Bishop’s Ad Clerum – October 2018

1af o Hydref 2018 October 1

Datgloi ein Potensial : Unlocking our Potential

Annwyl Gyfeillion,

Later this week, we’ll be celebrating the memory of St Francis, one of the most extraordinary of God’s saints, who radicalised the Church in his own lifetime, and changed its nature.  Francis’s radical commitment to poverty and simplicity took some getting used to in the mediaeval Church, but he did remind us of several things – the importance of simplicity, the inter-connectedness of creation and the joy of taking pleasure in God’s goodness.

This last is perhaps too much neglected.  The beauty of the seasons, the structure of a leaf, the grandeur of the mountains and the sea: all these things can stir us, but too often we rush around.  And there’s a danger of taking a glass half empty approach to life.

There’s a verse in scripture (Philippians 2.14,15) “Do everything without complaining or grumbling, that you may shine like stars.”  Francis encourages us to look on the brighter side of things – to look for where God is at work, where new things are beginning and new opportunities are coming to light.  I for one think I need to learn from his optimism, let alone his simplicity.

There are two events I want to mention here that clergy should have in their diary:

Licensing and Commissioning of the new Archdeacons

The new Archdeacons will be commissioned in the context of Cathedral Evensong on Sunday,  7th October.  These licensings make significant changes in the ministry of the diocese with John Lomas transferring to his new role as Archdeacon of Wrexham, Barry Willson joining us as Archdeacon of an expanded archdeaconry of Montgomery and Andy Grimwood taking over from John as Archdeacon of St Asaph.  Their primary ministry will be in supporting and developing the mission areas for which they each have responsibility, and I hope therefore that they will each be supported by the clergy of their archdeaconry.  I hope as many of us will be able to be in the Cathedral on October 7th to welcome them to their new ministries during Choral Evensong at 1530hr.  Laity are also welcome at the service.  Parking is available at the Cathedral car park, Salisbury’s Accountants opposite the cathedral on the Upper Denbigh Road, and at Ysgol Glan Clwyd, and clergy may robe (in choir dress) in the Translators’ Chapel in the north transept.  (Chapter to robe in the Translators’ Tearoom.)

Diocesan Conference

And then the following Saturday, I look forward to seeing all diocesan clergy at the Diocesan Conference, 13th October.  I would like to remind all clergy – stipendiary and non-stipendiary – that this is a major professional commitment, since it is the primary forum for discussing diocesan life, and all clergy holding my licence are expected to attend.  Anyone who wishes to be absent should seek permission directly from me.  It is not sufficient merely to tender apologies through the diocesan office.

Confirmations 2019

In the calendar below you will see details of the three annual 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.

Renewal of Permissions to Officiate

We are now beginning the triennial process of renewing the certificates for those holding Permission to Officiate.  This affects the majority of clergy holding PTO, whose current certificates expire on December 31st.

Here is a renewal application form for those who wish to continue offering this ministry to the diocese:

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. 

Holy Communion

As I go around the diocese and join you for the Eucharist, I am still noticing that intinction is still widespread.  The practice of permitting communicants to intinct, i.e. to receive the Eucharistic bread, and then to carry it to the chalice, and to dip it themselves into the cup, is firmly discouraged.  The health risks associated with germs carried on the fingers are far greater than sharing in the one cup, and the dipping of standard communion hosts contaminates the wine for those with gluten allergies.

If communicants do have real reservations about sharing in the one cup, then they should be reminded that while it has always been the understanding of the Anglican Churches that we receive both kinds in faithfulness to the instruction of Our Lord, the benefits of Communion are embraced by reception of the bread alone.

If there is certainty that there are no communicants requiring gluten free wafers, it can be permitted for the communicant to carry the host to the chalice administrator, and for the chalice administrator to take the host, dip it in the chalice, and administer Communion on the tongue of the communicant.  This is the only form of intinction that should be permitted.

I am also aware of various forms of invitations that are being used to invite people to receive Holy Communion and I would like to draw your attention to the recommended wording in the Bishop’s Pastoral Letter on Admission to Communion of September 2016:

  1. Wording such as the following might be printed in service booklets, pew sheets, clearly displayed on a notice on entering the church and / or on cards placed in the pews (adapted to local customs for receiving Communion):

Anyone who is baptised in the Name of the Trinity

is welcome to receive Communion in this church.
When you come to receive, hold out your hands and you will be given bread and wine.
If you would like a blessing instead,

please indicate by holding your service book in your hands.
Children under 5 can receive the bread.
Over 5’s may receive either bread and wine or the bread alone as parents decide.

If you are not yet baptised, please speak to us.

We would love to welcome you into the family of the Church.


