Updated again Sunday morning (scroll down)
Today’s Church Times carries another version of the news report linked previously: MPs join row over Llandaff election.
This includes a sidebar (scroll down) which reports that the Assistant Bishop of Llandaff, David Wilbourne, is under pressure to resign:
Pressure on Bishop.
IN THE midst of the row over Dr John, the Assistant Bishop of Llandaff, the Rt Revd David Wilbourne, has spoken of a campaign to force him to resign.
Bishop Wilbourne (pictured, at a confirmation in Cardiff last weekend) was appointed eight years ago to help run the diocese in order to release the then Bishop of Llandaff, Dr Barry Morgan, to spend time on his duties as Archbishop of Wales. Archbishop Morgan retired at the end of January.
Speaking to the Church Times this week, Bishop Wilbourne said: “Over the past 18 months, I have been under considerable and increasing pressure to relinquish my post and leave Wales.” In one recent conversation, he had been strongly advised to resign before Easter.
He said: “Whilst I can fully see that the next Bishop of Llandaff deserves the space to be their own person, for the moment I remain upbeat about serving in this thriving diocese, and carrying out the role I was called here and consecrated to fulfil.”
Bishop Wilbourne’s open support for Dr John’s candidacy has not improved his prospects. He said this week: “Ever since I knew that Jeffrey was in the frame for Llandaff, I thought it would speak mountains about our policy of inclusion. Wales has led on that; so I can’t understand why the Bishops aren’t of the same mind.”
After the electoral college ended, Bishop Wilbourne organised a prayer vigil in Llandaff Cathedral. He described it as “the most remarkable of my ministry”.
There is a leader article, which can be read in full here. It concludes this way:
…Can the situation be rescued with any scrap of dignity? Only if the bench acknowledges the huge injustice perpetrated against a candidate who fulfils all the criteria for the post, and who convinced the diocesan representatives who interviewed him at length that he would bring wisdom, kindness, theological sensitivity, sound teaching, and good humour to the post. Among the “current challenges” listed on the diocesan profile is: “to increase the representation and inclusion of LGBTI, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Anglicans as an essential element of growth at all levels within the Church”. If Dr John is not reconsidered, this is a challenge that the Church in Wales has clearly failed.
Here is the text of a resignation statement from Bishop David Wilbourne dated yesterday.
Statement by Bishop David Wilbourne
It has been the greatest privilege to be Assistant Bishop of Llandaff these past eight years, a diocese which serves the beating heart of South Wales, teaming with life and hope. It has also been the greatest privilege to have worked with Dr Barry Morgan, the former Archbishop of Wales, and share in his very personable ministry, whose hallmark has been a remarkable reaching out to the lost and forsaken and those on the margins of society, making them feel truly welcome in the name of Christ.
Though the weeks since Dr Morgan retired have been full and fulfilling, increasingly I realise it is time to hand over the baton to the newly appointed Bishop of Llandaff, so he or she can run free, enabling the Church which I have cherished these past years to flourish. I therefore intend to finish my time as Assistant Bishop on Easter Day 2017, just before the Sacred Synod approves our new bishop. I do so with the greatest gratitude for all the faithful parish priests and people here, whose marvellous ministry I am daily humbled by. I pray that you are given the bishop you so richly deserve, one who, in the words of Cardinal Basil Hume, simply comes to where people are and takes them to places they never dreamt of going.
One of my favourite novels is Trollope’s The Warden. Mr Harding finishes his time as Warden of Hiram’s hospital with these words, which I would like to make my own: ‘God bless you all! You have my heartfelt wishes for your welfare. I hope you may live contented, and die trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ, thankful to Almighty God for all the good things he has given you.’
23 March 2017
And here is the official announcement about Bishop Wilbourne.
Sunday morning update
The Bishop of Swansea and Brecon was interviewed in this morning’s episode of Sunday on BBC Radio 4. Listen here, starting at 22 minutes.