A ‘BRIEF, consensual but inappropriate’ relationship with a woman has led to the Archdeacon of Salop to step down from his role and barred for three years.

Archdeacon Paul Thomas, during an investigation into his behaviour in September 2023, admitted to the Bishop of Lichfield that he had had an ‘inappropriate’ relationship with a woman in 2022 and early 2023.

The RT Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, Bishop of Lichfield, has confirmed that disciplinary matters have been concluded and that Mr Thomas has resigned and will not serve in a ministry for three years.


He said: “In September of last year, Archdeacon Paul Thomas agreed to step back from all ministry while a complaint made against him under the Clergy Discipline Measure was investigated.

“That process has now concluded, overseen by the Bishop of Shrewsbury, Sarah Bullock, on my behalf during my absence.

“I am grateful to Bishop Sarah for her care in considering this.

“Paul has admitted to 'a brief, consensual but inappropriate relationship with a woman during 2022 and early 2023' whilst suffering post-Covid depression and spiritual exhaustion.

“In the Diocese of Lichfield, we expect the highest standards of personal and professional conduct from our clergy.

“The penalty that has been imposed on Paul, and to which he has consented, is resignation as Archdeacon of Salop and a prohibition from ministry for three years. This means that he will not be returning to ministry as Archdeacon of Salop.

“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.

“Bishop Sarah and I are mindful of the need to offer a continuity of ministry in the role of Archdeacon of Salop.

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“We have been, and we continue to be, very grateful to the Revd Preb. Jo Farnworth and the Revd Mary Thomas for having agreed to serve as Acting Archdeacons of Salop., who have agreed to continue to act in this role, in addition to their parish duties.”

Clergy for whom this news may raise personal concerns may want to contact the diocesan Listening Ear provision or Safeguarding Team, the diocese added.

The statement concluded: “Bishop Sarah and I understand that what we have written about Paul will be very difficult for you to receive, and we both assure you all of our prayers.”