Two Pembrokeshire priests who met and fell in love on church duties have announced their engagement.
The Rector of Tenby, Canon Andrew Davies, and his curate, the Rev Alex Grace, said on Monday they were ‘delighted’ to share their good news with parishioners.
Romance blossomed when the Rev Grace, the mother of two daughters, became assistant curate in the town in the summer of 2012.
Her ordination in Tenby, her first parish, was featured later that year in BBC Wales’ Vicar Academy, where she was one of a number of trainee priests from St Michael’s College, Cardiff, who were shadowed by cameras.
In an email message to churchgoers and clergy, the couple said that they had quickly developed ‘a very close working relationship and friendship’ when they started ministering together, and they had realised for some time that they wished to be married.
Explained Rev Davies: “Priests cannot just get married - permission has to be sought from the Bishop, and our own situation had to appear before the Bench of Bishops of the Church in Wales last week, who immediately gave their ‘dispensation’ wholeheartedly.”
On Monday, the happy couple were given permission by the Bishop of St David’s, the Very Rev Wyn Evans, to announce their engagement.
Rev Davies said they were ‘so pleased - and relieved’ to be able to share the news. He added that if it came as a surprise to anyone, it was because the couple had made every effort to be discreet and private about their ‘close personal relationship’ in the past year.
“But as time has gone by, the secrecy has become difficult, and more recently it has even felt that we were being deceitful to you, our friends,” he said in the message.
They thanked their families and colleague, the Rev Robb (correct) Wainwright, for their support, and added: “When the day comes - and we are thinking of June - we want very much to include our whole Benefice church family in this.
“After all, you are the reason and context in which we met in the first place, and you, our church family, are very dear to us both.”
Malcolm Stacey, secretary of Tenby Christian Aid, said: “You can’t help feeling that this has the hallmarks of a union made in heaven.
‘Not only are Andrew and Alex exceptionally good at their joint vocation, but they share together many other qualities, including warmth and deep sincerity.”