Bishop’s Ad Clerum – February 2014

Bishop_Gregory_Arms-in-colo.gifAd Clerum :
3ydd Chwefror  2014 February 3rd
Seiriol, Abad /Abbot

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

Annwyl Gyfeillion,

We have just closed the Christmas cycle of the liturgical calendar with the celebration of Candlemas, and before very long, we’ll be turning towards Lent and the preparation for Easter.  Lent prayer cards have been distributed already, thanks to the efficient work of my Chaplain, and I’d be grateful if we could encourage as many people as possible to use this prayer daily through Lent at 1800hr, or the nearest convenient time, as an act of solidarity with the whole Teulu Asaff as we seek for God’s blessing on our diocesan life.  Thanks again to Andrew Sully for composing this prayer.  Do please reproduce the prayer as widely as possible – in parish magazines, notice sheets and as a handout.

The Candlemas season reminds us that Christ is the true light of the world, and the feast is particularly associated with the Nunc Dimittis: “A light to enlighten the gentiles, and the glory of your people, Israel”.  I often think that the remarkable thing about the canticles is their political dimensions. Who said that religion and politics don’t mix?  Mary put political concerns right up there with the proclamation of the coming of the Messiah in the Magnificat:

“He has shown the might of his arm, he has routed the proud and all their schemes; he has brought down monarchs from their thrones, and raised on high the lowly.  He has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.”

I recently had a letter from a leading lay person in the diocese.  He wrote that while he had heard many splendid sermons by the clergy, he had heard scarcely any that tackled head on some of the big social and political issues of the day.  What was the Church’s attitude towards poverty and the austerity policies of government?  What stance do we take over Syria or homophobia?  Of course, there aren’t strict party lines adopted by the Church on these issues, and I don’t favour a politicized pulpit, but we do have a duty to be prophetic in our ministry, and we should be able to show how the Gospel of Jesus Christ is relevant to everyday life and concerns.

So can I encourage all of us to be bold in our preaching this month?  Can we show how the Bible speaks to today’s issues, and be ready to offer a Christian insight into what is going on in the world around us?  If Mary could proclaim that the birth of her son would bring about political revolution, who are we to say otherwise?

Women Bishops and the Code of Practice

A reminder of the two open meetings on 17th and 20th February in the diocese where clergy and laity can speak to the issue of the Code of Practice that the bishops have been charged to write in conjunction with the introduction of the Canon to permit the ordination of women to the episcopate.  The meetings will be conducted along the same lines as the Review Open Meeting in 2012, with the Chancellor in the chair.  I will be there to listen and take notes, but the meetings are intended for respectful listening for all points of view about the Code (and not, of course, the simple principle of the ordination of women).  Further details of the meetings are set out in the Diary section of this Ad Clerum.  They have been deliberately located in the north and south of the diocese to enable people from across the geographical spread of the diocese to be able to attend.

The Order of St Asaph

It is now time to start inviting nominations for the Order of St Asaph in 2014 as we seek to recognise and honour the outstanding contribution of lay persons at diocesan level, particularly at an appropriate point on the completion of service in a particular way or in a particular role.  Admission to the order is marked by the presentation of appropriate insignia, and those admitted to the order are listed in the diocesan Yearbook.

The Order of St Asaph Nomination Form 2014 should be returned completed with as much information as possible about a candidate’s contribution to the diocese.  All members of the Teulu Asaff, whether clerical or lay, are encouraged to make nominations, which can also be submitted through any diocesan council or committee.  Nominations forms should be submitted to me at Esgobty by the end of April, and will be referred to the advisory committee who will meet in early May.

Understandably there are those who have offered sterling service to the church within a parish or deanery context.  Whilst the Order of St Asaph is intended to recognize diocesan service, I am happy to be approached by parishes and deaneries who feel someone’s outstanding contribution should be recognized and I will be happy to issue a suitable certificate that can be used by the parish or deanery for a local presentation.  Please contact my Chaplain in the first instance with appropriate details for me to consider.

Hwyl a Helo

With Kate Tiltman’s Licensing and move to Rhosymedre and Ruabon, Alan Tiltman has now indicated to me that he is retiring with effect from the end of February.  Alan will also vacate the Canon Chancellorship of the Cathedral at this time.  I am delighted to announce that I have invited Pam Powell to succeed Alan in that post.  This is partly to recognize Pam’s outstanding work as the Mission Area Leader of Mathrafal Deanery, but also, since the Chancellorship in this diocese is usually associated with an education portfolio, in recognition of her work as Director of Lay Ministerial Training.

