JONES, JOHN CHARLES (1904 - 1956) Bishop of Bangor

Name: John Charles Jones
Date of birth: 1904
Date of death: 1956
Spouse: Mary Jones (née Lewis)
Child: Ann Lewis (née Jones)
Parent: Rachel Jones
Parent: Benjamin Jones
Gender: Male
Occupation: Bishop of Bangor
Area of activity: Religion
Author: Enid Pierce Roberts

Born 3 May, 1904, the ninth child of Benjamin and Rachel Jones, Llan-saint, Carmarthenshire. He was educated in Carmarthen Grammar School, and after graduating first class in Hebrew at University College Cardiff in 1926, he went on to Cambridge with a Hody Scholarship. He was at Wadham College, where he won the Junior LXX prize and the Pusey and Ellerton scholarship in 1927. He graduated B.A. in 1928 with a first in theology, and M.A. in 1931. He was awarded a D.D. (Lambeth) in 1950. Chosen as Kennicot Scholar in 1928 he spent a year at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. He was ordained deacon by the Bishop of St. David's in 1929 and priest in 1930. He was curate in Llanelli 1929-33 and in Aberystwyth 1933-34 with responsibility for students. In 1934 he entered the missionary field in the Bishop Tucker Memorial College, Mukono, Uganda, as tutor in theology. From 1939-45 he was warden and sole administrator at the college. With the assistance of his wife Mary, daughter of William Lewis of Carmarthen and a professional nurse, he established a section to educate the wives of native clergy. He returned to Wales in 1945 as vicar of Llanelli. He was enthroned as Bishop of Bangor, Epiphany 1949 — the first time this ceremony was performed in Welsh. He died in Bangor on his way home from St. Winifred's School Llanfairfechan, Saturday 13 October 1956, and was buried in Llandysilio cemetery 18 Oct. He left a widow and one daughter Ann, wife of Donald Lewis who became vicar of Swansea in 1977.

In the seven years he was Bishop he compressed a lifetime's work and influence. He brought new life to the diocese, and a unity and strength never seen before. He was known in the remotest parish, a bishop to all — ‘belonging to us all’ as one Methodist elder put it. In the summer of 1950 he led more than 4,000 people along the pilgrim route to Aberdaron. The exhibition of the treasures of the churches in the see, held in Bangor 3-5 March 1953, was an opportunity to bring everyone together as well as emphasising the traditions and the inheritance that extended over four centuries. The quarterly Bangor Diocesan Gazette, which he founded in July 1954, was another effort to unite the whole see.

He used to fly to the Middle East to visit the armed forces, and in 1954 he took part in a world-wide conference of Christian churches in Evanston, and in the conference of Anglican bishops in Minneapolis.

It is difficult for those who never saw his small, frail figure to appreciate his serene spirituality and the strength of his faith and vision.


Published date: 2001

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