Ad Clerum :
2 September 2013
The Martyrs of Papua New Guinea
Y Flwyddyn o Bererindod 2013-14 The Year of Pilgrimage
Dilynwch Fi, medd yr Arglwydd: Follow Me, says the Lord
In this edition:
Hwyl a Helo
Same sex Marriages & Blessings
Notes & Queries
Readers & Funerals
Vacancy: Bangor-on-Dee & Area Dean
Feast days like that celebrated today bring the Christian story into the twentieth century. There is a tendency for our saints to be the saints of ancient yesteryear, but Christian witness and martyrdom survives of course in the modern world. The Anglican martyrs of Papua New Guinea, who were imprisoned and killed during the Second World War, are perhaps more immediate than some, and their feast day is a good occasion to call to mind that Christian freedom is being threatened even into the twenty-first century. And I’m not talking, as some of us so blithely do, about restrictions on the jewellery we wear, but on real threats to life and limb.
Our fellow believers in these days are being targeted in Egypt, where their take on the situation is that the military intervention is delivering them from an oncoming storm of Muslim oppression. Please pray for my colleague Mouneer Anis, the Anglican Bishop of Egypt, who is seeking to lead a church which is in a very difficult situation, and where attacks on the churches and vicarages of the diocese are becoming more frequent. In Syria, another friend and a namesake of mine, Metropolitan Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim of the Syrian Orthodox Church, and his colleague, Metropolitan Boulous Yazigi, were abducted in April this year, and we simply do not know whether they are alive or dead.
I cannot begin to imagine the heartache and fear that must grip people when they know that, because of their faith, they and their families are in danger of violence and even death on a day to day basis, and I believe that as the Church, we must stand as one. Please find a space at least to pray for all such in the coming month.
In the past few months, I have commissioned Bishop Stephen Lowe and Canon Clive Southerton to do some work on behalf of the diocese to put out feelers whether we could develop chaplaincy work with local emergency services and businesses. There is a very good model of clergy building local teams that can reach out to organisations where our ministry is very welcome. There are great things happening in the diocese, but there is the capacity and the opportunity to do more. Please make contact with Stephen (email@example.com), if you’d like to make more of the opportunities that could arise in your own area.
Gladstone’s are launching a campaign to recruit more “Friends”. As you know this centre for the study of theology and the liberal arts is a huge resource in the diocese, and well deserves our support. Becoming a Friend is one way of ensuring that this resource flourishes in our midst, and is available for our use. To be a Friend means making a commitment to give regularly in support of the institution, but the giving can be entirely on the best basis to suit you – annually, quarterly or monthly, large or small. Further details can be had from the Library itself, from Esgobty, or via the website:
I would be delighted to learn that many of our clergy and laity subscribe.
Please pray that the Holy Spirit might guide and direct the next meeting of Governing Body, when there will not only be discussion on Mission Areas under the Church in Wales Review (and yes, the St Asaph Diocesan Standing Committee prefers the name “mission area” to “ministry area” for this diocese), but also consideration of legislation for women bishops. I have been asked by the Bench to introduce the bill for the ordination of women to the episcopate, something which I will gladly do, but it seems to me that there are two principles, not just one, which I want to advance. I firmly believe that it is the right time for the Church in Wales to move ahead with the provision to have women bishops, but I also believe in a Church which is big enough to live with difference on this issue, and to find the right formula to give space to those who have conscientious reservations. The bill before Governing Body tries to separate the two issues out, and to affirm where we want to go now, while allowing proper time to discern how as a Church we can accommodate difference on this issue. It is a rare opportunity to move forward, but to recognise that not everything can be accomplished without further reflection and hard work. We need your prayers and support, and I need your prayers, as we try to find the best way ahead in a couple of weeks time.
You will know that Richard Pain, Archdeacon of Monmouth, was elected in July as Bishop of Monmouth. The intention is for the Sacred Synod to consider the confirmation of his election at Governing Body on 11th September, in preparation for a Consecration on 21st September, which happens to be his birthday, and an Enthronement on 18th October, which is the birthday of the diocese. I hope that you will keep Richard and the diocese of Monmouth in your prayers.
Readers and Funerals
The Bench of Bishops has recently approved a new form of licence for Readers. This has extended the ministry which they are authorised to undertake. With respect to Readers conducting funerals, the rule is now that Readers may conduct funerals, once an additional faculty has been issued by the bishop. This additional faculty is granted on the recommendation of the Warden of Readers (Steve Green).
