Otherwise known as Yr Eglwys Yng Nghymru , essentially the Anglican church of Wales, a self-governing province of the Anglican Communion headed by its own Primate or Archbishop of Wales.
It comprises the following six dioceses,
Its Governing Body is made up of all six bishops together with the holders of certain important positions within the Church as well as clerical and lay representatives from each diocese.
A brief explanation of how the Church in Wales came about
At the time the Church of England was created in the sixteenth century, Wales was in the process of being legally incorporated within this realm of England (see the Acts of Union 1536-1543); no distinction between the two was necessary, and apart from the odd concession to the differences in language, the same organisation and doctrine were applied and enforced in both territories.
However Nonconformism came to be a far stonger force in Wales than in England; the religious census of 1851 showed that amongst active attendees the Nonconformists outnumbered the Anglicans by a factor of around four to one. This led to a call amomgst the Welsh Nonconformists for the disestablishment of the Church of England in Wales, particularly after the Irish disestablishment in 1869.
A sequence of bills proposing such a disestablishment in Wales were presented to parliament in 1870, 1886, 1889 and 1892, and despite the fact that Welsh disestablishment was official Liberal Party policy from 1887 onwards, none of these were succesful due to the inbuilt Conservative majority in the House of Lords.
But in 1911 the House of Lords was forced to relinquish its effective veto, and a disestablishment bill was passed in September 1914. The little matter of World War I intervened and delayed implementation, so it was not until the 1st April that the Church of England ceased to be the official religion of Wales.
And so was created the Church in Wales with its own archbishop, an entirely new and separate Province of Wales and an independent member of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
- The Church in Wales website at http://www.churchinwales.org.uk/
- A History of Wales by John Davies (Allen Lane, 1990)
- When Was Wales? by Gwyn A Williams (Black Raven Press, 1985)