The Revd Mary Thomas has been appointed as the Bishop of Lichfield’s new Adviser for Women In Ministry.
She will take on the key advocacy role as the diocese continues to work to ensure that women in ordained ministry experience better development and flourishing.
Mary has been Vicar of the united benefice of Albrighton, Boningale and Donington in Shropshire since 2015. Before ordination she was a qualified teacher who had the privilege of teaching in Wolverhampton, Kathmandu and Jakarta. She was ordained in 2012 and priested in 2013, serving her curacy in her current benefice. Mary is married to Charles, a parish priest in Wolverhampton, and between them they have seven children, aged 14-32.
She said: “I am delighted that Bishop Michael has invited me to take on this role and serve in this way. Whilst there is much to be thankful for, there are still particular challenges which are faced by ordained women and I am honoured to be representing women in the diocese, whether they are self-supporting or in full-time stipendiary ministry. I am looking forward to building relationships with my clergy colleagues, exploring potential barriers to flourishing and supporting them as they live out their calling as deacons and priests across the diocese.”
“Ordained ministry has been and continues to be the most profound, rewarding, challenging, humbling and exciting experience and I'm looking forward to what God has in store in this new phase of ministry,” Mary added.
As Bishop’s Adviser, Mary will be part of Bishop Michael’s staff team and will advise him and the rest of the team on all matters concerning women in ministry. She will also gather and assess information about what might cause barriers to the recruitment and appointment of women in the diocese, working closely with the diocese’s Vocations & Training Team.
Bishop Michael said: “I am very glad that Mary has accepted my invitation to take on this important role of advice and advocacy. The ministry of women ordained as deacons, priests and bishops brings many blessings to our diocese, but we know that there are particular challenges which women still face in our Church today. Mary will be working closely with episcopal area and archdeaconry advisers to help us address those. She will bring to this work task great pastoral gifts, strategic wisdom, and a commitment to mutual flourishing for all. I very much look forward to welcoming her as a colleague in my senior staff team.”
Mary will take up the role, which she will carry out alongside her current responsibilities in the benefice, on 1 May.