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Women in the Episcopate: Initial Response to the Proposals
Posted on the 25th Oct 2013
Forward in Faith thanks the members of the Steering Committee for their work.
The proposed combination of a House of Bishops' Declaration with a Mandatory Disputes Resolution Procedure represents a new and different approach which deserves careful consideration.
In line with the resolution passed at our National Assembly, we shall be examining the proposals closely over the coming weeks to see how far they would ensure that our parishes and their clergy and people have continued access to a ministry that will make it possible for us to flourish within the life and structures of the Church of England. We shall also be attentive to the responses of others within the Church.
After discussion, prayer and reflection, we envisage commenting further during November, in the run-up to the General Synod debates.
Women in the Episcopate: National Assembly Resolution
Posted on the 23rd Oct 2013
Meeting in London on 19 October, the Forward in Faith National Assembly received a presentation on developments regarding resolution on Women in the Episcopate since October 2012. It passed the following resolution:
That this Assembly
(a) reaffirm our aspiration to flourish within the structures of the Church of England and make our full contribution to its life and mission;
(b) request the General Synod and the House of Bishops to ensure that we have continued access to a ministry which will make this possible; and
(c) thank those members of Forward in Faith who have participated in the facilitated conversations and in the Steering Committee for the Women in the Episcopate legislation with a view to achieving this.’
Moving the motion, Prebendary Sam Philpott said ‘This church of ours… needs a great dose of charity’. He called on the catholic constituency to ‘love this church’ and to ‘show this church how it can become a loving church again within its own communion in order that it might actually proclaim to the world the love of God’.
Forward in Faith, he said, had ‘a passion to belong to part of the Church that is strong and bold and flourishing and passionate about converting England’ and wanted to play its part. ‘All that we ask’, he added, ‘is that at the end of this process our church gives us the space in which we can live a catholic life, looked after by catholic bishops, catholic priests and catholic deacons’.
Fr Charles Razzall praised the motion as ‘positive, firm and irenic’, which was ‘where we certainly want to be in the future’. He pointed out that in the motion ‘ensure’ means ‘guarantee’ and ‘continue’ means ‘without limit of time’.
Replying, Fr Philpott said: ‘I long for a Church of England that may well have different views on this particular subject, but will so provide for its children that it can actually speak to a broken world about reconciliation with an authenticity that is simply not around in our world at this moment.’
The motion was passed nem. con.
‘Grow the Church and win souls for Christ’, says Forward in Faith Chairman
Posted on the 22nd Oct 2013
Addressing the Forward in Faith National Assembly, the organization’s Chairman, the Rt Revd Jonathan Baker, Bishop of Fulham, commented on the report on fresh legislative proposals for women in the episcopate considered by the General Synod in July.
He noted that the working party had unanimously agreed that catholics and evangelicals who are unable, on the grounds of theological conviction, to receive the ministry of women bishops or priests remain with the spectrum of Anglican teaching and tradition and that the Church of England would be committed to their flourishing within its life and structures.
Forward in Faith would be ‘watching like hawks to see that the promises, the commitments, contained in those words are honoured’. But ‘If the Church of England really does mean what it says, that we are to be given the space, the tools, the means whereby we can flourish, then we had better grasp every opportunity to occupy that space, to grow the Church, to win souls for Christ, to serve the people of this nation, and to build the Kingdom of God’.
Bishop Jonathan set out an agenda for this work, based on the growing relationship between Forward in Faith and the Society under the patronage of St Wilfrid and St Hilda and its bishops. ‘Above all’, he said, ‘We look for a renewal of our hearts and minds in the service of the Lord; a deepening of our prayer; a greater love for Jesus Christ, in the Blessed Sacrament, in the life of the Church, in the face of the poor.’