The Bishop of Bangor – the Right Rev’d Andy John – is pleased to release the text of his Chrism Eucharist Sermon (which is part of his new blog) as well as his Easter messages.

His written message (below), The B Word, Bishop Andy reflects on the negative impact of Brexit discussions in our society and asks what can be reclaimed.

In his Easter video message, Rise Up and Walk, Bishop Andy talks to a widower, Jonno Jones as well as visiting Pont ar Fynach, Abergeirw near Trawsfynydd – the site of an early Christian grave – asking what Jesus’ empty grave means for us as we celebrate Easter this year.

Please do share and use these messages, which are available here:

 

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The B Word

Whatever the outcome of the Brexit discussions in Parliament and elsewhere, one thing is a great deal clearer than that outcome: this has been difficult for us as a nation. It isn’t just a question of whether Brexit is a good thing or not but that as a country we are more divided than at any time in the last 70 years. The level of public discourse has eroded, the level of trust in politicians and institutions has diminished and the silos of difference have led to horrible ideologies being normalized. We have only to recall the terrible events in New Zealand to see what happens when hatred is allowed to flourish.

The Bible is uncompromising in its condemnation of this kind of hostility. The word ‘evil’ has lost a good deal of its former strength but none of its relevance. Reclaiming a language which captures the gravity of dreadful human action seems to me long overdue if we are to value and respect one another.

However, I suspect we need a great deal more than reclaimed ideas at this point: we need new hearts and minds. The resurrection of Jesus is not just a piece of history, it’s about the way Jesus Christ encounters us now. This encounter opens the door to a better way of being human where relationships are capable of transformation and a less self-centred way of living becomes possible.

In recent months I have begun exploring some of the ancient holy wells in the Diocese (of Bangor) – places of former gathering and healing. Many of them are now overgrown and in danger of being lost. I was reminded of one of the less well-known stories of the Bible where an early leader of God’s people reopens drinking wells which had long been closed. The point of the story is that deep sources of life are easily lost but can still be reclaimed.

We cannot press rewind to a time before Brexit but we can revisit what is deep, life giving and capable of sustaining us and our communities in love and respect. In short, we can revisit how Christ makes everything new and enables new and better relationships to flourish. This is the power and gift of Easter and the risen Christ for us.

 

+Andrew Bangor

 

The Bishop of Bangor – the Right Reverend Andrew John – is pleased to release his Christmas messages.

His written message (below), entitled Generosity, looks towards one Christian understanding of money at Christmas.

His video Christmas message (which is available in Welsh and English) asks whether there is a connection between climate change and the Christmas story.

Closed Captions (subtitles) are available by using the button ‘CC’

Please do share and use these messages:

 

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Generosity

Rather unseasonally the radio blasted out familiar words from a song I’d known for years:

‘They say the best things in life are free 

But you can give them to the birds and bees 

I need money, that’s what I want 

That’s what I want, yeah that’s what I want.’

Was the singer being ironic? Perhaps – or perhaps not.

Money matters have come strongly into focus again at the close of the year. The Government’s decision to bring forward plans to change the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals reminds us that the use of money can be  a source of pain as well as good.

The Christian take on money has often been misrepresented: the Bible does not say money is the root of all evils but rather that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Money helps protect the most vulnerable in society, while valuing it above everything else can lead to a host of problems from debt to exploitation.

The message of Christmas is that God loves the world with boundless generosity. Jesus was born to express the generosity of a God who longs for all people to know his care and compassion. Generous love like this is utterly infectious. Once we have tasted it, we begin to change. Selfish acts seem out of place to us, while sharing our own wealth becomes a little more natural.

This Christmas we will have opportunities to show our love for others by the gifts we give them. And even if our giving is relatively modest, the very act of giving echoes just a very little of the extraordinary generosity of God. We can also show generosity to those we don’t know, through giving to charities and projects supporting those in need in our local communities or further afield.

The song, strangely, says something important: the truth is that everyone needs money to live. And there’s the prompt for generosity – that word ‘everyone’. And that means something bigger and better and more worthy by far. Generosity. We need generosity. Like God’s.

+Andrew Bangor

The final event of this year’s RS Thomas Poetry and Arts Festival will feature the world première of music by a composer from Bangor who has been inspired by the great Welsh poet and priest RS Thomas. The event, called ‘RS Thomas for a New Generation’, is part of Bangor Cathedral’s Evensong Service on Sunday, July 1, at 2:30pm.

