July 2011


Ad Clerum

Gwyl Pedr a Paul, Apostolion, 29ain Mehefin,
The Feast of SS Peter and Paul, 29th June
Dewch i weld! (Ioan 1.39)
Come and see! (John 1.46)

Annwyl Gyfeillion,

Mae’r haf yn nesau unwaith eto a’r tywydd yn gyfnewidiol, un diwrnod yn ddwl a’r nesaf yn grasboeth. Rhaid i ni obeithio erbyn i’r Eisteddfod Genedlaethol gyrraedd Wrecsam, y bydd y tywydd wedi setlo i lawr i roi i ni wythnos o heulwen (bydd hyn yn beth prin i’r Eisteddfod).

Mae hi’n bleser mawr i groesawu’r Eisteddfod i’r esgobaeth am yr ail waith mewn tair blynedd. Euthum i’r Eisteddfod am y tro cyntaf pan oeddwn ond yn blentyn ysgol, a chefais fy swyno gan y diwylliant Cymreig sydd i’w weld yno. Gall fod yn anodd fel siaradwr Saesneg, a hyd yn oed fel dysgwr, i ymdopi ag amgylchedd sydd mor ddiedifar Gymraeg yn unig, sy’n beth da: mangre a gŵyl lle gall yr hen iaith gymryd y lle blaenaf a’i dathlu.

Wrth gwrs, tydi elfennau defodol yr Eisteddfod yn ddim ond arddull y ddeunawfed a’r bedwaredd ganrif ar bymtheg, ond gallant barhau i gynhyrfu’r enaid, yn enwedig wrth i ni ddisgwyl yn eiddgar am gyhoeddi ennillydd y goron neu’r gadair, sy’n cael ei wneud hefo llawer mwy o rwysg na’r Oscars!

Felly gobeithiaf y caiff yr Eisteddfod ein cefnogaeth y mis nesaf ac y cymerwch y cyfle i ymweld â Phabell yr Eglwysi, ac ychwanegu at ein tystiolaeth Gristnogol hefyd.

Mae’n werth ychwanegu gair o gefnogaeth i’r Eisteddfod Rhyngwladol yn Llangollen ddechrau Gorffennaf hefyd. Gall yr Eisteddfod Rhyngwladol fod y chwaer a esgeulusir yng Nghymru, ac eto mae hefyd yn tystiolaethu i letygarwch Cymreig, ac yn gwneud gwaith distaw dros Rhyngwladgarwch a chydweithrediad ar draws y cenhedloedd. Mae llawenydd a dirgryndod maes yr Eisteddfod yn Llangollen yn rhywbeth gwerth ei brofi, felly, os gwelwch yn dda, cefnogwch y digwyddiad yma hefyd.

The summer approaches once again, and the weather seems to veer from dull to scorching hot day to day. We have to hope that by the time the national Eisteddfod arrives in Wrexham, the weather system has settled down to give us a week of sunshine (which will be a rare thing for the Eisteddfod).

It is a great pleasure to welcome the National Eisteddfod to the diocese for the second time in three years. I first went to the Eisteddfod when I was but a schoolboy, and was quickly captivated by the Welsh culture on display there. It can be difficult as an English speaker, and even as a learner, to cope with an environment which is so unashamedly Welsh language only, but that’s a great thing: a place and a festival where the old tongue can take first place and be celebrated.

Of course, the ceremonial elements of the Eisteddfod are only eighteenth and nineteenth century pastiche, but they can still stir the soul, especially as we wait for the identity of the winner of the chair or the crown, which is done with a great deal more flair than the Oscars!

So I hope that the Eisteddfod will have our support next month, and that you will take the opportunity to visit the churches’ tent, and add to our Christian witness as well.

It is worth adding a word of support for the International Eisteddfod at Llangollen at the beginning of July as well. The International Eisteddfod can be the neglected sister in Wales, and yet it also bears witness to Welsh hospitality, and does a quiet work for internationalism and co-operation across the nations. The joy and vibrancy of the Eisteddfod maes in Llangollen is something worth experiencing, so do please lend support to this event as well.

The Petertide Ordination

I’m sure that we would want to offer our congratulations to Adam Pawley, Deborah Swann, Neil Kelly on their ordination as Priests, and to Philip Bettinson, Gwenda Cooper, Jane James, Alex Mayes and Kate Tiltman on their ordination as Deacons. We will want to keep them in our thoughts and prayers as well as they begin a new stage of their Christian pilgrimage and ministry.

It was good to see a full cathedral, and it is one of those occasions when the diocesan family can celebrate. I overheard a side comment, however. Someone was saying that people don’t always know who is invited to attend the ordination. The answer is, of course, the whole diocesan family. It is an occasion which is joyful and hopeful, and can uplift and inspire – and all are welcome. The date of next year’s ordination is Saturday, 30th June 2012, and you can put the date in your diary now, and invite any member of our congregations to think about coming along.

