Statement from The Society and Forward in Faith on the Prayers of Love and Faith

Posted on the 15th Dec 2023

Advent 2023


In this season of Advent, we join each of you in watching and waiting for the Christ who comes to meet us. We turn towards him in penitence, mindful of our sins and failings, but also in hope, and in joyful expectation of the fulfilment of His promises and the coming of His kingdom.


You will have seen that the House of Bishops has now commended the ‘Prayers of Love and Faith’ (PLF) and has issued Pastoral Guidance which provides the framework within which they may be used. We are glad to read in the Pastoral Guidance that:

The Church of England teaches that Holy Matrimony is a lifelong covenant between one man and one woman, blessed by God in creation and pointing to the love between Christ and the church; a way of life which Christ makes holy. It is within marriage that sexual intimacy finds its proper place.


The Bishops of The Society, mindful of their calling to be guardians of the doctrine of Christ as the Church of England has received it, which doctrine is expressed in the common prayer of our liturgy, will not be using the PLF in public prayer. We recognise, however, that the nature of the commendation means that local decisions lie solely with clergy and their PCCs. Society Bishops will be offering further guidance on the PLF to the clergy in their care in due course.


We continue to rejoice that the parishes and worshipping communities in our care are places of welcome for all, where those from diverse backgrounds and households can come together as God’s people united around the one altar of sacrifice of the New Covenant.


In Advent we recall the place of Mary in the story of our salvation. Her example is of a life lived wholly for God, utterly transparent to His loving purposes. May her prayers support us as we seek, by God’s grace, to grow in holiness and do His will.




The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker, Bishop of Fulham,

Chairman of The Society’s Council of Bishops



The Rt Revd Paul Thomas, Bishop of Oswestry,

Chairman of Forward in Faith


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.


Sir Richard Mantle

Posted on the 17th Jun 2023

Forward in Faith is delighted to note that its Treasurer, Dr Richard Mantle, has received a knighthood for services to opera in the recently announced King's Birthday Honours List. Many congratulations, Sir Richard!


Festival 2023

Posted on the 25th May 2023

The Forward in Faith Festival 2023 took place on Saturday 20 May 2023 at the Church of St Alban the Martyr, Holborn.


Texts, photographs and sound files will be posted here as they become available.










Presentation from Fr Chris Brading, Society Missioner







Presentation from Bishop Jonathan Baker on current issues of interest and concern in the Church of England










Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament






New Chairman of the Catholic Group on General Synod

Posted on the 24th Jan 2023

The Catholic Group on General Synod has elected a new Chairman, following Fr Paul Benfield's decision to retire from the role after seven years as Chairman.


Fr Adam Gaunt, Rector of Loftus-in-Cleveland & Carlin How with Skinningrove in the Diocese of York, is the new Chairman. Fr Adam is local to that area, having been born in Middlesbrough and raised on Teesside. In 2015 he was elected to the House of Clergy of the General Synod and was re-elected in 2021. In 2017 Fr Adam was appointed as a board member of Together Middlesbrough & Cleveland, a joint venture between the Church Urban Fund and the Diocese of York, and in 2020 he was elected as a trustee of the Prayer Book Society.


Bishop Tony Robinson, Chairman of Forward in Faith, commented: "I warmly welcome Fr Adam to this important role. I know from his grounding in the life of his parish, and from the various trusteeships he has held, that he has the right blend of experience and skills to represent the Catholic Movement on General Synod effectively and with due consideration of the differing views held by fellow Anglicans, particularly at this testing time for Synod. I would also like to pay tribute to Fr Paul for undertaking the role with such aplomb over the last seven years. I am grateful that his legal expertise will remain available to our Movement."







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