Bishop’s Ad Clerum – May 2018

1af o Fai 2018 May 1st

Philip ac Iago, Apostolion : SS. Philip & James, Apostles

Datgloi ein Potensial : Unlocking our Potential

Annwyl Gyfeillion

The apostles SS Philip and James became accidentally linked for their commemoration, simply because their relics were brought to Rome and enshrined in the same Church around this date in the sixth century.  The Pope had persuaded the Emperor Justinian to let him bring the relics to Rome from Palestine, and we’ve been keeping their feast together ever since.

It reminds us perhaps that we don’t get to choose who our colleagues are in the Gospel.  One of the consequences of “Unlocking our Potential” is that we are called to work in shared ministry teams, something which is quite difficult, because it means accommodating the preferences and priorities of others.  This can be particularly galling when we know we have the ability just to get on and be successful in ministry without the aid of others.  However, I’m a firm believer in the principle 1+1=3, by which I mean that working in teams can bring many benefits, the sum of which exceed the numbers of the team.  We can spark each other off, with creative ideas bouncing back and forth and developing; we can find support and wisdom when times are difficult and we can share responsibility, which should allow each to concentrate on our gifting and the things about we’re passionate in ministry, while allowing our ministries to be balanced by those of our colleagues.  We can invite others to join the circle of leading mission in the locality, so that potential can be unlocked, and new things begun.

I’ve always felt blessed by the team of ordained and lay ministers with which God has thrown me together in St Asaph, and although sometimes those relationships can be easy, and at other times there are differences to be resolved, the attitude must be, I think, that God has brought us together, and that there are things to be learned by acknowledging one another, learning together, and co-operating.

When our Lord sent out the disciples in mission (Luke 10), he sent them in pairs, and, for all we know, those pairs may have thrown up a few surprises for the people who were sent together.  The Book of Acts has the apostles working in teams, by and large, and sometimes quite human in their follies and their tensions.  However, there is also power and divine wisdom in the way that the apostolic mission is not left to lonely workers in the field.

Let us look upon our colleagues as the surprise gifts that God has chosen to go with us, and find out how we can work together to grow God’s Kingdom under the guidance of the Spirit.


At its recent meeting in Llandudno, the Governing Body of the Church in Wales passed an emergency motion urging UK Government to prioritize diplomacy in the efforts to resolve conflict in Syria. The Governing Body condemned the use of chemical weapons and acknowledged the complexity of the situation. Please hold Syria in your prayers that peace and justice may prevail in that land and throughout the Middle East.  I commend this prayer for use in your worship and in your personal devotions:

Almighty God, you sustain the world and raised your son Jesus from the grip of death. 

We hold before you the suffering and conflict of the Syrian people. 

You know the vested interests of men and women 

and hear the cry of the hungry, injured and despairing. 

In your love for the world, protect the innocent and strengthen those who are peacemaking. 

Bring down what is tyrannous, uphold the just

and may your kingdom of mercy and peace come soon;
In the name of Christ, Saviour and Lord. Amen.

Encil yn y Gymraeg / Welsh-language Retreat

20 – 22 Mehefin Canolfan Nant Gwrtheyrn

Dan arweiniad Canon Aled Edwards, Cytûn

Yn dilyn cynhadledd y llynedd ar weinidogaeth yn y Gymraeg – I’r Dyfroedd Byw – mae Grwp Iaith Taleithiol yr Eglwys yng Nghymru yn cynnal cyfle eciwmenaidd i Gristnogion i fynd ar encil dan arweiniad Canon Aled Edwards, Prif Weithredwr Cytûn, trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg.

Ceir dau ddiwrnod o addoli, annerchiadau, distawrwydd, gorffwys ac ymlacio, gyda chyfle i brofi lleoliad gwych Canolfan Nant Gwrtheyrn (ger Llithfaen, Gwynedd, LL53 6NL).  Mae’r gost o £170 yn cynnwys llety cyfforddus a bwyd am y 2 ddiwrnod.

Os hoffech chi fynychu, dylai fod yn bosib cael grant i gyfrannu tuag at rai o’r costau, felly rhowch eich enw i lawr! I sicrhau’ch lle, cysylltwch â Susan Thomas dros y ffôn (01248 362895) neu ebost erbyn 26 Chwefror 2018, os gwelwch yn dda.

 This is information about a Welsh-language ecumenical retreat, from 20-22 June, which is being held at the Nant Gwrtheyrn Centre and is being led by Canon Aled Edwards.

Hwyl a Helo

I am delighted to welcome Heather Shotton among those to be ordained deacon on June 30th, God willing,  to serve as Assistant Curate in Wrexham Mission Area, and rooted at St Giles’ Church.  Heather has offered ministry for some while in St Asaph, and it is good to welcome her to this new ministry as her vocation unfurls.

I am pleased to announce that Gwenda Cooper is to become a part time priest-in-charge in Aled Mission Area from May 20th and that Juliet Fraser is to move from Aber-Morfa to be Assistant Curate in Aberconwy Mission Area from July 10th.

