Bishop’s Ad Clerum – November 2017

Tachwedd y 6ed 2017 November 6th

Illtud, Abad

Gwnewch y Pethau Bychain

Do the Little Things

Annwyl Gyfeillion,

I don’t know whether you’re a fan of historical drama, and have been watching the seasonable Gunpowder on BBC1.  I think what struck us all is the sheer ferocity of the period.  The torturing, the horror, the mutual violence, is all there in the history books, but so often we can scuttle away from it.  At the same time, this last week has seen the commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, and we might be tempted to bridle at its legacy if it is as represented in Gunpowder.  How is it that, in defending those things which are precious, humanity can so easily descend into barbarity?

Let’s not be too hasty in writing off the men and women of the past, however.  In the first place, they were people of their time and context – it is hard to achieve transcendence above the values in which you’re brought up.  But secondly, how easily might we descend to violence if our core way of life and values were put under threat?  “There but for the grace of God go I!”

I am struck by how we must be vigilant that our highest ideals don’t get perverted by our basest instincts.  The impulse that drove the Reformation was a determination to emphasise the priority of God’s Grace, and our need to depend upon it.  If the message of the Reformation period should teach us anything, it should be to drive us back to a waiting upon God’s grace in every aspect of life – to learn lessons from both the good and the bad of the sixteenth century, with different lessons which are both encouragement and warning.

I was delighted to be at a service held in St David’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Cardiff for the actual anniversary.  The Catholic Community of Wales welcomed us to a carefully articulated Service of the Word, and a lunch and lecture organized by Cytun, which balanced the occasion graciously.  If we can inherit what was best, and learn to love our fellow Christians from different traditions, and to seek full Communion, then we shall have come a long way.

Advent Pastoral Message

As usual, I will be issuing an Advent Pastoral Message, which is to be distributed or presented in all Churches on Advent Sunday.  The message will be available as an English video presentation, an English or a Welsh audio presentation, and in writing in English and Welsh.  The Advent Message should be ready for distribution, in the usual formats, by 23 November.  It will be uploaded to the website at

Confirmations in 2018

There will be three diocesan confirmation services in the Cathedral next year: the Easter Vigil, the Feast of Pentecost and Nicholastide.  In particular, the Pentecost Service will be held on the Sunday afternoon, specifically to allow those from further away, who would nevertheless like to offer their candidates a service in the mother Church of the diocese, the opportunity to come to the Cathedral.  The details of these services are listed in the diary below.

However, I am also happy to visit each Mission Area for a local Confirmation, where numbers make that appropriate.  In order to plan the diary for 2018 I should be grateful if Mission Area Leaders could please be in touch with my office indicating the requirements of their mission areas for confirmation.  It would be good if you could provide two or three possible dates and proposed venues in order of priority for us to work with in the planning.  Could all requests be in to Esgobty no later than Friday, November 10th?

Guidelines for Reception of Holy Communion, including Gluten-Free Communicants and Intinction

The Bishops are aware that there is much variety in practice in the distribution of Holy Communion in our churches and also of the differing levels of confidence of those coming forward to receive communion.  The Bench of Bishops have offered Guidelines-for-the-Church-in-Wales-for-Holy-Communion-plus-Gluten-free_October-2017 to encourage best practice in the Church in Wales by those who administer Holy Communion, and to act as a helpful teaching aid in guiding those who come to receive the Holy Sacrament.

Included in the document is essential information for the safe inclusion of those who suffer with gluten intolerance.

The bishops are also united in their desire to end the practice of members of the congregation self-intincting.  Please note the guidance carefully on this point, as well as taking seriously the guidance on gluten intolerance.

Employment and voluntary Appointments taken on by Licensed Clerics

Please may I draw to your attention the requirement binding on all licensed clerics to consult me concerning their acceptance of any post whether voluntary or remunerated that is not covered by their existing licence:

‘A Cleric who is in receipt of a stipend must not accept employment or any other appointment whether voluntary or not without the permission of the Bishop.

A cleric who is not in receipt of a stipend must give prior notification to the Bishop of his or her intention to accept employment or other appointment whether voluntary or not. It is for the Bishop to determine whether the proposed employment or other appointment is compatible with the clerical office held.’   (Statement of Clergy Terms of Service, para 21)

Hwyl a Helo

Stephen Lowe has resigned as an Honorary Assistant Bishop and Pastoral Chaplain.  In both capacities, Stephen has given sterling service to the diocese, and we are deeply grateful for all that he has positively achieved for the diocese and the clergy in the various tasks that he has undertaken while holding those positions.

I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of James Aylward in the last month.  James had been diagnosed with cancer fairly recently, and appeared to be doing well, so his death came as a shock.  Our thoughts and prayers go to Anna and the family.  His funeral will be held in St Giles’ Church, Wrexham, on Friday, 10th November at 1030hr.  If clergy wish to robe, the family have requested cassock, surplice and purple stole, as James’s purple stole will be placed on his coffin. It would also be helpful to know numbers – if clergy can let Ann Owen know on

I also extend the diocese’s condolences to Trish Owens, on the death of her mother, Catherine Mary Knox, and to Toni Bennett, whose father, Maynard Bennett, died over the weekend.

We send our congratulations to Edward Yendall on his recent appointment as a canon of Sligo Cathedral, following his move from Glyn Ceiriog to the Church of Ireland in the summer.