Readers’ Ministry

We had a good turn out from the Readers of the diocese for their Study Day and Annual General Meeting on 11th June. The readers are another group who would welcome the affirmation provided by a good congregation at their Annual Service. The service next year has been fixed for Saturday, 16th June 2012, and it will be an Eucharist at 1100hr followed by lunch.

Introducing a new Grant Scheme for Parishes:
‘Supporting Initiatives in Ministry’

The Diocesan Board of Finance is committed to the vision that “money enables mission”, that is, that the finances of the diocese are a gift of God to us to enable us to carry forward the mission of the Kingdom of God. This implies a number of principles:

1. Finance must be arranged in a way that supports and sustains the widest possible base of Church activity. We are a diverse diocese, with immense stretches of rural parishes, as well as some of the most deprived urban communities in Europe; but we still have 212 Churches in different communities. We need therefore to apply our finances in the way which is most supportive of all those Churches.

2. Resources must be used in a way which is effective in building the future, and not just maintaining the present.

3. Provision must be made for new initiatives in mission.

4. In prioritising new initiatives for mission, attention must be paid to the most needy of our communities. Since the mission of Jesus was to those on the edges of society, those who were weakest, then so must be the mission of the Church.

5. Mission must be a ground up activity. The diocese exists to support local communities, and local community mission must be the focus of attention. Initiatives should arise from within parish contexts, and the diocese ought to make provision to assist them.

The diocese has therefore created a “Mission Fund” to support initiatives in ministry across the diocese in line with these principles. It is distinct from the “Investing in Mission” grants in that it seeks to provide targeted help in promoting ministry in contexts where it would otherwise be difficult to maintain. Applications may be made to the Fund to support initiatives in ministry intended to provide new elements of growth in the life of a congregation or parish, and not merely to sustain present levels of life and ministry. The Fund will be administered by the Diocesan Board of Finance, to which benefices may make application. The application form for the scheme is attached to this Ad Clerum and more information will be available from the diocesan website from next week. I hope that the DBF will have some interesting and creative applications to consider when it next meets on September 5th.

Pastoral Chaplains

You will remember that about a year ago, I issued information about those members of the retired clergy who I had invited to assist the ordained ministers of the diocese by acting as Pastoral Chaplains. This dedicated team are available to support clergy – either at my referral, or approached directly by the clergy, with whom they work in confidence.

A reminder that Bishop Stephen Lowe, the Ven Tony Sadler and the Revd Margaret Robarts have agreed to act in this capacity – for whose service I would like to express with deepest gratitude.

I will be looking to add to their ranks in the near future, and if you know of a retired cleric who would be suitable to assist in offering a quiet ministry of support in this way, I should be glad to receive nominations.

Pilgrimage Route

I am sure that you will have read elsewhere about the North Wales Pilgrimage Route, from Basingwerk to Bardsey, which is being established, as much through the agency and initiative of Chris and Jenny Potter, as any others. The route will be launched with an open invitation to walk the first part of the route in the company of the Potters on Sunday 7th August beginning at Basingwerk at 2.00pm. I will be there to send the pilgrims on their way with a blessing. Further details of the route can be found on the pilgrimage website www.pilgrims-way-north-wales.org

On Friday 12th August, the band of pilgrims will be at St. Celynin’s near Rowen above the Conwy Valley. It is an ancient church high on the hills with a rectangular baptismal well and since it is a lovely place for a picnic and a little service, any budding pilgrims are invited to join the pilgrimage in Rowen at 9.00am and to walk (up a very steep track), or drive up by a different route, for a gathering between 1100hr and 1300hr.

South West Tanganyika Link

First of all, I am sure that you would all join me in sending congratulations to Bishop John Simalenga on his marriage to Martha in Dar es Salaam Cathedral on July 9th. They will both be visiting us next year and we are looking forward to it enormously. Bishop Stephen will be over in Tanzania in late August to review the progress of the link with Bishop John. I am delighted that he will be at the handover of 6 new motorbikes to the Diocesan clergy, a number that we hope to substantially increase through the Diocesan Offering on October 10th.

I am hoping this will be the climax of the visit by Canon John Kwetu and Sister Aneth which starts on Friday 30th of September. They will be staying in Llansanffraid for the first week with trips to Newtown, Llangollen and St Joseph’s School in Wrexham. They want to see first-hand some of our dairy farming and church schools. They will then move to St Asaph for the second week of their stay. Deeside, Holywell, Hawarden, Colwyn Bay, Llandudno and Towyn will all be visited as well as the Diocesan Office. They will join us for the Diocesan Conference, and of course will feature in the Diocesan Offering Service. Bishop Stephen is coordinating their programme and I am looking forward to welcoming them on this next step in our link with the Diocese of South West Tanganyika.

Ave atque Vale

I am delighted to announce the appointment of David Lewis as Rector of Hawarden. David has been a faithful parish priest in the diocese, and a highly committed Church and Society Officer, and I am sure that he will rise with aplomb to the new challenge of leading the Rectorial Benefice of Hawarden. David will be inducted on October 13th.

