later, not only had my husband died, leaving me with more time on my hands, but Chris Thomas had taken over responsibility for the work in Wales.

She arranged five days of intensive training, at the end of which I had learned the 77 hand signs which enable us to trace through the significant people, places and stories we teach as we travel through the Bible. And if you think you couldn’t do that, I thought so too, but God enables me, and he will you too of you will step out in faith.

Bible Explorer is written to fit in with the school’s syllabus, and the Old Testament lessons are accepted in Jewish and even Muslim schools too, since they too accept the bible as a Holy book. 

Primarily, Bible Explorer is fun. The children vie with each other to dress up as Abraham, or one of the kings. You will even get a reluctant Boaz to stand under the canopy to marry Ruth, and of course Joshua, and the kings too, are very happy to have a plastic sword. I have two blue shiny cloths which we lift up to allow the Israelites to cross the Red Sea, letting them drop on poor old Pharaoh and his gang, while my gold cloths are not only for the kings, and Queen Esther too, but draped over a cardboard box, with long carrying sticks and a lot of imagination, becomes the Ark, carried around the walls of Jericho. I have a dear little lamb which, sadly has to be killed so that the angel of death passes over the houses of the Israelites, and a lovely rag doll who not only passes for Baby Ishmael, Isaac, and Samuel too, but only just escapes being cut in two by King Solomon’s guard. 

Oh yes, Bible Explorer is fun. And in all the fun the children are learning, not only the wonderful Bible stories, but that there is a God who is there for us too.

Pray the schools will remain open for us to teach this wonderful course; pray for those who teach it, yes, and listen; maybe God will call you to step through this open door of opportunity.

Pauline Lewis shared a little of her background with us: 

Re-tyred, though an octogenarian, I continue to teach, preach and write. Before marrying Pastor Joel Lewis, I worked in Papua New Guinea, and later in Ghana as a missionary with the Apostolic Church.

I am now an active member of Grace Community Church, Porthcawl.

My life story, Wings of the Morning, is available on Amazon, - also as an e-book
(Kindle version shortly to be available from me, free)


Most months I have a poem in the Porthcawl Seaside News

Follow Pauline on her blog:

Comment from Teresa
Thank you so much Pauline for this article. I pray that your loving influence will bear much fruit and be the antidote to the Godlessness I have highlighted above. May God continue to bless your much needed work and may others join you in your endeavours.

Leek, Potato and Cannellini Bean Stew

3 leeks – cleaned and sliced
12 small new potatoes – scrubbed and diced
1 large onion – chopped
1 pint of vegetable stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Oregano – 1 tsp

Heat oil in big saucepan and fry onions and leaks until soft. Add potatoes, stock, oregano, salt and pepper and mix well. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes. Enjoy!

One Minute Meditation on the Gift of Faith
Take a deep breath and relax then close your eyes for a minute and flood your mind with thankfulness for the gift of your Faith.   

After that perhaps you would like to echo my words as I pray:

Dear Lord,
I thank you for the precious gift of Faith. I ask that today, as we celebrate the feast day of our patron saint in Wales, St David, you will look kindly on us all. And I beg that you will grant the gift of Faith to those people here who are still walking in darkness. Amen []

* Guest Blogger: If you have a few words of encouragement or a veggie recipe you would like to share please contact me on:

I welcome your comments on the above.

Coming next: Guest blog: Writings from the Labyrinth by author Lisa Barrow (aka +Lisa Acor Laurel) and friend Bill Batcher.