Bishop’s Ad Clerum – September 2018

3edd o Fedi 2018 September 3rd

Gregor Fawr : Gregory the Great

Datgloi ein Potensial : Unlocking our Potential

Annwyl Gyfeillion,

I hope very much that you’ve had a good summer, and the chance to have a break from ministry.  I find myself writing to you once again on 3 September, the Feast of St Gregory the Great in the Western calendar.  The truth is that I’ve met more people called Gregory in the hagiographies than I have in real life, so it is always a surprise tinged with slight embarrassment when I have to acknowledge one of my great namesakes in the faith.  I suspect that it is all about self-consciousness.  Do people think I’m holding myself up as their equal?  Am I really sub-consciously squirming because I am aware of the gap in reputation?

Ultimately, I think the relationship should cause any of us linked with a saint’s name to give thanks to God for His grace – his loving care and offer of spiritual strength – because what he worked in bringing forth a harvest of holiness from our forebears is a promise of what he would like to do with us.  I’m currently reading a fictionalization of the life of Dunstan – we don’t see many of them around these days – and, while I’m not entirely sure where the author is going with the story yet, it is clear that Dunstan’s life was a great mix of the political and the holy, of aspiration and calculation, of ambition and yet redemption and holiness.

Of course, not all of us have a name that is derived from an obvious saint, but we are all currently linked in the family of St Asaph, and what goes for name saints can also be true of dedication saints.  I hope that our forebears in the faith can encourage us to take the journey to holiness, by letting God’s grace dwell richly in each of our lives.

Clergy Synod in September

A reminder also that our next clergy synod will take place on Thursday 27 September, at St David’s Hotel, Ewloe, between 0930hr and 1530hr.  Sr Gemma Simmonds CJ, who is a first class speaker and spiritual director, will be guiding our thinking on the way we look after ourselves as clergy.  The Companions of Jesus, Gemma’s religious order, has been compared by some as the partner to the Jesuits.  In a time when many are the expectations that are laid upon us, how do we make sure we resource our own integrity and affirm God’s work in us?

As usual 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.  There will also be a group session when Mission Area teams and special interest groups may meet together, as well as four themed groups:

  • Finding our spark – working together in small groups – Explore the dynamism of small group facilitating that encourages, inspires and builds resilience for all its participants. (led by Anne Hooper)
  • Cry of Wonder – how wonder can open our hearts to worship –For children, the world is fresh and new and beautiful—full of wonder and excitement. As we age, we lose that sense of wonder about life and become preoccupied with facts, knowledge, things and tasks. Yet, adults, and specifically in this session, those who minister, need wonder as much as children do—to lift them out of boredom and disenchantment, to reinvigorate ministries and lives.  This short session will offer ideas for how to reawaken our sense of wonder, to help those who minister use wonder to be fully engaged and impassioned with the world, take pleasure in it, and feel grateful for it. (led by Alexis Smith )
  • Journeying together. The highs and lows of ministry.  How does working together and travelling  together help – be that spiritual direction, cell groups or working in mission areas. (led by David Lewis and Andy Jones)
  • Building our own prayer lives –How do we ensure our own prayer lives sustain us in ministry – what works – what doesn’t and what problems do we face. (led by Stephen Green and Dot Gosling)

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.

Renewal of Permissions to Officiate

Three years have gone by very quickly since the last general renewal of Permissions to Officiate and we will begin the process all over again in October! This is advance warning for clergy with my PTO to look out for the instructions for the renewal in my October ad clerum.  Renewal will apply to all clergy who hold PTO status with current certificates expiring on 31 December 2018.   Subject to my approval new certificates will then be issued that will be valid until 31 December 2021.  Those who have taken up my PTO in recent months will already have received certificates for this later date, and therefore are not required to take further action. (Check the document!)

I would be very grateful for the assistance of mission area leaders and other clergy in reminding priests who hold PTO in their area of their need to renew by the end of the year and to provide them with any assistance they may need.  The recommendation of the Mission Area Leader will be needed as part of the re-application process.

Holy Communion by Extension / outside the Eucharist

In response to enquiries with Esgobty I think it would be helpful to repeat the Provincial guidance already issued concerning Communion by Extension in the Church in Wales Order ‘Holy Communion outside the Eucharist’ and in Basic Eucharistic Guidance 2017.

The Order for Holy Communion outside the Eucharist indicates that Communion by Extension is intended for use only in exceptional circumstances and used only with the knowledge and permission of the bishop on each occasion.  The minister of Communion by Extension is either a deacon or a lay person who has been duly licensed for this purpose by the bishop. Whenever possible, the consecrated bread and wine should be brought directly from the celebration of the Holy Eucharist to the Church where they are to be administered, in vessels manufactured for this purpose. The minister should conduct the service from either the reading desk or a lectern, approaching the Holy Table immediately before the administration of the sacrament and leaving it immediately afterwards.

Please note that this ministry is different to those authorised and commissioned within their mission areas to administer the holy elements in church alongside a celebrant or to the sick and housebound and these two ministries, close as they are, should not be confused.

Hwyl a Helo

I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Chancellor Pam Powell to succeed Manon James as Diocesan Director of Ministry.  In connection with her new role, Pam will be deployed as a member of the Shared Ministry Team in Borderlands Mission Area, and will be licensed for this role on 10 September.  Pam brings much experience in fostering and encouraging vocations to her new role, and I’m grateful to her for sustaining this important aspect of diocesan life.

