UPDATE FIF

News from the Forward in Faith Regions

The good news

The announcement that Fr John Broadhurst, National Chairman of Forward in Faith and Team Rector of Wood Green in North London, is to be the next Bishop of Fulham has been greeted with great happiness throughout much of the Church of England and by members of Forward in Faith in particular. Of course under the terms of the “London Plan”, it is the Bishop of Fulham who has pastoral care of those parishes in that diocese (and, indeed, the dioceses of Southwark and Rochester) which have petitioned under the Act of Synod for alternative episcopal care. It has been suggested that Forward in Faith members will wish to mark Fr John’s consecration in some suitable way and, in consultation with him, it has been agreed that we shall purchase for him his pectoral cross. Members who wish to be associated with this gift are invited to send their contributions to the Director at Faith House. (Cheques should be made payable to Forward in Faith, and clearly marked on the reverse “Fr Broadhurst’s gift”.) Fr John’s consecration will take in St. Paul's Cathedral on Wednesday, 25th September. We will in due course publicise the arrangements for tickets for that service, but members who will wish to attend might like to make a note of the date in their diaries now. In the meantime, please hold Fr John, his wife Judi and their family in your prayers as he prepares for this new ministry among us.

More good news - (and one small moan)

Fr Broadhurst’s impending move means that he will have to give up his seat on General Synod - a seat which he has held, without interruption, for some twenty-three years! But as one door closes, so another opens . . . The recent appointment of the Venerable Gordon Kuhrt, Archdeacon of Lewisham, as Chief Secretary of ABM - The Advisory Board of Ministry - means that a casual vacancy has occurred amongst the Proctors for the diocese of Southwark. Under these circumstances, votes cast at last year’s General Synod elections are further redistributed, so that one of those candidates unsuccessful in the election is elected to fill the vacancy. Congratulations, then, to our National Secretary, Fr Geoffrey Kirk on his recent election to General Synod. (More evidence, if any were needed, of the necessity of ensuring that, in each diocese, our constituency ensures that it puts up one more candidate than it realistically thinks it can get elected in each House in elections to General Synod. Sadly, some dioceses, believing that they knew better, put up only the number of candidates they could elect, with the result that casual vacancies in such dioceses will always, by definition, be filled by candidates not of our integrity.)

A new Regional Dean

A warm welcome to the latest Forward in Faith Regional Dean. We are pleased to announce that the Council has appointed Fr Julian Lever as Regional Dean for West Wessex (the dioceses of Bath & Wells, Bristol and Salisbury). Until his resignation two years ago, Fr Lever was for eight years Rector of St. Martin, Salisbury - one of the very first Forward in Faith Registered Parishes. We hope formally to commission Fr Lever later in the year but, in the meantime, he can be contacted at 6 St. John’s Close, Wimborne, Dorset BH21 1LY (01202 848249). Please pray for him, as he commences this most important ministry amongst traditionalists in that part of southern England.

Wider still and wider . . .

As all readers will know, we have a magnificent network across the land of Forward in Faith Registered Parishes - some two hundred and fifty havens for traditionalists. Up to now, we have been able to boast of three off-shore parishes: in Jersey, the Isle of Man and the Isle of Wight. But with the introduction of a new category - Forward in Faith Affiliated Parishes - we can now announce our first parish which is abroad in a very big way.

For some time, we have been approached by traditionalists overseas, who wish to enter into some relationship with Forward in Faith; we have significant numbers of members outside these islands and several hundred copies of New Directions find their way all over the world. And now we have decided to offer a new category of overseas parochial membership, in order to allow parishes rather than individuals to nail their colours to the Forward in Faith mast. So a very warm welcome indeed to the Parish of St. John the Evangelist, Newport, Rhode Island in the United States which, with its parish priest, Fr Jonathan Ostman SSC, becomes the first of what we hope will be a steadily growing number of Forward in Faith Parishes around the world. Word already reaches us of a parish in Australia intent on taking the same step - a step which of course reflects the very particular place which these Provinces have in the minds of Anglicans around the world. Further details of Parish Affiliation - and, of course, Parish Registration - from the Director at Faith House.

