Prayer for the Catholic Group in General Synod

Posted on the 9th Jul 2014

Forward in Faith invites all of its members to pray for the members of the Catholic Group as the General Synod comes to debate final approval of the Women Bishops legislation. It is going to be a difficult and challenging time for our brothers and sisters in York. We wish them well and thank them for their witness to the Faith and their commitment to catholic order in the Church of England.

  JONATHAN FULHAM                            COLIN PODMORE

The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker                     Dr Colin Podmore

Chairman                                                       Director


The July 2014 Sessions of the General Synod

Posted on the 7th Jul 2014

The Chairman of the Catholic Group in General Synod, Canon Simon Killwick, has issued the following statement:


“Following the failure of the previous legislation in November 2012, the Catholic Group immediately called for round-table talks to agree on a new package which could be fast-tracked through the Synod.  These talks have been amazingly fruitful in that they have generated a new package which provides a way forward for everyone in the Church of England and the package is being fast-tracked through the Synod  with the added bonus in the creation of a much more positive atmosphere of trust, generosity and mutual respect.  We look forward to this new atmosphere pervading the debates at the forthcoming  Synod and beyond, so that we can all move forward as one.”


Please pray for the members of the General Synod, which meets in York from Friday 10 July to Tuesday 15 July:


The Consecration of Bishops

Posted on the 20th Jun 2014

Forward in Faith is grateful to the Archbishops for the attention they have given to the question of how bishops who will minister under the House of Bishops’ Declaration will be consecrated.


We welcome their recognition in GS Misc 1079 that special arrangements will be needed in respect of presidency and laying on of hands at some consecrations, in response to the theological convictions not merely of those to be consecrated but also of those to whom they will minister. We trust that all that is implied in the statement about the need for appropriate arrangements will be honoured.


The fifth of the guiding principles in the House of Bishops’ Declaration embodies a commitment to ‘pastoral and sacramental provision’, and paragraph 30 affirms ‘the importance of there continuing to be consecrations of bishops within the Church of England to enable such ministry to be provided’. If a female bishop were to preside or share in the laying on of hands at such consecrations, that would plainly frustrate their purpose. Male bishops who have joined in consecrating the women concerned will surely wish to show solidarity with them on such occasions.


We agree, naturally, with the statement which the Archbishops make regarding the exercise of their own ministry of ordination. We are pleased to note that the matter of presidency at ordination services has not been foreclosed, and we look forward to further consideration of this important question.



The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker



Marriage and Sexuality: A Statement by the Council of Bishops of The Society

Posted on the 26th Mar 2014

As bishops, we have a pastoral and teaching office, as ‘stewards of the mysteries of God’ whoare ‘called to serve and care for the flock of Christ’.


We endorse both the statement issued by the College of Bishops of the Church of England in response to the Pilling Report and the House of Bishops’ Statement of Pastoral Guidanceon Same-Sex Marriage.


We rejoice in the presence of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people within the parts of Christ’s flock that are committed to our care. We wish to underline these words of the statement from the College of Bishops: ‘We are united in acknowledging the need for the Church to repent for the homophobic attitudes it has sometimes failed to rebuke and the need to stand firm against homophobia wherever and whenever it is to be found. We are united in seeking to be faithful to the Scriptures and tradition of the Church and in seeking to make a loving, compassionate and respectful response to gay men and women within Church and society.’


We uphold the Christian doctrine of marriage as set out in the liturgy and canons of the Church of England. The Church of England is only ‘part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church’: as such, it would have no right to make fundamental changes to a sacrament that belongs to the whole Church.


We encourage our clergy and people to participate in the conversations about human sexuality that will be facilitated, contributing to them on the basis of catholic moral and pastoral theology, as well as of their own experience. We note that the outcome of the conversations is not predetermined.


As bishops of the Society we shall continue to reflect together on these issues, to pray about them, and to listen to the views of our clergy and people.


On behalf of the Council


The Rt Revd Tony Robinson

Bishop of Pontefract

Chairman of the Council of Bishops


26 March 2014


For this and other news from the Society, see:


Women in the Episcopate: Reference to the Dioceses

Posted on the 17th Feb 2014

The diocesan synods will shortly be voting on the Women in the Episcopate legislation – a draft Measure and a draft Canon.


This legislation forms part of a package which also includes a House of Bishops’ Declaration (containing provisions that will replace Resolutions A and B and the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod) and a Resolution of Disputes Procedure, both of which we warmly welcome.


Only the Measure and the Canon will be the subject of formal voting in the diocesan synods. When legislation is referred to the dioceses because it touches the sacraments of the Church, Forward in Faith believes that synod members should give their votes according to principle and conscience. For members of Forward in Faith that is likely to involve voting against the Measure and the Canon because, for reasons of theological conviction, we cannot endorse the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate. This will be the only opportunity for members of diocesan synods to vote on the principle in accordance with their theological convictions.


We wish to underline that in making this recommendation we are not seeking to hinder progress towards a final resolution of this issue. It is important that this is made clear in diocesan synod debates. We are conscious that at this stage in the process only simple majorities are required.


We were encouraged that, when members of the General Synod voted against the relevant parts of the legislation at the February group of sessions, the fact that they felt obliged to do so as a matter of integrity was widely accepted. We trust that similar understanding will be shown in the diocesan synods.


On behalf of the Council:



The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker          Dr Lindsay Newcombe           The Revd Ross Northing

Chairman                                            Lay Vice-Chairman                 Clerical Vice-Chairman








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