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The land of my fathers weeps

The land of my fathers weeps
Truth is fallen in the street
The shadow’s deepening
Our nation ravaged by sin

Once bowed in awe of the Most High
We now raise 2 fingers and stroll on by
We think we’re free but in reality
We’re just slaves to the chains of iniquity
Rebellion courses through the arteries
of fractured society
The venom of the serpent’s bite

Justice staggers
Hope drains away

Beauty is broken
But God has spoken

Dangerous darkness shrouds our land
Yet the Father places His seed in our hand
And that seed – though small – is all we need
For that seed – the gospel – is strong indeed

See, from the seed salvation springs
The church is born and spreads her wings
So beauty blossoms and life begins
Resurrection dawns on deathly things

In the seed is light and life
The relentless love of Jesus Christ
This gospel seed is the good news of grace
The power of God that liberates
The soul that sin intoxicates

But the seed does not belong in a box
It must be gripped and gathered
And lavishly scattered
That vibrant colours of life might shatter
The canopy of night
With explosions of redemption’s light

The King commissions and calls us
To take the seed where there’s greatest need
Where souls are cold where the nation bleeds
Where poverty, pride, hate and disgrace is
To unleash His grace in the craziest places
An army of love invading the spaces
Where darkness dwells
Where hell on earth is

It’s time…

Give us faith to step up and fight
To hold fast truth and wield the light

To grow gardens in gutters
Sow seeds of life
To plant churches
That plant churches
That plant churches for Christ

Written March, 2017

2017 in Photos

JANUARY – a damp, misty and murky morning in Cardiff Bay with the sun threatening to break through.
FEBRUARY –  a cheeky game of snooker with my good friend, Dave, was one of my favourite ways of escaping the madness this year. Gutted when they closed the Snooker centre down! 
MARCH –  swans on Roath Lake. Probably my favourite photo of the year!
APRIL –  Cycling around Splott and was stopped in my tracks by the bleakness of this scene. Made me pray more earnestly for this community.
MAY –  Family trip to Penarth. Loved the symmetry and the shades in this shot of the iconic pier.
JUNE –  I didn’t choose this shot because of the quality of the photography but because of its significance – this is the first ever bucket of coffee we roasted at Manumit.
JULY –  Visited Derwent Water whilst on a family break at the Keswick Convention. Arrived just in time for this stunning sunset.
AUGUST –  Took this moody, shadowy shot of my son, Josiah, throwing a ball whilst playing cricket on our church’s day trip to Rest Bay, Porthcawl.
SEPTEMBER –  after visiting a church in our community that had just closed its doors for the last time we stepped outside and found this cap on the floor. It’s significant!
OCTOBER – late night, bright light groceries. One of the many things that I love about Cardiff’s Clifton Street is that there are shops open all night long.
NOVEMBER – the only photo I didn’t take but I had to use it because the sunset is beautiful, the woman I’m cwtching is beautiful and the adventure we are still on together is beautiful. (Thanks for the photo Vicky!)
DECEMBER – we miss the natural beauty of the valleys so much, therefore sunsets over the inner-city that we now call home mean more to us than words (or this photo) can express.

Cut the Crap!

CONFESSION: I almost didn’t post this article because as the title suggests I use the word ‘crap’ quite a lot in it. I am fully aware that this might be offensive to some and I may well lose followers and subscribers because of it. But after praying about it I am settled in my mind that I am not just using it to be flippant or unnecessarily shocking. Rather, I believe that it’s a strong word that is wholly appropriate for the thoughts I wish to convey. I hope as you read on you’ll get what I mean. If, however, you are likely to be offended then I suggest you don’t continue. OK, here goes…


2016 in photos

JANUARY – a typical wintry morning in Trevethin. I love the contrast of the shaded, frosty foreground and the warm, sun-bathed mountains in the background.


FEBRUARY – took this photo whilst taking a walk around Edinburgh’s picturesque city centre. Every time I look at it I see something new.


MARCH – appreciated this hazy, horsey, sunny view from the summit of Garn Wen whilst walking up there with the family.


APRIL – visited the Colosseum in Rome whilst attending the Acts 29 Resolved conference. A truly remarkable building with a harrowing history.


MAY – the Hankey kids getting excited ahead of flying home from Scotland after a fabulous weekend away preaching with Niddrie Community Church.


JUNE – on one of many training rides in the local hills I looked over my shoulder and clocked this stunning rainbow over the valley. Amazing!


