A Pastoral Letter to all the Faithful Llythyr Bugeiliol at yr holl Ffyddloniaid

A Pastoral Letter to all the Faithful, Wednesday, 1st April, 2020

Christ is Risen!
He is risen indeed, hallelujah!
It is not quite time for this acclamation yet, and when we do proclaim it at the
end of next week, it will probably have to be like the Italians, and proclaimed from
our balconies (where we have them). What a joy filled acclamation it is!
I noticed a post on social media the other day which said something like: “I never
expected my Lent to be as Lenten as my Lent has been.” Never mind giving up
the alcohol, we’ve had milk and toilet paper to worry about, and we’ve all had to
give up seeing friends, family and others. Who would have thought that we’d be
giving up Church for Lent? As for buying chocolate Easter eggs, do they count as
among the necessities for which we’re allowed to shop?
That first Easter Day, we’re told that an intrepid small huddle of disciples arrived
at Jesus’ tomb while it was still dark, and discovered that the anointing of the
body that they had come to do was impossible. Jesus was not there, “he is risen”.
That astounding claim is at the heart of our Christian message, that God in Christ
was too strong to be held by the chains of death, and that new life, risen life,
broke through.
The current circumstances, though very tough, are not as tough as the Influenza
outbreak after the First World War, or the Black Death that took a third of British
lives in the fourteenth century. The nation, and the Church, will come through
it, although I cannot minimise the fear that some must feel at the possibility of
huge risk to themselves.
In such circumstances, we must put our faith in the Lord. Whether we succumb
to the virus, or whether we endure, we, who put our faith in Christ, are his, and
his promise is that he will never let us go in life, in illness or, if it comes to that, in
death –neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor
things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all
creation, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus
our Lord. (Romans 8.38,39)
And the guarantee of all this is given in Christ’s own resurrection, since he is the
firstborn from the dead (Colossians 1.18).
However, resurrection can come before the last day. God can grant us little
resurrections of the spirit of love, of generosity, or co-operation, and of hope, as
we walk with him through the valley of the shadow of death. These are not trivial,
they are the warp and weft out of which fullness of life is woven.
I urge you all to renew your faith in the risen Lord. I urge you to take next week,
Holy Week, seriously, and to travel with Jesus through Jerusalem to Gethsemane
and beyond. I urge you to hold out your hand that the Lord may take it, whatever
paths we have to walk, that he may impart hope and love and grace.
And let us pray like we’ve never prayed before. In the year 590AD, Rome was in
the clutches of plague, and my namesake, Pope Gregory, led a procession
through Rome praying for God to spare his people and bring an end to the
disease. It is said that when he arrived as the foot of the tomb of the Emperor
Hadrian, he was given a vision of the archangel Michael sheathing his sword,
which Gregory interpreted at a sign of the end of the plague. So it came to pass,
and the tomb was given a new name, so that you can visit the Castel Sant’Angelo,
the Castle of the Angel, to this day.
If I organised a procession today, the police would nab me for breaking
government regulations. They would be right, because the regulations have been
made to keep us safe, and anyway, I’m not sure that I would see Michael, or any
other angel, atop the Cathedral tower; but we can pray this prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, you suffered death and burial for our sakes,
And rose again to save us.
We beseech you to hear us when we pray to you,
and in the midst of our tribulation, set us free.
Remove from us the threat of this virus, if it be your will,
but in all things, give us love, give us hope, give us strength.
Amen.

