Welsh leaders may have ‘much to learn from others’, Dr Morgan says on St David's Day

01 March 2013

CHURCH IN WALES

IT is possible to be proud of being Welsh without being xenophobic and "cutting ourselves off from the insights of other people, races and nations", the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan said on Friday.

The Prince of Wales was in the congregation to hear Dr Morgan deliver the St David's Day address at St John the Baptist, Cardiff at a service hosted by the Lord Mayor of Cardiff.

Members of the Welsh government and National Assembly, and from organisations in Wales also attended.

Dr Morgan took as his text the "shocking" account in the Gospel of St Matthew of Jesus's encounter with the Syro-Phoenician woman seeking healing for her daughter. Jesus initially "agrees with his disciples' somewhat racist views" in replying: "I can't feed what belongs to the children and give it to the dogs", Dr Morgan said. He suggested that Jesus was "speaking out of an agonising inner conflict" about whether or not his mission was to all humanity, or only to the Jews. Jesus's decision to relent after the woman argued her case was, he suggested, "the only instance in the New Testament where Jesus loses an argument and he has the grace to change his mind as a result". The account spoke of Jesus "needing to learn, to enlarge his vision, to hear new truth".

The lesson for the leaders of Wales was that the country, an "emerging nation" with a recently-devolved government, may have "much to learn from others who have trodden this path before us . . . It is possible to be both distinctively Welsh and open to the insights of others", Dr Morgan said.

St Matthew's account also showed that leaders need not be afraid to change their mind. It was "sometimes difficult" to "let go of Party ideology or views that you have always held dear . . . Yet that is what true leadership may sometimes require."

Dr Morgan has been a fervent supporter of devolution in Wales. In 2011 he said that it was "crucially important" for people to vote "yes" in a referendum on devolving more powers to the Welsh Assembly, describing it as a "justice issue".

Welsh Bible celebrated. Church leaders in Wales have issued a statement celebrating the 25th anniversary of the publication of the New Welsh Bible (Y Beibl Cymraeg Newydd) and the completion of the new version of the Bible online on the beibl.net website:

"Today, on March 1st 2013, as Christian Church leaders in Wales:

We celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of the new translation of the Welsh Bible (Y Beibl Cymraeg Newydd), and also celebrate the completion of the new version of the Bible online on the beibl.net website.

We thank God for those who have worked tirelessly over a period of decades to ensure that the Bible is available in modern Welsh, as it is a treasure that is as important and relevant in the twenty-first century as it has ever been.

We commit ourselves to strive, in God's strength, to meet the challenge and privilege of telling a new generation about the amazing things that God has done and continues to do in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit, among and through his people and in his world."

Y Parchedig Watcyn James, Cymdeithas y Beibl yng Nghymru

Y Parchedicaf Barry Morgan, Archesgob Cymru, Yr Eglwys yng Nghymru

Y Parchedig Meirion Morris, Ysgrifennydd Cyffredinol Eglwys Bresbyteraidd Cymru

Y Gwir Barchedig Edwin Regan, Esgob Emeritws Wrecsam, Yr Eglwys Gatholig yng Nghymru

Y Parchedig Patrick Slattery, Llywydd Synod Cymru, Yr Eglwys Fethodistaidd yng Nghymru

Y Parchedig Peter Thomas, Ysgrifennydd Cyffredinol Undeb Bedyddwyr Cymru

Y Parchedig Geraint Tudur,Ysgrifennydd Cyffredinol Undeb yr Annibynwyr Cymra

To celebrate the Welsh Bible, Christians in Wales will be sharing their favourite verses from the Bible using social networks e.g. Facebook/Twitter/Blogs #beiblibawb on 1 March.

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