Bishop’s Ad Clerum – March 2017

Unlocking our potential bilingual logo1 March 2017 Mawrth 1af

Dydd Mercher Y Lludw : Ash Wednesday

Adeiladwch fy Eglwys, medd yr Arglwydd/ Build my Church, says the Lord

Annwyl Gyfeillion

Mae’n flwyddyn rhyfedd eleni, oherwydd mi allwch gael eich dal allan gan y calendr litwrgaidd. Heddiw yw’r cyntaf o Fawrth ond mi ddylwn wedi bod yn dathlu Diwrnod ein Nawdd Sant, sef Gŵyl Ddewi, ddoe. Pam? Oherwydd bod Dydd Mercher y Lludw, diwrnod o edifeirwch, ymprydio a gweddi,  yn cymryd blaenoriaeth.

Yn ein diwylliant cyfoes, yr ydym yn hoff iawn o ddathliadau, ond nad ydym yn dda iawn ar fod yn edifeiriol. Ond eto, mae edifeirwch yng nghalon Cristnogaeth; peidio cosbi ein hunain oherwydd nad ydym wastad yn gywir; ond parodrwydd i mesur ein bywydau yn erbyn Crist, ac ymrwymo i’r math o newid radical mi all ein cynorthwyo i fod yn fwy fel Crist yn ein bywydau.

A buasai Dewi ei hunain wedi bod yn eitha’ cyfforddus a’r agwedd hwn i Gristnogaeth. Rhoi’r gorau i yfed alcohol dros gyfnod Y Grawys?  Dim problem i Dewi Ddyfrwr.  Yn gweddïo’n astud trwy gyfnod Y Grawys? Mi oedd gweddïo ac ymprydio yng nghanol bywyd mynachaidd a llym yr oedd Dewi yn ei argymell.

Efallai nad yw’r ddau ddiwrnod – diwrnod o ympryd a diwrnod o wledda – mor wahanol i’w gilydd wedi’r cyfan, oherwydd mae’r ddau yn ein galw i adnewyddu ein disgybldod o ddifri.

It’s a funny old year this year, when the liturgical calendar can catch you unawares.  It’s 1st March, but we (ought to have) celebrated the Feast of St David yesterday.  Why?  Because Ash Wednesday, a day of repentance, fasting and prayer, takes precedence.

Modern culture likes celebrations, but we’re not always as good at penitence.  And yet, repentance is at the heart of Christianity: not a beating ourselves up, because we’ve got things wrong; but a readiness to measure our lives against Christ, and to commit to the sort of radical change that might help us to become more like Jesus in our lives.

And funny enough, that’s the sort of approach to Christianity that David himself would have been quite comfortable with.  Giving up alcohol for Lent?  David is the water drinker.  Taking up prayer for Lent?  Prayer with fasting was the rigorous centre of the monastic life that David recommended.

So perhaps the two days – a day of fast and a day of feast – aren’t so very different, for both call us to take the renewal of our discipleship seriously.

Lenten Disciplines

Just a reminder then of two disciplines that you could take up today and in the coming forty days:

March 1st (Ash Wednesday) 10am – 3pm  led by Tim Feak in Gladstone’s Library Chapel – a drop in day to reflect on the themes of Ash Wednesday. Feel free to come for as long or as short a time as you like.

Lent Prayer

Our 2017 Lent Prayer has been composed for us this year by the Developing Steering Group. I trust that you will encourage its use throughout Lent, whether it be in the intercessions and prayers in our worship, its daily recitation at the offices, or as near to 1800hr as possible every evening (which I will endeavour to do).  As I pray this prayer throughout Lent, I will be praying that each one of us as the Teulu Asaph will be strengthened and blessed in our discipleship and in our common life. Nearly 6,000 cards have been distributed, so that if the card is being used, most of the Teulu Asaph are sharing in this daily prayer.

Chrism Eucharist

I look forward very much to keeping this observance as usual with you all at 1100hr on Maundy Thursday, April 13th in the Cathedral with the celebration of the Eucharist for the Blessing of the Holy Oils together with our Renewal of Commitment to diaconal, priestly and episcopal service as well as the commitment of all the baptized to mission.

