Bishop’s Ad Clerum – November 2016

St Francis image31ain Hydref 2016 31st October / Nos Galan Gaeaf : Hallowe’en

Adeiladwch fy Eglwys, medd yr Arglwydd

Build my Church, says the Lord

Annwyl Gyfeillion,

Hallowe’en has been taken over these days by the American way of doing things.  Trick OR Treat has replaced Trick AND Treat, the old British custom whereby callers would perform a short play or entertainment (a trick), and receive a treat (an early form of fundraising for the indigent), and Bob Apple has been replaced by mock horror parties.  There are those who see Hallowe’en, drawing as it does on the traditions of Samhain, the pre-Christian pagan festival, as being anti-Christian, and yet I loved it as a child and it was probably responsible for stimulating my interest in the supernatural and therefore in God.  I’m much more interested in the rise of “Light Parties”, a positive engagement by Churches with the festival, as a time when the victory of Christ can be proclaimed over the powers of evil and witchcraft. As the Veni Creator puts it:

Keep far our foes, give peace at home:

where thou art guide, no ill can come.

So I wish you a blessed Hallowe’en, and I hope, given that it is too late for this year, that you’ll think about planning a suitable and deliberate fun outreach to the families in your Mission Area as a positive way for the Church to reclaim the festival for the Church and for the Gospel.

Diocesan Conference: Build my Church

A warm thank you to all those who worked extremely hard to make our Diocesan Conference a success this year – the Diocesan Office staff and the host of volunteers, young and mature.  Thank you for your own presence and support.  I think we have reached a tipping point in the diocese, where, having put in place structures that can support collaboration and mission, we now have to focus on getting on with actual mission.  As you’ll remember, I drew on God’s command to St Francis for inspiration, and I hope we can focus on that for a while as we work on plans for the future.  Are the things in which we’re investing time and energy building the Church?  Increasing our congregations? Deepening discipleship? Giving new life?

Bishop Huw Jones and the Diocese of St David’s

As this letter is published, the funeral of Bishop Huw is taking place in Cardiff.  I am sure that we will have many memories of Huw among the clergy and people of this diocese, and especially those in Prestatyn, where Huw served as Vicar.  As Assistant Bishop to Archbishop Alwyn, Huw offered faithful service, and as I have recorded elsewhere, he was someone, who, in my own encounters, always offered welcome, good humour and hospitality.  We commend Huw to God, and pray for Gwyneth, Lynwen and Gaenor at this time.

Huw, of course, went on to become Bishop of St David’s, and this week the Electoral College meets to elect a successor to Huw, and to Wyn.  Do please hold us in your prayers as we seek to discern God’s will for the future of the Church and for our sister diocese.

Dates for your diary


6th November            Alyn Mission Area Commissioning Service, St Martin’s Church, Llay, 1500hr

8-9th November        Area Dean / MAL Consultation at Foxhill Retreat Centre, Frodsham.

10th November          Offa Mission Area Commissioning Service,  St Mary’s Church Ruabon, 1900hr.

16th November          Maelor Mission Area Commissioning Service, St Dunawd’s Church, Bangor Isycoed, 1900hr.

17th November          Aberconwy Mission Area Commissioning Service, St Grwst Church, Llanrwst,  1900hr

20th November          Borderlands MA Confirmation, Emmanuel Church, Bistre, 1500hr.

DECEMBER and beyond

4th December             Aled Mission Area Commissioning Service, Dewi Sant Church, Pensarn, 1500hr

6thDecember              Changing Attitude Cymru Iris Film Festival, the Cathedral, 1900hr.

5th December             Church Hostel Thanksgiving Eucharist, Bangor Cathedral, 1900hr.  Preacher: the Ven Bernard Thomas, former Archdeacon of St Asaph.

7th December             Nicholastide Confirmation at Cathedral, 1830hr.

11th December          Service to welcome Christine Browne as Shrine Guardian, St Melangell’s Church,  Pennant Melangell, 1100hr.

19th December          Licensing of Roger Watts as Priest in Aled MA, St Cynbryd’s Church, Llanddulas, 1900hr.


7th January                  Celebration of 20 years of Women’s Priestly Ministry in the Church in Wales, Cathedral , 1100hr. Celebrant and preacher: The Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester.

15th January                Aber Morfa Mission Area Commissioning Service, 1500hr, venue to be confirmed.

26th January               CLERGY SYNOD (all day) St David’s Hotel, Ewloe.

7th-8th March              MAL Residential Consultation at Foxhill Retreat Centre, Frodsham.

13th April                      Chrism Eucharist, Cathedral, 1100hr.

