November 2011

Ad Clerum : 1af Tachwedd 2011 November 1st
Yr Holl Saint : All Saints’ Day
Dewch i weld! (Ioan 1.39)
Come and see! (John 1.46)

Annwyl Gyfeillion,

All Saints’ Day is notable, not for taking over the pagan Samhain, but by standing in deliberate contrast to it, proclaiming the victory of all God’s people by the power of Christ revealed on the Cross in contrast to the despair and fear of the freeing of sprites and fiends as winter approaches. It is one of those saints’ days which suffers from migrating through the week and therefore of uncertain parish observance, but I hope that we can make something of it to remind the Teulu Asaph that we are all called to sainthood; that we are to be a people on the move, and that in Christ we have nothing to fear from the powers of evil.

The Diocesan Conference

I would like to express my thanks to all those responsible in any way for bringing together the Diocesan Conference. A number of people have commented that they thought it was the best conference they had attended, and that is high praise indeed. Our visitors from South West Tanganyika were also full of praise: It all went so efficiently and so quickly was their comment, since the SWT Diocesan Conference takes three days! I would particularly like to thank the diocesan staff under Diane’s leadership for the hard work that they put into the Conference, but also the Conference Planning Group, who gave us a rich and varied diet.

It was also particularly worthwhile, I think, to have had the work in groups, and to have had the Question Time, and I am looking forward to these becoming regular features of future conferences, although I take on board the criticism of some that these segments of the conference deserve longer time.

In order to build on the model that we have started to develop, we are going to hold next year’s conference on a Saturday, in order to avoid swamping our Sunday worship with the commitment of the Conference, and the date that has been identified is Saturday, 6th October, when we will meet in the Llangollen Pavilion.

The South West Tanganyika Link/Diocesan Offering

I believe that Canon John and Sister Aneth had a very good time with us, and a big thank you to all those who worked hard to see that their visit was a success, and who offered hospitality. I think that they found our Church smaller than their own, with fewer young people, but with a lot which they praised, and their visit cemented our link. The Diocesan Offering was given to SWT this year, and the appeal obviously touched a chord, as the offering raised over £12,000 this year, a total going above the total raised for many of the recent appeals.

I know that the Board of Church and Society are keen to involve the wider diocese in the Diocesan Offering for future years, and it was disappointing that only one nomination was received for consideration by the Conference on this occasion. We are fortunate that the nomination is a very worthwhile one: Reactivate Theatre, a group promoting drama, music and dance for children with special needs. However, please work with the Board of Church and Society in seeking to generate more support for the offering in future, particularly with the nomination and selection of suitable local charities. It is an important aspect of our engagement with the world to be able to support worthy local causes in this way.

Joint Study Days

A reminder again that I hope that all clergy and those in ministry will give serious consideration to attending one of the Joint Study Days and the Hellins Lecture this year. All serving and retired clergy and readers are invited to meet for the Joint Study Days, and to bring along their ecumenical colleagues. The subject in 2011 is “Where are we heading? Hopes and Challenges for Anglican Roman Catholic Co-operation”, and the days will be led by Bishop Don Bolen, Roman Catholic Bishop of Saskatoon in Canada and myself. Don was my colleague when I was working in the Anglican Communion Office, and he was the member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in the Vatican responsible for Anglican – Roman Catholic relations. He is an inspirational and engaging speaker. The dates and locations for the Study Days are as follows:

• Wednesday 16 November, at The Loreto Centre, Abbey Road, Llandudno LL30 2EL
• Thursday 17 November, at the Church of St Francis of Assisi, Llay Chain, Llay, Wrexham LL12 0NT

The meetings will commence at 1030hr (coffee from 1000hr) and end by 1530hr. Those attending are requested to bring a packed lunch. The days are jointly sponsored with the Dioceses of Bangor and Wrexham, so I hope that they will be genuinely ecumenical, and allow new perspectives and friendships to emerge.

The Hellins Lecture

As part of this programme, this year’s Hellins Lecture will take place on Wednesday 16th November at 1900hr in the South Transept of the Cathedral. We will be welcoming Bishop Don as the 2011 Hellins Lecturer and the subject of the lecture will be “Pope Benedict and the Ecumenical Openings of the Present Moment”.

Church in Wales Provincial Review Group

I remind you as well that on Monday, November 28th, the Diocese will be hosting the three members of the Provincial Review Group that has been invited by the Archbishop to address the question, ‘Is the Church in Wales “fit for purpose” and able to respond to its vocation in the context of twenty-first century Wales?

Following Choral Evensong at 1800hr there will be an Open Meeting in the Cathedral from 1830hr until 2000hr. All interested, lay and ordained, are invited to attend and contribute to ensure that a wide range of views is heard. The Bishop and Staff team will not be present at the open meeting. The meeting will focus on the following questions:

1. What aspect of
a) your diocese and
b) the Church in Wales,
do you feel most positive about?

2 What major changes or initiatives would you like to see
a) in your diocese and
b) in the Church in Wales,
to make its ministry and witness more effective?

3. Given the predicted shortfall in the number of clergy what steps do you think should be taken to ensure that there continues to be ministry in every community?

4. Given the likely diminishment of the contribution of historic funds to the financing of the church (at present 30%) what steps do you think should be taken to ensure the financial viability of the church in the future?

5. Are there any other issues you would like to see the review team investigating in order to enhance the ministry and witness of the Church in Wales?

