The Archdeacon of Bangor writes:
THE Revd Jeffrey Lloyd Jones died suddenly at home on 8 December, aged 54. Lloyd had been at the heart of life in Bangor diocese, serving both his churches and his communities with impressive care and commitment, and the Church with faithfulness and humour. He was a talented priest, with a passion for the language, history, and culture of Wales. He will be missed profoundly.
Lloyd had ministered in several dioceses in Wales. His journey began in St Davids at Lampeter Pont Steffan with Silian, and then Carmathen; to Llandaff at Llantwit Major and as Area Dean of Arfon; and then his move to Bangor in 2008, with his parish in Llanddeiniolen with Llanfair-is-gaer with Penisa’r-waun, before he took up his last post at Uwch Gwyrfai, where he was also Area Dean of Bangor.
We will not forget Lloyd’s care for others, his storytelling, and his laughter. He had a wonderful speaking and reading voice and a talent for bringing out the meaning and resonance of Bible stories in the way in which he told them.
Lloyd was a teacher, a lecturer, and an author, as well as a much-loved family member, priest, and friend. He had a great love of history and of the ancient stories of our faith, not to focus upon the past, but to help others to understand and interpret the present and God’s future.
The pupils of Llandwrog School, where Lloyd was a frequent visitor, were encouraged to write a few words in memory of “Mr Jones the Vicar”; one of the most memorable comments was “Mr Jones made us laugh every Tuesday in Church.” Lloyd’s humour threatened to get him in to trouble on occasions. As an ordinand, when asked by the then Principal of Wycliffe Hall, Alister McGrath, why he had applied to train for the priesthood at Oxford, Lloyd replied that it was because he saw it as his mission to bring Christianity to England. As a good Celt, this response obviously appealed to the Principal, who accepted him to study there, perhaps thinking that it would be fun to inflict some cheeky South Walian humour on unsuspecting Oxford scholars.
In these Covid times, Lloyd was passionate about keeping people safe and working to keep churches open where possible. He was diligent about striving to make worship accessible for all, and worked hard online and in person to keep prayer alive and to help people to feel confident about worshipping in this time of pandemic.
Lloyd’s wife, Casi, also an ordained minister, spoke movingly about him at his funeral, and she reminded his friends to speak always of Lloyd’s faith when telling of his death, because Lloyd would never have wanted anyone to feel discouraged. His younger son, Tomos, also spoke about his father as one who took seriously Christ’s call to proclaim the gospel in everything that he did, and how much his father had loved him and Dafydd. Lloyd’s brother, Howard, shared many happy memories also.
There was a gentle shyness about Lloyd, even alongside his side-splitting humour and his skill as a storyteller; I think he would want us to remember his story as one that points to the greater story of Christ. As we remember Lloyd in Bangor diocese, we are praying for faith and courage that we might carry on living with hope, nurturing the same flame of love as shone so brightly in his life among us. We trust him to God’s care, and we ask God to bless us as we, like him, seek to live with faith and deep resurrection joy.