Posted on the 15th June 2013 in the category News
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 Stephen's 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 God's 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 Stephen's 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 here.
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.
Posted on the 16th April 2013 in the category News
We are not called to be another pressure group, says Bishop of Fulham
More than 300 people witnessed the commissioning of Dr Colin Podmore as Director of Forward in Faith tonight, as the former Clerk of the General Synod pledged to 'work for the unity of the one holy, catholic and apostolic Church of Christ and for its mission in the world'.
Members of the organization were joined by former and current members of the General Synod and staff of the National Church Institutions, reflecting what Dr Podmore described as 'the breadth of the Church of England, and our commitment to the 'mutual flourishing' of its diverse traditions'.
Twelve Anglo-Catholic bishops and over 40 representative priests concelebrated the mass at a packed St Alban's Holborn, in a liturgy drawn from Common Worship and sung to the setting 'Collegium Regale' by Herbert Howells.
During the service, the Rt Revd Jonathan Baker, Bishop of Fulham and Chairman of Forward in Faith, promised that the charity would 'continue to speak the truth in love about those issues which exercise us, because of their impact, as we see it, on the unity and apostolicity of the Church'.
Encouraging those who take a different view on the issues of the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate to hear the organisation's message 'with an equal love', Bishop Jonathan's sermon lamented the 'tragedy' that the Church of England should have come to this: that faithful Anglicans who are inspired by convictions which the whole of the Church still affirms in her title deeds and carries in her DNA should be perceived by some as disloyal, a fifth column perhaps.'
But he acknowledged that 'no doubt blame' can be distributed across the whole Body [of the Church]', encouraging members of Forward in Faith to 'never give anyone the excuse to suggest that we are simply another churchy pressure group'. The challenge, he said, was to 'keep going joyfully, and to keep on in love', on what was, admittedly, a 'rocky path'. But the promise of Scripture was that the vision of 'one body, one Spirit, one faith, one baptism' has already been fulfilled. Forward in Faith's task, he suggested, was to ensure that truth was not obscured.
Bishop Jonathan reminded the packed church that the 'minority position' many of the congregation shared is, paradoxically, one 'deeply committed to the widest, most inclusive vision of unity and catholicity, that the world may believe and come to Christ.'
Dr Podmore began work at Forward in Faith, which has thousands of members across the Church of England's dioceses, after Easter. He joined following almost twenty-five years on the staff of the Archbishops' Council at Church House, Westminster, during which time he variously led the secretariats handling the Church of England's ecumenical relations; its liturgy; and the business of the General Synod.