2il o Hydref 2017 October 2nd
Gwnewch y Pethau Bychain
Do the Little Things
Most of you will recognise that the quotation above has been chosen as the theme for this year’s Diocesan Conference.
It is sound advice from the patron saint of Wales. My grandmother, who was full of wise sayings, used to say: “Take care of the pennies, and the pounds will look after themselves.” The same holds good, I believe, in our spiritual lives. If we will cultivate the small habits which bring us across the path of God on a daily basis – a moment of prayer, offering the day to God in the morning – more than just the office, but making sure that we actually touch base with God –and offering back the day to God in the evening, perhaps using the Examen to sense what God has been at work, then such spiritual habits will bring us into line with God, and allow us to walk humbly with him. In fact, I would go so far as to say that God is more reliably known in the small things – giving space to allow the Spirit to lay the foundations for large things in the future.
The feedback coming to me was that the Clergy Conference in Oxford last week was a great success, and I’m sure that I speak on behalf of us all in offering our guest speakers profound thanks, and express a debt of gratitude to the organizing committee under the leadership of Archdeacon Bob, all of whom did a great job. All the speakers were good but the bible studies by David Runcorn seem to have been especially appreciated, and I am grateful to Karen Maurice, as Communication Officer, for making much of the material available on the web.
As there was a Clergy Conference this year, there was only one Clergy Synod, which took place at the beginning of the year. Next year, we will revert to the familiar pattern of two Clergy synods, at which attendance of all clergy holding my licence is expected.
The dates for next year will be Thursday 25th January, and Thursday 27th September. Please ensure that these are safely lodged in your diary, and contact me as soon as possible if you spot a clash as you enter the dates. There still are a few surprisingly late requests for absence made in the week running up to these events as if the clash had not been noticed before.
Admission to Communion
A few clergy have pointed out to me that in Gavin Drake’s normally excellent coverage of Governing Body for the Church Times, the report on the motion from St Davids on Admission to Communion suggested that the introduction of the new practice that all the baptised may receive Communion has been postponed. This is not the case, the Pastoral Letter of the bishops last year mandated for an introduction period between Advent Sunday 2016 and Advent Sunday 2017.
Apparently, clergy in the diocese of St Davids have expressed concerns about the practical implications of the new practice, and have asked whether the bishops would extend – not postpone – the period of introduction, and allow a discussion to take place at Governing Body. The bishops will consider the request to extend the period of introduction at their Bench meeting later this month, and indicated that they would be happy to have a discussion at Governing Body at a future date, the form of which the Standing Committee will have determined in due course.
In the meantime, please proceed with the arrangements you have put in place. Here in St Asaph, the new practice seems to have been warmly received, and is showing benefits, although I am not fully aware of how widely it has been adopted as yet.
Hwyl a Helo
I am sorry to announce that, owing to family needs, Ginny Burton has indicated to me that she will resign from her House for Duty role in Glan Conwy at the end of November. Ginny has given faithful service in the parishes of the north of the diocese for some years now, and we wish her well.
We send our congratulations to Nick and Jane James on the birth of a granddaughter, Vesper Evelyn.
A number of clergy at Oxford expressed how pressurised ministry can feel these days, and their welcome for pastoral support. I would like to draw people’s attention again to the guidance given on pastoral support which is set out in the clergy section of the diocesan website. (“What’s that?”, I hear a few ask again …). The bishop and archdeacons review the well-being of all the clergy every month, but even so, we are not always aware of clergy being under pressure, or sometimes fail in the care we offer.
I believe that it is part of the duty we owe to ourselves to ensure that circles of pastoral support are available to us, and that any cleric who may seek pastoral support can approach any of the Bishop’s Staff team at any point. If you happen to feel that we’ve not been in contact with you, then don’t hold back, and make contact with us. I also remind you that there are a number of clergy (retired and serving) who are designated as Pastoral Chaplains, and listed as such in the directory under my entry, who can be freely and confidentially approached.
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 visitations are a professional commitment for all serving clergy, and you will receive a citation to attend at an appropriate interval before the date.
15th October Montgomery Archdeaconry Confirmation, 1530hr, Ss. Tysilio and Mary, Meifod.
LATER IN THE YEAR
7th November MAL Consultation at Foxhill Retreat Centre, Frodsham.
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.
13th December Nicholastide Confirmation, Cathedral, 1830hr.
25th January Clergy Synod at St David’s Hotel, Ewloe
30th June Petertide Ordination at the Cathedral 1000hr (including British Sign Language interpretation)
27th September Clergy Synod at St David’s Hotel, Ewloe
Notices and Queries
Clergy children going to college or university
It is my practice to make a small gift to all those children of clergy beginning at university. Please draw my attention to any children qualifying this year, and I will write to them accordingly.
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.
Manon Ceridwen James, as Director of Ministry, has produced an Ember-Days-prayer-leaflet 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. This leaflet is commended for use on the four sets of Ember days that we have every year. Please retain a copy, and use during the Ember periods, as well as duplicating it, and sharing it with your congregation. The leaflet will be updated annually.
North Wales Theological Society
I am pleased to see a long overdue initiative coming to fruition, and the revival of a theological society for those interested – as we should all be – in developing our theological understanding. Forthcoming lectures for the North Wales Theological Society are details on this Programme / Rhaglen-2017-18.
Open Doors is a ministry that has served Christians persecuted for their belief in Christ since 1955 and was founded by Brother Andrew, a Dutch missionary who began his ministry by smuggling Bibles behind the Iron Curtain. Today Open Doors provides spiritual and material support to persecuted Christians in over 60 countries.
Open Doors is currently running the Hope for the Middle East campaign. It is a seven year campaign uniting the global church to ensure every person in the Middle East, no matter what their faith, has a home, a future and a voice. As part of the campaign Open Doors is collecting signatures calling for equality, dignity and a role for religious minorities in re-building and reconciliation in Iraq and Syria. Please consider signing the petition on Open Doors’ website: http://advocacy.oduk.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=77&ea.campaign.id=54115&ea.tracking.id=Web
Your church can also take part in the wider work Open Doors in the Middle East, by ordering the ‘Rebuilding Hope pack’ which helps churches pray and speak out for Christians in the Middle East and provides a template for churches to stand in solidarity with them through organising a special service. You can order a pack on the Open Doors UK website: http://www.opendoorsuk.org/resources/rebuild-hope.php
A warm thank you once again for your ministry and work on behalf of the family and in the name of Christ, as well as your fellowship and collegiality with me as I seek to be worthy in my ministry as your bishop. I had a strong sense of what a good lot we were at Oxford, and I give thanks for you all, and pray for God’s blessing on all that you undertake.