Bydd wrol a dewr iawn! (Josua 1.7)
Be strong and very courageous! (Joshua 1.7)
In the coming week, we shall be holding our Annual Diocesan Conference. I know that for some this is a chore, but it is an important duty that we undertake, because it is an expression of the theological reality that we are one family under God, and a commitment to working and living as that family. It is the diocesan Conference that sets the pace for our corporate life as a diocese, and to which we should all, and I include myself, be ready to offer an accountability. The planning group, working with the Diocesan Secretary, are always looking for new ways in which to give both inspiration to the life of the diocese, and space to develop our very real life together, and I am looking forward to a stimulating and relevant day as we are “Taking a Bearing on our Journey to 2020”
Admission to Communion
At Governing Body, the Bench of Bishops issued a Pastoral Letter concerning an important change in the discipline of the Church in Wales. From Advent this year, the Church in Wales is adopting the admission of all the baptized to Holy Communion. This is an important theological reordering. Since Baptism alone is the outward sign of the invisible grace by which we are made Christians and incorporated into the Body of Christ, it can, in reality, be the sole qualification for reception into eucharistic Communion.
Every cleric should have received a copy of four documents: the Pastoral Letter itself, a supporting document for our Churches, a supporting document for our congregations, and a short theological reflection (composed in the main by our own Richard Hainsworth).
I very much hope that clergy will share and circulate these documents, particularly with Shared Ministry Teams, and PCCs and Mission Area Conferences. It is intended that all Churches of the Church in Wales should adopt the new discipline by Advent 2017, but take the time to educate and prepare our people before going over to the new practice. To this end, you are all encouraged to use the supporting papers for discussions with your lay leadership and committees, and with your congregations so that people are educated in why the change is taking place, and know what is expected under the new arrangements.
Hwyl a Helo
It is good to welcome Bishop Stephen Lowe to a new role in the diocese. Stephen has accepted the invitation to become Mission Area Leader for Aled Mission Area (formerly Rhos Deanery) for the next three years. Noel Carter is to be Mission Area Leader for the Aberconwy Mission Area, Paulette Gower for the Alyn Mission Area, Sue Huyton for the Bangor Mission Area and Jane James is to be MAL for Caereinion; Hermione Morris is confirmed as MAL for Vyrnwy, and Lynette Norman as MAL for the Tanat Valley. Kate Tiltman will take on the Offa Mission Area.
I am also pleased to announce the appointment of Roger Watts as House for Duty Priest in Charge of Llanddulas and Llysfaen. Roger joins us from south Wales, and it is good to have him on the team. His licensing will be on 19th December – in time for Christmas.
Christine Browne has been appointed as House for Duty Priest Guardian of the Shrine of St Melangell, Pennant Melangell and Director of the St Melangell Centre. We’re delighted to welcome Christine to this role from St Davids Diocese.
Gary Windon is assuming a new role as minister to Audlem, Hankelow and Hatherton churches in the Cheshire South Methodist Circuit, alongside his work as Chaplain to the Nightingale House Hospice in Wrexham. It is good as well to announce his engagement to Alison Jukes, and wish Gary and Alison every happiness in the future.
I am sorry to announce that John Geary will be leaving us in the new year to take up the position of House for Duty priest in the Parish of St Luke, Middlestown and St Andrew, Netherton in the Wakefield Episcopal Area of the Diocese of Leeds. We have been grateful for John’s ministry among us since he joined us in 2013, and wish him well as he moves closer to his family.
A belated congratulations to Quentin Bellamy and Kate Johnson who celebrated their Silver Wedding Anniversary in the summer.
Dates for your diary
3rd October: Choral Evensong with the Admission of new members to the Order of St Asaph, Cathedral, 1800hr.
8th October: Diocesan Conference, St Joseph’s School, Wrexham. Please note the change of venue.
