Page last updated at 12:22 GMT, Wednesday, 8 October 2008 13:22 UK

Bishop of Bangor due to be chosen

Bangor cathedral
The electoral college started meeting at Bangor cathedral on Tuesday

Members of the Church in Wales are still deciding who will take over as the new bishop of Bangor.

A 46-member electoral college has convened inside a locked Bangor Cathedral for a second consecutive day.

Among those expected to be considered are the Archdeacons of Bangor, Meurig Llwyd, and St Davids, John Holdsworth.

Also mentioned is the Very Reverend Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans, who could become the first openly gay clergyman to become a bishop in Wales.

Deliberations to choose the 81st bishop of Bangor started on Tuesday morning, but the electoral college making the decision stopped for the day after failing to make a decision.

The college then reconvened inside the cathedral to carry on its discussions early on Wednesday morning and have a further day in which to make their decision.

However, if no decision is made within this three-day deadline then the vote will pass to the Bench of Bishops.

Confidential vote

Traditionally, the bishop of Bangor is a Welsh-speaker and will serve an area stretching across north-west Wales from Holyhead to Llanidloes, Powys.

The election follows the death in June of the Right Reverend Anthony Crockett who served as bishop from 2004.

After the service, the college, made up of representatives from all six Welsh dioceses including the four other Welsh diocesan bishops, started meeting in private in a locked cathedral.

As the 'home' diocese Bangor is represented by six lay people and six clergy with the remaining five dioceses each represented by three lay people and three clergy.

Between them they will confidentially nominate and vote on candidates at the meeting which could last for up to three consecutive days.

Any candidate receiving two-thirds of the votes of those present will be declared bishop-elect and will have 28 days to accept the position.

The doors of Bangor Cathedral being locked when the electoral college met in March
The cathedral doors are locked when the electoral college meets

If no-one receives the required two-thirds majority the college will return to the nomination stage with the election cycle starting afresh.

Once a decision is made, the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, will unlock and open the west door of the Cathedral and announce the name from the doorstep.

One of the more controversial names in the running for the role of bishop is the openly gay Very Rev Jeffrey John.

Welsh speaker Dr John entered into a civil partnership with his long-term partner in 2006 but leads a celibate life and is said to be in contention for the post.

He hit the headlines five years ago after he was forced to withdraw his acceptance of the post of suffragan Bishop of Reading following a storm of protest from conservatives in the Anglican Church.

He was subsequently made Dean of St Albans. Earlier this year Dr Morgan said he would be prepared to consecrate a gay bishop.

The post of bishop of Bangor is used to controversy after Mr Crockett became the first bishop in the UK to have been divorced and remarried.

Death of the bishop of Bangor, 62
30 Jun 08 |  North West Wales
First divorced bishop appointed
05 May 04 |  North West Wales
'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

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