The Review Group appreciates that it will not be possible for all members that wish to participate in this process to do so via the meetings held in dioceses. Consequently it is also inviting members to make written submissions on the questions posed by the Review Group or any other matter that might be relevant to the Review. These should be submitted by Thursday 12 January 2012 directly to the Chair of the Working Group at the House of Lords.

Lord Harries of Pentregarth
The House of Lords, Westminster, London, SW1A 0PW

Please inform your parishes of the work of the Church in Wales Review in general, the Review Group’s visit to the diocese on November 28th and the questions that will be addressed at the Open Meeting. It would be excellent to have a good turn out in the Cathedral on that evening to engage with this important instrument for the future planning of the Church in Wales.

Inauguration of new Deaneries

The Diocesan Conference approved the merger of some of our deaneries in line with the plan to ensure that deaneries work together as an effective “Bro” in which mission can take place, and in which there is an active deanery chapter.

• On Friday 6th January at 1900hr there will be an Epiphany Service at St Mary’s Church, Ruabon, for the merging deaneries of Llangollen and Bangor Is Y Coed to inaugurate their common life.
• On Sunday, 29th January Caereinion and Llanfyllin Deaneries will celebrate their merger with a Service for Candlemas at Sy Mary’s Church, Llanfair Caereinion at 1500hr.
• On Sunday 5th February at 1600hr in Holy Trinity Church, Gwersyllt there will also be a Candlemas Service for the merging deaneries of Gresford and Minera.

Hwyl a Helo

We offer profound thanks for all her ministry to Heather Fenton as she moves into a new retirement at the end of this month, and retires from Bryn Eglwys and Gwyddelwern. Heather will be retaining her role as Area Dean until the Spring, and has undertaken to continue her work with us all as Rural Life Advisor. For the future, John Lomas has begun his transition ministry with Gwyddelwern as part of the new Corwen grouping, and Shirley Griffiths adds Bryneglwys to the Llandegla Group.

I’m sure that we’re sorry to learn of the sudden death of Mike Keuleman’s mother-in-law, Zoe. Our sympathies go to Rose, Mike and the family.

Dates for the Diary

08 Novr 1900hr The Induction of Pauline Walker as Vicar of Rossett & Isycoed, at Christ Church, Rossett.

10 Novr 1900hr The Induction of Ian Day as Vicar of Rhuddlan & Bodelwyddan, at St Margaret’s, Bodelwyddan.

16 Novr 1000hr for 1030hr First Anglican/Roman Catholic Joint Study Day at The Loreto Centre, Abbey Road, Llandudno.

1900hr Hellins Lecture, South Transept, St Asaph Cathedral

17 Novr 1000hr for 1030hr Second Anglican/Roman Catholic Joint Study Day at the Church of St Francis of Assisi Church, Llay Chain, Llay, Wrexham.

23 Novr 1900hr The Induction of Jackie Carter as Vicar of Penycae, at St Thomas’, Penycae.

28 Novr 1800hr Evensong in the Cathedral, followed by an Open Meeting with the members of the Archbishop’s Review Group.

01 Dec 1900hr The Induction of Shirley Griffiths as Vicar of Bryneglwys at St Tysilio’s Church, Bryneglwys.

03 Dec 1500hr The Licensing of David and Mary Dunn as Joint Priests-in-charge of Llanfair Caereinion, Llanllugan and Manafon at St Mary’s Church, Llanfair Caereinion.

Dates for your diaries in 2012

Confirmations in 2012 The pattern of archdeaconry based Confirmations seemed to work during the Visitation and this year, so will follow a similar pattern in 2012. I am more than happy to consider requests for further deanery or even parish confirmations where the numbers or other special considerations apply.

07 April Cathedral (Evening – time to be confirmed)
06 May St Deiniol’s Church, Hawarden 1600hr
20 May St Grwst’s Church, Llanrwst 1530hr
01 July Wrexham Deanery at St Giles’ Church 1500hr
16 September St Tysilio & St Mary’s Church, Meifod 1500hr
07 October St Mary’s & St David’s, Flint 1530hr
04 November St Mary’s Church, Ruabon 1600hr
04 December Cathedral 1830hr

Open House Eucharists: I continue to put these in the diary, and to invite all clergy to join me for Eucharistic worship, bible study and discussion. We begin at 0930hr, and finish by noon.

15 March 2012 0930hr St Margaret’s Church, Wrexham
16 May 2012 0930hr St Myllin’s Church, Llanfyllin
04 October 2012 0930hr Petryal Group, details to be confirmed.

Other important dates in 2012

05 April 1100hr Chrism Eucharist and Renewal of Ordination Vows in the Cathedral.
30 June 1000hr The Petertide Ordination in the Cathedral
6 October The Diocesan Conference in the Pavilion at Llangollen.

Notes and Queries

Advent Pastoral Letter
Advance notice that I intend to write my usual Pastoral Letter to be read in Churches on Advent Sunday, 27th November.

Meaningful Chocolate
The good people who brought you the Real Easter Egg, which will be running next Easter again, are adding to their range, and now produce Meaningful Chocolate Christmas Tree Decorations. The pack (on sale for £3.95) includes six chocolate discs to hang upon the tree with stickers telling the story of the Nativity. Orders are taken through their website but the chocolates are not available in supermarkets yet! Orders in time for Christmas need to be placed before 14th November. Find out more information here.

It will be all too soon before we start the countdown to Christmas once again. The coming months will be busy, not least because we hope to be making appointments to most of the outstanding vacancies in the coming weeks. Please do pray for me and for all those involved in the processes of appointment as we discern how the Lord is calling people to new ministries in the life of the diocese.