Llythyr Bugeiliol at yr holl Ffyddloniaid, dydd Mercher, 1 Ebrill 2020

Cododd Crist!
Cododd yn wir, haleliwia!
Nid yw’n adeg bonllefain fel hyn, ac eto, pan fyddwn yn gwneud hynny ddiwedd
yr wythnos nesaf, mae’n debyg y bydd yn rhaid i ni fod fel yr Eidalwyr a bonllefain
o’n balconïau (os oes gennym ni un). A bonllef llawn llawenydd yw hon!
Sylwais ar bost ar y cyfryngau cymdeithasol y diwrnod o’r blaen yn dweud
rhywbeth fel hyn: “Wnes i erioed disgwyl i’m Grawys fod mor Rawysol ag y mae
fy Ngrawys wedi bod.” Peidiwch â sôn am roi gorau i alcohol, prinder llaeth a
phapur tŷ bach ôl sy’n ein poeni erbyn hyn a does yr un ohonom yn gallu mynd i
weld ffrindiau, teulu na neb arall chwaith. Pwy fyddai wedi meddwl y byddai’n
rhaid i ni roi’r gorau i Eglwys dros y Grawys? Ac am brynu wyau Pasg, ydyn nhw’n
cael eu cyfrif ymysg y hanfodion y cawn ni fynd i’r siopau i’w prynu?
Ar Sul y Pasg cyntaf, rydym yn clywed am griw bach gwrol o ddisgyblion yn
cyrraedd bedd Iesu tra roedd dal yn dywyll a darganfod nad oedd yn bosibl
gwireddu ei bwriad o eneinio’r corff. Nid oedd Iesu yno, “mae wedi’i gyfodi”.
Yr honiad syfrdanol hwnnw sydd wrth wraidd ein neges Gristnogol, fod Duw yng
Nghrist yn rhy gryf i’w gaethiwo gan gadwyni marwolaeth a bod bywyd newydd,
bywyd atgyfodedig, wedi ymddangos.
Nid yw’r amgylchiadau presennol, er yn anodd iawn, mor anodd ag yr oedd hi
adeg y Ffliw ar ôl y Rhyfel Mawr, neu’r Pla Du pan fu farw traean o boblogaeth
Prydain yn y bedwaredd ganrif ar ddeg. Daw’r genedl, a’r Eglwys, trwyddi, er,
dydw i ddim yn bychannu’r ofn y mae’n rhaid fod rhai bobl yn ei deimlo wrth
feddwl eu bod mewn cymaint o berygl ar hyn o bryd.
Mewn amgylchiadau fel hyn, mae’n rhaid i ni roi’n ffydd yn yr Arglwydd. Yn cael
ein taro gan y feirws ai peidio, yn goddef ai peidio, rydym ni, sy’n rhoi ein ffydd
yng Nghrist, yn perthyn iddo, a’i addewid yw na fydd byth yn ein gadael mewn
bywyd, mewn salwch neu, os y daw i hynny, mewn marwolaeth – ni all angau nac
einioes nac angylion na thywysogaethau, na’r presennol na’r dyfodol, na
grymusterau nac uchelderau na dyfnderau na dim arall a grëwyd ein gwahanu ni
oddi wrth gariad Duw yng Nghrist Iesu ein Harglwydd. (Rhufeiniaid 8.38,39)
A’r warant dros hyn i gyd yw atgyfodiad Crist ei hun, y cyntaf anedig ymhlith y
meirw (Colosiaid 1.18).
Fodd bynnag, gallai atgyfodiad gyrraedd cyn y dydd olaf. Mae Duw yn gallu rhoi
atgyfodiadau bychain i ni – o ysbryd cariad, o haelioni neu o gydweithredu a
gobaith, wrth i ni gerdded gydag Ef trwy glyn cysgod angau. Nid pethau pitw yw’r
rhain, nhw yw ein hyd a’n lled ac allan ohonyn nhw mae cyflawnder bywyd yn
ymddangos.
Rwy’n annog pob un ohonoch i adnewyddu’ch ffydd yn yr Arglwydd atgyfodedig.
Rwy’n eich annog i gymryd yr wythnos nesaf, yr Wythnos Fawr, o ddifrif ac i
deithio gydag Iesu trwy Jeriwsalem i Gethsemane a thu hwnt. Rwy’n eich annog
i ddal eich dwylo allan er mwyn i’r Arglwydd eu cymryd, pa lwybrau bynnag y bydd
yn rhaid i ni eu cerdded, er mwyn iddo roi gobaith, cariad a gras.
A gadewch i ni weddïo fwy nag erioed o’r blaen. Yn y flwyddyn 590AD, roedd
Rhufain yng ngafael pla ac arweiniodd y Pab Gregory, yr un enw â mi, gyda llaw,
orymdaith trwy Rhufain yn gweddïo ar i Dduw arbed ei bobl a dod â’r afiechyd i
ben. Yn ôl y sôn, pan gyrhaeddodd fedd yr Ymerawdwr Hadrian, cafodd
weledigaeth o’r archangel Mihangel yn rhoi ei gleddyf yn ei gwain, a dehonglodd
Gregory hyn fel arwydd fod y pla ar ben. Ac felly y bu, a chafodd y bedd enw
newydd, Castel Sant’Angelo, Castell yr Angel, a gallwch ddal i fynd yno hyd
heddiw.
Petawn i’n trefnu gorymdaith heddiw, byddai’r heddlu’n gafael yn fy ngholer am
dorri rheoliadau’r llywodraeth. Nhw fyddai’n iawn, oherwydd mae’r rhain wedi’u
gwneud i’n cadw ni’n ddiogel a beth bynnag, dydw i ddim yn yn siŵr a fyddwn i’n
gweld Mihangel, nac unrhyw angel arall, ar ben tŵr yr Eglwys Gadeiriol; ond fe
allwn weddio’r gweddi hon:
Arglwydd Iesu Grist, dioddefaist farwolaeth a chefaist dy gladdu er ein
mwyn ni,
Ac atgyfodaist eto i’n hachub.
Rydym yn erfyn arnat ti i wrando arnom pan fyddwn ni’n gweddïo arnat ti,
ac yng nghanol ein trallod, rhyddha ni.
Gwareda ni rhag bygythiad y feirws hwn, os mai dyna yw dy ewyllys,
ond ym mhob peth, rhoi i ni gariad, rhoi i ni obaith, rhoi i ni nerth.
Amen.

