NEWS FROM THE FORWARD IN FAITH REGIONS



FiF London celebrate Christ the King The Forward in Faith Church of Christ the King, Gordon Square kept its Feast of Title in splendid style on Saturday, 23rd November. A congregation of close on 1,000, along with over 50 concelebrants, witnessed our National Chairman, Bishop John Broadhurst, presiding for the first time since his episcopal ordination at a major Forward in Faith event, during which he commissioned Fr Malcolm Gray, Vicar of Holy Trinity, Winchmore Hill and Clerical Chairman of London Forward in Faith, as Regional Dean for the London Region and Fr Martyn Neale, Clerical Chairman of Southwark Forward in Faith, as Sub Dean for the Region. 

In his sermon, Bishop John told the congregation to beware of those who would seek to dethrone our Lord rather than enthrone Him as King of the Church, of the Gospel and of the hearts of faithful Christian men and women.

Following the mass, London Forward in Faith's Grand Draw took place; congratulations to Val Whatmore, who won the first prize - a week's pilgrimage for two in Lourdes, donated by Mancunia Travel of Manchester (their 1997 Brochure is now available: just ring 0161228 2842 for a copy, not forgetting to tell them that you got the number from Forward in Faith!) - and to all the other prize winners: the Earl of Lauderdale, M Smith (Liverpool), John Moore (London), A Toms (London), Fr Bence (London), B Butler (Liverpool), Fr Boundy (London), G Austin (Middlesex), Fr Stubbs (London), Elizabeth Parkinson (Chichester), Derek Lawford (Kent) and, finally, a Fr Martin, who we've been so far unable to trace. We don't know if Martin is his christian name or his surname, but what we do know is that the 'phone number on his winning ticket is wrong, for it has too many digits! (016105257070) Any budding Fr Browns out there who can help unite the mysterious Fr Martin with his prize should call Fr Malcolm Gray on 0181 360 2947

Council change Our congratulations to Forward in Faith Council member Fr John Corbyn, lately Vicar of Dalton in the diocese of Sheffield, on his appointment as Vicar of Cressing in the diocese of Chelmsford; with our congratulations go our thanks for all his contributions to the work of the Council during his term of office, for, as a regionally elected Council Member, his term must now of course draw to a close. 

In his place, we are very pleased to welcome to the Council Fr Tony Delves, Vicar of Goldthorpe with Hickleton, also in the diocese of Sheffield. We look forward to Fr Delves' contributions to the national work of Forward in Faith and trust that that great lay leader of the Catholic Movement during the first half of this century, Lord Halifax - who built Goldthorpe Church and who lived at Hickleton Hall - will look down in approval on all our efforts!

News from Oxford The supporters of Forward in Faith in the diocese of Oxford had a major gathering at St. Giles in Reading early in November to meet the Bishop of Ebbsfleet. Bishop John celebrated Mass and then spoke to some 70 members at one of a series of meetings during the day, which culminated in Evensong. The Bishop's message was one of encouragement, as well of one of warning, when he referred to the inevitable split in the Church which would follow any decision to ordain women to the episcopate. He was pleased to tell members that Forward in Faith was already looking into the mechanisms by which the necessary degree of separation could be achieved.

Pushing the Positive (1) Canon Terence Grigg, Vicar of St. Mary the Virgin, Cottingham, in the diocese of York, writes:

"Nothing ever happens quite as we might wish it. It is always necessary to emphasise positive things and to build on them. This has been the policy here when our Parish Forward in Faith Group was suddenly and without warning left leaderless. The only possible way forward was to emphasise the good things in the group and to build on them. So began a year of hard work which has been our most successful yet, which has seen membership grow and widen, so that it is now the largest group next to the Mothers' Union in the parish. The policy which we have followed is that "we pray before we party" and we have done that throughout the year.

We have tried to do things at home in the parish and things away, hoping that we might be able to encourage other parishes and groups, as well as making a mark in the diocese. We have also tried to do some teaching. Our meetings have been enjoyable. We begin with a Mass, usually a solemn service, and then we have some activity followed by a supper in different homes in the parish, but with other members helping with the provision of the meal. 

We have never charged for the meal or had a subscription for members of the group, yet we find ourselves with a healthy bank balance. We always have wine with our meal, for we try to enjoy our religion.

Our programme has been varied: the Epiphanytide party at the Rectory, where we sing carols, do little "turns" - read a poem or sing a song - is hugely popular, as is the Garden Mass, followed by a barbecue, at Our Lady's Festival in August. This year we went to the National Pilgrimage to Walsingham for the first time and we had a lovely evening out in the country with a pub supper after Mass at Kirby Underdale, Lord Halifax's parish church. 

Another summer event was Mass at St. Saviour's, Scarborough, followed by a fish and chip supper at the seaside. Our most recent meeting was at York Minster, where we celebrated an evening Mass at St. William's Shrine, followed by a pilgrimage round the cathedral - an oasis of quiet tranquility at that time of day. At home, we have had video evenings, a couple of talks, a Watch of Prayer, a teaching night and visits by both the Bishop of Richborough and the Bishop of Beverley.


St. Mary's, like the C of E, has had its problems. The foolish and hurtful Consistory Court, with its biased judgement, which was not only allowed but actively encouraged; we have had losses of people, some to Rome, and others who have not been allowed to have their own way; we have had disputed elections to the PCC and we were ordered to have a second annual election one year, presided over by the Archbishop's nominee (surely an illegal direction) and we were threatened with a second Annual Meeting one year; our curate left early and was not replaced and we have been deprived of staff yet required to pay the second highest quota in the diocese. 

Through it all we have continued worshipping, praying and discovering that God is still God and that He is a good God and out of all this has grown the largest Forward in Faith group in the diocese."

Pushing the Positive (2) Like St. Mary, Cottingham, the Gloucester diocesan branch of Forward in Faith found itself leaderless twelve months ago, when both its clerical and lay chairmen moved to pastures new. And so it re-constituted itself at a meeting in Cheltenham in November 1995, elected new officers and set about organising a programme for 1996. In February some 80 members were at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester to hear an exhilarating address by Bishop John Richards, preceded by wine and canapés and followed by Compline; in March a contingent attended Bishop John's Chrism Mass at All Saints', Taunton; June saw groups at the West Midlands Forward in Faith Festival in Lichfield Cathedral and at the annual Glastonbury Pilgrimage; in July, a social evening was held at Ewen Manor, by kind permission of Lady Gibbs, at which some 55 members heard an address by the Regional Dean for The Marches, Fr John Hawthorne; a coach went in August to the GSS Festival at Heavitree, Exeter; and at the beginning of this month, the Diocesan Assembly met again at All Saints', Cheltenham, where, after Mass celebrated by Fr Walter Jennings, members heard a keynote address by the Principal of S. Stephen's House, Oxford and Forward in Faith Council member, Fr Jeremy Sheehy. 

All of which, for a diocesan branch which only twelvemonths ago wondered how it would survive, goes to show what can be achieved if only we take Fr Grigg's wise words to heart: "Nothing ever happens quite as we might wish it. It is always necessary to emphasise positive things and to build on them."

 

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