Archdeacon resigns following inappropriate relationship with woman

Archdeacon Thomas was suffering post-Covid depression and spiritual exhaustion
Archdeacon Thomas was suffering post-Covid depression and spiritual exhaustion - LICHFIELD DIOCESE
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An Archdeacon has resigned following an inappropriate relationship with a woman while claiming he was suffering “spiritual exhaustion”.

The Diocese of Lichfield said The Venerable Paul Thomas had resigned from his post. He will also face a three-year prohibition from the ministry after the relationship.

In a statement, Dr Michael Ipgrave, the Bishop of Lichfield, said the decision had been taken after an investigation by the Diocese of Lichfield, which was triggered by a complaint.

The investigation found the inappropriate relationship had taken place during 2022 and early 2023, and happened while Mr Thomas was “suffering post-Covid depression and spiritual exhaustion”.

He became Archdeacon of Salop in 2011, but this position has been carried out by acting archdeacons since the start of the investigation. Rev Jo Farnworth and Rev Mary Thomas will continue in the post until a decision on a permanent replacement is made.

‘Spiritual exhaustion’

Dr Ipgrave 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 on my behalf during my absence. I am grateful to Bishop Sarah Bullock for her care in considering this, and I am now in a position to state the outcome.

“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’.”

He said the diocese expects the “highest standards of personal and professional conduct from our clergy”.

“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,” he added.

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