I am also delighted to welcome Hermione Long from the Diocese of Monmouth as the new Rector of the Llanfyllin Group of parishes. Hermione had a distinguished career in nursing before she was ordained in the Diocese of Monmouth, and now comes to the Diocese of St Asaph with enthusiasm; we look forward to welcoming her on October 8th.

I am pleased to write that John Harvey has accepted my invitation to take on duties as Diocesan Director of Ordinands in succession to Mary Stallard, as Mary moves on to her new role as schools officer and chaplain. John has offered much to his parishes and to the diocese in his spirituality and wisdom, as well as assisting as Vocations Officer in the diocese. I am sure that he will do great things in this new role, and be a worthy warden to those exploring training as ordained ministers in the Church.

Good news too with the appointment of Ros Crawford as World Mission Officer. Ros is a native of southern Africa, and has much experience of the worldwide Church. I am confident that she will do great work in supporting our vision of mission in the diocese, as well as co-ordinating work with USPG and Christian Aid among others.

Ron Evans has indicted to me that he wishes to take retirement at the end of September. Ron has served faithfully in the diocese for fourteen years, and we wish him and his family well in retirement.

Dates for the Diary

The following are events in my diary at which I would like to encourage a strong clergy presence. It is particularly important, I believe, to support our brother and sister clergy at the moments which mark the inauguration of their new ministries.

10 July 1300hr Celebration at Pennant Melangell to mark the beginning of Lynette Norman’s ministry as Priest-Guardian of the Shrine. The celebration will take the form of the Eucharist followed by lunch, so it would be extremely helpful if you could let Lynette know if you intend to join us.

14 July 0930hr Open House Eucharist, with bible study and conversation along the normal pattern at St. Beuno’s Church, Berriew.

17 July 1700hr Confirmation for Hawarden Deanery. The service will be held at Emmanuel Church in Bistre.

23 July 1230hr Mothers’ Union event at the Cathedral. This event is a Worldwide Day of outreach and fun for families and the general community, as part of the Church and Mothers’ Union mission. The event will include exhibitions & activities, stalls, games, refreshments and a picnic area. There will be activities and workshops for young and old. Doors open at 12.30hr concluding with a short service at approximately 1630 hr.

29 July A day of prayer for the work of the Society of Mary and Martha, which seeks to provide space and pastoral support for clergy and their families under stress. http://www.sheldon.uk.com/

7 August 1400hr Launch of North Wales Pilgrim’s Way, Basingwerk Abbey to Bardsey. Join the group as they set out on the Inaugural Pilgrimage and journey from Basingwerk to Pantasaph.

25 August 1900hr The Induction of Chris Potter as Rector of Caerwys & Bodfari, in St Michael’s Church, Caerwys.

6 Sept 0930hr The Licensing of Mary Stallard as Anglican Chaplain of St Joseph’s School, and Schools Officer in Wrexham. Clergy wishing to support Mary at this event should notify the Parish Office at Wrexham.

12 Sept 1800hr The Commissioning of John Lomas as Transition Missioner during Evensong in the Cathedral. John would welcome support as he assumes this ground-breaking ministry on behalf of the diocese.

13 Sept Start of the Clergy Residential School in St Anne’s College, Oxford.

17 Sept 1400hr The Installation of the Revd Nigel Williams as Dean of St Asaph. I am sure that Nigel would welcome all the support possible for this service, and for his new ministry.

18 Sept 1500hr Llanfyllin Deanery Confirmation in St. Ffraid’s Church, Llansanffraid Ym Mechain.

25 Sept 1900hr Diocesan Offering Sunday – in support of the South West Tanganyika Link. Please make a special effort to support this appeal.

2 October 1530hr Installation of the Venerable Chris Potter to the Prebendal Stall of Llanfair, and a service to mark the beginning of his ministry as Archdeacon of St Asaph.

9 October 1400hr Diocesan Conference, Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse near Wrexham. Theme for the Conference will be: ‘What is Church For?’ Speaker: The Revd Robin Gamble, Diocesan Evangelist in Bradford Diocese.

16 June 2012 Readers’ Day

30 June 2012 1000hr Ordination in the Cathedral.

Notes and Queries

Vacancies

I am still waiting for an expression of interest in the position of Rural Life Adviser in the diocese. I would be very keen to hear from any cleric or lay person in the diocese who would like to explore this ministry. Our farmers and agricultural workers are facing challenges in their lives and livelihoods, and the support that the Church can give, focussed through a diocesan officer is a vital part of our mission.

The following benefices remain, or will be, vacant, and if anyone would like to explore ministry in these places, or recommend a name, then they should contact the relevant archdeacon:

Colwyn Bay, Henllan (House for Duty), Holywell, the Llanfair Caereinion Group, the Llanrhaeadr YM Group (House for Duty), Llanrwst, and Mold.

I wish you all well for the Summer, and for your holidays, if you are taking a break.