Ad Clerum * 6th January 2011
The Feast of the Epiphany
Gwŷl Yr Ystwyll
Dewch i weld! (Ioan 1.39)
Come and see! (John 1.46)
The Epiphany has always been one of my favourite feasts – I think largely because of the romance of the story of the Kings (the wise men, the magi, whoever they were). The star, the magnificent but bizarre and obscure gifts, and the exotic nature of the magi themselves all add mystery and excitement to the story. But the Feast of the Epiphany is really a “Come and See” story in a big way. Here is a revelation of God in Christ Jesus that reaches to the ends of the world (well, maybe Persia, but in the legend, the trinity of the magi are also meant to represent the three races of humanity descended from the three sons of Noah), and there is an invitation for all to come from the ends of the world and see the child and where he is laid. Even the worship of the magi and their gifts are meant to lead us to look with deeper vision into the gift that God has sent us – and all this richness even before we remember that Epiphany is also about the Baptism of Jesus and the Miracle at Cana in Galilee. What a marvellous way to begin our year with the motto “Come and See”!
As explained elsewhere, this motto business is meant only to be a peg on which to hang the exploration and encouragement of our corporate life. It is an invitation to the diocesan family which will lurk in the background to encourage people to think about exploring faith more deeply, and how we can become congregations which invite people to “come and see” something of our faith and worship lived out in an attractive manner.
So I hope that the motto may be a help to you in your parish ministries; that you’ll feel able to have a discussion with the PCC and the congregation about how we “come to see” God being revealed in our own lives; how indeed our wider communities can be invited to “come and see” how we as congregations respond to that invitation, so that they may have a glimpse of the God who longs to be at work in their lives as well.
You are all in my prayers, and I pray that this new year may be a time when your ministries will go from strength to strength, when many may come and take a look at us, and discover the divine life that we reveal attractive in the same way that the kings were caught up into the worship of the child, and a free offering of their treasures in his service.
Ave atque Vale
Bernard Thomas has indicated to me that he intends to offer his resignation as Archdeacon of St Asaph with effect from 31st August this year, when he begins to approach his sixty-sixth birthday. Thankfully, we will not be losing him and Jennifer however, as he will be remaining in Llandyrnog and Llangwyfan as house-for-duty priest-in-charge for some time longer yet. There will be other opportunities to pay tribute to Bernard’s outstanding, faithful and cheerful ministry, but it has been tremendous for me to have his support as Archdeacon of St Asaph in the beginnings of my own ministry. I intend to move to the appointment of Bernard’s successor in the near future, with the hope that the new Archdeacon will be in place in plenty of time for the Clergy School.
I am pleased to say that Colin Mansley has accepted my invitation to become Diocesan Chaplain to the Mothers’ Union in succession to Canon Philip Williams. Philip has executed this ministry with distinction for many years, and Colin, whose name was nominated to me by the Diocesan Council of the MU, will be an able successor.
We congratulate David Anderson on his appointment to the Parish of St Edward the Confessor, Romford, in the Diocese of Chelmsford. David has worked hard in building up the Anglican chaplaincy at St Joseph’s School, and at All Saints in Wrexham, but we wish him well for this new ministry back across the border. David’s induction in Romford has been fixed for 22nd February.
It is also good to be able to announce that Tudor Griffiths has been appointed Rector of St Mary with St Matthews, Cheltenham, and Area Dean of Cheltenham. Tudor will take up this new ministry in March this year, but I offer him and Anna our very best wishes and gratitude for all their faithful ministry in the Church in Wales, and not just in this diocese but across the Province.
Congratulations to Bill and Ann Rowell on becoming grandparents for the first time with the birth of granddaughter Evelyn at the beginning of December, and to David and Sue Lewis on the birth of a third grandchild, Edward Noah, on Boxing Day.
I am sorry to report that Pauline Walker’s mother, Doris Simpson, and Val Rowlands’ mother, Doreen Hearl, both died shortly before Christmas. David Lewis’ mother, Margaret, also passed away unexpectedly shortly before the New Year, so David has had something of a roller coaster Christmas. As a diocesan family, we stand alongside our colleagues, and join together in offering our prayers and support for Pauline and her family, for Val and her family, and for David and his family. We also extend our sympathies to John Somerville on the death of his wife, Eirlys, just before the end of the year. Eirlys had been ill for some time, but we still grieve her passing, and very much support John with our prayers. May the Child of Bethlehem grant peace to the departed and hope to all of us who are bereaved.
Remarriage after Divorce
Following discussion at a recent meeting of the Bench on this subject, the bishops agreed to remind clergy that when there is a request from someone to marry in Church when one or both of the couple have been married more than once already, and where former spouses are still living, the case should always be referred to the Bishop for advice.
Dates for the Diary
January 16th The Visitation to the St Asaph Deanery will be held in the Cathedral at 13.45pm and will be preceded by a Celebration of the Holy Eucharist at 11am.
January 22nd The Induction of Jacqueline Carter as Vicar of Rhosllanerchrugog will take place in St Mary’s Church, Johnstown beginning at 1500hr.
January 23rd The Visitation to the Penllyn Edeyrnion Deanery takes place at Christchurch, Bala. This will begin at 13.30pm and will be preceded by a Celebration of the Holy Eucharist at11am.
January 30th The Visitation to Minera Deanery will begin at 13.30pm at St Tudfil’s, Coedpoeth and will be preceded by a Celebration of the Holy Eucharist at 11am.
February 6th The Visitation to Llangollen Deanery will take place in St Collen’s church hall at 13.00hrs and will be preceded by a Celebration of the Holy Eucharist at St Collen’s church at 11am.
February 9th The Induction of Edward Yendall as Parish Priest of the Glyn Ceiriog Group of parishes. This will take place in St John’s, Pontfadog, at 1900hr.
On Maundy Thursday, 21st April, the Chrism Eucharist will be celebrated in the Cathedral, beginning at 1100hr.
On Saturday,25th June, God willing, I intend to ordain Neil Kelly, Deborah Swann and Adam Pawley to the priesthood, and Phil Bettinson, Gwenda Cooper, Jane James, Alexier Mayes, Barbara Morgan and Kate Tiltman to the diaconate. The service will begin at 1000hr in the Cathedral, and it would be good to have as many clergy and laity as possible there to welcome them to these new ministries.
There will be two day events for CME this year, and the Clergy School in September:
1 February 09.30 – 15.30 at Ramada Hotel, Wrexham, when the Revd Stephen Adams (Ministry Officer for the Church in Wales and Tutor in St Michael’s College) will be leading us through the Church in Wales’ latest thinking on the future of ordained ministry in the Church in Wales, and there will be a report on my own 360 Degree Review carried out in November last year.
24 May 09.30 – 15.30, also at the Ramada Hotel, Wrexham. Further details to be circulated.
The residential Clergy School will run between 13-16 September at St Anne’s College, Oxford. Further details will be sent out in the future, but I should be grateful if you can all ensure that these dates are given priority in your diaries.
Mae’r llythyr hwn yn dod gyda fy nymuniadau cynhesaf ar gyfer y flwyddyn sydd i ddod, gyda’r holl heriau a llawenydd ddaw yn ei sgil. Bydded i Dduw, sydd yn Alpha a Omega, yn rhoi gras a chryfder yn eich dechrau newydd, ac yn eich gweinidogaeth.
This letter comes with my warmest good wishes for the year ahead, and all the challenges and joys it will bring. May the God, who is Alpha and Omega, always grant you both grace and strength in your new beginnings and in your ministry,