Rod Thomas (bishop)

Last updated

Rod Thomas
Bishop of Maidstone (PEV)
Church Church of England
Diocese Diocese of Canterbury
In office2015–2022
SuccessorTBA (Bishop of Ebbsfleet)
Other post(s) Vicar of Elburton, Diocese of Exeter (1999–2015)
Ordination1993 (deacon)
1994 (priest)
Consecration23 September 2015
by  Justin Welby
Personal details
Roderick Charles Howell Thomas

(1954-08-07) 7 August 1954 (age 68)
Denomination Anglicanism
Alma mater London School of Economics
Wycliffe Hall, Oxford

Roderick Charles Howell Thomas (born 7 August 1954) is a retired Church of England bishop. He was the Bishop of Maidstone, a provincial episcopal visitor for conservative evangelical members and parishes of the church, from 2015 until his retirement in 2022.


Early life

Thomas was born on 7 August 1954 in London, England. [1] [2] [3] He was educated in Ealing, West London. [3] He studied economics at the London School of Economics, [4] and graduated in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree. [2]

Having completed his degree, Thomas joined the Civil Service. He left the Civil Service to become a researcher for the Institute of Directors. [3] He ended his business career as Director of Employment and Environmental Affairs at the Confederation of British Industry, before leaving in 1991 to train for ordained ministry. [5]

His early years were spent as a member of the Exclusive Plymouth Brethren. [6] At the age of 12, under the influence of Billy Graham, John Stott and Maurice Wood, and having attended Emmanuel Church, Wimbledon, he became an Anglican. [3] In 1991, he entered Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, a Church of England theological college, to train for ordained ministry. [2]

Ordained ministry

Having completed his training, Thomas was ordained in the Church of England as a deacon in 1993 and as a priest in 1994. [2] He served his curacy at St Andrew's Church, Plymouth. He remained at St Andrew's Church as a curate from 1995 to 1999. [4] From 1999 to 2005, he was priest-in-charge of St Matthew's Church, Elburton. [2] From 2005 to 2015, he was vicar of Elburton. [4] In 2012, he was additionally appointed a Prebendary of Exeter Cathedral. [7]

Outside his parish ministry, Thomas held a number of appointments. He was a member of the General Synod of the Church of England from 2000 to 2015. [7] [8] He has been a member of the Reform organisation for nearly two decades, and its chairman from 2007 to 2015: [8] [7] Reform is a conservative evangelical Anglican organisation that opposes the ordination of women to the priesthood and promotes conservative attitudes to homosexuality. [9] Up to 2015, he was a member of the executive committee of the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE), a missionary society set up by the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans operating outside the Church of England. [10]

Episcopal ministry

On 5 May 2015, Thomas was announced as the next Bishop of Maidstone, a provincial episcopal visitor for conservative evangelical members and parishes of the church. [4] [11] On 23 September 2015, he was consecrated a bishop at Canterbury Cathedral by Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury. [12] [13]

By 19 December 2016, 71 parishes had passed resolutions for conservative evangelical reasons, of which 31 had requested Alternative Episcopal Oversight (AEO) from the Bishop of Maidstone. [14] By January 2018 there were 114 parishes with 53 receiving AEO, [15] and by January 2019 there were 133 parishes with 63 receiving AEO. [16]

Thomas is additionally an honorary assistant bishop in the dioceses of Birmingham, Bristol, Canterbury, Chelmsford, Chester, Ely, Exeter, Lichfield, London, Manchester, Norwich, Oxford, Rochester, Sheffield and Southwark. [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] Thomas additionally is recorded as exercising AEO in the dioceses of Carlisle, Derby and Portsmouth, but is not listed by Crockford's as exercising AEO in those dioceses. [16]

In January 2022, it was announced that Thomas would retire as Bishops of Maidstone on 2 October 2022. [22]


Thomas has been described as a complementarian evangelical and as a conservative evangelical. [23] [24] He has expressed his support for the Nashville Statement, describing it as a "wonderfully clear statement about God's design for His creation insofar as it relates to marriage, sexual relationships and gender identity". [25]