The intention is not to stop experienced Readers from continuing a ministry in which they are already proficient, but to benchmark an appropriate level of training for the future, and to collaborate with the clergy in identifying Readers who can discharge this ministry with dignity and assurance. Only eight such faculties have already been issued, and if any of the clergy – or a Reader – feels that a faculty is lacking which should be provided, they are asked to contact the Warden of Readers, who will make appropriate arrangements or advice on the training which needs to be completed.
Same Sex Marriages
The law of the United Kingdom has now been changed to permit same sex marriages, and the registration of civil partnerships in religious buildings. This has led to an upsurge of requests for either marriages or blessings in Church in Wales churches, or at which Church in Wales clerics are asked to preside. You will know, however, that there has been no change to the Church’s own law on the blessing of civil partnerships, and the new Act expressly forbids Anglican clergy in the Church of England and the Church in Wales from conducting same sex marriages. There is also provision in the Act, however, for the Church in Wales to change its position if it so decides, and the whole matter will be discussed by Governing Body next year.
In the meantime, several clergy have asked for guidance from me in handling specific approaches, and I feel that it is worth offering some general guidance at this point. I am trying to be fair in the way I am asking you to approach this matter, which reflects the variety of our conscientious positions, but this is the position for the present, certainly. I ask this of any clergy who may be approached:
- Be welcoming and pastoral in your approach. No person should be rejected from the Church’s welcome, and whatever your personal feelings on the issue, we all have a duty to offer Christ’s welcome to those who approach us.
- Do not get into a big wrangle with people. Simply state that the law and church regulations for the Church in Wales do not permit you to conduct or host a marriage of a same sex couple in Church or to offer the public blessing of civil partnerships. Again, this is not a matter of your own convictions, but of the law (of the land or of the church as applicable).
- If the simple statement of facts does not satisfy people, and they wish to discuss the matter further, or if wardens or parishioners are approached, then it is in order to refer all queries to Esgobty, to which individuals can be encouraged to write.
- Offer the couple in question as much as you feel you can offer them. This may include private prayers in their home, or other pastoral responses. However, please respect the position that we’re in at the present time. If in doubt, please consult me directly.
Bishop’s Second Visitation
The Visitation Citation and Articles of Inquiry for the deaneries of Holywell, Mold and Hawarden were sent out in July in preparation for my Visitation in the autumn. Completed Articles of Inquiry from clergy, readers or churchwardens from these deaneries should be returned to Esgobty by 04 September at the latest. Further information about the Visitation can be found at:
Hwyl a Helo
We congratulate Hermione Morris (née Long) on her wedding to Wynne on 16th August. May God grant Hermione and Wynne much happiness together.
Since my last Ad Clerum, Andy Grimwood has been appointed to be Vicar of Rhyl, and will be inducted in a couple of days time. Do hold Andy, Adam and Jane and their families in your prayers as they approach the various inductions and licensings that will take place over coming days.
Roger Bird has written to me indicating that he wishes to relinquish his honorary canonry. Roger recently celebrated his fortieth anniversary in ministry and continues his excellent pastoral work in Guilsfield, but believes that this is the right time to lay down the canonry. I have therefore invited David Child to take the honorary canon’s stall being vacated by Roger. David has been a dedicated NSM and more recently House for Duty priest at Overton, as well as Area Dean for the Dee Valley. David will join Tudor Hughes and Martin Snellgrove in being installed at Evensong on Monday, 30th September.
Ray Billingsley has also indicated his intention to retire with effect from the end of October. Ray came to us from the Diocese of Birmingham, and has served faithfully in the diocese in two parishes, and we wish him and Barbara well as they approach the joys of retired life.
Dates for the Diary
4 Sept 1900hr Induction of Andy Grimwood as Vicar of Rhyl with Rhyl St Ann at St Thomas’ Church, Rhyl
5 Sept 1900hr Induction of Adam Pawley as Vicar of Hope at St Cynfarch’s Church, Hope
10 Sept 1900hr Licensing of Jane James as Priest-in-Charge of the Meifod Group of parishes at the Parish Church of Ss Tysilio & Mary, Meifod.
24 Sept 0930hr – 1530hr CMD Day, Anglican Ecclesiology with Paul Avis, Catrin Finch Centre, Glyndwr University, Wrexham
25 Sept 1300hr Joint Visitation lunch and meeting with Chapters of Hawarden, Holywell & Mold deaneries at Emmanuel Church Hall, Bistre CH7 2NH.
1900hr Bishop’s Visitation to Mold deanery at St Mary the Virgin, Mold.
