Ad Clerum * 28 February 2011
Noswyl Dewi Sant
The Eve of St David
Dewch i weld! (Ioan 1.39)
Come and see! (John 1.46)
Mae’r Grawys yn agosáu unwaith eto. Rydym i gyd yn gyfarwydd â’r ffaith bod y gair Saesneg "Lent" yn cyfeirio at y Gwanwyn, tra bod y gair Cymraeg "Y Grawys" yn cyfeirio at y "ddeugain niwrnod", y Quadragesima, y paratoi ar gyfer y Pasg. Felly bydd deugain niwrnod y Grawys yn wanwyn ar gyfer ein heneidiau. Roedd deugain yn un o’r rhifau arwyddocaol yn yr ysgrythurau – deugain niwrnod ar gyfer yr Iesu yn yr anialwch, deugain niwrnod i Moses ar y Mynydd Sanctaidd, deugain mlynedd i Israel yn yr anialwch, deugain mlynedd o brawf i amrywiol adegau o dan y barnwyr a’r brenhinoedd. Yr hyn sy’n gyffredin i bob un ohonynt yw’r cysyniad o "brofi", yn y modd y gellir profi aur neu fynd â char allan i’w brofi. Yn ystod y Grawys, mae ein ffydd yn cael ei roi ar brawf, a phwynt ein disgyblaethau ysbrydol yw ein hatgoffa i gymryd ein disgyblaeth o ddifrif. Serch hynny, nid yw’r profi oherwydd bod Cristnogaeth i fod i gael ei lenwi â difrifoldeb a surni, mae hynny oherwydd y dylai’r ddisgyblaeth arwain at aeddfedu o’r newydd, ac i wanwyn newydd. Mae’r ysgrythurau’n sôn am docio fel y ffordd at dwf newydd (Ioan 15.2), neu ddisgyblaeth sy’n arwain at ddatgelu ffynhonnau newydd o luniaeth (Ioan 7.37,38). Gobeithiaf bydd yna ymdeimlad gwirioneddol o baratoi ar gyfer y llawenydd sydd i ddod, gwanwyn ein heneidiau, yn eich disgyblaethau Grawys.
Lent will soon be upon us once again. We’re all familiar with the fact that the English word “Lent” refers to the Spring, while the Welsh word “Y Garawys” refers to the “forty days”, the Quadragesima, of the preparation for Easter. So the forty days of Lent are to be a springtime for our souls. Forty was one of those significant numbers in the scriptues – forty days for Jesus in the wilderness, forty days for Moses on the Holy Mount, forty years for Israel in the desert, forty years of probation to various times under the judges and the kings. What is common to them all is the concept of “testing”, in the way that gold might be assayed or cars taken for a test drive. In Lent, our faith is put on its mettle, and the point of our spiritual disciplines are to remind us to take our discipleship seriously. Nevertheless, this testing isn’t because Christianity is meant to be filled with severity and sourness, it is because the discipline should lead to new blossoming, and to new Spring. The scriptures speak of pruning as the way to new growth (John 15.2), or discipline leading to the uncovering of new wells of refreshment (John 7.37,38). I hope that in your Lenten disciplines, there will be a real sense of preparing for the joy which is to come, of the springtime of our souls.
I am inviting all members of the diocese to join me again in prayer at 1800hr every evening in Lent, or as near as they can manage, in prayer for our diocesan family. Prayer cards are available, free of charge, from Esgobty and the Diocesan Office, and the prayer is reproduced here.
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.
The Chrism Eucharist
I am inviting all clergy, serving and retired, to join me for the Celebration of the Chrism Eucharist in the Cathedral on Maundy Thursday. We shall follow the format of last year, including the element of concelebration, and I believe that this moment, 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 begins as usual at 1100hr, and 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.
Ave atque Vale
I am very pleased to announce that I have nominated Mike West to succeed Tudor Griffiths as Canon Chancellor in the Cathedral. Mike is relatively new to the Diocese of St Asaph, but he brings a long and distinguished record in ministry with him, particularly in the field of education, which has always had an association with the Chancellorship in the Cathedral. Details of his installation are given below.
I have invited Bishop Stephen Lowe to undertake a new expression of ministry in the Parish of Towyn. As you will know, Towyn is preparing to join the new Rectorial Benefice of Rhyl, as in order to prepare for that, Stephen has been invited to take on a twelve month transitional ministry in the parish, with the goal of developing its life as it prepares to join with the Parish of Rhyl. He will be assisted by Canon Clive Southerton, who takes on the role of associate priest. I hope that this concept of “transition ministry”, in which a talented team are placed for a limited period in a parish to renew its life is one that may take root in the diocese, and I shall be looking for new ways to take this concept forward in the future. Stephen and Clive have been licensed by me at Esgobty, but there will be a celebration of their new ministry later in March.
