Thinking Anglicans

Archbishop of Wales to retire in May

News today from the Church in Wales

Archbishop of Wales to retire in May

The Archbishop of Wales, John Davies, is to retire in May after four years as leader of the Church in Wales.

Archbishop John, who will shortly celebrate his 68th birthday, has also served as Bishop of Swansea and Brecon for the past 13 years. The 13th Archbishop of Wales, he was also the first Bishop of Swansea and Brecon to be elected as Archbishop. He will retire from both roles on May 2…

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Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
6 months ago

Good to see this Archbishop speaking out courageously and with moral conviction:

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2021/8-january/news/world/remove-trump-now-urges-archbishop-of-wales

Jill Armstead
Jill Armstead
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
6 months ago

I don’t for one moment condone Trump’s actions but I don’t recall this or any other bishop speaking out when BLM was trashing and terrorising Portland. A thoughtful and well informed article from Charles Moore in the Telegraph is well worth a read. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/01/08/trumps-greatest-mistake-undermine-legitimacy-state/

William
William
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
6 months ago

Is this really moral courage? I would imagine that the Archbishop is merely reflecting the views of most of his constituency. True moral courage kicks in when it costs us something.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
6 months ago

Reminiscent of 1570 and the Bishop of Rome’s call to remove Elizabeth I.

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
6 months ago

Archbishop John Davies has been an excellent leader of the Church in Wales. Might the electoral college now elect that church’s first woman archbishop?

Stephen .Griffiths
Stephen .Griffiths
Reply to  Anthony Archer
6 months ago

Can you say a bit about how/why his leadership has been excellent. It’s so unusual in the Anglican church today. What is a good way to measure excellence? Genuinely interested. Thanks.

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Stephen .Griffiths
6 months ago

I am not sure TA is the right place for an end of-term-report, but here you go. When John Davies was elected Bishop of Swansea and Brecon in 2008 he was already able to draw on a rich hinterland of experience in the church, at parochial, diocesan and provincial level. He had served in a wide variety of parishes, been a cathedral dean, and been responsible for schools work and ecumenical affairs for the Church in Wales. It seems to me he has been able to combine a passion for mission and evangelism with a profound commitment to social justice.… Read more »

Sam Jones
Sam Jones
Reply to  Anthony Archer
6 months ago

He has only been Archbishop since 2017, so not long compared to his predecessor, but the relentless decline of the Church of Wales has continued under his leadership. He may have a passion for mission and evangelism but the rest of the church does not seem to share it.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Anthony Archer
6 months ago

Thanks. The ordinal seems a secure point of reference amidst the ever changing definition of success.

Michael
Michael
6 months ago

His successor will be chosen from only three candidates. Of the six bishops: Swansea and Brecon becomes vacant when the Archbishop retires and ought to be filled before the election. Llandaff is not far from retirement Monmouth is newly arrived That leaves Bangor – the youngest but longest serving bishop St Asaph – the oldest and elected two months after Bangor St Davids – in post for far less time than the other two but the only woman So the choice is either the oldest (St Asaph), the longest serving (Bangor) or the only non male (St Davids) In terms… Read more »

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
Reply to  Michael
6 months ago

Crikey! Is that because the Welsh are more chapel rather than church?

Michael
Michael
Reply to  Fr. Dean Henley
6 months ago

The anglican church was regarded as the enemy in rural Wales because before 1920 it was the Church of ENGLAND (hiss!) and farmers had to pay a compulsory tithe. My late mother was brought up by an aunt and uncle on a subsistence smallholding in rural Wales. They were Strict Baptists, spoke only Welsh and loathed having to pay a tithe, known in Welsh as degwm, deg is Welsh for ten. I don’t think the Church in Wales has ever been able to shake off its former English identity. Five out of six current bishops do not speak Welsh and… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Michael
6 months ago

Many thanks. Just as a rider to this, it might be worth noting that the payment of tithe in kind was ended by the compositions (each called a modus) agreed pursuant to the Tithe Commutation Act 1836, by means of which tithe was transformed into an money payment, a tithe rentcharge, calculated septennially, based on the average price of corn during that period. The problem was that the 1836 system was predicated on high returns to agriculture. These were assured by dint of the corn laws, but even after the latter were repealed in 1846 the years of ‘high farming’… Read more »

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
Reply to  Michael
6 months ago

Apologies for my ignorance Michael. It is not a happy picture any more than it is in England and Scotland.