30 Sept 1745hr Installation at Cathedral of Tudor Hughes as Prebendary and Canon Sacrist, Martin Snellgrove to the stall of Johannes Griffith, and David Child as an Honorary Canon.
03 Oct 1900hr Episcopal Visitation to Hawarden deanery at St John’s Church, Penymynedd
9 Oct 1130hr Retired Clergy Association Eucharist at Cathedral followed by lunch at Oriel House with the Venerable Andrew Jones, Archdeacon of Meirionydd, as guest speaker on the subject of pilgrimage. Please encourage all retired clergy to sign up for this event, and consider helping them with the cost from parish funds.
1900hr Episcopal Visitation to Holywell deanery at the Parish Church of St Mary & St David, Flint.
12 Oct Diocesan Conference in the Llangollen Eisteddfod Pavilion.
20 Oct 1500hr Confirmation at St Mary the Virgin, Mold.
04 Dec 1900hr Nicholastide Confirmation at the Cathedral.
Notes and Queries
Credit Unions and the Church in Wales
Part of the recent publicity about Credit Unions and the Church of England has included reference to a proposed credit union for clergy and church workers. This proposal has been under development for several years – well before the current publicity – and it is proposed that the Credit Union be open to all Anglican clergy, church workers and PCC members, including the Church in Wales. The person organising the initiative is Revd Canon Anthony McCrow-Wood and details of developments can be found at http://www.amcu.info .
A new survey is now being undertaken about proposed membership, and it would be very helpful if eligible members of the Church in Wales can take part by completing the confidential online survey by 15th September, it should take about ten minutes:
Congratulations to the Alyn Deanery on being the first deanery in the diocese to have 100% of its churches signed up to the pledge to use Fairtrade tea and coffee and to promote fair trade through prayer, study and action. So far 42% of churches in the diocese have responded positively to this initiative which aims to make the Church in Wales the first Fairtrade province in the Anglican Communion. Churches which have not yet signed up to the pledge are urged to do so at their next PCC meeting. Even if a church does not actually serve tea and coffee it is still asked to agree that if refreshments were to be served then Fairtrade tea and coffee would be served. For further information please contact one of the Fairtrade champions in the diocese:
St Asaph – Kathryn Hall
Wrexham – Jean-Audrey Speare
Montgomery – Dr Helen Hayes
H+ Training Day, Tuesday 5 November
The Bible Society is holding a day course on Biblical Hermeneutics and Interpretation at the Catrin Finch Centre, Glyndwr University from 9-30am to 4-30pm on Monday, 5 November. The course is called ‘H+’, and is an introduction to a longer course which can be delivered in parishes by those in ordained or lay ministry. I am very enthusiastic about it, as it brings to life the scriptures, and helps us to read them in an intelligent and life transforming way. It could be an important resource for anyone interested in learning more about biblical interpretation. I hope that many of you will choose to be present, and I am underwriting the cost of the course for all clergy wishing to attend.
If you are interested in taking part, please contact Alan Tiltman, CMD Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is possible to book for the day directly through the Bible Society website, but Alan is trying to put together a block booking which will reduce costs, which will help.
The Real Advent Calendar
We’ve enjoyed the Easter Egg, and the Christmas decorations, and the new addition to the stable of Christian chocolate is an Advent Calendar which delivers the daily sugar rush during December, but includes an obvious Christian context: the reason for the season, as some like to put it. Details can be found at: www.meaningfulchocolate.co.uk and www.realadvent.co.uk A sample can be examined (but not tasted) at Esgobty. Nearly 200,000 “real” eggs were sold last year, and the Advent Calendar will be stocked in Tesco.
Vacancy for Area Dean of the Dee Valley / Rector of Bangor Monachorum, Worthenbury & Marchwiel
An experienced priest is needed to be Area Dean of the Dee Valley Deanery and Rector of Bangor Monachorum, Worthenbury and Marchwiel. Based in Bangor-on-Dee, the person appointed will be responsible for three rural parishes and lead the deanery team serving parishes along the River Dee and in the Ceiriog Valley. The post will appeal to an imaginative priest who enjoys working alongside clergy and lay colleagues. For an informal conversation regarding this role, please contact the Archdeacon of Wrexham. Further information and an application form can be obtained from: Diane McCarthy, Secretary to the Board of Nomination or from the diocesan website www.dioceseofstasaph.org.uk Applications should be received by 27 September 2013 and interviews will be held on 1 November 2013 in St Asaph.
September 2013 – Ad Clerum in Word form.