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Our Holy Ground - John I. Morgans

9781784612801
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Title
Our Holy Ground - the Welsh Christian experience
Author
John I. Morgans
format
Paperback / softback
Publisher
Y Lolfa
Language
English
UK Publication Date
20160823

This book explores the history of the Welsh Christian experience. It attempts to put into a condensed form the sweep of the Welsh story, making it accessible for the non-specialist. It seeks to present the sense of a drama that runs in its chequered way throughout almost 2,000 years.

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This book explores the history of the Welsh Christian experience. It attempts to put into a condensed form the sweep of the Welsh story, making it accessible for the non-specialist. It seeks to present the sense of a drama that runs in its chequered way throughout almost 2,000 years. It seeks to integrate the 'religious and the secular story'. At times church and community seem indistinguishable; at others, the church seems almost an irrelevance.
The book does this by telling the story in 12 chapters beginning with the 'origins of a people' and 'the shaping of a Christian people (200-1066)' to the twenty-first century. The book includes as an integral element over 100 photographs, most of which have been taken by Peter Noble. He has travelled throughout Wales over a period of several years. They uniquely express the historical narrative and at the same time the awareness of a contemporary journey. Word and text reflect the authors' conviction that the historic story belongs to all the people of Wales, and is not the prerogative of any specific branch of the church. Rediscovering the story can lead both to personal enlightenment and to the renewal of the Welsh Christian experience.
Publisher: Y Lolfa

This readable and well-illustrated work offers a departure from the usual analysis of the history of Christianity in Wales. Rather than focus on the rise and decline of movements and institutions, it attempts to find a unifying theme in the Welsh people's strong sense of place which, it is argued, informs religious experience. And so an overview of the development of Christianity in Wales from the earliest times to today is linked throughout to places of significance, which in turn are illustrated by colour photographs.

Each period is treated separately and due attention is given to the emergence of different traditions and branches of Christianity. In the last part of the book the authors ask what is, and what should be, the nature of Christian witness in the twenty-first century, drawing lessons from the experience of the community church at Pen-rhys, Rhondda, and emphasising that the sense of community in religious experience can transcend denominational differences.

The story is very well told, and shows a refreshingly critical approach without excessive bias. In the discussion of Nonconformity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, for instance, the authors point out how deceptive statistics can be as an indicator of success: in reality, denominational rivalry and excessive competition meant that 'the seamless Body of Christ was barely recognizable within the market forces of nineteenth-century Welsh religion'. Equally interesting, and central to the authors' thesis, is the discussion of the legacy of the Middle Ages as 'the sense of place and time treasured by countless churches dotted throughout the country'. This sense of place and time is seen very much as an opportunity for the renaissance of Christian experience.

One of the most telling photographs in the book shows the memorial to the Catholic martyr Rawlins White, set in the wall of a Cardiff department store, 'remembered and forgotten'. It seems to challenge the reader to consider the importance of place - in a commercial age, is there still room for a uniquely Welsh Christian experience, drawing on a rich and varied heritage? The authors of this attractive book certainly think so, and give their readers much food for thought.
Rhidian Griffiths @ www.gwales.com

Type
BOOK
Keyword Index
Christianity - Wales - History.|Christian life - Wales - History.
Country of Publication
Wales
Number of Pages
223 , 48 unnumbered of plates

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