10th June 2017
On 10th June 2017 the Free Church of England will be holding a special thanksgiving service to mark the 90th anniversary of the union of the original Free Church of England (whose first congregations were formed in 1844 and came together under a common constitution and episcopate in 1863) with the UK branch of the Reformed Episcopal Church (founded in the USA in 1873 with its first UK congregations in 1878). The service will be held in Christ Church, Liscard, Wallasey where the 1927 union actually took place. The preacher is to be the Right Revd Michael Nazir-Ali, former Bishop of Rochester. Representatives from a range of Churches and organisations have been invited to join fCE members from around the country.
8th June 2017
On 8th June 2017 the bishops of the Free Church of England will be hosting a forum to which a wide range of traditionalist Anglicans have been invited. The forum is to be moderated by the Most Revd Foley Beach, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America. The hope is that a process may be initiated to bring together the hitherto fragmented witness of traditionalist Anglicans in the UK.
11th March 2017
At its meeting on 11th March, the Synod of the Southern Diocese of the Free Church of England voted to affiliate with GAFCON UK, the follow up to the Global Anglican Future Conference held in Jerusalem in 2008. The Northern Diocese had already done so some time earlier. The Free Church of England’s affiliation with this movement to defend orthodox Anglicanism is very much in line with the vision of our founding fathers in the 19th century.
9th – 11th March 2017
The Revd Dr Peter Sanlon, Vicar of St Mark’s, Tunbridge Wells, was the guest speaker at the March Clergy Conference. Dr Sanlon has been much involved in recent attempts to defend orthodox, biblical teaching in the Church of England and sees many parallels between the present situation and that which led to the formation of the Free Church of England and Reformed Episcopal Church. At Synod Dr Sanlon shared suggestions for funding new congregations and stipends in partnerships between Churches.
15th February 2017
After 17 years as Presbyter-in-Charge of Holy Trinity, Oswaldtwistle, the Revd John Taylor retired on 15th February. The occasion was marked by a service of Holy Communion at which Bishop John Fenwick preached. The Bishop then chaired the Annual Congregational Meeting, following which there was a parish lunch in the upper room. We wish John and his wife Elsie a long and happy retirement.
2nd February 2017
In a statement from the Bishop of Peterborough, Chairman of the Church of England’s Council for Christian Unity, it was announced that the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have recognised the Orders of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) under the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967. This is the same mechanism by which the Archbishops have also recognised the Orders of the Free Church of England. Indeed, the FCE is named in the statement as one of the Churches whose Order are so recognised.
Welcoming the statement, Bishop Primus said, ‘This recognition of the Orders of the ACNA (which of course includes our sister Church, the Reformed Episcopal Church) is a welcome development which contains the potential for strengthening further the growing relationship between the Anglican Church in North America and the Free Church of England. It is further evidence that it is possible for a Church to be authentically Anglican though not a member of the Anglican Communion.’
In January Bishop Primus visited Australia to spend time with our members out there. In Melbourne he ordained Brendan Wilson to the diaconate on 14th January, then ordained him presbyter the following day. Brendan is pastoring a small group meeting weekly in his home for Bible study and the Eucharist. Since being ordained Brendan has baptised a young adult who has become a Christian. Bishop Fenwick also chaired the second meeting of the pro-synod of the Reformed Episcopal Church in Australia (the name of the FCE jurisdiction in that country). Primus and Mrs Fenwick then went on to Brisbane where they spent time with our presbyter there, Peter Maher, and his wife. Peter has had a number of setbacks in setting up a congregation, but hopes to make a start this year.
28th November 2016
A meeting was held in the House of Lords at which the Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church, His Holiness Ignatios Aphrem II, spoke about the situation of Christians in war-torn Syria. Bishop Fenwick was among the invited guests who heard some heart-rending accounts of the situation faced by our brothers and sisters there.
31st October 2016
The Free Church of England was represented at the annual Presidents’ gathering by Bishop Primus.
23rd October 2016
Mr Anthony Roberts, the Reader at Holy Trinity, Oswaldtwistle, was ordained a Deacon in the Church of God by Bishop John Fenwick on 23rd October. It was a very happy occasion, with a good congregation and shared parish lunch afterwards.