Noswyl Yr Ystwyll : Candlemas Eve
Bydd wrol a dewr iawn! (Josua 1.7)
Be strong and very courageous! (Joshua 1.7)
We draw to the end of the Epiphany season in the Church in Wales, and we are reminded of the Song of Simeon, and his hailing of Christ as “the Glory of your people, Israel.” Only last week, we remembered Holocaust Memorial Day.
I have been very privileged in my life to visit both Oswietsim in Poland (otherwise known as Auschwitz) and Yad Va Shem in Jerusalem. Any visitor to either of these sites will be overwhelmed by the suffering that was inflicted on the Jews of Europe by the extremism of the Nazis.
Yet all Christians bear some of the blame. The complicated history of the relationship between Christians and Jews is something that should give us pause for thought. We are bound together by a belief in the same God, separated by the recognition, or otherwise, of one whom Christians believe to be the Messiah. Christians have often behaved with unbelievable barbarity towards the Jewish people, and in our dialogue we must come to the table first in a spirit of repentance that our differences in faith have often been the excuse for victimization.
When I took a stand against the Gaza Invasion recently, there were those who wanted to say that I was being anti-Jewish or anti-semitic. Let me say now that I believe that Christians owe the Jewish nation and people a great debt as the guardians of the Tenach, which we usually blithely call “The Old Testament”. Christians should hold all Jews in a position of respect as our forebears in faith, and our cousins in the great religions of the world. Their history means that the world owes them the debt of a secure nation state, and I wish to support both Palestine and Israel.
I hope that Christians will be at the forefront of the peacemakers of the world in our own day, and I hope that the days of scapegoating others, and of justifying violence against those who are different to us will be forever consigned to the past.
Our Lent Prayer has been composed for us this year by Mark Yaconelli, our Missioner in Residence. You can find it and download it from here and I trust that you will encourage its use throughout Lent. I hope that you may also encourage its use in the intercessions and prayers in our worship, and its daily recitation at the offices, or at 1800hr every evening. Mark has given us some inspirational and challenging words to pray, and if we accept the challenge, and pray these words, I am sure that we will be strengthened and blessed not only in our discipleship, but in our common life.
In last month’s Ad Clerum you will have found details of Mark Yaconelli’s six month residency with us in the diocese. I look forward to welcoming Mark, supported by a good number of clergy and parishioners at the Service of Welcome at the Cathedral on Sunday, 28 February, at 1530hr. Invitations to this event have gone out to the diocese, and it would be good to see every parish and mission area represented at this event. Mark will be joining us as Missioner in Residence to work training volunteers in three different missional aspects of church life. To be involved or to find out more, please contact the persons below who are hold responsibility for working with Mark in these projects:
1. Youth leadership, mentoring for young leaders and Youth Ambassadors – Tim Feak.
2. The Hearth. A community story telling project, whose aim is to bring cohesion and development across communities around the diocese – Sarah Wheat.
I look forward very much to keeping this observance as usual with you at 1100hr on Maundy Thursday, March 24th in the Cathedral with the celebration of the Eucharist for the Blessing of the Holy Oils together with our Renewal of Commitment to diaconal, priestly and episcopal service as well as the commitment of all the baptized to mission.
It has been good in recent years to see this service becoming a genuine diocesan event, and I would stress that all lay ministers and members of our congregations are very welcome to this occasion in addition to all clergy, serving and retired. Clergy are requested to robe in alb or surplice with white stole in the Lady Chapel and then take your seat in the nave by 1050hr. Readers are also welcome to robe in surplice and readers’ scarf.
Lunch will follow as usual, and will be served in the South Transept, and will be a hot main course and pudding. Again all are most welcome to stay for this, however we do need to have an accurate estimate to give to the caterers. I have asked area deans / mission area leaders to collate the numbers of those requiring food from their area. Please would all clergy liaise with their Area Dean / MAL indicating the number of people from their parishes who will be staying for lunch. Every Area Dean / MAL is asked to submit their numbers to Siân at Esgobty no later than Tuesday, 15th March.
The Order of St Asaph
It is now time to start inviting nominations for the Order of St Asaph in 2016 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. Admission to the order is marked by the presentation of appropriate insignia, and those admitted to the order are listed in the diocesan Yearbook.
