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Cyncoed Ministry Area

Cyncoed Ministry Area

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Cyncoed Ministry Area

Cyncoed Ministry Area

Cyncoed Ministry Area

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Featured sermons from Cyncoed Ministry Area, in the Church in Wales Diocese of Monmouth.

Latest Episodes

In the wilderness

Third Sunday of Lent Readings: Exodus 17. 1-7; Psalm 95; Romans 5. 1-11; John 4. 5-42 (view all) I don’t know whether you are like me, but it it often when my life is too full, rather than too empty, that I feel most spiritually dry. When my diary becomes one long stream of appointments and meetings, and I find myself running constantly from one thing to the next, that’s when so often I run out of space to pray and to think things through. When I forget to take time first thing in the morning for silence, and as a result begin to feel like things are coming off the rails. This week in our Lent groups, we were discussing the ‘wilderness experiences’ in our lives, times of pain and uncertainty. But what struck me in conversation with my wife Amy is that, while so often we consider the wilderness to be a bleak and empty place, in today’s world our ‘wilderness experiences’ so often come in times of stress and busyness. Either way, as we consider today’s readings, I wonder what we can learn about living in the wilderness of life, and how to be sustained spiritually in the midst of difficult times? Given the times in which we are currently living, with the spread of the Coronavirus, and the increasing concern it brings, this is perhaps a very timely theme to explore together. For the Israelites in our Old Testament reading, the wilderness is not just an emotional or spiritual place, but a very real and physical reality. Having left Egypt in the Exodus, they now find themselves in an in between place, between the old and the new. They rejoiced when God saved them from Pharaoh and their Egyptian slave masters. But they now find themselves wondering if they would have been better off staying there, rather than having to face the difficult reality of life in the desert. They are parched and thirsty, and desperate for water to drink. And it is in these conditions that they are tempted to turn against both God, and Moses as God’s messenger. Our Psalm writes that in this wilderness, they hardened their hearts, and as a result closed their ears to God. They found themselves asking, ‘Is God really with us? Is God really on our side? Can we really trust God to sustain us?’ But experiencing the wilderness also presents us with another option, albeit a much more difficult one. Rather than hardening our hearts, we can choose to soften them. Rather than turning to other sources for sustenance, we can choose to push further into our relationship with God. It is this root, which Paul tells the first Roman Christians, is the root towards spiritual growth. This is Paul at his most emotive and most poetic. ‘Suffering’, he tells them, ‘produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into out hearts through the Holy Spirit.’ For Paul, enduring the wilderness is not about hardening ourselves, toughening up physically and emotionally so that we can survive hardship on our own. So that we can be independent and self-sufficient. Instead, the wilderness is a place to soften ourselves. To trust in God’s promise that something new — a place of healing and transformation — does lie at the end of the wilderness. And allow Christ, who has walked this path before us, to draw us once again into the life of God. This is the living water, which Jesus promises the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. A spring of water poured into us by the Spirit, welling up to eternal life. This is living water to sustain us in eternity, but also to enable us to experience life in all its fullness in the present, now. And it is living water which is both given for our benefit, and intended to overflow into the lives of those around us, as we minister to them in the same way that Christ ministers to us. This is important because experiencing the wilderness can very often lead us into a scarcity mentality. When resources are few,

10 MINMAR 15
Comments
In the wilderness

David, Non & the miracle of ministry

Dydd Gwyl Dewi – The Feast of St David Readings: Jeremiah 1. 4-10; Psalm 16. 3, 5-8; 1 Thessalonians 2. 2b-12; Matthew 16. 24-27 (view all) Some years ago now, I had the joy of organising a weekend pilgrimage to St David’s for our community of young people in Newport. On our first night together, we walked along the coastal path from our campsite up to the site of St David’s birth at St Non’s, somehow timing it perfectly so that we arrived exactly as the sun was setting. Legend has it that St David was born during a horrendous thunderstorm, something we can perhaps relate to given the last few weeks of stormy weather, but that during the storm a single pillar of calm sunlight broke through to illuminate the young mother giving birth. Followed by a bolt of lightning, which split the stone on which Non had been rest her shoulders, creating a natural spring or well. On our pilgrimage, our group saw this tale reflected in the clifftop landscape — the stone, the well, the ruins of t...

