Sunday, May 12, 2024

Church of Wales' youngest ever bishop is consecrated

History was made Saturday when the youngest person ever to become a bishop in the Church in Wales was consecrated.

David Morris, 38, was anointed and received the symbols of the office of a bishop at a special service at Bangor Cathedral.

It follows his appointment in January as Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Bangor. David takes the title of Bishop of Bardsey.

The warm spring sunshine shone as more than 300 people – family, friends, colleagues and guests representing churches and civic institutions across Wales and the UK – packed into the Cathedral for the service. 

Another 200 joined in online, watching the live-stream broadcast on YouTube.

During the service, David was anointed with holy oil and consecrated by his fellow bishops. He was also presented with the symbols of office: a bishop’s episcopal ring, a pectoral cross, a mitre, a Bible and a pastoral staff (crozier). 

 These were brought to him, for presentation, by members of his family. The ring, a gift from his parents, was brought by David’s mother, Hazel Morris. The cross from his fiancé Marc Penny, and the pastoral staff, a gift from Bishop David Yeoman, retired Assistant Bishop of Llandaff.

A fanfare sounded and there were cheers as David was then presented to the congregation to be welcomed as Bishop of Bardsey.

In his address, Canon Richard Lowndes, Formation Tutor at St Padarn’s Institute, described Bishop

David as a “consummate networker” who had touched many people’s lives, as shown in the number supporting him at the service. 

There were many joys of being a bishop and great times of celebration, he said. But there were also difficult days when they had to carry heavy burdens alone. 

He urged people to pray for all their bishops, focusing on them as shepherds and leaders, so that they may have the gifts of grace, holiness and love.

The choir sang a new anthem which was composed for the service. Words from an ancient poem written by Meilyr Brydydd about the island of Bardsey, were set to music by composer Simon Ogdon in the anthem, called Ynys Firain.

The Archbishop, Andrew John, said, “Today has been a happy and joyful day for the Diocese of Bangor and the Church in Wales. David brings an array of gifts to this ministry. He is a strong pastor and someone whom people trust and that is one of the great strengths of his ministry.” 

Bishop David said, “The consecration service has been absolutely wonderful. I have really felt supported and uplifted by family and friends and the whole church gathered. I am looking forward to my future ministry in this diocese working alongside the clergy and people and I thank everyone for their prayers and support.” 

Journey of Ministry

Originally from Cymmer in the Rhondda Valley, David Morris graduated in theology from the University of Wales, Bangor and trained for ministry at St Michael’s College, Llandaff, when he also completed a Master’s degree in theology. 

He was ordained as a priest in 2010 at Llandaff Cathedral by Bishop Barry Morgan (left) and served his curacy in Merthyr Tydfil. 

Two years later, David was appointed parish priest of Grangetown in Cardiff, where he served for seven years, and was also Vocations Advisor for Llandaff Diocese. 

In 2019, he was appointed Director of Ordinands for Llandaff Diocese and Vicar in the East Vale Ministry Area, in the Vale of Glamorgan. 

After three years, David moved to the Diocese of Bangor as Diocesan Director of Ministry and was also made Residentiary Canon of Bangor Cathedral.

David was made a Commander of the Order of St John in 2020 and has been actively involved with St John Ambulance Cymru as a chaplain since 2010; he was appointed Dean of the Priory for Wales in 2019 and a Trustee of the charity in 2020.