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Have you read the Mabinogion recently?  They are a collection of stories from Gwynedd written in the 1300s … folklore, myth, and wisdom.  In the second branch, Bronwen and her men are in a spot of trouble, so Bendigeidfran stretches out over the river to serve as a bridge for the men, uttering the words, "A fo ben, bid bont."  Some of us struggle with our Welsh, and especially the gnomic variety!  However, the phrase is worth translating, and thinking about.

A fo ben, bid bont means, 'He who would be a leader, let him be a bridge.'  In a day when leaders are visionaries, directors, managers, organisers … even preachers, a few bridges would come in handy.  It involves the often painful and fraught stuff of connecting with people.  Deliberately, often at some inconvenience, even awkwardness, being a bridge, not just a bridge-builder.  How many leaders get detached from those around them … or those they are leading … or the gospel needs of their communities … or, in a Waleswide context, from other leaders?  People often need time, and need us to go to them, but not just by email, tweet or Facebook.

Wales needs leaders, and churches, who will be bridges to other leaders, struggling churches and plants, and needy areas.  Being a bridge means stretching out over some gap.  Only then will the troops get to where they need to be.

A fo ben, bid bont.

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