10 MINMAR 1
Comments
David, Non & the miracle of ministry

Honest to God

Ash Wednesday Readings: Joel 2. 1-2, 12-17; Psalm 51. 1-17; 2 Corinthians 5.20b – 6.10; John 8. 1-11 (view all) I wonder how it must have felt to be the woman in tonight’s Gospel Reading, whose name we never discover. Exposed and embarrassed before all those gathered around gloating and judging, ready to stone her. Perhaps she felt guilty, ashamed. Perhaps she felt angry at those around her, and petrified of what they were intending to do to her. We don’t know the full details of her circumstances. We’re told she was caught in the act of adultery. Was she entirely responsible for her actions, or was she co-erced, manipulated, abused by men who saw her, a woman, as less than human? The liturgical language of a day like Ash Wednesday, and indeed during the whole season of Lent which we enter today, can often leave us feeling like this woman. The old-fashioned language of penitence can leave us feeling judged and belittled, or even angry and confused. ‘Why does the Church want me ...

7 MINFEB 26
Comments
Honest to God

Stop climbing the mountain

Transfiguration Sunday Readings: Exodus 24. 12-18; Psalm 2; 2 Peter 1. 16-21; Matthew 17. 1-9 (view all) I wonder whether you have ever had a particularly profound or supernatural ‘spiritual experience’? An experience of being caught up in God’s presence in an especially significant way? For me in my own spiritual journey, I can definitely look back on times when I felt such a strong sense of closeness to God that it was almost overpowering. And these have been in very different circumstances at different times, from the high energy music and worship of a summer youth camp as a teenager, to time spent in silent contemplation on retreat at a Benedictine monastery as a theology student. In our gospel reading this morning, we contemplate one of the most extraordinary events recorded in the gospels, aside from the resurrection itself. In this mountaintop experience, Jesus is transfigured, his appearance completely transformed, as the disciples Peter, James and John look on astounded....

9 MINFEB 23
Comments
Stop climbing the mountain

Finding God in our worries

Creation Sunday Readings: Genesis 1.1 – 2.3; Psalm 136. 1-9, 23-26; Romans 8. 18-25; Matthew 6. 25-34 (view all) It’s funny the different ways in which our worries and insecurities often make us behave. Growing up in my family, we could always tell when my Dad was worried or stressed about something, because he would go around tidying the house, usually beginning with the living room — moaning as he went about how the whole place was in ‘such a state’. Meanwhile, my wife Amy can’t go to bed unless she has checked that all the outside doors in the Rectory are properly closed and locked. Otherwise, she will lie down in bed and worry about whether she’s forgotten to do them. For me, my worries often express themselves in my dreams. If I have a big service or meeting coming up, I will often have a strange dream about it beforehand, where I forget my notes and have to make it up as I go, or halfway through realise that I’m wearing the wrong clothes! I wonder how your worries expr...

10 MINFEB 18
Comments
Finding God in our worries

Empty salt shakers & broken lamps

The Third Sunday before Lent Readings: Isaiah 58. 1-9a; Psalm 112.1-9; 1 Corinthians 2.1-12; Matthew 5.13-20 (view all) When I first looked at today’s readings, I was reminded of much of my upbringing in the Church, of vicars and youth workers passionately encouraging myself and my peers in our church youth group to live courageously as salt and light in the world. And extolling us not to, under any circumstances, be ashamed of our faith. But what about when we simply can’t face another awkward conversation with a friend or acquaintance? What if we don’t feel any good at talking about our faith, or struggle finding the words to say to others? How can God use us as salt and light, especially in a modern world, where any conversation about faith with others often feels strained and difficult? Salt and light. Salt, which was used in the ancient world to preserve meats and other foods, and is still used today as a flavouring in almost every meal. For my church youth group, this meant...