In 2006, it was announced that Jeffrey John (Dean of St Albans) had entered into a civil partnership with his male partner. Thomas replied to this news: "It is something that will only serve to deepen the crisis that the Church of England faces over the whole issue of human sexuality." [26] He stated in December 2016: "I continue to believe that God's Word is clear that sexual intimacy should be experienced only within heterosexual marriage and not otherwise". [27]

Personal life

In 1981, Thomas married Lesley Easton. [28] They have three children: two sons and one daughter. [4]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Archbishop of Canterbury</span> Senior bishop of the Church of England

The archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and a principal leader of the Church of England, the ceremonial head of the worldwide Anglican Communion and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. The current archbishop is Justin Welby, who was enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral on 21 March 2013. Welby is the 105th in a line which goes back more than 1400 years to Augustine of Canterbury, the "Apostle to the English", sent from Rome in the year 597. Welby succeeded Rowan Williams.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Diocese of Canterbury</span> Diocese of the Church of England

The Diocese of Canterbury is a Church of England diocese covering eastern Kent which was founded by St. Augustine of Canterbury in 597. The diocese is centred on Canterbury Cathedral and is the oldest see of the Church of England.

A provincial episcopal visitor (PEV), popularly known as a flying bishop, is a Church of England bishop assigned to minister to many of the clergy, laity and parishes who on grounds of theological conviction, "are unable to receive the ministry of women bishops or priests". The system by which such bishops oversee certain churches is referred to as alternative episcopal oversight (AEO).

Reform was a conservative evangelical organisation within Evangelical Anglicanism, active in the Church of England and the Church of Ireland. Reform in England described itself as a "network of churches and individuals within the Church of England, committed to the reform of ourselves, our congregation and our world by the gospel".

The Bishop of Maidstone is an episcopal title used by a suffragan bishop of the Church of England Diocese of Canterbury, in the Province of Canterbury, England. The title takes its name after the county town of Maidstone in Kent

The Bishop of Ebbsfleet is a suffragan bishop who fulfils the role of a provincial episcopal visitor in the Church of England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Christ Church, Wharton</span> Church in Cheshire, England

Christ Church, Wharton, is in the town of Winsford, Cheshire, England. It is an active evangelical Anglican parish church in the diocese of Chester, the archdeaconry of Chester and the deanery of Middlewich.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">St Andrew's Church, Plymouth</span> Church in Plymouth, England

The Minster Church of St Andrew, also known as St Andrew's Church, Plymouth is an Anglican church in Plymouth. It is the original parish church of Sutton, one of the three towns which were later combined to form the city of Plymouth. The church is the largest parish church in the historic county of Devon and was built in the mid to late 15th century. The church was heavily damaged during the Plymouth Blitz but was rebuilt after the war. It was designated as a Minster Church in 2009 and it continues to operate as the focus for religious civic events for the city and as a bustling evangelical church.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">St Thomas's Church, Oakwood</span> Church in London, England

St Thomas's Church, Oakwood is an Anglican church in the Enfield Deanery of the Diocese of London. It is located in Prince George Avenue in the Oakwood area of the London Borough of Enfield, England.

Karen Marisa Gorham, is a British Church of England bishop. Since February 2016, she has been the Bishop of Sherborne, a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Salisbury; and she was Acting Bishop of Salisbury from 2021 to 2022. From 2007 to 2016, she was the Archdeacon of Buckingham in the Diocese of Oxford.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Christ Church, Fulwood, Sheffield</span> Church in South Yorkshire, England

Christ Church Fulwood is a large conservative evangelical Anglican parish church of the Church of England situated in Fulwood, Sheffield, England. The Revd Canon Paul Williams was vicar at Christ Church from 2006 to 2021.

Richard Charles Jackson is a British Anglican bishop. He is the current Bishop of Hereford in the Church of England and a former Bishop suffragan of Lewes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Evangelical Anglicanism</span> Tradition within Anglicanism

Evangelical Anglicanism or evangelical Episcopalianism is a tradition or church party within Anglicanism that shares affinity with broader evangelicalism. Evangelical Anglicans share with other evangelicals the attributes of "conversionism, activism, biblicism and crucicentrism" identified by historian David Bebbington as central to evangelical identity. The emergence of evangelical churchmanship can be traced back to the First Great Awakening in America and the Evangelical Revival in Britain in the 18th century. In the 20th century, prominent figures have included John Stott and J. I. Packer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">St Luke's Church, Blakenhall</span> Church in Blakenhall, England

