A new Chairman of The Society’s Council of Bishops and a new Chairman of Forward in Faith

Posted on the 30th Nov 2023


Feast of St Andrew, 2023


After nine years as the Chairman of The Society’s Council of Bishops [Note 1] and as the Chairman of Forward in Faith [Note 2], the Right Reverend Tony Robinson, the Bishop of Wakefield, has chosen to step down from both roles.


The bishops of The Society have chosen the Right Reverend Jonathan Baker, the Bishop of Fulham, to succeed Bishop Tony as the Chairman of The Society’s Council of Bishops.


The trustees of Forward in Faith have chosen the Right Reverend Paul Thomas, the Bishop of Oswestry, to succeed Bishop Tony as the Chairman of Forward in Faith.


Bishop Jonathan commented:

“Our entire movement owes a huge debt of gratitude to Bishop Tony for his many years of selfless devotion to the flourishing of catholic life in the Church of England, all conducted with a profound sense of pastoral care to clergy and people alike, and with pragmatism and good humour.


In terms of The Society, I would particularly highlight Bishop Tony’s achievements in developing and consolidating The Society as an ecclesial body and in being an architect of the move from often internally focused discussions to a more externally driven approach, emphasising the importance of mission.


I shall look to continue Bishop Tony’s excellent work on behalf of The Society and in particular will seek to complete the implementation of his twofold vision for The Society. Firstly, we should seek to harness the charisms of the entire catholic movement so that The Society can act as the focal point and as the banner for the witness of all of our parishes in the Church of England. Secondly, we should ensure that our catholic societies work harmoniously with one another in support of our goal of building up our shared catholic life.”


Bishop Paul commented:

“I echo Bishop Jonathan’s words and would like to register my own deep thanks to Bishop Tony for his immense efforts on behalf of us all. We would not be in the strong position we are today without Bishop Tony’s dedication and hard work.


In terms of Forward in Faith, Bishop Tony showed admirable leadership in getting us through the crisis caused by the Covid pandemic, and more recently he has acted as a keen supporter of the redesign and relaunch of our New Directions publication.


I look forward to working closely with Bishop Jonathan to ensure that Forward in Faith works with the other catholic societies for the renewal of the catholic movement in the Church of England. Forward in Faith will continue its campaigning work on behalf of the movement so as to promote the historic faith, particularly by creating new disciples for Our Lord Jesus Christ and by upholding and advancing the universal Church’s teaching on all seven sacraments.”

Prayer for The Society


Heavenly Father,

Bless the bishops, clergy and people of The Society.

Bind us together in love and faith.

Renew us in service and witness.

And by your Holy Spirit

Guide our future and make plain your purposes.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us.

Saint Andrew, pray for us.

Saint Wilfrid, pray for us.

Saint Hilda, pray for us. 


Note 1

The Society is an ecclesial body, led by a Council of Bishops. The purposes of The Society are to:

  • Promote and maintain catholic teaching and practice within the Church of England.

  • Provide episcopal oversight to which churches, institutions and individuals will freely submit themselves.

  • Guarantee a ministry in the historic apostolic succession in which they can have confidence.


Note 2

Forward in Faith is a registered charity which:

  • Is committed to the catholic faith as the Church of England received it, and to proclaiming it afresh in this generation.

  • Upholds catholic order and the catholic doctrine of the Sacraments, and in particular the threefold ministry in historic succession, which the Church of England shares with the Church throughout the world and across the ages.

  • Longs for the visible unity of Christ’s Church, and especially for communion between the Church of England and the rest of the Western Church.