JULY – another shot from one of my bike rides – this one is of the Skirrid mountain taken from the Dunes.


AUGUST – my photo of the year! Taken at the summit of the toughest climb on our marathon ride across Wales, it captures perfectly the beauty and brotherhood of that ride.


SEPTEMBER – having left the hills and greens of the valleys to begin a new gospel adventure in inner-city Cardiff, this photo captures the landscape of our new community.


OCTOBER – one of the reasons we moved back to Cardiff was to advance the work of Red Community. This was the Walk for Freedom we organised in Cardiff.


NOVEMBER – Cranes standing tall above Cardiff’s forever changing horizon.


DECEMBER – walking the dog on a misty, wintry morning in the local park with my littlest.

2016: Grief, Grace and Hope


Last night I learned that one of my childhood heroines had just passed away. It’s not an over-exaggeration to say that alongside Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia fired my imagination and shaped my childhood playtimes like no one else! (I LOVED her later role in the Blues Brothers too!) Tragically, her death is one of a long, long list of celebrities who have died this year: David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Terry Wogan, Paul Daniels, Victoria Wood, Prince, Carla Lane, Muhammad Ali, Kenny Baker (R2-D2), Gene Wilder, Leonard Cohen, Andrew Sachs, Rick Parfitt and George Michael have all passed away in the last 12 months. I mean, famous people die every year, but 2016 does seem to have been a particularly painful year.

Like millions of others I have found this year especially hard to navigate. Social media has provided an outlet for an outpouring of grief, disbelief, and even fear, that has been quite staggering. But how should we respond when the rich, gifted and famous die? Perhaps more importantly how should I, as a follower of Jesus, respond?

Here are 4 ways I think are appropriate: (more…)

Take time to treasure Christ this Christmas


I am loving Christmas time right now.

Seriously, LOVING it!

In fact, I can’t remember enjoying the lead-up to Christmas this much in years and years! So why am I so BUZZIN about Christmas? To be honest, I think it’s because I’ve had the time and head-space to really take it all in.

  • To study Scripture.
  • To meditate on the mystery.
  • To ponder God’s perfect salvation plan.
  • To revel and rest and rejoice in the Redeemer.
  • To wander into wonder and wondrous worship.
  • To thankfully think and thoughtfully thank my Saviour.

But why does this year feel so different to so many of my recent Christmases? Here’s why – I’ve got TIME! What I mean by that is that for the last 17 years I have been involved in full-time Christian ministry (I still am, you’ll be pleased to know!) But this is the first time in almost a decade that I haven’t had a CRAZY amount of Christmassy stuff to sort out – church events, outreach concerts, carol singing etc. on top of all the usual stuff like attending my kids’ school productions, visiting family, buying gifts etc. This year the only thing we’re involved in organising is an international carols event in our new community (more about that in a future post). And I’m doing a few preaches here and there. But I’m probably only doing about 25-50% of the amount of stuff that I am used to doing at this time of year.

And the result is that I have had time to actually enjoy Christmas. To study, meditate, ponder, revel, wonder and worship. But mingled with my enjoyment have been 2 strong thoughts that I want to share:

  1. SINCERE GRATITUDE for all those brothers and sisters who serve their socks off to make Christmas such a blessing – both for believers and the hordes of unbelievers who often attend church at this time of year. Christmas undoubtedly provides one of the best opportunities to impact our communities in the whole year and it is right to take that opportunity. So in all sincerity THANK YOU to all who are working and will work so hard this Christmas time. I pray that you will know great joy as you serve. But I also have another emotion rising up…
  2. LOVING CONCERN for all those who, like myself over recent years, might miss the beauty of the incarnation because they are just so busy. So rushed. So wrapped up in what they are doing for Christ that they neglect to focus on what Christ has done for them. And that’s where the true wonder of Christmas is to be found. After a marathon trek to Bethlehem Mary birthed the Saviour of the world in a cattle shed. And after a rabble of scruffy shepherds had gatecrashed the scene to worship her newborn baby, the Bible tells us that “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2 v 19) In the midst of the glorious, mysterious mayhem of it all – Mary took time to treasure the true joy of Christmas – the birth of Jesus and the dawn of redeeming grace.

This Christmas, can I implore you to make the most of the opportunities that the season will provide to gather and to give, to sing and to serve, to praise and proclaim the good news. And of course spend time with family and friends wearing dodgy paper hats and watching the Great Escape (again!) But please, Please, PLEASE take time to remember what…or should I say who…it’s really all about! I know it’s a cheesy old cliche but Jesus IS the reason for the season!

