FIF UPDATE

 

The Third Forward in Faith National Assembly The Third National Assembly took place at The Camden Centre, London WC1 on Friday and Saturday, 20th and 21st September. Some 550 delegates, elected by the nationwide membership of Forward in Faith, were joined by members of the Synodical Council of the Episcopal Synod of America and by representatives of Samrad ph Kirkens Grunn (The Council on the Foundations of the Church Norway), Svenska Kyrkans Fria Synod (The Free Synod of the Church of Sweden) and Affirming Apostolic Order (Scotland) for two days of debate. Among the keynote speakers were Fr John Broadhurst, National Chairman of Forward in Faith and now Bishop of Fulham, Bishop Jack Iker (Bishop of Fort Worth, Texas), Fr Sam Edwards (Executive Director of the Episcopal Synod of America), Bishop Lindsay Urwin, OGS (Bishop of Horsham) and Professor Dr Peter Beyerhaus (Chairman of the International Christian Network, based in Tubingen, Germany). Also present were the three Provincial Episcopal Visitors, Bishop John Gaisford, Bishop John Richards and Bishop Edwin Barnes.

One notable absentee was the Vice-Chairman of Forward in Faith, Anne Williams, who just a few days before the Assembly had tripped down some steps in Durham and broken one ankle and sprained the other; she nevertheless sent a warm message from "a fallen woman" to the Assembly and delegates reciprocated by sending her a message of sympathy and encouragement.

The Chairmanship of Forward in Faith Following the announcement of his appointment to Fulham, Fr Broadhurst had said that he would offer his resignation as Chairman to the Assembly; he felt that it was important that, should he continue, he should have a new mandate from the membership. Accordingly, towards the end of his keynote address on the Friday evening, he offered to resign.. It was clear from the long and affectionate standing ovation which he received after his speech that Delegates were in no mood to accept his offer and it is good to report that he will now continue to lead us through until at least the end of his current term of office in 1998.

Elections The terms of office of eight members of the Council came to an end at the Assembly.

Although all were eligible to stand for re-election, Prebendary John Brownsell of London had decided that he did not wish to stand again and we must thank him here for all his contributions to the work of the Council over the past two years; it is good to record, though, that he has consented to take on the mantle of Co-ordinator for Ordinands for Forward in Faith and so we look forward to continuing to work with him in the coming years in this most important area.

Fr Beresford Skelton, Mr Leslie Barras, Fr Ronald Crane, Mrs Joanna Monckton, Fr Robbie Low, Mr David Morgan and Mr Geoffrey Wright were all re-elected to the Council and Fr Malcolm Gray, Vicar of Holy Trinity, Winchmore Hill in the diocese of London, was newly elected in place of Fr. Brownsell.

Calling all Ordinands . . . If you are an ordinand, whether already at College, or still hoping to be sponsored by your bishop for attendance at a Selection Conference, and if you are sympathetic to the aims and objectives of Forward in Faith, then Fr John Brownsell, our Co-ordinator for Ordinands, needs to hear from you. Please write to him c/o Faith House.

A Word of Thanks 

Grateful thanks to all who contributed sc generously to our gift of a Pectoral Cross to our Chairman. It is a beautiful, silver-gilt~ cross fashioned in the shape of our Regional Deans' Crosses and with the figure of Our Lord upon it; like the Deans' Cross, it is the work of Messrs Watts & Co, our neighbour; in Faith House and we are very grateful to them for all their care in its execution.

It was presented to Fr Broadhurst at the Assembly on all our behalves by Simon Ellis. an ordinand in training at S.Stephen's House. Oxford, who spoke simply and movingly o1 all the care and affection in which Fr John is held by the members of Forward in Faith.

 

The National Assembly Resolutions 

The bulk of the Assembly's time was taken up with debate on a number of resolutions; s is usual at our National Assembly, all the ' (discussion took place in an atmosphere of calm and dignity - so unlike certain other places! The full texts of all the resolutions agreed were as follows:

Resolution 96/01 Carried nem, con. Various minor amendments to the Forward in Faith Constitution

Resolution 96/02 Carried nem. con. That this Assembly calls upon the Council of Forward in Faith to launch a national Petition which will support the admission of the Provincial Episcopal Visitors ex officio to the General Synod of the Church of England, and not subject them to standing for election by the Suffragan Bishops. Proposed by the Norwich Area Assembly

Resolution 96/03 Carried unanimously This Assembly notes the pledge made by the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal ~Church on 16th June 1994 on the motion of .the Primus, the' Most Reverend Richard Holloway, to the effect that those "who cannot in conscience agree with its decision (to ordain women to the priesthood) . . . will continue for all time to come to have a valued and respected place within the Scottish Episcopal Church"; the Assembly further notes with sadness the failure of the College of Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church to enter into any form of constructive dialogue with the members of Affirming Apostolic Order, and the Assembly therefore pledges itself to do all in its power to support and uphold its traditionalist brothers and sisters in the Scottish Episcopal Church and warmly welcomes the proposed links between Forward in Faith and Affirming Apostolic Order. Proposed by the Council of Forward in Faith

Resolution 96/04 Carried nem con. 'This Assembly congratulates the Editorial Board of forward!, together with all its contributors, on the successful launch of the weekly Pew Sheet and instructs the Chairman of Forward in Faith to convey its gratitude to all involved in this project. Proposed by The Reverend Barry Fry Seconded by Mr Peter Bray

Resolution 96/05 Carried nem con. This Assembly regrets that, despite the encouragement given to the Regional Deans in Resolution 95/08 at the National Assembly, 1995, it appears that no Church Plants as yet appear to have taken place for the benefit of members of Forward in Faith throughout the Regions.

