Ad Clerum: 30ain o Dachwedd 2012 November 30th
Take hold of the life that is truly life (cf. 1 Timothy 6.19)
Gafaelwch yn y bywyd sydd yn wir fywyd (1 Timotheus 6.19)
In this Ad Clerum…
• Advent Pastoral Letter
• Lent Studies and Prayer
• Hwyl a Helo
The year is rapidly drawing to a close, and the arrival of Advent can pull us up short to reflect upon how quickly the year has disappeared, and to look forward as a new liturgical year begins. As we do so we no doubt look back with a mixture of thanksgiving and regret – and look forward with varying degrees of expectancy and uncertainty. What we all know, however, is that change rolls on whether we like it or not.
In the Anglican family we will see change as we welcome Justin Welby to the See of Canterbury, and bid a farewell to Rowan (at least in that role) who has served the national Church and worldwide Anglican Communion with faithfulness and integrity amidst all its challenges. Reflecting on his time as Archbishop, Rowan describes how one moment he could be having breakfast with a primary school and then lunch with the Secretary General of the United Nations, and that his enduring impression of the Office is of being ‘sent by God from one place to another’ with the mission of making connections between them, and sharing with them the Gospel.
As our new Church year starts and as we prepare for our Year of Pilgrimage, we can view the tapestry of our own ministries in a similar light – as being ‘sent by God from one place to another’. We need to do so with faith in the one who himself moved from one place to another, an eternal king who came to us in the humility of the mean stable at Bethlehem, and to live alongside us in all our changes, challenges and joys, and ultimately to save us.
I hope that your Christmas celebrations will be full of the joy of Christmas and that the Christ Child will journey with you as you go from place to place, and person to person, making connections and sharing the Good News of God’s Love.
St Asaph was not alone in suffering flooding this week. I was pleased to discover in my experience that the ministry of the Church to those in evacuation stations and elsewhere was very warmly greeted. We pray for all those affected by the floods, and my thanks to all clergy and laity who have led the way in supporting the community at times like this.
It is no sooner Advent than we must talk of Lent! Lent begins on February 13th next year, so even before we get to Christmas, you will have been thinking about what we’re doing for Lent with our parishes. As ever, I have been sent information about various Lent courses, and it is worth bringing the “Church Action on Poverty” course to your attention, called “Just Church”. It fits in well with the third of our diocesan priorities, and is good for making connections between what we do in Church, and our mission witness to God’s reign in the world. More information can be found on the Church Action on Poverty website.
As it is the beginning of our Year of Pilgrimage in the course of next year, however, you may like to think about keeping a theme for your Lenten studies which focuses on “Pilgrimage”. The Archdeacon of Bangor, Andrew Jones, has written a good introduction to the concept in his book, “Pilgrimage”, published by BRF (Bible Reading Fellowship), ISBN 978 1 84101 834 8.
We will also be publishing a diocesan Lent prayer card once again and encouraging as many of the diocese as possible to share the prayer at evening prayer, or at 6pm each day in Lent. The prayer will adopt the pilgrimage theme. I know many parishes and individuals find this discipline helpful in previous years. If you would like to order copies of the prayer card for your parishes please contact my office to place your order by Wednesday, January 12th, at the very latest.
Hwyl a Helo
Dr Mike Keulemans has resigned as NSM Associate Priest in the Llanfyllin group of parishes.
I’m delighted to share the news of the birth of a granddaughter for Shirley Griffiths and Robin. Milly Grace Poppy was born on 9th November, and both mother and baby are doing well.
I am sure that you will share my sadness in hearing of the death of John Scarth. John served the diocese faithfully for ten years as a priest, and will be remembered in the parishes in which he served in both the north and the south of the diocese. I also extend sympathies on behalf of us all to Peter Allsworth, on the death of his mother Mollie.
Dates for the Diary
04 Dec 1800hr – Nicholastide Confirmation at the Cathedral – Please notify the Cathedral Office if you are planning to bring candidates.
And a reminder of important dates for 2013:
24 Feb 1530hr Confirmation at St Paul’s Church, Colwyn Bay
30 Mar 1900hr Easter Vigil and Confirmation at the Cathedral
CMD Dates 2013 – Monday 25 February; Tuesday 11 June; and Tuesday 24 September.
Chrism Eucharist and the Renewal of Ordination Vows – Thursday 28 March 2013, 1100hr.
Ordinations – Saturday 29 June 2013, Saturday 28 June 2014
Diocesan Conference –Saturday 12 October 2013, International Pavilion, Llangollen.
Residential Clergy School – at St Anne’s College, Oxford
from Tuesday 9 September 2014 to Friday 12 September 2014.
Notes and Queries
Advent Pastoral Letter
By now, you will have received my Advent Pastoral Letter for this year. It comes in four formats – English and Welsh, and in written and recorded files. Please read it at the main act of public worship on Advent Sunday, 2nd December.
Bishop Gregory’s Advent Pastoral Letter
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Listen to Bishop Gregory’s Advent Pastoral Letter in English
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Listen to Bishop Gregory’s Advent Pastoral Letter in Welsh
I have issued a short supplement to the letter in the light of this week’s events (not in the above recording). Please use this, if you feel that it is appropriate.
“Of course, since this letter was written, parts of the north of the diocese has been deeply affected by the flooding resulting from heavy rain in recent days. I write now especially to those parishioners and neighbours who have suffered because of the ravages of nature. My heart goes out to all those who have suffered loss or danger or damage in the floods. We have suffered unexpected setbacks, which will seriously dent our financial reserves and take many months to repair. However, as I have encountered some of those who have suffered the worst in recent days, I have also encountered a deep resilience, an ability to be humorous or even cheerful in the face of damage to home and family. We have also seen a remarkable surge of community spirit, of readiness to help one another. For these things, I give thanks to God. As Christians now, we must be bold in approaching God for help: for courage, for perseverance, for hope, and we must take a lead in rolling up our sleeves and landing a helping hand to the rebuilding of our communities. May God go with you.”
Cornerstone and L’Arche
Many of you will know of the L’Arche Community movement founded by Jean Vanier, in which Christian communities of abled and disabled members are formed in which each can contribute as an individual to the life of the whole. What you may not know is that there is a community in our midst which has just worked successfully towards becoming a L’Arche Community. The Cornerstones Project is a Flintshire project which enables living together for both abled and differently abled as a L’Arche community in our locality, and much deserves our support. Visit their website www.thecornerstonecommunity.co.uk for further details.
In light of the work the Church in Wales is doing to gain Fairtrade status as a province, PCC secretaries have received a mailing from the Reverend Carol Wardman, Bishops’ Adviser for Church and Society. This asks that parishes commit themselves, or re-commit themselves, to ensuring their churches have Fairtrade status. Do please make sure that this initiative is discussed in your PCC meetings.
Renewal of Permissions to Officiate
I look forward to receiving any outstanding applications for renewal as soon as possible, mindful that all unrenewed PTOs expire at the end of this month.
May the ‘Word made flesh’ be at the heart of all we seek to do in his name as the Teulu Asaff, so that we may truly be the Church on the move, responding confidently to the call ‘Follow me’. With my warmest good wishes for your celebration of Christmas and the New Year,