The New Oxford Movement

Clare Rabjohns on a new group of young Anglo-Catholics within the Church of England and what they hope to achieve

‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.’

 

Call to truth

These words are from the book of Ezekiel, chapter 36, the voice of a prophet, a voice crying in the wilderness, calling people back to God and back to the truth. We have found these words of Scripture helpful in the formulation and founding of our principles.

We hope to be a group that Speaks in a clear, powerful and positive way from within the catholic wing of the Church of England. We are firmly committed to living sacramental lives, as a group and as individuals. We recognize that all our efforts are worth nothing if they are not done in Jesus’ name, for the glory of God and the bringing about of his kingdom.

We strive to work for mission, evangelism and a renewal of the diaconate, the priesthood, the religious life, the episcopate and the ministry of all Christ’s people. We believe that these truths are at the heart of the catholic faith, and are

things which we put our trust in and devote our lives to.

United in belief

The New Oxford Movement as it currently stands is a group of young Anglo-Catholics who unite under these common beliefs. So far, we have met several times for discussion, academic study, fellowship, worship, prayer and Bible study, and to offer mutual support in faith.

The group is made up of men and women, lay people and ordinands, deacons and priests. It is hoped that by the grace of God, the group will continue to grow and develop and establish its identity. At this point we would like to stress that we are a very new group, much in need of prayer and support and very much in the early stages of development. Even the title the ‘New Oxford Movement’ is under discussion. We do however have a clear vision for the future of the movement. We propose that the group will exist as an umbrella society, containing within itself several strands to fit different purposes.

Three strands

The first of these will be simply a shared ethos under which to unite.

This, we hope, would initiate groups which could meet as we have done across the country for prayer and worship with people of a common mind.

The second would be a group Specifically for young AngloCatholics tojointogether, for spiritual, academic and social reasons. This would then provide opportunities for discussion about the future, a chance to share ideas and experience and a group which can pray and worship together.

It is hoped that the existence of this group would enable them to have a strong, united voice and also participate in pioneering work in the life of the Church.

The third strand would involve the utilization of that group of young Anglo-Catholics for teaching and preaching, for mission and evangelism, for sharing stories, experiences and ideas, for leading children and young people, for the enabling of growth, for the building up of the body of Christ within parishes, schools, youth groups and many other situations across deaneries in England and Wales.

Determined

I think I can Speak for all of us when I say that we are here, we are passionate about what we believe in, we are strong in faith and have a love for God which we want to share with others. We believe in the Church in which we work, worship and find ourselves.

We are determined to use the strength that we find together to forge futures for ourselves and others. And finally, we ask to be involved in decisions and planning as we move forward in the Church of England and the Church in Wales.

We are here, we are ready and we are working to be a part of the reawakening of the catholic and apostolic nature of the Church, in the spirit of the Oxford Movement. We are trusting in the faithfulness of a God with whom there is no shadow of a change. ND

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