The Assembly therefore instructs the Council of Forward in Faith to consult with the Regional Deans as a matter of urgency, with a view to ensuring that Church Plants are initiated in selected locations by no later than the National Assembly, 1997. Proposed by Major Patrick King Seconded by Mr Michael Jarvis

Resolution 96/06 Carried nem. con. This Assembly: i] is pleased to note the appointment by the Forward in Faith Council of the Reverend Prebendary John Brownsell as its Co-ordinator for Ordinands. In the light of this appointment, the Assembly urges the Council to appoint additional, suitable members of Forward in Faith to act with and for Prebendary Brownsell as Regional Vocations Advisors and Ordinands Co-ordinators; ii] re-iterates its call upon the House of Bishops of the Church of England to grant to the Provincial Episcopal Visitors the power to sponsor candidates for attendance at a Bishops' Selection Conference, and instructs the Council of Forward in Faith to take such steps as are necessary to achieve this object. Proposed by Mr Andrew Lomas Seconded by the Reverend Paul Lomas

Resolution 96/07 Carried nem. con. This Assembly asserts that the evangelisation of the nation is the primary task laid upon the Church and pledges itself to work with all Christians of good will in attaining this end. Proposed by Mr Hugh Pratt Seconded by the Reverend Robbie Low

Resolution 96/08 Carried (5 noes) This Assembly, taking note of the issues raised at the Forward in Faith Readers' Conference held on 22nd June, 1996, requests the Council of Forward in Faith to consider: 

i] the relationship of Forward in Faith Readers to the Provincial Episcopal Visitors and Regional Deans, and in particular whether Readers might be admitted or licensed by the Provincial Episcopal Visitors; 

ii] the role of Readers in general, and in particular in ministering to isolated congregations; 

iii] the role of Readers in a Eucharist-orientated Church, and in particular whether their role should as a matter of course include acting as Ministers of the Eucharist, and whether they should be permitted and encouraged to preach at Eucharistic Celebrations;

iv] whether Readers (male and female) might more appropriately be ordained to permanent diaconate; and to make appropriate representations to the House o Bishops and to the Advisory Board of Ministry. Proposed by Mr Michael Hicks Seconded by Mr Richard Osborn

Resolution 96/09 Cared nem. con. This Assembly notes the need to enhance sound teaching in the Church of England as well as the need to promote and support high standards of Christian Religious Education in the nation's schools and calls upon the Council of Forward in Faith to consider what initiatives it might take as its contribution to these endeavours. Proposed by the Reverend Ivan Clutterbuck Seconded by Mrs Mary Nagel As amended by Mr Kevin Pask & Mr Geoffrey Wright

Resolution 96/10 Carried (8 noes, 5 abstentions) This Assembly: 

i] notes that a Private Member's Motion has been laid before the General Synod of the Church of England, calling for legislation to be effected which would permit the ordination of women as bishops; 

ii] believes that, despite its exclusion from the Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure, 1993, the ordination of women as Bishops in the Church of England is inevitable and that those who hold that the ordination of women to the priesthood is "consonant with scripture and required by tradition" ought to be eager to bring it about; 

iii] believes that the ordination of women to the episcopate in the Church of England would extend to the area of episcopal ministry the degree of impairment of communion already experienced presbyterally and that it would effectively bring to an end the working compromise which the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod, 1993 has thus far sustained and exacerbate the problems already experienced by traditionalists who could not accept: 

a] a woman bishop as Ordinary; 

b] the ordinations or consecrations celebrated by a woman bishop; 

c] the ordinations or consecrations celebrated by male bishops who chose to act collegially with a woman bishop; 

iv] believes that the only way in which the "open process of discernment" spoken of in the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod, 1993 could continue would be by means of a structural re-organisation of the Church of England; 

v] believes that parishes opposed in conscience to the ministry of a woman bishop (and the ministry exercised by those male bishops who chose to act collegially with her) could not be expected to relate to the diocesan structures which she (or they) represented and maintained, nor to pay for their upkeep and will demand, as of right, independence from such structures, both ecclesially and financially. Proposed by the Reverend Geoffrey Kirk Seconded by the Reverend Paul Plumpton

Resolution 96111 Carried nem con. This Assembly requests the Council of Forward in Faith, as part of the remit of the Working Party on a Third Province, to consider the possibility of setting up a Capital Endowment Fund and, if they think it appropriate, to invite support for it. Proposed by the Reverend John Pitchford Seconded by the Reverend Malcolm Gray

