Next Methodist leader hopes to encourage others with disability

With appropriate symmetry in a year that Methodism is holding its annual conference in Wales, one of Wales's Methodist leaders has been elected President of the Church's governing body for 2004.

The Rev Will Morrey, who is Chairman of the South Wales Methodist District, will become President of the British Methodist Conference in Loughborough next year. He will continue to lead the Church across Britain over the following 12 months.

Mr Morrey became deaf at the age of 19. After being elected as President-designate, he said that this experience "enriches both my ministry and the church. Serving as President would encourage others with disability". He wrote the book "Seeing is Hearing", which included a theological reflection on hearing loss, and was published in 1996.

Will Morrey was born in Stoke-on-Trent in 1953. After studying theology at Birmingham University, he undertook ministerial training at Queen's College, Birmingham, and was ordained in 1979. He has served at churches in Bideford, Devon (1976-79), Sheffield Ecclesall (1979-84), Halifax (1984-87), and Bangor (as Superintendent Minister, 1987-94).

While in Sheffield, he was chaplain to the city's Children's Hospital, and during his time in north Wales, he was chaplain to Bangor University as well as to RAF Valley, Anglesey. He became South Wales District Chair in 1997. He is chair of the Methodist Resourcing Mission Grants Committee and also serves on the Church's Pastoral Care Advisory Group.

Experienced in Methodist relations with other churches, Mr Morrey was involved in the recent working party that proposed to establish an ecumenical bishop in Wales. He worked alongside Rowan Williams when he was Archbishop in Wales. He helped to establish the Welsh Methodist Council, Y Gymanfa, in 1997.

He lives in Cardiff with his wife Vicki. They have two sons, Adam (24) and Peter (22).