June 2011

Ad Clerum * 29 May 2011

Dewch i weld! (Ioan 1.39)
Come and see! (John 1.46)

Annwyl Gyfeillion,

I am writing this Ad Clerum earlier than usually expected in order to tie it in with an announcement that will have been made this morning in the Cathedral and in the Parish of Colwyn Bay. I am pleased to say that Nigel Williams has accepted my invitation to become Dean of St Asaph in succession to Chris Potter. As you know, I adopted a process of advertisement, application and interview for this post, and Nigel participated in a process of discernment which included several very capable candidates, many of whom were worthy in their own right of appointment. However, Nigel is, in my view, the right person to carry forward ministry in St Asaph Cathedral, and I am delighted that he will be assuming this role in the Cathedral and the life of the diocese in the autumn. I am sure that you will join me in offering Nigel our congratulations. He is a child of the diocese, and has shown great flair in his ministry in Colwyn Bay – flair which will be put to excellent use in the Cathedral. Nigel’s installation is scheduled to take place in the afternoon of Saturday, 17th September.

The Petertide Ordination

The Petertide Ordination will take place in the Cathedral on Saturday, 25th June, at 1000hr. All clergy and faithful are invited to attend. All priests vesting are invited to assist with the laying on of hands at the ordination of priests. Please do think seriously about supporting this event and bringing some of your congregation with you.

Please pray for those who are, God willing, to be ordained this Petertide:

To the Sacred Order of Priests:
Adam Pawley (Assistant Curate of Newtown)
Neil Kelly (Assistant Curate of Llangollen)
Deborah Swann (Assistant Curate of Gwersyllt)

To the Sacred Order of Deacon:
Philip Bettinson (to be Assistant Curate of the Bro Famau Group)
Gwenda Cooper (to be Assistant Curate of Old Colwyn)
Jane James (to be Assistant Curate of the Llansantffraid YM Group)
Alexier Mayes (to be Assistant Curate of Bistre)
Kate Tiltman (to be Assistant Curate of Wrexham)

Ministry and Calling Sunday

The material for Ministry and Calling Sunday, the Sunday after Ascension, which falls this year on 5th June, should be with you now. It has arrived a little later than hoped, but I hope that in giving you good advance warning in more than one previous Ad Clerum, you will now be able to use this material in your Churches next Sunday.

Ave atque Vale

I am delighted to announce a second significant appointment for the future life of the diocese. For some time, the Bishop’s Staff Meeting has been giving consideration to the way in which the diocese can support parishes, where their future life may be facing considerable challenges, particularly when they are entering an interregnum. The model of transition ministry is being tried out, with significant benefits, by Bishop Stephen Lowe with Clive Southerton in the Parish of Towyn, and I believe that the time is now right to explore making transition ministry a more permanent feature of the resources available in the diocese. I am delighted therefore that John Lomas has accepted my invitation to take up the role of Transition Missioner in the diocese. Essentially, John will be based at the Cathedral, but will take on specific assignments in parishes in interregnum for a period of twelve or eighteen months. In that period, he will have a specific brief to work with the parish to develop the future strategic plans for its life. John is ideally suited for this ministry, and I know he is excited about the challenges it will bring. John has served with distinction in Holywell, and will now bring many of the talents he exhibited there to the wider service of the diocese.

I am glad to announce that Robert Rowland has accepted my invitation to assume the Cursal Canonry of Randulph de Birkened vacated by Bill Rowell recently. Robert is one of the longest serving of our parish clergy, and served for many years as an outstanding Area Dean in St Asaph. It is intended that he will be installed in the Cathedral at Evensong on Sunday, 3rd July, at the same service at which Michael Balkwill, my Chaplain, will be installed to the stall of David ap Howel.

I am pleased that Mike Keulemans has accepted pastoral charge of Llanwddyn in the Llanfyllin Group. Mike will be working alongside the new incumbent.