10 MINFEB 11
Comments
Empty salt shakers & broken lamps

Finding Light in Darkness

Third Sunday of Epiphany Readings: Isaiah 9. 1-4; Psalm 27. 1-9; 1 Corinthians 1. 10-18; Matthew 4. 12-23 (view all) Someone remarked to me this week that the days are beginning to become lighter again, as Spring draws nearer. For me, this is definitely a relief! I’m not great at getting out of bed in the morning at the best of times — you can ask my wife, Amy — but there’s something about having to get up when it’s still dark which makes it even more difficult. The long periods of darkness in winter certainly have an impact on us. Perhaps this is one reason why the language of darkness began to be used, so early on in human civilisation, to describe the manifestation of evil. And in more modern times, perhaps this is why we so often describe periods of emotional difficulty and turmoil, as ‘dark times’ in our lives. In our readings this morning, we continue the Epiphany theme of light dawning in darkness, as Jesus is shown to fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah, and calls his first...

9 MINJAN 29
Comments
Finding Light in Darkness

Living Water

The Baptism of Christ Readings: Isaiah 42. 1-9; Psalm 29; Acts 10. 34-43; Matthew 3. 13-17 (view all) This week I had the pleasure of spending time delivering training to some of the teachers in one of our Church Schools. The reason they’d asked me to come along was, I suppose, within my skill set — they wanted to talk about prayer spaces. But, even so, it still felt strange and actually a bit nerve-racking, to be offering ‘training’ for a group of teachers, who are, after all, the real experts in how children learn and develop. Perhaps John the Baptist felt something similar to my own nerves when, in this morning’s gospel passage, he was approached by Jesus to be baptised. He responds, ‘Surely it should be the other way ‘round, and Jesus, you should be the one baptising me?’ I wonder, as we reflect on this encounter, and on Christ’s baptism itself, what we might learn about who he is, and the outworking of our own baptism in our lives today? In each Lectionary year at the ...

10 MINJAN 15
Comments
Living Water

Journey’s End

The Epiphany of our Lord Readings: Isaiah 60. 1-6; Psalm 72. 10-15; Ephesians 3. 1-12; Matthew 2. 1-12 (view all) I wonder whether you did any travelling over Christmas, or had friends or relatives who travelled to see you? We did both. First, my family travelled to ours in the couple of days after Christmas to spend time together, and then we travelled back up to my hometown, Aberystwyth, in Mid Wales for New Year. Our journey North, though, got off to a stuttering start, when I discovered a screw in one of our tyres. So we ended up spending several hours waiting at the unfortunately named, ‘Kwik Fit’, to get it fixed before being able to set off. On the Feast of Epiphany, as we celebrate the journey of the Magi to worship the infant Christ, we are also reminded that our lives are a similar spiritual journey. Sometimes we may well feel we are making good progress, and everything seems plain sailing. But other times, just like my drive to Aberystwyth, we are waylaid just when we f...

10 MINJAN 6
Comments
Journey’s End

Playing our part

Readings: Isaiah 7. 10-16; Psalm 80. 1-7; Romans 1. 1-7; Matthew 1. 18-25 (view all) It’s hard to believe that this is now my third Christmas here in Cyncoed, having begun here at the beginning of Advent 2017. For my wife Amy and I, moving here was the culmination of a long period of feeling unsettled and unsure of what God’s plan was for us. We loved being where we were in Newport, but had begun to feel that God was unsettling us, that there was somewhere else we were being called to be. But we were unsure where that was, and whether we willing to make the jump and leave behind all the friends we had made over the previous ten years. In the end, though, it was much a ‘God-thing’ that we ended up here. In a chance conversation with the Bishop, the possibility of Cyncoed came up. And much to both his surprise and mine, the more we talked it through, the more it seemed to make sense. It has become one of a few key episodes in my life when, looking back, I can see where God was at ...