News from Hereford

We are saddened to hear that Fr Michael Paice, who has headed up Forward in Faith in the diocese of Hereford from the early days, is to take early retirement this month, owing to ill health. Forward in Faith members in Hereford are indebted to Fr Paice for all that he has done on their behalf and for his care and concern for all over a long period. It is hoped that he will continue to act as Chaplain to Forward in Faith in the diocese, officiate at some services and be generally involved as and when his health allows. Members will of course want to hold Fr Michael, and his wife, in their prayers. Whilst Forward in Faith in Hereford might not be large in numbers, its membership sets an example which others could do well to follow! As many as are able meet together for a monthly Eucharist - and, once a quarter, they follow this with a sandwich lunch and meeting. Thus, despite the fact that many members are beyond the psalmist’s “three score years and ten”, they manage to keep in touch with each other in a way that too many other diocesan branches of Forward in Faith perhaps neglect. Fr Paice’s retirement of course means that his church will no longer be available to the members for these monthly Eucharists, but it is good to report that the Revd George Usher, the Rector of Credenhill, has very kindly offered the use of his church. He will be celebrating the Eucharist there for Forward in Faith at 11.30 am on Tuesday, 16th July and thereafter at the same time on the third Tuesday of each month. A meeting is planned for 20th August at a venue yet to be chosen. Further details of Forward in Faith in Hereford can be had from its Lay Chairman, Alan Stewart on 01432 268369.

Oxford AGM

Forward in Faith members in the diocese of Oxford will want to note in their diaries their Annual General Meeting, to be held on Saturday, 6th July at St. Thomas’ Church, Beckett Street, Oxford; Sung Eucharist at 12.00 noon, followed by AGM at 2.30 pm. Further details: Fr Michael Melrose on 01734 572831.

Tamar Spring Assembly

An excellent day was enjoyed by over two hundred and fifty Forward in Faith members in the south west on Saturday, 20th April, when the Tamar Region held a Spring Assembly at St. Bartholomew's Church, Plymouth. Home Park Football Ground - the home of Plymouth Argyle, just opposite the Church - was luckily deserted, as Fr Robin Ellis, the Regional Dean, had had the foresight to arrange an away match that day - as indeed had his fellow Archdeacon, George Austin, who made the long trek from York to Plymouth to be the Keynote Speaker. Representatives from churches all over Cornwall and Devon gathered for worship and then for business. A new Constitution for the region was approved and new officers elected, before Fr Austin spoke movingly and positively about the future of Forward in Faith and its vision. He based his talk, entitled New Life for Old, on the events of Easter; he reminded his audience that the early Church was in the minority and that it suffered persecution, but that by ensuring that its teaching and life was based of that of Christ, so it flourished. Forward in Faith is in the same minority position, but will flourish too if it remains faithful to the Gospel and to the example of Christ and the early Church, standing up for the true faith which it has received.

Symbol of Prayer and Hope

Forward in Faith in the diocese of Chester has arranged an evening of exceptional interest on Friday, July 5th. At their rally to be held in Chester Cathedral at 7.30 pm, the address will be given by a Roman Catholic monk who is also Prior of an Anglican Cathedral. The Very Revd Dominic Milroy, a monk from Ampleforth Abbey in North Yorkshire will speak of the relevance of Benedictine spirituality to the present generation. His very presence will illustrate his theme.

Since the 17th century, it has been the practice of the Roman Catholic Benedictine congregation in England to recognise their historic link with those English Cathedrals that were Benedictine foundations before the time of the Reformation, by conferring the honorary title Cathedral Prior on one of their distinguished monks. Chester was one such title. And since 1988 the appointment of a Cathedral Prior of Chester has been recognised and welcomed on the Anglican side, the first holder so recognised being Fr Edward FitzSimons. Fr Dominic Milroy was appointed to the post in 1994 after the death of Fr Edward and was ceremonially installed on 1st September 1995, when monks from Ampleforth sang Vespers in the Cathedral. Fr Dominic’s visit to Forward in Faith next month will help to consolidate this link, which brings together Anglicans and Roman Catholics around the age-old traditions of Benedictine spirituality - still at work today!

A Celebration in the Ripon Diocese

Forward in Faith supporters in the diocese of Ripon, with the help of friends from the neighbouring dioceses of York, Bradford and Durham, have gained renewed spirits after a brief period in the doldrums. A large congregation gathered in the historic Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Richmond, North Yorkshire on Saturday, 20th April, to continue the celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. In this splendid setting, at the kind invitation of the Rector, Canon Christopher Wright. The Principal Celebrant at what was, in effect, an additional Easter Eucharist was Bishop John Gaisford, Bishop of Beverley. Joining him as concelebrants were Fr David Hopkinson, Regional Dean for Northern Yorkshire and Fr Richard Watson, Clerical Chairman of Forward in Faith in Ripon. The preacher was Fr John Broadhurst.

Copy for the Forward in Faith Update column should reach the Director at Tufton Street not later than the nineteenth day of the month preceding publication.

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