The Reverend Paul Thomas SSC, currently Vicar of St James’ Church Paddington in the Diocese of London, has been appointed as the new Bishop of Oswestry.

Speaking of his upcoming role in the Canterbury Province of the Church of England, Fr Paul said he is looking forward to committing himself as a missionary bishop and dedicated pastor to those who will look to him for pastoral and sacramental oversight:

“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 and his gifted fellow bishops in Lichfield Diocese, and with all the bishops and clergy 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 t me as their source of sacramental life in Christ.”

The Most Revd Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury said:

“I am delighted to welcome Fr Paul Thomas as the new Bishop of Oswestry.  In his new role he will have the support of being embedded with a strong diocesan team, while keeping his shared responsibility with Bishop Norman of Richborough for Traditional Catholic across the Province of Canterbury.  I send my very best wishes and assurance of my prayers to Fr Paul and to all in Traditional Catholic parishes.”

The Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, Bishop of Lichfield welcomed Fr Paul as a suffragan bishop on Lichfield Diocese:

“On behalf of the diocese of Lichfield, I warmly welcome Fr Paul and look forward to the enrichment that his ministry as a suffragan bishop will bring to all of us in this diocese.  My episcopal colleagues and I recognise that his duties will take him far beyond the bounds of Lichfield, but we hope that our friendship and practical support will be an encouragement to him as he ministers across the wide geographical range of clergy and parishes that will look to him for extended pastoral and sacramental care.”

The Rt Revd Tony Robinson, Bishop of Wakefield, and Chairman of the Society’s Council of Bishops, commented:

“Fr Paul has served the Church faithfully and with imagination and good humour over the last 20 years.  He is a talented communicator and has much to offer the parishes of the See of Oswestry.  We very much look forward to his episcopal ministry starting in early 2023.”

Fr Paul was born and raised in west Wales and received a BA in Medieval English from Cardiff University in 1996 and an MA in 1998.  He trained for ordained ministry at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, and was ordained Deacon in 2002 and Priest in 2003.

He served his title at St Mary with Christ Church Wanstead, in the Diocese of Chelmsford, and in 2006 he was appointed Assistant Priest, and later Associate Rector, of St Marylebone in the Diocese of London.  In 2008, he was additionally appointed Chaplain at St Marylebone Secondary School and Chaplain to the Royal Academy of Music.

Fr Paul was appointed to his current role as Vicar of St James Paddington in 2011 and additionally served as Area Dean of Paddington from 2016 to 2021.  Between 2017 and 2019 he also served as Acting Archdeacon of Charing Cross in the Two Cities Area of the Diocese of London.

The Bishop-Designate has recorded a message of introduction and this can be viewed HERE.

The Consecration of the Bishop of Oswestry will take place at Canterbury Cathedral on the Feast of Candlemas, on Thursday 2nd February.  More information about the service will be released in due course.