The composition called ‘Pilgrimages’ by Ellen Davieswill be performed by Ensemble Cymru and the Royal Harpist, Anne Denholm. ‘Pilgrimages’ is an orchestral piece in 3 movements inspired by three of RS Thomas’ poems. Ellen gained a Distinction in her Masters Degree from Bangor University for this composition.

Each movement will be preceded by a ‘soundscape’, which is a reading of the relevant poem by Ifor ap Glyn, National Poet of Wales, which has been recorded and mixed with sounds of the sea and landscape around Aberdaron and the Llŷn Peninsula. The visual focus of the performance will be a traditional Welsh coracle, which will be on display in the Cathedral before the performance.

Ellen’s achievement is more remarkable because she has had overcome dyslexia. Looking forward to the performance, Ellen said ‘The team at Bangor Cathedral has been so encouraging with some great ideas about staging this event and the interactive Coracle display. It is a great honour and very exciting to have my new work performed in Bangor Cathedral in the final event of the RS Thomas Festival 2018. I hope that in a small way we can bring the Llyn to Bangor!’

Another innovative item will see Owen Lowery performing two of his own poems, which were inspired by RS Thomas. In January this year Owen he was received the Literature Matters award from the Royal Society of Literature. His work and performance is more remarkable because at the age of 18, Owen was paralysed from the shoulders down in a Judo competition and he now needs machine in order to breathe. After two years in hospital, he was inspired through literature to overcome the limitations of his injuries. When he performs, he does so in time with his breathing machine.

Susan Fogarty, the Director of the RS Thomas Society and Festival, said, ‘The Society is delighted to be supporting and collaborating with Ellen as a graduate woman composer and the inspiring Owen Lowery who has overcome severe disability as a result of a spinal injury to achieve his full artistic potential. Both of these people deserve to be supported in their artistic endeavours.’

There will also be another world première by the American composer, Robert Moran, from Philadelphia. His new musical setting to RS Thomas’ well-known poem ‘The Other’, will be accompanied by the words of the poem being read alongside his new music by Susan Fogarty.

The former Bishop of Bangor and Archbishop of Wales, Dr. Barry Morgan, who had a close association with RS Thomas, will be taking part and the Choir of Bangor Cathedral will also be singing the Evensong service and an anthem by William Mathias.

This service and event is free of charge, but seating is limited. Interest can be registered through Eventbrite, or you can come on the day. The event is free thanks to the generosity of the The Royal Society for LiteratureTŷ Cerdd.

 


As we approach the end of June, we come to a period when the Church celebrates the life and ministry of St. Peter, the person who was a great servant of Jesus, as well as the driving force behind the formation of the Christian Church after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension.

In a special service on Saturday (30.6.18) at 3pm in Bangor Cathedral (which all are welcome to attend) the Bishop of Bangor – the Right Reverend Andy John – will licence and ordain nine people, who will be stepping out in the footsteps of St. Peter to begin a new stage of their Christian journey.

The preacher at this service will be Lord Williams of Oystermouth, the former Archbishop of Wales and Canterbury.

The Rev’d Susan Blagden, who has been their Tutor supporting them through their individual training with St Padarn’s Institute said,

“St. Padarn’s is delighted that these candidates are now to be licensed and ordained for public ministry.

They have engaged with two or three years of initial ‘Formation in Community for Mission’. Of course, the process of formation is ongoing, as it is for all of us, not least as disciples. Sometimes this process has been particularly challenging and at others it has been deeply joyful with new gifts and abilities being discovered and affirmed.

We trust that that process of renewal and transformation will continue. In the meantime,we rejoice with the candidates and assure them of our prayers.”

The service will be lead by the Bishop of Bangor – the Right Reverend Andy John – who said,

‘All ministry contains a mix of challenge and opportunity. We are delighted that the Diocese continues to discern God’s call to people for licensed lay and ordained ministry.

‘It will be a special day for Glenys and Ian as they are licensed as Lay Readers; for Vince, Simon and Nick as they are ordained Deacons, as well as for Lesley, Sara, Allan and Llewelyn as the are ordained Priests. We hold them in our love and prayers.

St. Peter showed bravery and persistence in serving Jesus and proclaiming the Gospel. I am praying that God will give that same courage and resolve to the nine special people who I am privileged to call my fellow servants in Christ.’


