"...It necessarily inhabits a space which is paradoxical, even contradictory; the paradox is not hard to spot. The officers of Forward in Faith, the Council, clerical and lay, and, I trust, every single member share the vision – dare I say it – which we have found in Epistle and Gospel tonight: the unity of the Church, the transmission of the Lord’s own teaching by means of the apostolic ministry, the absolute inescapability of the importance of communion, with the Lord and with one another, in the Christian life. So why Marmite, rather than apple pie? Who could disagree with any of this? Well, of course, because alongside these spiritual and ecclesiological ambitions, Forward in Faith is perceived to be a pressure group, and, in the eyes of many, a pressure group with a negative and backward-looking agenda. It is surely a tragedy, and an astonishing one at that, given a moment’s thought, that we – and here I mean all of us in the Church of England – should have come to this: that faithful Anglicans who are inspired by convictions which the whole of our Church still affirms in her title deeds and carries in her DNA should be perceived by some as disloyal, a fifth column perhaps. No doubt blame – like gifts – can be distributed across the whole Body...
.....I spoke a moment ago of the paradox of where Forward in Faith sits in the life of the Church: deeply committed to the widest, most inclusive vision of unity and catholicity, that the world may believe and all come to Christ; yet having to defend what is – on ‘home territory’ at least – a minority position and even perceived as sectarian. It is then a huge challenge to Colin and to all of us to keep going, to keep going joyfully, and to keep on in love. The path is rocky, the stones are sharp. Toes are stubbed and feet bleed. Yet in the Scriptures we have heard tonight, there is the promise that all for which we long, hope and pray, has already come to pass: there is one body, one Spirit, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all. The apostle does not use the conditional but the indicative. God grant each one of us, and the whole Church, grace to work to uncover and reveal, and never to distort and obscure, that glorious truth which God Himself has given us in Christ. Amen."
Tuesday, 16 April 2013
"the Marmite among ecclesiastical organisations"
Bishop Jonathan Baker, preaching yesterday at the mass for the commissioning of Dr Colin Podmore as Director of Forward in Faith. [Read it all : the full text is here]