Bishop’s Ad Clerum – July 2015

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Ad Clerum 3ydd o Orffennaf 2015 July 3rd

Thomas Apostol

Bydd wrol a dewr iawn! (Josua 1.7)

Be strong and very courageous! (Joshua 1.7)

Annwyl Gyfeillion,

I suspect that for many of us, we have a soft spot for Thomas because of his doubt.  When I was a school chaplain, the more cynical of the pupils liked to suggest that the disciples wrote the Gospels to turn a quick profit (I don’t think they understood that this was before the invention of printing, and saw Matthew and company as early JK Rowlings).  Actually, it is the entirely unvarnished and often unflattering pictures of the disciples in the Gospels that lead me to be accepting of the reliability of the gospel accounts.

I believe that it is important to be honest about doubt, however, as I think it is a bad thing if faith is blindly observant.  We need to ask questions of our faith from time to time.  I personally sometimes feel very challenged, I must admit, by the Church and her disciples.  It is strange how often God’s will seems to be suited to the preferences of the personalities who articulate with conviction how God is leading them in a particular direction, and a spirit of humble emptying and offering of self to God through the Church seems to have gone out of the window.  I have also been a little depressed recently, if I’m honest, by the vehemence of those who have written to me about same sex unions, and who privilege judgment over mercy, since I believe the Gospel is nothing if it is not about mercy, and I find myself wondering whether I even like the Church at times.

Don’t worry overly about the bishop:  God’s mercy and faithfulness are renewed day by day, but I think we have to be honest that faith is not always the same as zeal.  So, hooray for St Thomas, and hooray too for the mercy shown him by Our Lord.

Petertide and Advent Ordinations

On Saturday, 27 June, I ordained Jonathan Skipper, Assistant Curate of the Llanfyllin Group, to the Sacred Order of Priest, and Phil Carey, now serving in the Parish of Rhosllanerchrugog, to the Sacred Order of Deacon.  I am very grateful to those clergy and readers who turned out in good number to support them, and we welcome them and wish them every blessing in their new ministries within the Teulu Asaff.

On Advent Sunday, I will be ordaining three candidates for the diaconate, Ivor Hawkins, Peter Heaney and Glyn Jones.  Peter was accepted for ordination a while ago, and has been joined by Ivor and Glyn more recently, who were recommended to me by the Mathrafal Deanery Conference as members whose leadership and potential as priests had been recognized locally.  As all three will be serving in Mathrafal, I have decided to ordain them Deacon together at a service on 29th November in Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant.

Hwyl a Helo

As you will know from my advisory note on Canonries in the Diocese, the criteria for appointment as canons includes many factors including the geographical spread of the diocese and the distinction of service offered.  I am pleased to be able to say that Nia Morris has accepted my invitation to assume the Cursal Canonry of Ricardi Harrison.  Nia has served with distinction in Bala, where she undertook a major re-organisation of the parish and re-ordering of the parish Church, and now leads Cedewain Mission Area in a dynamic living into 2020 Vision.  She eminently deserves this recognition, and I am glad to be able to offer her this office.  Nia will be installed in the Autumn.

I have invited Noel Carter, Rector of Rhos Cystennin, to assume duties as Area Dean of Llanrhos.  I also warmly welcome Noel to this role.  Noel has served as an Area Dean before, and this appointment will enable the Deanery of Rhos Cystennin to move forward with its transition into one or more mission areas.

Nia Williams has accepted my invitation to take on a temporary six month role as Director of Vocations.  Nia comes to us with enormous experience in this area of ministry from her time in Bangor Diocese, and is keen to assist us in St Asaph while she explores entering Forces Chaplaincy.  Nia will also be assisting in local parishes on the north coast.

In line with our desire to explore new forms of ministry, especially shared and lay ministry, it is with great pleasure that I can announce a new partnership with the Church Army to establish a Centre for Mission in the diocese.  It will be led by Captain Christopher Lawton, who is currently Pioneer Minister in the Andover deanery. He will join us as Lead Evangelist in Wrexham Mission Area, and will be joined by at least another member of the team.  Their role will be to encourage evangelism and witness to the Gospel, not only in Caia Park, and in Wrexham, but to support and energise mission across the diocese.

