[ACNS] The longest-serving Archbishop in the Anglican Communion, Dr Barry Morgan, is stepping down this week as leader of the Church in Wales, as he marks his 70th birthday. More than 500 people attended an emotional farewell service at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff, in celebration and thanksgiving for the contribution made by Dr Morgan during his years at the helm - nearly 14 as Archbishop and 17 as Bishop of Llandaff. In his sermon, the Archbishop told the congregation it had been an “enormous privilege” to have served them and he thanked people for their support. He, in turn, was thanked warmly for all his ministry and given a standing ovation.
Representatives from every parish and from different areas of the Church’s life in Wales and from significant projects in which the Archbishop had been involved attended. Reflecting on his time in office, he said his years as Bishop of Llandaff had been very happy ones and he praised the role of local parishes and deaneries: “There is the joy of realising that without the input of churches, fewer food banks would exist, less help would be given to the homeless, the poor and asylum seekers. Church people are at the forefront of most voluntary organisations and enable them to exist,” he said.
“I felt and feel embraced and supported by the clergy and there was and is a willingness to try new things and to think about doing things differently and a preparedness by parishes to work with diocesan officers in setting up ministry areas. For all of that, I give thanks. It has been an enormous privilege trying to serve you.”
At the end of the service, Paul Marshall, chairman of the Llandaff Diocesan Board of Finance, paid tribute to Dr Morgan and presented him with a gift on behalf of the diocese, saying: “The mark of any great human being is that they have both achieved an office and made a difference. You have more than achieved that and you will always be remembered in the Province and in Llandaff with great affection as someone who truly did that.”
The Dean of Llandaff, Gerwyn Capon, thanked the Archbishop on behalf of the clergy. He said, “In each generation of the Church’s life, someone is raised up from among us to serve God’s people and in you, Barry, we have had such a person….the intense level of your commitment to fulfil the charge laid on you when you were consecrated has marked you out as a Welsh bishop of remarkable charisma, courage, wisdom, vision and most of all, humanity.”
Dr Morgan has strongly supported the ministry of women over the years and recently expressed delight at being able to ordain the first woman Bishop in Wales. Looking back on his own decades of ministry, he said the job of a Bishop or Archbishop is to try to give a lead “while still respecting those who disagree.” The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has described Dr Morgan as “gracious, encouraging and full of the presence of Christ.”