Forward in Faith welcomes Independent Reviewer's Notes

Posted on the 18th Dec 2015

Forward in Faith welcomes the Notes on the Operation of the Resolution of Disputes Procedure which have been published by the Independent Reviewer, Sir Philip Mawer, on the Church of England website (here - under Resources). 


This public statement of the process that Sir Philip will follow in responding to grievances and expressions of concern relating to the operation of the House of Bishops’ Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests is helpful.


We are grateful to Sir Philip for addressing the points that we made in response to his consultation document earlier this year.


Fathers in God? – New book published by Forward in Faith

Posted on the 15th Dec 2015

Forward in Faith has published a new book entitled Fathers in God? Resources for reflection on women in the episcopate.


The Chairman of Forward in Faith, the Rt Revd Tony Robinson, has commented: “To some our theological case is well-known, but others say not just that they disagree with it but that they do not understand it. It is over nine years since the General Synod briefly debated the theology. In the Church of England at large there is at least one generation to whom it has never been presented. We are committed to upholding all of the Five Guiding Principles. In publishing this book we are not seeking to re-open what the second Principle calls the Church of England’s ‘clear decision’. But the fourth Principle bases provision for us on the fact that we hold a legitimate Anglican ‘theological conviction’: we therefore feel obliged to articulate what that theological conviction is. And the third Principle locates the Church of England’s decision within a ‘broader process of discernment within the Anglican Communion and the whole Church of God’: this book contributes to that process.”


At the heart of the volume is the theological material from Forward in Faith’s earlier report Consecrated Women?, together with the section of the Rochester Report that explains the Anglo-Catholic arguments, but it also includes new essays relevant to the present context. The Bishop of Chichester considers our vocation to live in love and charity despite the tear in the fabric of communion. Emma Forward (after ten years, now no longer the youngest elected female Synod member) explains how young women’s experience of equality in all areas of secular life enables them to be open to theological reasons for gender distinction in the Church’s ministry. The book concludes with Cardinal Kasper’s important address ‘The Mission of Bishops in the Mystery of the Church’.


In his Foreword the Bishop of Coventry comments, ‘It is important for everyone in the Church of England, whatever their position on the ordination of women, to understand the views presented…, to identify their theological assumptions and to engage with them responsibly.’


Fathers in God? is published by the Canterbury Press at £19.99. It is available to members of Forward in Faith at the special price of £12.50, including postage and packing. (Please send a cheque, payable to Forward in Faith, to the Forward in Faith office.)


New Chairman of the Catholic Group in General Synod

Posted on the 8th Dec 2015

The Catholic Group in General Synod has elected the Revd Paul Benfield SSC as its acting Chairman.


Fr Benfield practised at the chancery bar in Newcastle before ordination. After curacies in the Diocese of Newcastle, he served as a team vicar and incumbent in the Diocese of Chichester. He is now Vicar of St Nicholas Fleetwood in the Diocese of Blackburn. A member of the General Synod since 2005, he chaired the Steering Committee for the Miscellaneous Provisions Measure 2014 and was a member of the Steering Committee for the Women Bishops legislation. He is Vice-Chairman of the Dioceses Commission and a member of the Church of England Pensions Board.


Fr Benfield has been a member of the Council of Forward in Faith since 2005 and was recently co-opted onto its Executive Committee.


Fr Benfield succeeds Canon Simon Killwick, who did not stand for re-election to the General Synod. Fr Killwick had been a member of the Synod for seventeen years and had chaired the Catholic Group for the last nine years.


In accordance with the Catholic Group's constitution, Fr Benfield will serve as acting Chairman for one year and the Group will then elect a Chairman to serve for a full five-year term.



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