We live in extraordinary times. In the past month the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has come into being and groups are beginning to gather to begin their journey together. All has not been quiet for those who look to the Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda either.
Much work has been done so that the new Society can set out its stall both to members of our constituency and also to the wider Church of England and in particular her Synod. The Society needs the full support of all of those who feel called to remain in the Church of England. As the bishops point out in their pastoral letter we are in an endgame and we cannot afford to let this last effort slip away from us. For years our chorus has been A‘ Code of Practice will not do!’ and this continues to be our cry.
This new Society seeks the right of our bishops to have jurisdiction and with that the proper pastoral care of their people. It is important for us to understand that this is not simply another devotional society nor is it necessarily a political one like Forward in Faith. The new Society seeks to be the way that we can live together as an ecclesial body and so pass on our faith to our children and grandchildren with confidence.
If the the Society can succeed then all that was hoped for and expressed in ‘Consecrated Women?’ might just come to fruition. The Society’s role is also to be one of mission: it is to focus on the conversion of England and the bringing of all souls to know Christ. Through teaching and preaching, through the living out of the sacraments in all their fullness and glory, the new Society will seek to remind the Church of England of her Catholic heart. The hopes of this Society are great, they hope to find an ecclesial solution to an ecclesial problem.
We support them in this aim and offer our prayers for the work of the protectors of the Society the Bishops of Blackburn and Gibraltar and for the Bishop of Beverley
to whom the task has fallen to co-ordinate the Society. If your parish priest has not spoken to you about this new venture ask him about it. Sign up for the work of the Society; get your PCC to sign up for its work as well. Those wishing to remain in the Church of England cannot and must not allow this venture to fail.
It is often said that if something is worth saying once it is worth saying a hundred times. This magazine is dedicated to bringing you news and views both about the Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda and also about the developing Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. As these two groups develop and grow it is important that on both sides charity remains. In his address on the Feast of St Francis de Sales, reproduced elsewhere in this edition, Pope Benedict reminds us of the need to use the internet and especially social networking sites and blogs with care. Damage can be done by words written in haste.
Forward in Faith is dedicated to helping both groups within our constituency and those who find themselves in the middle of it all. We continue to pray that under that patronage of Our Lady and all the saints this may continue. The resolution passed at the 2010 National Assembly is one that is worth remembering in the days and months ahead:
‘This Assembly recognizing the variety of sincerely held convictions amongst the members of Forward in Faith commits itself to the prayerful support in every way both of those who are exploring the generous provisions of Anglicanorum Coetibus as well as those who are committed to remaining in the Church of England and achieving proper and adequate arrangements for all who in conscience dissent from the ordination of women as bishops or priests’
We also await with excitement further news of the Ordinariate and welcome the appointment of the first Ordinary, Fr Keith Newton. Fr Newton will need all our prayers as he begins his work in working to build up the unique institution that is the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. His task is a difficult one as he seeks to gather together congregations and priests to join him and as he learns more and more of the complexities that will have to be faced if the Ordinariate is to grow and flourish. ND