Sep | 29 | Thu | The City of NEWPORT | STAND & STARE


PRAYER REQUESTS |

  • Ask | For God’s richest blessing on ‘Bethel and St Woolas’
  • Thanks | For having a Bed to stay in last night
  • I am in CARDIFF tomorrow, so please pray for Divine appointments please…….and of course for PROVISION. THIS IS A BIG ISSUE.

PROCLAMATION LOCATIONS & NEEDS |

  • TOMORROW’S MESSAGE | is ROOTED IN the book of | PROVERBS |
  • I WILL BE IN THE CITY OFCARDIFF| PROCLAIMING AT: I DON’T KNOW |CAN YOU MAYBE HOOK ME UP SOMEWHERE PLEASE! | 07975 805 323
  • IS ACCOMMODATION NEEDED FOR TONIGHT? | YES PLEASE!
  • IF YOU CAN HOOK ME UP WITH SOMEONE OR SPONSOR A BED AND BREAKFAST? THAT WOULD BE GREAT) |
  • THE DAY AFTER’S MESSAGE | is ROOTED IN the book of | ECCLESIASTES |
  • IN THE CITY OF SWANSEA| PROCLAIMING WHERE :I DON’T KNOW |CAN YOU MAYBE HOOK ME UP SOMEWHERE PLEASE! | 07975 805 323
  • IS ACCOMMODATION NEEDED? | YES PLEASE!
  • IF YOU CAN HOOK ME UP WITH SOMEONE OR SPONSOR A BED AND BREAKFAST THEN THAT WOULD BE GREAT)

See my Full 66 City Tour List by Clicking HERE

THIS IS THE STORY OF THE TOUR &
THE CONTENTS OF MY HEAD AND HEART

I was asleep by 9pm last night and woke up refreshed and raring to go this morning. It was still dark outside so I knew I had some time to catch up on the blogging. I was up, light on, kettle on, laptop ready, Tetley tea bag in the cup and ready to pour. I check the clock. It’s 2:10am!
I am awake. So from 2:10am until 5:10am I am researching, writing and generally ranting on. The Video uploads are just not going well. It’s very slow. Come 5:10am I manage to get a couple more hours of fitful sleep and then, it’s up, shower, a full English, get packed up and get back on the road down to the City Centre of Newport, which is about, 5 minutes away.
Before I go I contact the Mayor’s office. A sprightly Anita says she will both see if the Mayor is available and also see if she can hook me up with the University chaplain. Wonderful. I hope she has better fortune than I have had. I also ring Bethel church and one of the leaders called Sarah says I can come in at 1:15 to speak to some Eritrean refugees. Excellent.
The Newport Transporter Bridge spans the River Usk and is a Grade 1 Listed Structure. Apparently, its historic importance stems from its very unusual design and there are only two others like it in the UK and seven in the World, it’s over 100 years old, it’s towers standing 645 feet apart and rising 242 feet above road level, is electrically powered and the gondola is pulled across by a cable wound round a drum in the motor house on the East bank at a maximum speed of 10 feet per second. It was built to get the workers to the steel mill even quicker. The Steel mill has gone, the skilled workers have gone. The New Bridge up the river has really made this one defunct, but, it is a memory of a days gone by, a marker on the sky line which shall be kept. And Newport does have a sky line. The civic centre in all its pomp and circumstance, like an Alpha male dog sat ready for dinner among the pack, raises its clock tower above every other edifice in the city. It screams out ‘importance, permanence and power. ‘It is again a remnant from an age of architectural declaration now long gone. I will be visiting there later.

It’s free parking for two hours in the city centre car parks. Amazing! So I get my bag, and go look for a pitch.

I pass a hooded statue to the Super tramp poet with a wooden leg, who married a prostitute 30 years his younger and wrote about something else we have been losing over the last 100 years…true Leisure and the ability to just stop and think.