15th April                      Easter Vigil & Confirmation, Cathedral, 1900hr.

14thMay                       Episcopal Visitation to Caereinion, Tanat Valley and Vyrnwy Mission Areas, 1530hr

21st May                       Episcopal Visitation to Wrexham and Alyn Mission Areas, 1530hr.

11th June                      Episcopal Visitation to Denbigh & Dyffryn Clwyd mission areas, 1530hr.

24th June                      St John’s Tide Ordination at the Cathedral, 1000hr

2nd July                          Episcopal Visitation to Borderlands and Mold Mission Areas, 1500hr.

16th July                        Episcopal Visitation to Offa and Maelor Mission Areas, 1530hr.

3rd September           Episcopal Visitation to Pool & Cedewain Mission Areas, St Beuno’s Church, Berriew, 1530hr.

10th September         Episcopal Visitation to Aled and Aber Morfa Mission Areas, 1530hr.

17th September         Episcopal Visitation to Estuary & Mountain and Bryn y Môr Mission Areas, 1530hr.

19-22 September     Clergy Residential Conference at St Anne’s College, Oxford.

8th October                 Episcopal Visitation to Aberconwy, Penllyn & Edeyrnion and Valle Crucis Mission Areas, 1530hr.

7th-8th November     Area Dean/MAL Consultation at Foxhill Retreat Centre, Frodsham.


30th June                      Petertide Ordination at the Cathedral 1000hr

Notes and Queries



The Real Advent Calendar is a fun way for parents, grandparents and Godparents to share the Christmas story. The calendar comes with a free 28-page Christmas story activity book designed to be used every day in Advent. This year, the book is illustrated by award winning artist, Alida Massari.  Behind each of the 24 windows there is a festive Fairtrade chocolate made from our new and improved Fairtrade blend.  The Real Advent Calendar is designed to share and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas so that Christ is not written out of Christmas. As well as celebrating the true meaning of Christmas, the calendar makes a charity donation, from every sale, to Traidcraft Exchange and the Funzi & Bodo Trust.

The Real Advent Calendar is available from Lis Perkins at JUST SHOPPING 01248 712389/07874 902629 Email:, directly from the on-line shop:, and from larger Tesco stores and select retailers. Supplies are limited so buy early.

Bishop’s General Visitation in 2017

You will find the dates of my Third Episcopal Visitation in the calendar above.  I am grateful to the Mission Area Leaders who have already been in touch to confirm venues and I should be grateful  if the other MALs can liaise with their visitation partners and let me know the agreed venue by November 25th at the latest.

LGBTQIA+ Chaplaincy News

Details are available for the Film Festival Telling our Stories which will be held in the Cathedral next month.

Rent Smart Wales

The deadline for compliance with Rent Smart Wales is fast approaching (23rd November 2016) and with this in mind the Church in Wales has put together some guidance for parishes. This is summarised in the Guidance Note.  Tracey Anstey at the Church in Wales Property Department in Cardiff has already been in touch with contacts in parishes that have let property which is vested in the RB and has sent them a copy of the guidance so they can organise training.  However, there may be others that Tracey does not know about! If anyone would like to have a general chat about the registration, licensing or training process please give Tracey a call on 029 20 348214 or email her on

The Archbishop and Church Hostel and Anglican Chaplaincy, Bangor

I am sure that you will share with me our concern for Archbishop Barry on the news that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, and that we will hold him in our prayers as he undergoes surgery at the beginning of December.  This means that Archbishop Barry will now not be preaching at the Celebration and Thanksgiving for the Bangor Church Hostel on 5th December.  Instead, we shall have the pleasure of hearing Archdeacon Bernard Thomas.

Revision of the Funeral Service

In September 2008 the Governing Body authorised the experimental use of new Funeral Services for a period of up to ten years.  As  this period expires shortly, the bishops are asking the Standing Liturgical Advisory Commission (SLAC) to receive any comments from the clergy and people of the Church in Wales to inform the preparation of the definitive rite which will be brought to Governing Body in 2018.  The full range of the funeral service material authorised in 2008 can be accessed online at:  Please send any comments that you would like to submit for the consideration of SLAC to the Secretary, Mr John Jones, 127 Saunders Way, Derwen Fawr, Swansea SA2 8BJ  /  by January 31st, 2017.

As we face the challenge of change, it is more important than ever that we invest in the teams of which we are part here in St Asaph; the diocesan teams, the clergy college, the mission areas and the shared ministry teams.  I am grateful, as ever, for your fellowship in the Gospel.  Please be assured of my prayers for you and for all as we turn towards the Kingdom season, Advent and Christmas

In Christ,

Bishop Gregory's signature 2015