Hello, I’m Gethin Russell-Jones, and I’m delighted to be the host of our Plain Talking podcasts.

Every month, I interview key figures on subjects that concern us all – and from a Christian perspective. Everything from health (physical and spiritual), happiness, the environment – and of course the Bible – are just some of the topics I cover in our monthly podcasts.

I look forward to presenting our Plain Talking podcasts and hope you find them informative, interesting and inspiring. And if you do like them, please share them with others using the ‘Share’ button in the podcast player. God bless, Gethin.


Plain Talking – Episode 18

Plain Talking
Plain Talking
Plain Talking – Episode 18
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Welcome to the latest Plain Talking podcast, with me, Gethin Russell-Jones.

In this latest podcast, we explore the ‘life of faith’ in different ways.

During this Christmas season, church ministers are at their busiest time. How do they cope with their workload? We hear from two local ministers from different denominations who serve in Bethesda, located in the foothills of Eryri (Snowdonia), about the challenges they face at this time.

We hear first from Reverend Sara Roberts, pioneering a new role as a Community Chaplain, then Reverend Nerys Griffiths tells us of the challenges she has faced as a new minister, ordained in January 2023.

We then move on to interview Jonathan Ruffer, the philanthropist behind the recently-opened Faith Museum in Bishop Auckland, County Durham. Housed in Auckland Castle, the museum has been ten years in the making and offers an immersive experience spanning 6,000 years of faith.

Finally, Brother David Jardine leads us all into the mystery of prayer. He tells us about ordinary people – and how their extraordinary prayers were answered, then urges us to pray about the Israel-Gaza war, rather than merely watching the tv footage. He ends with poignant words from the Christmas Carol O Little Town of Bethlehem.

Plain Talking – Episode 17

Plain Talking
Plain Talking
Plain Talking – Episode 17
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Welcome to the latest Plain Talking podcast, with me, Gethin Russell-Jones.

Storm Daniel’s devastation – Christian Aid and the aftermath. Gethin chats with Jennie Weaver, Christian Aid’s Church Engagement and Fundraising Officer. Jennie talks about Christian Aid’s response (working with Dan Church Aid, their Act Alliance partner) to the extreme rainfall and floods that have devastated parts of Libya. The death toll in Libya’s coastal city of Derna is expected to reach over 10,000.

An historic ordination in Wales. Gethin’s second guest Rebecca Lalbiaksangi will be making history in Newtown, Powys, when the Presbyterian Church of Wales ordains her as its first female minister from the Presbyterian Church of India, Mizoram Synod. The mother-of-two worked as a missionary in Madagascar before moving to Wales in 2011, and will now take up her role in the East Montgomeryshire Pastorate.

The power of prayer. Brother David Jardine ends the podcast by reflecting on almost 50 years as a member of the Society of St Francis, a religious community in the Anglican Church, living under vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Brother David considers how powerful prayer can be – and how it can make a big difference in the most seemingly intractable situations.

Plain Talking – Episode 16

Plain Talking
Plain Talking
Plain Talking – Episode 16
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Here’s the latest Plain Talking podcast, with host Gethin Russell-Jones.

Can God turn a person’s life around from terrorist to Christian? Gethin hears how David Hamilton, a member of Northern Ireland’s Ulster Volunteer Force and terrorist bomber, was given a long prison sentence for his crimes. But it was during his time in Maze prison he experienced a total Christian conversion. On his release, David became a full-time Christian worker with Prison Fellowship, and the charity Teen Challenge, and then pastor of an independent church in Manchester.

Gethin’s second guest is Andrew Boyd from Release International. Andrew talks about the growing number of attacks against Christians in Uganda as Islamist terrorism gains ground in the region. He cites the recent massacre of 42 people, mainly children, who were murdered at the predominantly Christian school in Mpondwe. It has been described as the deadliest attack in Uganda since 2010. As Andrew points out, Sub-Saharan Africa is now considered the ‘epicentre of world terrorism’.

Finally, we hear from our regular podcast contributor, Brother David Jardine. This time, he muses on the subject of divine healing, and emphasises that in an age of negativity and criticism we should praise God for what he has given to us, rather than what still needs to be done. Taking this approach, says Brother David, it can help lift our spirits and take our minds off our own difficulties and quicken up the healing process.

Plain Talking – Episode 15

Plain Talking
Plain Talking
Plain Talking – Episode 15
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Join presenter Gethin Russell-Jones for another inspiring, informative and insightful podcast.

We hear about the courage and resilience of a ‘wild’ swimmer, Dr Mary Self. At age 17, Mary was diagnosed with an aggressive form of bone cancer, resulting in mid-thigh amputation and months of gruelling chemotherapy. Having always loved open water ‘wild’ swimming, in June 2022 she swam the North Channel from Ireland to Scotland in a relay team with four other amputees in order to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Listen to Mary’s remarkable story of bravery, strength and determination to overcome her sickness through the power of prayer.

We learn that persecution of Christians in India is increasing. Since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014, India’s Christians (as well as Muslims and other religious minorities) have suffered persecution due to Hindutva – the ideology that ‘only Hindus are true Indians’. Violence against Christians has dramatically increased in recent weeks with many being killed, thousands displaced and entire villages razed to the ground. Caroline Duffield, a media advisor at Open Doors UK & Ireland, gives us a deeper insight into the persecution taking place of people who convert from the Hindu religion to another.

Finally, Brother David Jardine asks why ‘sorry’ seems to be the hardest word to say. In today’s world, we seem so reluctant to genuinely offer an unconditional apology to anyone, even if we know we are clearly to blame. Yet, as Brother David points out, it’s a fundamental Biblical principle to say sorry to God or someone we may have offended. He urges us to recapture the courage and humility to say sorry when we have upset or hurt another person, and how doing so can help restore relationships, bring about healing and restoring our peace.