CORONAVIRUS – COVID19 FURTHER PASTORAL GUIDANCE CORONAFIRWS – COVID19 CANLLAWIAU BUGEILIOL PELLACH

CORONAVIRUS – COVID19
FURTHER PASTORAL GUIDANCE
FROM THE BENCH OF BISHOPS OF THE CHURCH IN WALES
EFFECTIVE UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
Updated guidance
Since our pastoral guidance dated 24 March was distributed, the Government’s guidance on social distancing
and staying at home has been codified into law. The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales)
Regulations 2020 contain many wide-ranging provisions, including legal confirmation that our places of
worship must remain closed to the public. In light of the Welsh Government Regulations, we have made
some minor amendments to our pastoral guidance, and this document contains the up-to-date version.
Church buildings
All church buildings remain closed until further notice. This means churches must not be open for public
worship or solitary prayer.
Worship has been recorded and broadcast both commendably and effectively from parsonages over recent
days. Whilst the Welsh Government Regulations now permit a cleric to record or broadcast a service
(without a congregation) from church buildings, the desirability and advisability of doing so will vary between
different contexts. Individual Bishops will advise further on this matter within their respective dioceses and
any such events should be held only in strict accordance with those diocesan guidelines, or with the explicit
permission of the diocesan Bishop.
The Welsh Government Regulations also permit clergy to visit their churches, and for other church officers
and volunteers to visit churches only to undertake a voluntary or charitable duty, where it is not reasonably
practicable to undertake that duty from home. It is therefore possible for essential and urgent site
inspections to be undertaken by clerics, or by another person nominated by the Incumbent, Ministry/Mission
Area Leader, Area Dean or Archdeacon. We ask that such visits are kept to an absolute minimum.
The use of church buildings for essential voluntary services (such as existing foodbanks, soup kitchens and
homeless shelters) is permitted by the Welsh Government Regulations. Church buildings may also, upon the
request of the Welsh Ministers or a local authority, be used to provide urgent public services. All reasonable
measures should be taken to ensure that social distancing practices and other hygiene precautions are
followed while those services are provided. Any new use of a church building for essential voluntary / public
services should be expressly supported by the incumbent or Area Dean and the diocesan bishop.
Further guidance on the care and use of church buildings is being issued by the officers of the Representative
Body.
Pastoral visiting
Clergy and others duly licensed or commissioned should exercise their ordinary pastoral ministry from a
distance, by phone and online. Pastoral visits should only be undertaken where essential; such visits should
generally be to the doorstep and social distancing measures must be scrupulously observed. Individual
Bishops may issue more detailed advice to their clergy on what they consider to be ‘essential’ visits and may
be consulted by clergy in any cases of doubt.
Funerals
Funeral services should not take place in churches at the current time. In this case, we are going a step
further than legally required, but we believe that the wellbeing of mourners, ministers and other church
officers are best served by this additional precaution. Graveside funerals may continue but should now be
understood to be private funerals with no more than ten immediate family and friends in attendance, and
with social distancing practised among mourners not of the same household. Clergy and others duly licensed
may preside at funerals in crematoria, at which we expect numbers to be strictly limited by the crematoria
authorities, with hygiene precautions specified by the authorities, and with social distancing practised among
mourners.
Marriage
Marriages and marriage blessings can no longer take place in churches. If a couple wish to marry because of
