News from the UK FIF Assembly

Yesterday was one of those days we all have from time to time in which every conceivable thing has gone wrong.  It started this morning when I was caring for the children before depositing them with the nursery and child minder.  Unfortunately our stair gate was not quite shut properly and Benedict hoisted it open and launched himself head first down the stairs.  Praise God he only has a bruise over his right eye and emerged unscathed.  It put my heart in my mouth and left me very shaken.

I then walked to the train station and travelled into London for the Forward in Faith Assembly.  Problem was, I anticipated an 11am start and a 5pm finish when in fact it was a 3pm start and a 7pm finish!  A little bit of mental arithmatic made me realise that I would need to abort the whole thing as the children need picking up at 5pm and fed prior to Hayley’s return.  I therefore trudged back to Charing Cross muttering under my breath only to discover… all the trains were cancelled due to a broken down train on the line!  A forty five minute journey then took the best part of two hours door to door.  What a waste of a morning!

Had I have been at the Assembly in person I would have heard +John Broadhurst, Chairman of Forward in Faith and Bishop of Fulham, make an historic resignation speech.  He is pictured above with the family Tomlinson on the occasion of baby Benedict Peter's baptism!  In truth I would not have gasped in surprise as I knew he was planning to do this today.  He thoughtfully steps down in order to allow the Bishop of London to appoint a successor before Synod’s legislation renders that impossible.  The announcement was equally noteworthy because Bishop John informed the gathered people that he will be joining the Ordinariate as soon as possible.  What great news for the Ordinariate!  The Saint Barnabas' Blog wishes him well and the author intends to get to the second day of the assembly in person.  That is unless something else goes wrong.

Things are beginning to move now… might there be more resignations to follow I wonder?  The comments thread over at T19 is well worth reading for some shrewd analysis from those who have experienced all of this already on the other side of the pond.

Although not there in person — I shall be today — a source informs me that the Ordinariate was enthusiastically presented but that the leadership of the new Society of Ss Wilfred and Hilda was largely absent.  Perhaps that will be plugged today although the last word goes to dear Fr. Kirk who is a robust supporter of the Ordinariate, so it should be interesting.  My source also felt that there is an even split amongst clergy of those wanting to go and to stay but I suspect the Ordinariate-bound will grow once others have modelled the path for them.  Inevitably a tension bubbles under the surface so we must all pray for love and grace to be present.  This will be the very last FIF assembly for many and those remaining are going to be smaller than ever as they seek, in vain I suspect, to guarantee a future within the Church of England.  I myself cannot fathom the desire to disregard the papal offer… who chooses to be beaten up and eventually put down when the offer of life exists?!

Author: Fr. Ed Tomlinson

The son of an Anglican clergyman, Fr. Edward Tomlinson was born in Wigan before moving to Santiago, Chile as a baby where his father worked as a missionary with SAMS. He returned to England in time for schooling and spent those formative years in Norfolk attending the Cathedral school. He then moved to Homerton College, Cambridge before working as a primary school teacher in Colchester, Essex. It was here that the boy raised as an Evangelical (for which he gives thanks) encountered Anglo Catholic devotion for the first time. This soon led him to Westcott House in Cambridge to train for the priesthood. At Westcott the joy of encountering Anglo-Catholicism was dampened however by the horror of encountering liberal theology! The reason for his calling came into sharp focus as he avowed to stand up for the orthodox faith with every fibre of his being. A happy curacy at S. Thomas of Canterbury church in Brentwood prepared him for his current post as vicar of S. Barnabas’, Royal Tunbridge Wells. He writes a regular column for New Directions, the magazine of Forward in Faith and is also editor of the The Church Observer, a Church Union journal. In addition he writes a daily blog which, much to his surprise, continues to gain a loyal following. He is married to Hayley, a painting conservator at the National Gallery, and has two young children Jemima and Benedict.

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