Ad Clerum :
Ebrill 1af 2014 April 1st
Y Flwyddyn o Bererindod 2013-14 The Year of Pilgrimage
Dilynwch Fi, medd yr Arglwydd: Follow Me, says the Lord
I would like to encourage as many as possible to be joining me every day during Lent at Morning and Evening Prayer, and especially at 1800hr every evening or the nearest suitable moment if possible in praying corporately our Lent prayer for our common life.
O Dduw ein teithiau, ‘rwyt yn ein galw, fel y gelwaist Abraham, i adael cysur a chynefin ac i deithio gyda thi mewn ffydd;
cawn ein bendithio gan y cwmni sydd yn ein cyfarfod ar y ffordd a chan syndod y gras annisgwyl sydd yn ein croesawu adref.
Helpa ni i ymddiried yn dy bresenoldeb di wrth deithio ac i wybod na all unrhyw beth ein gwahanu oddiwrth dy gariad, a welwn yng ngwyneb ffrind a dieithryn, ond yn fwyaf oll yn Iesu, ein ffordd. Amen
God of our journeys, you call us, like Abraham, to leave the comfort of the familiar and to journey with you in faith;
you bless us with the company of others whom we meet along the way, and surprise us with the unexpected grace that welcomes us home.
Help us to trust in your presence with us when we travel and know that nothing separates us from your love, shown to us in face of friend and stranger and above all in Jesus, our Way. Amen
I would also like to see this prayer in active use around the diocese in Lent – duplicated on our notice sheets, used in our services, entering the bloodstream of our corporate prayer life. It would contribute, I believe, to our sense of belonging together, and our sense of seeking God’s guidance as the one on whom we depend for our diocesan life.
Please feel free to print copies of the prayer card and to use them as widely as possible.
I look forward to keeping this feast as usual with you at 1100hr on Maundy Thursday in the Cathedral at the Eucharist for the Blessing of the Holy Oils together with our renewal of commitment to diaconal, priestly and episcopal service. This year’s service will also include a commitment of the baptized to mission and the invitation as ever is not just to serving clergy but also to retired clergy, readers and lay ministers and any parishioners who would like to come.
Clergy and Readers are requested to robe in alb or surplice with white stole in the Translators’ Chapel and then take your seat in the nave by 1050hr.
Lunch will follow, served in the South Transept, and will be a hot main and pudding. Again all are most welcome to stay for this, however we do need to have accurate numbers to give to the caterers and I have asked area deans to collate the numbers of those requiring food from their deanery. Please would all clergy, therefore, make sure that they have liaised appropriately with their area dean by the end of this week indicating the number of people from their parishes who will be stopping for food on April 17th. Each Area Dean is asked to submit their deanery booking forms no later than Monday, April 7th.
Sunday, 4th May & the Year of Pilgrimage
As we approach the Feast Day of St Asaph once again, so we come to the conclusion of our Year of Pilgrimage. It has been inspirational to see the way in which the Year has been adopted by parishes, deaneries and schools. To mark the end of the year, there will be a major Service of Celebration in the Cathedral, Sunday, 4th May at 1530hr, to which we are hoping all parishes will send representatives along with the clergy.
This is an opportunity for us to gather together as a Diocese to reflect on the past year and give thanks. There will be an opportunity for parishes and individuals to receive pilgrimage certificates and gifts of sand and water to take back to their churches to symbolise journey and refreshment. I would like to encourage you all to attend this celebration and it would be good if you could bring at least two people from each parish along with you so that a good number of us are gathered together from across the Diocese. All the details can be found in the attached invitations in Welsh and English.
There is also a short liturgy of reception for the gifts to be celebrated at each church. I would be grateful if you would all use this liturgy to symbolize the ending of the Year of Pilgrimage, but the commitment to journey on.
The Warden of the Readers Association, Steve Green, has been in touch with me concerning the Readers’ Day, which is being held at Gresford on Saturday, 14th June, and which begins with a Celebration of the Holy Eucharist. The day is, unsurprisingly, a day for Readers, but it is also a day when the clergy can celebrate and express their support for the Readers in their parishes, and the ministry of Reader in the life of the Church. If you have a Reader, why not support them by coming to the Eucharist that day? And if you’re coming, please consider robing. Clergy sometimes say to me that they don’t like to steal the limelight from the Readers by robing, but the feedback from the Readers themselves is quite the opposite. They feel affirmed and honoured by a good turnout of robed clergy.
Hwyl a Helo
I have a trio of retirements to announce.
Graham Beckett has indicated to me his intention to retire at the end of June this year. Graham joined us as a mature ordinand and has served faithfully in the diocese for the last fifteen years, and the last seven in the Gorsedd group of parishes. We wish him and Adele many happy years together for the future.
Carol Evans joined us two years ago from the Diocese of Bangor as Associate Priest in the Conwy Valley parishes, working alongside Sarah Hildreth. Carol brought with her a wealth of experience, especially in Spiritual Direction, but has decided that the time has come to relinquish her formal ministry, even if her services will still be available to us on a more occasional basis.