an extreme pastoral emergency, it may be possible to obtain an Archbishop of Canterbury’s Special Licence
for a wedding outside of a church, and clergy should discuss the matter with their diocesan bishop before
then contacting the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Faculty Office at faculty.office@1thesanctuary.com.
Baptism
Baptisms can no longer take place in churches, and should only take place at home, hospital, hospice or other
location in case of an extreme pastoral emergency, where baptism may be administered by a lay person. The
order for emergency baptism is appended below.
Prayer and witness
The duty of the people of God to witness to Christ is not diminished at this time; neither is our obligation
to pray without ceasing for our communities and all in need. We commend all that is being done in God’s
service to care pastorally for our communities, and to enable worship, prayer and devotion to continue at
home.
We continue to hold all who are anxious, all who are unwell, and all who are grieving in our prayers, asking
that the presence of the risen Christ may be near to us all and give us assurance, peace and strength at this
painful and anxious time.
AN ORDER FOR EMERGENCY BAPTISM
In an emergency, if no ordained minister is available, a lay person may be the minister of baptism. Before baptizing,
the minister should ask the name of the infant / person to be baptized. If, for any reason, there is uncertainty as to
the infant / person’s name, the baptism can be properly administered without a name (so long as the identity of the
person baptized can be duly recorded).
The following form is sufficient:
The minister pours water on the person to be baptized, saying
I baptize you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.
Then all may say the Lord’s Prayer and the Grace.
Any person who has administered baptism privately in an emergency should make a careful record of the date and
place of baptism and of the identity of the person baptised. He / she should forward details to the parish priest as
soon as possible and without delay.
The parish priest should ensure that the customary record is entered in the baptismal register.
The Bench of Bishops
31 March 2020
CORONAFIRWS – COVID19
CANLLAWIAU BUGEILIOL PELLACH
ODDI WRTH FAINC ESGOBION YR EGLWYS YNG NGHYMRU
MEWN GRYM NES CLYWIR YN WAHANOL
Canllawiau wedi’u diweddaru
Ers dosbarthu’n canllawiau bugeiliol sy’n ddyddiedig 24 Mawrth, mae canllawiau’r Llywodraeth ar bellhau
cymdeithasol ac aros gartref wedi eu mynegi’n gyfreithiol. Mae Rheoliadau Diogelu Iechyd (Cyfyngiadau
Coronafirws) (Cymru) 2020 yn cynnwys nifer o ddarpariaethau eang, gan gynnwys cadarnhad cyfreithiol bod
yn rhaid i’n haddoldai aros ar gau i’r cyhoedd. Yng ngoleuni Rheoliadau Llywodraeth Cymru, rydym wedi
gwneud rhai mân newidiadau i’n canllawiau bugeiliol, a’r ddogfen hon yw’r fersiwn gyfredol.
Adeiladau eglwysig
Mae pob adeilad eglwysig yn parhau i fod ar gau nes bydd rhybudd pellach. Mae hyn yn golygu na ddylai
eglwysi fod yn agored ar gyfer addoliad cyhoeddus nac ar gyfer gweddi bersonol.
Bu i addoliad clodwiw ac effeithiol gael ei recordio a’i ddarlledu o bersondai dros y dyddiau diwethaf. Tra bo
Rheoliadau Llywodraeth Cymru yn awr yn caniatáu i glerig recordio neu ddarlledu gwasanaeth (heb
gynulleidfa) o adeiladau eglwysig, bydd dymunoldeb a doethineb gwneud hynny yn amrywio rhwng gwahanol
gyd-destunau. Bydd Esgobion unigol yn cynghori ymhellach ar y mater hwn yn eu priod esgobaethau a dylid
cynnal unrhyw ddigwyddiadau o’r fath yn unol yn llwyr â’r canllawiau esgobaethol hynny, neu gyda chaniatâd
penodol yr Esgob cadeiriol.
Mae Rheoliadau Llywodraeth Cymru hefyd yn caniatáu i glerigion ymweld â’u heglwysi, ac i swyddogion a
gwirfoddolwyr eglwysig eraill ymweld ag eglwysi i gyflawni dyletswydd wirfoddol neu elusennol yn unig, lle
nad yw’n rhesymol ymarferol cyflawni’r ddyletswydd honno gartref. Felly mae’n bosibl i glerigion, neu berson
arall a enwebwyd gan y Periglor, Arweinydd yr Ardal Weinidogaeth/Genhadaeth, Deon Bro neu
Archddiacon, gynnal archwiliadau safle hanfodol a phan fo’u dwys angen. Gofynnwn i ymweliadau o’r fath
ddigwydd mor anaml ag a ellir.
Mae Rheoliadau Llywodraeth Cymru yn caniatáu defnyddio adeiladau eglwysig ar gyfer gwasanaethau
