It is a matter both of regret and, at the same time, of celebration, that the Council of Forward in Faith announces that this is the final issue of New Directions to be edited by Sara Low, and to contain contributions by her husband Robbie; as you will read below, they are to be received into the Catholic Church at Easter.
We are pleased to announce that, with effect from the April issue, the Editor will be Canon Nicholas Turner, currently the Reviews Editor of New Directions; the post of Reviews Editor will henceforth be shared by the members of the Chapter of Pusey House, Oxford – Fr Jonathan Baker, Fr William Davage and Fr Barry Orford.
Bishop John Broadhurst writes:
New Directions and Forward in Faith were born out of the same crisis; but they did not formally join forces until sometime later.
The crisis was the anger and disillusionment which followed the 1992 vote to ordain women to the priesthood. Very soon after that vote a small group, convinced that there needed to be a periodical which would bring the concerns of those opposed to that decision before the wider Church, began to consider possibilities. Sara and Robbie Low made early contact with John Martin, then editor of The Church of England Newspaper, and from those discussions Directions – a monthly supplement to CEN – emerged. John Martin’s support, in the harsh political climate of the time, was both generous and courageous. He was to suffer for it.
Meanwhile Forward in Faith was established, and began to develop a nationwide structure. Very quickly it became clear that it should be a subscription organisation with a democratic structure. At that same time, safeguarding the independence of Directions (“Serving Evangelicals and Catholics seeking to renew the Church in the historic faith’) the original Church of England Newspaper insert became an independent monthly magazine, funded, for the most part from FiF subscriptions New Directions was born.
It has since gone from strength to strength. Who would have thought that the original vision would expand into a journal which could boast an Archbishop of Canterbury and numbers of diocesan bishops among its contributors or be responsible for scooping some of the major church stories of the last decade and come to be regarded, throughout the Anglican Communion, as a journal of fearless factual reporting and comment?
All the developments of the last twelve years have owed an enormous debt to the hard work of Sara as Editor and of Robbie as a frequent and indefatigable contributor. To Sara’s editorial skills we owe the magazine’s very survival. And many will recall the ‘Robbie Low Interviews’ as a principal means by which Forward in Faith gained its initial identity. Through them the constituency was built up.
It is with immense gratitude that we now say farewell to them both. They are entering, with characteristic verve and energy, on a new spiritual and ecclesial life in the Roman Catholic Church. We wish them well, thanking them for all that they have achieved and done. New Directions will continue as a lasting testimony to their vision and sheer hard work.
Bishop John Broadhurst is Chairman of Forward in Faith
For the last twelve years this magazine has been a part of our family life. It will seem strange to be without the emails, texts, proofs, endless ‘phone calls and last minute crises that go with the job of editing New Directions. Through all this I have been amazingly well served by our faithful correspondents and blessed with an Editorial Board of immense talent and integrity and a wonderful support team in the FinF office. The monthly meetings, never more than three hours, were always full of ideas, vigorous debate, deepening friendship and generous laughter.
Someone suggested I should mention a couple of ‘highs’ and ‘lows’. I can recall being exhausted by the time we reached press deadline but I honestly can’t remember any ‘low’ points. There have been some hilarious moments like when the C.of E., with its unerring instinct for public relation’s suicide, threatened to take us to court for publishing the bishops’ expenses. On another occasion a bishop had summoned and bullied a local FinF rep. about an editorial. Alone with me in a room a few days later and with every opportunity to ‘take it up with the management’, the bishop’s courage mysteriously failed.
Whether we have succeeded or failed as a journal of theology and of record is for others to judge. Our aims were simple. 1) To bring evangelical and catholic Anglicans together to work for orthodoxy in the growing realignment of Christendom and, if possible, the recovery of the Church of England. 2) To give a voice to the voiceless, to the ordinary layman and woman and parish priest marginalised and mistreated by those in authority. 3) To tell the truth whatever the cost and encourage one another in the faith once delivered to the saints. It has been a privilege to be asked to attempt that task as Editor and, with your constant encouragement, an unforgettable part of our lives. I am delighted to be handing over the Editor’s chair to Fr. Nicholas Turner whose experience and technical gifts, I am sure, will take the magazine into an even more professional era.
As Bishop John says, in his kind introduction, Robbie and I and our eldest son, Simeon, will be received into the Roman Catholic Church at Easter. We would be grateful for your prayers. Be assured you will all remain in our prayers and our affection and we look to the day when, whether a Third Province is granted, denied or seized, we will all be in full and eternal communion. We must serve where we are called but the battle for orthodoxy goes on.
Editor of ‘New Directions’