Ad Clerum – May 2014

Bishop_Gregory_Arms-in-colo.gifAd Clerum :
Ebrill 30fed 2014 April 30th

Bydd wrol a dewr iawn! (Josua 1.7)
Be strong and very courageous! (Joshua 1.7)

Annwyl Gyfeillion,

I am told that there are actually some cynics in the diocese who are waiting for the latest initiative (2020 Vision) to pass so that life can return to normal, while there are others who believe that “the hierarchy” have kicked the whole Harries’ Report into touch, and think we are avoiding change.

We all have to acknowledge how ambivalent we are to change, but I’d like to encourage you all to be less than cynical about the place of 2020 Vision in our diocesan life.  I met a member of our diocesan staff team recently who was a little downhearted, because he’d been directed to a Church in Wales Report some thirty years old recommending surprisingly similar sorts of things to the Harries’ Report.  This appeared to him to suggest reports come and go, but the inertia of the Church survives all attempts to challenge it.

Rather, I believe, it shows us that the Holy Spirit has been consistently leading the Church in a particular direction for some time now, which we have been slower than we might to grasp.  That movement, for me, is fundamentally a movement away from isolation to partnership.  There is nothing startlingly novel in this after all, but 2020 Vision represents a real opportunity for us to get hold of a truth that has been glimpsed for some time: to move our congregations into mutual life rather than fighting on alone, to encourage our clergy to support one another and give encouragement together, to see ministry as something which belongs to the whole people of God and not just the ordained:  to co-operate in partnership.

The Standing Committee has chosen some words of encouragement from the beginning of the Book of Joshua as our new motto as we say farewell to the Year of Pilgrimage.  In its context, Joshua is facing the enormous task of completing the work of Moses, and actually bringing Israel into the promised land, and he’s feeling not a little overwhelmed by the task.  God wants to empower him, and liberate him to take on the challenges with a sense of excitement.

As we look to renew our common life in St Asaph, God calls us to be similarly brave and bold for the Gospel.  2020 Vision is already giving birth to all sorts of initiatives, and I welcome this.  It is a good thing for us to be asking the original question which sparked off the whole Church in Wales Review:  how can we become what God is calling us to be in the context of today’s Wales?

As we move forward more deeply into the fifty days of Easter, I hope that our proclamation of the risen Christ is encouraging you to find the new life that Jesus offers afresh – in your prayers, in your planning, in your community.  I know that I need to look for it myself, and I will be praying for this sense of encouragement in our common life.  But the new life of the risen Lord urges us onward:  be strong and very courageous!

Hwyl a Helo

I am pleased to announce that Elaine Atack has accepted my nomination to the Parish of Bala.  Elaine has served her curacy in the Cathedral faithfully and with flair, and is ready to embark on the next chapter of her ministry.  Elaine’s move naturally means that Phil Atack will be taking retirement so that he can move to Bala with Elaine, and has therefore signified his intention to me to resign in November, about the time that Elaine will be inducted.

Richard Hughes has been appointed as House for Duty priest at Llansilin.  Richard comes to us with a long track record of service in the Church of England and the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe, and we welcome him now to the team in Mathrafal.  We welcome him and Ann to our family.

Neil Kelly has accepted my nomination as Priest-in-charge of the parish of Buckley in succession to Alan Tiltman.  Neil has completed two curacies in the diocese, and has been very well received in Mold, where he is currently serving.  I am delighted that he will begin this new ministry at the end of June.

I am pleased to announce that Matt Wilkinson has been nominated to the living of Chirk and Froncysyllte.  Matt has served two curacies in Wrexham and in Minera, and will move to succeed Tony Rees, who retires at the end of April – today, in fact.

I have already notified you of the appointment of Noel Carter as Rector of Rhos Cystennin.  Noel will be inducted on Monday 28th July.  You will also have heard of the appointment of Paulette Gower to Gwersyllt.  Paulette will be inducted on Monday 1st September.  I welcome these two stalwarts of the diocese to their new ministries.

I am glad to say that Robbie Dennis has now been able to undertake his move to us in St Asaph, and will be inducted in Connah’s Quay at the beginning of June.