The nine people who are being licensed or ordained are as follows:

Lay Readers :

  • Glenys Samson who will serve in the Bro Cybi Ministry Area (Holyhead)
  • Ian Hampson who will serve in the Bro Moelwyn Ministry Area (Blaenau Ffestiniog/Penrhyndeudraeth)

Deacons :

  • Mr. Simon Freeman (transitional*, stipendiary) will serve his curacy in the Bro Gwydyr Ministry Area (Betws y Coed)
  • Mr. Nick Golding (distinctive*, non-stipendiary) will serve his curacy in the Bro Eifionydd Ministry Area (Cricieth/Porthmadog)
  • Mr. Vince Morris (transitional*, stipendiary) will serve his curacy in the Bro Tysilio Ministry Area (Menai Bridge/Benllech)

(* A distinctive deacon is someone whose calling is to the diaconate alone. A transitional deacon is someone whose calling is to the priesthood, and ordination as a deacon is part of their journey.)


Priests :

  • Rev Llewelyn Moules-Jones (stipendiary) will continue to serve his curacy in the Bro Deiniol Ministry Area (Bangor)
  • Rev Lesley Rendle (non-stipendiary) will continue to serve her curacy in the Bro Tysilio Ministry Area (Menai Bridge/Benllech)
  • Rev Sara Roberts (stipendiary) will move from Bro Enlli to continue her curacy in the Bro Madryn Ministry Area (Nefyn)
  • Rev Allan Wilcox (non-stipendiary) will continue to serve his curacy in the Bro Eryri Ministry Area (Llanberis)

Click here to read some thoughts from each of our candidates, as they prepare for the new stage of their Christian pilgrimage.

The Bishop of Bangor – the Right Reverend Andrew John – is pleased to release his Easter messages.

His written message (below), Less Monster, More Hope, reflects Bishop Andy’s thoughts on the Easter story in the light of trolling on social media.

To film his Easter video message, (above)  Beautiful but Brutal, Bishop Andy made a journey to Bardsey Island, which lies 2 miles from Aberdaron on the tip of the Lleyn Peninsula, and ‘journey’ is a theme he explores.

 

Please do share and use these messages:

Video link : https://vimeo.com/261914011

This page : http://esban.net/negespasg2018

Facebook Linkhttps://www.facebook.com/Bangor546/posts/2083244505037697

Twitter Link : https://twitter.com/EsgobaethBangor/status/978593714099703814

 

 


 

 

Less Monster, More Hope

Recent examples of trolling on social media again raise questions about the extent to which the platform shows human behaviour at its worst rather than anything like its best. Even humorous and innocent interactions can invite scorn, derision and vilification. Is it any wonder the word ‘monster’ has become a verb to describe how to debase and destroy? When individuals are savaged from the safe distance of online anonymity, they are in effect ‘monstered’.

I find myself pondering the Easter story this year with new eyes as a result. A man is taken and physically brutalised in one of the most shocking and excruciating forms of torture known to humankind. But the motives and ambitions that led to this murder are more shocking still. It isn’t enough to snuff out any threat he posed, he must be ridiculed, parodied, humiliated and finally monstered by mock trial, stripped and finally crucified.

If this marked the end of the affair, it would have been deeply depressing. But when those who saw Jesus on Easter morning told their story, it wasn’t simply the fact he wasn’t in a tomb any longer. They spoke how, alive again, he changed their lives, he opened for them a way that was different, more whole and more real. He didn’t say life would be a bed of roses nor that they wouldn’t continue with struggles, but he showed them the reality of their lives, what was in their hearts and then how to be shaped by a God who isn’t defeated by death.

And this is what makes Easter a time of hope. It’s the message that my life, and yours, can be changed and marked less by the grime of bleak cynicism. What’s on offer is way of being human and real, which lifts us above this. And when all of life is embraced in this way, it’s no less extraordinary than what happened in a garden tomb 2000 years ago.

+Andrew Bangor

 

On Saturday 24th February, Bangor Cathedral hosted Bangor University’s Confucius Institute and several hundred guests to celebrate Chinese New Year. The guests included The Mayor of Bangor, Councillor Derek Hainge, and the Director of the Confucius Institute, Dr David Joyner.

The Cathedral was full and people enjoyed a procession of dragons, colourful costumes and even a panda which made its way around the city.

This was followed by an over an hour of music, dance, martial arts and drama, performed by young people and others.

Canon Nathan Jarvis, the Church in Wales Chaplain to Bangor University said, ‘It was a wonderful day filled with the most amazing talent and a great opportunity for the city to come together within our ancient cathedral. We have so much talent within Bangor and this was a great way to showcase Chinese culture.’

The Bishop of Bangor – the Right Reverend Andy John – is announcing the creation of two new archdeaconries, the Archdeaconry of Bangor and the Archdeaconry of Anglesey. The two archdeaconries were previously one archdeaconry. A new Archdeacon will be appointed to each Archdeaconry.

