A new Archbishop of Wales has been elected today.
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.
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. Archbishop John will be enthroned at Brecon cathedral in due course.
He 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.”
The Dean of Brecon, Dr Paul Shackerley welcomed the news on behalf of the Diocese. He said, “I am delighted with the news that Bishop John has been called to be our next Archbishop. He has proven gifts and experience to lead the Church into the future and will receive our full support and prayers he prepares to exercise his weighty, yet joyful, archiepiscopal ministry. I feel the future of the Church in Wales is in good hands with all our faithful Bishops, to lead us with hope into the future that we may flourish and serve the communities in which we are called.”
Archbishop John was born at Newport (Mon) and educated at Bassaleg Grammar School. He graduated in law from the University of Southampton from where he moved to the College of Law at Chester. He was admitted as a solicitor in 1977, specialising in criminal law and, after ordination, completed a master’s degree in Canon Law. Prior to ordination he was heavily involved in the life of the church at parochial, diocesan and provincial level.
Archbishop John left the law to enter the ministry and was ordained in 1984. He served in the Diocese of Monmouth in a variety of rural, post-industrial and urban parishes, and he also served as Diocesan Schools’ Officer and Officer for Ecumenical Affairs. He was appointed Dean of Brecon in 2000, and during eight years in that role oversaw significant improvements to the fabric and liturgy of the Cathedral. He was elected as the ninth Bishop of Swansea and Brecon in 2008.
Having been the ‘lead Bishop’ for Church and Society issues, Archbishop John is profoundly interested in matters of social justice and has spoken out on a range of issues, including homelessness and housing, rural problems, organ donation, assisted dying and poverty. He has retained a keen interest in issues of crime and punishment, with a particular concern about the treatment and rehabilitation of offenders, the nature of criminality and the effects of poor social and educational standards. Having served as the chairman of the trustees of a large hospice in Newport, he also has a deep concern for the just provision of healthcare, not least for those in the final stages of life. He currently chairs the Ethical Investment Group of the Church in Wales, its International Group and the Wales National Committee of Christian Aid, and is a national trustee of Christian Aid.
As a former church chorister, organist and choirmaster, Archbishop John has a passionate interest in church music being ‘done well’, whether complex musical settings or just simple hymns and songs, believing that it can do much to enhance quality, spirituality and effectiveness of many an act of worship.
He also enjoys a wide variety of music, watching sport – especially cricket and rugby – playing golf very occasionally, cooking and walking. He is married to Jo, an emergency nurse practitioner, and they have two grown-up children.