Sadly we will be saying goodbye to Emma Rees-Kenny, who has not long been with us, but now leaves to return to the Diocese of Llandaff, although having acquired a husband and son to take with her.  We wish Emma all the very best for the future.

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.  Please note the next Clergy Synod is on 27th September, when Sr Gemma Simmonds CJ will be guiding our thinking om the way we look after ourselves as clergy.


1 May                          Montgomery Archdeaconry retired clergy gathering, The Royal Oak Hotel, Welshpool, 1500hr

3 May                         Confirmation for Maelor MA, Ss. Deiniol & Marcella, Marchwiel, 1900hr.

10 May                       ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ Prayer initiative begins.

20 May                       Pentecost Confirmation, Cathedral, 1500hr

Later in the year

24 June                       Eucharist to Celebrate Ordination Anniversaries, Cathedral, 1100hr.

Wrexham MA Confirmation, St Giles’ Church, Wrexham, 1500hr.

27/29/30 June            Ember Days*

30 June                      Petertide Ordination at the Cathedral 1000hr (including British Sign Language interpretation) Preacher: The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Lord Williams of Oystermouth

1 July                        Mold and Borderlands MAs Confirmation, St Peter’s Church, Northop, 1500hr.

5 July                         Alyn MA Confirmation, 1900hr

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

13 October                Diocesan Conference

12 December             Nicholastide Confirmation, Cathedral, 1830hr

19/21/22 Dec.              Ember Days*

*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.

Pastoral Chaplains

May I remind clerics, both serving and retired, that I have a small college of pastoral chaplains who are available to support the clergy should circumstances so require.  The current pastoral chaplains are:

  • Revd Mary Brotherston
  • Revd Noel Carter
  • Revd Linda Mary Edwards
  • Revd David Lewis
  • Venerable Chris Potter
  • Venerable John Thelwell
  • Canon Dr Peter Wykes

These colleagues have made themselves available to lend confidential support, a ministry for which I am extremely grateful.  There may also be occasions when you might wish to liaise with them to see if they would be willing to lend support in sensitive pastoral situations which concern those to whom you are ministering, as I will occasionally ask them to come alongside those for whom I wish to provide extra pastoral support. Their contact details can be obtained by telephoning Esgobty.

Notes and Queries 

Ordination Anniversaries Eucharist

I would like to invite those who are celebrating a significant ordination anniversary during 2018 to join me for a special celebratory Eucharist at the Cathedral at 1100hr on Sunday, June 24th.  If you have a special anniversary this year, such as 25 years or the subsequent ‘0’ or ‘5’ anniversaries thereafter, that you would like to celebrate with us on June 24th, then please contact Esgobty by May 31st.

Diocesan Prayer Leaflet

I am grateful to Neil Kelly, who has taken over the production of this leaflet from Ian Day.  The leaflet contains suggestions for prayer each day based around one of our Mission Areas, my own diary and ministry and the prayer cycle of the Anglican Communion.  Anyone who wishes to receive a copy, which is circulated by email shortly before the end of a month for the following month, should enquire with my PA,  Sian Sweeting-Jones.

Setting God’s People Free : A Theology of Lay Ministry

In this training day Prof Canon Elaine Graham will help us to think through the theology of lay and shared ministry and how to put this commitment into practice in the life of our mission areas. Elaine is the Grosvenor Research Professor of Practical Theology at the University of Chester and is the author of several books on practical and public theology particularly on gender, culture and apologetics. She is the Canon Theologian at Chester Cathedral and her address “Whatever happened to the laity?” was the Chester Cathedral Lecture for 2015.  If you would like to attend this event on Tuesday 15 May at Gladstone’s Library, Hawarden between 1000-1500hrs, please make register with Sian Charlesworth.  Lunch will be provided free of charge. Further details can be obtained from Canon Manon Ceridwen James. 

Thy Kingdom Come

The ten days that lead up to Pentecost Sunday is traditionally a time when we particularly pray for the Holy Spirit’s power and gifts in the building up of the church, and for their use in our witness as we seek the coming of God’s Kingdom in all its fullness.   As part of this period of prayer, I do encourage you and your churches to join in the international ecumenical initiative ‘Thy Kingdom Come’.  The archdeacons have distributed the prayer cards to those mission areas that responded to the invitation to order resources via Esgobty.  For those who would still like to be involved, more information about the initiative and resources can be found at: 

World Mission

Mrs Ros Crawford, our World Mission Officer, would be delighted to hear from clergy and lay people who might be interested in World Mission and its support and promotion in the diocese.  There is a small but active World Mission Committee, which works to promote a vision for world mission and support for the Church overseas which is looking to recruit new members.  Please contact Ros via email or on 01691 870604 to explore this further.

I trust that, as we move into the Summer, God will bless your ministries and endeavours.  Please particularly hold in your prayers this month those who will be participating in the discernment for the two new archdeacons, particularly on 16th and 17th of May, when we shall be interviewing the shortlisted candidates.

With my best wishes,

In Christ,