Leisure by WH Davies

WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—

No time to stand beneath the boughs,

And stare as long as sheep and cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,

And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can

Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

Aside from the last riots, The Newport Rising was the last large-scale armed rebellion against authority in mainland Britain, when on 4 November 1839, somewhere between 1,000 and 5,000 Chartist sympathisers, ( in simple terms…they wanted the vote ) including many coal-miners, most with home-made arms and led by John Frost, marched on the town of Newport, intent on liberating fellow Chartists who were reported to have been taken prisoner in the town’s Westgate Hotel. A brief, violent and bloody battle ensued lasting approximately half an hour and around 22 Chartists were killed by troops and upwards of 50 had been wounded. The leaders were tried for treason and in 1840 were sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered! After public outcry, the sentence was commuted to ‘transportation for life,’ to Tasmania and then Australia. The main leader, John Frost, eventually ended up in America. Interestingly, most younger people in the Britain today, would gladly leave for Australia or America and are doing so in their thousands.

My point is that Newport has a quite a history, and its packed shopping centre is packed with memorials to the past. It seems it is all this country has got left. We appear to have no ‘characters of conscience,’ Christians or otherwise who will become heroes for the future. We are, despite our nation’s screaming issues and enormous challenges, remarkably dumbed down and sedated about it all.

There is live music in town, a few Big Issue sellers and it’s hot. I pick out a place to preach from later that day.

I visit Café Nero for a hot chocolate with cream I am off the wagon. Bridget must never know. Ask the manager how business is and she tells me that they are managing. “However”, and she reaches under the counter “These are the applications, and CV’s which I have received since May (4 months)” and she holds up part of a massive pile of papers. It seems to me that there are at least a couple of hundred applications. I ask if I can interview here and she sends her Barrista over, who also happens to be the lead drummer from Kings church in Newport. He is a smashing young guy and as soon as I can upload the blooming video you will enjoy hearing his comments

INSERT VIDEO HERE
Newport is a city of hills and on one such hill, I come across a fine old Victorian building which is proclaims across the city “Have Faith In God”. It is now a Mosque. Well, actually I am told it will become an Islamic Youth centre where everyone is welcome. Frankly, I just can’t see many folk wanting to go to an Islamic youth centre unless they are Muslim? But what do I know? I could always go and find out. So I did. I tried to make contact with the local Imam, but the folks in the car park were very suspicious of a white gut with a Camera. I had it explained to me that the Imam might not want to be on Camera anyway as images are not allowed to be displayed in Mosques. I left my card and asked them to call me if he would be willing to meet with me.
I remember the first time I went back to Helensburgh to speak at the Baptist church myself and Bridget were baptised in. The local press came and took my picture and recorded the event (not a lot happens in Helensburgh) but I rang the next day and ask that they not put my picture in the paper. I thought it would be a prideful thing to do. What a plonka. With the advent of the internet age our pictures are reproduced ten thousand times a day. Sigh..we get it all so wrong don’t we and all so easily.

I find the Cathedral. The new Dean is moving into the very old and dishevelled Deanery. Absolutely no disrespect to Newport of the Cathedral there but after all the Cathedrals I have been in thus far, Newport Cathedral is the size of a small Parish church and comparison is like a dustbin. Again, please, no offence, but in comparison, it is. Even the one piece of ‘modern’ art work causes controversy, the present hairy Arch Bishop and form Dean of this Cathedral commenting that “most people found it either awful or bloody awful”. The Cathedral is in a bad way. Since the disestablishment of the church in Wales in the 1980’s money has been tight, especially as the English apparently ran away with it. I interviewed a volunteer guide and got on my way to the ladies of Eritrea.
Bethel church is Pastored by Andy. He is a Prison officer in Cardiff. (he can’t get me in – I did ask) for one week and Pastors here the following week. He is a dedicated guy. Ten Congregation of over 100 or so cannot pay him a wage. It’s a shame because this ministry is where the Pastors heart is pumping.

INSERT VIDEO HERE

The Gap Centre was opened next door to the church and provides ministry to the homes and lost Asylum seekers, who would otherwise be simply roaming the streets. It is not without a cost, for two of the homeless folks last year Over dosed and died. They had become Christians, but heroin had them in its grip.

My strange 66 City journey, has brought me to Wales, where I am now proclaiming to worried Women and from Africa and Asia the secret winning ways of David the Warrior king from the book of Psalms. Strangely enough, it is a most apt and applicable message, and despite some language barriers is greatly appreciated. The ladies have cooked and I stay to eat morsels of delight.

