Easter this year has been marred for Christians the world over by the terrible news from Sri Lanka that our brothers and sisters in Christ in that beautiful island state, together with many visitors from across the world, including our own country, were subjected to terrorist attacks as they gathered to worship the Risen Lord.
Whatever expressions of faith we may wish to make, we must remember first and foremost those who have lost loved ones in these atrocious attacks, committed in the name of a faith, but totally devoid of any justification to reflect the will of God. We stand with them in their grief, and pray for the victims whom we have to commend to God’s love, and those who are bereaved.
What more can be said? Today’s feast commemorates two of the apostles anciently remembered together, although their missionary journeys, known only from legend, did not in fact co-incide. What united them was their faith in the resurrection of Jesus, who promised through his triumph over pain and death, that new life awaited all those who died in his faith. In the power of the Holy Spirit, the apostles became martyrs, witnesses to that faith, and inheritors of the life of God’s Kingdom.
I believe that those killed in Sri Lanka join the noble army of martyrs. They were targeted because of their faith, and they died only because they were worshippers of the Triune God. We must claim for them the “Crown of Glory” promised in scripture, and hope that for those hurting and in pain, the promises of Jesus will be of some comfort.
There are bigger questions about the persecution which Christians suffer now across the world. We are becoming a suffering Church once again – if in fact we ever stopped. It is therefore important for us in north Wales that we show solidarity with our Christians brothers and sisters who are not as fortunate as ourselves to live among less intolerance. For we stand together in Christ. Charities like “Open Doors”, which seek to offer practical support and love to suffering Christians deserve our support, and I hope that you will look out some such charity to support as a practical expression of our commitment to those who suffer for their faith.
I am pleased to announce the appointment of Christopher Spencer to the Aber-Morfa Mission Area. Chris is currently ministering in the Diocese of Bristol as a Church and Community worker and will be based in Rhyl with Glen.
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 by May 31st. Family, friends and supporters are also welcome!
4 May Diocesan Patronal Festival: St Asaph’s Day Eucharist, Cathedral, 1100hr
Later in the Year
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)
28 July 19:00 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)
10 December Advent Confirmation (Cathedral)
Michael and Siân are currently in the process of making a return to work, supported by Ian and Sarah. I am grateful to those who have supported us during this difficult period, and we hope that “normal service” will be resumed soon. In the meantime, if making contact with Esgobty, you may find a response from any one of the five of us!
Some of you will already have heard the news that I was involved in a car accident yesterday on my journey down to Governing Body. I was caught up in a multiple car shunt on the A49. I avoided going into the car in front of me until the car behind me shunted me into it. Fortunately, no-one was seriously hurt, and I suffered – as the police put it – only “minor injuries”. I have decided not to attend Governing Body however, and to take a couple of days to recuperate.
New Wine Cymru
Experiencing the support, training and fellowship that New Wine Cymru offers to those in church leadership, has been an important means of supporting and equipping some of us in our growth as church leaders, as well as helping us work with our churches and mission areas towards achieving the aims of 2020 vision. New Wine Cymru aims to work with ‘Churches and Church Leaders to transform Wales through engaging in mission and developing leaders’.
Its membership includes individuals and churches belonging to most Christian traditions including Free Church, Anglican and Roman Catholic. What members have in common is a desire to link with like-minded church leaders, who take the Bible as the foundation for their theology and want to develop their use of gifts of the Holy Spirit, as part of engaging in mission and evangelism. Leaders at any level in a church are welcome not only ordained clergy, but those who hold commissioned and licensed ministries too.
Each of the eight New Wine Cymru regions are led by a team. Regular events include prayer breakfast and training events. There are also wider gatherings, for example the annual leadership conference in Swansea and events aimed at leaders under 30.
If you would like to know more then please speak to Martin Batchelor or Paulette Gower, who have direct experience of their work, or look at the website.
Same Sex Issues Resource Material
“Same Sex Issues and the Bible” study resource, which our own diocesan Human Sexuality study group have adapted (with permission) from materials first produced by the Church of Ireland. The intention of the materials is to reflect on the teaching of the Bible, and to explore whether a bible passage can, with integrity, be interpreted in more than one way. This study resource is a good way to raise awareness and stimulate discussion: there is no suggestion than any interpretation should take precedence over another. The accompanying facilitators’ notes also explain that any attempt to impose a single view as an outcome of discussion is not the intention of the study course, but to allow us to take Scripture seriously, and at the same time, listen to different views.
I wish you a glorious continuing Eastertide. I was much appreciative of the excellent turn out for the Chrism Eucharist, and I hope that everyone, like me, found it a very happy and significant family event for the diocese. The Easter Vigil Confirmation was also a very moving event, with two baptisms, two receptions into the Church in Wales, and thirty confirmations. The commitments made by the candidates reflect journeys of faith both in youth and maturity, but bode well for the future life we have, and the common mission we hold. May the living Christ be a source of renewed faith and energy for you, and thank you for your fellowship and ministry.