16th October: The Commissioning Services (with Confirmations) for:
- Caereinion Mission Area, St Mary’s Church, Llanfair Caereinion, 1100hr
- Vyrnwy Mission Area, St Myllin’s Church, Llanfyllin, 1430hr
- Tanat Mission Area, St Dogfan’s Church, Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant, 1730hr
17th October: Estuary & Mountain (Holywell) Mission Area Commissioning Service, St Mary’s Church, Halkyn, 1900hr.
NOVEMBER and beyond
8-9th November: Area Dean / MAL Consultation at Foxhill Retreat Centre, Frodsham.
20th November: Borderlands MA Confirmation, 1500hr.
5th December: Church Hostel Thanksgiving Eucharist, Bangor Cathedral, 1900hr.
7th December: Nicholastide Confirmation at Cathedral, 1830hr.
7th January: Celebration of 20 years of Women’s Priestly Ministry in the Church in Wales, Cathedral , 1100hr.
26th January: Clergy Synod (all day) St David’s Hotel, Ewloe.
7th-8th March: Area Dean/MAL Consultation at Foxhill Retreat Centre, Frodsham.
13th April: Chrism Eucharist, Cathedral, 1100hr.
15th April: Easter Vigil & Confirmation, Cathedral, 1900hr.
24th June: St John’s Tide Ordination at the Cathedral, 1000hr
19-22 September: Clergy Residential Conference at St Anne’s College, Oxford.
7th-8th November: Area Dean/MAL Consultation at Foxhill Retreat Centre, Frodsham.
30th June: Petertide Ordination at the Cathedral 1000hr
Bishop’s General Visitation in 2017
A reminder that my Third Visitation will take place in 2017. The Visitation is an opportunity for bishop, clergy and people to make direct face to face contact about our common life, and to give and receive honest feedback. On this occasion, we are planning to bring together neighbouring Mission Areas to celebrate together, and plans are at an early stage.
I can at this stage, however, confirm the dates for this:
May 14th : Caereinion, Tanat and Vyrnwy
May 21st : Wrexham and Alyn
June 11th : Denbigh and Dyffryn Clwyd
July 2nd : Borderlands and Mold
July 16th : Offa and Maelor
Sept 3rd : Pool and Cedewain
Sept 10th : St Asaph and Rhos
Sept 17th : Estuary & Mountain and Prestatyn
Oct 8th : Penllyn & Edeyrnion and Conwy Valley
All licensed clergy and lay ministers, and mission area office holders will receive my citation to attend, although it would be good if they could be joined by members of the Mission Area Conference, and any others interested in developing our response to God’s Mission. Please put these dates in your diary now.
The proposed format will be:
1530hr Visitation meeting
1730hr The Eucharist
(The Visitation on July 2nd will begin 30 minutes earlier)
I will now be pleased to hear from Mission Areas with their choice of venue for the Visitations by November 25th at the latest.
Notes and Queries
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Manon and Tracey have already taken on board some of the comments from Synod, and a revised application form together with guidance notes is now available from them.
The Archbishop and Church Hostel and Anglican Chaplaincy, Bangor
I am sure that you will share with me our concern for Archbishop Barry on the news that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, and that we will hold him in our prayers as he undergoes surgery at the beginning of December.
This means that Archbishop Barry will now not be preaching at the Celebration and Thanksgiving for the Bangor Church Hostel on 5th December. Instead, we shall have the pleasure of hearing Archdeacon Bernard Thomas.
Revision of the Funeral Service
In September 2008 the Governing Body authorised the experimental use of new Funeral Services for a period of up to ten years. As this period expires shortly, the bishops are asking the Standing Liturgical Advisory Commission (SLAC) to receive any comments from the clergy and people of the Church in Wales to inform the preparation of the definitive rite which will be brought to Governing Body in 2018. The full range of the funeral service material authorised in 2008 can be accessed online at: http://www.churchinwales.org.uk/structure/representative-body/publications/downloads/funeral-resource-book-2008-alternative/. Please send any comments that you would like to submit for the consideration of SLAC to the Secretary, Mr John Jones, 127 Saunders Way, Derwen Fawr, Swansea SA2 8BJ / firstname.lastname@example.org by January 31st, 2017.
As ever, with thanks for our partnership in the Gospel,