Tributes are being paid to a retired senior Welsh clergyman who died this week.
The Very Reverend John Lewis served as Dean of Llandaff for 12 years until his retirement in 2012. Originally from Baglan, near Port Talbot, he graduated from Oxford and Cambridge before serving his entire ministry in Wales. He died on Monday aged 71.
John trained for ministry at Westcott House, Cambridge and was ordained as a priest in 1974, serving his curacy in the Cardiff parishes of Whitchurch and then Llanishen and Lisvane. In 1980, John was appointed assistant chaplain at the University of Wales, Cardiff, and in 1981 he also became Warden of Ordinands for Llandaff Diocese. He held both roles until 1985 when he was moved to become Vicar of Brecon St David with Llanspyddid and Llanilltyd.
In 1991, John served as Vicar of St Basil’s Bassaleg, in the Diocese of Monmouth, becoming Team Rector there from 1996-2000. During his long ministry, John had been closely involved in the selection and nurturing of those training for the ministry, most notably as Secretary to the Provincial Selection Panel and Board of the Church in Wales, an appointment he held between 1987 and 1994. He was also chaplain for Continuing Ministerial Education for the Bishop of Monmouth for two years.
The Bishop of Llandaff, June Osborne, said, “John was a faithful servant of the church. His ministry began and ended in the diocese of Llandaff, culminating in his time as Dean of Llandaff and he continued to serve the diocese in his retirement. His ministry, wit and humour will be missed by those whose lives he touched.”
The Dean of Llandaff, Gerwyn Capon said, “These are sad days for the Cathedral ever since we learned of John’s death. But we are also filled with a great sense of gratitude for the courageous contribution he made through his ministry here. John’s gifts and sharp intellect helped to shape Cathedral life for more than a decade. Not only did he instigate several ambitious projects to improve the Cathedral, he was resolute in making sure the congregation supported overseas aid through prayer and fundraising – John promoted this mission with considerable energy throughout his time as Dean.
“Slight in stature, his large personality filled the Cathedral to the brim; we will continue to remember him with great affection and give thanks to God for a man who was, in the end, a faithful and mindful priest.”
The Archbishop of Wales and Bishop of Swansea & Brecon, John Davies, added, “John’s ministry in Brecon, St David (Llanfaes) is well remembered by a number of his former parishioners and with significant affection. His faithful and committed ministry, exercised in a variety of roles and places amply demonstrated his rootedness in the faith and life of the people of God. The parishes and dioceses in which he served and the Province should give thanks for his good work, and, on behalf of them all, I extend my personal condolences to Cynthia and the family whose unfailing support and loyalty were a vital part of John’s ministry and life.”
John leaves his wife Cynthia and two sons Andrew and James. His funeral will be at Llandaff Cathedral on March 8, at 11.30am.
Photo of the Very Reverend John Lewis.