gwirfoddol hanfodol (megis y banciau bwyd, ceginau cawl a llochesi i’r digartref sydd eisioes yn cael eu cynnal).
Gellir hefyd defnyddio adeiladau eglwysig, ar gais Gweinidogion Cymru neu awdurdod lleol, i ddarparu
gwasanaethau cyhoeddus brys. Dylid cymryd pob mesur rhesymol i sicrhau bod arferion pellhau cymdeithasol
a rhagofalon hylendid eraill yn cael eu dilyn wrth i’r gwasanaethau hynny gael eu darparu. Dylai unrhyw
ddefnydd newydd o adeilad eglwysig ar gyfer gwasanaethau gwirfoddol / cyhoeddus hanfodol gael ei gefnogi’n
benodol gan y periglor neu’r Deon Bro a’r esgob cadeiriol.
Mae swyddogion Corff y Cynrychiolwyr yn cyhoeddi arweiniad pellach ar ofal a’r defnydd o adeiladau
eglwysig.
Ymweld bugeiliol
Dylai clerigion ac eraill sydd wedi’u trwyddedu neu eu comisiynu’n briodol arfer eu gweinidogaeth fugeiliol
arferol o bell, dros y ffôn ac ar-lein. Dim ond pan fo’n hanfodol y dylid cynnal ymweliadau bugeiliol; yn
gyffredinol dylai ymweliadau o’r fath fod at stepen y drws a rhaid cadw’n llym at fesurau pellhau cymdeithasol.
Gall Esgobion unigol gyhoeddi cyngor manylach i’w clerigion ar yr hyn y maent yn ei ystyried yn ymweliadau
‘hanfodol’ a gall clerigion ymgynghori â hwy pan fo amheuaeth.
Angladdau
Ni all gwasanaethau angladd gymryd lle mewn eglwysi ar hyn o bryd. Yn yr achos hwn, rydym yn mynd gam
ymhellach na’r hyn sy’n ofynnol yn gyfreithiol, ond credwn dyma’r rhagofal ychwanegol hwn yw’r ffordd orau
o amddiffyn lles galarwyr, gweinidogion a swyddogion eglwysig. Erbyn hyn dylai angladdau wrth lan y bedd
fod yn angladdau sydd fwy neu lai yn breifat gyda dim mwy na deg aelod o’r teulu agos neu ffrindiau yn
bresennol, a gyda phellter cymdeithasol yn cael ei arfer ymhlith galarwyr nad ydynt o’r un aelwyd. Gall
clerigion ac eraill sydd â thrwydded briodol lywyddu mewn angladdau mewn amlosgfeydd, lle rydym yn
disgwyl y bydd niferoedd yn cael eu cyfyngu’n llym gan awdurdodau’r amlosgfeydd, gyda rhagofalon hylendid
wedi’u nodi gan yr awdurdodau, a gyda phellter cymdeithasol yn cael ei arfer ymhlith galarwyr.
Priodas
Ni all priodasau na bendithio priodsas ddigwydd mewn eglwysi mwyach. Os yw cwpl yn dymuno priodi
oherwydd argyfwng bugeiliol eithafol, efallai y bydd yn bosibl cael Trwydded Arbennig Archesgob Caergaint
ar gyfer priodas y tu hwnt i’r eglwys, a dylai clerigion drafod y mater gyda’u hesgob cadeiriol cyn cysylltu â
Swyddfa Hawleb Archesgob Caergaint ar faculty.office@1thesanctuary.com.
Bedydd
Ni all bedyddiadau ddigwydd mwyach mewn eglwysi, a dim ond gartref a mewn ysbyty, hosbis neu leoliad
arall y dylid eu cynnal mewn argyfwng bugeiliol eithafol, lle gall bedydd gael ei weinyddu gan berson lleyg.
Mae’r drefn ar gyfer bedydd mewn argyfwng wedi’i atodi isod.
Gweddïo a thystiolaethu
Nid yw dyletswydd pobl Dduw i dystiolaethu i Grist wedi ei leihau un dim, na’r alwad ddwyfol i weddïo’n
ddi-baid dros ein cymunedau a phawb mewn angen. Rydym yn cymeradwyo popeth sy’n cael ei wneud yng
ngwasanaeth Duw i ofalu’n fugeiliol dros ein cymunedau, ac i alluogi addoliad, gweddi a defosiwn i barhau ar
yr aelwyd.
Rydym yn parhau i gynnal yn ein gweddïau bawb sy’n bryderus, pawb sy’n sâl, a phawb sy’n galaru, gan erfyn
ar i bresenoldeb y Crist atgyfodedig fod wastad gerllaw, yn rhoi inni fendithion sicrwydd, tangnefedd a nerth
yn y dyddiau poenus a phryderus hyn.
BEDYDDIO MEWN ARGYFWNG
Mewn argyfwng, onid oes gweinidog ordeiniedig ar gael, gall person lleyg weinyddu bedydd. Cyn bedyddio, dylai’r
gweinidog ofyn am enw’r plentyn / person sydd i’w fedyddio. Os oes amheuaeth, am ba reswm bynnag, ynglŷn â’r
enw, gellir gweinyddu’r bedydd heb enw (ar yr amod y gellir cofnodi’n gywir pwy yn union a fedyddiwyd).
Y mae’r ffurf a ganlyn yn ddigonol:
Y mae’r gweinidog yn tywallt dŵr ar y sawl sydd i’w fedyddio, gan ddweud
Yr wyf yn dy fedyddio di yn Enw’r Tad a’r Mab a’r Ysbryd Glân.
Amen.
Yna gall pawb ddweud Gweddi’r Arglwydd a’r Gras.
Rhaid i bwy bynnag a weinyddodd fedydd preifat mewn argyfwng wneud cofnod gofalus o ddyddiad a lleoliad y bedydd
ac o’r y person a fedyddiwyd. Dylid anfon y manylion at offeiriad y plwyf yn ddi-oed.
Cofnodir y bedydd yng nghofrestr y bedyddiadau yn y modd arferol.
Mainc yr Esgobion
31 Mawrth 2020