Mike Williams has also indicated to me his intention to retire in late October. Mike will have served thirty years in the priesthood in the Diocese of St Asaph, as a faithful and sensible parish priest, who cares for his people. We congratulate him and Jane, and wish them well for the future.
We congratulate Val Rowlands and Trevor on the birth of a grandchild, Toby. As if it wasn’t enough to gain a grandchild, Pauline Walker was actually present at the birth of a grandson, James William. Our congratulations also go to her and Ivor.
Congratulations to Stan Walker on his forthcoming marriage to Jacqueline Doherty which will take place on Friday, April 4th. We wish Stan and Jacqueline every joy in their life together.
The Llandyrnog and Llanrhaeadr Group
The retirement, in quick succession of Bernard Thomas and Mike Williams means that the parishes of the Llandyrnog Group and the Llanrhaeadr YN Group will now be merged. This new group becomes a Bishop’s appointment, and it is my intention to advertise the parish in the May Ad Clerum, with the plan that the person appointed will assume ministry in Llandyrnog over the Summer, and inherit pastoral care of the Llanrhaeadr Group, when Mike retires in October. Please speak to Archdeacon Chris if you would like to explore this appointment.
Dates for your diary
I am conscious that this diary list gets ever longer, but, believe it or not, we do, in Esgobty, try to be quite selective about what we put in – namely events which should command the loyalty of all diocesan clergy, or those of particular deaneries, where appropriate.
- Tuesday, 1 April Visitation lunch and meeting with Chapters of Dee Valley, Alyn & Wrexham deaneries, St Margaret’s Church Hall, Wrexham, 1300hr
- Visitation to Dee Valley Deanery, St Mary’s Church, Chirk, 1900hr
- Thursday, 17 April Chrism Eucharist & Renewal of Ordination Vows at Cathedral, 1100hr
- Saturday, 19 April Easter Vigil and Diocesan Confirmation at the Cathedral, 1900hr
- Thursday 1 May St Asaph Retired Clergy Association meeting at the Church of St Martin of Tours, Llay, 1400hr
- Sunday, 4 May To be kept as the Feast Day of St Asaph, and the culmination of the Year of Pilgrimage
- 1530hr Year of Pilgrimage Service at the Cathedral
- Monday, 5 May Diocesan Train Pilgrimage to Glasgow
- Tuesday, 6 May Visitation to Alyn Deanery, St Mary’s Church, Minera, 1900hr
- Tuesday, 13 May: CMD with the Revd. Dr Beatrice Brandon, Archbishops’ Advisor for the Healing Ministry – ‘The Ministry of Healing’.
- Visitation to Wrexham Deanery, St Giles Church, Wrexham, 1900hr
- Tuesday, 10 June Visitation Lunch and meeting with Chapters of Denbigh & Dyffryn Clwyd deaneries at St Mary’s Church, Denbigh, 1300hr
- Visitation to Denbigh Deanery, St Mary’s Church, Denbigh, 1900hr
- Saturday, 14 June Readers’ Day at Gresford, starting at 1100hr with the Eucharist.
- Sunday, 15 June Confirmation for Alyn Deanery, St Tudfil’s, Coedpoeth, 1500hr
- Sunday, 22 June Eucharist with Thanksgiving for Anniversaries of Ordination, Cathedral, 1100hr.
- Saturday, 28 June Petertide Ordination at Cathedral 1000hr
- Sunday, 29 June Confirmation for Dee Valley and Wrexham deaneries, St Giles Wrexham, 1500hr.
- Wednesday, 2 July Visitation to Dyffryn Clwyd Deanery, St Peter’s Church, Ruthin, 1900hr
- Sunday, 6 July Confirmation for Denbigh & Dyffryn Clwyd deaneries, St Peter’s Church, Ruthin, 1530hr
- Tuesday, 9 – Friday, 12 September: Residential Clergy Conference at St Anne’s College, Oxford – ‘Pressing on with the Gospel’.
- Sunday, 5 October General Confirmation at St Nicholas’ Church, Montgomery 1100hr
- Saturday, 11 October Diocesan Conference in the Llangollen Pavilion.
- Sunday , 16 November General Confirmation, St Matthew’s Church, Buckley 1530hr
- Wednesday, 03 Dec Nicholastide Confirmation, Cathedral, 1830hr
Notes and Queries
Anniversaries in Ministry
On Sunday, 22 June I would like to invite those who will be celebrating a significant ordination anniversary during 2014 to join me for a special celebratory Eucharist at the Cathedral at 1100hr – anniversaries such as 25 years and the subsequent ‘0’ anniversaries thereafter. If you have a special anniversary this year that you would like to celebrate with us on June 22nd then please contact my office at Esgobty by 19 May.
