Bishop’s Ad Clerum – July 2018

2il o Orffennaf 2018 July 2nd

Datgloi ein Potensial : Unlocking our Potential

Annwyl Gyfeillion

I have become increasingly heartened by the responses that I hear to the decision of the Diocesan Standing Committee to be bold in asking for us as a diocese to work towards 10% growth over the coming twelve months.  Some churches are telling me stories of how they have been seeing growth in their congregations, and how that brings the goal easily within achievability – some churches may even want to say that they’ve got there already!

In all, twenty of the twenty-one mission areas have said that they’ll adopt the goal, and we are seeing some creative responses to new ways of reaching out to our communities.  Even the mission area that has chosen a slightly different path has committed itself to growth in a way which feels appropriate and achievable for them.

It’s a simple goal, but I don’t want to take a simplistic attitude towards it.  There are different ways of assessing growth, and it may not just be about how many people come to the Sunday morning Eucharist.  Indeed, we’re interested in “being the Church” and not just “going to Church” if I may refer to that old distinction.  However, in the few years now since we committed ourselves to becoming a family of mission areas, we’ve always said that this means turning outwards to face the world, and to present an inviting picture of what it means to be followers of Jesus Christ.  The trick will be to find the way we can do real mission in our area, and be passionate about it.  What works in Aber-Morfa may look very different in Cedewain.  It may also be about recognising that it is not about asking people to come to us and like the things we like.  Is the invitation to follow Jesus about doing it in my way, or about meeting people where they are?

The Evangelism Group has produced a short piece for Mission Areas entitled Quick Wins for Mission Area Growth which is available to stimulate our thinking.:

Leading your Church into Growth

Together with the “A Hope and a Future” course, which can be commissioned in and for any Mission Area which wants it, one course which has been getting people excited is “Leading your Church into Growth”.  I joined the course for the last twenty-four hours this year, and I’ve booked to do the whole course next year.  Both clergy and lay people, from a variety of Church traditions, have now experienced this course, and come back to their churches quite invigorated with new vision and ideas.

It is vital for our growth priority that such enthusiasm is met with a generous welcome and a “can do” attitude by the Shared Ministry Team when people return, and it is interesting to see how some mission areas seem to have embraced the course, and others have held it at a distance.  Some Mission Areas have now sent 18 people on the course, including most of the Shared Ministry Team, over the last two years, others have only sent one so far.

Of course, it may just be that people don’t yet know what is on offer.  Could you please advertise the two following events:

LyCiG Taster Day

Saturday 3rd November: 10am – 3.30pm at The Pavilion, Llangollen

An opportunity for those unable to attend the full Leading your Church into Growth course to be inspired and hear some of the main teaching points.  Also useful for those who attended the course to be refreshed and re-energised for the continuing movement towards church growth.

St Asaph Diocesan LyCiG Course:

Friday 8th March 2019 – Sunday 10th March 2019: at The Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick, Nr Derby

For almost 25 years the Leading your Church into Growth team have been serving the local church across the UK.  Their vision is to encourage and equip churches to grow both numerically and spiritually.  Spend three days focusing on simple techniques anyone can use to grow their church.  The team is made up of people from a wide variety of church contexts and churchmanship who have grown churches.  LyCiG works best when a number of people from a church attend together so do try and bring some of your folks with you.

To book onto either (or both) of these events please email Sian Charlesworth.

Hwyl a Helo

It is positive news to be able to announce that Phil Carey, Assistant Curate in the Offa Mission Area, is moving to become an Associate Priest in Valle Crucis Mission Area.  I am also pleased to announce a change in role for Alexis Smith, who will cease to be a Pioneer Priest and will become a Priest-in-Charge in the Shared Ministry Team in Pool Mission Area.  These priests, both well-established and newcomer to the Teulu Asaph, have already made their mark in ministry, and will have considerable chance to build up worship and mission in the mission areas in which they serve.

I’d like to give here a reminder of the Farewell Service for Archdeacon Bob and Jane Griffiths at St Giles’ Church, Wrexham, at 1600hr on Sunday, July 15th.  I hope that all who can make it will come to support and give thanks for Bob and Jane’s outstanding contribution to the life of the Teulu Asaph.

Clergy Synod in September

A reminder also that our next clergy synod will take place on Thursday, September 27th, at St David’s Hotel, Ewloe, between 0930hr and 1530hr.  Sr Gemma Simmonds CJ will be guiding our thinking on the way we look after ourselves as clergy.

As usual any questions for the plenary session are most welcome and can be offered in advance of the Synod to Andrea Jones who now co-ordinates the synod planning group.  Andrea can be contacted at by email.

Please let Siân in Esgobty know of any dietary requirements you may have for the day and any requests for absence should be directed to me at the earliest opportunity. The clergy synods are a professional commitment for all stipendiary clergy, and NSM clergy are encouraged to attend if they are available

Other Dates for your diary


 1 July            Borderlands MA Confirmation, St Ethelwold’s Church, Shotton, 1500hr.

5 July             Alyn MA Confirmation, Holy Trinity Gwersyllt, 1900hr

15 July           Diocesan Farewell Service for Archdeacon Bob, St Giles’ Church, Wrexham, 1600hr.

Later in the year

23 September  Diocesan Farewell Service for Archdeacon Peter, St Mary’s Church, Welshpool, 1600hr.

26/28/29 Sept. Ember Days*

27 September   Clergy Synod at St David’s Hotel, Ewloe. Speaker: Sr Gemma Simmonds CJ.

29 September   LLM Annual Convention

1 October        Admissions to the Order of St Asaph during Evensong, Cathedral, 1800hr

7 October        The Collation and Installation of Archdeacons: Andy Grimwood as Archdeacon of St Asaph, Barry Wilson as Archdeacon of Montgomery and John Lomas as Archdeacon of Wrexham, during Choral Evensong in the Cathedral, 1530hr.

13 October        Diocesan Conference

12 December    Nicholastide Confirmation, Cathedral, 1830hr

19/21/22 Dec.    Ember Days*


31 January         Clergy Synod

18 April               Chrism Eucharist

29 June              Petertide Ordination

26 September    Clergy Synod

*Please make specific use of the prayer leaflet prepared by the Director of Ministry, and remember our postulants and ordinands, by name if possible, in your prayers, not only on the Ember Days themselves, but in the intercessions in Church the following Sunday.

Guide to Hearing in Church

We are grateful to the Canon Carol Farrer and the Engaging Steering Group for reminding us of the important need to ensure that the sound systems in our churches are used correctly to ensure that they fully meet the needs of our worshippers and especially those who have hearing loss. Please make sure that this document produced by Carol is shared widely in your churches: Guidance-for-hearing-in-Church-June-2018

Petertide Ordination

A warm thank you to all those who came to share a joyous and sunny day in the cathedral on Saturday as we welcomed new priests and deacons to the Teulu Asaph.  Do continue to remember them in prayer.  It was a great service, and I’m deeply grateful to so many who worked so hard to make the service a high point in the life of the diocese.  There is much to celebrate in our common life, and the passion for Jesus Christ, and the life of discipleship among our ordinands has been a particular encouragement.

I wish you well as we approach the holiday season, and thank you for all your ministry.  I pray for God’s blessing as we step out in faith, whether we are at the very beginning, end or in the midst of the journey of faith and ministry to which God has called us.

Warm regards,