MERRILY ON HIGH
In true Brighton form, some 300 Forward in Faith supporters gathered in S.Martin’s, Brighton on 13th August, to be led by the Bishop of Fulham in Evening Prayer and a procession of Our Lady through the streets to the parish school. There, Benediction was given and people engaged in drinks and happy chat. Fr Beaumont Brandie, Parish Priest of S.Martin’s and clerical Chairman of Forward in Faith in Chichester, explained that this has become an annual event since the dark days of 1992. “It provides a glorious way to begin the Assumptiontide celebrations with good catholic worship and fun” he said, adding, “The reaction of tourists and foreign dents to such a large procession of clergy and laity Twluite a sight to behold!”
SOUND IN BIRMINGHAM…
There was intense concentration on the faces of the group near the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. Gales of laughter coming from the people at the Font. The murmur of a discussion could be heard emanating from the Choir Vestry. This was the scene during one of the early evening sessions of the Birmingham Forward in Faith / Chapter 14 Summer School held at S.Agatha’s, Sparkbrook, during the third week of July.
“Brilliant – another one soon, please”; “I loved mixing with the class”; “Skillfully and competently executed” . . .were some of the comments on the evaluation sheets completed by participants (from a wide spread of Birmingham churches). An average of forty people attended each session (two sessions nightly on five consecutive nights). The best attended modules (a choice of three subjects in the first session four in the second) were Why are we called Anglo-Catholics – the history of the Catholic revival (Fr Trevor Jones) and This is my Body . . . – the Seven Sacraments (Frs Ronald Crane, John Hervé and John Pitchford). The least well attended module was Prayer – What’s that?, which Fr Hervé, who set up and co-ordinated the Summer School, felt was “somewhat disturbing”. “However”, he went on to say, “the two most notable features were the sheer enthusiasm of the participants and the high standard – both in methodology and content – of the tutors, all of whom were local Forward in Faith clergy”.
All of the participants will in due course receive a Certificate of Completion and/or Attendance, hopefully to be presented by the Bishop of Ebbsfleet when he visits the diocese in November.
Planning has already started for next year, with modification and adaptation to reflect evaluation from this very successful and encouraging event!
QUIET IN THE WEST
The Community of Franciscan Servants of Jesus and Mary, Devon was host to a Forward in Faith Quiet Day on July 15th The beautiful house at Posbury is in an isolated spot, but twenty-five people found their way there, and gave up a summer Saturday to attend Posbury is one of a very few totally orthodox communities in the country and the Superior, Mother Hilary FSJM, is very supportive. The day was conducted by the Archdeacon of Plymouth, the Venerable Robin Ellis.
Fr Robin’s wife, Anne, who is Lay Chairman of Forward in Faith in Exeter and a member of the Forward in Faith National Council, offers some reflections: “Forward in Faith often says how important it is to strengthen our people in the faith, but are we actually doing anything about it? After business and worship, is it the last thing on the agenda? From our experience in Exeter, we are convinced that it is essential to put it first. Try organising a retreat, or a quiet day, or days of
teaching (as they have recently in Birmingham), or simply a meditation. An Advent Meditation last year in Plymouth and conducted by the Bishop of Ebbsfleet was a sell-out! Find the right conductor; our constituency is richly blessed with priests who are learned and holy men, experienced in these fields. And be sure to find the right venue; a Religious House is not a must, but a quiet place of prayer is. Approach your local Religious Communities, for we need to build up our links with them.”
A MATTER OF TEACHING
When you arrive at Church on Sunday morning, what are you given? You walk into Church and the person exercising the Welcome Ministry that day gives you . . . what? A Hymn Book? A copy of the A.S.B.? Perhaps a sheet with the coming week’s notices printed on it?
But are you given any teaching material?
Now some think that teaching material should be confined to Sunday School. But what about adults? Are we supposed to know it all? Are we adults expected to know all about life, death, God, the universe and everything? It is not possible. Is it?
All right, we give in. We should be given some teaching material. We admit it, adults do not know it all. So where is this teaching material? Does it exist?
Forward in Faith, working together with the Provincial Episcopal Visitors, aims to plug this gap. We propose to provide a Pew Sheet for every Sunday of the year, commencing early in 1996. In order that this Pew Sheet shall include material that is useful, our active clergy have been asked to respond to a questionnaire. Make sure that your priest responds to the questionnaire. As him if he has received it. Nag him until he admits to having filled it in and returned it!
Oh, and one more thing. When the Pew Sheet appears, make sure that your PCC decides to take it!
MARY OUR MOTHER
Forward in Faith clergy and laity were well in evidence at the teaching afternoon organised by the Chichester Diocesan Walsingham Committee at Littlehampton in July.
Fr Beaumont Brandie reports: “Some forty-five adults and about forty children gathered together to learn more about the work of the shrine and its value in teaching the catholic faith. They addressed the themes of water, eucharis1, intercession and pilgrimage. The children, led by Fr Kevin Agnew, made a carpet of footsteps with prayers written in the outline, baked bread, made crosses and painted stained glass windows of the great Walsingham arch with Our Lady in its midst. We all came together for the worship at the end, the blessing of water and Benediction.”
MAJOR TRAFFIC JAM IN LUDGATE HILL?
Forward in Faith London and Southwark invite all their friends in the Home Counties to join them in filling St Paul’s Cathedral on the eve of Christ the King – Saturday, 25th November – for a Solemn Eucharist. The Bishop of Edmonton will preside and the preacher will be Mother Teresa SSM from Walsingham, who of course represents Religious on the Forward in Faith National Council. This will be yet another opportunity for Forward in Faith to pack out an English cathedral and help quash the myth that those opposed in conscience to the ordination of women to the priesthood are a “small minority”. Further details are available from Fr Malcolm Gray on 0181 360 2947 (`phone and fax).
IN THE STEPS OF S. RICHARD
On October 14th, the Bishop of Chichester is inviting the catholic societies, spearheaded by Forward in Faith, to meet with him in Chichester Cathedral. The day will begin with a Mass of S.Wilfrid at 12.30 pm, after which there will be a break for a picnic lunch.
At 3.00 pm, there will be a teaching session – In the Steps of St Richard; during this the pilgrims will be dispensed to eight parts of the cathedral and, with a
procession in between each one, make stations at which they will learn and pray about their Christian commitment in baptism, confirmation, eucharist, penance and reconciliation, the incarnation, the communion of saints and in Christian Unity. After a break for tea, they will come together again for Cathedral Evensong, after which they will make their way to the grounds of the Bishop’s Palace, where Bishop Eric will give Benediction. (If the weather is inclement, Benediction will take place in the Old Kitchen of the Palace – which might give an entirely new slant to the concept of bread of heaven!)
This, apart from being yet another opportunity to fill a cathedral, will be both an exciting and valuable teaching day, as well as a rallying point for all who value the faith once delivered to the saints. Programmes at £1 (plus 25p p & p per up to 10) are available from the S. Richard’s Secretary, c/o The Rectory, Upper Wellington Road, Brighton BN2 3AN.
Information for inclusion in the FIF Update should reach the Director at the FiF Office by the nineteenth day of the month preceding publication.