Passion Sunday

Today is Passion Sunday, the fifth Sunday of Lent and the beginning of Passiontide. The word comes from the Latin word passio, meaning suffering, as remembrance of the terrible death of Jesus draws near during these last two weeks of Lent. As the global pandemic of Covid-19 continues to inflict such worldwide suffering, Passiontide may have an added significance for many this year. These extraordinary times can bring out both the best and the worst in those living through them, as headline events have shown – and perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised about what’s happening. For it’s also forty years since Archbishop Oscar Romero was martyred for speaking out about human rights violations in El Salvador and, as he said: “The word of God is like the light of the sun: it illuminates beautiful things but also things we would rather not see”.
The word of God set for today as the Gospel is John 11:1-45 and, in it, sisters Mary and Martha send a message to Jesus about their brother Lazarus: “Lord, the one you love is sick”. Later, after Lazarus has died, the shortest Bible verse tells us that “Jesus wept”, reminding us that this is no automaton, but One who feels pain, sorrow and grief just as we do. 
It may be that, today, we are worried about our loved ones being or becoming sick, fearful that we will catch Covid-19 and anxious about all that is being enforced in our lives and what may lie ahead. Perhaps we, too, weep as did Jesus. Oscar Romero’s words remind us that there are things we would rather not see or have to deal with – but, each day, God’s word and our prayers will also show us beautiful things being illuminated too. At times like this, we have consciously to look for them and not allow negativity or hopelessness to overshadow them – amidst the suffering, what are the beautiful things you have also seen recently? 
The photo is of a Celtic cross placed on the altar here at St Melangell’s this Passion Sunday as a statement of hope in the circumstances we all now face. Melangell’s story suggests that she may have spent possibly ten solitary years in the valley before her encounter with Brochwel – may her example hearten us as weeks and possibly months of confinement and restriction lie ahead. The cross has four figures detailed on it and could represent those we bring to God in prayer as Passiontide begins. This season may focus on the passion of Jesus, but it also eventually leads on to a new way of being which we may also discover when Covid-19 is eventually overcome, as it will be. Even as the ongoing suffering and the death of his loved ones is acknowledged by Jesus, he also proclaims the future hope and unfolding beauty of the resurrection life to which his death would, in time, lead. His words also speak to us as we face all that lies ahead:
“I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will live, even though they die; and those who live and believe in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
With my prayers,
Chris
Priest Guardian.

