And where have you been?

Heartfelt apologies to all our readers for our absence in recent issues, which was the result simply of pressure on space in the pages of New Directions, rather than any inaction in the Forward in Faith Office or any of the Branches. Assuming you are reading this, the situation has demonstrably eased!

Regional Consultations

As you will have seen elsewhere in New Directions and as promised at last year’s National Assembly, members of the Management Executive are attending, on behalf of the Forward in Faith Council, a series of Regional Consultations at which the grass-roots membership – ordained and lay – will have the opportunity of hearing in detail about Forward in Faith’s plans for a Free Province of the Church of England. That means YOU! Space at each Consultation is limited, so be sure to book your ticket today. The document “The Case for a Free Province of the Church of England” appeared in January’s edition of New Directions and further copies are available at £1.50 each from Forward in Faith at Faith House; please write, enclosing a stamped addressed envelope. The first two Consultations, in Birmingham and Manchester, were outstanding successes: please do your bit to make the remaining ones as good! (Details below)

Act of Synod Review Group

As regular readers will know, the House of Bishops have set up a Group, under the Chairmanship of the Bishop of Blackburn, “to review the operation of the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod and related matters, and to make recommendations to the House of Bishops”. As Bishop Alan and his Group undertake this important task, please hold them in your prayers. A number of Forward in Faith Council members met the Group on 18 March, as part of its process of consultation with interested parties, and it is a joy to report that we received the warmest and most hospitable of welcomes.

Sacred Synod

The Provincial Episcopal Visitors and the Bishop of Fulham are calling a Sacred Synod for all the priests of our integrity, which take place in London on 27 – 29 October. By now, all priest members of Forward in Faith should have received their invitations, but if any have not, they can contact the Synod Office on 0171 976 7976

435 Days

Have you booked yet? There isn’t that much time left, you know! The first time we reminded you on this page, there were 820 Days to go – that was over a year ago. In that time, enormous steps have been taken in making all the necessary arrangements and there isn’t a shadow of a doubt that “Christ our Future” will be the most significant celebration of the new millennium to take place in these islands.

The Eve of Pentecost in the year of Our Lord 2000 will witness the largest yet gathering of our integrity, as we meet to commit ourselves to His Gospel as we enter upon the third millennium of Christianity. Regular readers of New Directions will already know that, on Saturday, 10th June, 2000, the Archbishop of York will be presiding at a great Solemn Eucharist at 12.00 noon in the London Arena, in the heart of London’s Docklands (and just across the river from the Millennium Dome). Forward in Faith is extremely grateful to the Council General of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, and to other Catholic Societies, which have kindly agreed to provide substantial financial support for this event.

Seats will be £10, or £5 for senior citizens or children under the age of 16 on the day of the event. Although we are asking all those wishing to come to pay for their seats when they book them, tickets will not be sent out until the Spring of 2000. In the meantime, all those who book seats will in due course receive an acknowledgement only. 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.

Are you a singer? If so, read on! But even if you’re not, read on and then show this item to those in your Church who do sing! For if there are members of your congregation, choir or music group who would like to sing on 10th June, 2000 in the Forward in Faith Millennial Choir, then we need to hear about them now. We ask only three things of potential singers: first, a reasonable competence in sight-reading, along with real enthusiasm for what we are planning; second, a willingness to attend one of a number of regional rehearsals which Fr Ronald Corp, our Director of Music for Christ our Future, will be organising at various locations during the early months of 2000; and, lastly, the ability to arrive at the London Arena on the day itself by 9.00 am for the final rehearsal. The mass will involve a wide selection of music, both traditional and modern, and will present an enormous but rewarding challenge to all who take part. All those who volunteer to join the choir will be asked, on the day they attend their regional rehearsal, to pay the sum of œ15 (or œ10 for those under 16 on 10th June, 2000) to cover the cost of their entrance ticket to the Arena and to help to defray the costs of providing the printed music they will need for the mass. If you know of numbers of people who would like to sing on 10th June, 2000, please ask one of them (your Organist, perhaps) to act as the point of contact on their behalf and write to us at Faith House now, giving numbers involved for each “line” – SATB. Likewise, individuals who would like to sing should let us have a note of their name and address and their voice. Once we have an idea of where in the country our singers are coming from, we will arrange the rehearsals as conveniently as we are able. At the risk of stating the obvious, we need to set these regional rehearsals up sooner rather than later: so please deal with this now!

Names of Singers, please, to Faith House on 0171 976 0727, along with requests for additional copies of the Christ our Future Poster.

Our detractors would love to point to any empty seats in the Arena and use such spaces as evidence that our constituency is dying off – together, we must ensure that they have no such opportunity! After all, there are only 10,000 seats available, which represents just one 40 seat coach from each Forward in Faith Parish! We are confident that it really will be a case of “first come, first served”!


FF2000 is an International Festival, running from Sunday 23rd July to Sunday 30th July, 2000, for all young people who will then be aged 13 or above. (Yes, it’s even further away than Christ our Future!) It will provide a marvellous opportunity for our young people to meet some of their brothers and sisters in Christ from around the world in the lovely setting of St Gabriel’s, at the Community of All Hallows, at Ditchingham. Activities will include Swimming, Tennis, Hockey, Football, Table Tennis, Wide Games and Treasure Hunts, Folk Dancing and a Disco! There will be Workshops on Art, Drama, Poetry, Printing, Performing Arts, Calligraphy and Pottery and Excursions during the week will include trips to Norwich and to Walsingham.