Forward in Hope

Warmest thanks to everyone who made Forward in Hope such a great success at the end of last month. In particular, thanks to all who spoke: on video, we heard from Bishop Lindsay Urwin and Ben Rabjohns, as they explored the latter’s vocation to the priesthood, and from Bishop Andrew Burnham and Fr Jonathan Baker, who reminded us of the theological objections to the consecration of women as bishops, and from Fr Geoffrey Kirk, who carefully unpicked some of the most common objections to the proposals in Part 2 of Consecrated Women?

And, live and in the flesh, we heard from Sister Anne Williams on lay vocation and women’s ministry, from Fr Sam Philpott, who reminded us of all that we have achieved – apart from New Directions! – over these past years, from Bishop Keith Newton and Fr Paul Benfield, who reminded us of the lawyers’ contribution to Consecrated Women?, from Bishop Martyn Jarrett, who powerfully unpicked some of the shortcomings of the Guildford Report for us, from Fr David Houlding, who explained how the Catholic Group in General Synod will be tackling the coming debate, from 21 year old Emma Forward, General Synod’s youngest member, who seeks a solution that is anything but temporary, and from our Chairman, the Bishop of Fulham, who roused us all with a call to action. Thanks too to Fr Alan Rabjohns, who managed to upstage everyone by appearing both live and on video, and who summed up our day together.

Thanks, too, to Fr James Patrick, who held the day together for us, and to Fr Kit Dunkley, who led our worship, assisted by Fr Christopher Kinch and assorted children, ably mustered by Fr Ronald Crane and Jackie Ottaway. Thanks to Fr Mark Elliott-Smith, John Gant and Fr Gary Buckby, who provided the music, and to eight seminarians from S.Stephen’s House who, along with lay folk from St Peter’s Bushey Heath and All Saints, Margaret Street, acted as our stewards.

Thanks to Fr Beau Brandie, who masterminded the logistics, ably assisted as usual by his team from S.Martin’s, Brighton, and to Fr Len Black, our Webmaster, by whose good offices you can read and hear all about it at , and thanks to Fr John Scott, who devised the liturgy, to Colin Niblett, who did so much work behind the scenes, and, of course, warmest thanks to anyone else whose name we have unintentionally omitted!

And last, but by no means least, thanks to the 2,100 of you who took the trouble to be present!