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Three-year ban for Archdeacon of Salop over ‘inappropriate’ relationship

26 March 2024

Diocese of Lichfield

The Ven. Paul Thomas

The Ven. Paul Thomas

THE Archdeacon of Salop in the diocese of Lichfield, the Ven. Paul Thomas, has resigned and been prohibited from ministry for three years, after admitting to “a brief, consensual but inappropriate relationship with a woman”, the diocesan Bishop, Dr Michael Ipgrave, has said.

In a statement published on Tuesday, Dr Ipgrave said that Archdeacon Thomas had been the subject of a complaint under the Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM), overseen on his behalf by the Bishop of Shrewsbury, the Rt Revd Sarah Bullock.

This process has concluded. The Archdeacon had admitted to the relationship, which was conducted “during 2022 and early 2023 whilst suffering post-Covid depression and spiritual exhaustion”, the statement said.

A penalty had been imposed on Archdeacon Thomas: his resignation and prohibition from ministry for three years.

Dr Ipgrave said: “I am deeply grieved that Paul’s long service in ministry in this diocese, which I know has been appreciated over the years by many people, including me, has been marred in this way.”

Prebendary Jo Farnworth and the Revd Mary Thomas had agreed to serve as Acting Archdeacons of Salop, in addition to their parish duties, “until a substantive appointment to the role of Archdeacon of Salop is made”, he said.

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