Remembering Archbishop G.O.

The Rev. Canon William Price has completed a new biography of Gwilym Owen Williams, a former Archbishop of Wales.

Archbishop Williams led the Church in Wales for 11 years and was one of its longest-serving bishops. He was elected Bishop of Bangor in 1957 and was elected archbishop in 1971. He retired in 1982 and died in 1990.

In national life, Archbishop Williams was part of a delegation that helped persuade the first government of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to establish the Welsh-language TV station S4C.

Archbishop Gwilym Williams—“G.O.”: His Life and Opinions follows the archbishop’s life from his birth in East Finchley; explores his concerns, including bilingualism and ecumenism; and assesses his significance to Wales.

The Most Rev. Barry Morgan, recently retired as Archbishop of Wales, wrote the foreword.

“’G.O., as he was almost universally known, was a man of outstanding intellectual ability and wide vision, often ahead of the diocese and the Church in Wales,” said Canon Price, a church historian and the Welsh church’s provincial adviser on archives. “He sought always to be a reconciler, especially in his ecumenical endeavors and also in a bilingual society, and he has rightly been regarded as the foremost Welsh Christian leader of his time.”

Price said he began the biography more than 25 years ago while lecturing at the University of Wales–Lampeter.

“I was invited by Archbishop George Noakes to write a biography of Archbishop G.O. Williams, so I went to Criccieth and collected G.O.’s papers. It took a long time to sort out boxes and boxes of them, and then I wrote what was about 80 percent of the final work. After my departure from Lampeter into parochial ministry, however, first in Wales and then in England, I became committed to other writing projects, and I left my work on G.O. unfinished. But last year I decided that he deserved to be remembered and that it was foolish to abandon a largely completed typescript.”

Copies are available for £10 at the Bangor Cathedral Bookshop or Churches Together Bookshop, Windsor Place, Cardiff, or for £13 from Canon William Price, 57 Kynaston Drive, Wem, Shrewsbury SY4 5DE.

Adapted from the Church in Wales


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