Church in Wales elects John Davies as its new Archbishop

The Church in Wales has elected a new Archbishop of Wales. Bishop John Davies is the current Bishop of Swansea and Brecon.  

After more than 24 hours of debate, the decision-making electoral college emerged from behind locked doors on Wednesday afternoon to announce Bishop John had secured the two-thirds majority needed to be appointed. 

Church in WalesJohn Davies is the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon and was the most senior of the six serving Welsh bishops.

It comes after the previous archbishop Dr Barry Morgan retired after 14 years in post.

Bishop John was the most senior of the six Welsh bishops and had acted as lead in the absence of an official archbishop. Known as a man of intergrity within church circles, his appointment was welcomed by senior figures.

But church insiders told Christian Today he faces an uphill struggle to regain respect after accusations of homophobia surrounded the failure to appoint Jeffrey John, a gay cleric, as Bishop of Llandaff.

All the bishops 'have diminished and disfigured their office and themselves as Christian leaders' the source said and Bishop John in particular 'has a lot of respect to recover and perhaps a lot of explaining to do,' the source told Christian Today.

The Church in Wales has consistently denied any allegations of homophobia.

A former lawyer, Bishop John is a trustee of Christian Aid and chairs the Ethical Investment Group of the Church in Wales.

He was ordained in 1984 after practising as a solicitor for seven years and became the ninth Bishop of Swansea and Brecon in 2008.

In electing Bishop John the Church in Wales overlooked two female candidates, the recently appointed Bishop of Llandaff, June Osborne, and the Bishop of St Davids, Joanna Penberthy who would have been the UK's first woman archbishop had they be appointed.

Bishop John said he was 'overwhelmed and humbled' by the appointment.

'I would like to thank members of the College and especially my fellow bishops for the confidence and trust they have shown in me,' he said. '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.'