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New bishop for conservative Anglicans

Revd Prebendary Roderick Thomas will represent the "conservative position on headship", according to the Church.

Lambeth Palace said the 60-year-old would be responsible for "fostering vocations from those taking a conservative evangelical position on headship".

According to the Church 10% of its members disagree with women being bishops and the new bishop would represent them.

The date of Rod Thomas's consecration is yet to be confirmed. He succeeds the Rt Revd Graham Cray, who was Bishop of Maidstone from 2001 to 2009.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: "I am personally delighted that Rod Thomas has agreed to take up the post of Bishop of Maidstone.

"Rod has served the church tirelessly, both as a parish priest and as a member of the General Synod, and engaged constructively and graciously with those of differing theological views.

"It is my hope and prayer that Rod's distinctive ministry as Bishop of Maidstone will enable those with a conservative evangelical view of headship to flourish and to be assured that the Church of England has a respected place for them."

Revd Thomas said: "It is both a privilege and a challenge to be asked to become a Bishop in the Church of England.

"The prospect of serving as the Bishop of Maidstone is similarly both exciting and daunting, and so I ask for prayer that God will give me the necessary strength and wisdom.

"My hope for the Bishop of Maidstone's new role is that it will help to promote the gospel of Jesus Christ; encourage church members in their faith and witness; and generate widespread confidence in our commitment, as a church, to mutual flourishing."

There's already been criticism of the new bishop.

He leads the organisation Reform which has a website speaking of so-called 'gay myths'.

Worship leader and gay Christian Vicky Beeching said she was "very disheartened".

"I believe in a 'broad church'. But it's disheartening that while LGBT Christians are urged to be "gracious", Reform can publish "gay myths"," she tweeted.

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