THE Suffragan Bishop of Oswestry, in the diocese of Lichfield, will be the Revd Paul Thomas, Downing Street announced on Friday morning. He will serve traditionalist Anglo-Catholic parishes in 13 dioceses in the West Midlands and south-west of England.
Episcopal ministry to traditionalists in this geographical area was previously provided by the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Rt Revd Jonathan Goodall, who resigned in September of last year to become a Roman Catholic (News, 10 September 2021).
The Dioceses Commission then decided that episcopal ministry to traditionalists in the area should be served by a bishop living more locally. Proposals to revive the suffragan see of Oswestry, first suggested by the Archbishop of Canterbury (News, 20 May), were approved by the diocesan synod in July, having been approved by the diocesan Bishop’s Council (News, 1 July).
Fr Thomas, who is 47, has been the Vicar of St James’s Church, Paddington, in London diocese, since 2011. He was Area Dean of Paddington from 2016 to 2021 as well as Acting Archdeacon of Charing Cross from 2017 to 2019.
He trained for ordination at Cuddesdon, and was ordained priest in 2003. He served his title in Wanstead, and then served a second curacy at St Marylebone Parish Church, in London, where he was also Chaplain to St Marylebone School and Chaplain to the Royal Academy of Music.
Fr Thomas was a member of the Liturgical Commission from 2006 to 2016, and is the author of two books on the liturgy. He is married to Louisa, with whom he has two boys: Henry, aged eight, and George, aged four.
Fr Thomas said on Friday: “The call of the Church to serve God in this apostolic ministry is both humbling and exhilarating. I look forward to working in close and happy collegiality with Bishop Michael, his gifted brother and sister bishops in Lichfield diocese, and with all bishops across the 13 dioceses that fall within the new See of Oswestry.
“Strengthened by the example and intercession of St Chad and the many saints of his age, I commit myself to being a missionary bishop, a dedicated pastor, and a vigorous evangelist of the Faith, serving joyfully all those who look to me as their source of sacramental life in Christ.”