Both in the Church of England at large and in our own constituency, there is much talk these days of being church and, therefore, alongside the Working Party, under the Chairmanship of the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, which is examining the structures and management of Forward in Faith, a group of senior priests, all of whom happen to be Regional Deans, have taken up a challenge from the College of Deans to put flesh on the bones of how we should be church – both at the present time and in the future, when women are appointed to the Episcopate and an ecclesial solution has been found for those of us who will in conscience be able to receive their ministry.

Fr Beau Brandie writes:

‘It seems to us that all our work must be based on the concept of “making” and that we must be very determined not to feel ourselves inhibited by the way in which that has been done in the past or the structures and formations with which we currently live. In our jargon-ridden age we must, therefore, “think out of the box”; have “blue sky thinking”‘; and, rather like the Irishman, if we are wanting to go to Dublin not to start from here! It has seemed to us that there are four areas that we need to address:

• Formation.

• Organisation.

• Nurture.

• Outreach.

We have divided each of these into three further areas:

• Lay Formation; Formation for Holy Orders; Forming Vocations.

• Governance; Clustering; Finance.

• Schools; Youth Work; Children’s Work.

• Evangelisation and Mission; Chaplaincies; Ecumenism.

We have set up teams to work on each of these areas, with Fr Tony Delves taking responsibility for Formation, Fr Sam Philpott for Organisation, Fr Geoffrey Neale for Nurture and Fr Ross Northing for Outreach. Then, we have invited 12 further people to lead the sub-groups we have been anxious to “pass on the torch”; in other words, to get younger clergy and laity involved, while at the same time drawing upon the widest experience and expertise that we can manage.

We will be delighted to hear from people who have views or contributions to make on any of these subjects or, in fact, views on people who might be consulted or areas that we have somehow missed. You can contact us at:

or by post to 2A The Cloisters, Gordon Square, London WC1H OAG.

It is not intended that this will turn into a great General Synod tome but rather that the work will be completed in time to present to the Council by its residential meeting in December.’