Christianity 21 was founded by a small group of ministers and laymen who are eager to interpret the basics of a radical Christianity for the present day. We believe there has been a lack of opportunity in recent years for Welsh-speakers to discuss the nature of Christianity in our age.
Wales has an ancient history of faith-expression through our native language which pre-dates the arrival of Anglo-Saxons onto these islands. It appears that the appetite for such expression has not diminished. The shocking rate of decline of our previously influential denominations during the 20th century and the closure of chapels up and down the country has left our landscape dotted with large empty shells. Nevertheless, there remains an interest in the sharing of ideas, in Welsh, to equip our faith community to face the future.
Because of the sparsity of population across Wales and the growing potential for using a technological platform for the new organisation, it was decided about a decade ago at its founding that C21 would start its life as an experimental online community. From the outset the founders expressed the belief that we should be able to discuss faith without expecting uniformity and that we should give voice to a variety of theological positions in order to enrich Christian thinking in Welsh. The group set out to produce and disseminate articles and discussion pointers that might be of interest to progressive Christians and enquirers.
From the original discussion and articles forum (now having reached up to 5000 hits for some of the items posted), C21 has subsequently developed a Facebook presence with just under 200 regular readers. It has also supported the publishing of progressive books and more recently a new website, hosting a range of facilities including a new progressive online magazine, AGORA (see page 9). Additionally, all subscribers receive a weekly email that is a progressive “thought for the week.”
Because of the level of interest generated, C21 has organized national conferences, with the next being held on June 11th in Aberystwyth, along with weekend retreats. Speakers have been invited from the community of theologians and poets, authors, dramatists and social commentators – from Wales and beyond. It is an ever-evolving community. Where next for C21 is unknown, but we hope to continue to provide a platform for progressive dialogue and challenge, meeting the needs of those who wish to express matters of faith in Welsh. In 2016, C21 became affiliated to PCN Britain, and on 23rd October will host Bishop Jack Spong in Cardiff.