  1. The following might be said by the priest at the start of the service or at the invitation to Communion, especially when there are new people present:

Everyone who is baptised as a Christian and of any age

is welcome to receive Communion in this church.
Adults with children are asked to help them take part in a way best suited for them.

Hwyl a Helo

I have been delighted to learn that Pam Powell and Juliet Fraser have become grandmothers.  Pam now has a granddaughter, Mali Nancy Powell, born on 18th September, and Juliet has a grandson Theo Dylan Thomas, born on 20th September.  We pray for these grandmothers and their families, and for God’s blessing and grace in the lives of their grandchildren.

I am sorry to share the news of the death of Brian Carvell, Sally Baird’s father, who passed away on 9th September, and of John Searl’s sister, Alison, who passed away 20th September. We offer both families our condolences and prayers.

I have only heard this morning that Matt Wilkinson’s father, Revd Paul Wilkinson, died yesterday morning.  Paul will be remembered with thanksgiving for his ministry in the diocese in retirement, following ministry in both the dioceses of Swansea & Brecon and Ripon & Leeds.

Dates for your diary


07 October               The Collation and Installation of Archdeacons during Choral Evensong in the Cathedral, 1530hr.

13 October                Diocesan Conference, St Joseph’s High School, Wrexham.

14 October                The Licensing of Alexis Smith as a Priest-in-Charge in Pool Mission Area, St Nicholas’ Church, Montgomery, 1100hr.

The Licensing of Carol Roberts as a Priest-in-Charge in Penedeyrn Mission Area, Christ Church, Bala, 1530hr.

18 October                Celebration of 50th Anniversary of Ministry for Margaret Harvey, Cathedral, 1800hr

Later in the year

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

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

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 

Concise Almanac

We are grateful as ever to Martin Snellgrove for preparing a useful Concise Almanac for the coming liturgical year, as advertised at the Clergy Synod:

Concise Almanac Year C 2018-2019

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.

Faith in Evangelism

Please do find time to have a look at the recent Provincial video ‘Faith in Evangelism’ which was presented recently at Governing Body.  I am sure you will find it informative and inspire you in your own ministry of evangelism.

The Revd Margaret Harvey

I have been asked to make the Teulu Asaph aware that Margaret celebrates the 50th anniversary of being made a deaconess in the diocese, becoming the first woman in Wales to exercise this form of ministry.  Over the subsequent years Margaret has offered much of her ministry in this diocese in various roles, for which we give thanks.  To celebrate this special anniversary all her friends are invited to a special celebration in the cathedral on Thursday, October 18th at 1800 hr.  Please email Heather Fenton for more information.

Retired Clergy Eucharist and Lunch

A reminder that the Annual Meeting and Lunch of the Association will take place in St Asaph on November 1st.  The Association will gather for the Eucharist in the cathedral at 11.30hr.  Lunch will be served afterwards in the Oriel House Hotel when we will be pleased to welcome the Very Rev’d. Prof. Gordon McPhate, former Dean of Chester, as guest speaker. For more information please contact Pauline Walker, who oversees the Association.  It has been something of a tradition to suggest that mission areas might like to contribute to the cost of lunch for this event for the retired clergy who do so much to support ministry in their locality.

Standing Committee Bulletin

The Diocesan Standing Committee meets four times a year, and is the main strategic decision making body for the diocese.  As such, it is important that what is discussed and decided there is communicated to the congregations.  The Communications Officer has produced several editions of this helpful summarizing bulletin following meetings already, but I include this edition to ensure a wide dissemination of the good work which the Standing Committee is doing.  Please bring it at least to the attention of your Church Committees and MACs, but it is also suitable for wider distribution to all members of our congregations: Standing-Committee-bulletin-8-September-25-FINAL

World Vision International, Barna Group

In partnership with World Vision International, Barna Group—a leading research company on the intersection of faith and culture—is conducting a ground-breaking global study exploring young adults’ perceptions of Christianity and social causes (such as justice, poverty, and generosity).

But before beginning their study of young adults, they would first like to hear from church leaders to better understand what their experiences have been and what questions they have about this generation, ages 20-34, sometimes referred to as Millennials.

I have been asked to invite you to consider participating in this survey.  Please provide your honest feedback as you answer each question. Your participation and responses will remain anonymous and no one will attempt to contact you. If you wish to participate in the study, please click on the following link:

This survey will be available until the end of October, which is an extension on the original deadline in order to allow participation from the Church in Wales.  If you have any questions, please email Barna Global’s research team.

I hope that you were as encouraged by the Clergy synod as I was, and renewed in your commitment to seek Christ’s resources to sustain and direct our ministry.  With my thanks again for your partnership in the Gospel,

Warm regards,

In Christ,