Today the Church in Wales commemorates a series of Ugandan martyrs, one of whom is the English missionary Bishop James Hannington. If we’re frank, this story is a little ambivalent. He died because he disobeyed the local King of Buganda, Mwanda II, by insisting on choosing his own route to his bishopric and taking a route which seemed to confirm the worst fears of the King with respect to imperialist ambition.
There is no doubt that James was a faithful Christian and keen to serve the Church, but he also seems to have had that determined colonialist outlook which meant that he felt that he had the right to do as he wished. The King was advised by a court hostile in parts to Christianity, but who also feared the growing power of Europeans, who were becoming increasingly bold in interfering in the life of indigenous African kingdoms.
With all sides of the story really, we need to avoid jumping on a simple narrative, and using it to buttress our world view. Is this story about British Imperialism, or the proclamation of the Christian Gospel? Is it about the wickedness of a King, or well-founded suspicion about the motives of imperial powers?
We prefer matters when we can tell ourselves that they are black and white, and we shy away from complexity and nuance. Yet the truth is that people always act from a mixture of motives, and a true attitude towards Christian service involves a readiness to take self-examination seriously. A priest friend of mine always says to me that there are two essential questions to ask in any situation: “What’s going on?” and “What’s really going on?”
This is why centering ourselves in God through prayer is so important. One of the graces given by God in prayer is the ability to see more clearly with the eyes of the Spirit, to recognize mixed motives, and to see where God is leading: to see ourselves and to understand our motives as well.
This coming Sunday we will celebrate Pentecost and the sending of God’s Spirit to lead us into all truth. May the Spirit assist us to see things as they really are, and not interpret everything through our own agendas and prejudices.
For those of you who are presenting candidates for confirmation at the Cathedral this Pentecost Sunday but who have yet to register your intention to do so, please do get in touch with Siân at Esgobty as soon as possible for the necessary paperwork. Information relating to the number of candidates, how many adults, how many children and if any are to be baptised at the service would be greatly appreciated. A rehearsal for confirmation candidates will be held at 2.15pm, please ask candidates to be in their seats by 2pm.
Candidates from the same church/mission area will be confirmed together and allocated seats with their church/mission area name. Please provide name cards for each candidate.
Clergy are asked to robe in Alb and Red Stole. An arrangement has been made for you to robe in a room off the Translators’ Tearooms at the rear of the Cathedral.
I am sure that you will have the ordination in your diary. We will have twelve candidates this year (six priests and six deacons), and I’m expecting the cathedral to be full on Saturday, June 29th at 10.00hr. Please remember daily in your prayers:
whom, God willing, I intend to ordain to the presbyterate.
whom, God willing, I intend to ordain to the diaconate.
Please make every effort to be there to support these colleagues, even if you do not know them well. We look forward to welcoming Sr. Gemma Simmonds, CJ, as the ordination retreat leader and the preacher at the ordination service.
The service will also mark my last diocesan commitment before I begin my sabbatical. Partly as a result of this, and partly to remind ourselves that not all ministry in the Church is ordained, we have a marvellous opportunity to license our first two stipendiary Youth and Childrens’ Chaplains. Many of us will have had the opportunity to get to know Jon and Esther Andrews during their vocation discernment and training, but I am delighted to announce that they will begin work by being licensed in the Cathedral in the course of the ordination Eucharist.
All diocesan clergy attending are asked to robe in alb or surplice with white stole. Robing arrangements are:
The Dean will appreciate notification of your attendance in order to plan appropriate seating for robed clergy and readers. Please would you kindly email, Pam in the cathedral office of your intention to attend.
As usual, overflow car parking has been arranged at Ysgol Glan Clwyd on Upper Denbigh Road. Please be aware that this car park will be locked at 1300hr and vehicles should be removed following the service.
A limited amount of disabled parking places will be available near the cathedral on the north side, accessed off the High Street. It is advisable to make a reservation request by email to Pam at the cathedral office.
I am pleased to announce that Jeanette Wilkes will move in the Autumn to join the team in Cedewain Mission Area, as she completes her curacy in Pool Mission Area. I welcome Glen Mansfield formally to the role of Mission Area Leader in Aber Morfa, a post that he has been discharging with total dedication in an interim capacity since Andy took up the archdeaconry. He will be commissioned with the new Shared Ministry Team in November, when I return from my sabbatical.
