A more enlightened view

From Dr Brian Hanson

It is rather exciting to read that both the Society of the Faith in November this year (Sept ND p 14) and Forward in Faith in tandem with Anglican Catholic Future in September 2018 (Sept ND p 8) are proposing conferences to consider catholicity in the 21st century and the future of catholic mission within the Church of England. The Society of the Faith conference is to be open to both clergy and laity and I question therefore why the Forward in Faith conference next year is exclusively to be for “clergy, religious and ordinands”.

We are told that the Church of England “needs to hear from a united catholic voice about mission and evangelism”. How can the voice be united if it comes only from the ordained? Is it suggested that lay people have no experience to offer in this area? To say that “as priests and pastors of God’s people our duty and our joy is to demonstrate and prove our engagement to our communities” does sound rather self-congratulatory and patronising; indeed, a statement reminiscent of the nineteenth century rather than the twenty first.

I plead for a more enlightened view of the laity from the ranks of Forward in Faith and ACF; perhaps the Society of the Faith symposium has got the balance right.

Dr Brian Hanson CBE Received by e-mail.