Turmoil in Wales

Church in Wales

Adapted from the website of the Church in Wales

The Rt. Rev. David Wilbourne has announced that he is stepping down as Assistant Bishop of Llandaff.

In a statement sent to all diocesan clergy, Wilbourne said he wanted to “hand over the baton” to [the Most Rev. Barry] Morgan’s successor as Bishop of Llandaff to enable that person to “run free.” He will finish on Easter Day, April 16.

Wilbourne was appointed as Assistant Bishop of Llandaff in 2009 to assist Morgan, who was also Archbishop of Wales. He has also served as the church’s lead bishop on education, schools, and young people and represented the church on the National Society Council.

In his statement, Bishop Wilbourne paid tribute to Archbishop Morgan and the Diocese of Llandaff.

“It has been the greatest privilege to be Assistant Bishop of Llandaff these past eight years, a diocese which serves the beating heart of South Wales, teaming with life and hope,” he wrote. “It has also been the greatest privilege to have worked with Dr. Barry Morgan, the former Archbishop of Wales, and share in his very personable ministry, whose hallmark has been a remarkable reaching out to the lost and forsaken and those on the margins of society, making them feel truly welcome in the name of Christ.

“Though the weeks since Dr. Morgan retired have been full and fulfilling, increasingly I realize it is time to hand over the baton to the newly appointed Bishop of Llandaff, so he or she can run free, enabling the Church which I have cherished these past years to flourish. I therefore intend to finish my time as Assistant Bishop on Easter Day 2017, just before the Sacred Synod approves our new bishop. I do so with the greatest gratitude for all the faithful parish priests and people here, whose marvelous ministry I am daily humbled by. I pray that you are given the bishop you so richly deserve, one who, in the words of Cardinal Basil Hume, simply comes to where people are and takes them to places they never dreamt of going.

“One of my favorite novels is Trollope’s The Warden. Mr. Harding finishes his time as Warden of Hiram’s hospital with these words, which I would like to make my own: ‘God bless you all! You have my heartfelt wishes for your welfare. I hope you may live contented, and die trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ, thankful to Almighty God for all the good things he has given you.’”

The Rt. Rev. John Davies, Bishop of Swansea and Brecon and senior bishop of the Church in Wales, thanked Wilbourne for his ministry in the Church in Wales.

“Bishop David makes it clear in his own statement why he has made the decision to step down, and it is important that we respect that decision and the prayerful manner in which he has reached it,” Davies said.

“David’s ministry has been characterized by his learning, his humor, and his undoubted skills as a communicator, pastor, and teacher. These gifts have combined to make him very much a ‘people person’ whose popularity in the parishes of the Diocese of Llandaff is very well known and widely appreciated. The pastoral ministry which David has exercised and the personal support which he has given at times of need have particularly endeared him to very many. For all of these reasons and more, he will be much missed by so many.

“Throughout all, David has been upheld and supported by Rachel and the family for whom the prospect of a transition from Yorkshire to Wales could not have been without its anxieties and its challenges. To all of them, on behalf of the Province and the Diocese, I express personal love and collective thanks as they prepare for a new chapter of life and ministry.”

Related reading

  • Bishop Wilbourne’s full statement
  • “MPs join row over Llandaff election,” a report by Madeleine Davies of Church Times, includes a segment about pressures on Bishop Wilbourne for his resignation.

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