Until this week I had never heard of the Revd Paul Bennett, nor yet Trecynon where he served the local community. He was just an ordinary minister doing what all ordinary mnisters do - getting on with fulfilling their callings. Wyre Davis for the BBC spoke of how he was deeply committed to, and engaged with, his local community, how his door was open to all and sundry, how his faith and life were inseparable.
It spoke volumes to and for other ordinary ministers. Unusually, this is a place where few strangers knock the door, but the manse is open and available for any who do. It is far from unusual for me - or any other ordinary minster - to be engaged in conversation with people who are disturbed, confused or aggressive. Events in Wales serve to remind us of the inherent vulnerability of the role. Yet, and this is important too, events in Wales remind us of the need to continue with our ordinary ministries. Not to be naive or careless - I have a chain on my front door - but to recall that the one we serve was brutally murdered to bring us life, and whose call is 'to take your cross and follow me'
I pray that Paul Bennett's family will find God's love embracing them at this time of shock and sorrow, I pray that the community will continue the work he began, and I pray, in so far as it is in my gift so to do, for the young man who murdered him that he will find forgiveness, hope and a future 'father, forgive him, he does not know what he does.' I pray also that all ordinary ministers everywhere will go on doing what we do in the name of Christ and for his Kingdom.