Women Bishops: Forward In Faith Responds

Posted on the 9th Jul 2013



Forward in Faith thanks the many members of the Catholic Group in General Synod, together with other supporters, for their excellent contributions to yesterday's debate.


Naturally, we are very disappointed that none of the amendments which would have ensured secure provision for those unable to receive the ministry of women as bishops and priests was passed. However, we are encouraged by the significant minorities, especially in the House of Laity, which did vote for such provision. We are confident that these votes, and the commitment which they represent on the part of many to a genuinely inclusive Church of England, in which all may flourish, will not be overlooked as the process moves forward. The alternative, which we would deeply regret, would be to pursue unsatisfactory legislation, lacking the necessary breadth of support, with the strong risk of ultimate defeat.

More detailed comments are set out below.


We welcome the commitment to continuing the facilitated conversations.


We welcome the widespread affirmation of the five points endorsed by the House of Bishops (GS 1886, para. 12), and trust that the draft legislation will embody and reflect all of them together.


We welcome the fact that 49% of the Synod voted for provisions to reduce the risk of legal challenge in the context of parochial appointments, and the resulting commitment to further work on this.


We strongly welcome the proposal, endorsed by many speakers (including the Archbishop of Canterbury) that the Steering Committee should be representative of a broad spectrum of opinion, and should draft legislation to which all can subscribe.

We also welcome the strong support of a very large minority of Synod members for legislation setting out rights and obligations that would create a clear and stable context for our future life together. We note the preference expressed by 40% of the House of Laity and over 30% of the Synod as a whole for provision to be made by Measure or by regulations under Canon.

In later votes even larger minorities, especially in the House of Laity, rejected key elements of the approach preferred by the House of Bishops and by the most uncompromising supporters of women bishops. In the end, 25% of the Synod declined to endorse even the drafting of legislation on that basis. The logical conclusion is that to do so would result in a repeat of last November's failure.


We feel bound to reiterate that, while we are not trying to prevent women from becoming bishops in the Church of England, we cannot support any legislation which removes the existing rights of the laity to a ministry that they can receive in good conscience and which fails to offer the minority what the working group termed 'a greater sense of security' than the previous draft Measure.


We are unconvinced as to how a 'mandatory grievance procedure' binding on bishops can deliver this in respect of parochial appointments by lay patrons and incumbents. We question whether replacing Resolutions A and B with this is the right way of going about the rebuilding of trust.


We remain committed to playing our full part in identifying a consensus that will command the necessary breadth of support to enable those who wish to receive the ministry of female bishops to do so in the near future. We hope and pray that further facilitated conversations and a more broadly-based Steering Committee will achieve this.


The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker, Bishop of Fulham


Dr Lindsay Newcombe


9 July 2013


New Websites for PEVs and the See of Fulham

Posted on the 2nd Jul 2013

The new website for the See of Fulham has been launched. This completes the creation of new sites for the sees of the three Provincial Episcopal Visitors (the Bishops of Richborough, Beverley and Ebbsfleet) and the See of Fulham.

The websites may be found at







We encourage Forward in Faith parishes under the care of these bishops to include a link to the relevant site on their own websites.


Forward in Faith Director calls for mutual generosity

Posted on the 1st Jul 2013

The Director of Forward in Faith has called for new legislation on women bishops to reflect a spirit of mutual generosity like that which resulted in the 1993 settlement over the ordination of women to the priesthood.


In an article in The Living Church, Colin Podmore looks at how the 1993 settlement came about and what it contained. The Act of Synod, he points out, was not a unilateral concession but one half of a compromise, in which the House of Bishops took the lead. It reflected a spirit of Anglican generosity and was costly for both sides.

Dr Podmore writes, Using our new Archbishops experience of reconciliation, we now need to identify a way forward whereby women bishops will be introduced not as a result of the majority defeating the minority, but instead as part of a no doubt costly compromise that, like the 1993 settlement, will enable us to live together with confidence and integrity.


Read the article at http://livingchurch.org/living-difference-abridged


Pray for the General Synod

Posted on the 28th Jun 2013

Please join us in praying for the General Synod, and in particular for a new way of working, and for the early stages of a process which we hope will result in greater unity, deeper understanding, and the flourishing of all.


Resources may be found at www.praynovena.org.uk


Discerning Vocations: a task for the whole Church

Posted on the 15th Jun 2013

One of the remarkable developments of recent years has been the growth in the number of men who stand firmly in the catholic tradition whom God is calling to the priesthood in the Church of England and who have responded in faith to that call. The number in formation at St Stephens House and the number who will be beginning their studies there this autumn are very encouraging. This is a sign of hope for our future. A high proportion of them are young men who can offer up to forty years of service or even more.


But although this growth is encouraging, it is not enough. We need more priests than we have, yet the number who will retire in the coming years means that we shall have even fewer unless an even larger number respond to Gods call.


Vocation involves a double call  an internal calling discerned by the individual, but also a calling through the Church. This means that Vocations are the concern of the whole Church and not just of the individuals concerned. We all need to think and pray about who in our parishes might be called by God to ministry in his Church.


The next Vocations Conference will be held at St Stephens House from 30 August to 1 September. Forward in Faith calls on its clergy and people in each parish to consider prayerfully whether there is someone in their midst whom God might be calling to the priesthood, and who should be encouraged to attend the Vocations Conference in order to explore this. Further details may be found at



In calling young men to the priesthood, God assures us that he has a future for us. But it is also true that if there is no response to that vocation, we shall have no future. Please play your part in the process of discernment, by encouraging those who may have a vocation to come to the conference and find out more.





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