Bishop’s Ad Clerum – September 2017

31af Awst 2017 August 31st

Saint Aidan Sant

Adeiladwch fy Eglwys, medd yr Arglwydd

Build my Church, says the Lord.

Annwyl Gyfeillion,

I sometimes wonder what the saints were really like as people.  Aidan is a good example.  We have a laudable set of traditions about him, but almost so much so that we don’t see the ordinary humanity of the man.  Someone once wrote that “the past is a foreign country”, and the Christianity that Aidan espoused and preached might not make him a very comfortable person to have around in the twenty-first century.

I think that the defining characteristic of a saint is, in the end however, their redemption: that God has been at work in them, that though they may have been frustrating or impossible to live with, yet also people would have glimpsed moments when they were touched by God and transformed by that.  It gives me hope that there may be moments of transformation in my own discipleship as well, in our lives together as a family of disciples, in the life of the Church in Wales.  We are sometimes all too human an institution, with agendas and fears and even bad behaviour, but when we kneel at the altar or in our prayers, we give God the chance to redeem us.

Hwyl a Helo

Robbie Dennis has accepted a chaplaincy in the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe, and moves to Pau in the south of France at the end of October.  We have enjoyed having Robbie and Diane in our midst for the last few years, and they’ve enriched our lives, so we wish them both well and every blessing for the future.

Stan Walker will be also taking retirement at the end of October.  Stan has a straightforward manner, but a heart of love for ministry and for the people to whom he relates.  We wish him well as he moves to a new chapter of life, living still in Rhyl.

Congratulations in advance to Emma Rees and Nick Kenny on their forthcoming wedding in Llansanffraid on 8th September.  There must be something in the air in Vyrnwy, since this is the second time an incoming priest has found romance in their new parish in St Asaph in that part of the world.  I’m sure I speak for us all when I say that we are delighted, and wish them every happiness.

There is also news of another kind: Dot Gosling has had the good news that she has become a grandmother for the first time, with the birth of Sarah Lesley Wilcock to Katie (Dot’s daughter) and husband Chris in mid-August, and Ginny Burton has a new grandson, Harri Edward Thomas, born on 1 August to Ginny’s son and daughter-in-law, who live in Cardiff.  We wish the grannies and their families very blessing.


I am pleased to announce that two of our deacons are to be ordained priest in the next few months.  At the end of this month I will be ordaining Peter Nissen, Assistant Curate in the Alyn Mission Area, and in November, I will be ordaining Alexis Smith, Pioneer Priest in the Pool Mission Area, to the sacred order of Priests.  As with all ordinations, all of our clergy are warmly invited and encouraged to attend, robe and process in support of their fellow clergy (alb or surplice and white stole) at an important juncture in their ministry.  Details of their ordinations are included in the diary below (29th September for Peter, and 26th November for Alexis), and I am sure that you will hold both Peter and Alexis in your prayers as they approach this next step in answering God’s vocation in their ministry.

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.


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 a Môr Mission Areas, 1600hr, St Mary & St Peter’s, Bagillt.

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

29 September           Ordination of Peter Nissen to the priesthood, All Saints’, Gresford, 1900hr.


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

7th October                 Diocesan Conference, St Joseph’s School, Wrexham.  (including British Sign Language interpretation)

8th October                 Episcopal Visitation to the emerging Penedeyrn Mission Area and the Valle Crucis Mission Area, 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 November            MAL Consultation at Foxhill Retreat Centre, Frodsham.

16th November         Retired Clergy Association Eucharist in Cathedral at 1130hr followed by lunch and speaker 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.


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

Notices and Queries 

Archiepiscopal Electoral College

Please hold the forty-two archiepiscopal electors in your prayers as they gather next week in Holy Trinity Church, Llandrindod Wells, from Tuesday, 5th September, to elect a new Archbishop of Wales.

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.

Holocaust Memorial Day

An early notice to remind you of Holocaust Memorial Day which is observed on or near 27th January each year.  The Holocaust Memorial Trust are putting together resources on the theme of “The Power of Words”.  Their website can be accessed at

World Week of Peace in Palestine and Israel, 17 – 24 September

World Council of Churches invites us to observe the World Week of Peace in Palestine and Israel, between 17 – 24 September inclusive. Christians around the globe are called to unite in peaceful actions to create a common international public witness. During the same week, on Thursday, 21 September, the International Day of Prayer for Peace will be held. The World Week of Peace is yet another opportunity to remind the world about the unsolved conflict in Palestine and Israel and to show solidarity with peace seeking people suffering under occupation.  More information can be found on the WCC website.

I do hope that you’ve been able to have a well-earned break at some stage during the summer and I look forward to seeing you at the Clergy School in Oxford later in the month.

In Christ,