After a week of closed meetings at St Davids Cathedral, the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan announced that the Electoral College had chosen Canon Joanna Penberthy as the 129th Bishop of St Davids. Canon Penberthy was one of the first women to be ordained as a priest in Wales in 1997 and is currently Rector of Glan Ithon, in the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon in Llandrindod Wells.
Dr Morgan said, “This is an historic moment for the Church in Wales as it hasn’t been possible to elect a woman bishop until now. But what is really important to stress is that Joanna wasn’t elected because she was a woman but because she was deemed to be the best person to be a bishop. She has considerable gifts – she is an excellent preacher and communicator, can relate to all sections of the community, is a warm, charismatic, caring priest and someone who is full of joy.”
In reaction, Canon Penberthy said; “I am immensely humbled and honored at the trust that has been placed in me. I am very much looking forward to returning to St Davids and serving God’s people as their Bishop. As the first woman to be elected to episcopal orders in the Church in Wales I hope that my ministry will be an expression of our common calling to live Christ.”
Canon Penberthy’s election remains to be formally confirmed by the Archbishop at a Sacred Synod service on November 30. She will then be consecrated as a bishop at Llandaff Cathedral – the seat of the current Archbishop of Wales – on January 21 and enthroned in St Davids Cathedral on February 11.