Parishes are beginning to pass resolutions under the House of Bishops’ Declaration. In most cases of which we have been informed the PCC has passed the resolution by an overwhelming majority – usually, unanimously. In parishes which are divided on the issue, people who are themselves not opposed to the ordination of women as priests are voting for a resolution for the sake of the unity of the parish, and so that the ministry in the parish is one that can be received by all.
Guidance is available on the Forward in Faith website (www.forwardinfaith.com/Declaration.php). Printed copies of the materials have been posted to existing resolution parishes. If your parish priest (or churchwarden in a vacancy) has not received this mailing, please contact David Oldroyd-Bolt (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If your parish has already passed a resolution, please check whether the parish priest or another parish officer has informed us. If not, please let us know, as this helps us to build up a picture of what is happening across the Church of England.
The Five Guiding Principles
Fundamental to our life together in the Church of England are the Five Guiding Principles set forth in the House of Bishops’ Declaration. As yet, Church House has been very restrained in communicating and promoting these Principles. Forward in Faith has therefore stepped into the breach and published them as a small ‘pull-out leaflet’ that will fit into a wallet or purse. A copy has been included in this issue of New Directions and further copies (in multiples of 25) can be obtained by emailing David Oldroyd-Bolt
Has your Deanery Synod or Chapter discussed and affirmed these Principles yet? If not, why not ask for them to be on the agenda? Principle 4 says that ‘the Church of England remains committed to enabling [us] to flourish within its life and structures’. Perhaps your Deanery Synod could discuss what it could do to help to fulfil that commitment…
Parishes are beginning to affiliate to The Society. Any parish that supports the aims of The Society and is under the oversight of a member of the Council of Bishops (because of a petition under the Act of Synod or as the diocesan or area bishop) can affiliate by a simple resolution of the PCC. There is no need to wait until a new resolution has been passed under the House of Bishops’ Declaration. Don’t delay: affiliate today. Society parishes are entitled to display the Society ‘porch card’ and they are listed on the Society website
A new branch for the new diocese
On 15 April a meeting of Forward in Faith members was held in Leeds under the chairmanship of the Bishop of Wakefield (the Rt Revd Tony Robinson – formerly Bishop of Pontefract but now one of the area bishops of the new Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales). With the prior agreement of the Council of Forward in Faith, the meeting voted to establish Forward in Faith Leeds (which can also be known, when appropriate, by the longer title of ‘Forward in Faith in the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales’). At the same meeting, votes were taken to wind up the former Bradford and Ripon & Leeds branches. FiF Leeds is the membership organization which will support the work of The Society in the new Diocese.
The National Assembly will be held at St Alban’s, Holborn, on Saturday 14 November 2015. If you are hoping to be chosen to represent your FiF parish or those members of your branch who are not in a FiF parish, please make sure the date is in your diary.
Though we are making significant strides towards ‘balancing the books’, we are not there yet. Part of the answer is to increase the number of members. (If every member recruited just one new member, we would eliminate the bulk of the annual deficit.) The other part of the answer is to cut costs. Publishing New Directions is a very important part of our work, but the costs of paper and postage continue to increase. The minimum subscription is being held at £30 (£42 for families; concessions: £15/21), but the Executive has decided that, in order to save money, New Directions will in future not be published in August (when people are often on holiday) or in January (in the immediate aftermath of Christmas).