Monday, March 31, 2008


Easter should be a sacred time for followers of Jesus. No doubt about it what so ever. Too often though, as with Christmas, I have often struggled to find those genuine sacred moments amid an increasingly commercial emphasis.

This past Easter was different though, in a bit of an unexpected way. Just 25 miles up the road from Swansea, where we live, is the community of Bridgend. Bridgend has hit the headlines in recent weeks for all the wrong reasons. A seemingly in explicable high number of teen suicides over recent months have brought damming headlines such as ‘suicide city’ which have hardly been helpful in a place that is trying to cope with immense tragedy.

On Good Friday as God’s Squad members in South Wales, we hosted a memorial run (ride) to Zac’s Place for a memorial service to remember biking mates in the area that we have collectively lost. About 70 turned up from a numerous local clubs to share in some moments of quiet reflection and remembrance. Hospitality was shared and many of our guests appreciated the artworks on display too. But, here’s the twist, as an additional act, the ride then continued to Bridgend; To a popular kids hangout and near the site of the skate park in the town centre. The purpose was simply to provide a symbolic symbol of solidarity with a community of people that is hurting. As many of our biking mates rode in memory of lost loved ones, they also remembered others, as we placed a brightly coloured wreath and personal notes signed by many of the run participants. Many taking part have their own kids - many of them teenagers. This was closer to home than we thought.

It was a precious moment - many of our mates wouldn’t necessarily share our faith, the sight of all of us riding up the M4 doesn’t initially seem like a sacred act in progress! But it was, somehow it just was. There was a connection going on between people and with God; questions and human frailty were all reference points. Friday was indeed Good.
Sunday, resurrection day, was equally moving. A three hundred mile, last minute, round trip to Reading to visit a friend in the very late stages of cancer. Of all days, the day we celebrate an empty tomb, I struggle to find words of hope and comfort but I do my best. I take his hand and kiss his forehead, praying that God’s peace would be real amid the turmoil. As I walk from the ward and look over my shoulder, he raises a cup of medication, as if to say ‘cheers’........
........I got home that night and kissed each of the four children as they slept and was grateful to have a wife that I love and a God that understands such mystery when my answers have long since dried up.
Tues, 25 March, 2008

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bryn Haworth Track Added on MySpace Page...and other updates.

As expected the recent Martyn Joseph Gig at Zac's Place went brilliantly. Alternative format in the second half giving opportunity for questions proved a worthwhile exercise with a whole range of questions from the deep to the trivial, moving to the amusing. His 'storyteller' song was 'Carried In Sunlight' which he performed and then movingly explained the song line by line as he recounted much of his Grandfathers life and influence on him and his struggle and death from Alzheimer's. Numerous folk at the show commented on, despite seeing MJ on many occasions, they thought this performance was the best they'd heard - high praise indeed. Thanks to all who supported the gig and to MJ for choosing to use Zac's as his preferred venue in this area.

Continuing on the theme of live Zac's gigs, I have uploaded a short instrumental track recorded live at Zac's from Bryn Haworth on our MySpace page. It's a beautiful rendition of 'Were You There..' and a dobro masterclass for any guitarist. Quite superb.

Also did a radio spot for Swansea Bay Radio on Helen Enser Morgan's Show in recent weeks - pic below of muggin's and Helen meeting 'Doris' - one of our Beatitudes art exhibits. (Although Doris didn't say alot on the interview..)

Next couple of weeks sees me return to Spring Harvest to work on the Pastoral Team and then onto Holland to take a wedding. Some of which either some or all of the family join me. This is all after (Good) Friday's Bikers Memorial Run via Zac's which God's Squad is running and then onto Bridgend to show support for the community there.

May the challenge and eternal hopes of the Easter message be real in these coming days to each of us.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Live Music

It's been great to have some gigs to be involved in over recent weeks. Whilst we're not in a position at the moment to put on the weekly events in a pub, I really miss it. Two weeks ago I was asked to host and run the stage for a charity fundraiser gig at the Princess Royal Theatre in Port Talbot - in aid of CISS (Cancer Information & support Services). It was a very emotional night for all concerned. Last year I took the funeral of Matthew Davies, a young man, whose parents I know. Matthew died of pneumonia whilst battling leukemia. During his period of illness he dreamed of being fit enough to raise funds to help those who had cared or him - he actually wanted to bounce a basket ball from his home near Port Talbot to Cardiff. Sadly he never got the opportunity. In his memory, his parents organised a live music event pulling in a host of local musos including Mal Pope, Lorraine King, Helen Ensa Morgan, Phil James, Rob Ash, Luke Morgan, Andrew Meehan and headlined by The Storys. What followed was a great night of excellent live music infront of about 350 people and raising over $4000.

Two days later we hosted Bryn Haworth at Zac's Place. Bryn gave a master class in guitar playing in what was a virtual sell out gig. My personal fave moment was the Dobro instrumental of 'Were you there when they crucified my Lord....' - quite sensational. To see such an accomplished artist at work is indeed a priviledge. Great to have Paul P at the desk too for the occasion. Thanks to all who supported the event and also to Linden Church for help in promo. Bryn's Site Here

From host, stage manager and promoter it was great last weekend to get to a gig as a fan. To celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary last weekend, Jayne and I went to see Mike Peters at the Point in Cardiff. Jayne's always loved The Alarm - infact our kitchen noticeboard has a pic of Jayne and Mike from a Zac's gig years ago when they were both on the same bill! Mike did a great 2 hour acoustic set proving that the revolution can still be led by an loaded six string acoustic guitar.

More ace music coming up this Friday at Zac's as Martyn Joseph returns. This time it's part of his UK spring tour - his most recent visit was guesting with John Smith back in September. Always a pleasure, always a journey of contrasts. Some tickets still available by the way....£14 07971 218644