Be sure to make space and take time to treasure Him this Christmas!


Looking for 300 Prayer Warriors


Dear friends, hope you are all doing well and starting to get in the mood for Christmas. We certainly are! Anyway, this is just a very simple email with a super simple request.

A few days ago I was chatting with an older, wiser Christian brother who has preached more sermons, planted more churches and learned way more lessons about life and ministry than I have! As I was sharing with him about the new gospel adventure that we have recently embarked on here in Cardiff, he laid down a challenge. It went something like this:

“Dai, what God has called you to do is going to be HARD! You need to get some serious prayer behind you. Why don’t you try to find 100 faithful saints who will commit to praying for you, Michelle, the kids and the mission every day?”

Well, as he was speaking I felt (a) compelled to respond to this wise and compassionate challenge; and (b) that I needed more than 100. In fact, as I thought and prayed about it further I have concluded that I should look for 300 brothers and sisters to commit to stand with us in prayer as we embark on this new mission.

Could you be one of them?

If so, we will commit to sending you regular news and prayer updates by email, as well as a simple prayer guide to help you to pray for different aspects of our ministry on a daily basis. We will also gladly commit to praying for you!

If you would be willing to stand with us as one of our 300 we would be so honoured, humbled and grateful. To ‘sign-up’ all you need to do is email “Count me in!” to and we’ll hook you up from there!

Thanks so much for you love and support. There are some crazy exciting adventures ahead and we can’t wait to share them with you.


Dai and Michelle and family.

We did it! #CW4HT

Just a quick post guys to let you know that WE DID!! The bike ride that is!

It was a fantastic, though at times gruelling, 4 days of riding, friendship and encouragement – all in the context of breathing in the beauty of God’s creation! (The Lon Las cycle route must be one of the most stunning rides in the UK). We also managed to fit in 3 awareness raising nights in Barmouth, Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff Bay. On top of all that we have been able to raise some significant money for IJM and AIM. The target we set ourselves before the ride was £5,000 and as things stand we are just short of that amount. Therefore, if you feel you could help us reach our target you can do so here.

Thanks so much for all your prayers, support and generosity. For all of us who were involved it has been a memorable, life-giving journey that will live long in all our memories! It’s also got me feeling fitter than I have done for years!

Check out this little video I made to capture something of the adventure:

Through the eyes of a child

On Saturday the Hankey family went to the cinema in central Cardiff. After the film we hurried back to the car along St Mary Street in two units – me and the girls in one, Michelle and the boys in the other. As we dashed though the drizzle we passed several homeless guys sat on grubby blankets in doorways seeking shelter from the elements. Having spent many years in Cardiff this sight was nothing new to me, so I just walked on by as quickly as possible in a bid to get the kids back to the car before they got too cold and miserable.

But that’s when Anastasia spoke up:

“Daddy, why aren’t we helping those men?”

I was stunned to a standstill.

“What’s wrong?” Asked Michelle?

“Ana wants to helps those homeless guys.” I replied.

“Yeah, Ezra just said the same thing!” She replied.

So after a brief family street conference we decided that we should offer to buy the men a hot drink each, and Ezra accompanied me to go and take the order, which I phoned through to Michelle and the others in a nearby Costa. I then went with the kids as they delivered the drinks to the grateful guys. It was a beautiful moment,but one that I have to confess challenged me deeply!

Why did it take the intervention of my 5 year old twins for that to happen?

I mean I had seen the same men as they had just seen. But whereas my instinct had been to rush on by, theirs was to reach out and help. My response was the most cost effective – we could have saved time and money if we had just passed by. Their response was more costly…but certainly more compassionate!

Now I know that historically I have not generally been indifferent to the poor. Indeed much of my  ministry has involved a great deal of serving the impoverished and the downcast. And certainly when I was younger and less time-pressured I’d regularly take time to sit with, eat with and pray with the homeless in Cardiff and beyond. But not on Saturday. In fact the truth is – the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind!

Why not?

  • Have I got cynical about helping the homeless over the years.
  • Have I lost sight of the world beyond my immediate family and their needs.
  • Do I deep down feel the need to protect my kids from the realities of the streets?
  • Is there a lack of love in my heart towards other people right now?
  • Am I just too busy?