INSDERT AUDIO HERE

I tell Andy that I am going to visit with the Mayor, he says, “Ask her to give us all the empty unused council buildings…we could save lives” I will. Housing shortages are an increasingly major and massive problem in our country. A Newport housing officer tells that his job is now more like that of a social worker, “So many young people have been thrown out by their parents as they can no longer cope with their behaviour, so many drug addicts, people coming out of prison, the mentally ill, immigrants, Asylum seekers, all looking for housing and bringing with them, their many, many problems and all needing managing….”
Parking around the Civic centre is a nightmare. I eventually find a spot, it’s kind of illegal, and so I leave a BIG note on my Dashboard saying “Visiting the Mayor. Any problems, please contact her.” No, not really it says Visiting the Mayor. Any problems, ring 07975805323.”heheh
Anita meets me at the door where she finds me examining the tattoos on the lady receptionist from Doncaster which is down the road from where I was dragged up. She is trying to make bodily space for a memorial to her grandmother called Dorothy. Even our skin in this present age has become place of testimony, of proclamation and memorial. I must get that new Tattoo.
Anita is brilliant. Helpful and insightful. She thinks I am a nuttier. She guides me through the protocols of visiting Madam Mayor. Newport is big on protocol. I am escorted to the Mayors Parlour and am delighted to meet with Margaret Cornelius the Mayor of Newport. I am kicking myself that I did not share with here the story of that great Centurion of faith to which her surname makes ample reference. Madam Mayor is a delight and gives me a great interview. Like all the Mayors I have met, Margaret (my mum was called Margaret) is a hard working lover of her city.

INSERT VIDEO HERE

Anita has recently lost her husband. I feel for her. I remember the words of the Queen sang so magnificently at the 911 Memorial service at St Pauls, “Grief is the price we pay for love.” I tell her that “Velcro is material held together by ten thousand hooks and death rips those hooks apart. Death rips apart a life time of ten thousand physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual connections. I believe only God can heal that pain.” Grief is the price we pay for love and pain is the price we pay for living in a fallen world. I look forward to the day when there shall be no more death. This is the Christian hope and that day IS coming. For those with Jesus, all our mourning shall be turned to dancing. Oh by the way, Anita is obviously brilliant at what she does and is also quite mad. Very kindly she shows me all the treasures of the Civic centre and especially the fine art work! AND she has hooked me up with a speaking engagement at the Cathedral at 5:30. This afternoon.

It’s right that I say a very big THANK YOU to Anita and Madam Mayor for making my short stay in Newport so very funny and very informative. Before I leave Anita asks me if I have something else to wear for the Cathedral. I can see that my Harlequin coloured T Short might not go down to well.

A minor Canon is leading the service this evening, and accompanying him is me, a lovely old lady, the administrator and another brother. I think they must be using another prayer book, because the page flicking and turning is exasperating. A Magnificat here, a doxology there, a reading back there, the collect up there on page 45, RHS margin in italics. It’s a challenge I can tell you! I share with them some of the same thoughts I did with the ladies from Eritrea. The Dean, the rapid decline of the church if England, the largest concentration of Muslims in Wales on tier doorstep, a working class population with very little work, a roof demanding £1.5 million pounds, all means that life will become increasingly challenging for them all, for us all, for you and for me. We need to like david the Warrior King, able to still ourselves before God. If not, we shall al go quite barmy.

My Bed and No breakfast is just outside my next city of Cardiff. The B & b looks like a left over Chalet from “Heidi Hi”. When I arrive at check in a large road worker in a bright green fluorescent jacket is remonstrating with the owner who has accused him of smoking on the rooms and is throwing him out. The very large gut is throwing the receipt in the owners face, informing that he will imminently be smashing his face in, and calling him a large French male member. Or words to that effect. I have arrived and it’s all kicking off. “Don’t worry Mr Farrell, it’s not always like this.” The curtains hanging off the rail and the bottle opener attached to the wall in my room indicates that his assurance might not be absolutely correct.” Its 7:30pm and I don’t have the energy to do another Plymouth, so, I sign is and set up my computer. It has Wi-Fi but the up-load speeds are awful. There is no way the videos will be uploaded tonight.

Still, is Cardiff tomorrow. I wonder If I can get into the Welsh Assembly?

If You Want to see The First Twelve of Our 66 Minute Video Bible Check Here | P.S. We need some more funding ti finish this project before Christmas so if you are up for it give me a call on 07975 805 323

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About vrfarrell

Biblical activist
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