The Bishop of Maidstone, the Rt Rev’d Rod Thomas, today announced his intention to retire on 2nd October 2022. The Bishop will be 68 and will have served 7 years in the role. Bishop Rod ministers primarily to those conservative evangelical churches throughout the country which believe in the distinctive ministries of men and women.
Bishop Rod has previously ministered in the Diocese of Exeter. He was the vicar of St Matthew’s, Elburton until 2015. Prior to that date he was chair of the conservative evangelical network Reform and a member for 15 years of the General Synod. He was actively involved in the discussions about the consecration of women bishops and helped forge the arrangements which are now in place under the House of Bishops’ Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests. He is a Vice-President of the Church Pastoral Aid Society and President of the Church Society.
Bishop Rod said: ‘It has been a real privilege to serve the cause of the gospel as a bishop. When I was first consecrated, there were only 6 evangelical churches which had passed resolutions asking for distinctive arrangements under the House of Bishops’ Declaration. That number has now grown to 146. Since 2015, I have sought to work in support of the Five Guiding Principles; I have conducted well over 100 confirmations and been appointed as an Assistant Bishop in 15 dioceses. I believe the progress we have made as a church in pursuing mutual flourishing has been encouraging and I am heartened by the good relationships which have developed with so many dioceses. That said, there is still much to do. We face big challenges in responding to the effects of the pandemic; in bringing the gospel to the nation; in continuing to embed the Five Guiding Principles; and in discerning a way forward in the light of the LLF conversations. My prayer is that the next Bishop of Maidstone will both promote faithfulness to God’s Word and make a significant and positive contribution to meeting these challenges.’
After his date of retirement, Bishop Rod hopes to return to the Diocese of Exeter and says ‘he looks forward to renewing old friendships and sitting in a pew!’ He will continue as a member of the House of Bishops’ ‘LLF Next Steps Group’ until the conclusion of its work in 2023.