Totally Devoted – extract seven

The second part of the book is based upon interviews and research which looks at a range of residential (and other) communities and movements – one of which is the small prayer house of Ffald-Y-Brenin in West Wales.

The prayer and retreat centre of Ffald-Y-Brenin, which means sheepfold of the King, is a house of prayer in rural Pembrokeshire, which belongs as much in a section on places of prayer and hospitality as it does here.

It was established during the 1980s as a Christian retreat centre, but had no real identity or driving vision until, in 1999, Roy and Daphne Godwin arrived to take on the running of the centre and began to see it fulfil its potential as a house of prayer.

Since their arrival, one of the most significant steps taken by the Godwins and their team at Ffald-Y-Brenin is the adoption of rhythm of prayer as a key part of the daily life of the house. After initially inviting a small group of people to commit to regular praying of a blessing for Wales, they now report that thousands of people are regularly praying with them. Looking around for a model which would most comfortably fit with the way their life

was developing, they began to learn and understand more about early Celtic Monasticism.

They found that what became important to them was to reorder their lives around a rhythm of prayer which centred thoughts upon the work of the Holy Spirit. They began to live according to a pattern of life which prioritized prayer, and found hospitality and  relationship a natural expression of a lifestyle based upon God’s love, in which they found echoes of the Celtic spiritual heritage which is very rich in the area.

Certainly the feeling of remoteness and isolation inherent in the location is a powerful reminder of the rich legacy of the Celtic monks. The Celtic notion of ‘thin places’ – locations where the ‘veil’ between heaven and earth is particularly thin – is one they and others identify with…

Extract taken from ‘Totally Devoted, the challenge of new monasticism’ by Simon Cross. Copyright 2010 Authentic Media.  ISBN-13: 978-1850788683  Available Online via or

See previous extracts:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.


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