Churchwardens to ask Dr Williams to discuss Ordinariate

by
21 October 2010

by Ed Thornton

A CHURCH in Kent has attracted national attention after its church­wardens wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury requesting a meeting to discuss joining the Ordinariate when it is established.

The parochial church council of St Peter’s, Folkestone, affiliated to Forward in Faith, unanimously voted at a meeting on 28 September for “the parish’s churchwardens to write to the Archbishop of Canter­bury, our diocesan bishop, in order to arrange a meeting with him to discuss the wish of many of the PCC and the congregation to join the English Ordinariate of the Catholic Church when it is erected”, a state­ment from the church said.

“The PCC is anxious that such a move should be made as easy as possible, not only for those who wish to join the Ordinariate, but also for the diocesan family of Canterbury whom they will regretfully be leaving behind.”

The Priest-in-Charge of St Peter’s, the Revd Stephen Bould, said: “It is not a vote to join the Ordinariate; the PCC can’t make that decision.”

He said that “lots” of people in St Peter’s were interested in joining the Ordinariate, but “lots are not in­terested.” Conversations needed to take place about how to “deliver the minimum pain and maximum gain when going along two parallel tracks comes about”.

Some members of the con­gregation of St Peter’s have expressed misgivings at the actions of the PCC. One of them told BBC News: “I don’t think all of us want to become Roman Catholics; it’s too big a step. A lot of us don’t agree with the infallibility of one man.”

The chair of Women and the Church, Christina Rees, told BBC News: “This is their [St Peter’s] own self-imposed exile. No one has asked them to go; no one is even hinting that they should go.”

If the congregation moved to the Ordinariate, the Priest-in-Charge said, it “would like to continue worshipping in this building”. He said that there was “no reason why two congrega­tions cannot continue to worship here in friendship”.

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The diocese of Canterbury said in a statement that it had received a letter from the churchwardens of St Peter’s “about a possible move to the Ordinariate”, and that “conversations are due to start soon”.

The statement said that, whatever the outcome of discussions with St Peter’s, “the Church of England will retain its parochial ministry in the parish of St Peter’s, Folkestone; and St Peter’s Church of England Prim­ary School will remain a Church of England school.”

The Revd Martin Short, chaplain to the Bishop of Dover, said: “The fairest thing you could say is it’s far too early for any conversations about the future use of buildings until after conversations about people moving to the Ordinariate have been success­fully concluded.”

Under ancient common law, the incumbent of the benefice is treated as an ecclesiastical corporation, which owns the parish church and churchyard. Therefore the church and churchyard are held for the purposes of the corporation, not the particular congregation that wor­ships there, and must be used for Church of England purposes.

Press

Reform's new plan

REFORM, the conservative Evan­gelical group, voted this week to back the formation of a society "for conservative Evangelicals who want to propomote the Church's mission but are opposed to the consecration of women bishops", writes Ed Beavan.

Speaking at the network’s annual conference on Wednesday, at High Leigh, in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, the Reform chairman, the Revd Rod Thomas,  said: “This is a very positive move not just for us, but for the wider church. The creation of a society can both provide a model of how the church can change to become more focused on mission, not maintenance, and a way forward through the dilemma it faces over women bishops.

“Reform members are involved in innovative ways of reaching into local communities with the good news of Jesus Christ. Many are in churches with a good number of younger men and women being trained for future gospel work. We have a mission-focus which brings health and life that is good for the wider church, and a religious society would enable us to continue that focus.

“In light of the recent results of elections to General Synod, our proposal takes on even greater weight,” he told the 170 members attending the conference.

Mr Thomas said from the conference on Tuesday that a new society would have its own bishops to oversee those who could not accept the ministry of women bishops. “If we can work out the details of such a society, and how it fits in with the rest of the Church of England, there would be a mechan­ism readily available for the bishops to get through this dilemma.”

A group of Catholic bishops has formed the Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda (News, 1 October), and Reform will be in discussions with it to see how far the two can work together or whether they need to remain separate.

“I think the wider Church needs to recognise that this society will operate, whether the Church of England likes it or not,” Mr Thomas said. “A society can come into exist­ence amicably within Church struc­tures, but if legislation is passed that doesn’t make adequate pro­vision for us, people need to know there is a society that will be acting in the way it believes is right and biblical.”

One possible name for the group is the Society of St Augustine.

Press

Reform's new plan

REFORM, the conservative Evan­gelical group, voted this week to back the formation of a society "for conservative Evangelicals who want to propomote the Church's mission but are opposed to the consecration of women bishops", writes Ed Beavan.

Speaking at the network’s annual conference on Wednesday, at High Leigh, in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, the Reform chairman, the Revd Rod Thomas,  said: “This is a very positive move not just for us, but for the wider church. The creation of a society can both provide a model of how the church can change to become more focused on mission, not maintenance, and a way forward through the dilemma it faces over women bishops.

“Reform members are involved in innovative ways of reaching into local communities with the good news of Jesus Christ. Many are in churches with a good number of younger men and women being trained for future gospel work. We have a mission-focus which brings health and life that is good for the wider church, and a religious society would enable us to continue that focus.

“In light of the recent results of elections to General Synod, our proposal takes on even greater weight,” he told the 170 members attending the conference.

Mr Thomas said from the conference on Tuesday that a new society would have its own bishops to oversee those who could not accept the ministry of women bishops. “If we can work out the details of such a society, and how it fits in with the rest of the Church of England, there would be a mechan­ism readily available for the bishops to get through this dilemma.”

A group of Catholic bishops has formed the Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda (News, 1 October), and Reform will be in discussions with it to see how far the two can work together or whether they need to remain separate.

“I think the wider Church needs to recognise that this society will operate, whether the Church of England likes it or not,” Mr Thomas said. “A society can come into exist­ence amicably within Church struc­tures, but if legislation is passed that doesn’t make adequate pro­vision for us, people need to know there is a society that will be acting in the way it believes is right and biblical.”

One possible name for the group is the Society of St Augustine.

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