Dates for your diary

The diary includes all those dates which are part of our common professional life, giving as much notice as possible. The clergy synods are a professional commitment for all serving clergy, and stipendiary clergy are expected unless leave of absence has been given.


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

10th November         Funeral of James Aylward, St Giles’ Church, Wrexham, 1045hr

16th November         Retired Clergy Association Eucharist in Cathedral at 1130hr followed by lunch and speaker (Bishop Jack Nicholls) at the Oriel House Hotel.

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

26th November         Ordination of Alexis Smith to the Priesthood, St Tyssil’s Church, Llandyssil, 1430hr.


13/15/16 Dec.           Ember Days*

13th December          Nicholastide Confirmation, Cathedral, 1830hr.


 25 January                Clergy Synod at St David’s Hotel, Ewloe

21/23/24 Feb              Ember Days*

31 March                    Easter Vigil and Confirmation, Cathedral, 1900hr

20 May                       Whit Sunday Confirmation, Cathedral, 1500hr

27/30 June                 Ember Days*

30th June                    Petertide Ordination at the Cathedral 1000hr (including British Sign Language interpretation)

23/28 Sept.                Ember Days*

27th September        Clergy Synod at St David’s Hotel, Ewloe

12 December             Nicholastide Confirmation, Cathedral, 1830hr

*Ember Days: PLEASE REMEMBER to use the Embertide Prayer Resource, previously circulated, which reminds us of our common obligation to pray for vocations, and for those in discernment or formation or training for licensed ministry, lay and ordained.

Notes and Queries 

Enthronement of the Archbishop of Wales

The new Archbishop of Wales will be enthroned next month. The Bishop of Swansea and Brecon, John Davies, was elected as the 13th Archbishop of Wales in September and his enthronement will take place at a national service in Brecon Cathedral on December 2.  The enthronement service, which begins at 2pm, will be led by the Dean of Brecon, Dr Paul Shackerley. Archbishop John will give the address.  The occasion is important, not only for the Church in Wales itself, and because of this, a cross-section of people, from across the churches and wider Welsh society will be formally invited. Although seating in the Cathedral is limited, a number of extra tickets is being made available on application, so that as many people as possible who would like to attend will have the opportunity to do so.

Applications for those extra tickets should be made either by post or e-mail by Friday, 17 November to either: ‘Enthronement’, The Diocesan Office, The Cathedral Close, Brecon, LD3 9DP or Applications for tickets must include name(s), postal address and any relevant information about your connection to either the Church or the Archbishop personally.  All those attending will be invited to refreshments after the service in a marquee in the Cathedral grounds. For more information about the Archbishop’s election see

Concise Almanac

We are grateful as ever to Martin Snellgrove for preparing a Concise Almanac-Year-B for the coming liturgical year.

Pennant Melangell –urgent action required

There is an urgent need for you to know about a Planning Application for a permanent Clay Pigeon Shooting site close to Saint Melangell Shrine Church, which threatens the peace of the valley.

The link for the application for the simulated clay pigeon shoot is :   (then go to View submitted plans and documents, the actual application is on page 2.)

The objections so far posted make interesting reading. The deadline for responses is 10th November however the planning office do prefer them in sooner rather than later.

Individual letters are the most important and as many as possible, so you may wish to consider writing in support of the tranquility of the shrine.

The noise is the main impact it will have around the valley, the guns are bigger for clay pigeon shooting so will be a louder bang and because of the elevated location will echo around the valley. This would ruin the peace and tranquility for which people come to the valley.  The church and centre are part of the Quiet Garden Movement and host quiet days, which may become not quite as quiet, not least because at present there appears to be no limit on when shoots will be allowed.

This could be detrimental to local business over spring, summer and autumn seasons, when there are walkers around the valleys and numerous to the church, including the pilgrims, plus caravan sites in the village. There are also concerns over the wildlife in the area (& SSI land nearby), there are bats at one house which hibernate in the winter and will have an impact on them, plus any birds nesting in the spring.  If you need more details you can contact Arthur Tyerman on 01691 780094

Real Advent Calendar 2017 by The Meaningful Chocolate Company

The Real Advent Calendar is the only charity advent calendar with a free Christmas storybook. It will help everyone enjoy and share the Christmas story.  Each calendar comes with a free 28 page Christmas story-activity booklet designed to be used each day in Advent. Behind each of the 24 windows, there is a Fairtrade Belgian chocolate (different character for each day) made from a new and improved blend.  The Calendar is available now for only £3.99 from a number of suppliers.

Retired Clergy Association

As noted in the diary, the St Asaph Retired Clergy Association is meeting on Thursday 16 November at 11.30am at the Cathedral, with lunch to follow at the Oriel Hotel, St Asaph.  Canon Quentin Bellamy (the coordinator) has sent out invitations to those on his list, but is always on the lookout for any who may not have received an invitation.  If you know of anyone who has not been invited please would you kindly contact him (urgently) on 01492 478659 or via email   The invitation is open to retired clergy and clergy widow(er)s.

I offer you my thanks for your continuing hard work, and promise you that you are held in my prayers, for God’s blessing on your endeavours in service, ministry and mission.  In particular, may God sustain you as you lay plans for the celebration of Advent and Christmas, that it might be a time of outreach, when the Good News of God in Christ may be clearly heard and received.

In Christ,