Read more here : bangor.eglwysyngnghymru.org.uk/newyddion/2018/01/04/archddiaconiaeth-newydd/

The Bishop of Bangor – the Right Reverend Andrew John – is pleased release his Christmas messages.
 
His written message (below) entitled #bestadvert refers to two popular Christmas adverts and the unexpected places where God is found.
Bishop Andy’s video Christmas message includes a focus on the role of foodbanks during the Christmas season.
 
Please do share and use these messages.
Please do visit our new diocesan website : bangor.churchinwales.org.uk
 
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#bestadvert
 
It’s become something of a competition to win the accolade of ‘best advert’ at Christmas.
 
Yet again, John Lewis made the running with #MozTheMonster and delivered the line ‘For gifts that brighten their world’ to press home the point. I defy anyone to watch it without a smile on their face.
 
However, for me the winner has to be a small business from a town in mid-Wales: Hafod Hardware of Rhayader, Powys and their advert ‘Delivering magic this Christmas’. The video tracks the efforts to deliver presents before the big day and the consequent exhaustion felt by the motorcycle rider. At the end of the day he falls into deepest slumber waking to find someone has wrapped his own gifts. His Christmas really begins as his baby crawls into view sharing the joy and excitement of the moment. 
 
A small and quiet Rhayader shop taking the award looks like another instance of the small and local trouncing mega businesses. 
 
It’s worth noting that when Jesus was born, that too happened in one of the quieter villages in Palestine. The busyness of a world caught up with its empires and Caesars had no time for the sleepy backwater of Bethlehem. What happened was invisible to many and captured the attention of only a few – and those who turned up weren’t what we might call the ‘crème de la crème’ – drovers of sheep and the kind of folk you wouldn’t normally invite to the event of the century. 
 
This is, of course, the point. When God shows up you shouldn’t expect to look in kings’ palaces and among the great and the good. That’s not God’s way. You need to look in the unexpected places and among the marginalised because somehow God always shows up there. When we find God like this, angels still sing their song. 
 
But there’s another reason why, for me, the Hafod advert takes the prize: their strapline is the real clincher. And I think it can serve as a reminder of what the birth of Christ means today as it did then: ‘Delivering magic this Christmas’. I pray you might discover something of that magic in your own celebrations. 
 
May I wish you all a very merry Christmas.
 
+Andrew Bangor

In 2015 the Diocese of Bangor and the United Dioceses of Meath and Kildare in the Church of Ireland launched a partnership link.

This week the clergy of the two dioceses are joining together for a 2-day conference in Llandudno. In advance of the arrival of our visitors from Ireland, we asked the Bishop of Meath and Kildare, the Most Rev’d Pat Storey, a few questions about her diocese and the link between dioceses in Ireland and Wales.

 

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Bishop Pat, can you tell us about your Diocese of Meath and Kildare?

The Diocese of Meath and Kildare is based around the Midlands of the Republic of Ireland and meanders into several counties, from Kingscourt in the north, to Athlone in the West, and Mountmellick in the south.

There are seventeen parishes and a busy Church of Ireland secondary school, with around 25 clergy who are in full time or non stipendiary ministry. As it is a wide geographical area and few in the number of full time clergy, we are heavily reliant on a very faithful band of diocesan readers and retired clergy.

The recent census revealed that around the dioceses of the Church of Ireland, around 15% of those claiming to be Church of Ireland, attend church regularly – so there is much work to do! Most parishes in the diocese have a Church of Ireland primary school attached to the parish.

The Diocese of Meath and the Diocese of Kildare were united in 1976. Does this mean that the Diocese is now effectively one diocese, or are there still differences within your Diocese?

The Diocese of Meath and Kildare was united in 1976, and is a very tight union now, even though it took time for assimilation at the time. In discussions around changing borders of dioceses at General Synod, Meath and Kildare was very firm on wanting to stay together and not be split up, having worked so hard to belong to  each other. There are two cathedrals – in Kildare town and in Trim – and the diocese now very much operates as one entity.

The Bishop’s title ‘Most Reverend’ comes from the ancient times in Ireland of the High Kings. It is thought that because of its geography near Armagh and Dublin, Meath was designated the third most important diocese and the bishop was given the title ‘Most Reverend’ by one of the high kings of Ireland.

 

What are the positive aspects of life in your Diocese, for which you give thanks to God?

Meath and Kildare is a very happy diocese, and we are all very grateful for that. Due to the fact that there are not that many of us, there is not space or indeed appetite for factions or for fighting amongst ourselves. That is a huge positive.