I have invited Quentin Bellamy to take the Cursal Canonry of Galfridi Ruthin in recognition of his service to the diocese in many ways, but Quentin will also be taking on responsibility to promote the Friends of the Cathedral in the life of the diocese.  I have also invited Kathy Collins to take up the honorary canonry vacated by David Child on his seventieth birthday, in recognition of her sterling work in sector ministry as Senior Health Chaplain for the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

All three new canons will be installed at Evensong in the Cathedral at 1530hr on Sunday, 23rd March, and it would be splendid to have a goodly number of clergy and laity from across the diocese to support them on this occasion.

I am pleased to announce my intention to ordain Jonathan Skipper to the Sacred Order of Deacon at the Petertide Ordination.  Jonathan will serve as Assistant Curate in the parishes of Llanfyllin, Bwlch-y-Cibau and Llanwddyn.

Bernard Thomas has indicated to me his intention to retire from his house for duty ministry at the end of August.  We salute this sterling warrior for the Gospel, and wish him and Jennifer a happy retirement.  Roger Bird has indicated to me that he will retire at the same time. Roger is one of our longest serving and faithful priests, and I want to record our appreciation for his dedicated service also.

Archdeacon Chris Potter has informed me that he will retire on his next birthday in October 2014.  Chris is another who has served the diocese with distinction, and we will have the opportunity to celebrate his ministry and mark his retirement later in the year.  Congratulations to Chris and Jenny, by the way, on the birth of a new grandson, Arthur Willem Francis, who was born in mid-January.

It is my intention to advertise the position of Archdeacon of St Asaph after Easter, and to interview in June.  In the meantime, I should be happy to receive any views or comments on this post in the life of the diocese by letter to me here in Esgobty.

I am sure that we will all want to join in sending our condolences to Christine Owen, on the death of her father, Harold, at the end of January.  Harold was a faithful servant of the Church, particularly in the Diocese of Bangor, where he served for many years as Chair of the DBF with distinction.  May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

Other Vacancies

The vacancies for a Team Rector in Rhos Cystennin, a Vicar for Gwersyllt and a Priest-in-Charge for Buckley will be advertised shortly, and the first two of these fall to the Diocesan Nomination Board, while the last is a Bishop’s appointment.  In the meantime, expressions of interest or recommendations for any of these posts may be discussed with Archdeacons Chris and Bob as appropriate.  We are keen to hear recommendations of individuals as well as expressions of interest.

A House for Duty post in the Llansilin Group of parishes and the post of Diocesan Engagement Officer will be advertised in the next two editions of the Church Times.  The latter is being advertised with the terms and conditions of a secular post in the diocesan office.  Again, all expressions of interest are welcome, and approaches can be made to the Archdeacon of Montgomery or the Diocesan Secretary respectively.

Dates for 2014

Tuesday, 4 February    Visitation lunch & meeting with the Chapters of Llanrhos and St Asaph Deaneries Canolfan Dewi Sant, Pensarn 1300hr
Visitation to Llanrhos Deanery, St Catherine & St John Baptist, Old Colwyn 1900hr
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, 27 February    Induction of Alex Mayes as Vicar of the Kerry Group of parishes, St Michael & All Angels’ Church, Kerry, 1900hr.

Tuesday, 4 March    Visitation to St Asaph Deanery, Christ Church, Prestatyn, 1900hr
Monday, 17 March    Induction of Sue Huyton as Rector of the Bangor-Is-y-Coed Group of parishes and Commissioning as Mission Area Leader of Dee Valley at St Dunawd’s Church, Bangor-is-y-Coed, 1900hr.
Sunday, 23 March    Installation of Pam Powell, Quentin Bellamy and Kathy Collins as Canons in the course of Evensong, at the Cathedral, 1530hr
Tuesday, 25 March    Induction of Richard Hainsworth as Vicar of Northop, at SS Eurgain & Peter’s Church, Northop, 1900hr.

Tuesday, 01 April    Visitation lunch and meeting with Chapters of Dee Valley, Alyn & Wrexham deaneries, St Margaret’s Church Hall, Wrexham, 1300hr
Visitation to Dee Valley Deanery, St Mary’s Church, Chirk, 1900hr
Thursday, 17 April     Chrism Eucharist & Renewal of Ordination Vows at Cathedral, 1100hr
Saturday, 19 April    Easter Vigil and Diocesan Confirmation at the Cathedral, 1900hr

Tuesday, 06 May    Visitation to Alyn Deanery, St Mary’s Church, Minera, 1900hr
Tuesday, 13 May:      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, 15 June    Confirmation for Alyn Deanery, St Tudfil’s, Coedpoeth, 1500hr
Saturday, 28 June    Petertide Ordination at Cathedral 1000hr
Sunday, 29 June    Confirmation for Dee Valley and Wrexham deaneries, St Giles Wrexham, 1500hr

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

Diocesan Train Pilgrimage, 5 May, 2014
I am pleased to say that since January more bookings have come in for the train pilgrimage to Glasgow.  I am grateful to Phil Atack and Angela Morfett-Jones, reader in Rhos-Cystennin, for the work they have been doing but I am surprised that there are still many people that I have come across who have never heard about it!  There are now less than 80 seats left – so it is important that bookings are made immediately or lose the chance to join us.  Please remind your churches.