Dot Gosling has been invited to take up the post of Team Leader in Wigan in the diocese of Chester and will be leaving us in August. Lynette Norman is taking retirement from the Tanat Valley, and she and David will be moving to Cerrigydrudion. Both these priests have served with a real love of the Lord, and passion for mission, and I extend our thanks and good wishes to them as they enter onto new chapters in their lives.
I am sorry to report the death of Andrew Miller. Andrew and his wife came to join us in Bodelwyddan after distinguished service as a police officer and NSM priest. He gave generously in ministry to the churches in which he was rooted, but after the death of his wife faced health challenges of his own. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.
9 June 15:30: Pentecost Confirmation (Cathedral)
14 June 19:00: Licensing of Sarah Burton as Priest-in-Charge in Vyrnwy Mission Area (St. Mary’s, Llwydiarth)
16 June 11:00: Ordination Anniversaries Eucharist (Cathedral)
29 June 10:00: Petertide Ordination (Cathedral)
Later in the Year
28 July 11:00 Licensing of Jayne Coxall to Aber-Morfa Mission Area (St Margaret’s, Bodelwyddan)
25 August 09:30 Licensing of Chris Spencer as Assistant Curate in the Aber Morfa Mission Area (St. Ann’s Church, Rhyl)
26 September Clergy Synod (all day)
12 October Diocesan Conference (all day)
14 November MAL Training Day, Llyndir Hall, Rossett
10 December Advent Confirmation (Cathedral)
Ordination Anniversaries Eucharist
As usual, I would like to invite those who are celebrating a significant ordination anniversary this year to join me for a special celebratory Eucharist at the Cathedral at 1100hr on Trinity Sunday, June 16th. If you have a special anniversary this year, such as 20 or 25 years or the subsequent ‘0’ or ‘5’ anniversaries thereafter, that you would like to celebrate with us on June 16th, then please contact Esgobty as soon as possible. Family, friends and supporters are also welcome!
Retired Clergy Service and Afternoon Tea
This takes place on Thursday, 13th June, at St Martin’s Church, Llay, at 2.30pm. There will be a guest speaker in the Church Hall with Afternoon Tea which will be followed by Evensong in the Church. The afternoon will finish at about 5pm. If any retired clergy would like to participate in this occasion, please contact Canon Pauline Walker on 01745 813831. It will be a lovely opportunity to meet together with retired clergy friends, their spouses and clergy widows and widowers from all three archdeaconries.
I begin my sabbatical immediately after the ordination. Although there are one or two events in the diary, to which I am committed because of their extraordinary nature, the conduct of matters normally committed to my ministry, outside of sacramental acts, will devolve largely on the bishop’s staff team (the Dean, the three archdeacons, the Diocesan Secretary and my chaplain). Siân and Michael will field all correspondence to Esgobty, and, by and large, the archdeacons will deal with all matters that would normally come to me from their respective archdeaconries. Do however please keep me in your prayers.
We have become aware of an individual who has attended a number of Churches across the diocese and attempted to be involved in work with children and vulnerable adults. Where robust safe recruitment processes have been followed, this individual has not proceeded into the role. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to use robust safe recruitment processes to safeguard the vulnerable in our churches. Please ensure that where appropriate, a DBS check is completed. Eligibility for DBS with the Church in Wales may be assessed with the published flow chart and you can always contact the DBS administrator for further clarification. For all roles that require a DBS, AND for roles that are NOT eligible for a DBS, we recommend you take up two references. It is good practice for at least one of these to be from the individuals last church/denomination where they were last active in similar ministry. If you have any concerns about the behaviour of an individual that has come in to contact with your church, I encourage you to contact Wendy Lemon, Provincial Safeguarding Officer.
Time moves apace, and scarcely have the evenings opened out than we are approaching the Summer solstice. May the weather improve, and our spirits be lifted.
Diolch am eich amynedd - rydym yn gweithio ar gyfieithu ein gwefan a bydd y tudalennau Cymraeg ar gael cyn bo hir.