Ad Clerum – December 2013

Bishop_Gregory_Arms-in-colo.gifAd Clerum :
2il o Rhagfyr 2013  2nd  December
Saint, Merthyron a Chenhadon Asia
Saints, Martyrs & Missionaries of Asia

Y Flwyddyn o Bererindod 2013-14 The Year of Pilgrimage
Dilynwch Fi, medd yr Arglwydd: Follow Me, says the Lord

Annwyl Gyfeillion,

If you’re looking for an Advent novel, then you might like to try “Silence” by Shusako Endo.  Although it was written in Japanese, I’m assuming that you’ll read the novel in English translation.  It remains however a Bishop Gregorypowerful insight into the early days of Christian mission in Japan.  It is set in the period when the Japanese government turned against Christians and launched a massive persecution, and thousands of Christians were crucified unless they denied their Lord.  The silence in question in the title is the silence of God, and the novel poses the question of why it is that in the most painful of times, God can often seem distant or even silent. The novel follows a young Jesuit missionary, and builds up to a heart-breaking climax, when, as his faith is tested to the limits, God finally speaks to him.

The novel, however, also gives an insight into the way in which Christian mission took place within the totally alien culture of the Orient.  How do we translate the Christian Gospel in a way that makes sense in a new culture, but which remains faithful to the truth?  It tells us of the heroic faith required of those who wished to proclaim Christ, and reminds us of the painful and sacrificial nature of Christian witness.  Most of all it bears witness to the mercy and compassion of God in an unexpected way, which doesn’t dodge the severity of the situation.  As we celebrate the saints and martyrs of Asia, let us give thanks to God for all those who struggled to keep their faith, and let us pray that while we hope never to be put to the test, that, if we are, we will be open to God’s leading and strength.

Father, do not bring us to the time of trial,
But deliver us from evil.

Hwyl a Helo

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Canon Sue Huyton as the new Vicar of the Bangor group of parishes, and as Mission Area Leader of the Dee Valley Deanery.  Sue has served faithfully in the diocese for many years, and will bring experience and flair to this new ministry.

You may know that following Mike West’s departure for the Diocese of Bangor, I commissioned a Review of the Wrexham Rectorial Benefice.  I am grateful to the Archdeacon of Bangor for leading this review, assisted by members of the Benefice and this diocese, and they have produced a substantial report.  In order to address the recommendations of the Report, and to prepare for the appointment of a new Mission Area Leader in Wrexham, the PCC have adopted my recommendation of a twelve month Transition, which will be led by Canon John Lomas. 

I am pleased that Gary Windon has accepted my invitation to take up a part time post for the next three months alongside his hospice Chaplaincy in the Rectorial Benefice of Hawarden.

We congratulate Judith Prust on her ordination to the Priesthood yesterday at Pen-y-bont Fawr.

Tony Rees has indicated to me his intention to retire as of 30th April 2014 from the living of Chirk and Froncysyllte.  Tony is another priest who has come to us from the Church of England, and served with great dedication in the last eleven years. We wish him and Mary all the best as they prepare for retirement.

I wish to inform you that Peter Rimmer has relinquished his Anglican orders and we send our good wishes for his move to the Roman Catholic Church.  Please would you kindly note that it is no longer possible for him to act as an Anglican priest in ministry of any kind.

Bishop John SimalengaI am sure that you all share my sadness on the news of the death of Bishop John Simalenga, our link diocese Bishop in South West Tanganyika.  Our hearts go out to Martha, his widow, and all his family, and indeed the whole diocese as they begin the painful period of mourning their bishop, and thinking about the future.  May The Lord give light to the departed, and to those who remain strength and peace.


The vacancies in Bala and Gwersyllt, and for a Team Rector in Rhos Cystennin will be advertised shortly, and fall to the Diocesan Nomination Board.  In the meantime, expressions of interest or recommendations for Bala and Gwersyllt may be discussed with Archdeacon Shirley, and for Rhos Cystennin with Archdeacon Chris.

Women Bishops and the Code of Practice

You will have received my extraordinary mailing of November 8th indicating the way forward which the Bench have adopted for receiving submissions concerning the Code of Practice which will be offered by them to the Church in Wales as the provision for women to be ordained into the episcopate in 2014.  In addition to the opportunity to submit written evidence, there will be two open meetings on 17th and 20th February in the diocese to receive oral evidence.  These will be conducted along the lines of the Review Open Meeting, with the Chancellor in the chair.  I will be there to listen and take notes, but the meetings will be designed for respectful listening for all points of view.  Details of the meetings are set out in the Diary section.

