Ad Clerum * 30 March 2011
Dewch i weld! (Ioan 1.39) Come and see! (John 1.46)
Gwahoddodd dy fab ei ddisgyblion i ddod i weld y man lle ’roedd yn byw. Helpa ni i geisio’r nefolion drigfannau hynny lle y gelwir ni i wneud ein cartref tragwyddol gyda thi, a boed i’n bywydau ninnau a bywyd ein hesgobaeth fod wedi eu llunio gan roddion dy ras yn y fath fodd fel ein bod hyd yn oed yn y bywyd hwn yn demlau sy’n deilwng i dderbyn ymbreswyliad gogoneddus dy gariad. Yn enw’r Iesu. Amen
Your son invited his disciples to come and see the place where he lived. Help us to seek those heavenly mansions where we are called to make an eternal home with you, and may our lives and the life of our diocese be so shaped by the gifts of your grace that we may become even in this life a temple fit to receive the indwelling glory of your love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
A few years ago, it was hard to find the right card to buy my mother at this time of year. Virtually all the cards would say “Happy Mother’s Day”, and I was looking for a card which said: “Happy Mothering Sunday”. This is the finicky sort of chap who is your bishop! I am glad to say that the crisis has passed, and nowadays there seem to be a large selection of “Mothering Sunday” cards as well as “Mother’s Day” cards.
I have occasionally reflected on my fastidiousness in this regard, and I think it is probably because I resist the secularisation of the Christian holy days, and prefer to emphasise the traditional titles, even though the origin of the name ‘Mothering Sunday’ is actually unknown.
I am glad that many of our Churches will do something special for families on Mothering Sunday, even if the rose vestments are unlikely to be on display in many of our Churches. One of the things I noticed in the Visitation is the number of churches who noted that people will turn out for “festivals” – it is almost as if they need a hook on which to hang their church attendance, and this is one such hook.
So I wish all celebrations of Mothering Sunday well, and I hope that you will give your mothers and young families something of Christian significance to take home with them. This makes another point: we need to find ways to make our homes places of Christian celebration, and not keep religious observance for the Church. Prayers for the home, simple blessings, blessed flowers or pictures, simnel cake: these are all little traditions to help remind folk of the fact that God cares for our families, and seeks to offer his blessing to every home.
I hope that your celebration of Mothering Sunday and of Passiontide will go well.
A final reminder that the Celebration of the Chrism Eucharist will take place in the Cathedral on Maundy Thursday (21st April) at 1100hr. I look forward to seeing you there. We shall follow the format of last year, including the element of concelebration. I believe that this occasion, when we can reaffirm our collegial ordination commitments to the ordained ministry of Word and Sacrament as deacons and/or of priests and bishops, is a significant one for our common life. The service will be followed by lunch. (There will be no ticket system this year). Clergy are invited to robe in alb or surplice and white stole. Please encourage your parishioners to attend as the presence of the laity is an essential element of the life of the People of God.
Ministry and Calling Sunday
Once again the Sunday after Ascension (5th June) will be kept as Ministry and Calling Sunday and I hope as many parishes as possible will use this opportunity to encourage their people to consider whether they, or someone they know, might have a call to the ministry of the Church. The Church in Wales faces an urgent need for new vocations to ordained ministry as a large number of our clergy are coming up to retirement in the next ten years or so.
It is vital that we keep the problem of falling vocations in our prayers and Ministry and Calling Sunday provides a focus for this, as well as bringing the need for more clergy before our congregations. Many of you took part in the day of prayer last year and this year once again you will be provided with resources to help with sermons and children’s activities. There will also be cards for members of your church to give to people they think should consider whether they have a vocation.
A mailing will be going out in mid-May to all clergy of the Church in Wales with all that you need to keep this day, but in the meantime please consider with your PCCs whether there are things you could do in your own parish both to mark this Sunday and to raise the need for vocations more widely in your area. Extra packs for readers or others that may need them will be available through the Diocesan Office.