St Luke's Church, Blakenhall is a Grade II* listed parish church in the Church of England in Blakenhall, Wolverhampton.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">St Paul's Church, Little Eaton</span> Church in Little Eaton, England

St Paul's Church, Little Eaton is a Grade II listed parish church in the Church of England in Little Eaton, Derbyshire.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">St Andrew the Great</span> Church in United Kingdom

St Andrew the Great is a Church of England parish church in central Cambridge. Rebuilt in late Gothic style in 1843, it is a Grade II listed building. The church has a conservative evangelical tradition and participates in the Anglican Reform movement. The congregation includes Cambridge residents, overseas visitors and students.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">St Paul's Church, Hadley Wood</span> Church in Greater London, England

St Paul's Church is a Church of England proprietary chapel in Hadley Wood, London.

The Bishop of Oswestry is a suffragan bishop who fulfils the role of a provincial episcopal visitor in the Church of England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">All Saints Church, Fordham</span> Church in Essex, England

All Saints Church is a Church of England parish church in Fordham, Essex. The church is a Grade I listed building.


  1. "Thomas, Roderick Charles Howell" . Who's Who . Vol. 2016 (November 2015 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 24 July 2016.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "Roderick Charles Howell Thomas" . Crockford's Clerical Directory (online ed.). Church House Publishing . Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "Order of Service: Ordination and Consecration of the new Bishops of Maidstone, Kensington and Edmonton" (PDF). Canterbury Cathedral. 23 September 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 "Suffragan Bishop of Maidstone: Roderick Charles Howell Thomas". Press release. Prime Minister's Office. 5 May 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
  5. "Suffragan Bishop of Maidstone announced". Articles. Archbishop of Canterbury. 5 May 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
  6. Handley MacMath, Terence (24 December 2008). "Interview: Rod Thomas chairman of Reform". Church Times. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  7. 1 2 3 "Rod Thomas announced Bishop of Maidstone". Latest Diocesan News. Diocese of Exeter. 5 May 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
  8. 1 2 "Maidstone, Bishop Suffragan of, (Rt Rev. Roderick Charles Howell Thomas) (born 7 Aug. 1954)". Who's Who 2021. Oxford University Press. 1 December 2020. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  9. "Reform Chairman made Bishop of Maidstone". Media statement. Reform. 5 May 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
  10. "About: Executive Committee". AMiE. Anglican Mission in England. Archived from the original on 17 March 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
  11. "Suffragan See of Maidstone". News releases. Church of England. 4 December 2014. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
  12. "Two new bishops and new archdeacon for London announced". Diocese of London. 9 July 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  13. "Ordination and Consecration of the new Bishops of Maidstone, Kensington and Edmonton". Canterbury Cathedral. 23 September 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  14. "Christmas 2016 Newsletter" (PDF). December 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  15. [ bare URL PDF ]
  16. 1 2 3 . Retrieved 12 January 2019.{{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. "Appointments". Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  18. "Bishop of Maidstone becomes an Assistant Bishop in the Diocese (Diocese of Norwich)". Archived from the original on 11 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  19. "Licensing as Assistant Bishop in Rochester Diocese - The Bishop of Maidstone". Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  20. "Bishop Rod to be Assistant Bishop in Growing Number of Dioceses - The Bishop of Maidstone". Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  21. "The Rt Revd Roderick Charles Howell THOMAS". Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  22. "The Bishop of Maidstone – Welcome". Retrieved 15 January 2022. The Bishop of Maidstone, the Rt Rev’d Rod Thomas, has announced his intention to retire on 2nd October 2022.
  23. Gatiss, Lee (5 May 2015). "Topical Tuesday: Bishop Rod Thomas". Church Society. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  24. Gledhill, Ruth (5 May 2015). "'Male headship' campaigner appointed as CofE bishop". Christian Today. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  25. "September 2017 Newsletter" (PDF). September 2017. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  26. "Gay cleric's 'wedding' to partner". BBC News. 1 August 2006. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  27. "Christmas 2016 Newsletter" (PDF). December 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  28. "MAIDSTONE, Bishop Suffragan of". Who's Who 2017. Oxford University Press. November 2016. Retrieved 10 January 2017.