Canon Philip Williams has indicated to me that he will retire at the end of October. Like Robert, Philip is one of those of our priests who have shown considerable stability in their ministry – having served in only two parishes in his 39 years of ministry in the diocese. Henllan, and the diocese, will not be the same without him. We offer him grateful thanks for all that he has done.

Heather Fenton has also indicated to me her intention to resign from Gwyddelwern and Bryneglwys later in the year. Heather has served with faithfulness in the diocese, and in the deanery of Penllyn and Edeyrnion, for twenty four years and will still be with us, but we wish her well for the future.


I believe that the minimum age for the presentation of candidates for Confirmation is ten years old. I understand Confirmation to be, among other things, the adoption by a Christian for themselves of the baptismal promises made on their behalf where they were baptised as children. In order to do this, it is important that young candidates are able to understand for themselves the lifelong and serious nature of the commitment to be a disciple of Christ, and I believe that this points to an older rather than an earlier age for confirmation.

I am willing generally to accept the guidance of the presenting priest on these matters, but request that candidates under the age of ten are not presented for confirmation unless a conversation has taken place with me beforehand. Preferably such a conversation would take place when the candidate is enrolled for classes, rather than a week or two before the Confirmation. As you can imagine, the case for the confirmation of a candidate under ten would have to be considerably stronger the more the child in question is under ten years of age.

If you or the parish believe strongly that a “rite of passage” should be available to children from the age of seven, then I would refer you back to the guidelines for the admission of children to communion.

Dates for the Diary

8 June National Society 200th Anniversary Service at the Cathedral from 11.15 a.m. – 12.30 p.m. All clergy are invited to join Bishop Gregory and their schools at this service of celebration. Please contact Sian Connelly to confirm attendance on sianconnelly@churchinwales.org.uk or phone 01745 532582.

11 June Diocesan Readers’ Day in the Cathedral. 11.00 Eucharist, followed by AGM Canon Paul Nerer to speak about the ministry of healing and reconciliation.

25 June The Ordination in the Cathedral at 1000hr. The Preacher will be the Revd Canon Jennifer Wigley, who will have been leading the Retreat. Jenny is a daughter of the diocese, who has a distinguished ministry in South Wales and, as Secretary of the Provincial Selection Panel, has worked closely with those exploring vocation to ministry.

3 July 1530hr The Installations of Michael Balkwill and Robert Rowland as Cursal Canons of St Asaph Cathedral.

10 July Sea Sunday. A reminder that this is the Sunday designated to remember, in particular the work of the Mission to Seafarers. Those parishes wishing to keep this Sunday are directed towards the resources available at www.seasunday.org.

25 August 1900hr The Induction of Chris Potter as Rector of Caerwys & Bodfari, in St Michael’s Church, Caerwys.

13 Sept Clergy Residential School in St Anne’s College, Oxford. Please return your registration slip as soon as possible.

17 Sept 1400hr The Installation of the Revd Nigel Williams as Dean of St Asaph. I am sure that Nigel would welcome all the support possible for this service, and for his new ministry.

Notes and Queries

The Communication Officer writes:
As the world gets to grips with social networking, the Diocese of St Asaph has set up a Twitter account. This will let people hear news from the Diocese “as it happens” rather than waiting to see updates via email or on the Diocesan website. There is a piece on our website explaining how Twitter works, but anyone already signed up can “follow” us from the homepage by clicking the Twitter symbol at the top of the news section.

There is currently a vacancy for Rural Life Adviser in the diocese. I would be very keen to hear from any cleric or lay person in the diocese who would like to explore this ministry.
The following benefices are, or will be, vacant, and if anyone would like to explore ministry in these places, or recommend a name, then they should contact the relevant archdeacon:
Colwyn Bay, Henllan, Holywell, the Llanfair Caereinion Group, the Llanrhaeadr YM Group (House for duty), Llanrwst, Mold and Welshpool.