Back to Church Sunday
Our Evangelism Officer, Vittoria Hancock, has brought it to my attention that “Back to Church Sunday” will be running as a diocesan event again this year, and that the Sunday earmarked for this event is 25th September. This is not perhaps the sort of event that every Church will want to run every year, but it is one that commends itself as an easy way to encourage people to invite others to Church, and those invitations do often work! Incidentally, Alan Tiltman, as our CME Officer, is arranging one of his occasional CME days with Michael Harvey, the organiser of “Back to Church Sunday”. Michael is an inspirational speaker, with a “We can do this” attitude towards increasing Church membership, and the day would be well worth attending. The session will take place on June 10th, 10.00-12.00, venue to be announced. Please let Alan know if you want to attend.
Ave atque Vale
I am pleased to say that Ian Day has accepted my nomination to succeed Peter Allsworth at the end of September in Bodelwyddan and Rhuddlan. This early appointment allows there to be continuity of ministry in this important new grouping, and I am grateful to all the priests who have ministered and will minister with integrity here, and in the parishes across the diocese.
I am delighted that Adrian Copping has accepted my invitation to succeed Ian as Area Dean of Mold. Adrian will take over from Ian at the Archdeacon’s Visitation to Mold Deanery in May.
I am also pleased that Kate Johnson has accepted my nomination to Abergele and St George. Kate brings her wise experience as a Lutheran pastor, as well as her faithful ministry in Prestatyn and earlier in Wrexham, to the exciting challenges of this new ministry. Details of her Induction are set out in the diary below.
There is also positive news for Llanfyllin Deanery, Pam Powell has accepted my invitation to succeed Michael Balkwill as Area Dean, when Michael moves to the offices at Esgobty in May.
Colleagues will be very sad to learn that Bill Rowell has offered me his resignation. Several issues have led him to believe that he needs time to re-examine his vocation to stipendiary ministry, and Bill will be taking time outside of ministry to be able to address those issues. We offer our prayers and support to Bill and Ann, although I am sure we will also recognise and respect a request that they be given space at this time.
You will have read about the sad necessity laid on Glenys Croft to take early retirement from her vital role in Esgobty. Barbara Card is holding the fort for the time being, but there will be an opportunity for us to say goodbye to Glenys as a diocesan family in the course of Evensong in the Cathedral on 22nd May, an event which will be shared by David Hooson and Malcolm Squires.
I am sure that many of you will share my sadness to hear of the death of Jennie Chesters so shortly after she and Bishop Alan left their home here to make a new home in Lingfield, Surrey. Our prayers and thoughts are with Alan at this time
Dates for the Diary
30th March Open House Eucharist in Corwen Parish Church. The Eucharist will begin at 0930hr as usual, and be followed by refreshments, bible study and discussion. A warm invitation to all clergy and readers who wish to attend.
5th April Induction of Kate Johnson at 1900hr in St Michael’s, Abergele. Please support Kate in your prayers as she begins this new ministry.
10th April Confirmation in St Martin’s Church, Llay at 1600hr.
21st April Chrism Eucharist in the Cathedral at 1100hr
23rd April Confirmation and Easter Vigil Service in the Cathedral at 1830hr.
22nd May Evensong with Farewells to Glenys Croft, David Hooson and Malcolm Squires in the Cathedral at 1530hr.
24th May CME Day at the Ramada Hotel, Wrexham. The day will look at the new Clergy Terms of Service which should be adopted by the Governing Body at their April meeting.
Notes and Queries
There remain a number of vacancies within the diocese, and I should be pleased to hear of any priests who would like to apply for these benefices. They are currently:
• Rector of the Rectorial Benefice of Hawarden
• A full-time priest for Llanfair Caereinion, Llanllugan and Manafon
• A full-time priest for the Llanfyllin group of parishes.
• A House for Duty priest, preferably with some knowledge of Welsh, for the Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant group of parishes.
• A full-time priest, with a working knowledge of Welsh, for Llanrwst.
• An Anglican Chaplain for St Joseph’s School, combined with the post of Schools Officer for Wrexham and adjoining deaneries. (Applications to the Head of St Joseph’s by 6th April)
With my best wishes and prayers for Laetare Sunday and the Passiontide,