Hellins Lecture

We have a very distinguished visitor to the diocese in January in the form of Canon John Gibaut, who is the Director of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches.  The Faith and Order Commission is one of the most prestigious bodies in the ecumenical world, and John, who is an Anglican priest from Canada, is an old friend and colleague.  John is going to lead our January CMD, but before that, he will give the Hellins Lecture on Monday night, 27 January, at 1830hr following Choral Evensong in the Cathedral.  The title of the lecture will be ‘One Church, One Faith, One Lord – really?’  Please find attached a poster and I would be grateful if you would give this lecture as much publicity as possible. Hellins Lecture poster 2014

Dates for the Diary

Wednesday, 4 December    1900hr     Nicholastide Confirmation at the Cathedral.

Dates for 2014

Monday, 27 January,     Hellins Lecture, Cathedral , 1830hr.
Tuesday, 28 January:     CMD with Canon Prof John Gibaut, Director of the World Council of Churches’ Commission on Faith and Order – ‘Current Prospects for Christian Unity and the Nature and Mission of the Church’.
Monday, 17 February     Code of Practice Consultation, St Peter’s Church, Holywell 1900hr
(Tea & Coffee available from 1830hr)
Thursday, 20 February     Code of Practice Consultation, St John’s Church, Pool Quay 1900hr
(Tea & Coffee available from 1830hr)
Thursday, 17 April     Chrism Eucharist & Renewal of Ordination Vows at Cathedral, 1100hr
Tuesday, 13 May:      CMD with the Revd. Dr Beatrice Brandon, Archbishops’ Advisor for the Healing Ministry – ‘The Ministry of Healing’.
Saturday, 28 June    Petertide Ordination at Cathedral 1000hr
Tuesday, 9 – Friday, 12 September:  Residential Clergy Conference at St Anne’s College, Oxford – ‘Pressing on with the Gospel’.
Saturday, 11 October:     Diocesan Conference in the Llangollen Pavilion.
Saturday, 27 June 2015: Petertide Ordination at Cathedral

Notes and Queries

Train Pilgrimage StatsDiocesan Train Pilgrimage, 5 May, 2014

Are you thinking of a Christmas gift for family or friends?  Why not think about buying them a ticket for our train pilgrimage to Glasgow!   We really need to know confirmed numbers by about the end of January at the latest.

The seats have been notionally apportioned per deanery to ensure that every deanery has the opportunity to be represented. This allocation can be very flexible according to demand.  Please find alongside how bookings have been taken up across the diocese.
Please work hard to ensure that we have a viable number to see this exciting element of our Year of Pilgrimage go ahead.  Please contact Phil Atack if you have any questions.

Lay Chairs

Our Diocesan Priorities, adopted by Standing Committee a year ago, include, under identifying and developing our future leadership, the targets of (the then) deanery conferences to have lay co-chairs by the end of 2014, and PCCs to have lay co-chairs by the Easter Vestry 2014.  Please find attached a paper written by Archdeacon Peter to help you take this forward with your Conferences and PCCs. Lay Co-Chairs by Ven Dr Peter Pike

Lent Prayer Cards

Orders are now invited for the Lent 2014 Prayer Card which this year has been composed for us by Andrew Sully and continues the theme of pilgrimage.  Please would you email Esgobty as soon as possible and no later than Monday, 06 January indicating how many prayer cards you would like to reserve.  The prayer cards will be available for collection at the CMD day on Tuesday, 28 January.

Bishop’s Second Visitation

The Visitation Citation and Articles of Inquiry for the deaneries of Llanrhos and St Asaph have been sent out soon in preparation for my Visitations in February and March.   Completed Articles of Inquiry from clergy, readers or churchwardens from these deaneries should be returned to Esgobty by 18 December at the latest please.   Further information about the Visitation can be found here.

I do wish you every blessing as we enter the season of Advent and approach the celebration of the Incarnation.  May the Christ child bless you in your homes and in your congregations with love, joy and peace.

Nadolig Llawen i chi i gyd.

Thank you,


Download this in Word: Ad Clerum 131202 – public version