It was announced today at the Forward in Faith National Assembly that Stephen Parkinson will be retiring at the end of December, after over 19 years as the Director of FiF. He will be succeeded by Dr Colin Podmore, who is currently the Clerk to the General Synod of the Church of England.
FiF Chairman Bishop Jonathan Baker commented: ‘It is thanks to the tireless work of Stephen Parkinson that Forward in Faith has been able to make such an impact on the life of the Church of England. As its Director, he has played a pivotal role in building Forward in Faith into the distinctive and dynamic organisation that it is today. It is a tribute to Stephen’s achievement that we have been able to attract so distinguished a successor.’
‘Colin Podmore will bring to the role a wealth of experience at senior level in the Church of England. He is passionate about the faith and order of the catholic Church as received by the Church of England and has long been committed to the visible unity of the one Church of Jesus Christ,’ Bishop Jonathan added.
Dr Lindsay Newcombe, Vice-Chairman of FiF, said: ‘Forward in Faith gives hope and confidence to the many young Anglicans of orthodox faith who need a structure in the Church of England within which they can thrive and share their faith with others. Colin is well equipped to support us in making that vision a reality.’
Stephen Parkinson commented ‘It has been my privilege to serve the Church of England in a number of capacities for over 30 years and most particularly as Director of Forward in Faith since 1993. Leaving Forward in Faith after so many years will naturally be a wrench, but I am delighted to know that I will be leaving it in such capable hands.’
Colin Podmore, a Cornishman, read history at Keble College, Oxford, and trained as a teacher at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He taught German at S. Michael’s Church of England High School in Chorley, Lancashire, before returning to Keble to research for his Oxford DPhil in church history. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. His publications include Aspects of Anglican Identity (2005) and articles on Anglican ecclesiology. On the staff of the General Synod from 1988, he was successively Deputy Secretary of the Council for Christian Unity, Secretary of the House of Clergy, Secretary of the Liturgical Commission, and Secretary of the Dioceses Commission. He was also secretary of groups that reviewed the processes for choosing diocesan bishops and making senior church appointments and oversaw the publication of the Common Worship liturgy. As well as being Clerk to the Synod, Colin is also the Director of the Central Secretariat of the Archbishops' Council and Director of Ecumenical Relations.
Following the announcement he said: ‘I am thrilled to have been given this opportunity to work for the flourishing of the Catholic movement within the Church of England. I relish the prospect of working with Bishop Jonathan and his fellow bishops and with all Anglicans who are inspired by the Church of England’s Catholic inheritance and are committed to taking it forward confidently into the future. Forward in Faith is central to this task. I pay tribute to Stephen and all those who have built Forward in Faith into such a strong and vibrant organisation since 1992. I hope many more will join us in the coming months and years.’