I wasrecently told that by its very nature and existence this magazine was negative and that its purpose was to promote negativity. I wish to state now that this is not what this magazine is about. We live in uncertain and difficult times for our Church and often in these pages these worries might be expressed. We are, however, far from negative about our future. Indeed, it is important our critics understand of what we are in favour. We are for Catholic order, we
are for mission and evangelism and we are most importantly for the people of God. The proposed legislation on women in the episcopate as it stands will take away from our PCCs and congregations the right to say affirm their belief that they are in conscience and because of theological conviction opposed to the ordination of women to the priesthood
and episcopate. We must always be careful to remind our critics that we are not simply a clerical organization but one
of men and women united in their faith and belief. It is not the parish priest who decided to pass Resolutions A and B and to apply for episcopal oversight but the
congregation of the parish through its PCC. By removing these resolutions Synod is seeking to remove from the lay men and women in our parishes their right to make theologically informed decisions about the nature of sacred ministry.
Up and down the country members of Forward in Faith are speaking at Deanery and Diocesan Synods reminding laity and clergy that if indeed the ordination of women is an issue of justice (which is a far from convincing argument) then it simply will not do for Synod to perpetrate another injustice in order to rid the Church of the England of the first one. What will do is
for those who cannot in all conscience accept the ordination of women to be consulted about provision for them and for the concerns of this sizeable minority to be listened to. We have on the table one
possible solution in the shape of the Society. Societies similar to the one proposed do already exist in the Church of England in the guise of the Society of St Francis of the Church Missionary Society. The Society allows us to say what we are for, not what we are against. It is not too late to sign
up for the work of the Society and every member counts as we seek to find a way forward.
The quatercentenary of the King James Version is a cause for much celebration in our Church. It reminds us of the importance of Holy Scripture and of the many gifts of Anglicanism to the Universal Church. There can be few people who do not thrill when the Prologue of the Gospel according to St John is read in church. The beauty of the language reflects something of the beauty and mystery of our faith. We should not be afraid to celebrate our rich Anglican heritage and indeed should always be looking into the rich treasure chest of Anglicanism to discover what exactly our patrimony is. It may be that some of it is to be found in our Prayer Book and in the King James Version as well as our hymnology and poetry. All of these areas of patrimony mean nothing however if the message which they contain is not lived out in our lives. If we choose to concentrate simply on the external things we will almost certainly fail to carry out the work that God has called us all to. The beauty of the King James Version and of the Prayer Book and of our liturgies points us to the beauty of the Incarnation and to the fact reflected in all Tractarian and AngloCatholic writing that we need to go out and bring people to Christ. Bishop Frank Weston put it so well when addressing the Anglo- Catholic Congress he declared: ‘If you are Christians then your Jesus is one and the same: Jesus on the Throne of his glory, Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus received into your hearts in Communion, Jesus with you mystically as you pray, and Jesus enthroned in the hearts and bodies of his brothers and sisters up and down this country. And it is folly – it is madness – to suppose that you can worship Jesus in the Sacraments and Jesus on the Throne of glory, when you are sweating him in the souls and bodies of his children. It cannot be done’. We must always then be supportive of our brothers and sisters in the mission fields of this land and overseas; with our prayers, with our financial help and, if we can, with our physical help.
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