9 MIN2019 DEC 22
Comments
Playing our part
the END

Latest Episodes

In the wilderness

Third Sunday of Lent Readings: Exodus 17. 1-7; Psalm 95; Romans 5. 1-11; John 4. 5-42 (view all) I don’t know whether you are like me, but it it often when my life is too full, rather than too empty, that I feel most spiritually dry. When my diary becomes one long stream of appointments and meetings, and I find myself running constantly from one thing to the next, that’s when so often I run out of space to pray and to think things through. When I forget to take time first thing in the morning for silence, and as a result begin to feel like things are coming off the rails. This week in our Lent groups, we were discussing the ‘wilderness experiences’ in our lives, times of pain and uncertainty. But what struck me in conversation with my wife Amy is that, while so often we consider the wilderness to be a bleak and empty place, in today’s world our ‘wilderness experiences’ so often come in times of stress and busyness. Either way, as we consider today’s readings, I wonder what we can learn about living in the wilderness of life, and how to be sustained spiritually in the midst of difficult times? Given the times in which we are currently living, with the spread of the Coronavirus, and the increasing concern it brings, this is perhaps a very timely theme to explore together. For the Israelites in our Old Testament reading, the wilderness is not just an emotional or spiritual place, but a very real and physical reality. Having left Egypt in the Exodus, they now find themselves in an in between place, between the old and the new. They rejoiced when God saved them from Pharaoh and their Egyptian slave masters. But they now find themselves wondering if they would have been better off staying there, rather than having to face the difficult reality of life in the desert. They are parched and thirsty, and desperate for water to drink. And it is in these conditions that they are tempted to turn against both God, and Moses as God’s messenger. Our Psalm writes that in this wilderness, they hardened their hearts, and as a result closed their ears to God. They found themselves asking, ‘Is God really with us? Is God really on our side? Can we really trust God to sustain us?’ But experiencing the wilderness also presents us with another option, albeit a much more difficult one. Rather than hardening our hearts, we can choose to soften them. Rather than turning to other sources for sustenance, we can choose to push further into our relationship with God. It is this root, which Paul tells the first Roman Christians, is the root towards spiritual growth. This is Paul at his most emotive and most poetic. ‘Suffering’, he tells them, ‘produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into out hearts through the Holy Spirit.’ For Paul, enduring the wilderness is not about hardening ourselves, toughening up physically and emotionally so that we can survive hardship on our own. So that we can be independent and self-sufficient. Instead, the wilderness is a place to soften ourselves. To trust in God’s promise that something new — a place of healing and transformation — does lie at the end of the wilderness. And allow Christ, who has walked this path before us, to draw us once again into the life of God. This is the living water, which Jesus promises the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. A spring of water poured into us by the Spirit, welling up to eternal life. This is living water to sustain us in eternity, but also to enable us to experience life in all its fullness in the present, now. And it is living water which is both given for our benefit, and intended to overflow into the lives of those around us, as we minister to them in the same way that Christ ministers to us. This is important because experiencing the wilderness can very often lead us into a scarcity mentality. When resources are few,

10 MINMAR 15
Comments
In the wilderness

David, Non & the miracle of ministry

Dydd Gwyl Dewi – The Feast of St David Readings: Jeremiah 1. 4-10; Psalm 16. 3, 5-8; 1 Thessalonians 2. 2b-12; Matthew 16. 24-27 (view all) Some years ago now, I had the joy of organising a weekend pilgrimage to St David’s for our community of young people in Newport. On our first night together, we walked along the coastal path from our campsite up to the site of St David’s birth at St Non’s, somehow timing it perfectly so that we arrived exactly as the sun was setting. Legend has it that St David was born during a horrendous thunderstorm, something we can perhaps relate to given the last few weeks of stormy weather, but that during the storm a single pillar of calm sunlight broke through to illuminate the young mother giving birth. Followed by a bolt of lightning, which split the stone on which Non had been rest her shoulders, creating a natural spring or well. On our pilgrimage, our group saw this tale reflected in the clifftop landscape — the stone, the well, the ruins of t...