This service has become a genuinely diocesan event, and I stress again that all licensed and commissioned lay ministers and members of our congregations are very welcome to this occasion in addition to all clergy, serving and retired.  Clergy are requested to robe in alb or surplice with white stole in the Lady Chapel and then take your seat in the nave by 1050hr.  Readers are also welcome to robe in surplice and scarf.

Lunch will follow as usual, and will be served in the South Transept.  It will be a hot main course followed by pudding.  All are very welcome to stay for this, however we do need to have an accurate estimate to give to the caterers.  Mission area leaders are asked to collate the numbers of those requiring food from their area.  Please would all clergy liaise with their MAL indicating the number of people from their churches who will be staying for lunch.  Mission Area Leaders are asked to submit their numbers to Siân at Esgobty no later than Friday, 7th April.

Hwyl a Helo

I am pleased to inform you that I am intending, under God, to ordain five candidates to the diaconate at St John’s-tide.  Rocky Bateman will serve as an assistant curate in Holywell / Estuary & Mountain Mission Area, Ann Chidgey will serve as non stipendiary assistant curate in the Kerry Group of churches / Cedewain Mission Area, Alexis Smith will serve as Pioneer Priest in Pool Mission Area, Rebecca Sparey-Taylor will serve as assistant curate in Wrexham Mission Area, and Jeanette Wilkes will serve as assistant curate in Pool Mission Area.  Please hold these candidates in your prayers as they complete their pre-ordination training.

I am sorry to announce that Edward Yendall is leaving us to become Minister in Charge of Boyle in the Diocese of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh, and will be leaving Glyn Ceiriog at end of April.  Edward has been a faithful and dedicated priest in this diocese, who has won the affection and loyalty of his parishioners wherever he has served.  While we are sad to see him go, this is a great opportunity for Edward to try a new experience of ministry.

Deb Swann will also be finishing her service in the stipendiary ministry with us as she steps back from public ministry for a spell.  Deb is another of those priests who is much loved for the dedication of her ministry, but family demands mean that Deb wishes to find priority time for these and other matters for the present.

Llandaff Episcopal Election

You will have heard that since no candidate at the Electoral College achieved the required two thirds majority, the nomination of the new Bishop of Llandaff now falls to the Bench of Bishops.  The bishops have promised to consult widely before they move to a nomination, and you are invited to send (brief) emails to me indicating any wisdom you have to offer to us before the end of next week (10th March).  Please hold the bishops and the diocese in your prayers, as we undertake this important act of discernment.

Dates for your diary

The diary includes all those dates which are part of our common professional life, giving as much notice as possible.  Please note them assiduously, especially those where your participation is expected.


1st March                     (Ash Wednesday) Archdeaconry Quiet Day, Gladstone’s Library, Hawarden.

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

12th March                  Pool Mission Area Commissioning Service, 1100hr, St Aelhaiarn’s, Guilsfield.

27th March                  Installation of Manon Ceridwen James as Honorary Canon at Choral Evensong in the Cathedral, 1800hr

3rd April                        Licensing of Phil Bettinson, St David’s, Rhosllanerchrugog, 1900hr.

13th April                      Chrism Eucharist, Cathedral, 1100hr.

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


14th May                       Episcopal Visitation to Caereinion, Tanat Valley and Vyrnwy Mission Areas, 1530hr, St Ffraid’s, Llansantffraid yn Mechain.

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

24th May                      Valle Crucis Mission Area Commissioning Service, 1900hr.

25th May                      Wrexham Archdeaconry Confirmation, St Giles’, Wrexham, 1900hr

11th June                     Episcopal Visitation to Denbigh & Dyffryn Clwyd Mission Areas, 1530hr, Holy Trinity, Trefnant.

18th June                     Episcopal Visitation to Elwy Mission Area, St Asaph Parish Church, 1400hr.

20th June                     Penedeyrn Mission Area Commissioning Service, 1900hr.

24th June                      St Johnstide Ordination at the Cathedral, 1000hr.