The Order of St Asaph Nomination Form should be returned completed with as much information as possible about a candidate’s contribution to the diocese. 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 April, and will be referred to the advisory committee who will meet in early May.
Understandably there are those who have offered sterling service to the church within a parish or deanery context. Whilst the Order of St Asaph is intended to recognize diocesan service, I am happy to be approached by parishes and deaneries who feel someone’s outstanding contribution to their life should be recognized and I will be happy to issue a suitable certificate that can be used by the parish or deanery for a local presentation. Please contact Michael at Esgobty in the first instance with appropriate details for me to consider.
Hwyl a Helo
Congratulations to Ron Evans, on his hundredth birthday. Ron ministered for many years in the diocese and was Curate of Rhosllanercrugog & Holywell, and then Vicar of Glyndyfrdwy 1954-1981. He now lives with his family in Wiltshire.
I am pleased to announce the appointment of Prebendary Norman Morris as the new House for Duty priest joining the Cedewain Mission Area ministry team. Norman served as Chaplain of Monmouth School for many years, but more recently as parish priest and Area Dean in the diocese of Hereford.
Adrian Copping has indicated to me his intention to retire at the end of this year. We thank Adrian for his ministry and enthusiasm, and especially his commitment to 2020 Vision. David and Mary Dunn have also indicated that they will be retiring at the end of June, and moving south to be nearer family. We thank them both for all that they have brought to the diocese in the last few years. There will be time to make a proper thank you to all these clergy in due course.
I am sorry to report the death of Roy Evans, a retired priest living in Llandrinio. Roy joined us after a long and distinguished ministry in the Royal Navy and the Church of England, and our condolences go now to Jenny, his widow.
Dates for your diary
Please note these dates in your diary, commend them in prayer, and be encouraged to join us where appropriate. Some dates are part of the professional expectations of the clergy, and you are asked to take careful note of these in order to avoid future diary clashes. I always try to give as much notice as possible where there are important dates for the diary, and if we don’t list them here, I don’t expect your attendance, although it is always nice to see you at any event or service.
24th February Licensing of Sam Erlandson as Priest in Charge in Wrexham Mission Area, St Giles’, 1900hr.
28th February Mark Yaconelli Welcome Service, 1530hr in the Cathedral.
29th Feb- 1 Mar Area Dean/MAL 24hr Consultation at Foxhill Retreat Centre, Frodsham, 12noon.
5th March Induction of Huw Butler at Christ Church, Rossett at 1500hr.
24th March Chrism Eucharist, 1100hr with lunch afterwards. Please encourage your laity to put this date in their diaries also.
26th March Easter Vigil and diocesan Confirmation in the Cathedral, 1900hr.
APRIL and beyond
13th April Deliverance Ministry Training, Glasdir, Llanrwst.
17th April Licensing of Lorraine Badger-Watts as Priest-in-Charge of Gorsedd Group, at Ss Mary & Beuno, Whitford, 1500hr.
24th April Pool Deanery Confirmation, 1500hr.
25th June General Ordination, 1000hr in the Cathedral.
26th June Dee Valley Deanery Confirmation, 1500hr.
3rd July Wrexham Mission Area Confirmation, St Giles’, 1500hr.
18th September Alyn Deanery Confirmation, 1500hr.
28th September Clergy Synod, all day meeting, location to be confirmed.
8th October Diocesan Conference, Llangollen.
16th October Mathrafal Deanery Confirmation, St Mary’s Llanfair Caereinion, 1100hr.
20th October Hawarden Deanery Confirmation, 1500hr.
8-9th Nov Area Dean / MAL 24hr Consultation at Foxhill Retreat Centre, Frodsham.
7th December Nicholastide Confirmation at Cathedral, 1830hr.
7th-8th March Area Dean/MAL 24hr Consultation at Foxhill Retreat Centre, Frodsham.
19-22 Septr Clergy Residential Conference at St Anne’s College, Oxford.
7th-8th November Area Dean/MAL 24hr Consultation at Foxhill Retreat Centre, Frodsham.
Notes and Queries
Hustings Training – Friday 12 February, Wrexham
TCC and Cytûn are offering free training for anyone interested in organising or chairing a hustings event ahead of the elections for the National Assembly for Wales. This will include an introduction to the Assembly’s responsibilities and the electoral system, as well as the practicalities of running an effective meeting. The training takes place on Friday, 12th February at The Peace & Justice Centre, 37 Kingsmills Road, Wrexham LL13 8NH, starting at 1900hr. Advanced booking isn’t essential, but it would be helpful if you could let Kay Polley know if you’re planning on attending (01978 262588).
