From Anne Greig
Sir, - The description by the Revd Robert Charles (Letters, 23
May) of his time at St Michael's College, Llandaff, was a
snapshot of a different era, some 50 years ago.
The idea that students then were under no pressure to
participate in Welsh classes is reminiscent of a time long gone,
when many Welsh people were still respectful of their allegiance to
a country that had for centuries negated Welsh language and culture
so thoroughly, by laws and deeds, that most Welsh people were no
longer willing to assert themselves.
Today, Wales is a bilingual country, in the main proud of its
language, culture, and heritage. While it is true that it is
important to widen the appeal of St Michael's, for anyone who
intends to spend three years living and studying in a country, it
is more than advisable to know enough to communicate, at the least
pronouncing names and places, etc., correctly, something that can
take a little while to achieve.
If Welsh ordinands/trainees have to go to England to train and
are not already bilingual, the extra dimension of learning Welsh
(which they will more than probably need in their bilingual
parishes here), and learning about Wales and its culture, will be
lost to them.
It is sad that the authors of the report were unable to
understand this bilingual element. If you Google "St Michael's,
Llandaff", at least one hit links it firmly with the Churchof
England. It isn't. It's the Church in Wales. And, while it needs to
revolutionise, it doesn't need to deny its language, history, and
culture to do so.
Llandysul, Ceredigion SA44 6SH
From the Revd Manon Ceridwen James
Sir, - The Revd Robert S. J. Charles writes that "the current
emphasis on the Welsh language and culture" could be one of the
reasons for the so-called "demise" of St Michael's College,
Llandaff. While not wanting to comment on the current review of
training (we are currently formulating our own diocesan response),
I find it astonishing to suggest that an autonomous Anglican
Province's ministerial training should not "emphasise" the culture
in which it is placed.
Should non-Church in Wales candidates be put off from studying
in a Welsh college because it is "too Welsh", I offer an
alternative view. Britain is a multicultural society, and an
appreciation and a willingness and openness to engage with other
cultures and languages is an important transferable skill.
Rather than regret their time in Wales, I have heard, English
ordinands have been able to use their increased knowledge of Welsh
in ministry to Welsh speakers in England. Furthermore, fluency in
Welsh is an essential skill for ministry in many parts of Wales. It
is vital that ordinands continue to be equipped to be able to
communicate the gospel and care pastorally for Welsh speakers in
their own mother tongue.
In this bilingual Church, worship as well as business is
conducted in the Province and dioceses in both languages. It is
only fair that ordinands gain the language skills that they need to
participate and minister in the Church in Wales.
MANON CERIDWEN JAMES
St Asaph Diocesan Director of Ministry
Y Rheithordy, 2 Rhodfa Wen
Llysfaen, Bae Colwyn
Conwy LL29 8LE