jQuery Slider

You are here

Appointment of Prebendary Rod Thomas as the Bishop of Maidstone

Appointment of Prebendary Rod Thomas as the Bishop of Maidstone

AMiE Release
May 5, 2015

The Executive Committee of the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) warmly welcome the appointment of Rod Thomas as the new Bishop of Maidstone and look forward to the new opportunities his role may create as we seek to work together to promote the gospel through local Anglican churches.

Prebendary Rod Thomas has served on the Executive Committee of AMiE since 2012. He was a delegate at the Global Anglican Futures Conference (GAFCON) in 2013 at which the Primates of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans recognized the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) as an expression of authentic Anglicanism both for those within and outside the Church of England.

AMiE General Secretary, Canon Andy Lines said, "We are delighted by the appointment of Prebendary Rod Thomas as the new Bishop of Maidstone. The appointment opens the door to a new era of co-operation between AMiE and the Church of England."

Chairman of AMiE, Rev Justin Mote said, "AMiE exists to promote gospel growth by supporting Anglican churches and individuals both within and outside present Church of England structures. No one is more committed to that task than Rod Thomas. We are excited by the possibilities offered by his appointment and look forward to AMiE churches benefitting from his Episcopal ministry in the future."


Prebendary Rod Thomas appointed Bishop of Maidstone

Press release from Lambeth Palace
May 5, 2015

Downing Street has today announced that the next Bishop of Maidstone will be the Reverend Prebendary Roderick Thomas, currently Vicar of Elburton in the Diocese of Exeter.

The appointment of Rod Thomas follows a meeting of the Dioceses Commission in December at which unanimous agreement was given to a proposal from the Archbishop of Canterbury to fill the see, which has been vacant since 2009, with a bishop who takes a conservative evangelical view on headship.

This flowed from the public commitment given by the Archbishops and the House of Bishops, in the run up to the final approval by the General Synod of the legislation to allow women to be admitted to the episcopate in July 2014 (see paragraph 30 of House of Bishops Declaration and the Archbishops' note of June 2013- GS Misc 1079). In agreeing with the proposal to fill the see, the Commission was conscious of the needs of the national church for a member of the College of Bishops to be able to act as an advocate for those who hold a conservative position on headship.

The See of Maidstone is in the Diocese of Canterbury and Rod Thomas will be available to take his place in the Foundation of Canterbury Cathedral. However, given his potentially wide geographical remit, he will not otherwise be expected to participate in the life of the Diocese of Canterbury.

Rod Thomas's specific duties as Bishop of Maidstone will include: fostering vocations from those taking a conservative evangelical position on headship; undertaking episcopal ministry (with the agreement of the relevant diocesan bishop) in dioceses in both Provinces where PCCs have passed the requisite resolution under the House of Bishops' declaration; and being available to act (again by invitation) as an assistant bishop in a number of dioceses.

The date of Rod Thomas's consecration is yet to be confirmed. He succeeds the Rt Revd Graham Cray, who was Bishop of Maidstone from 2001 to 2009 and Archbishops' Missioner and Team Leader of Fresh Expressions from 2009 to 2014.

Welcoming the news, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: "I am personally delighted that Rod Thomas has agreed to take up the post of Bishop of Maidstone. Rod has served the church tirelessly, both as a parish priest and as a member of the General Synod, and engaged constructively and graciously with those of differing theological views. It is my hope and prayer that Rod's distinctive ministry as Bishop of Maidstone will enable those with a conservative evangelical view of headship to flourish and to be assured that the Church of England has a respected place for them."

The Reverend Prebendary Rod Thomas said: "It is both a privilege and a challenge to be asked to become a Bishop in the Church of England. The prospect of serving as the Bishop of Maidstone is similarly both exciting and daunting, and so I ask for prayer that God will give me the necessary strength and wisdom. My hope for the Bishop of Maidstone's new role is that it will help to promote the gospel of Jesus Christ; encourage church members in their faith and witness; and generate widespread confidence in our commitment, as a church, to mutual flourishing."

The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Revd James Langstaff, said: "In arriving at the arrangements which have now led to three women being nominated as bishops, it was clear that the voice of those taking a conservative position on male headship also needed to be honoured. This was in the context of the five guiding principles which seek to make space within the Church of England for those of differing theological convictions to continue to flourish. It was this concern which led to the identification of the See of Maidstone for a bishop who holds to that conservative position.

