Edwin’s story

Revd Edwin Phillips (from Port Talbot) writes: When I returned to my seat after the anointing and receiving of the ring, I felt “complete”. In the words of Charles Wesley, I was “lost in wonder, love and praise”.

When my wife died in 1988, I gave my life to God. Eventually I became a Franciscan. Gradually I began to drift into a more solitary life and felt drawn to the monastic vocation in the First order of St Francis. Sadly, my age prevented me from doing this. Solitude and silence are my strength. During lent 2008, I stayed with the Community of St Francis at Compton Durville. I rented their hermitage for that period and spent time in solitude.

It was a wonderful experience: one I will never forget: just myself and the Lord. At the end of Lent, I found it difficult to return home.

Consecration to the SCL has put “the seal” on my spiritual life. The door to the First order was closed, yet I can live the monastic way of life in my ministry. What I experience in my solitude I take and use in my ministry and what I experience in my ministry I take back into my solitude in prayer.

I am very grateful to Bishop Dominic for making the service so special and to you all for your prayers. Thank you very much.

Edwin’s story continued – life vow made on the 29th March 2014

The old revival hymn was very much in my mind the morning of my consecration celebration:

There shall be showers of blessing
Send them upon us, O Lord.
Mercy drops round us are falling,
But for the showers, we plead.

Early that morning, it rained, but by midday, the sun shone, and shone through the windows of my Parish Church, ST. Theodore’s, where the service took place. The service began with the singing of the hymn: “O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness”, accompanied by sunshine, incense and bells. Even Llandaff Cathedral’s bells rang to commemorate my consecration. St Theodore’s is a very large building and it was good to see the nave full.

Bishop Dominic, as always, led the service with dignity and warmth, and everyone was impressed with his message. Beverley represented SCL and presented me to the Bishop. I am very grateful to them both for their support and encouragement on that day, and to Sue for her phone calls of encouragement and advice.

Beverley, Bishop Dominic, Edwin, parish priest.

Beverley, Bishop Dominic, Edwin, parish priest.

It’s amazing how my life has changed these past eleven years since I became an Anglican after thirty years in the Baptist ministry. Within twelve months of my ordination I became a Franciscan and later, a contemplative solitary. I always felt drawn to the First Order of SSF (the monastic vocation) but sadly I am too long in the tooth! At the end of the day, I was asked: “What next, Edwin?”. I replied: “GLORY”.

I love the revival hymns, especially those of the Welsh revival 1904. There is one in particular:

“I wonder what he saw in me, to suffer such deep agony”

O the love that sought me.
O the blood that bought me.
O the grace that brought me to the fold.
Wondrous grace that brought me to the fold.

When I sing it, I change the wording a little: “I wonder what he saw in me to call me to the ministry?”

Yes, when I do see him in glory, I shall thank him for calling me and using me in my ministry. In the meantime, I pray for health and strength to continue in my ministry and also SCL.