As Dorrien Davies prepares for his enthronement to one of the greatest positions in the Church in Wales, as the 130th bishop of St Davids, to many he will always be remembered and loved as the vicar of St Dogmaels.

It was here that parishioners grew to trust a man who wore, and continues to wear, his heart on his sleeve in so many ways.

This was a man who listened, advised, and empathised with others with an over-riding sense of warmth and understanding. But here, too, was a man who could make people laugh, sometimes without even saying a word. All he had to do was cross his arms, stand back and turn on one of those ‘Dorrien’ expressions that the people of St Dogmaels and Cardigan grew to love.

“When I moved to St Dogmaels with my wife, Rosie, back in 1999, I can honestly say that those were glorious years,” he said.

“We were taken into the hearts of the people of St Dogmaels and Cardigan, and we made friends with so many wonderful people. And those friendships have been maintained. It was wonderful being close to a historical site but more than that, being close to people who were willing to accept what I had to say.”

Tivyside Advertiser: Bishop elect Dorrien Davies with his wife, Rosie, and their sons Morgan (far left) and LewisBishop elect Dorrien Davies with his wife, Rosie, and their sons Morgan (far left) and Lewis (Image: Dorrien Davies)

Dorrien was introduced to church life at a very young age by his parents, who were devout members of their local church in Abergwili.

“I wasn’t sent to church.   I was taken there by my parents, so I grew up understanding and being influenced by good, Christian people. As a result, my understanding of the ministry I was being called to came early. In fact I used to tell people that I wanted to be a vicar from the age of five onwards.”

But like any intelligent individual, Dorrien has encountered occasions when he’s questioned what the Church may stand for.

“I don’t want people to think I’m some kind of virtuous paragon because I’m not. I’ve had moments of disbelief and moments of rebellion against the Church. But it never took me long to change my mind.

“It’s important to remember that the Church is not static. It doesn’t stand still.

“ Although the central precept of what it means to be a Christian doesn’t change, the Church and the world today is mindful that it should be relevant and touch the lives of people accordingly, whether they’ve served the church faithfully for many years or whether they’re just discovering the love of Christ. Every single person must feel welcome and at home, so it’s up to the Church to embrace everybody, whatever their backgrounds.”

Everyone who has had the privilege of meeting and getting to know Dorrien, will understand just how firmly this concept stands in his daily life. He is undoubtedly a people person, so one can’t help wondering how this is going to affect his new role as the Bishop of St Davids.

“A bishop recently shared with me the loneliness of the post,” he continues. “But I will be out there with people as much as I possibly can. Obviously I realise that my responsibilities are going to be challenging and I’m going to have to make decisions that will not always be popular.

“But I’m not going to change as a person. I need, very much, the integrity of being with other people but more than that, of being able to share with them the perception and the relationship I have with Christ.”

Listening to Bishop elect Dorrien speaking from the West door of the Cathedral after the electorate results were announced by the Archbishop of Wales last Tuesday afternoon, it was clear that his emotions were riding high.

“There were three things going through my mind,” he says.

“The first was the reality of what had just happened.

"Secondly, I was thinking about how it’s going to affect myself and my family.  And thirdly…and this was when I began to get emotional…in the past three years I’ve lost both of my parents. But I know that they were with me that day, and will continue to be with me for evermore.

“Yes, our lives are going to change considerably. But I will remain the same Dorrien Davies that everyone knows. And my humour will keep me grounded. It’s not just having a sense of fun but having a sense of irony and seeing all those funny things in life. And I know that God has a sense of humour too, because he’s a God of love and sees the funny side of things.

“If I took myself too seriously it would be disastrous. But I also appreciate and realise the weight of the office I shall be entering in the next few months.

"And I shall continue to wear the mitre with dignity until the day I meet my Maker.”

Dorrien Davies will take on the temporal executive powers of the Bishop of St Davids at a sacred Synod service to be held at Eglwys Dewi Sant, Cardiff, on November 29.

He will be consecrated to the sacramental role at Bangor Cathedral on January 27 by the Archbishop of Wales and will be enthroned at St Davids Cathedral on February 3, 2024.