Bishop’s Ad Clerum – September 2015

Unlocking our potential bilingual logo1af o Fedi 2015 September 1st

Bydd wrol a dewr iawn! (Josua 1.7)

Be strong and very courageous! (Joshua 1.7)

Annwyl Gyfeillion,

I wish to call for prayers for Governing Body later this month, between the 16th and 17th September.  It is so easy to see the meeting of the governing Synod of the Church in Wales as an exercise in Church administration, so that it is can be forgotten that the real purpose of our synod is to discern the will of God as the people of God, laity, clergy and bishops, and to be the key forum in which to shape the Church for the work of mission and witness to Jesus Christ.

There will be two topics of particular importance at the meeting later this month: a debate on the Church’s ministry to same sex couples, and discussion about Christian initiation.  The first has generated a lot of animated expressions of opinion, and very different views are being aired.  For some of us, obedience to Scripture requires the preservation of traditional teaching; for others of us, obedience to the Gospel requires the Church to take inclusion seriously.

The second issue of initiation, however, is no less important, although it is likely to be seen as far less headline material.  How do we administer the sacraments and rites of Baptism, Confirmation and Communion in such a way as to nurture committed discipleship to Jesus Christ?  The old pattern of the Church in Wales, although these things have changed substantially through Christian history, was to baptize in infancy, confirm at adolescence, and admit to Communion immediately thereafter.  However, if Baptism is the point of entry into the Church, then why is admission to Communion reserved until later?  From God’s point of view, his grace is freely given, and promised in the sacramental action of the Church.  From our point of view, the chief goal must be to order the Church’s life to ensure, as far as possible, that people are led into lifelong commitment as disciples of Jesus Christ.  How does the way in which we perform these ceremonies best reflect this double reality?

Diocesan Conference

The Diocesan Conference will be held at The Pavilion, Llangollen on Saturday, 10 October when the theme will be Being Church 24/7 :: Eglwys Sul, Gŵyl a Gwaith.  The Diocesan Office will be sending you the papers for this later in the month.  Formal business will start at 1030hr and finish by 1600hr.  Lunch will be provided and as usual there will be a wide variety of stalls to visit on arrival, during lunch and at the end of the afternoon.  The keynote speaker for 2015 will be Mandy Harvey from the Cinnamon Network.  Mandy is part of the leadership team of Parklands Church, Swansea, and is the Coordinator for Swansea Hope, helping to introduce many of the inter-church social action projects in the city.  Mandy is passionate about building good relationships between Churches, with secular organisations and with other faiths.

Hwyl a Helo

I am delighted to welcome Emma Rees, currently Curate of All Saints’ Parish in Barry, to be Vicar of Llansanffraid and Llanfechain. Emma is a young cleric with enormous enthusiasm and commitment, and it will be very good to have her as part of the team.

I would like to extend my good wishes to David and Diane Child, who got married over the summer, and to Sarah and Diane Hildreth-Osborn, who celebrated their civil partnership.  Congratulations also to Mary Stallard and Andrew Sully who celebrated their Silver Wedding anniversary last month.

I am sorry to report the deaths of Philip Clarke who died on 20th August, and Canon David Geoffrey George Davies, who died on 24th August.  Both served faithfully in parishes in this diocese, and will be remembered for their ministry.  I also extend my condolences to Carol Burgess and Colin Mansley.  Colin’s mother-in-law, Joan Burgess, died on 4th August.  Our prayers and condolences go to all these families.

Renewal of Permissions to Officiate

Three years have gone by very quickly since the last general renewal of Permissions to Officiate and we will begin the process all over again in October! This is advance warning for clergy with my PTO to look out for the instructions for the renewal in my October ad clerum.  Renewal will apply to all clergy who hold PTO status with current certificates expiring on 31 December at the end of this year.   Subject to my approval new certificates will then be issued that will be valid until 31 December 2018.  Those who have taken up my PTO in recent months will already have received certificates for this later date, and therefore are not required to take further action. (Check the document!)

I would be very grateful for the assistance of clergy in reminding priests who hold PTO in their area of their need to renew by the end of the year and to provide them with any assistance they may need.  The recommendation of Mission Area Leader or Area Dean will be needed in most cases.


A number of posts will be advertised in the autumn.  The following posts will be advertised in the Church Times on October 2nd & 9th:

  • Vicar of Pentre Broughton & Southsea
  • Vicar of Llay, Rossett & Isycoed
  • House for Duty Priest in Cedewain Deanery which will include the recently vacant Bettws Cedewain Group
  • Pioneer Priest (Second Curacy) in Pool Deanery (a three year fixed term post)

The closing date for applications for these posts will be October 19th.  Later in the autumn we hope to advertise for priests for the Gorsedd Group and for Llanasa & Ffynnongroyw.

If you are interested in any of these 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


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

13 September           Induction of Kevin Horswell, The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Mold, 1500hr

15 September           Induction of Lynette Norman, St Dogfan’s Church, Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant, 1900hr.

19 September           Induction of Emma Rees, St Ffraid’s Church, Llansantffraid ym Mechain, 1400hr.

28 September           Commissioning of Wrexham Centre for Mission, and evangelists Captain   Christopher Lawton CA and Joshua Smith, St Mark’s Church, Caia Park, Wrexham, 1900hr.

