John Davies, who has served as the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon for the past nine years, has been chosen as the 13th Archbishop of Wales.
He succeeds Dr Barry Morgan who retired in January after 14 years as the leader of the Church in Wales. His election is also historic as this is the first time a Bishop of the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon has been elected as Archbishop of Wales.
Davies said, “I am overwhelmed and humbled. I would like to thank members of the College and especially my fellow bishops for the confidence and trust they have shown in me. We will work together as a team to grow and strengthen the Church as it serves the communities of Wales and helps build the kingdom of God.”
Davies was at the center of controversy recently related to the appointment of the Dean of St Albans, the Very Revd Dr Jeffrey John, to the see of Llandaff in the Church in Wales. Dr John is openly gay, but also celibate. In emails acquired through a Freedom of Information request, which appears to be from Davies, he wrote;
“My instinct is that JJ’s stance on the matter of same-gender relationships and his own situation might be unwelcome to many in the Diocese who would suspect that Barry’s [the former Bishop of Llandaff and Welsh Primate, Dr Barry Morgan] evident liberal agenda was being perpetuated by his election. It would probably do the perception of the Bench, at home and elsewhere, no particular good either.”
“Personally, I also think that his election would be an immense distraction in the Province at the wrong time.”
In a public letter to Davies, John wrote;
“The injustice of the arguments about publicity and the Anglican Communion was pointed out to you several times in the college by the Llandaff electors and by others. This is precisely the way that anti-gay discrimination always works. You were also reminded that I am in a celibate relationship. My situation is exactly similar to that of the Bishop of Grantham, which was recently defended by the Secretary-General of the ACC, Archbishop Idowu-Fearon, as being entirely compatible with the regulations of any Anglican province.”
Archbishop John was elected having secured a two-thirds majority vote from members of the Electoral College on the second day of its meeting at Holy Trinity Church, Llandrindod Wells. The election was immediately confirmed by the five other diocesan bishops and announced at the door of the church by the Provincial Secretary of the Church in Wales, Simon Lloyd.