Thinking Anglicans

New Bishop of St Davids elected

News from the Church in Wales

New Bishop of St Davids elected
Provincial news Posted: 17 October 2023

A senior cleric, who has served in every county of Wales’ largest diocese, will now lead it as its 130th bishop.

The Archdeacon of Carmarthen, Dorrien Davies, was today elected as the next Bishop of St Davids – a diocese which covers the three West Wales counties of Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion.

Archdeacon Dorrien secured the necessary two-thirds majority vote from members of the Electoral College on the second day of its meeting at St Davids Cathedral.

The announcement was made at the west door of the Cathedral by the Archbishop of Wales, Andrew John.

He said, “I’m delighted the Archdeacon of Carmarthen has been elected. His experience of this place and his deep wisdom and his skills will all be deployed in both leading the diocese forward and bringing it together in faith, hope and love. I know in his care this diocese will, as St David himself bid us, be joyful, will do the small things and will keep the faith.”

Archdeacon Dorrien said, “I am humbled and honoured that the Electoral College has appointed me to serve as Bishop and I will do my best to serve not only the Diocese but the Province of Wales. This means a great deal to me and I look forward to leading this diocese to things both wonderful and new.”

Archdeacon Dorrien will be the Bishop Elect until the election is formally confirmed at a Sacred Synod service on November 29. He will be consecrated as Bishop at Bangor Cathedral – the seat of the Archbishop – on January 27 and enthroned as the 130th Bishop of St Davids at St Davids Cathedral shortly afterwards.

The election followed the retirement at the end of July of Joanna Penberthy, who served as Bishop of St Davids from 2017.

The Electoral College is made up of representatives from all six Welsh dioceses and the bishops. The ‘home’ diocese – in this case, St Davids, – is represented by six lay people and six clergy and the other five dioceses by three lay people and three clergy each. Its discussions are confidential. Candidates for election are nominated at the meeting, discussed and voted on by ballot. If they secure a two-thirds majority they are declared Bishop Elect.

Journey of Ministry

Born in Abergwili and a native Welsh-speaker, Dorrien trained for ministry at St Michael’s College, Llandaff, and was ordained priest in 1989. He served his curacy in Llanelli before being appointed Vicar of Llanfihangel Ystrad Aeron in Ceredigion. During that time, Dorrien studied for a degree at the University of Wales, College of Lampeter, graduating in 1995. He was appointed Vicar of St Dogmael’s, Pembrokeshire, in 1999 and served there for 11 years. In 2007, he was made a Canon of St Davids Cathedral and in 2010, he moved to St Davids as Canon Residentiary. In 2017 Dorrien was appointed Archdeacon of Carmarthen and priest-in-charge of St Clears.

Dorrien is married to Rosie and has two sons, Morgan and Lewies. His hobbies include reading and painting.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

14 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
8 months ago

A decisive process which must come as a relief to the diocese. The Ven Dorrien Davies is listed at an elector in the vacancy process. I’d be interested to know how an elector becomes a candidate. https://stdavids.churchinwales.org.uk/en/clergy-and-members/elections/

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
8 months ago

Another elector nominates him?

Lister Tonge
Lister Tonge
Reply to  Richard
8 months ago

Correct.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Richard
8 months ago

So would he have remained a voting elector whilst being a nominee?

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
8 months ago

That’s quite common in elections. We often get TV pictures of politicians voting (presumably for themselves).

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Kate Keates
8 months ago

If my understanding is correct, then in very early church texts (Didache, Acts etc) the word commonly used for the selection of Bishops and Leaders is often translated “appoint”. But actually the Greek word is “cheirotonein “, linked to the root “cheiro” implying hand, and points towards election by a public show of hands.

So one assumes that even then they had found ways to work round this issue.

Ian Black
Ian Black
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
7 months ago

No, s/he has to remove themselves. So they don’t get to vote for themselves or anyone else while in the running. It’s a knockout process, so anyone who gets eliminated in early stages is back in the room.

american piskie
american piskie
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
8 months ago

The Bishops of Rome do it all the time! And for an Anglican example, didn’t Charles Wordsworth have (and use) the casting vote in his own election to St Andrews Dunkeld and Dunblane?

Last edited 7 months ago by Simon Sarmiento
Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  american piskie
8 months ago

Very enlightening. There is no equivalent scenario in the Church of England’s episcopal appointment process, but I suppose the nearest is a member of a CNC finding themselves on the shortlist. But I would think that would mean them standing down from that particular CNC panel.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
8 months ago

I have participated in five electoral synods in my time as a Canadian Anglican priest. In all five of them, the successful candidate ended up being a person who was already in the diocese, and hence, a voting member of the electoral synod. I have always assumed that they voted for themselves.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
8 months ago

It’s good to know there are alternatives to the CofE’s CNC and suffragan processes. Jan, below, explains the reforms that the CiW has adopted, given that the electoral college is relatively small.

Jan Gould
Jan Gould
8 months ago

I write as an episcopal elector in the Church in Wales and also a member of the working party which produced the reform of the way the Electoral College works. The recommendations for reform were passed as a Bill at the Governing Body in September this year, so any Electoral College from now on will be operating very differently. Any candidate in future cannot be an Elector, and if they are a member of the College must step down and will be replaced by the next person on the list.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Jan Gould
8 months ago

Thank you Jan. That makes a lot of sense. Peace and joy to St Davids Diocese and CiW this day.

Borderman
Borderman
8 months ago

It is good that St. David’s is getting both a native Welsh speaker and someone who has much knowledge of recent years in that Diocese.

14
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x