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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 May, 2004, 13:26 GMT 14:26 UK
First divorced bishop appointed
Ven. Anthony Crockett (Picture courtesy of the Church in Wales)
An 'amazed' Anthony Crockett says he couldn't turn down the invitation
A Church in Wales clergyman has become the first divorced person in the UK to be appointed as a bishop.

Anthony Crockett, currently the Archdeacon of Carmarthen, will become the 80th Bishop of Bangor this summer.

Mr Crockett, 58, who has three grown-up children, separated from his first wife in 1985. He re-married in 1999.

Some clergy in his new diocese have claimed their wishes over the appointment had been ignored.

The new bishop was appointed by the church's Bench of Bishops after an electoral college failed to agree on a selection by a two-thirds majority.

The Archbishop of Wales, the Most Rev Dr Barry Morgan, said the bench was unanimous in deciding Archdeacon Crockett was the person "who best fitted the requirements" for the bishop's post.

But members of the diocese have expressed dissatisfaction with the choice, with some threatening to boycott the ordination ceremony, according to the Rector of Pennal and Corris in Machynlleth, Reverend Geraint ap Iorwerth.

He's got the bishop's mandate but not a mandate from the diocese
Rev Geraint ap Iorwerth

He said the fact Mr Crockett was divorced was not an issue for him personally, but it did affect many people in the diocese who were "open about .. being very concerned" over the future bishop's marital history.

"My view is that 23 out of 55 of us (in the diocese) - that's a third of parish clergy - had put forward another archdeacon from the south as a candidate.

"He was not even given an interview.

"[Mr Crockett] has got the bishop's mandate but not a mandate from the diocese," he told BBC News Online.

"He will have to be a real team player because the archbishop made a point of mentioning they wanted a team player to unite the diocese.

"He will have to come in a spirit of humility."

Speaking after his appointment was announced, Mr Crockett said he never dreamed he would go through an experience like divorce.

But he added the Church in Wales had come to terms with divorce.

I have been a member of the Church in Wales since being baptised as a baby, and I believe that the episcopal system is the best way of governing the church
Venerable Anthony Crockett

The church's governing body agreed to the remarriage and ordination of divorcees in 1998.

The bishop-elect was "shocked and amazed" when he was asked to take up the post.

He said: "It is true that I did not want to be part of the original electoral process because I have an important and crucial position already.

"However, I have been a member of the Church in Wales since being baptised as a baby, and I believe that the episcopal system is the best way of governing the church.

"I cannot therefore disregard that now, when the five diocesan bishops have decided that I am the person who should succeed Bishop Saunders."

Mr Crockett was ordained in 1971 and has served as Archdeacon of Carmarthen since 1999.

He will be consecrated bishop at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff on 16 July.


SEE ALSO:
'Lock-in' ends without decision
18 Mar 04  |  North West Wales
Bishop stands down after 40 years
30 Nov 03  |  North West Wales
New Archbishop of Wales
28 Apr 03  |  Wales
St David's enthrones new bishop
11 May 02  |  Wales


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