"Having chaired the Steering Committee which produced the legislation and accompanying arrangements, I am very pleased that Rod Thomas has been nominated for this appointment. Rod was himself a member of that Committee; he played a very full and constructive part in our discussions, and spoke generously about the outcome in the crucial General Synod debate in July 2014. I look forward to working with Rod again, this time within the fellowship of the College of Bishops."

The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, said: "Wherever possible, and so that our divisions may not get in the way of the world seeing and receiving Christ, the church needs to learn a new spirit of generosity where different views on some issues are able to live alongside each other in as much communion as possible. I therefore welcome the appointment of Rod Thomas as the new Bishop of Maidstone and look forward to working with him in the Chelmsford diocese where I hope he will serve as an Assistant Bishop. His presence and ministry will give confidence to many in the church and show that it is possible to disagree well."

About the Revered Prebendary Roderick Thomas

The Reverend Prebendary Roderick Thomas, aged 60, studied at the London School of Economics and subsequently became the Director of Employment and Environmental Affairs at the CBI. He trained for the ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. He served his Curacy at Plymouth St Andrew with St Paul and St George in the Diocese of Exeter from 1993 to 1995. From 1995 to 1999 he was Curate at Plymouth St Andrew. From 1999 to 2005 he was Priest-in-Charge of Elburton and has been Vicar of Elburton since 2005. He has been a member of the General Synod since 2000 and a Prebendary at Exeter Cathedral since 2012.

Rod Thomas is married to Lesley and they have three children. His interests include boating, walking the South West Coast Path, and carpentry.

Reform Media Statement

Reform Chairman appointed Bishop of Maidstone

Reform is delighted that their Chairman, Rev'd Preb Rod Thomas, has been appointed to the revived See of Maidstone.

Rod has served as a senior officer of Reform for nearly two decades. In that time he has been unswerving in his commitment to the principles set out in the Reform Covenant. But for Rod's passionate advocacy of conservative evangelical Anglicanism the Church of England would have been much impoverished. Rod's predecessor as Chairman of Reform, Rev'd Canon David Banting, said, "Rod's presence in the College of Bishops will strengthen and enrich the priority of the mission of the gospel to the nation and the centrality of Biblical witness in the Church."

Rev'd Angus Macleay, the Chairman of Trustees of Reform, said, "I am delighted that, through this appointment, Rod will have the opportunity to provide a distinctive and gracious voice for conservative evangelicals within the College of Bishops, whilst also providing effective pastoral support and encouragement in the gospel to many churches up and down the country."

Mrs Mary Durlacher, a member of General Synod, was very pleased to hear the longawaited news, "Today's announcement of the appointment of a conservative evangelical as Bishop of Maidstone marks a milestone in Church relations as the commitment to mutual flourishing declared by the Bishops begins to turn from words to action."

Director of Reform, Susie Leafe said, "The members of Reform are all too aware that this is an immense undertaking and we will be in prayer for Rod as he seeks to establish the necessary working arrangements to allow conservative evangelicals to flourish throughout the country." Reform members wish to record publicly their gratitude to Rod for all that he has given as Chairman of Reform and resolve to pray for Rod, his wife Lesley and the
church family at St Matthew's, Elburton, as they look to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for their future.

Reform is a network of individuals and churches promoting the gospel of Jesus Christ by reforming the Church of England -- we are committed to growing a nation of healthy, local, Anglican churches and the principles embodied in the Reform Covenant.

Churches in the Reform network are 30% larger than average in the Church of England and a third have planted new congregations or churches in the past ten years. Reform has consistently opposed the legislation introduced to introduce women bishops as being divisive, alienating the very churches that represent the future of the Church of England. This not withstanding, and in the spirit of generosity to which all Christians are called, Reform is willing to explore whatever opportunities exist for Conservative Evangelicals to flourish within the existing structures of the Church of England.

Get a bi-weekly summary of Anglican news from around the world.
comments powered by Disqus
Trinity School for Ministry
Prayer Book Alliance

Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee

Drink Coffee

Do Good

Sustainable Ministry

Coffee, Community, Social Justice


Go To Top