New book aims to 'introduce the people of Wales to their own history'

A pioneering new book aims to present a journey through Welsh history and 'introduce the people of Wales' to their own history through the Welsh Christian experience.

Our Holy Ground - The Welsh Christian Experience by John I Morgans and Peter C Noble tells of the Welsh Christian story and, through showing how it is rooted in localities, tells the story of Wales.

'This is for the people who live in Wales to learn about their own story – a story which continues to be contemporary and relevant.' John and Peter explained,

'We want the people who live in Wales to know their own shared story.' they added.

This is the first book of its kind which attempts to tell the Welsh story from the widest possible perspective, whilst also being a readable retelling of old and recent revisions of Welsh history and integrating both the 'secular and religious story'.

John Morgans wrote the book and Peter Noble was the photographer. Both were aware that when they were introducing ministers from other countries to come and serve in Wales, the ministers were oblivious to the different national context and there was no straightforward book which they could recommend.

The answer seemed to be 'put that right yourself'.

'Our joint experience confirms our awareness that this is a story which is no longer being shared.' they explained, 'The majority in the churches have no concept of the wholeness of the story. Welsh denominations, as they weaken, are focusing on their own separate history and stories.'

'But this historic story belongs to all the people of Wales. Our hope is that this book will alert the church and the wider public that there is one great story which belongs to everyone.' they said.

'This book is the appropriate history of a movement.' added the Rt. Rev. Dom Daniel OCSO, Abbot of Caldey, 'This publication is not just a history book among many others but a re-telling the story in a way our ancestors would have done from generation to generation.'

The volume includes over a hundred photographs taken by Peter Noble as he travelled throughout Wales over a period of several years.

'The photographs are an integral element to the book, the unique collection of images illustrating the historic narrative and at the same time the awareness of a contemporary journey.' said Peter.

Two of these images include Our Lady of Penrhys and The Guardian of the Valleys monuments respectively which feature on the front cover.

'The images we chose for the cover were deliberate' they explained, 'They symbolise a journey of discovery into forgotten Welsh history.'

John I. Morgans was born in Tylorstown, Rhondda and studied history, theology and church history at Swansea, Oxford and Hartford, Connecticut before ordination in 1967. His first pastorate included the United Reformed Church in Llanidloes and the Welsh Independent Church in Glanhafren. His ministry continued with the URC in Manselton, as Moderator for the Wales Synod, and at Llanfair, Penrhys where, with his wife Norah, he helped form the ecumenical church. He retired from pastoral ministry in 2004. Our Holy Ground is his sixth book.

Peter C. Noble was raised in Brynmawr, Gwent. Following service in the RAF he studied for ministry in the United Reformed Church at Manchester. Ordained in 1983 his ministries have been Brecon, Libanus and Cwmcamlais (UWI), Caerffili and Ystrad Mynach, Chaplain to Higher Education in Cardiff, Synod Training Officer, and Moderator for the National Synod of Wales. He is presently Ecumenical Chaplain in Cardiff Bay.