Thursday, 31 January 2008


I was so tired last night that I fell to sleep before the Manchester United game on the TV. I watched it much later and was thrilled with Ronaldo's free cick. It was the best I have every seen. We beat Portsmouth 2:0.

Today Cytun had a meeting of its Racial Justice Network and it was very good. There were some new faces and we set a robust agenda for the Board to agree. Things are looking up!

At the end of the afternoon I went over to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission's offices to see some old friends. They are brilliant.

The day closed with a meeting concerning Ama and the AGM of the South East Wales Racial Equality Council. I was pleased to be there.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Lost Days

Friday was all about office work.

Saturday was all about looking after my not very well niece. Sunday was about going to Salem Chapel in Cardiff twice and watching Manchester United win in between services. Salem is yet another of those chapels I really like.

Monday night was about catching up with my good friend Chris Myant in an Italian restaurant. We did not deserve being joined by a young man who had considerable sympathy with Hitler concerning the weak and the strong. The word racist should only be used when it is applicable. It was.

Tuesday I went to London for a reception to close all the 'legacy commissions' down. All the key players in the politics of UK equalities were there. I missed Byd ar Bedwar on S4C with the story of my trip to Manila to see John Garcia from Ynys Mon. He had been deported for breaking his ASBO. I saw it at 2 am this morning. As these things go the program was good. Many thanks to Ian Edwards and his colleagues for their hard work.

Wednesday was all about the office again. Such is life. I'm off home now to see Manchester United play again - presuming that it is on telly.

Thursday, 24 January 2008


I arrived back late last night and slept a little late this morning. It was then a bit of a rush to get everything sorted out for the Cytun Board meeting. All in all it went well.

I'm on my way now to a prayer meeting come vigil for Ama. There won't be many there but the good folk at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Cardiff have opened their building to us. There was a bit of a cue of those who didn't or couldn't. Sometimes I'm encouraged by churches: sometimes I'm not.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

All Alone in Dublin

All my colleagues are now gone and I'm all alone in Dubiln. What bliss!

I have my bag ready and I'll be doing my last bit of flying tonight. It will be good to be home.

On Sunday night I preached on forgiveness. It's something I don't find easy but I try hard with it. Last night I was reminded of a comment that Oscar Wilde made.

Someone told him that he shouldn't take criticism personally. I'm with Oscar Wilde on this one. That's Ok if the person giving the criticism doesn't take the consequential resentment personally.

That's fair enough I think!

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Manila, London, Cardiff, Wrexham and Dublin

Today I'm in Dublin.

Manila was an interesting experience and I came back through Dubai, London, Cardiff and Wrexham before flying off yesterday to Dublin. I'll say something more about my travels later.

Today is all about work for Churches Together in Britain and Ireland. Its great. I have just spoken to a Romanian with an Irish accent. She was very patient with one of my colleagues who had demolished a breakfast table. Although he was next to me at the time, he did it all himself.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Tough Days

Monday was really tough. I tried my best to get a way in which money could be given this end for Ama and sent over to Ghana paying due regard to all the needs of good auditing. I failed. The truth of it is, as I said on the BBC Wales TV News, Christian groups and NGO's simply aren't used to finding ways in which to help people who have been removed from Britain to die. It's tough.

Tuesday was all about seeing some colleagues in the Equality and Human Rights Commission. They are looking at the case. I also spent a long time preparing for the Cytun Board meeting and getting the papers out.

Never mind. Tomorrow I'll be flying to Manila - it's a long way away!

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Equal Opportunities for All and Peter Hain

Saturday was brilliant for three reasons: Manchester United beat Newcastle 6:0; me being invited to an event in Swansea to bring the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All to an end and a long chat in my small car on the way back to Cardiff with Piero from Refugee Voice Wales concerning the tragic case of Ama Sumani who has been removed to Ghana. I was on BBC's Welsh news discussing the issue again.

The Swansea event was chaired well by Tanni Grey-Thompson who brought out the best of her panel: Brian Gibbons; Uzo Iwobi; Alan Schwartz,; Saleem Kidwai and Sasha Smith. What devolved Wales has done in facilitating a change of climate around equalities gives me a sense of pride and satisfaction. The Welsh Assembly Government team are to be congratulated for this closing event. Well done!

Tanni Grey-Thompson is also a champion in more than one meaning of the word. All the panelists were good and upbeat. Sasha, with her Goth identity, was just brilliant in opening up the world of a young person with disabilities. Many, many thanks for that.

Being with old and new friends and colleagues who are engaged with the equalities world gives me a real inner glow. Frequently as a Christian, it is where I feel the warm presence of God against my face at its most discernible. Being with so many Welsh Muslims friends also helps. I know where they are coming from with the certainties of their faith. That certainty makes me feel safe in their frequently generous company.

