Forward in Faith Australia
Stephen Parkinson, Forward in Faith’s National Director, and Fr Geoffrey Kirk, National Secretary, were in Brisbane towards the end of last month for the second National Conference of Forward in Faith Australia. The Conference took place in the southernmost Forward in Faith Registered Parish on earth – All Saints’, Wickham Terrace, in the heart of Brisbane. Highlights of the Conference included a stunning Bible Study on the story of Jacob wrestling with the Angel, led by the Right Reverend David Farrer, Bishop of Wangaratta, and a marvellous closing Solemn Eucharist, at which the preacher was Fr Kirk. Under the Chairmanship of Fr David Robarts, Vicar of Christ Church, Brunswick, Melbourne, the Conference took place under the shadow of the General Synod of the Anglican Church in Australia; literally so, for the Synod was just a few hundred yards down the road! With the Synod due to decide whether to proceed with the ordination of women as bishops the day after the FiF Conference ended, one might have expected a somewhat gloomy gathering, but nothing could have been further from the truth. Delegates were fired up and ready for action and what is emerging is a strategy for the future which will hold good whatever the outcome of the General Synod’s vote (still twenty-four hours away as this piece goes to press). Thanks are due to Fr David Chislett, Rector of All Saints’, Wickham Terrace, and his people, for all their hospitality and organizational skills.
Prior to the FiF Australia Conference, Stephen Parkinson and Fr Geoffrey Kirk spoke to Forward in Faith Diocesan Meetings in Ballarat, Wangaratta, Adelaide and Melbourne. During their journeys around Australia, they enjoyed hospitality from a large number of FiF members and they wish publicly to place on record their deep gratitude to all concerned.
During Stephen Parkinson’s absence, his Assistant, Colin Niblett, was in charge at Faith House. Despite all sorts of problems, including a crashed computer, he has done a marvellous job and all members of FiF should be grateful to him for the cheerful and efficient way in which he has kept things running so well.
Letters went out in June to all Registered Parishes and to all Dioceses, asking for the names of their delegates to the Seventh National Assembly, to be held on Friday 12 and Saturday 13 October, at the Emmanuel Centre, Marsham Street, SW1. Registration Forms and the draft programme will then be going out to delegates and the more names we have in place when we do that, the easier that whole exercise will be. One large mailshot is much less time-consuming that thirty small ones, so the sooner those of you required to submit names do so, the easier Colin Niblett’s task at Faith House will be!
The National Assembly Solemn Eucharist will take place in the Church of Christ the King, Gordon Square at 9.30 am on Saturday, 13 October – the Feast of St Edward the Confessor. The principal celebrant will be the Bishop of Fulham and the preacher will Fr Michael Melrose, Rector of St Giles, Reading and Forward in Faith Regional Dean for Oxford.
Other details of the Assembly timetable will emerge in due course, but one thing to which we can look forward will be the opportunity, hopefully on the Saturday afternoon, of saying au revoir to a Flying Bishop and his Flying Buttress! We plan to make a presentation on behalf of Forward in Faith to Bishop Edwin and to Jane, as they enter into their well-deserved and, we trust, long retirement in Lymington.
An Urgent Request
As noted above, our office suffered a serious computer crash during the Director’s absence abroad. Although most of the lost data has now been restored, there remains some doubt as to whether all the entries in Stephen Parkinson’s diary have been successfully retrieved. If any reader has arranged with the Director for him to visit FiF Diocesan Meetings, Chapter meetings or whatever, he would appreciate a call or a note to confirm the details which ought to appear in his schedule for the coming months.