Thinking Anglicans

Bishop of Maidstone – news and reactions



Forward in Faith

Anglican Mission in England


press reports

John Bingham The Telegraph Leader of campaign against women bishops is made a bishop in bid to avert CofE split

Tim Wyatt Church Times C of E honours its pledge to appoint a ‘headship’ Evangelical as bishop

Ruth Gledhill Christian Today ‘Male headship’ campaigner appointed as CofE bishop


statement by WATCH (Women and the Church)

John Martin The Living Church Prebendary Thomas Steps Up


Rod Thomas to be Bishop of Maidstone

Press release from the Number 10 website.

Suffragan Bishop of Maidstone: Roderick Charles Howell Thomas

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 5 May 2015
Part of: Community and society

The Queen has approved the nomination of Roderick Charles Howell Thomas to the Suffragan See of Maidstone in the Diocese of Canterbury.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Prebendary Roderick Charles Howell Thomas, BSc (Econ), Vicar of Elburton, to the Suffragan See of Maidstone, in the Diocese of Canterbury. He will succeed the Right Reverend Graham Cray who became leader of the Archbishops’ Fresh Expressions Team in 2009. The See has been vacant since then. In December 2014, the Dioceses Commission agreed to a proposal from the Archbishops to fill the See in order to provide a bishop who takes the conservative evangelical view on male headship.

Notes to editors

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.

Prebendary Roderick Thomas is married to Lesley and they have 3 children. Prebendary Roderick Thomas has chaired Reform, a network for conservative evangelicals in the Church of England, since 2007. His interests include boating, walking the South West Coast Path, and carpentry.

There is also a press release from Lambeth Palace, copied below the fold.



Participants reflect on the Shared Conversations

Updated 8, 14, 17 and 20 May

Two people so far have written about their experiences at the first regional session of the Shared Conversations. This involved dioceses in the South West. The second session takes place this coming week for Yorkshire dioceses.

Rose Grigg has written here: Reflections on the first Shared Conversations.

Erika Baker has written: The Shared Conversations which I have published on TA.

If further articles by participants appear, I will of course add links to them.

Further reflections

Jeremy Pemberton has written about the East Midlands Conversation: Shared Conversations – Talking in Circles

Richard Coles has two contributions, one is a sound clip of his Radio 2 Pause for Thought, the other is a written one, both can be found here on the Changing Attitude blog for Shared Conversations.

Graham Rutter Reflection on Shared Conversations

Tim Moore Tim Moore’s reflections: Yorkshire (7th – 9th May 2015)

Ruth Wilde Ruth Wilde’s reflections (East Midlands 11th-13th May 2015)

The Church Times carries a news report today, Shared Conversations: praise for three days in hotel talking of sexuality and there is also Leader Comment: Sharing and Caring.

Mention is made in the above of a commentary from Anglican Mainstream. The full text of the latter can be found here.

Earlier, Ruth Gledhill had written this report for Christian Today: Church of England begins ‘shared conversations’ on human sexuality – can it reach ‘good disagreement’?


General Synod miscellaneous

The Report of Proceedings of the February 2015 meeting of General Synod is now available online. This comprises a verbatim transcript of the complete proceedings. It also includes the questions (and their answers) that were for written answer and those which were not reached in the time available.

General Synod will be dissolved after the July 2015 group of sessions, and elections for a new Synod held between mid-July and mid-October. The Church of England website has a series of pages about these elections.


Sharpe v Bishop of Worcester

I reported here on this week’s decision of the Court of Appeal in Sharpe v Bishop of Worcester that Mr Sharpe was not an “employee” of the Bishop of Worcester or a “worker” for the purposes of employment law. I also linked to some early reactions.

Law & Religion UK has now published this analysis by Russell Sandberg of the Cardiff Law School: Not a Sharpe Turn: a note on Sharpe v Bishop of Worcester.



Simon Jenkins Reform Magazine Jumble sales of the apocalypse: When prayer goes wrong

Lisa Kelly Ignatian Spirituality Dude, You Can’t Fail!

Steven Croft The Top Ten Proverbs for Twitter and Facebook


“Bishop for church-plants”

We reported in March on the Bishop of London’s proposal to revive the suffragan see of Islington to provide a “bishop for church-plants”. The Dioceses Commission has now given its approval to the proposal.

The official press release is here, and is copied below.

Go ahead for church planting bishop for See of Islington
01 May 2015

The Dioceses Commission has given its approval to revive the See* of Islington paving the way for a new bishop to lead on church planting within the Diocese of London.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has written to the Commission expressing his strong support for the new See. The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, formally submitted a proposal to the Commission laying out the support of both the Diocesan Synod and the Bishop’s Council.

Most bishops exercise their ministry within a defined geographical area. The proposal to revive the See of Islington is innovative as the bishop would hold a particular brief for church-planting initiatives primarily in the Diocese of London but to provide advice for other dioceses across England as invited to do so by the local bishop.

The Commission first looked at the Bishop of London’s proposal to revive the See of Islington at its meeting in September last year before it was being discussed by the London Diocesan Synod.

The Bishop of London has emphasised that the new bishop would be accountable to him and be part of the London Diocese’s senior team, playing his/her part in carrying out episcopal functions, such as confirmations, in the diocese and in particularly in supporting clergy in pioneer ministry.

Professor Michael Clarke, Chair of the Dioceses Commission, said: “The Commission looked very carefully at the Bishop of London’s proposal, and, in the light of clarification of the intended role of the new bishop, gave it a green light. As with our recent scheme radically reshaping dioceses in West Yorkshire, we are keen to play our part in adapting the Church’s structures to meet current mission needs.”

Following the Commission’s consent, the way is now open to appoint someone with a view to the new bishop being consecrated later in the year.

See also Diocese of London.

Notes for editors

The Dioceses Commission has particular responsibility for episcopal oversight across the Church of England and suffragan sees, such as this one, cannot normally be filled without its agreement. The creation of wholly new sees would nevertheless also require the consent of the General Synod. In this case the See of Islington had been created in the late 19th Century but had been left unfilled since 1923.

Church-planting was given a stimulus by the seminal 2004 Church Report Mission Shaped Church. This report recognised that ‘the existing parochial system alone is no longer able fully to deliver its underlying mission purpose…’ and that ‘a variety of integrated missionary approaches is required’ with ‘a mixed economy of parish churches and network churches.’ It described church plants as ‘creating new communities of Christian faith as part of the mission of God to express God’s kingdom in every geographic and cultural context.’ It is estimated that there are c.1,000 such Fresh Expressions across the Church of England attended by c.30,000 people. (See here.)


Church of England and the low carbon economy

The Church Commissioners and The Church of England Pensions Board last night announced a £12million divestment from thermal coal and tar sands.

National Investing Bodies and transition to a low carbon economy

30 April 2015

The Church Commissioners and The Church of England Pensions Board have today announced the £12million divestment from thermal coal and tar sands.

From today neither body, nor the CBF Church of England funds, will make any direct investments in any company where more than 10% of its revenues are derived from the extraction of thermal coal or the production of oil from tar sands.

This announcement coincides with the adoption of a new climate change policy recommended by the Church’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG) that sets out how the three national investing bodies (NIBs) will support the transition to a low carbon economy…

The full policy is here.

Richard Burridge, the deputy chair of the Church’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group, writes about the new policy: CofE national investing bodies and transition to low carbon economy.

Press reports

Pilita Clark Financial Times Church of England blacklists coal and tar sands investments

Adam Vaughan The Guardian Church of England ends investments in heavily polluting fossil fuels

BBC News Church of England to sell fossil fuel investments