We live in a beautiful part of the island if Ireland. People are warm, open, and grateful for their clergy. They appreciate and look for spiritual leadership. The diocese has spent a few years now establishing a vision into the future, and some priorities, in order to place that vision firmly rooted in the ground.

Our vision is ‘together in God’s love, transforming lives’.

Our three priorities are: discipleship; the provision of ministry into the future, and a diocesan social justice project.

So far we have run a Pilgrim Course (discipleship), a very successful project around the prevention of leprosy (social justice), and we are working presently at the provision of ministry into the future (looking at ordained local ministry), and we are holding a full diocesan review in 2018.

 

We all have challenges! What are the main challenges for your Diocese at present?

We are just like everywhere else – our numbers are not as strong as we would like and Ireland is becoming more secular. We are 3% of the general population in the Republic, and that brings challenges of its own. How do you maintain your identity, especially when younger generations are in ‘mixed marriages’ or are not continuing a Christian identity at all?

Our principal challenges are likely to be shared around the rural southern dioceses of the Church of Ireland: rising secularism; maintaining the next generation; creative liturgy and worship; a heart for outreach and evangelism; resisting simply managing decline.

Since the link between our Dioceses was launched in 2015, a team from Bangor has visited Meath and Kildare, and there was a joint youth weekend in Holyhead this year, amongst other things. What are your hopes for the link between our Dioceses?

We hope that we will learn from one another and encourage one another, and that we might even have something to offer too! There is a special relationship when two dioceses spend time getting to know one another, sharing some things in common and also learning how differently we could approach our joys and sorrows.

Time spent together is important, even though there is a body of water between us, but I hope that at least once or twice each year we can meet up and share our lives and ministries with each other so that on each side of the Irish Channel, we can be becoming better people and more faithful ministers of the gospel.

Do you have a favourite worship song or hymn?

I love Matt Redman’s ’10,000 Reasons’, simply because I am a very thankful person. I feel that I have been really richly blessed and I can find, on my good days, 10,000 reasons to feel that I am very fortunate indeed.

My favourite traditional hymn is ‘O the deep, deep love of Jesus’. The words are amazing and it speaks for itself!

 

And finally Bishop Pat, could you share a Bible verse or passage with us, which you are reflecting on at present?

Isaiah 50.4 has always been a verse that I hold on to and that challenges me:

The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.’

What a challenge that presents! We are not given gifts to use for ourselves, but to make sure that the lives of others are better for having been with us. That is an ongoing endeavour in my own life and ministry. Some days I feel like I am winning, and other days ….. I feel very human!

Thank you, Bishop Pat.

 

 

Today (Thursday 9 November 2017) has seen the opening of Ysgol Cybi, the new Church in Wales primary school, serving Holyhead. The school opened it’s doors to pupils for the first time in September, but today has seen the official opening by Kirsty Williams – the Welsh Assembly Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Education. As part of the opening ceremonies, the new school building was blessed by the Bishop of Bangor, the Right Reverend Andy John.

Ysgol Cybi has been developed on the site of Holyhead’s former Cybi School. It serves the catchment area which was previously served by 3 schools – Ysgol y Parchedig Thomas Ellis, Ysgol y Parc and Ysgol Llaingoch. With places for 540 pupils, as well as 76 nursery places, Ysgol Cybi has become the largest Church in Wales primary school in North Wales.  The Headteacher is Mr. Trystan Roberts, previously the Headteacher at Ysgol Kingsland, another of Holyhead’s primary schools.

Commenting on the opening of Ysgol Cybi, Mrs Anest Gray Frazer – the Diocese of Bangor’s Director of Education and Engagement – said, ‘It has taken almost 8 years to arrive at this moment – the first new church school in the Diocese of Bangor since 1994. The Diocese is thrilled to have been able to work with the Isle of Anglesey County Council to ensure that school reorganisation has retained church school primary provision in Holyhead. The Council and Welsh Assembly Government have then delivered an education facility which is genuinely ready for the 21st Century education requirements of the pupils of Ysgol Cybi. It will be very exciting to see the school develop as a community, as well as a Church school.’

The Right Rev’d Andrew John, Bishop of Bangor, commented, ‘It has been a privilege to take part in the ceremony today and to bless this new school community in its new school building. Building a community is all about developing people and relationships, and I hope and pray that Ysgol Cybi will be able to build on the achievements and strengths of the schools which have gone before it, and become a genuine Christian community which reaches out and enables all of its pupils to fulfil their God-given potential.’

Ysgol Cybi’s Governors