Diocesan press releases

The Bishop of St Asaph urges a rejection of collusion with evil in the modern world

The Bishop of St Asaph has used his Easter Message to call for honesty about injustices and social evils.

In his message (below), the Right Reverend Gregory Cameron says that the Christian Easter is not an easy one of “fluffy bunnies” or “plump chicks”. Instead Easter “calls us to reject any collusion with evil in the modern world.”

Bishop Gregory, who will visit communities across the Diocese as part of Holy Week, in the run up to Easter, cites homelessness and modern slavery as examples of social evils which “casual indifference…allows us to wash our hands of responsibility”.

In his message he said: “There are some easy evils to spot and reject – terrorism and torture for example – but there is also the more difficult casual indifference that allows us to wash our hands of responsibility for the social evils that are there in our own backyard.  Homelessness remains one such problem, but we tend to make the homeless themselves the problem to be avoided, and not their basic need of shelter.”

On modern slavery, Bishop Gregory said: “Who can believe that the oppression of the weakest into labour or sex-trade slavery or drug smuggling is a north Wales problem, but it is.  That’s why we’re supporting Haven of Light, a community interest company based in Colwyn Bay which is educating churches and community groups to spot the signs of modern slavery.”

Bishop Gregory will celebrate the traditional Maundy Thursday Chrism Eucharist at St Asaph on 29 March. Clergy from across the diocese will attend to renew their ordination vows.  On Good Friday, Bishop Gregory will join the congregation of St Giles Church in Wrexham.  On Easter Saturday, he will confirm 13 candidates at a special service and Easter Vigil at St Asaph Cathedral before celebrating a dawn Eucharist on Easter Sunday at Llansannan Church.  The services are open to all and everyone is welcome.

Bishop Gregory’s Easter Message is available in full in Welsh and English.

The Diocese of St Asaph is part of the Church in Wales, an independent Province within the worldwide Anglican Communion of Churches. It is a community of 228 churches in 21 Mission Areas, covering Wrexham, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and parts of Gwynedd and Powys.

(Sgroliwch i lawr am y Gymraeg, os gwelwch yn dda)

This Easter, let’s be honest about the wrongs happening in our midst

The Christian Easter is not an easy message.  No fluffy bunnies here, nor plump chicks, not even a mention of Spring.  The point of Jesus’ death and resurrection is to say that God in Jesus engaged with the deepest grot of human existence, and on the cross faced squarely the bleakness of human evil and sin.

Not only does the Christian message of Easter call all of us (you and me) to new repentance and faith (in other words to put away what is false in our own lives, and to start afresh with God) but it also calls to reject any collusion with evil in the modern world.

There are some easy evils to spot and reject – terrorism and torture for example – but there is also the more difficult casual indifference that allows us to wash our hands of responsibility for the social evils that are there in our own backyard.

Homelessness remains one such problem, but we tend to make the homeless themselves the problem to be avoided, and not their basic need of shelter.  In Wrexham the Diocese of St Asaph is partnering with Housing Justice Cymru to set up cold weather night shelter accommodation. Volunteers from churches and community groups across the town have run a pilot project throughout March to provide hospitality and a warm bed to up to 10 people.  It’s hoped this provision can be further extended next winter but not everyone (even in the churches) wants to open their facilities to the homeless – is there a fear of the risk?  To those brave few who have taken steps to provide shelter; a big thank you for doing that on behalf of us all.

The same with modern slavery; who can believe that the oppression of the weakest into labour or sex-trade slavery or drug smuggling is a north Wales problem, but it is.  That’s why we’re supporting Haven of Light, a community interest company based in Colwyn Bay which is educating churches and community groups to spot the signs of modern slavery.  For some held in slavery, church is the only place they’re permitted to go, so raising awareness in our congregations is vital.

If Easter is about facing up to the reality of evil – what the Bible calls “Sin” – then let us try to be honest about the wrongs that are happening in our midst and which we can so easily overlook in the way we treat the weakest in our society.

Dros y Pasg eleni, gadewch i ni fod yn onest am y camweddau sy’n digwydd yn ein plith

Nid yw’r Pasg Cristnogol yn neges hawdd. Nid oes cwningod fflwffog yma, na chywion bach ciwt, na sôn am y gwanwyn, hyd yn oed. Pwynt marwolaeth ac atgyfodiad Iesu yw dweud bod Duw yn Iesu yn ymgysylltu â gwaelodion dyfnaf y fodolaeth ddynol, ac ar y groes ei fod wedi wynebu yn union ddrygioni a phechod y ddynolryw.

Mae neges Gristnogol y Pasg nid yn unig yn galw pob un ohonom (chi a fi) i edifeirwch a ffydd newydd (mewn geiriau eraill, i droi cefn ar yr hyn sy’n ffug yn ein bywydau ein hunain, ac i ddechrau o’r newydd gyda Duw) ond mae hefyd yn ein galw i wrthod unrhyw gydgynllwynio â drygioni yn y byd modern.

Mae yna rai pethau drwg sy’n hawdd eu gweld a’u gwrthod – terfysgaeth ac arteithio, er enghraifft – ond mae difaterwch achlysurol yn anoddach sylwi arno – yr hyn sy’n ein galluogi i olchi ein dwylo o gyfrifoldeb am y drygioni cymdeithasol sydd yno yn lleol iawn i ni.
Mae digartrefedd yn parhau i fod yn broblem o’r fath, ond rydym yn dueddol o wneud y bobl ddigartref eu hunain yn broblem i’w hosgoi, ac nid eu hangen sylfaenol am gysgod. Yn Wrecsam, mae esgobaeth Llanelwy yn cydweithio â Cyfiawnder Tai Cymru i sefydlu llety lloches nos mewn tywydd oer. Mae gwirfoddolwyr o eglwysi a grwpiau cymunedol ar draws y dref wedi cynnal prosiect peilot drwy gydol mis Mawrth i ddarparu lletygarwch a gwely cynnes i hyd at 10 o bobl. Y gobaith yw y gellir ymestyn y ddarpariaeth hon ymhellach y gaeaf nesaf, ond nid yw pawb (hyd yn oed yn yr eglwysi) am agor eu cyfleusterau i bobl ddigartref – a oes yno ofn y risg? I’r rhai dewr hynny sydd wedi cymryd camau i ddarparu lloches; diolch yn fawr iawn i chi am wneud hynny ar ran pawb ohonom.

Mae’r un peth yn wir am gaethwasiaeth fodern; pwy sy’n gallu credu bod gormes y gwannaf mewn caethwasiaeth llafur neu ryw, neu smyglo cyffuriau, yn broblem yng ngogledd Cymru?  Ond y mae’n broblem i ni yma. Dyna pam rydym yn cefnogi Haven of Light, cwmni buddiant cymunedol ym Mae Colwyn, sy’n addysgu eglwysi a grwpiau cymunedol i sylwi ar arwyddion caethwasiaeth fodern. I’r rhai sy’n cael eu cadw mewn caethwasiaeth, yr eglwys yw’r unig le y caniateir iddyn nhw fynd, felly mae codi ymwybyddiaeth yn ein cynulleidfaoedd yn hanfodol.

Os yw’r Pasg yn ymwneud ag wynebu gwirionedd drygioni – yr hyn y mae’r Beibl yn ei alw’n “Bechod” – yna gadewch i ni geisio bod yn onest am y camweddau sy’n digwydd yn ein plith, a pha mor hawdd y gallwn eu hanwybyddu yn y modd rydym yn trin y gwan yn ein cymdeithas.