Kathy Collins has been appointed to the post of Rector of Strathnairn in the Scottish Episcopal Church.  She will move in the autumn, retiring from her position as Senior Hospital Chaplain.  Kathy has given great and distinctive service to the diocese in a variety of ways, and we wish her well, as she moves closer to family.

Margaret Robarts has also moved closer to family, this time in south Wales.  Margaret served with distinction, both in ministry, as a house for duty priest, and most recently as one of my pastoral chaplains, in which capacity she offered much support and counsel to many of us.  We wish her and Les well.

I am sure that you share with me the sadness of learning that Clive Southerton’s wife, Marion , died suddenly shortly before Easter.  Marion was a great supporter of her husband’s ministry, and we offer deep condolences to Clive.  Condolences also to Mike Harrison on the death of his mother, Mary.

I was very sorry to learn this morning of the death of Richard Hindley.  Richard served in the Church of England, and retired to the Holywell area a few years ago.  We send our condolences to Lillian, his wife.

Petertide General Ordination

Please pray for Lorraine Badger Watts and Sam Erlandson, who are to be ordained Priest, and Jonathan Skipper, who is to be ordained Deacon to serve in the parishes of the Llanfyllin Group, on Saturday, 28th June, at 1000hr in the Cathedral.  Bishop Dominic Walker OGS will be leading the retreat and preaching.  I hope that many of you will put the ordination in your diaries and support these ordinands in your prayers and with your presence.


We are close to advertising a number of vacancies in the diocese.  This month we are advertising for Chris Potter’s successor as Archdeacon of St Asaph, and an advertisement will be appearing shortly in the Church Times.

However, there are impending vacancies in Guilsfield & Buttington, in the Llandyrnog and Llanrhaeadr YN group, and a house for duty appointment in Llansanffraid Glan Conwy in the Llanrwst Group, working alongside Sarah Hildreth.

The advertisement for Archdeacon of St Asaph is attached at the end of this Ad Clerum, but parties interested in Guilsfield should speak to the Archdeacon of Montgomery, and for Llandyrnog and Llanrhaeadr and Glan Conwy with the Archdeacon of St Asaph.

The Gathering: Ecumenical Progress

At its meeting last week, Governing Body voted to proceed with the discussions over the proposals outlined at The Gathering held in 2012 for the future of the Covenanted Churches.  This positive answer from the Church in Wales may help to move these plans for a Church Uniting in Wales forward, although there is still much to be discussed and agreed before we get there, including the responses of our other ecumenical partners.

We have organized two meetings of the north east Wales Regional CYTUN for Wednesday, 21 May in order to discuss ecumenically the proposals for a Uniting Church in Wales.  The meetings will include a presentation by Sr Eluned Williams MBE, Chair of the Commission of the Covenanted Churches in Wales. It will be an important occasion for us and members of our congregations to learn more about these proposals, and how they may impact on all our plans in St Asaph.  The meetings will be held at

•    The Council Chambers, Connah’s Quay at  1400hr
•    Acton Community and Resources Centre, Wrexham at 1900hr

Do make every effort to attend, and to encourage members of your congregations to join us.

Dates for your diary


Thursday 1    St Asaph Retired Clergy Association meeting at the Church of St Martin of Tours, Llay, 1400hr
Sunday, 4    To be kept as the Feast Day of St Asaph, and the culmination of the Year of Pilgrimage
1530hr Year of Pilgrimage Service at the Cathedral
Monday, 5    Diocesan Train Pilgrimage to Glasgow
Tuesday, 6        Visitation to Alyn Deanery, St Mary’s Church, Minera, 1900hr
Tuesday, 13     CMD with the Revd. Dr Beatrice Brandon, Archbishops’ Advisor for the Healing Ministry – ‘The Ministry of Healing’.
Visitation to Wrexham Deanery, St Giles Church, Wrexham, 1900hr