2nd July                         Episcopal Visitation to Borderlands and Mold Mission Areas, St Matthew’s Church, Buckley, 1500hr.

16th July                        Episcopal Visitation to Offa and Maelor Mission Areas, 1530hr, St Mary’s, Ruabon.

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, St Paul’s, Colwyn Bay.

17th September        Episcopal Visitation to Estuary & Mountain and Bryn y Môr Mission Areas, 1530hr, St May & St Peter’s, Bagillt.

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

3rd October                 St Asaph Archdeaconry Confirmation, St David’s, Penrhyn Bay, 1900hr.

7th October                 Diocesan Conference, St Joseph’s School, Wrexham

8th October                 Episcopal Visitation to Penedeyrn and Valle Crucis Mission Areas, 1530hr, St John the Evangelist, Llangar, Cynwyd.

9th October                 Episcopal Visitation to The Dean and Chapter, St Asaph Cathedral.  Admission of Members to the Order of St Asaph during Choral Evensong in the Cathedral, 1800hr.

15th October               Montgomery Archdeaconry Confirmation, 1530hr, Ss. Tysilio and Mary, Meifod.

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

19th November          Episcopal Visitation to Aberconwy Mission Area, 1530hr, All Saints’ Church, Deganwy.

13th December          Nicholastide Confirmation, Cathedral, 1830hr.


30th June                      Petertide Ordination at the Cathedral 1000hr

Notices and Queries


Anniversaries in Ministry

On Sunday, June 18th, I would like to invite those who will be celebrating a significant ordination anniversary during 2017 to join me for a special celebratory Eucharist at the Cathedral at 1100hr – anniversaries such as 25 years and the subsequent ‘0’ or ‘5’ anniversaries thereafter.  If you have a special anniversary this year that you would like to celebrate with us on June 18th then please contact Esgobty by May 31st.

Asylum Briefing

Please find for your information a briefing for clergy called to give evidence in support of asylum applications: ASYLUM BRIEFING

Bishop’s Visitation

I look forward very much to spending time in each mission area during coming months.  The Registrar has started his rolling programme of sending out the Citation and Articles of Inquiry.  We are not looking for lengthy paperwork, and only returns from the Mission Area Wardens and clergy are required, although MA Wardens are encouraged to consult with the MA Conference is developing their replies.  There is now a page on the website with information and paperwork for the Visitation.

In preparation for the Visitation the Archdeacons, with the assistance of the Mission Area Leaders, will be inspecting all parish registers in due course.

Easter Vigil Confirmation

Clergy have been circulated with the details of the Easter Confirmation service on Holy Saturday at the Cathedral.  Please make sure you submit the details of your candidates to Siân at Esgobty before Holy Week.  At the celebration last year, parishes and mission areas attending were invited to bring their Paschal Candles to the event for lighting and carrying forth as a symbol of our mission to carry the light of the Risen Christ into the world.  This worked well, and I intend to invite participating churches to do the same again this year.

20th Anniversary of the Ordination of Women

This proved to be a very successful occasion, and my thanks to all who worked hard to make it so, and to Bishop Rachel, who guided our worship so wonderfully. The collection given at the service has been equally divided and sent to a Women’s Aid group in each of the three archdeaconries.

The Order of St Asaph

A reminder that nominations are now being invited for the Order of St Asaph in 2017 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.

The Real Easter Egg

There are five types of Real Easter Egg available this year. The Original and Dark eggs come with a redesigned 24 page story book by the award winning children’s illustrator, Alida Massari, which will delight children and adults with its presentation of the Gospel story.   The Special Edition this year comes with an illustrated guide to Easter traditions. More information about these Fairtrade Eggs can be found at  Please do consider supporting this important Christian initiative.

The Sheldon Hub

The Sheldon Hub is a major new extension of the Society of Mary and Martha ministry at Sheldon. It goes live on 3rd March at The Hub is a unique resource. It combines a supportive online community, a live directory of people and places created and rated by you, and a growing bank of trustworthy resources for doing healthy ministry together.

May God bless you richly as we embark on Lent.  I continue to thank God for your support in ministry, and for all your hard work,

In Christ,

Bishop Gregory's signature 2015