An election process to replace a Welsh bishop who tweeted, “never, never, never trust a Tory” has started in the St David’s diocese.
Dr Joanna Penberthy, who in 2017 became the first woman to be consecrated as bishop in the Church in Wales, apologised for the tweet after many criticised her for making political stands.
At the time, Archbishop Justin Welby said he was “deeply embarrassed” and described her remarks as “unacceptable” while the leader of the Welsh Conservatives said her comments would be "troubling" to many parishioners.
Following the backlash, Dr Penberthy apologised and deleted her Twitter account. She was then absent from work for several periods because of ill health until she resigned earlier this year, citing her health was affecting her “ability to function at the level required to fulfil my role”.
A group of 47 church representatives in Wales have begun meeting to confidentially nominate and vote on the next Bishop of St Davids. The candidate needs a two-thirds majority to be declared bishop-elect; otherwise, the process will restart.
Once a decision is made, St Davis Cathedral will re-open, and the Archbishop of Wales, Rt Rev Andrew John, will make the announcement at the west door.
If no decision is reached within three days, the Bench of Bishops takes over. The new bishop, the 130th for St Davids, will be consecrated at Bangor Cathedral.
Speaking to the BBC, Venerable Eileen Davies, Archdeacon of Cardigan, said: "It's going to be a massive role for the next bishop, whoever that person will be, in bringing people from all walks of life together, and from every gender.
"We need to get out to our people and talk to them, and to have people warmly welcomed into our churches."