WE ARE PLEASED to announce the launch of the Good Conversation podcast by independent scholar, author, Church in Wales priest and Ekklesia associate, the Rev Dr John Gillibrand.

The podcast debuts on Sunday 28 March 2021. The link is being shared on social media here. This new venture is being produced by John, and under his editorial control, but Ekklesia is delighted to commend it. In troubled times, real conversation – something that is honest, unvarnished but also graceful – is especially necessary.

The first edition will feature John Gillibrand being interviewed by well-known and respected journalist Adrian Masters, who is currently the Political Editor at ITV Cymru Wales. Adrian previously worked for the BBC, contributing to BBC Radio 4’s Yesterday In Parliament, most BBC Wales television programming, and both the Good Evening Wales and Good Morning Wales radio shows.

John Gillibrand explains: “I have started the Good Conversation podcast because I believe that leaders – in the churches where I operate, and wider in society – should be prepared to ask and to answer the most challenging questions.

“All my guests will be taking part on that basis – and it has led to great conversations, based on courtesy, mutual respect and willingness to learn from each other.

“But I didn’t think that it was right that I should ask tough questions and not get to answer them. So asked Adrian Masters the Political Editor to start the Good Conversation by interviewing me – and I asked him to be really, really challenging. It was – but there is plenty of humour there as well. I hope everyone will enjoy it.”

Adrian Masters adds: “Well, he asked for difficult questions and so that’s what he got! Seriously, it was a ‘good conversation’ for me as much as for John.

“The majority of the interviews I do are with politicians who are trained not to answer, so it was good to have a proper conversation that was thought-provoking to me, and out of my comfort zone too. I am looking forward to hearing the others.”

Other contributors include John Swinton (Professor of Divinity and Religious Studies at the University of Aberdeen), Carol Wardman (Bishops’ Officer for Church and Society in the Church in Wales), Matt Batten (Director of Communications for Llandaff Diocese), Edwin Counsell (former Provincial Director of Education for the Church in Wales), Aled Edwards (Chief Executive of Cytun, the Welsh ecumenical organisation), the Rev Dr Manon Ceridwen James (Director of Formation at the Church in Wales training institute, St Padarns), and Lisa Morgan (recently ordained priest and now curate in the Ithon Valley group of parishes round Llandrindod Wells).

Simon Barrow, director of the independent change network and think-tank Ekklesia, which focuses on the relationship between beliefs, politics and ethics, commented: “The Good Conversation podcast is very much John’s initiative rather than ours, but we are delighted to help promote it and very much welcome its ethos.

“One of the most disturbing features of public life at present is the erosion of truth, honesty and real conversation in favour of spin, gloss, PR, evasion and worse. Something different is definitely needed. In working with John over a number of years – not least in his pioneering concerns for disability rights, a care-based economy and the reformation of the church as an agent of liberation and change – we know that he will bring a freshness and vibrancy to these conversations.”

John Gillibrand is Vicar of Pontarddulais with Penllergaer, in the Church in Wales Diocese of Swansea and Brecon. He is a writer, scholar and author of Disabled Church: Disabled Society: The Implications of Autism for Philosophy, Theology and Politics (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2010). His previous Ekklesia columns can be found on our archive site here.  John can be contacted via Twitter @JohnGillibrand.

* The Good Conversation Podcast can be found via @GoodToConverse. A live link can be found here. For media and other enquiries, please use this form with ‘Good Conversation’ as the subject line.