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‘Thin Places’

‘Thin Places’
July 26, 2017 Sandra Goodwin

There are several places in the British Isles known as ‘thin places’ where somehow the presence of God seems more tangible, where one can feel a connection with those who have worshipped before us.

The islands of Iona, Lindisfarne and Bardsey are notable examples, and Anglesey has its own special places too.

The little church Eglwys Llanbadrig situated on the headland near to Cemaes Bay has been a destination for pilgrims since the 5th Century.

The Welsh name Llanbadrig means ‘Church of St Patrick’, the patron saint of Ireland. Local legend insists that the ship on which Bishop Patrick was travelling was wrecked on the nearby Ynys Badrig (Patrick’s Island), sometimes known as Middle Mouse Island because of it’s shape. He succeeded in crossing to the mainland finding refuge in a cave, which has a fresh water well (Ffynnon Badrig), half way down the cliff below the churchyard. His stay in the cave allowed him to recover and Bishop Patrick founded the church as a thanks offering to God for his life.

A stone church replaced the original wooden structure but, In the late 18th century, fire almost destroyed the church and it was closed. However, in 1884, the story has an interesting twist, the church was restored by Lord Stanley of Alderley, who had embraced the Islamic

faith and insisted that some elements of his tradition be incorporated in the design.

Inside the church symbols of both faiths sit side by side. A stone engraved with crossed fish and a palm tree, symbols of Celtic Christianity leans against a wall. and the sanctuary is lined with blue Islamic tiles. Most intriguing is the mosaic, pictured above, which is crafted in Islamic style and colours but depicts the ‘Good Shepherd’ of Christian Biblical tradition.

In this beautiful peaceful place, history, faith and a tangible sense of God’s presence come together and continue to be a blessing to all who worship or visit here.

Every blessing, Sandra