29 September           Clergy Synod Day, Beaufort Park Hotel, Mold (half day concluding with lunch).


 4 October                   Licensing of Gwenda Cooper as Associate Priest for Colwyn & Llanelian, at St Elian’s, Llanelian, 0930hr.

 4 October                   Induction of David Ash, Christ Church, Prestatyn, 1500hr.

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

10 October                  Diocesan Conference, The Pavilion, Llangollen.

18 October                  Installation of Nia Morris as Cursal Canon, the Cathedral, 1530hr.

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

10 November            Confirmation for Mold Mission Area & Hawarden Deanery, venue to be confirmed.

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

26 November            Licensing of Sam Erlandson as Assistant Curate in Wrexham Mission Area, St Giles’ Church, 1900hr.

29 November            Ordination of Deacons for Mathrafal deanery.

9 December               Diocesan Nicholastide Confirmation, Cathedral, 1830hr

Dates for 2016

I would like to draw your attention to the following dates for 2016.  These are occasions when attendance is part of the clergy’s professional commitments, and direct and personal permission for absence is required from the bishop if you have compelling reasons to be absent.

  • Clergy Synods, 20th January and 28th September.
  • Diocesan Conference, 8th October

In addition, the following dates are dates when I hope clergy will make it a priority to be present:

  • The Chrism Eucharist, 24th March
  • The Petertide Ordination, 25th June

I would now like to invite the parishes/deaneries/mission areas to consider during the autumn their requirements for confirmation services next year.   Please could you let me have a selection of preferred dates by November 30th so that I can plan a confirmation schedule for the year ahead.

Notes and Queries

Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission

You will remember that I have mentioned that, 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. 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.

The arrival of the Commission members will take place on Monday, 5th October.  I have already approached some clergy to assist with “meet and greet” duties at Manchester airport, but I could do with some additional help, and if any of you fancy a couple of hours welcoming a Syrian Orthodox prelate or a Coptic monk or some such and bringing them to Hawarden in this way, please do let Siân at Esgobty know.  We will, of course, cover any expenses.

Bursary Available

Gordonstoun School (co-educational boarding school for ages 7-18) has a bursary fund available only to children of families domiciled in mid-Wales. It is open to students ready to enter years 9, 10 or 12. The award is in the range 10% to 40% of fees and is dependent on family financial circumstances. For further information please contact Chris Barton, Director of Admissions, by emailing

Christian Aid 70th Anniversary Appeal

Christian Aid is inviting every church and chapel in Wales to support its 70th anniversary by donating £70 to a cross-Wales sponsored cycle ride.  Keen cyclist Jo Davies will be cycling the length of Wales, across four dioceses, in just one day to raise money for Christian Aid.

Starting in Caernarfon on September 26th, Jo will pedal the 190 miles to Chepstow, climbing 4,500 metres and taking in Llanberis and the Gospel Pass. She will be riding as part of a new event organised by Open Cycling Wales.

Jo is married to the Bishop John of Swansea and Brecon and is an experienced long distance cyclist and, while she is cycling on September 26, her husband, Bishop John, will be leading a service at Brecon Cathedral to mark Christian Aid’s 70th anniversary. Bishop John is chair of Christian Aid Wales’ Committee and a member of the Board of Trustees. All are welcome to the service which starts at 2.30pm.

Huw Thomas, head of Christian Aid Wales, has written to ask that every church and chapel in the country will consider getting behind Jo with a £70 donation each as a way of marking the charity’s anniversary.  You can sponsor Jo by sending a cheque to Christian Aid Wales, labelled for the Jo Davies Cycle Challenge, or you can donate online at:  Please contact Steve Wornham of Christian Aid for more information about donating – telephone 02920844658 or email

Racial Justice Sunday

This Sunday will be kept by the Church in Wales on 13th September, but Robbie Dennis has noted that there are no propers set, and has done the hard work for us, and furnished us with a set.  Do feel free to make use of them.  LITURGY for RACIAL JUSTICE SUNDAY

Research into clergy involvement with persons with dementia

Bob Friedrich is an Episcopal priest from Connecticut who is currently living in Conwy and undertaking research at Bangor University into local clergy involvement with persons with dementia.  Bob is looking for clergy volunteers to interview about their ministry to people with dementia and you will find more information about the nature of the research in the bilingual Participant Information Sheet.

In reviewing professional literature, Bob has found that there is abundant research showing the impact of spirituality on persons with dementia, but there is very little that establishes the acquired wisdom of clergy who minister to them and their carers.  Please do consider assisting Bob in his important research.  Bob can be reached at or 07475 117077 and will be pleased to hear from those who would like to register their interest in being interviewed or who would like more information about the project.

Retired Clergy Association

A reminder that the Annual Meeting and Lunch of the Association will take place in St Asaph 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.

With my very best wishes as we gear up to the Autumn.  The Summer passes by very quickly, and many of you will be into Harvest very soon.  I seem to have a busy six weeks with many licensings and inductions, and you are all very welcome at these events, if you can fit them in, especially for those colleagues, Kevin, Emma, Chris, Joshua and David who are joining the Teulu Asaph. Not that Pauline, Lynette, Gwenda and Nia wouldn’t value your support and prayers as well.  May God bless us richly as we seek to unlock our potential in his service,

In Christ,

Bishop Gregory's signature 2015