News from the Forward in Faith Regions

The Case for a Free Province

Large numbers of readers have already availed themselves of the offer in last month’s New Directions whereby, for a cheque for £1.50 and a SAE, they have been supplied with a copy of the current draft of our National Assembly document “The Case for a Free Province”. Already, we have received much useful comment, and the process of incorporating into the paper some of the suggestions submitted has begun. It is hoped to reproduce the entire text of the second draft into New Directions in a couple of months’ time, so if you wish to comment before then, please do so. Then, in the Spring of next year, we will be arranging a series of regional consultations, out of which will be produced the final draft. Watch this space for further details of the consultations, which will be a vital step along our pilgrimage road together.

Standing Room Only!

Forward in Faith and Credo Cymru celebrated their first joint event on Saturday, October 10th, in Bristol Cathedral, when members of the two bodies gathered to celebrate their faith together and to say au revoir to Bishop John Richards. Over one hundred concelebrants were joined by seven Forward in Faith Regional Deans, seven bishops and a congregation of no less than 1,700! Bishop Paul Richardson, now an Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Newcastle, but lately Bishop of Wangaratta, Australia, preached an inspiring sermon and, before the final blessing, Margaret Laird, the Third Church Estates Commissioner, spoke on behalf of the entire constituency of the love, affection and gratitude which Bishop John has inspired throughout his ministry as Bishop of Ebbsfleet. She then presented Bishop John with a cheque for œ4,100. Bishop John’s family were not forgotten, as members of the congregation came forward to present Mrs Richards and their daughter Bridget – who of course was until recently Bishop John’s Secretary – with bouquets and gifts. Finally, the centre of Bristol came to a halt, as the vast congregation spilled out onto the streets – some to eat picnics outside the cathedral, leaving others to track down the nearest pubs and restaurants. It was a day which will live long in the memory of all who were present and all involved in organising it deserve our thanks and congratulations.

There’s no Escape!

The Officers of Forward in Faith were out and about on Saturday, 24th October, when some eight hundred members gathered – albeit in four different venues! Chairman Bishop John Broadhurst presided at the Manchester Diocesan Rally at Holy Family, Failsworth; Vice- Chairman Anne Williams found herself with Ripon Forward in Faith at Ripon Cathedral; National Secretary Fr Geoffrey Kirk was attending his own Diocesan Assembly in Southwark; and Director Stephen Parkinson was speaking at the Guildford Diocesan Assembly at S.Mary, Thorpe!

North of the Border

Bishop John Broadhurst was the preacher in S.Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh recently for the formal launch of Forward in Faith Scotland. Fr Paul Harvie, Rector of S. Salvador’s, Dundee and Chairman of Forward in Faith Scotland, and his Committee had pulled out all the stops for what turned out to be a most marvellous celebration, with a full Cathedral, a full Cathedral Choir and a full peal on the Cathedral Bells! It is so good to know that, after a period of difficulties in that Province, Forward in Faith can receive such a warm welcome in the Cathedral Church of the Primus himself! We look forward to news of further growth north of the Border in the coming months.

Not much Dancing

The London Region of Forward in Faith held its Annual Dinner at the National Liberal Club on Friday, 23rd October. After the meal, Fr Christopher Hardy, Vicar of All Saints, East Finchley, compered a Cabaret that owed much to the night-life of Berlin in the 1930s. Thankfully, he remained dressed as a clergyman (more or less) throughout; (fans of the film “Cabaret” will understand what might have been). A succession of “turns” brought to mind both curates and eggs and then, accompanied by a pianist, the dancing began. Fr Kirk danced with the Director’s wife. The Chairman danced with the Chairman’s wife. The Chairman’s wife danced with Fr Kirk. One or two other brave souls took to the floor, but the majority, it has to be said, preferred to “network” at the bar!

A Correction

Your usual correspondent was unavailable to write this column for the September issue of New Directions, owing to a pressing need to be out of the country for the prescribed fortnight, and so he handed over the reigns to Other Writers. As a consequence, an error crept into the copy, which he is certain he would have noticed. (That is his story, and he’s sticking to it!) In the item “Merrily on High”, it was asserted that the ancient title of the parish of Storrington, in the diocese of Chichester, was Our Lady of the Assumption – rather than St Mary – and that Fr Paul Benfield was the Rector of the Parish. A good number of these facts are wrong. Fr Benfield is the Rector of Pulborough in the diocese of Chichester, where the ancient dedication of the church is indeed Our Lady of the Assumption. He is not the Rector of Storrington, where the dedication to St Mary may or may not have been in some other form in days gone by. Sincere apologies to Fr Benfield and his people at Pulborough, and to the real Rector of Storrington and his people, for any confusion caused!

575 Days

Have you booked yet? Still a long way to go, of course, and no doubt you’re thinking that there is plenty of time! There isn’t! Credit Card bookings for Priests who wish to concelebrate, please, to Forward in Faith on 0171 976 0727; for lay people (and priests who do not wish to concelebrate) to the London Arena on 0171 538 1212. Names of Singers, please, to Faith House on 0171 976 0727, along with requests for additional copies of the Christ our Future Poster.

Vocations Conference

A Conference takes place at Ascot Priory for 18 – 24 year olds, organised by the London Region of Forward in Faith – from Friday 12th until Sunday 14th February, 1999. Details from Fr Malcolm Gray on 0181 360 2947.

Fatima, Compostella or Oberammergau?

Bishop Edwin Barnes will be leading a Priests’ Pilgrimage from Monday, 10th until Sunday, 16th May 1999, to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima. Limited places available – early booking essential! The cost will be approximately £435 and will include full board, with free unending supply of red and/or white wine with lunch and dinner!

A week’s pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella is being organised by Fr Malcolm Gray, to include S. James’ Day, 25th July 1999. Santiago de Compostella in July is an experience not to be missed! £799.

Finally, Fr Gray will be taking a group to the Passion Play at Oberammergau, plus a week’s holiday in Hopfgarten, Austria from Thursday 24th August to Saturday 2nd September, 2000. 849 half board in Hopfgarten, full board in Oberammergau, coach outings extra.

Details on all three of these opportunities from Fr Gray on 0181 360 2947.