When we all met at Central Hall, Westminster for the first Forward in Faith National Assembly way back in September 1994, our detractors were all quite certain that Forward in Faith was but a very temporary organisation. How delighted they will all be, then, to know that we will gather at the Emmanuel Centre, Marsham Street, SW1 on Friday 23 and Saturday 24 October for the seventeenth National Assembly! (Readers who might think our arithmetic has gone astray will wish to note that this will be the second Assembly this year!)
Forward in Faith Branches and parishes should by now have begun to let us know the names of all their delegates. Needless to say, not all of them have! We would be most grateful if you would give this your attention immediately, so as to ease the burden on our hard-pressed staff.
Christ the King
The National Assembly Mass will take place at Christ the King, Gordon Square at 10.00 am on the Saturday. We are delighted that, in the year of the 125th anniversary of the foundation of Pusey House, Oxford, the preacher will be Fr William Davage SSC, Priest Librarian and Custodian of the Library at Pusey House. Fr Davage is well-known to the readers of New Directions and is the co-author, with Fr Philip Corbett, of a new history of the Church Union to be published later this year to mark the 150th anniversary of the Union.
We are also delighted that the Bishop of Chichester will be addressing the Assembly late on the Friday afternoon and that the Devotional Address will be given by Bishop Lindsay Urwin, OGS. Older delegates will recall that Bishop Lindsay delivered our Devotional Address at the Camden Centre something over ten years ago; he thus becomes the first (so far!) to be invited back!
The Forward in Faith National Assembly remains the key date in our annual calendar, even though everything is at present rather quiet as the General Synod awaits the outcome of the deliberations of the Revision Committee. But it is more than ever essential that the Synod and the entire House of Bishops understand just how very focussed we are on the enormous task which faces us, as they prepare for women bishops. And the best way for us to get that message across is by ensuring that this National Assembly is the best-attended ever. Over to you!