To be honest, I’m not sure if it’s any, all or some of the above. All I know is that I have much to be thinking and praying about (and probably repenting of!) And as we begin our new gospel adventure in the inner city of Cardiff, I thank God that He has blessed us with beautiful kids whose eyes are open to the broken world around them, and whose hearts are soft and courageous enough to dare to believe that they can, and should, do something about it!

Father, forgive me for being so cold-hearted, bitter, cynical, busy and selfish that I don’y always see the opportunities that you surround me with to make Christ known in this broken world. Please forgive me for the times that I have modelled the example of the Priest and the Levite more than the good Samaritan to my family. Thank you for the lesson you have taught me this week through the faith and kindness of my precious kids. Please bless them. And please give me the grace to once again see the world through the eyes of a child. For your glory. Amen.

“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” – Jesus

Am I worth following…?


I woke up early this morning and was promptly greeted with a beaming smile and a huge hug from my 5 year old son, Ezra.

“Dad, can I take Cassie out with you this morning?” he chimed.

“Course you can!” I replied.

The weather was predictably murky and so we put on our waterproofs and wellies then headed out together into the wind and freezing rain with the dog.

“I love taking the dog for walks with you, dad!” chirped Ezra.

“I love it too Ez.” I replied. “It’s nice having a mate to walk the dog with on mornings like this.” 

“Yeah, I’m your dog walking mate aren’t I dad?” exclaimed Ezra.

“You sure are!” I replied.

We continued on with our walk chatting and praying as we went.

“What are you having for breakfast, dad?” inquired Ezra.

“Weetabix fella.” I replied.

“Dad, I want Weetabix for breakfast too!” blurted Ezra.

“But you don’t like Weetabix Ez!” I replied.

“But I want the same breakfast as you!” enthused Ezra.

“OK then.” I replied.

When we got home we went upstairs to get ready for the day.

“Dad, can I use the same toothpaste as you today?” asked Ezra.

“It’s the blue one Ez, it’s quite strong.” I replied.

“I don’t mind, I want to use the same toothpaste as you.” insisted Ezra.

“Alright then fella.” I replied.

I put the blue toothpaste on both our toothbrushes and passed Ezra his. I then started brushing my teeth. As I looked down I noticed that Ezra’s gaze was fixed on me and he was copying my every move. When I scrubbed side-to-side, he scrubbed side-to-side. When I brushed up-and-down, he brushed up-and-down.

And that’s when it hit me – he’s mimicking my every move!

He’s observing.

He’s learning.

He’s copying.

That’s what kids do.

And that’s terrifying!

I mean, it’s not only my taste in breakfast cereal and toothpaste that I’m passing on.

  • It’s my words, my values, my passions and my priorities.
  • It’s the way I relate to my wife, the way I talk about others, the way I use technology and the way I spend my time and my money.
  • It’s the integrity of my faith, my attitude to church, my commitment to prayer, my devotion to Scripture, my appetite for mission and how I treat those who are different to me.
  • It’s how I suffer, how I celebrate, how I sabbath and how I serve.
  • It’s my whole, uncensored life that I’m putting on display to my kids.

Like I said – that’s terrifying.

But it’s also incredible!

In 1 Corinthians chapter 11 verse 1 Paul urged the Corinthian disciples:

“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”

Paul was confident that as he followed Jesus he would be living a life that was worthy of imitation. Not because he was perfect, but because the One he followed was perfect. Not because of his faith alone, but because of who alone his faith was in. Ultimately Paul knew that it wasn’t him but his Jesus that the Corinthians needed to follow. But he got the privilege of putting Jesus on display to a watching world.

Like I said – that’s incredible!

So I guess the challenge for me is to live a life worthy of imitation. To faithfully follow Jesus, and by doing so to commend Him to my kids.

  • To preach and to demonstrate the gospel.
  • To be gracious, merciful, compassionate and encouraging.
  • To speak the truth in love.
  • To cherish their mother, honour the covenant of marriage and embrace family.
  • To lead them in prayer, to guide them through Scripture, to include them in church, to involve them in mission, to walk by faith and not by sight.
  • To set the bar for my daughters on how they should expect to be treated by men.
  • To set the bar for my sons on what it means to be a man.
  • To have fun, enjoy life and laugh as much as possible.
  • To weep, mourn and grieve yet not as one without hope.
  • And when I screw up – to model repentance, reconciliation and forgiveness.

Today, it was all about toothpaste and cereal. Tomorrow it might just be about truth and salvation.

Father, please grant my Your Holy Spirit to enable me to live a life that magnifies Your Son so that by my example the little flock I lead might look to You and live. Amen.