New Directions for General Synod?

By the time you read this, the new General Synod will have met in London for the first time, informed, we trust, by the free copy of New Directions which each member received last month and will hopefully be receiving every month, thanks to the generosity, inter alia, of The Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, The Church Union, Reform, The Trushare Bulletin Board, The Guild of the Servants of the Sanctuary, The Prayer Book Society and The Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. Each body has kindly agreed to underwrite the cost of one month’s distribution to the new Synod, in the confident hope that the overall standard of debate in that body can only be improved by the regular provision of informed comment; only time will tell which members are wise enough actually to read it . . . !

Calling all Readers !

Forward in Faith is anxious to arrange a day conference next year for all its supporters who are Lay Readers. We hope to provide an opportunity for Readers to take counsel together, in order better to discern how they might exercise their ministry at this time of great difficulty. We know of Readers who have felt impelled to return their Licence, or who feel constrained to hide their orthodox views from those to whom they minister, or who, when meeting in Readers’ Circles, are forced to defend their views against increasing hostility from their peers. But our knowledge is at best sketchy, in that there must be many more Lay Readers out there who support Forward in Faith than we – or their bishops – have the names of. So, in the first instance, could any Lay Reader – Licensed or not – who would be interested in a day conference next year, please send their name and address, in confidence, to the Director at Faith House.

No Smoke without Fire

Well over one hundred members of Forward in Faith in the diocese of Southwell gathered at Southwell Minster last month for their annual festival. Reports elsewhere suggest that the Nottinghamshire Fire Brigade’s attendance was in some way due to a surfeit of smoke from an over-enthusiastic thurifer, but the truth is more serious, for those present were indeed fired by both the preacher for the day, Bishop John Gaisford, and the keynote speaker, Fr Ronald Crane, Forward in Faith Council member and Vicar of St. Mark, Washwood Heath in Birmingham.

“We are not part of an insignificant minority, but part of a vast multitude of Christians who share our beliefs” said Bishop Gaisford in his homily at the Eucharist. Developing the bishop’s theme during the afternoon meeting, Fr Crane drew attention to the growing co-operation between Forward in Faith and orthodox Christians in Scandinavia: “If orthodoxy is right and is God’s will – and we believe that it is – then orthodoxy will triumph because it is God’s will. We cannot lose, because if God is for us, who can stand against us?”

Fluid Situations

Meanwhile, a week later, Bishop Edwin Barnes found himself slightly further north than his brother Bishop of Beverley had been in Southwell (such is the curious geography which is the Church of England), when he attended the Forward in Faith Lincoln Assembly at Horncastle. Along with Forward in Faith Council member Fr Francis Gardom, he found the membership in good heart, as they considered together the fluidity of the present situation. Bishop Edwin, in warmly welcoming the appointment of the Forward in Faith Regional Deans, underlined how important it was that Forward in Faith members should not at this juncture be withdrawing from life in the Church of England, for there was still a task to be done in proclaiming the message of Forward in Faith and of orthodoxy.

Fluidity of a different sort came up at the lunch break, as members set about their packed lunches. Fr Andy Hawes, in organising the day, had offered to provide both guest speakers with their lunch; no doubt distracted by the news of his imminent preferment (see 30 Days, November 1995), he completely forgot his undertaking and so the three of them had to repair to the pub.

At least, that’s his story . . .

Next stop Dallas

Orthodox Anglicans in Dallas, Texas will be rejoicing at the appointment of the Revd Dr John Heidt as Rector of the parish of Christ Church in that city. Our congratulations and our prayers will go with Fr John and his wife Katherine as they return to their native soil in the new year, but our farewells will be tinged with a real sense of loss; Fr John has been clerical chairman of Forward in Faith in the diocese of Gloucester for some considerable time, and Katherine has been lay chairman for even longer! And, at a national level, their work will also be missed, not least in the four centre pages of New Directions, which Fr John has edited since our launch. For news of the future of the centre pages, watch this space (or, rather, the one a few pages on!), but in the meantime our warmest thanks to Fr John for all his work. However, we suspect that his by-line might will surface in New Directions from time to time in the future, so this might perhaps just be au revoir. . . .

Getting them taped

Readers unlucky enough not to have been present at the second Forward in Faith National Assembly will be pleased to know that cassette tapes of two of the principal addresses can be had from the Forward in Faith office at Faith House. Available at œ5 each – or at œ7.50 for the pair – are recordings of Fr John Broadhurst’s keynote address as National Chairman and Bishop Edwin Barnes’ speech to delegates on the Friday evening. Cheques (in favour of Forward in Faith, please) with orders to the Director at Faith House.

Guidance urgently needed

It was the initiative of Forward in Faith Council member Mary Nagel which was responsible for the production of the very first Forward in Faith Good Church Guide for Chichester nearly two years ago. Since then, Guides have appeared covering Bath & Wells, Bristol, Canterbury, Chichester, Exeter, Guildford, London, Portsmouth, Ripon, Rochester, Salisbury, Southwark, Truro and Winchester; some appear as single diocesan publications and others have resulted from inter-diocesan co-operation, such as the new London and Southwark Guide. Most are available from Faith House Bookshop (0171 222 6952) and all are of course of particular value to those who travel around the country whether for reasons of work or leisure. If your diocese hasn’t yet produced one, then why not nag your diocesan officers? It is not as difficult a task as one might imagine, particularly if a number of dioceses are prepared to work together. Following on from her original pioneering work, Mary and her husband, Fr Lawson Nagel, have gone on to produce a single Guide covering the whole of the South-East of England; holidaymakers along the south coast, from the Thames estuary to Bournemouth are thus supplied with all the data they need to ensure a safe vacation; other Guides provide similar protection westward from Poole to the Bristol Channel. Let’s hope that our representatives further north are now encouraged to look to their laurels! And when all the dioceses have completed the task, how about a national Forward in Faith Good Church Guide? The Director and his staff stand ready to commence the task of collating such a volume, for there can be no doubt that the demand is out there!

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