Bishop Thomas Stanage, RIP

The Right Revd Thomas (Tom) Shaun Stanage, formerly Bishop of the Diocese of Bloemfontein (since renamed the Diocese of the Free State), died on March 19.

Bishop Tom Stanage, as he appeared in the 1992 Synod newsletter

Bishop Tom was born in Ireland in 1932 and was educated at Pembroke College, Oxford. He served in South Africa from 1970, becoming Dean of Kimberley in the 1970s. There he became known as the “Flying Dean” – he was a trained pilot who flew a light aircraft.

He was later elected Suffragan Bishop in Johannesburg and was translated to Bloemfontein in 1982.

Known for his opposition to the ordination of women, he and the Revd Wilma Jakobsen, then a deacon from the Diocese of Cape Town, charmed members of Provincial Synod in 1992 when, after the Synod decided to ordain women as priests, they sat down at a piano and played a duet together. Wilma was ordained priest a few months later.

After retiring, Bishop Tom lectured in theology at the University of the Free State. He was awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity honoris causa from Nashotah House in 1986.

(With acknowledgements to Sandy Botha of Bloemfontein and Wikipedia)

The Revd Wilma Jakobsen and Bishop Tom Stanage at the piano

5 Responses to Bishop Thomas Stanage, RIP

  • It is with deep sadness that I learn about the passing on of Bishop Thomas Stanage. He was the Diocesan Bishop of
    the then diocese of Bloemfontein,when I joined that diocese in 1989. When I made it known to him that I am planning to
    get married,he immediately offered to take me and Lillian my wife through premarital counselling and on the 02
    February 1992 he solemnized our marriage. The blessings he bestowed on us when we tight the knot, have seen us
    through 28 years of marriage. How good he was in playing piano !!. May his soul rest in eternal peace, and rise in
    Glory.

  • Ungumbingeleli ngonaphakade wena! Rest in peace Bishop. My heartfelt condolences to the family and the Anglican Communion

  • It is just by chance I heard of his death as my wife Jean and I were talking about him after the Jesuit on-line Mass today…28th March. He was a charming compassionate man who visited people in their homes in Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu. I last saw him some years ago on a visit to Bloemfontein when I interviewed him about his life when he reminded me how many years we had been friends. A personal anecdote. The Anglican and Catholic Cathedrals are next door to each other in Bloemfontein and Tom arranged to have an Anglican ordination in the Catholic Cathedral because it seats more people and there are no pillars blocking the view. I was driving home from Mass there and the whole Anglican precession was approaching the Catholic Cathedral on the other side of the road. As l passed Tom Stanage I opened the window and said to him, “See Tom, all roads lead to Rome”. We laughed about it for years afterwards. Our prayers for you, Tom. May you rest in peace.

  • I’m deeply saddened by this news. I got to know and love Bishop Tom when I was Rector of the Church of St John the Evangelist, East London. The Mission to Seafarers was just down the road in lower Buffalo Street, and so shared a close link with the Parish. I was also on the Committee of the East London Mission. MHDSRIP

  • As a measure of his true Christian approach, I offer this anecdote: Just before my ordination in 1994, Bishop Tom sent me this message: ‘I will never agree with what you are doing, but I need to tell you that I love you.’ That meant an enormous amount to me, coming from such a determined opponent of women’s ordination. It also gave me a model of how to handle deep differences within the Body of Christ. How I wish we were all as generous-hearted and truly accepting as he was. Rest in Peace, Father.

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