FIFNA Revisits Identity And Purpose

Speaking at Forward in Faith North America’s (FIFNA) Annual Assembly at St. Stephen’s, Hurst, Texas, FIFNA President, Fr. Lawrence Bausch, told delegates that Forward in Faith had to “revisit” its identity and purpose.

“We now have to revisit who we are and why we are here,” stated Bausch, who went on to suggest that one of FIFNA’s predecessor organizations, the Evangelical and Catholic Mission (ECM), served as a potential model:
To go back to my original comment that this life connects with eternal life and what we do today is connected with the fullness of the Gospel, then the best or closest model that has emerged… for us to consider where we’re being led is that vision that was the Evangelical and Catholic Mission.
To that end, Fr. Bausch announced several new initiatives as well as organizational changes. 

ECM literature and teaching will be made available through Forward in Faith North America, along with a new emphasis on utilizing online tools to communicate FIFNA’s message. However, Forward in Faith will no longer hold three-day Annual Assemblies and plans to replace these with regional gatherings.

“We are not going to plan an Assembly for this time next year,” said Bausch, “You notice the only younger people here are clergy. Young people can’t take time off… local events make more sense.” 

These local meetings would “include elements of the Festivals of Faith” with “splendid liturgy” but have a greater educational focus, being held “in areas with Anglican studies programs” so that Forward in Faith’s message can “reach students and faculty.”

Fr. Bausch also described some immediate changes. FIFNA will no longer have a paid staff, with Executive Director, Dr. Michael Howell, and Administrator, Julia Smead, placed on “furlough” as of August. 

The President’s comments followed on from an overview of FIFNA’s history, which he traced through the American Church Union, the Association for Apostolic Ministry, the Episcopal Synod of America, and the Evangelical and Catholic Mission. He also described FIFNA’s role in helping to found the Anglican Church in North America, “within which we now have the Missionary Diocese of All Saints. 

With this evolution, Forward in Faith’s emphasis and mission will no longer be about securing a “safe space” for orthodox Anglicanism but will rather focus on witnessing to the fullness of the Catholic Faith within Anglicanism. 

“To talk about looking for a safe space in this context is not relevant,” stated Bausch, “And in light of that, it’s not surprising, I think, that since we haven’t articulated this vision (of renewed witness to the Faith) we’ve seen a decline in support for Forward in Faith North America.” 

This decline has translated into reduced income for FIFNA operations, with just under $30,000 raised so far this year.

“We have faced a struggle in many aspects of our operating budget,” continued Bausch, “Not so much with our ministries, which are widely appreciated, but it’s the income which supports these which has been challenging.”

FIFNA’s President concluded that it was “a challenge to accept the realities of where we are financially and what we need to be doing to be structured for the future.”

In his opening comments, Fr. Bausch reflected on the spiritual purpose of Forward in Faith, linking actions in time to eternity.

What we as catholic Christians have always believed is that what we do every day should relate directly to our, eternal life, our eternal destiny. There is nothing that happens in this life that is not connected to our eternal life… dedicate each moment to being an incarnation of our relationship with the Lord… connect with eternal life.

Forward in Faith North America urges your prayerful support so that its ministry of leading people to Christ and eternity can continue.

Direct us, O Lord, in all our doings with thy most gracious favor, and further us with thy continual help; that in all our works begun, continued, and ended in thee, we may glorify thy holy Name, and finally, by thy mercy, obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Forward in Christ

Proclaiming the Faith and Order of the Church, given to us by Christ.