NATIONAL ASSEMBLY DRAWS EVER NEARER The second Forward in Faith National Assembly will take place at Westminster Central Hall on Friday 6th and Saturday 7th October. If the first Assembly is anything to go by, it will be a tremendous event, providing an enormous boost to members of our constituency. The speakers have been invited (of whom more in the coming issues of New Directions), the programme is planned and large numbers of delegates have already been named by our Parishes and Diocesan Assemblies.
We will be debating further our relationship with our orthodox brothers and sisters in the Lutheran Churches in Scandinavia; we will be commissioning our Regional Deans at the National Assembly Eucharist, at which the Bishop of Beverley will preside and preach; and we look forward in particular to welcoming Bishop Edwin Barnes to his first major Forward in Faith event following his consecration last month.
Although of course only delegates can participate and vote in the debates and discussions, all members and supporters of Forward in Faith are of course welcome to attend any or all of the Assembly, and in particular the Solemn Eucharist, which will take place in Central Hall at 9.30 am on the Saturday.
MEETINGS IN YORK The final session of the current General Synod was not the only meeting which took place on the campus of York University last month. The Forward in Faith Management Executive met there as well, in order to undertake most of the planning of the National Assembly. Meanwhile, members of the New Directions team, made it their business to meet each and every member of the Synod, in order to furnish them with a complimentary copy of New Directions, hot off the press! Reaction to New Directions was extremely positive, with only one writ threatened so far! (From a member of the House of Bishops)
The New Directions team hopes to repeat the exercise again in November, for the benefit of the new Synod, and in the meantime is discussing the possibility of re-printing a number of New Directions articles in a pamphlet, as the first of a series of briefing papers for members of Synod.
SUMMER SCHOOL IN SOUTH WEST Forward in Faith Exeter ran a very successful Summer School in Plymouth last month. Over four Saturdays, the subjects covered were: Christian as Disciple and Apostle; Basis of Faith and Vision to Pursue; Receiving and Giving Forgiveness; Our Roots and our Future. Between them, Fr William Johnstone, Sister Joan Michael SJGS, Canon John Thurmer, Prebendary Geoffrey Sunderland and Bishop John Richards led each day of study, worship and fellowship. “Our aim was to help our people to know our Faith and its relevance both for today and tomorrow” reports Anne Ellis, Lay Chairman of the Exeter Assembly. “Such an understanding will bring confidence in ourselves and in what we believe, and such confidence will make us effective witnesses for God and for his Church. We need to shake off our sense of loss and bewilderment and the Summer School was one way to begin to get back to the work of worship and witness.”
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF WILFRID Long before he taught the people of Sussex to fish, St Wilfrid built and consecrated the great Abbey Church at Hexham in Northumberland. And so, members of Forward in Faith in the Diocese of Durham were delighted to join with members of Catholic Renewal in the diocese in the latter’s Pilgrimage to Hexham Abbey on June 24th. The day began with a very moving Concelebrated Mass; Fr Chris Collins of St Aidan’s, Grangetown presided and Fr Geoffrey Kirk, National Secretary of Forward in Faith, preached; three prospective lay candidates for the forthcoming General Synod elections read the readings and led the Prayer of the Faithful.
After lunch, a rally took place, at which those present had the opportunity of meeting with six members of Catholic Renewal who intend to stand for election to General Synod. Then, everyone followed parish banners in procession back to the Abbey for Benediction, at which Fr Beresford Skelton, Vicar of St Mary Magdalene, Sunderland and member of the Forward in Faith National Council, presided.
Over 500 people attended and it is reliably reported that the youngest present was just 9 months and the oldest over 90!
CANTERBURY CONFERENCE Forward in Faith is very pleased to be supporting the Conference on Authority, Order and Communion, which takes place at Christ Church College, Canterbury from 14th to the 16th September and is the third International Bishops’ Conference on Faith and Order. It aims to bring together bishops, clergy and laity who share a commitment to the Catholic tradition within Anglicanism. Although orthodox Anglicans in many parts of the world are facing serious challenges to the traditional understanding of faith and order, it is right that we should celebrate our common allegiance to the faith once delivered to the Apostles. The Conference will meet, not in a spirit of doubt or fear, but enlivened with the hope that is ours in the risen Christ, to renew visions of the Church and her mission in the world.
Those taking part in this important residential conference will reflect on three issues central to the Catholic inheritance of Anglicanism: Authority, Order and Communion. Many fear that these key elements are under threat and in danger of being eroded by recent events and innovation. The Conference will provide an opportunity to re-assess theological roots and question the future shape of Anglicanism: how can we speak of communion in an increasingly pluriform Church? can Anglicans continue to claim that their church reflects catholic order? can we continue to pay the price for so-called dispersed authority? For further details, contact Arthur Leggatt at Faith House on 0171 222 6952.
AND SO TO AYLESFORD As the International Bishops’ Conference draws to a close, the participants will all be making their way to The Friars, Aylesford (near Maidstone in Kent) for OUT OF DARKNESS – a celebration for Anglican Catholics in the Southern Province. The Bishop of Chichester, the Bishop of Ebbsfleet and the Bishop of Richborough will join with other bishops from around the world at a Concelebrated Eucharist at 12.30 pm on Saturday, 16th September. Full details about the events of the day are available from: Church Union (Out of Darkness), Faith House, 7 Tufton Street, London SW1P 3QN. A Pilgrim’s Brochure will be available on the day, price œ1 or in advance from Faith House – œ1.20 inc. p&p – cheques payable to Church Union (Out of Darkness).
Traditionalists in the 30 dioceses of the Province of Canterbury might wish to reflect that the 14 dioceses of the Province of York filled York Minster with 5,000 people in May this year. By extension, the southern dioceses ought really to muster some 10,000 pilgrims! If your parish hasn’t yet booked its coach, find out why not and help ensure that we are not shown up by our sisters and brothers in the North!
225 AND COUNTING! To date, there are 225 Forward in Faith Registered Parishes. By way of contrast, the number of PCCs which have passed Resolutions A & B under the Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure, 1993 fast approaches 1,000! The Forward in Faith Council is certain that many of these ought also to be Forward in Faith Parishes and so it is in the process of mailing each and every incumbent in whose parish the Resolutions are in place, inviting him to discuss with his PCC the possibility of affiliating with us. For a modest annual subscription, registration entitles the parish, inter alia, to send two delegates to the Forward in Faith National Assembly in October, so time is of the essence!
The task of identifying the parishes which have passed the resolutions was most instructive! For a start, most Diocesan Registrars simply refused to divulge the information! Thankfully, the House of Bishops then resolved that it should be made available to those who ask for it. As we go to press, there are still one or two recalcitrant dioceses playing hard-to-get with the data, including, interestingly enough, one in the south-easternmost corner of England! So, if you are a member of a parish not yet affiliated with us, speak to your parish priest without delay. He should have received a pamphlet from us by now and if he hasn’t, please contact Faith House in order to obtain one. And then make certain that the matter is on the agenda of the next PCC meeting!
Information for inclusion in the FiF Update should reach the Director at the FiF Office by the nineteenth day of the month preceding publication.