Several people have asked what will happen in Glasgow.  I have received several invitations from civic and ecumenical friends in the city who are keen to formally welcome us.  People will, however, be free to do as they please during the time we will have in this special city and some may wish to explore the cultural and commercial life of Glasgow.   The important thing is that we will be travelling together to the source of our spiritual roots, the home of St Kentigern / Mungo who himself travelled many miles to share Good News in North Wales.

Canons for Ecumenical Relations
This canon, giving wide permission for ecumenical engagement, has been in force for many years, but its scope is often neglected.  In the light of the Hellins Lecture and the recent CMD, it may be worth reminding people of the scope we have for the sharing of ministry in the ecumenical context.  Sue Huyton has provided me with some helpful flow charts which give the drift of the permissions that the canons give, and they are attached.

Ecumenical Work 1
Ecumenical Work 2
Ecumenical Work 3
Ecumenical Work 4

Lent Course
Attached to this Ad Clerum is a copy of the Year of Pilgrimage study course written especially for the Year of Pilgrimage in our diocese. Although it looks at the theme of Pilgrimage, the main aim of the course is to help individuals and church communities reflect on their story in the light of their faith, and could also be a useful resource for parishes and ministry areas who want to review and plan for the future and think about vocations and shared ministry. It can be downloaded from the diocesan website, or the diocesan office can produce booklets (or you are welcome to produce your own). If you would like any more information or guidance about the course, please contact Manon Ceridwen James or Phil Topham. It is a course of six weeks (and therefore ideal for Lent). Many of the sessions have stories from our diocese, and each session has points for discussion as well as a Bible Study. There is extensive guidance about how to run the course, and it has been adapted and redrafted in the light of the useful comments from the parishes who trialed it last year.

Fairtrade Fortnight
As part of our drive to become the first Fair Trade Province in the Anglican Communion, the Bishops have agreed that this year, Sunday February 23 – which falls immediately before Fair Trade Fortnight – will be promoted as Fair Trade Sunday.  The lectionary designates that Sunday as Creation Sunday as well as 2nd Before Lent, so the readings and collects lend themselves easily to the Fair Trade theme.  Please find attached prayer resources in Welsh and English.

Fair Trade Sunday 2014 Welsh
Fair Trade Sunday 2014 English

While the statics indicate that St Asaph is currently placed second in the Welsh diocesan league tables having 60% of parishes making the Fair Trade Pledge, there are many parishes who have yet to sign up to the Fair Trade pledge.  Please would those parishes consider this carefully and prayerfully.  Please may I also remind those parishes that are already Fair Trade accredited of their obligation to fulfill that part of the pledge about remembering Fair Trade in prayer, worship and teaching.

Keep Me Posted Campaign
Please find attached details of the Keep Me Posted Campaign which is an initiative arising from the partnership of representatives from charities, consumer groups and businesses who have come together to fight for the consumer’s right to choose, without penalty, how they receive important financial information from banks, utility companies, media companies and other service providers.  Increasingly, businesses are restricting access to paper bills and statements and denying their customers an informed choice. This issue affects everyone but particularly the most vulnerable in our society. Independent research reveals that the people who often have the greatest need for paper statements and bills are the older generation, those that are disabled, and those that lack access to the internet or basic digital skills.

Marriage Fees
You will find attached the schedule of Marriage Fees for 2014.

Real Easter Egg
Information about this now well-established campaign can be found at

Bishop’s Second Visitation
I am looking forward to my afternoon lunch and meeting tomorrow, February 4th with the Chapters of Llanrhos and St Asaph deaneries and to my formal Visitation to Llanrhos Deanery in the evening at Old Colwyn, along with the Visitation to St Asaph deanery on March 4th.

The Articles of Inquiry for the forthcoming Visitations to Dee Valley, Alyn and Wrexham deaneries will be sent out with the Citation from the Diocesan Registrar shortly.  Details can also be accessed from the Visitation webpage.

Please could completed Articles of Inquiry be returned to me at Esgobty no later than March 13th.

Thank you for the excellent attendance at CMD, and for your ongoing work and ministry.  With every blessing,






Ad Clerum – February 2014