Diocesan branded merchandise
A suggestion has been made to me that the Bishop’s Christmas card could be made widely available for purchase, and that we could look at having a selection of ‘St Asaph’ branded items of merchandise that could be sold across the diocese, not only to make money but also to reinforce our identity of belonging to the Teulu Asaff. I would be pleased to hear from you if you have any thoughts concerning the usefulness and viability of such a proposal.
Diocesan Train Pilgrimage, 5 May, 2014
For those who have reserved seats on our Train Pilgrimage to Glasgow, balances are now due. Please send cheques, payable to “St Asaph DBF” to
Angela MJ (Phil Atack)
Penrhyn Beach East
Full details, seat allocations and final feeder bus pick up points / train timings will be sent out approximately 10 days before the date of travel. Your patience in this respect is very much appreciated. Phil Atack indicates that there are about 55 seats left to sell and asks you to PLEASE spread the word and to have a think if there are any others from your parish, friends or family who might like to join us – or even if you know of people who might love to go but can’t afford the fare, consider as a parish paying for someone to travel.
Thank you for supporting this exciting final trip to mark the end of our Diocesan Year of Pilgrimage.
Real Easter Egg
The Real Easter Egg is the only one which tells the Easter story, gives money to charity and is Fairtrade. Please consider supporting this important avenue of evangelism and further details can be found at www.realeasteregg.co.uk A reminder too that I still have six Easter eggs to give away to parishes that could use them as prizes in forthcoming fundraising events. Please contact my office if you would like to claim one for your fundraiser.
Easter Prayers for Kosovo
I would like to encourage you to support the appeal of Ivanka Humanitarian Organisation in encouraging the prayer of all Christian Churches for the safety of and free access to the churches and monasteries in Kosovo. This year Easter will be celebrated simultaneously by Eastern and Western Christianity, a unique opportunity for unity and cooperation. Let it be our prayer that the churches, the monasteries and the Christians in Kosovo will know safety and protection.
The Gathering: A Meeting of North East Regional Cytun
Special meetings of CYTUN will be taking place on Wednesday, 21 May in order to discuss the proposal arising from The Gathering of October 2012 for a Uniting Church in Wales. The meetings will include a presentation by Sr Eluned Williams MBE, Chair of the Commission of the Covenanted Churches in Wales. There is a warm invitation to all who are interested in attending at
• The Council Chambers, Connah’s Quay at 1400hr
• Acton Community and Resources Centre, Wrexham at 1900hr
The proposals of the Gathering have not been as widely studied as they deserve to be, and this is a special opportunity to catch up with the proposals, which could have significant impact on our common life.
Order of St Asaph
A reminder that nominations are now invited for the Order of St Asaph as we seek to recognise and honour the outstanding contribution of lay persons at diocesan level, particularly at an appropriate point on the completion of service in a particular way or in a particular role.
All members of the Teulu Asaff, whether clerical or lay, are encouraged to make nominations, which can also be submitted through any diocesan council or committee. Nominations forms should be submitted to me at Esgobty by the end of this month. Application forms can be downloaded here.
Pilgrimage to Rome 2015
I have begun initial explorations about leading a short pilgrimage to Rome in the new year for those who are interested. The initial thought would be to depart on Monday, 2nd February and to return on Friday, 6th February, and to stay in monastic accommodation in the historic centre of the city. We would spend time in study and prayer, visit the Anglican Centre, and key historic/ecclesiastical sites and a papal audience. I should be grateful for initial expressions of interest to gauge how viable this would be, but we are looking for an overall costing of about £600 per person on a bed and breakfast basis. I have asked Ian Day to look at this for me, and initial expressions of interest should be directed by email to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am pleased to bring to your attention the sterling work that has been undertaken by the Reverend John Somerville and the North Wales District of the Royal British Legion, in identify all the war graves in the diocese relating to both World Wars. This information has been collated into reference material and as we will soon be marking the centenary of the commencement of hostilities of the First World War, this may be an opportune moment for parishes to ensure they know the locations of all war graves in their parishes and consider maintaining them in a worthy manner. The reference materials that have been created can be accessed in the following ways
a) Any of the six Unitary Authorities covering the diocese
b) The Area Headquarters of the Royal British Legion at Wrexham
c) A set of the records is also held at Esgobty
John is more than happy to be contacted if you have any questions about the project.
Bishop’s Second Visitation
The Deaneries of Denbigh and Dyffryn Clwyd have now received the Citation and Articles of Inquiry ahead of my Visitations there. It is requested that completed Articles of Inquiry from clergy, churchwardens and readers should be returned to Esgobty no later than May 6th. Details can also be accessed from the Visitation webpage.
It seems that Spring has finally sprung, and the weather has taken a turn for the better. I hope that I’m not speaking too soon! I trust that this has given you added impetus to the springtime of your spiritual life that Lent urges upon us, and I look forward to seeing you one way or another in the context of our celebration of Easter.
With every blessing,