Resolution 96112 Carried nem. con. Following the recent decision of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales to allow women priests, this Assembly wishes to express its support for its traditionalist brothers and sisters of the Church in Wales and asks the Council of Forward in Faith to do all it can to assist them. Proposed by Mr G J Madelin Seconded by the Reverend John Broadhurst

The National Assembly Eucharist The Assembly Eucharist took place this year in the Church of Christ the King, Gordon Square, and was particularly special as it marked the beginning of what we hope will be a growing ministry, both liturgical and catechetical, in what is by any estimation a magnificent setting. The Church, the work of the architect Raphael Brandon, was commissioned by and built for the Catholic Apostolic Church and opened for worship on Christmas Eve, 1853; it had cost 30,000! It became known locally as the Bloomsbury Cathedral. In 1963, the Catholic Apostolic Church leased the building to the Chaplaincy of the University of London, which used the Church and Crypt for some thirty years, before deciding to make arrangements elsewhere for its work. In 1996, as regular readers of this column will know, the - Trustees of the Catholic Apostolic Church agreed to lease the English Chapel (behind the High Altar) and the Crypt to Forward in Faith and to make the main Church available to us on an ad hoc basis for occasions such as the National Assembly Eucharist. It was good that the Trustees' Secretary was with us to witness what we hope was a re-birth in the life of this distinguished Church. We plan to initiate a series of catechetical events, regular celebrations of the Eucharist and other acts of worship there and so we are grateful to the Bishop of Edmonton for licensing the building for our use. It was especially appropriate, then, that Bishop Brian Masters was with us to preside at our Eucharist.

 

Regular Celebrations at Gordon Square

Commencing on Wednesday, 2nd October, there will each Wednesday at 12.30 pin be a celebration of the Eucharist, preceded by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament for an hour from 11.30 am. A priest will be available to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance or simply to talk to anyone who needs to talk. And afterwards, like all the best churches, there will be a cup of coffee! Perhaps if you live in, work in or can easily get to Central London, you will make it part of your Rule regularly to support this most important initiative; and if you must use your lunch hour to join us, then please bring your sandwiches with you and eat them over a cup of coffee with us! There will be more much more - happening at Gordon Square in the coming months: just watch this space!

And so - at last to S.Paul's Cathedral

Wednesday, 25th September was a day which will live long in the memories of all Forward in Faith supporters able to be present in S.Paul's Cathedral for the consecration of Fr John Broadhurst as Bishop of Fulham. It was obvious - not just from the serried ranks of Forward in Faith Badges - just who our members and supporters were and we know that Bishop John was immensely grateful for the huge turn-out and for all the messages of love, support and prayer he has received over recent weeks. He has now departed these shores for a long-arranged speaking tour of Australia, combined with a much-needed and well-deserved holiday with his wife, but we look forward to seeing him and Judi again very soon, as he starts upon this exciting new chapter in his ministry.

 

Oxford AGM 

The Annual General Meeting of the Diocese of Oxford Forward in Faith was held at St Thomas The Martyr Church, Beckett Street, Oxford on Saturday 6th July 1996. The gathering started with Sung Mass at noon. Lunch was mostly taken in the local watering hole at which there was a noticeably large selection of ales. The AGM was well attended with over 40 attendees together with apologies of absence taking the numbers of those who were there or wished to attend to over 60. This was nearly double the number of 1995. The meeting was also very well organised and ordered under the Chairmanship of Father Michael Melrose of St Giles in Reading. Everything went very smoothly until it was noticed that there was a discrepancy in the accounts. The Treasurer was not in attendance and it was feared he had done a bunk with the loot until it was pointed out that the sums of money involved were not worth the effort. Father Melrose's annual report stated that our integrity was growing in ever increasing numbers and confidence with people being more prepared than ever to speak out for the need for sound Scripture in the Church of England. He also reported on plans for the future with the gathering on November 2nd at St Giles in Reading with the Bishop of Ebbsfieet and the holding of a Choral Evensong with the Book of Common Prayer and the English Hymnal. The Lay Chairman Charles Bell reported on tire plans to set up proper procedures for future AGMs and membership. A new Diocesan Committee was elected with a more equal balance between the clerical and the lm. The day ended with Benediction.

Meanwhile in Peterborough . . . On Friday 16th August some fifty members of Forward in Faith gathered for an informal buffet, by kind invitation of Mary Beevor and her brother Peter MacKenzie Young, in the garden of her home in Abthorpe, Northamptonshire. It was particularly appreciated by everyone present that the Bishop of Richborough and his wife Jane were able to be present to meet Forward in Faith supporters for a most pleasant evening in a relaxed atmosphere. The Peterborough membership were also particularly pleased to be able to welcome a strong contingent from S.Mary & S.Giles, Stony Stratford, across the border in Oxford, as well as a Forward in Faith member all the way from Christ Church, Battersea, in the diocese of Southwark!

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