David Hooson has signified to me that he will retire as Diocesan Registrar at the end of this month. David has given venerable and immensely valuable service to the diocese as our legal adviser, and we are all probably more indebted to him that we know for his contribution to diocesan life over a long period of time. There will be a chance to celebrate David’s contribution to our corporate life at Evensong in the Cathedral on 22nd May later this year, and that is a date which you may like to put in your diary now. In the meantime, David has been preparing for the day of his release by training up Llyr Williams as Deputy Registrar. I have invited Llyr to succeed to the post of Registrar at the end of this month, and his assumption of this role will be marked at Evensong in the Cathedral on 27th March.
Our prayers go to Sarah Hildreth and her family, on the death of her grandfather, Bill Mather. We also extend our sympathies to the family of Stephen Marriott who died last month. Stephen worked for many years in the Diocese of Chester, but contributed much also to the life of the Diocese of St Asaph, most recently carrying out a review of the work of our Diocesan Boards. He was also Lay Chair of the Bangor Deanery.
Dates for the Diary
Monday, 7th March 1630hr, Opening of the Canolfan Dewi Sant in Pensarn, Abergele. Please give thanks to God for the renewal of this Church site, and the opening of a facility which will reach out to and serve the community.
Thursday, 24th March 1900hr, in the Parish Church of St Giles: the Licensing of Matthew Burns as Associate Priest in the Rectorial Benefice of Wrexham.
Sunday, 27th March At 1500hr (note the change of time from the normal time of Sunday Evensong in the Cathedral), Collation and Commissioning. At this service, I will collate Mike West and Alan Suter as Canons of the Cathedral, and commission Llyr Williams as Diocesan Registrar. Your support would be much appreciated. The service will be followed by tea.
Wednesday,30th March: Open House Eucharist at 0930hr at the Church of SS Mael and Sulien, Corwen. The occasion will begin as usual with a celebration of the Eucharist, and continue with Bible Study and conversation.
Sunday, 10th April 1600hr. A Confirmation in the Church of St Martin, Llay.
Thursday, 21st April The Chrism Eucharist will be celebrated in the Cathedral at 1100hr. We will follow the same pattern as last year, and lunch will be available free of charge to all who attend.
Notes and Queries
You will already know that the 2011 Census will be held on Sunday, 27th March at the end of this month. We have been asked to encourage people to support the Census, and a useful note has been circulated giving basic information about it, which you may like to draw to the attention of your parishioners.
Dean of St Asaph
As I indicated in the letter announcing Chris’ appointment as Archdeacon of St Asaph, it is my intention that this post of Dean will be advertised in the Church Times on 11th and 18th March. I should be grateful if you could all pray about the process of the appointment of a new Dean. In particular, please encourage anyone who you know who could take on this challenging and important ministry to seek for details from Esgobty, and to consider making an application. Application packs will be available from Esgobty.
Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru
Fe’i cynhelir eleni yn Wrecsam rhwng 30ain Gorffennaf a 6ed Awst. Fel arfer, bydd pabell Cytun ar y maes a byddai cefnogaeth yr Eglwysi lleol yn amhrisiadwy. Yr wyf yn mawr obeithio bydd cymaint o Anglicaniaid â phosibl yn cefnogi’r digwyddiad hwn. Er bod yr Eisteddfod yn cael ei chynnal, a hynny’n briodol iawn, drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg, mae llawer i’w fwynhau, boed yn Saesneg neu Gymraeg, a gellir gweld agweddau o’r diwylliant Cymreig, rhyfeddol a llawen, yn gorymdeithio drwy fywyd yr Eisteddfod. Dylai’r rhai sydd â diddordeb mewn cynorthwyo gysylltu â’r Parchedig Martin Snellgrove.
The National Eisteddfod of Wales
will be held in Wrexham this year between 30th July and 6th August. As usual, there will be a Cytun tent on the field, and the support of local Churches will be invaluable. I very much hope that as many Anglicans as possible will support this event. Although the Eisteddfod is conducted, quite rightly, in the Welsh language, there is much to enjoy, English or Welsh, and aspects of Welsh culture that surprise and delight are paraded in the Eisteddfod’s life. Those interested in assisting should contact the Revd Martin Snellgrove.
The New Atheism
The Archbishop of Canterbury has publicly opposed the claims about God being made by the New Atheists, including recently participating in a discussion with Terry Eagleton on the topic ‘Responses to the New Atheism’ at Great St Mary’s, Cambridge.
Archbishop Rowan is President of SPCK, and in support of his stance against the New Atheism, they have published Alister McGrath’s new book, Why God Won’t Go Away (the sequel to The Dawkins Delusion?). I am happy to recommend the book to you.
Daw’r llythyr hwn gyda fy nymuniadau gorau ar gyfer eich dathliadau Dydd Gŵyl Dewi, Nawddsant Cymru, ac ar gyfer tymor y Grawys sydd i ddod.
This letter comes with my best wishes for your celebration of the Feast of St David, Patron of Wales, and for the forthcoming season of Lent,