2016 Conference - CHALLENGING QUESTIONS INSPIRING FAITH
The 2016 National Conference will take place in Manchester. Details and a booking form are available from the conference website:
Sermon from the AGM at Southwark Cathedral
Mtr Natasha Woodward's sermon can be read here.
Statement by Affirming Catholicism and the Society of Catholic Priests
Affirming Catholicism and the Society of Catholic Priests are disappointed at the Archbishop of York’s decision not to lay hands on Philip North at his consecration as Bishop of Burnley, and the decision that only three bishops – none of whom ordains women – will lay on hands. Whilst recognising that this is the Archbishop’s prerogative, the decision is particularly difficult to understand given that the Bishop of Burnley is a Suffragan Bishop in the Diocese of Blackburn and as such will share in responsibility for female clergy in the Diocese and for parishes which welcome the sacramental ministry of women. We are especially exercised that the Bishop of Burnley’s own Diocesan Bishop will apparently not be laying on hands.
Affirming Catholicism and SCP recognise and commend the Church of England’s affirmation that those within the Church of England who, on grounds of theological conviction, are unable to receive the ministry of women bishops or priests should be enabled to flourish within its life and structures. However, we are concerned that the Archbishop of York’s decision does not exemplify the commitment “to maintain the highest possible degree of communion possible” which is articulated in the Five Guiding Principles agreed by General Synod and to which Forward in Faith has explicitly assented. This commitment must be lived out in the light of the first two principles:
The Church of England is fully and unequivocally committed to all orders of ministry being open equally to all, without reference to gender, and holds that those whom it has duly ordained and appointed to office are the true and lawful holders of the office which they occupy and thus deserve due respect and canonical obedience;
Anyone who ministers within the Church of England must be prepared to acknowledge that the Church of England has reached a clear decision on the matter.
The House of Bishops has emphasised that the Five Guiding Principles “need to be read one with the other and held in tension, rather than being applied selectively.” Affirming Catholicism and SCP recognise that the living out of the principles will be complicated. However, Ministry Division has required that from November 2014, all candidates for ordination should explicitly assent to the Five Guiding Principles. It seems reasonable that such explicit assent should also be demonstrated by all those to be consecrated bishop.
Affirming Catholicism and SCP would therefore welcome a statement from the new Bishop of Burnley and from the Bishop of Blackburn confirming their commitment to the first two of the Five Guiding Principles agreed by the Church of England, and specifically affirming the Bishop of Burnley’s responsibilities towards the female clergy of the Diocese of Blackburn and to the parishes under his care who welcome the ordination of women. We would similarly welcome a statement from the new Bishop of Stockport and the Bishop of Chester confirming the Bishop of Stockport’s assent to the Five Guiding Principles. Indeed, we believe that a case could be made that all licensed clergy in the Church of England should be expected so to assent.
1 February 2015
The Rt Revd Libby Lane, Bishop of Stockport
People often speak of things being historic, and to be honest they often are not. But the consecration of the Rt Revd Libby Lane at York Minister this morning was not just a tremendous and historic moment in the life of the Church of England but an occasion of blessing for the life of the whole church. The members of the Society of Catholic Priests, many of whom were in the congregation which filled the Minster for the service, congratulate the new Bishop of Stockport but also rejoice that all that we have been working and praying for over the last twenty years of the life of our Society has come to fruition. Now we move forward to be the church God calls us to be for this nation, a church catholic, evangelistic, with a mind to mission and a heart for all people.
God bless, Bishop Libby and God bless all his people.
The Very Revd Andrew Nunn, Rector General
For those members of SCP who go to Walsingham……. Our Lady Saint Mary, South Creake offers an altar to all priests when they are on pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham who find it difficult because of the restrictions placed on them there. The church has a tradition of receiving pilgrims at South Creake coming over from Walsingham and, notably, last summer a group from St Chrysostom’s, Manchester visited and, for the first time ever, a woman priest celebrated in the church. There is also the opportunity for any priests who are on holiday in the area and who want to concelebrate on a Sunday or are visiting and want an altar where they can offer Mass to be able to do so. South Creake is approximately 6 miles from Walsingham (NR21 9PE)
PRESS RELEASE - Women Bishops
14 July 2014
The Rector General of the Society of Catholic Priests (European Province) the Very Revd Andrew Nunn:
"It is with a huge sense of relief and delight that we welcome the decision of the General Synod to make it possible for women to be fully part of all three orders of ministry - bishop, priest and deacon. Since its formation in 1994, the Society of Catholic Priests and its members have been committed to the flourishing of the whole people of God and we believe that this decision, guided by the Holy Spirit, will enable that flourishing to take place within the Church of England. We believe this is God's will for the church and we rejoice that all of ministry is now open to the whole people of God. We remain committed to working with our brothers and sisters in the church who are not in favour of the ministry of ordained women and will always seek ways in which, together, we can proclaim the gospel and engage in the mission with which we have been entrusted. In this year in which we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the ordination of women to the priesthood it is good that we can now look to the consecration of the first women bishops."
Fr Andrew Davison has recently published a new book entitled 'Why Sacraments?'. To read a review by the Rector General click here.
The Anglican Covenant
Fr Andrew Davison has written a paper on the Anglican Covenant. You may find this useful if you have yet to have your diocesan vote. Click here to download the paper.
New Gospel Imprint leaflets
A new range of leaflets was launched at the annual general meeting of the Society of Catholic Priests. The publication of our leaflet, Praying the Eucharist marks the completion of three leaflets across all three of our ranges, Christian Life, Christian Faith and Christian Prayer. These and all of our leaflets can be downloaded from our website.
Click here to get to the leaflets
Women Bishops Debate - Important New Resource
In association wth Affirming Catholicism, SCP is delighted to publish an important document to assist the debate in the parishes, deaneries and dioceses on the ordination of women to the episcopate.
The booklet is downloadable free of charge and has been written by Canon Dr Jane Steen and the Revd Mark Steadman SCP.
The text of the Press Release issued on 3 February is availble here.
Lift up your hearts - SPECIAL OFFER
A new prayer book for Anglicans from the affirming catholic tradition, commissioned by SCP and Affirming Catholicism, was launched during the SCP Conference in Nottingham. The compilers of the book are Fr Andrew Davison, Fr Andrew Nunn and Fr Toby Wright. There are new translations of old prayers and many newly composed prayers arranged around the structure of the Eucharist. The book is now available from all good booksellers and, of course, through Amazon UK by clicking here.
The book is a perfect gift for Confirmation candidates and others who are deepening their experience of prayer and the Eucharist. SPCK are offering a special deal and details of it can be found here.
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