I am also delighted to welcome an old friend, Peter Mackriell, back to the diocese.  After concluding his ministry as Diocesan Communications Officer with us a few years ago, Peter has been serving in the Diocese of Chester.  He rejoins us now as part of the Maelor Shared Ministry Team, rooted in Overton, and will be inducted in December.

We are also welcoming two new clergy to the diocesan family.  Carol Roberts has been a priest in Bangor Diocese, and will be taking up the role of Rector of Bala in the Penedeyrn Mission Area in October.  Lee Taylor is a priest in the Diocese of Southwark, and will be licensed in the Valle Crucis Mission Area in December, rooted in Llangollen.  Both of these priests bring a wealth of talent and skills to enhance ministry in this diocese, and I am delighted to offer them both a warm welcome.

For some years now, the diocese has co-operated with Coleg Cambria in developing chaplaincy at the sites they manage in this part of Wales.  The diocese is partnering with Coleg Cambria and the Wrexham Parochial Education Trust to appoint a full-time chaplain, and I am pleased to say that Shaun Graham, a Pentecostal Minister currently working in the Wirral will be taking on this role.

Robert Rowland, our longest serving cleric, and who has been incumbent of Dyserth for the last thirty-eight years, has indicated to me that he believes the time has come to retire.  Robert, who has earned the respect of colleagues and parishioners alike, will stand back from stipendiary ministry at the end of November.  We wish him a well-earned rest.

Peter Nissen, who has been serving his curacy in the Alyn Mission Area, has also indicated to me that he will be leaving the diocese this month in order to take up an appointment in the Church of Denmark.

I am delighted, however, to welcome two other new members of the Teulu Asaph:  James Henry Stroud was born in early July as a brother to Charlie and a son to Daniel and Lara Stroud, and Grace Marika Rosie Hainsworth arrived in late August as a sister to Jacob and second child for Richard and Laura Hainsworth.  Both these families will be in our prayers, and we wish them much joy and blessing.

Vacancies:  Bodelwyddan & Rhuddlan and Rhyl.

Priest-in-Charge posts as part of the Aber-Morfa Mission Area, rooted in Bodelwyddan and Rhuddlan and Rhyl are advertised on the diocesan website and in Church Times on Friday.  Applications are warmly encouraged, and if you wish to consider either of these ministries, you can speak with the Archdeacon of St Asaph, effectively now, the Revd. Andy Grimwood.  Alternatively, for an informal discussion about what either of these posts will entail please contact Glen Mansfield, the acting Mission Area Leader.

Dates for your diary

Among these dates, please note especially the Farewell Service for Archdeacon Peter on 23 September, and the Licensing and Commissioning of the new Archdeacons on 7 October.  These services make significant changes in the ministry of the diocese, with much commitment and faithful service to the diocese to be celebrated.  I should be grateful if as many clergy as possible can support their colleagues by attending these two services.


10 September        Licensing of Pam Powell to Borderlands MA, Emmanuel Church, Bistre, at 1930hr.

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

26/28/29 Sept.       Ember Days: Catgor 2018 / Ember Prayer Card 2018

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

29 September        LLM Annual Convention.

Later in the year

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


Advance notice that the next Clergy Residential School will be held between Monday 20 – Thursday 23 September 2021, at The Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick, Derbyshire.  This is regarded as a professional commitment for all stipendiary clergy, and as a strongly encouraged invitation for all other ordained ministers and ordinands, so please do put it in your diary now.

Notes and Queries 

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 11 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.

Creation Time

Creation Time started in the Orthodox Church in 1989 and has been supported by a growing number of churches across Europe since then.  The European Christian Environmental Network has urged churches to adopt a Time for Creation, stretching from 1 September to the feast of St Francis on 4 October.  This was endorsed at the European Ecumenical Assembly in Sibiu, Romania in 2007, when it was agreed that Creation Time “be dedicated to prayer for the protection of Creation and the promotion of sustainable lifestyles that reverse our contribution to climate change”.

This year Christian leaders signed a joint statement of support for the Season of Creation.  This represents the first joint statement of support for the season reaching across denominations.

Worship material for Creation Time 2018 comes from an ecumenical writing group, with contributors from the Church of Scotland, the Roman Catholic Church, the Salvation Army, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the United Reformed Church.  It follows the theme “Passing our Planet on: God’s gift to us”, focussing on passing on our planet from one generation to the next, and the gifts given us by God to support and guide us in our care for creation.   Readings from the Gospel of Mark are emphasised, which appear in the Revised Common Lectionary in September.

If you would like further information or access to the resources, please email John Harvey, our Director of Spirituality, or Esgobty.

Ember Days

We have new Ember leaflet for use in the Ember Week this month and on other occasions:

Not only are our prayers encouraged for new vocations, but the names of those in training are listed for support and prayer.  Please 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 at the very least.

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 18 October at 1800 hr.  Please email Heather Fenton for more information.

Order of St Asaph

There have been no nominations for the Order this year.


There will be children of clergy families, who have passed their exams, and who are off to university or college this autumn.  Please let me know if this is the case, and I may be able to offer a small gift from my discretionary funds to wish them well.

With my thanks again for all your hard work and ministry.

Warm regards,

In Christ,