10 MINMAR 1
Comments
David, Non & the miracle of ministry

Honest to God

Ash Wednesday Readings: Joel 2. 1-2, 12-17; Psalm 51. 1-17; 2 Corinthians 5.20b – 6.10; John 8. 1-11 (view all) I wonder how it must have felt to be the woman in tonight’s Gospel Reading, whose name we never discover. Exposed and embarrassed before all those gathered around gloating and judging, ready to stone her. Perhaps she felt guilty, ashamed. Perhaps she felt angry at those around her, and petrified of what they were intending to do to her. We don’t know the full details of her circumstances. We’re told she was caught in the act of adultery. Was she entirely responsible for her actions, or was she co-erced, manipulated, abused by men who saw her, a woman, as less than human? The liturgical language of a day like Ash Wednesday, and indeed during the whole season of Lent which we enter today, can often leave us feeling like this woman. The old-fashioned language of penitence can leave us feeling judged and belittled, or even angry and confused. ‘Why does the Church want me ...

7 MINFEB 26
Comments
Honest to God

Stop climbing the mountain

Transfiguration Sunday Readings: Exodus 24. 12-18; Psalm 2; 2 Peter 1. 16-21; Matthew 17. 1-9 (view all) I wonder whether you have ever had a particularly profound or supernatural ‘spiritual experience’? An experience of being caught up in God’s presence in an especially significant way? For me in my own spiritual journey, I can definitely look back on times when I felt such a strong sense of closeness to God that it was almost overpowering. And these have been in very different circumstances at different times, from the high energy music and worship of a summer youth camp as a teenager, to time spent in silent contemplation on retreat at a Benedictine monastery as a theology student. In our gospel reading this morning, we contemplate one of the most extraordinary events recorded in the gospels, aside from the resurrection itself. In this mountaintop experience, Jesus is transfigured, his appearance completely transformed, as the disciples Peter, James and John look on astounded....

9 MINFEB 23
Comments
Stop climbing the mountain

Finding God in our worries

Creation Sunday Readings: Genesis 1.1 – 2.3; Psalm 136. 1-9, 23-26; Romans 8. 18-25; Matthew 6. 25-34 (view all) It’s funny the different ways in which our worries and insecurities often make us behave. Growing up in my family, we could always tell when my Dad was worried or stressed about something, because he would go around tidying the house, usually beginning with the living room — moaning as he went about how the whole place was in ‘such a state’. Meanwhile, my wife Amy can’t go to bed unless she has checked that all the outside doors in the Rectory are properly closed and locked. Otherwise, she will lie down in bed and worry about whether she’s forgotten to do them. For me, my worries often express themselves in my dreams. If I have a big service or meeting coming up, I will often have a strange dream about it beforehand, where I forget my notes and have to make it up as I go, or halfway through realise that I’m wearing the wrong clothes! I wonder how your worries expr...

10 MINFEB 18
Comments
Finding God in our worries

Empty salt shakers & broken lamps

The Third Sunday before Lent Readings: Isaiah 58. 1-9a; Psalm 112.1-9; 1 Corinthians 2.1-12; Matthew 5.13-20 (view all) When I first looked at today’s readings, I was reminded of much of my upbringing in the Church, of vicars and youth workers passionately encouraging myself and my peers in our church youth group to live courageously as salt and light in the world. And extolling us not to, under any circumstances, be ashamed of our faith. But what about when we simply can’t face another awkward conversation with a friend or acquaintance? What if we don’t feel any good at talking about our faith, or struggle finding the words to say to others? How can God use us as salt and light, especially in a modern world, where any conversation about faith with others often feels strained and difficult? Salt and light. Salt, which was used in the ancient world to preserve meats and other foods, and is still used today as a flavouring in almost every meal. For my church youth group, this meant...

