Gwyl Sant Asaff: St Asaph’s Day
Bydd wrol a dewr iawn! (Josua 1.7)
Be strong and very courageous! (Joshua 1.7)
I suspect that this week will be of significance for many in addition to containing the major feast day of our first homegrown and eponymous bishop fourteen hundred years ago. No-one seems to be able to predict the outcome of Thursday’s election, and on Friday, some days of negotiation may begin as the parties try to find a way to cobble together a coalition that could offer stability and prosperity for the nation. As Church members we have a number of duties in this situation.
First, we should take our democratic right to vote seriously, and encourage others to do the same. Under the current system, there are all sorts of wrinkles – a website calculates that my vote in the Vale of Clwyd is worth three times the average vote of a British elector, for example, although don’t ask me how – but we still have a democratic duty to vote. It is not too late to publicise the Bishops’ Statement on the forthcoming election, which can be found at http://www.churchinwales.org.uk/society/general-election-message-from-the-bench-of-bishops/.
Secondly, we should pray for our politicians, so that when it comes to the formation of a new government, they may be guided by the values which we believe are at the heart of human flourishing – service, care for the weakest in the community, altruism, liberty, respect for every human being in the image of God.
Thirdly, we should remember that our democratic duty does not cease at the close of polls on Thursday, but that we retain the right and the responsibility to play an active part in the formation of our society along with those whom we elect to represent us. Democracy is not about a once in five years chance to change the government, but about everyone taking responsibility to build a more just and flourishing society.
As Christians, we are born to politics. While I am not persuaded that the Gospel can be crudely translated into the policies or values of one or other political party, God calls us to fight for the Kingdom and its values, and that means being deeply political, given that politics is about how we order and run our society. I’ve never been a “pie in the sky when you die” Christian, for I believe that the Kingdom of God starts here and now, even if I do believe, of course, that life in Christ stretches far beyond the limits of this life, and into eternity.
A member of my wider family has taken Friday off work so that she can stay up all night to see the results come in. I couldn’t do that, but I suspect that the fun will only just be beginning when I get up on Friday!
Hwyl a Helo
I have asked David Lewis to join the panel of pastoral chaplains in the diocese. You will remember that pastoral chaplains are a team of individual respected clergy, to whom members of the diocese may turn for pastoral support on need. I am grateful for this quiet ministry and work that is undertaken by a good half dozen or so individuals.
Terry Bryan has indicted to me that he wishes to resign from his post as House for Duty priest of the Betws Cedewain group. Terry has done excellent and faithful service in the eight years that he has served here, having retired from ministry in the Church of England. We wish him and Jacqui well, as they move into a new phase of their life together.
I am delighted to be able to announce that Gwenda Cooper and her husband Tommy Cooper became grandparents in mid-April on the birth of Olivia Niamh Cooper. We also seem to be congratulating David & Mary Dunn quite a lot these days. They have another grandchild (the ninth), Josiah, who was born in April. Congratulations to all the grandparental clergy of the diocese, and every blessing for their families!
I am sorry to report the death of the Revd Gerald Blamire Newton, who served in this diocese between 1979 and 1986. May the faithful departed rest in peace and rise in glory.
Diocesan Consultation on Same Sex Unions
By now, invitations have been sent out to all members of the Diocesan Conference, and further, via the Area Deans and Mission Area Leaders to all members of Deanery or Mission Area Conferences, inviting them to attend one of these consultations. A small trickle of submissions from individuals or parishes has also been received. It is important that we generate a view of the mind of the diocese so that I can report back to the Bench of Bishops at their meeting later in June, as this will inform the report that the bishops make to Governing Body in September. I hope therefore that you will encourage a good turn out, and lead by example. The dates and locations are well advertised, but are listed below in the diary.
Dates for your diary
10 May Confirmation for Mathrafal & Pool Deaneries at St Myllin’s, Llanfyllin 1500hr
11 May Installation in Choral Evensong of Rex Matthias as Canon Precentor and Vicar in the Rectorial Benefice of St Asaph, Cathedral at 1800hr.
18 May Induction of Quentin Bellamy as Rector of Colwyn & Llanelian, at Church of St Catherine & St John the Baptist, Old Colwyn at 1900hr.
18 May Licensing by the Archdeacon of Wrexham of Sarah Errington as Priest-in-Charge of the Conventional Districts of Rhosddu & Rhosnesni in Wrexham Mission Area, at St James’ Church, Rhosddu at 1900hr.
2 June Same Sex Unions Consultation, St Asaph Cathedral, 1900hr – 2100hr
3 June Same Sex Unions Consultation, All Saints Church, Newtown, 19hr – 2100hr
4 June Same Sex Unions Consultation, St Margaret’s Church Hall, Wrexham, 19hr-21hr
7 June Induction of Caroline Rhodes as Vicar of Guilsfield, Buttington and Pool Quay at St Aelhaiarn’s Church, Guilsfield at 1530hr.
13 June Readers’ Day, Gresford
14 June Confirmation for Alyn Deanery at Holy Trinity, Gwersyllt, 1500hr
21 June Anniversaries of Ordination Service, Cathedral 1100hr
22 June Licensing of Chris Feak as Priest-in-Charge of Towyn at St Mary’s Church, Towyn at 1900hr.
27 June Petertide Ordination, Cathedral, 1000hr
28 June Confirmation for Wrexham Mission Area, St Giles’ Church, 1500hr
LATER IN THE YEAR
5 July Confirmation for Dee Valley Deanery, 1500hr, venue to be confirmed
12 July Confirmation for Cedewain Mission Area, All Saints’ Church, Newtown 1500hr
29 September Clergy Synod Day, venue to be confirmed (half day concluding with lunch)
7 October Retired Clergy Association Eucharist & lunch, St Asaph
10 October Diocesan Conference
21 October Confirmation for Mold & Hawarden Mission Areas, 1900hr, venue to be confirmed.
11/12 November Area Deans / MAL residential, Foxhill, Frodsham
9 December Diocesan Nicholastide Confirmation, Cathedral, 1830hr
Notes and Queries
Anniversaries in Ministry – Sunday, 21 June
A last call for any who wish to celebrate a significant anniversary in ministry. On Sunday, 21 June I would like to invite those who will be celebrating a significant ordination anniversary during 2015 to join me for a special celebratory Eucharist at the Cathedral at 1100hr – anniversaries such as 25 years or which are significant for you. If you have such an anniversary this year that you would like to celebrate with us on June 21st then please contact my office at Esgobty by 15 May.
As we remember Asaph, that faithful deacon and bishop, let us give thanks that, in so many ways, the world in which we serve is so much more stable than the times in which he lived, when so much is given to us by way of prosperity, and freedom to live and proclaim the Gospel. As we have been given much, let us pray that God will guide us to be generous and bold in our response and witness to his love.
Thank you, as ever, for your fellowship in the Gospel,