On Sunday I went to preach in a Caerphilly Welsh language church. The welcome was really warm and I appreciated the opportunity to visit a church I had never been to before. That was interesting - so was using my Tom Tom to find the place. I arrived on time rather than in time.

The Sunday papers were full of the difficulties of Peter Hain, the Secretary of State for Wales. With such coverage, I understand why the public now have such a low view of politicians. Their apparent money-ridden world seems so removed from the realities of many people's lives - especially those who are vulnerable.

For what it's worth, I very much hope that Peter Hain survives if it's shown during the coming days that all this kerfuffle flows from what he was responsible for and has to apologise for within the overall obligation of those who hold responsibility - rather than for anything he intended to do or could be immediately blamed for.

Overall, he's been good for Wales as a Secretary of State and that maters more to me than the blood thirst of London's journalistic pack. OK - Peter Hain's campaign monies could keep the likes of Ama Sumani alive for a little longer. If it had not been for the xenophobia of the London press pack leading politicians into poor or hasty policies, I don't think the question would have arisen at all. Humanitarian concern would have prevailed in better and more honourable days.

I just wish more politicians would lead. Far too many are just led - even to the point of political slaughter. Whatever is thrown to the London press pack will never be given back in loyalty or support - and there is no end to the beast's appetite.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Catching Up

Tuesday was great. I met with some colleagues - reformed ministers - down in the Bay to talk about identity. It was just great to see some old friends. It was really good to see my old 'partner in crime' from Scotland, the Reverend Graham Blount. He's the Scottish Churches' Parliamentary Officer.

A good piece of Wednesday went the way of the BBC to cover the story of a woman from Ghana who is seriously ill. She was returned by force to and may well die if she has no dialysis treatment. It wasn't a deportation - just a removal!

Thursday was a source of huge encouragement. I visited the RNIB to discuss future plans to have the New Testament in Braille. It was good to be in such a focused environment. Doing a recording of All Things Considered was really good fun. It will be put out on Sunday on Radio Wales.

Friday was all about work. Enough said!

Monday, 7 January 2008


I was sort of good today in taking my wife's car to be MOTed. It was appreciated.

It's not very well and will need some welding. It's like a lot of things I know. It also needs a new rear number plate. Say no more!

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Bethlehem and Efail Isaf

This was another Efail Isaf morning. The English service is held at 9.30 a.m. and I always make a point of arriving on time. That is - on time. The congregation always start the service and that's good. They are a joy to be with.

The 10.45 a.m. Welsh service is young, energetic and above all, friendly. I preached on Matthew 2: 1-12 and the name Bethlehem. I'll be back next month and I'm really looking forward to it.

On Efail Isaf Sundays I always feel that God is good.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Aston Villa 0: Manchester United 2

It was a good day: I managed to do a lot of work for my report for the Cytun Board; my accountant thinks that the tax man owns me over £500 and Manchester United won.

P.S. Kirsty the cross trainer from Argos is working fine as well.

Friday, 4 January 2008

Kirsty the Cross Trainer

Kirsty, the cross trainer from Argos, arrived today. I haven't put her up yet but I'm hoping she'll make me loose weight over the next few months.

This week I lost six pounds just by eating less. Kirsty will help when I get tired of not eating as much.

It's Argos that have named her Kirsty not me. Odd name for a machine!

Thursday, 3 January 2008


It's my fault I know but I haven't really got around to making my office really mine since moving in 2006 and well, being more reflective of me.

Today, I replaced an orthodox icon with a Manchester United catalogue.

Instead of looking at a two dimensional saint for January, I can now enjoy looking at a photo of Rooney. I like icons but I prefer Rooney.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Back to Work

I heard this morning that lots of people simply decide on this day in the year that they are giving up on their jobs and moving on. I suppose I could aspire to being the next Archbishop of Canterbury, but I couldn't do that job - and I wouldn't want to.

I was sustained today by my wife's 'Office Bad Day at Work Kit'. It has an eraser for all my mistakes (and they are many), an elastic band to help me go beyond my limit, a piece of string for whenever everything falls apart and a marble just in case I have lost all my marbles already. It also has a million dollar note so that I will never be broke again.

I'm willing to share the contents of my little box with all my colleagues. Especially the million dollar note!

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

New Years Day in the Garden

I tried to be good about household things today. I did quite a bit of work clearing the shed with a view to eventually doing the garden. It was uch!!!

I heard someone say the other day that sheer bliss for her was spending a day in the garden. I have no idea why anyone should say such a thing.