Plain Talking – Episode 14

Plain Talking
Plain Talking
Plain Talking - Episode 14
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In this special Easter episode of Plain Talking, we hear from Revd Canon Sheridan James, who has left SE London where she was Vicar of St Catherine in Hatcham to become the Canon Pastor for Parish and Pilgrims in the much smaller city of St Davids in SW Wales – home to the ancient St Davids Cathedral.

And to provide us with his usual inspiring food for thought, Brother David Jardine has a word or two to say about New York City, boxer Barry McGuigan, and the patron saint of Ireland.

It’s a shorter Plain Talking podcast this time (just 16 minutes), but we hope you’ll find it just as interesting!



Plain Talking – Episode 13

Plain Talking
Plain Talking
Plain Talking - Episode 13
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In this episode of Plain Talking, Gethin begins by discussing the troubles in sub-Saharan Africa – an area facing ‘catastrophic collapse’ as Islamic violence sweeps across the region. John Samuel, Open Doors spokesperson for sub-Saharan Africa, highlights the situation facing Christians in this area.

Then, Cardiff-based Dylan Moore chats with Gethin about the often bewildering world of social media, and its significance. Dylan currently leads media policy work for the Institute of Welsh Affairs. He is also a novelist, his latest book being Many Rivers to Cross, which received positive reviews and won a Society of Authors Travelling Scholarship in 2022.

Finally, our regular speaker Brother David Jardine provides another positive message as he prepares us for Lent, encouraging us to pray more and reflect on the blessings that have come our way.



Plain Talking – Episode 12

Plain Talking
Plain Talking
Plain Talking - Episode 12
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In this episode of Plain Talking (our final podcast for 2022), Gethin chats to Jessica Foster, Head of Church Engagement at The Trussell Trust, who support a nationwide network of food banks and offer help to people locked in poverty for whatever reason. At this time of great need, Jessica outlines how local churches can get more involved with food banks – and also get rid of the ‘undeserving poor’ narrative often prevalent in church congregations.

Gethin then talks with Rev Nan Powell-Davies, General Secretary of the Presbyterian Church of Wales, about their involvement with the UK Government’s Home For Ukraine scheme in general, and the church’s Trefeca centre involvement in particular. Rev Nan talks about how a large group of Ukranians were given hospitality in this celebrated place of worship and prayer in the Welsh hills. (You can read Gethin’s accompanying article in the latest issue of The Plain Truth magazine.)

And finally, we hear from Brother David Jardine. In this podcast, Brother David reflects on his life and ministry. In his message, he emphasises the need for us to give Jesus his rightful place at this time of the year. He ends with a Christmas message of hope from which we can all draw comfort and peace.



Plain Talking – Episode 11

Plain Talking
Plain Talking
Plain Talking - Episode 11
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In this episode of Plain Talking, Gethin speaks to Henrietta Blyth, CEO at Open Doors UK & Ireland, about the recent passing of Brother Andrew, Founder of Open Doors and author of God’s Smuggler – his own account of how he hid Bibles in his car in order to bring them to persecuted Christians. He managed to smuggle the Bibles past border guards in countries like Poland, East Germany, Bulgaria, and Soviet-bloc countries where Christian beliefs and practices were illegal.

Following on, Gethin chats with Michael Wakelin, Executive Chair of the Religion Media Centre and former Head of Religion and Ethics at the BBC about the future of Christianity in the UK ahead of the latest census findings. Michael gives a fascinating insight into the shifting landscape of ‘established’ religions, particularly with regard to the Christian faith. Michael offers some of his own views on what needs to change in churches and religious establishments in order to serve those who are seeking the ‘real Jesus’.

Finally, we hear from Brother David Jardine, and in this podcast Brother David reflects on his long and varied ministry spanning 55 years in many different locations, including ten years as a Chaplain at Crumlin Road Gaol. As always, Brother David leaves us with some food for thought. This time, it’s ‘Things always seem to go better – sometimes dramatically better – when I am praying about them.’



Plain Talking – Episode 10

Plain Talking
Plain Talking
Plain Talking - Episode 10
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In our latest episode of Plain Talking, Gethin talks with the Right Reverend Bishop James Jones KBE about his recently-published book Justice for Christ’s sake. Bishop James writes of his involvement as Chair of the Independent Panel for the Hillsborough disaster which claimed the lives of 97 people. Listening to the families of the bereaved, and seeking the truth were high on his agenda.

Following on, Sue Burrow, a writer of several books for children and young adults, talks about her new novel. Soon-to-be-published, it’s called Sold: What will it take to find freedom? and is a story about human trafficking. It takes us into the murky waters of modern slavery which is now a major problem around the globe.

Finally, we hear from Brother David Jardine, who offers some thoughts about God, motor cars – and the Biblical principle of giving thanks.



Plain Talking – Episode 9

Plain Talking
Plain Talking
Plain Talking - Episode 9
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In this episode of Plain Talking, Gethin chats with pioneering Yorkshire farmer Denys Fell, founder of Densholme Care Farm, a Hull-based commercial organic farm offering social, education, therapeutic and development opportunities. You can learn more by visiting the Densholme Farm website at Densholme Farm.

Gethin then follows up his previous podcast with the Bible Society’s Jack Imbert-Terry and finds out the fascinating research that prompted the publication of their Good News Bible – Family Edition. It could be a real a ‘game-changer’ in the way families can put the Bible back at the centre of family life.

Finally, we hear a moving story from Rev Brother David Jardine, who talks about a lady he calls a ‘spiritual giant’ because of her faith-filled life.