10 MINFEB 11
Comments
Empty salt shakers & broken lamps

Finding Light in Darkness

Third Sunday of Epiphany Readings: Isaiah 9. 1-4; Psalm 27. 1-9; 1 Corinthians 1. 10-18; Matthew 4. 12-23 (view all) Someone remarked to me this week that the days are beginning to become lighter again, as Spring draws nearer. For me, this is definitely a relief! I’m not great at getting out of bed in the morning at the best of times — you can ask my wife, Amy — but there’s something about having to get up when it’s still dark which makes it even more difficult. The long periods of darkness in winter certainly have an impact on us. Perhaps this is one reason why the language of darkness began to be used, so early on in human civilisation, to describe the manifestation of evil. And in more modern times, perhaps this is why we so often describe periods of emotional difficulty and turmoil, as ‘dark times’ in our lives. In our readings this morning, we continue the Epiphany theme of light dawning in darkness, as Jesus is shown to fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah, and calls his first...

9 MINJAN 29
Comments
Finding Light in Darkness

Living Water

The Baptism of Christ Readings: Isaiah 42. 1-9; Psalm 29; Acts 10. 34-43; Matthew 3. 13-17 (view all) This week I had the pleasure of spending time delivering training to some of the teachers in one of our Church Schools. The reason they’d asked me to come along was, I suppose, within my skill set — they wanted to talk about prayer spaces. But, even so, it still felt strange and actually a bit nerve-racking, to be offering ‘training’ for a group of teachers, who are, after all, the real experts in how children learn and develop. Perhaps John the Baptist felt something similar to my own nerves when, in this morning’s gospel passage, he was approached by Jesus to be baptised. He responds, ‘Surely it should be the other way ‘round, and Jesus, you should be the one baptising me?’ I wonder, as we reflect on this encounter, and on Christ’s baptism itself, what we might learn about who he is, and the outworking of our own baptism in our lives today? In each Lectionary year at the ...

10 MINJAN 15
Comments
Living Water

Journey’s End

The Epiphany of our Lord Readings: Isaiah 60. 1-6; Psalm 72. 10-15; Ephesians 3. 1-12; Matthew 2. 1-12 (view all) I wonder whether you did any travelling over Christmas, or had friends or relatives who travelled to see you? We did both. First, my family travelled to ours in the couple of days after Christmas to spend time together, and then we travelled back up to my hometown, Aberystwyth, in Mid Wales for New Year. Our journey North, though, got off to a stuttering start, when I discovered a screw in one of our tyres. So we ended up spending several hours waiting at the unfortunately named, ‘Kwik Fit’, to get it fixed before being able to set off. On the Feast of Epiphany, as we celebrate the journey of the Magi to worship the infant Christ, we are also reminded that our lives are a similar spiritual journey. Sometimes we may well feel we are making good progress, and everything seems plain sailing. But other times, just like my drive to Aberystwyth, we are waylaid just when we f...

10 MINJAN 6
Comments
Journey’s End

Playing our part

Readings: Isaiah 7. 10-16; Psalm 80. 1-7; Romans 1. 1-7; Matthew 1. 18-25 (view all) It’s hard to believe that this is now my third Christmas here in Cyncoed, having begun here at the beginning of Advent 2017. For my wife Amy and I, moving here was the culmination of a long period of feeling unsettled and unsure of what God’s plan was for us. We loved being where we were in Newport, but had begun to feel that God was unsettling us, that there was somewhere else we were being called to be. But we were unsure where that was, and whether we willing to make the jump and leave behind all the friends we had made over the previous ten years. In the end, though, it was much a ‘God-thing’ that we ended up here. In a chance conversation with the Bishop, the possibility of Cyncoed came up. And much to both his surprise and mine, the more we talked it through, the more it seemed to make sense. It has become one of a few key episodes in my life when, looking back, I can see where God was at ...

9 MIN2019 DEC 22
Comments
Playing our part
the END
hmly
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