Evelyn Davies has indicated to me that she wishes to tender her resignation from the Four Crosses Group at the end of the Summer.  Evelyn’s energy and enthusiasm for the Gospel is a wonder to behold, and we are grateful for her faithful service in the diocese.  We hope that we won’t be losing her to the Teulu Asaff, but wish her well and she enters a new chapter of life and ministry.

Congratulations to Jackie Carter & her husband, Rob, on the birth of a new grandson, Ioan Robert Elwyn, who was born 29th June.


A number of posts will be advertised in the autumn. We will be looking for full time priests for:

  • The Gorsedd Group
  • Llanasa &Ffynnongroyw
  • Pentre Broughton & Southsea
  • Llay, Rossett & Isycoed

In Montgomery archdeaconry there will be a House for Duty opportunity advertised in the Cedewain Mission Area which will include recently vacant Bettws Cedewain Group, and in Pool Mission Area a three year fixed term post for a Pioneer Priest (Second Curacy).

If you are interested in any of posts, or if you have people whom you could recommend for them, then please contact the relevant Archdeacon for an initial conversation.

Dates for your diary


5 July                             Confirmation for Dee Valley Deanery, 1500hr, at St Chad’s Church, Hanmer.

12 July                          Confirmation for Cedewain Mission Area, All Saints’ Church, Newtown 1500hr


3 September              Induction of Pauline Walker, St Mary’s Church, Denbigh, 1900hr

29 September           Clergy Synod Day, Beaufort Park Hotel, Mold (half day concluding with lunch).  The facilitator will be Canon Richard Lowndes, Director of Ministry & Discipleship, Llandaff.

7 October                    Choral Evensong with Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission, Cathedral, 1800hr.

10 October                  Diocesan Conference, The Pavilion, Llangollen.

21 October                  Retired Clergy Association Service at Cathedral followed by lunch at Oriel House, St Asaph.

10 November            Confirmation for Mold & Hawarden Mission Areas, 1900hr, venue to be confirmed.

11/12 November      Area Deans / MAL Residential, Foxhill, Frodsham

29 November            Ordination of Deacons, St Dogfan’s Church, Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochant, 1500hr.

9 December               Diocesan Nicholastide Confirmation, Cathedral, 1830hr

Notes and Queries

Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission

The eagle eyed among you will have noticed a reference to the Anglican Oriental Orthodox Commission. I was invited last year by the Archbishop of Canterbury to take up the Anglican Co-chairmanship of this body, which is the official instrument of dialogue with the Oriental Orthodox family of churches, which include the Armenian Churches, the Coptic and Ethiopian Churches, and the Syrian Orthodox Churches.

At the beginning of October, the Commission will be meeting in Gladstone’s Library, and, as part of their programme, I am inviting them to join me at Evening Prayer on Wednesday, 7th October in the Cathedral. Not only do these Churches continue ancient witness to the revelation of God in Christ, but in the modern world, they frequently face persecution and exclusion. It is an honour therefore to offer Christian hospitality to the representatives of the Churches, led by Metropolitan Bishoy of the Coptic Church.

I hope that many of you may be interested in putting the event in your diary, not only to ensure a warm welcome to the Commission, but also to enjoy a wonderful Evensong in the Cathedral.

Important Changes to Marriage Preliminaries

Please find attached a paper from the Diocesan Registrar, Mr Llyr Williams, in which he highlights important changes to Marriage Preliminaries for your attention.

Retired Clergy Association

The Vicar of Old Colwyn and Rector of Llanelian, also Secretary of the Clergy Retired Association, would believe me remiss, if I did not draw attention to the Annual Meeting and Lunch of the Association on October 21st.  We have made it something of a tradition to suggest that parishes might like to contribute to the cost of lunch for this event for the retired clergy in their mission areas, who do so much to support ministry.

We are entering that period when many of us will be taking holidays.  I trust that whatever your plans, that the Lord will sustain you with a spirit of refreshment and hope, and that He will renew our trust in Him, as we approach a busy autumn.

In Christ,

Bishop Signature