Pastoral Guidance

CORONAVIRUS – COVID19
FURTHER PASTORAL GUIDANCE
FROM THE BENCH OF BISHOPS OF THE CHURCH IN WALES
EFFECTIVE UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
The background
The Prime Minister has told us all that, in order to slow the spread of coronavirus at this critical time, we
must stay at home other than for very limited purposes about which helpful guidance has been given.
We may go outside:
• To shop for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, but should do so as infrequently as
possible.
• For health reasons, medical need, or to provide care or help for a vulnerable person.
• For one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle, alone or with members of our
household.
• For travel to and from essential work, as defined by the government, and only where this work
cannot be done from home.
If leaving home:
• We must stay 2 metres – about 6 feet – away from other people.
• We should wash our hands on returning home.
Church buildings
We know that our churches have always been places of sanctuary, peace and wellbeing. However, it is now
clear that health and healing are best served by church buildings being closed. All church buildings should
therefore be closed until further notice. This means churches should not be open for solitary prayer. Any
exception from this action (other than as noted below) should only take place with the diocesan bishop’s
express permission.
Where worship is to be broadcast or recorded, it is preferable to do so from home. Clergy who live
immediately adjacent to churches may do so from the church, but the doors should be locked and others
should not be invited to be present.
An exception may be made, if necessary, to open church buildings to host existing foodbanks, soup kitchens
and homeless shelters. However, these church buildings should be open for this purpose alone, and all
appropriate hygiene precautions should be taken.
Pastoral visiting
Clergy and others duly licensed or commissioned should exercise their pastoral ministry from a distance, by
phone and online. Pastoral visits should only be undertaken because of an extreme pastoral emergency when
the presence of a priest or deacon is exceptionally required. Bishops are able to give advice on what might
constitute an extreme pastoral emergency
Funerals
No funeral services can take place in church. Graveside funerals should now be understood to be private
funerals with no more than ten immediate family and friends in attendance, and with social distancing
practised among mourners not of the same household. Clergy and others duly licensed may preside at
funerals in crematoria, at which we expect numbers to be strictly limited by the crematoria authorities, with
hygiene precautions specified by the authorities, and with social distancing practised among mourners.
Marriage
Marriages or marriage blessings can no longer take place in churches. If a couple wish to marry because of
an extreme pastoral emergency, it may be possible to obtain an Archbishop of Canterbury’s Special Licence,
and clergy should discuss the matter with their diocesan bishop before then contacting the Archbishop of
Canterbury’s Faculty Office at faculty.office@1thesanctuary.com.
Baptism
Baptisms can no longer take place in churches, and should only take place at home, hospital, hospice or other
location in case of an extreme pastoral emergency, where baptism may be administered by a lay person. The
order for emergency baptism is appended below.
Prayer and witness
The duty of the people of God to witness to Christ is not diminished at this time; neither is our obligation
to pray without ceasing for our communities and all in need. We commend all that is being done in God’s
service to care pastorally for our communities, and to enable worship, prayer and devotion to continue at
home.
We continue to hold all who are anxious, all who are unwell, and all who are grieving in our prayers, asking
that the presence of the risen Christ may be near to us all and give us assurance, peace and strength at this
painful and anxious time.
AN ORDER FOR EMERGENCY BAPTISM
In an emergency, if no ordained minister is available, a lay person may be the minister of baptism. Before baptizing,
the minister should ask the name of the infant / person to be baptized. If, for any reason, there is uncertainty as to
the infant / person’s name, the baptism can be properly administered without a name (so long as the identity of the
person baptized can be duly recorded).
The following form is sufficient:
The minister pours water on the person to be baptized, saying
I baptize you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.
Then all may say the Lord’s Prayer and the Grace.
Any person who has administered baptism privately in an emergency should make a careful record of the date and
place of baptism and of the identity of the person baptised. He / she should forward details to the parish priest as
soon as possible and without delay.
The parish priest should ensure that the customary record is entered in the baptismal register.
The Bench of Bishops
24 March 2020