Dave
Dave
Reply to  Michael
6 months ago

Someone recently told me that there are fewer non-retired clergy in the Church in Wales than in Oxford Diocese. Is that correct?

As a matter of interest, Michael have you the figures for Scotland?

Michael
Michael
Reply to  Dave
6 months ago

Dave I do not have the figures for Scotland. Re your comparison between stipendiary clergy in the Church in Wales and the diocese of Oxford, according to 2019 data it is a dead heat at 403.
In the 2019 Annual Report for the Church in Wales:
Church in Wales Clergy Pension Scheme Membership
Membership at 31 December 2019
Active 403
Deferred 233
Pensioners 845
 In the Church in Wales there are posts for six bishops and 16 archdeacons

(compared with Diocese of Oxford 403 paid clergy according to other sources)
 
 

John Darch
John Darch
Reply to  Michael
6 months ago

My understanding is that the Bishop of St Asaph speaks Welsh, having learned it some years ago.

Michael
Michael
Reply to  John Darch
6 months ago

Not correct. The Bishop of St Asaph did a Church in Wales crammer course to learn Welsh but was not successful in the long term. He does not speak Welsh. When he recently read something in Welsh it was reminiscent of Allo Allo. Welsh is fiendishly difficult to learn as an adult. One who did succeed and was able to pass himself off as a native, was Carl Cooper, sometime Bishop of St Davids but from Wigan (if memory serves me correct.)

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Michael
6 months ago

I am glad my language skills are not being examined online.

John Darch
John Darch
Reply to  Michael
6 months ago

I stand corrected!

Manon Ceridwen James
Manon Ceridwen James
Reply to  John Darch
6 months ago

Don’t give in so easily John 😉 Bishop Gregory does speak Welsh and can hold a conversation in Welsh. He has also spoken in Welsh on the media. I don’t think he would claim to be totally fluent and comfortable in speaking Welsh for long periods of time in pressurised situations however he does have an intermediate level of Welsh, to be fair and can preach, lead services and so on in Welsh.

Michael
Michael
Reply to  Manon Ceridwen James
6 months ago

Perhaps you could explain why S4C and BBC Cymru always interview the former Archbishop, Barry Morgan when the Church in Wales is in the news? For example, when a programme was filmed in St Asaph Cathedral earlier in May last year during lockdown, in Welsh why was Barry Morgan interviewed by Huw Edwards? No sign of the local bishop. Preaching and leading services in Welsh is not a sign of fluency as it means reading something already written down. Even the Dean of St Davids can read out a Welsh text but she doesn’t speak Welsh.

Manon Ceridwen James
Manon Ceridwen James
Reply to  Michael
6 months ago

It’s not a binary. People are not simply fluent or not fluent. There is a continuum. I’m first language Welsh. I speak Welsh with Bishop Andy and English with Bishop Gregory. However Bishop Gregory does have a reasonable amount of Welsh and can hold a conversation in Welsh for a length of time. He has spoken on Bwrw Golwg in Welsh. The Dean of St David’s can also speak Welsh as a second language. Of course preaching and leading services in Welsh isn’t the same as fluency in a difficult pastoral situation or complex meeting or a long interview on… Read more »

Michael
Michael
Reply to  Manon Ceridwen James
6 months ago

….I’m first language Welsh…but I speak with Bishop Gregory in English
End of argument.

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