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Posted on the 16th Jul 2014 in the category Statements


We invite you to read this Pastoral Letter, and make it available, in all our churches on Sunday 20 July 2014.

 

The approval of the Women Bishops legislation brings to an end a decade of debate about what provision should be made for those who are unable, for theological reasons, to receive the ministry of women as priests and bishops.

 

In the earlier stages of that debate we offered the Church of England a vision of how provision could be made with full ecclesiological integrity not just for us but also for the Church of England as a whole. It is now clear that the reality will be shaped differently, and will fall short of our ideal.

 

None the less, we believe that we can have confidence in our future as catholics who are called to live out our Christian vocation in the Church of England, maintaining a distinctive witness to the quest for the unity of the Church. The House of Bishops’ Declaration embodies a commitment to enabling us to flourish within the Church of England’s life and structures. It does so because our theological convictions about ministry and ordination remain within the spectrum of Anglican teaching and tradition. As Resolution III.2 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference stated, ‘those who dissent from, as well as those who assent to, the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate are both loyal Anglicans’.

 

The Declaration assures us that bishops will continue to be consecrated within the Church of England who can provide episcopal ministry that accords with our theological convictions. It makes provision for parishes to gain access to that episcopal ministry by passing a new resolution, supported by a Resolution of Disputes Procedure established by regulations made under Canon, with an Independent Reviewer. We will be offering advice and resources to parishes to assist with this.

 

We note that bishops’ authority to exercise episcopal functions comes from their ordination as bishops, and that that authority is distinct from the legal authority that they receive by delegation from the diocesan bishop. The debate over the nature of provision for our future life as catholics within the Church of England has helped us to focus on this important point with greater clarity.

 

The Society will have a crucial role to play in providing a continuing sacramental life in which parishes, clergy and people are in full and uninterrupted communion with the bishop who ministers to them, and with each other. We will ensure that parishes receive support in articulating the theological convictions that the Society exists to embody and, where necessary, in participating in the Resolution of Disputes Procedure.

 

As your bishops, we want to thank you for your faithfulness during this long period of uncertainty. Now that the debate about provision is over and the House of Bishops’ Declaration is in place, we can look forward to a time of greater stability in which, by the grace of almighty God, we can all focus, with renewed energy, on proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord, and on witnessing to him as we serve our local communities and our nation.

 

 

On behalf of the Council of Bishops                         

 

+ TONY PONTEFRACT                                         

The Rt Revd Tony Robinson                                      The Commemoration of John Keble

Bishop of Pontefract                                                   Monday 14 July 2014

Chairman

 

 

Heavenly Father,

Bless the bishops, clergy and people of The Society.

Bind us together in love and faith.

Renew us in service and witness.

And by your Holy Spirit

Guide our future and make plain your purposes.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

Saint Wilfrid, pray for us.

Saint Hilda, pray for us.

 


Pastoral Letter (PDF) – for printing or linking to



Posted on the 14th Jul 2014 in the category Statements


Statement from the Council of Bishops

 

Many in the Church of England are celebrating today, following final approval of the legislation to permit women to be ordained as bishops.

 

While recognizing this, we deeply regret the further obstacle that this decision places in the path to the full, visible unity of the whole Church.

 

We do, however, welcome the provision that has been made in the House of Bishops’ Declaration. It recognizes that our theological convictions about ministry and ordination remain within the spectrum of Anglican teaching and tradition. It assures us that bishops will continue to be consecrated within the Church of England who can provide episcopal ministry that accords with those theological convictions. It makes provision for parishes to gain access to that episcopal ministry by passing resolutions.

 

This gives us confidence in our future as catholics who are called to live out our Christian vocation in the Church of England. For this we give thanks to God.

  

On behalf of the Council of Bishops                         

 

+ TONY PONTEFRACT                                         

Rt Revd Tony Robinson                                            

Bishop of Pontefract

Chairman



Posted on the 26th Mar 2014 in the category Statements


As bishops, we have a pastoral and teaching office, as ‘stewards of the mysteries of God’ who are ‘called to serve and care for the flock of Christ’.

 

We endorse both the statement issued by the College of Bishops of the Church of England in response to the Pilling Report and the House of Bishops’ Statement of Pastoral Guidance on Same-Sex Marriage.

 

We rejoice in the presence of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people within the parts of Christ’s flock that are committed to our care. We wish to underline these words of the statement from the College of Bishops: ‘We are united in acknowledging the need for the Church to repent for the homophobic attitudes it has sometimes failed to rebuke and the need to stand firm against homophobia wherever and whenever it is to be found. We are united in seeking to be faithful to the Scriptures and tradition of the Church and in seeking to make a loving, compassionate and respectful response to gay men and women within Church and society.’

 

We uphold the Christian doctrine of marriage as set out in the liturgy and canons of the Church of England. The Church of England is only ‘part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church’: as such, it would have no right to make fundamental changes to a sacrament that belongs to the whole Church.

 

We encourage our clergy and people to participate in the conversations about human sexuality that will be facilitated, contributing to them on the basis of catholic moral and pastoral theology, as well as of their own experience. We note that the outcome of the conversations is not predetermined.

 

As bishops of the Society we shall continue to reflect together on these issues, to pray about them, and to listen to the views of our clergy and people.

 

On behalf of the Council

 

+TONY PONTEFRACT

The Rt Revd Tony Robinson

Bishop of Pontefract

Chairman of the Council of Bishops

26 March 2014



Posted on the 12th Dec 2013 in the category Statements


The Report of the House of Bishops Working Group on Human Sexuality (the Pilling Report) is an important piece of work which deserves careful consideration. We encourage our clergy and people to read it and reflect upon it prayerfully.

 

We note that the Report proposes no change in the doctrine of the Church of England and that its practical recommendations remain, at this stage, recommendations to the House of Bishops.

 

Those of us who are members of the Church of England’s College of Bishops will be discussing it with other members of the College in January, and we shall also be discussing it at our own meeting in February. We plan to comment more fully after those discussions.

 

On behalf of the Council

 

+ TONY PONTEFRACT

The Rt Revd Tony Robinson

Chairman



Posted on the 18th Nov 2013 in the category Statements



Today the Bishops of the Society sent a letter to the supporters of the Society.

 

» Letter to Supporters

» Prayer Card 

» Membership Form for Forward in Faith



 

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