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Wales: Church celebrates former Archbishop

Posted on: November 28, 2013 3:41 PM
Gwilym Owen Williams championed the Welsh language
Photo Credit: Church in Wales
Related Categories: Bangor, Wales

From the Church in Wales

An Archbishop who championed the Welsh language will be celebrated tonight in a special service to mark the centenary of his birth.

Gwilym Owen Williams, who was Archbishop of Wales for 11 years and Bishop of Bangor for 25 years, helped secure a Welsh language television station for Wales – S4C – and also oversaw the translation and publication of the New Welsh Bible.

Originally from Penisarwaun, near Llanrug, “G.O.”, as he was known, was elected as Bishop of Bangor in 1957 and Archbishop in 1971. He held both posts until he retired in 1982.

Today’s Archbishop of Wales, Dr. Barry Morgan, will preach at the service this evening (November 28) at Bangor Cathedral. He said, “Archbishop Gwilym served as Bishop of Bangor for 25 years and in all those years he never lost his freshness and persuaded the diocese to do things that it would not otherwise have done.  He was also a great Archbishop of Wales with the interests of both church and nation close to his heart.”

The Bishop of Bangor – the Right Reverend Andrew John – who will also be taking part in the service said, “This service gives us the opportunity to commemorate and thank God for the life and commitment of a Bishop and Archbishop who was dedicated to serving all the people of Wales.”

G.O. Williams was educated at Ysgol Brynrefail and then Jesus College, Oxford, where he took a  first-class honours in both English and Theology. He was ordained in 1937 and served as a curate at St Asaph , chaplain at St . David’s College, Lampeter, chaplain and tutor at St. Mary’s College, Bangor, and as Lecturer in Theology at the University of Wales, Bangor. In 1947 he became a Canon of Bangor Cathedral, and in 1948 moved to become headmaster of Llandovery College, from where he became Bishop of Bangor in 1957

As well as his leadership of the Diocese of Bangor and the Church in Wales, Archbishop GO Williams was the Chair of the ecumenical committee responsible for the translation and publication of the New Welsh Bible in 1988. He was also part of a delegation which met the then Home Secretary, William Whitelaw, and helped to persuade the first government of Margaret Thatcher to establish S4C.