We congratulate Bishop John Dudley Davies on the publication of his book Three Mountains To Freedom which is the Archbishop of Wales’ Lent Book for 2016. Focussing on Paul’s letter to the Galatians, Bishop John, In seven ‘steps’, follows Paul’s pilgrimage across three climactive view-points: Faith, Unity and Freedom. John tells how Paul’s letter was specially valuable to the Christian movement in South Africa during the years of apartheid. He also finds significant connections between Paul’s situation and that of the Christian movement in Wales. In fact the message is for many different communities in today’s world. The book is equipped with questions and devotional suggestions, for use as a 5-part or 7-part course – either for Lent or for more general service in individual or group study. The book should be available at all the usual outlets or easily available (at discount) direct from the publishers – orders@deopublishing,com / 01258 489340.
Mrs Hilary Morgan
I am sure we share our condolences with the Archbishop on the death of his wife. Her funeral was a fine service of tribute, and of celebration of Christian faith, and we continue to hold Hilary in our prayers. The Archbishop has asked me to pass on this message:
“The Archbishop wishes to thank everyone who has written to him after Hilary’s death. He and the family have been deeply moved by the letters, cards and e-mails, numbering almost a thousand. He hopes you will accept this note as a token of his appreciation and thanks since he cannot reply to everyone personally. Diolch o galon am eich cydymdeimlad. †Barry”
Permission to Officiate
Over the last few months I have been renewing the certificates of those who hold Permission to officiate in the diocese. I would like to sincerely thank all those who have returned their renewal applications and continue to offer their time and energy in the service of the diocese in this way. All renewals should now be in possession of their new certificates.
Only those clergy with renewed PTO certificates have authority to be leading public worship in the churches of the diocese or officiating at the occasional offices. Any other priest wishing to exercise ministry as an Anglican priest in this diocese must seek my permission in writing, unless they are a visiting cleric in good standing from another diocese acting on a one off basis at the invitation of an incumbent of this diocese. There are some clerics that have not returned their renewal forms. At Esgobty we have attempted to follow these up but some are still outstanding, but their permission is now revoked, until such time as they make a fresh application.
Some clerics have indicated it is time to stand down from leading the liturgy of the church. To these priests I expend my sincere thanks for their faithful service, in many cases, over a very good number of years and the support they have given their licensed colleagues has been most appreciated.
Real Easter Egg
Out of the 80 million chocolate Easter eggs sold each year in the UK, The Real Easter Egg is the first and only Fairtrade chocolate Easter egg to explain the Christian understanding of Easter on and in the box. A sizeable donation from profits and Fairtrade Premium fees is given to the farmers allowing them to invest in their community buying everything from school books and solar panels to providing fresh water. The Real Easter Egg is now in its sixth year of production with more than a milion sold so far. Stocks are limited, they have run out every year so far, so you are advised to place orders early. There are four types of Real Easter Egg available this year. The Original, Special Edition and Dark eggs come with a redesigned story booklet in the shape of a cross by the noted children’s illustrator, Mary Cann, which will delight children and adults with its presentation of the Gospel story. For more information please visit: www.therealeasteregg.co.uk
HOPE is working in partnership with Bible Society and the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity to publish ’The Servant Queen’ – a book focusing on the Queen’s Christian faith. This beautifully illustrated short tribute uses the Queen’s own words to draw out the central role of her trust in Jesus Christ, offering us all an inspiring, multi-faceted insight into a life well-lived for others. From February 2016, copies of ’The Servant Queen’ will be available to buy in bulk for just £1 a copy (plus p&p) for churches to give away to people in their communities. To order please go to http://hopetogether.org.uk/Groups/268180/Pre_order_The.aspx
Volunteer Chaplains at Gladstone’s Library, Hawarden
Gladstone’s Library is currently recruiting for Volunteer Chaplains. The Warden has written a brief description of the post: Volunteer Chaplains at Gladstones Library
Lent is almost upon us. May God bless you all with a springtime of the soul, and renewal for your congregations and their witness. My thanks as always.