Pastoral Guidance

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
• 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
• 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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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 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
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
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  – or on 01691 860408.