New map of Society parishes

Posted on the 21st Jun 2016

The Society has issued the following News:


The Society's bishops encourage the parishes under their oversight to affiliate to The Society. 


The churches of those parishes that have affiliated so far - 200 churches - are now plotted on a new interactive map: This will help people to find their nearest Society church both when at home and when travelling. Further churches will be added to the map as more parishes affiliate.


Clicking on one of the churches gives the user its name and postcode, and links to its website, its entry on 'A Church Near You', and information about The Society in the diocese concerned (with a list of the Society's other parishes in that diocese). Further links provide a photographic view of the street in which the church is situated ('Street view'), a street plan showing its precise location ('Zoom here') and directions for travel by car from any postcode.


Report of the Independent Reviewer for 2015

Posted on the 1st Apr 2016

Forward in Faith welcomes the publication of Sir Philip Mawer’s first annual report. The fact that during 2015 no grievances were submitted by PCCs and only two concerns were submitted by others is encouraging.


We welcome the positive developments in the parish of All Saints, Cheltenham, which Sir Philip records. With regard to ministry in team benefices in general, we are grateful for Sir Philip’s confirmation, in response to a request that we made, that it is legally possible for a licence to qualify the scope of the ministry of a member of the team other than the Team Rector.


As Sir Philip reports, in September 2015 he invited comments on whether it would be worthwhile to set up a forum in which those of differing convictions could discuss what “mutual flourishing” means. Forward in Faith replied welcoming the proposal, expressing willingness to nominate representatives to participate in such a forum, and suggesting that it would be sensible to begin with a one-off exploratory discussion, involving an overnight stay in a neutral venue, with clearly set-out aims and parameters. We note Sir Philip’s conclusion, in the light of the replies he received, that “more time is required to assess the impact of the new arrangements in dioceses before the need for and shape of any wider forum for discussion can best be assessed”. We reiterate our willingness to participate in such a forum.


Resolutions under the House of Bishops' Declaration

Posted on the 7th Mar 2016

Over 300 parishes have already passed a resolution under the House of Bishops' Declaration which results in them receiving episcopal oversight from a member of the Council of Bishops of The Society. The majority had been petitioning parishes under the former Act of Synod, but a significant number previously had only Resolutions A and B or had no resolution at all.


Parishes that have not yet passed the new resolution have just over eight months to do so before the existing resolutions and petitions lapse. (Resolutions can of course be passed later, but, where resolutions are already in place, the new resolution should be passed before 17 November 2016 to avoid a hiatus.)


In January 2015 Forward in Faith published a booklet containing advice to parish priests and PCCs on passing resolutions under the Declaration. A second edition has now been published and is available on the Advice page of the Forward in Faith website or in print from the office. In addition to some minor adjustments, the second edition includes a new section setting out the steps that need to be taken after a resolution has been passed. This has been drafted in the light of parishes' experience of communication with dioceses about resolutions.


The Advice page also includes

  • a draft Resolution and Statement as a Word file,
  • a checklist for chairmen and secretaries of PCCs,
  • a sheet for calculating dates by which notice must be given before the PCC meeting,
  • a table for calculating the majority required to pass a resolution, and
  • a leaflet for PCC members.


Without Precedent

Posted on the 2nd Mar 2016

Forward in Faith welcomes the publication of Without Precedent by our former National Secretary Geoffrey Kirk.


The book examines arguments that have sought to justify the ordination of women to the priesthood from Scripture and claims of ancient precedent for the practice. The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Williams, has commented, 'I read it with appreciation for its clarity and comprehensiveness. It is undoubtedly a lucid and helpful survey, which quite rightly punctures some awful historical nonsense.'


Professor Ephraim Radner adds, 'Disagree though I may with Geoffrey Kirk's final position, I must strongly recommend this sparkling volume... Dr Kirk... witheringly exposes the largely flabby arguments still making the rounds in church debate.'


Without Precedent is available to members of Forward in Faith at the reduced price of £12 (inc. p&p). Please send a cheque, payable to Forward in Faith, to the office.


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.







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