Bishop’s Ad Clerum – November 2018

1af o Dachwedd 2018 November 1st

Yr Holl Saint ~ All Saint’s

Annwyl Gyfeillion,

There’s an old story that the Bishop of St Pancras was beating on the doors of heaven demanding to be let in, when a small window way up in the towers opened, and a tousled headed urchin stuck his head out and told the bishop to go away.  “But,” spluttered the bishop “I am the Bishop of St Pancras.  Who are you to speak to me so?”  “I am St Pancras” came the reply.

Not only does this story correctly put bishops in their place, but it is also a reminder that saints come in many different shapes and sizes.

I firmly believe that we are transformed into saints by the grace of God operating in our lives, we are washed and made holy in the blood of the cross (Rev.7.14), and the feast of All Saints is not only an opportunity to give thanks to God for the numberless crowd (Rev.7.9) but also to invoke God’s grace to be active in our own lives and in the lives of our people.

I recently had the privilege of visiting the tomb and shrine of St Charbel – apparently the most industrious miracle-worker in the Church after Our Lady – and to see some of the relics associated with his life and death.  His life and the subsequent miracles had clearly made a great impact on the locality.  But we can look into the face of a saint when we encounter each other in the worship of a Sunday morning.  There’s a thought.  And if we treated each other as saints, then that might have an impact of our relationships and on our outlook.

Bell-ringing to mark the end of the First World War

Right across the UK, encouragement is being given for the ringing of church bells at 12.30pm on Sunday 11th November to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War. Whether your churches have peals of bells or a single bell, it would be good if as many of our churches as possible could mark this centenary in this poignant way.

Confirmations 2019

In the calendar below you will see details of the three annual diocesan confirmations (Nicholastide, the Easter Vigil and Pentecost) to be held in the cathedral in the remaining period of 2018 and 2019.  I invite Mission Areas to start planning their confirmation requirements for next year, either individually or in partnership with neighbouring Mission Areas.  Those wishing to book a confirmation are encouraged to contact my office within the next couple of months to secure a date.

Church in Wales Lent Course

The GenRus provincial group have collaborated with the Revd Janet Fletcher to produce an interesting and engaging Lent course on the theme of ‘Generosity and the Inheritance of Lent’.  It is not just about money, but our attitude towards generosity as an aspect of Christian discipleship, and I commend it to you.  The course comprises of several elements including group discussion sessions for the weeks of Lent, Holy Week and then unusually it also leads onto Ascension and Pentecost.  The sessions are as follows:

  • Lent 1: Generosity and Openness to Others
  • Lent 2: Generosity and the Environment
  • Lent 3: Generosity and Our Neighbour
  • Lent 4: Generosity and the Economic Landscape
  • Lent 5: Generosity and the Need for Justice & Peace
  • Lent 6: Generosity and Our Own Offering
  • Monday in Holy Week
  • Tuesday in Holy Week
  • Wednesday in Holy Week
  • Maundy Thursday
  • Good Friday
  • Holy Saturday
  • Easter: Resurrection – The Generosity of God & New Life
  • What Next?  Ascension Day
  • Pentecost
  • Generosity – Our Inheritance, Our Legacy & Time for Action

There are various study materials which include a course booklet.  It is anticipated that these materials will be ready in January for distribution, but I need to submit an estimated number of booklets which might be required for the diocese very shortly.   In the meantime, a video clip is being produced to act as a sort of ‘trailer’ for the course.

Do take a look at the video, and consider whether this course could be used in your Mission Areas.  Please let Esgobty know if you wish to place an order for booklets, and we will feed those numbers in.

Renewal of Permissions to Officiate

The triennial process of renewing the certificates for those holding Permission to Officiate has begun. This affects the majority of clergy holding PTO, whose current certificates expire on December 31st. Thank you to those forty clergy who have submitted renewal applications in November.  You will be receiving your certificates before Christmas.

There are still seventy clergy who will need to reapply during November if they wish to continue offering a PTO ministry in the diocese after December 31st.

Completed application forms should be returned to Esgobty during the next two months so that, subject to my approval, new certificates can be issued before Christmas.  These will be valid until 31 December 2021.   Those who have taken up my PTO in recent months will already have received certificates for this date, and therefore are not required to take further action.

When a form has been completed by the applicant, it should be forwarded, along with the current certificate, to the Mission Area Leader.  Mission Area Leaders are requested to complete the reverse of the application form with their commendation and then send it with the certificate to Esgobty.  Those wishing to renew are encouraged to do so immediately and certainly have their form submitted to Esgobty by November 30th at the very latest in order for applications to be processed ahead of the office closure for Christmas and the New Year.

Any applications that arrive too late to be processed before Christmas will result in a break in service which will entail the applicant having to make a fresh Disclosure Application with the Disclosure & Barring Service before a new certificate can be issued, so please be prompt in submitting applications to avoid this happening.

I should be very grateful for the assistance of the licensed clergy in reminding priests who hold PTO in their area of the need to renew and to provide them with any assistance they may need.

Hwyl a Helo

Glen Mansfield has been appointed as Vicar of Rhyl.  I am delighted to welcome Glen to this enhanced role in the Aber-Morfa Mission Area, as Glen is already marking his mark in the ministry which he offers there.  There remain two vacancies in the Mission Area – the role of Associate Priest, rooted in St Ann’s, and a Mission Area Leader to be rooted in Bodelwyddan and Rhuddlan.  Please be in contact with Archdeacon Andy if you would like to explore a vocation to serve here, or invite a colleague to come and join us in the diocese!

I am delighted to welcome a new child for Karen and Sam Erlandson: Ieuan Gerard Erlandson was  born 25th October weighing 8 1/2 lbs at the Vicarage, and is thriving.  Congratulations to the growing Erlandson clan.

Dates for your diary


01 November           Retired Clergy Association service at cathedral at 1130hr, followed by lunch and speaker at the Oriel House Hotel.

Later in the year

02 December            The Licensing of Peter Mackriell as a Priest-in-Charge in Maelor Mission Area, St Mary The Virgin, Overton, 1500hr.

09 December           The Licensing of Lee Taylor as a Priest-in-Charge in Valle Crucis Mission Area, St Collen’s Church, Llangollen, 1030hr.

12 December            Nicholastide Confirmation, Cathedral, 1830hr.

19/21/22 Dec.             Ember Days*


18 April                      Chrism Eucharist (Cathedral)

20 April                      Confirmation and Easter Vigil (Cathedral)

09 June                     Pentecost Confirmation (Cathedral)

29 June                      Petertide Ordination (Cathedral)

12 October                Diocesan Conference

10 December            Nicholastide Confirmation (Cathedral)

Notes and Queries

Diocesan Conference

I was glad to see such an excellent turn out of clergy at the Diocesan Conference.  It was a day to check out the life of the diocese, and to hear some impressive interventions about the nature of Christian discipleship.  My thanks go to all the diocesan office team and to the Youth Forum for all their hard work in organizing the day.

So may the grace of Christ abound in your lives in Allsaintstide, and may everyone you encounter reveal something more to you of the Christ who comes among us to offer the gift of eternal life.

In Christ,