When we all met at Central Hall, Westminster for the first Forward in Faith National Assembly way back in September 1994, our detractors were all quite certain that Forward in Faith was but a very temporary organisation. How delighted they will all be, then, to know that we will gather at the Emmanuel Centre, Marsham Street, SW1 on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 October for the fourteenth National Assembly!
Forward in Faith Branches and parishes should by now have let us know the names of all their delegates. Needless to say, not all of them have! Please give this your attention immediately, so as to ease the burden on our hard-pressed staff.
We look forward as usual to welcoming distinguished visitors from overseas: from Forward in Faith Australia, we are expecting its Chairman, Bishop David Robarts, and from Forward in Faith North America we look forward to welcoming our old friend the Bishop of Fort Worth, the Right Revd Jack L Iker, ssc. From the Continuum, we look forward to seeing Bishop Paul Hewett of the Diocese of the Holy Cross, and from Scandinavia we are expecting Bishop Goran Beijer from Sweden and Bishop-elect Roald Flemestad from Norway.
In this the sesquicentennial year of the Community of the Holy Cross, we are delighted that the Devotional Address on the Friday evening will be given by Mother Mary Luke CHC. The preacher at the National Assembly Mass will be Forward in Faith Council member Fr David Waller ssc, Vicar of S.Saviour, Walthamstow, in East London.
For reasons beyond our control, it is not possible for the National Assembly
Mass to take place at Christ the King, Gordon Square this year. It will instead take place in the historic church of S.Alban the Martyr, Holborn and the Council is immensely grateful to the Vicar of S.Albans, Fr Howard Levett ssc, for his generous hospitality. We hope to be able to return to Gordon Square for the National Assembly of 2008.
The Forward in Faith National Assembly remains the key date in our annual calendar, even though we at present appear to be in the midst of what one commentator has called a phoney war’. It is essential that the General Synod and the House of Bishops understand just how very focussed we are on the task which faces us, as the Church of England prepares for women bishops. And the best way for us to get that message across is by ensuring that this National Assembly is the best-attended ever. Over to you!