Sunday, 8    Induction of Robbie Dennis at St Mark’s Church, Connah’s Quay, 1530hr.
Tuesday, 10    Visitation Lunch and meeting with Chapters of Denbigh & Dyffryn Clwyd deaneries at St Mary’s Church, Denbigh, 1300hr
Visitation to Denbigh Deanery, St Mary’s Church, Denbigh, 1900hr
Saturday, 14    Readers’ Day at Gresford, starting at 1100hr with the Eucharist.
Sunday, 15    Confirmation for Alyn Deanery, St Tudfil’s, Coedpoeth, 1500hr
Sunday, 22    Eucharist with Thanksgiving for Anniversaries of Ordination, Cathedral, 1100hr.
Saturday, 28        Petertide Ordination at Cathedral 1000hr
Sunday, 29    Confirmation for Dee Valley and Wrexham deaneries, St Giles Wrexham, 1500hr.
Monday, 30    Licensing of Neil Kelly as Priest-in-charge of Buckley at St Matthew’s Church, 1900hr

JULY and beyond

Wednesday, 2 July    Visitation to Dyffryn Clwyd Deanery, St Peter’s Church, Ruthin, 1900hr
Sunday, 6 July    Confirmation for Denbigh & Dyffryn Clwyd deaneries, St Peter’s Church, Ruthin, 1530hr
Monday, 28 July    Induction of Noel Carter as Rector of  Rhos-Cystennin at St Paul’s Church, Criag y Don, 1900hr.
Monday, 1 Sept    Induction of Paulette Gower as Vicar of Gwersyllt, at Holy Trinity Church, Gwersyllt, 1900hr
Tuesday, 9 – Friday, 12 September:  Residential Clergy Conference at St Anne’s College, Oxford – ‘Pressing on with the Gospel’.
Monday, 15 Sept    Induction of Matthew Wilkinson as Vicar of Chirk, at St Mary’s Church, Chirk, 1900hr.
Sunday, 5 Octr    Confirmation at St Nicholas’ Church, Montgomery 1100hr
Saturday, 11 Octr     Diocesan Conference in the Llangollen Pavilion.
Sunday , 16 Novr    Confirmation, St Matthew’s Church, Buckley 1530hr
Wednesday, 19 Novr    Induction of Elaine Atack as Rector of Bala at Christ Church, Bala, 1900hr.
Wednesday, 03 Dec    Nicholastide Confirmation, Cathedral, 1830hr

Notes and Queries

Anniversaries in Ministry

On Sunday, 22 June I would like to invite those who will be celebrating a significant ordination anniversary during 2014 to join me for a special celebratory Eucharist at the Cathedral at 1100hr – anniversaries such as 25 years and the subsequent ‘0’ anniversaries thereafter.  If you have a special anniversary this year that you would like to celebrate with us on June 22nd then please contact my office at Esgobty by 19 May.

Mediation Service

Another item of business at Governing Body was the launch of the Church’s own Mediation Service.  This is a process set up under the auspices of the Bench of Bishops as a way to encourage reconciliation and conflict resolution within the Church in Wales.  I attach a leaflet that sets out more information about the service, and how it may be accessed.

Mediation Leaflet in English
Mediation Leaflet in Welsh

Readers’ Day

A reminder that the Diocesan Readers’ Day, is being held at Gresford on Saturday, 14th June, and which begins with a Celebration of the Holy Eucharist at 11am and of the warm invitation for clergy to support your Readers by attending and robing.  Please do consider doing this to affirm and honour our Readers by a good turnout of robed clergy.

Bishop’s Second Visitation

The Deaneries of Denbigh and Dyffryn Clwyd have now received the Citation and Articles of Inquiry ahead of my Visitations there.  I should be grateful if clergy, churchwardens and readers would ensure their completed Articles of Inquiry are returned to Esgobty no later than May 6th.  Details can also be accessed from the Visitation webpage.

A warm thank you to all those who supported the Chrism Eucharist this year, and those who brought lay people along.  For the first time, I think, laity equaled the number of clergy, so that it is no longer seen as a Service only for the ordained.  We welcomed in the order of three hundred to the Cathedral, and for me, it was a splendid affirmation of our common life.

I wish you well with the coming months.  With every blessing,

Bishop Gregory Signature

Ad Clerum May 2014