A pastoral letter to the faithful from Bishop Gregory

A Pastoral Letter to the faithful of the Diocese of St Asaph

We live in unprecedented times for most of us. Maybe some will
remember the Second World War, and the demands made of society
then, although none now will remember the outbreak of “Spanish
Flu” which came a hundred years ago in the wake of the end of the
First World War, and which is the nearest historical parallel. Our
governments and the Church have had to make difficult decisions in
the light of the crisis that we all face in society. The virus is no respecter of age,
faith, gender or background, and, unless we take government guidelines
extremely seriously, we are all at risk.
At times like this, what should be our response? The verse that I am drawn to is
in 1Peter 5.7:
Cast all your anxieties upon him, for he cares for you.
God does not offer us any special favours or exemption clauses as Christians, but
he does make several promises. As Christians we believe that Christ shares in our
every pain, sorrow and failing. “We do not have a High Priest who cannot
sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet
without sin” wrote the apostle in the Letter to the Hebrews (4.15), and Jesus’ life
among us is God’s sign and proof that he is committed to this world, and willing
to take on his shoulders all the grief and pain that we might have to face.
There is a strange story in the Old Testament, where the Israelites are afflicted
by a plague. Moses is told by God to build a bronze statue of a serpent on a cross.
Those afflicted who look at this statue are promised healing. I don’t entirely
understand what was going on here, but Jesus said something very interesting.
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be
lifted up.” (John 3.14) In other words, Jesus is saying that his being lifted up on
the cross makes him a sign of healing, just like the bronze serpent of Moses.
What is the healing we might expect from Him? I read a very special piece about
prayer the other day. It went something like this: In my life I have prayed for
many things, and God has given some, and not others; but I thank God, not only
for what he has given, but for what he has taken away: guilt and sin, fear, anxiety,
worry.” Scripture says: “You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed
upon you.” (Isaiah 26.3)
Be assured today of God’s love for you. There may be bad news, and worse to
follow, but I believe that God can be a source of strength, hope and resilience. I
believe that we can bring our worries before God, and share them passionately
and openly, and that he looks, not for polite behaviour, but for an open heart, on
which he can work the miracle of his blessing.
“Come unto me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”
says the Lord. (Matthew 11.28)
By now, you’ll have realised that I’m all over the place with my Scriptures: Peter,
Hebrews, John, Isaiah, and Matthew. I don’t apologise for this, because wherever
I look in the Scriptures, there is one consistent message. Like the prodigal son,
we are called to return to our father, and throw ourselves into his care. Now
that’s the Gospel according to St Luke (Chapter 15).
We may have had to pause public worship. We may have had to put strict
parameters around our pastoral offices like baptisms, marriages and funerals.
The vicar might not be able to call personally. However, while the Church tries
to do its best, God is the still point that cannot be touched by this crisis, and he
makes himself available to you, to me, to us all.
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence so that we may
receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” We’re back now to the
Letter to the Hebrews. (Hebrews 4.16)
Do visit our diocesan website with its dedicated information and resources at
www.dioceseofstasaph.org.uk/coronavirus or contact any of the clergy by
telephone. There are many resources made available that we can use to help us
pray and approach God. And try to be generous, stockpiling not the toilet roll
treasures of this world, but the treasure in heaven which is active love, “where
neither moth or rust destroy, nor thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6.20), and
one might add “and where the power of the coronavirus does not run.”
Peace be with you.
+Gregory Llanelwy

Mothering Sunday

This year at Saint Melangell’s, a candle was alight on the altar all day  as we were unable to provide our usual Mothering Sunday service.  An image of the candle and a Mother’s Day message was also placed on ourFacebook page, (please click on the link above and remember to like our page if you would like to receive updates on social media).

Important Update

Important Update

You may already have heard that, along with the Church of England, services, public gatherings and study groups in the Church in Wales are also ceasing for the present. That means that, as well as the planned services for this month and April, the Julian groups and Lent groups must also stop immediately. Further details, including how this also affects baptisms, weddings and funerals, are on dioceseofstasaph.org.uk/coronavirus
Churches Together in England is calling for a day of prayer on Sunday and asking people to light a candle in their window as a witness and a sign of hope – a practice worth considering here too? Further details from www.cte.org.uk
I hope this helps as the situation changes so rapidly – please use the CiW website for up to the minute information.

March Services

The Shrine Church of St Melangell, Pennant Melangell – March Services

When possible, Morning Prayer is said in church at 9am, followed by Noon Prayers and Evening Prayer at 5pm, the church being open throughout those times. There is a shared lunch at the Centre after Holy Eucharist on Thursdays and refreshments after the service on Sundays.

If you would like to receive brief daily reflective emails or join a discussion group for Lent, please get in touch.

First Sunday of Lent, March 1st, 3pm: Lenten Reflection for St David’s Day.
Monday 2nd, 1.30 at the Centre: Lent discussion group
Thursday 5th, noon: Holy Eucharist and healing service.

Second Sunday of Lent, March 8th, 3pm: Lenten reflection – Wilderness
Monday 9th, 1.30 at the Centre: Lent discussion group
Thursday 12th, noon: Holy Eucharist and healing service.

Third Sunday of Lent, 15th, 3pm: Lenten reflection – unreliable witness?
Monday 16th, 1.30 at the Centre: Lent discussion group
Wednesday 18th, 10.30am at the Centre: Julian Group.
Thursday 19th, noon: Holy Eucharist and healing service.

Fourth Sunday of Lent, March 22nd, 3pm: Lenten reflection for Mothering Sunday
Monday 23rd, 1.30 at the Centre: Lent discussion group
Thursday 26th, noon: Holy Eucharist and healing service.

Fifth Sunday of Lent, March 29th, 3pm: Lenten reflection for Passion Sunday

Further details are available from guardian@stmelangell.org  – or on 01691 860408.