Teaching with Authority

Pusey House in Oxford was the meeting place for a lay leaders’ seminar on this topical subject on Saturday, 12 June, reports Brian Poulson. Space limited the number to twenty-five but those attending were representative of Forward in Faith around the country and also of those holding lay office in their local Catholic communities. The seminar was presided over by the Bishop of Ebbsfleet who first led prayers in the beautiful chapel and then gave the opening address. In this he emphasised the importance of God’s revelation in the Christian life. Revelation should not have to be adjusted to fit in with social change, but should be the standard by which changes should be judged.

Fr Ivan Clutterbuck, in his first talk, continued this theme and said that in the Bible this revelation was historically ascertainable and this gave confidence to Christian teaching. Unfortunately for a long period much liberal scholarship had thrown doubt on the historical Jesus, leaving the Gospels as uncertain authorities for the revelation he brought. New Testament theology had become a minefield that many of those responsible for teaching the faith were reluctant to enter! Confidence in the Gospels was vital for teaching with authority and new emerging scholarship was making this possible once more. Lay leaders had to master this material and this would be the target for any future training programme. In his second talk, Fr Clutterbuck supported his optimism by illustrating from S. Luke’s Gospel how we could draw a more detailed picture of Jesus and his ministry.

All this provoked considerable discussion broken only by a Midday Office and lunch. Finally, Colin King, who has been organising Readers within Forward in Faith for a number of years, spoke about future plans for regional seminars and a wider training programme. The day concluded with Evening Prayer in the Chapel.

[Those interested in knowing more about this programme can contact Colin King c/o Faith House or on 01270 520389]

281 Days

The Choir
for Christ our Future

We still need lots of singers for CHRIST OUR FUTURE – has your Church Choir registered yet? Please ‘phone Stephen Parkinson at Faith House on 0171 976 0727 for more details.

The Congregation
for Christ our Future

One-fifth of the tickets for Christ our Future have already been sold! Don’t be the one who misses out, after the last ticket has gone! Bookings for lay people (and priests who do not wish to concelebrate) to the London Arena on 0171 538 1212 for Credit Card payments, or by post to The Box Office, London Arena, Limeharbour, London E14 9TH. Tickets are œ10 each or œ5 for concessions.

The Concelebrants
for Christ our Future

Credit Card bookings for Priests who wish to concelebrate, please, to Forward in Faith on 0171 976 0727 or by post to Faith House – cheques for œ10 per ticket should be made payable to “Forward in Faith”.

National Assembly

The Sixth Forward in Faith National Assembly will take place this year on Friday 29th and Saturday 30th October at the Emmanuel Centre, Marsham Street, London SW1. Details have been despatched to Registered Parishes and to Chairmen of Forward in Faith Diocesan Branches and, hopefully, they are all now taking steps to identify their delegates!

The more eagle-eyed of our priest readers in particular will have noticed that the Assembly follows immediately upon the Sacred Synod called for all priests of our integrity by the Provincial Episcopal Visitors and the Bishop of Fulham on 27th, 28th and 29th October at the same venue. Priests attending the Synod who are not delegates to the National Assembly are very warmly invited to stay on in order to attend all or part of the Assembly as Observers and, in particular, to join us at Christ the King, Gordon Square on the Saturday morning for the National Assembly Eucharist. And of course it goes without saying that all lay members of Forward in Faith who would like to be with us as Observers at any stage are also invited – and just as warmly!

Sacred Synod

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. If they have received an invitation but not yet acted upon it, they should do so without further delay. Numbers are limited and are being allocated on a first come, first served basis.


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. Details: 0171 976 0727


The Forward in Faith Youth Festival is taking place in four locations nationally this Autumn: first off the blocks in getting their publicity to us is SHEEPDIP SOUTH EAST – Friday 12 to Sunday 14 November at S.Augustine’s School, Kilburn Park Road, London NW6. Details from Colin Niblett on 0171 222 6952 or 0181 805 5107. News about SHEEPDIP NORTH WEST, SHEEPDIP MIDLANDS and SHEEPDIP SOUTH WEST just as soon as we have it!

Merrily on High

It is strange how Father Hope Patten’s phrase “as is our custom” can happen elsewhere when devotion to Our Lady is in the air. Perhaps it doesn’t have the evangelical command of “come over to Macedonia and help us” but “come to Brighton and lead us” has been the clarion call to the first Bishop of Ebbsfleet and all the other PEVs and a couple of orthodox suffragans over the last six years. This time there was a real crossing involved, for Bishop David Thomas the ubiquitous orthodox suffragan and Provincial Visitor for the Church in Wales was to cross Offa’s Dyke.

About 30 clergy and a couple of hundred people made the trip for what in the old days would have been called “full Walsingham privileges” in the way that only churches in Brighton can dare to emulate.

Bishop David reminded the congregation that the modern mania for referring to everything by the shorthand of initials only could be dangerous if your name was David Thomas, and warned them that Bishop’s tended to suffer from HO (homiletic overdrive). He rejoiced therefore that on one occasion when he had actually given himself a Sunday off he was fortunately free to visit his daughter within hours of the birth of her second child.

The picture of radiant commitment reminded him forcibly of Mary’s commitment to Jesus and the way in which the child absorbs the parents’ attitudes, not necessarily directly by teaching but by the osmosis of human life, which in Mary’s case was forged in the fires of the ministry and the cross of Christ.

This was not a sentimental motherhood, but one which saw her receive the natural reward for her obedient identification with her son.

Afterwards, as the procession wound its way along the Lewes Road bringing traffic to a standstill this year there was no abuse. Benediction in the School grounds followed with a few drinks so that people could meet up with friends and exchange reminiscences while a raffle for the Convent building fund at Walsingham brought another happy evening to a close.