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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 March 2008, 15:09 GMT
Bishop given leave over rumours
Bishop Carl Cooper and chaplain the Reverend Mandy Williams Potter (Library picture)
Bishop Carl Cooper and chaplain the Reverend Mandy Williams Potter (Library picture)
The Bishop of St Davids has agreed to take a leave of absence after rumours surrounding his marriage break up.

Bishop Carl Cooper took the decision after consultation with the Archbishop of Wales, the Church in Wales said.

The bishop was at the centre of media speculation after he announced he was separating from his wife of 25 years.

His chaplain, Reverend Mandy Williams Potter, said rumours about their relationship are false. She has also taken a leave of absence.

Mrs Williams Potter, who is also Bishop Cooper's communications officer, previously said newspaper speculation had been very distressing for both families.

The Church in Wales announced the Bishop of St Davids's leave of absence, which is a period of leave usually given under exceptional circumstances, in a statement.

It said: "Following consultation with the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, about the particular difficulties in the Diocese of St Davids, the Bishop of St Davids, the Rt Rev Carl Cooper, has agreed to take leave of absence."


It is not yet known how long Bishop Cooper will be on leave of absence.

A Church in Wales spokeswoman said the bishop's senior team - three archdeacons and the Dean of St Davids - will be taking on some of his responsibilities

Last week, two vicars in the diocese, the Reverend Will Strange and the Reverend Peter Jones, asked colleagues to petition the Archbishop of Wales for an investigation.

The Church in Wales confirmed the archbishop received a petition from clergy calling for an investigation into allegations about the conduct of Bishop Cooper.

The letter said there was "great concern" at the speculation surrounding the bishop's marital breakdown.

Bishop Cooper, who has three children aged 22, 20 and 17, has said he has no plans to resign from his post, following allegations about his private life.

He and his wife Joy confirmed there was no one else involved on either side and they were committed to an amicable relationship.

At the time, the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said he was "enormously sad" to hear the news.

Bishop Cooper took up his post in St Davids in 2002.

As well as Pembrokeshire, the modern diocese also covers the counties of Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire and parts of Powys.


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