Who’s Who at St James’s

Fr Paul Thomas,

Vicar

Fr Paul was born and raised in Carmarthenshire, West Wales, the son of dairy farmers. He went to university in Cardiff where he read for degrees in History and Medieval English, and later Musicology. It was whilst in Cardiff as an undergraduate that was baptized and confirmed, beginning the exhilarating pilgrimage of faith in the Church. Soon after confirmation a holy priest encouraged him to explore a vocation to the priesthood. Fr Paul did this and went up to Cuddesdon in 1999 to read Theology at the University of Oxford and begin his priestly formation. Education and formation continue to be deeply important to him.

Fr Paul was ordained Deacon in 2002 and Priest a year later, serving his curacy in East London. From 2006-2011 he was Assistant Priest at St Marylebone Parish Church where he enjoyed a wide range of ministries and responsibilities in that high-profile church. He served as Chaplain to the internationally renowned Royal Academy of Music, and also to St Marylebone Church of England School. Fr Paul has a zeal for sharing the treasures of the faith with children and young people. He is the first Chaplain to the RAM to have been awarded an Honorary Associateship for distinguished service to the Academy. For a time he was also chaplain to the hospitals and clinics of Harley Street.

After leading the parish through an 18 month interregnum, the Bishop of London invited him to become Vicar of St James in 2011 where it has been his pleasure to serve since. St James’s has enjoyed considerable growth and development over the last 8 years. It is a parish of wonderful and dynamic variety where the Gospel is proclaimed in the richness of the catholic tradition and where people of all nations and backgrounds find a home.

In 2014 the Bishop invited Fr Paul to become Area Dean of Paddington (12 local parishes including some of the lowest income communities in London), and in 2017 to serve as Acting Archdeacon for the Two Cities. During that time Fr Paul became closely involved in the wider life of the Diocese of London, taking a significant role in the operational, strategic, and missional opportunities that life in 85 central London parishes presents – parishes of the greatest variety imaginable. He found this work highly stimulating and was commended for the way in which he worked imaginatively and effectively with all to advance the Church’s life in London. Fr Paul is one of the Area Director of Ordinands in the Diocese and sits on the Management Committe of Westminster Street Pastors.

He is author of two popular books for ordinands and clergy The Book of Common Prayer: a simple guide and Marriage Ministry: the essential guide. His third book is due to be published in early 2020. He is a Visiting Tutor at Ripon College Cuddesdon, and trustee of the Alcuin Club which promotes liturgical scholarship. For ten years from 2006 was a member of the Church of England’s Liturgical Commission leading on a major national project to resource collective worship in schools.

His consuming passion – alongside his family, music, and walking in the Brecon Beacons! – is that ever more people should come to know the glory of God in Christ and the converting power of his love. Come along to St James’s and meet him.

Fr Owen Dobson

Assistant Priest

Fr Martin Draper

Honorary Assistant Priest

Mr George de Voil

Organist and Director of Music

Mrs Sue Silkstone

Parish Administrator & Concerts Manager