I met recently with the Bishop of Fulham to discuss the future relationship between myself, the Church of England and this parish. Following that discussion, I offered my resignation as the Vicar of St Mary-the-Virgin, Kenton, and Bishop John graciously accepted my resignation.
I have reached a point in my journey in the Faith at which I have become firmly and prayerfully convinced over a period of months that I should seek to be received into the full communion of the Catholic Church without further delay.
I have been the Vicar of St Mary’s for four years, during which time you have been a supportive and generous community to serve. The particular decision to leave this parish has been harder than the joyful decision to be received into the Catholic Church – although the two are of necessity connected, and as the Lord tells us in today’s Gospel, we must be willing to change fundamentally the context and the detail of our lives if we are truly to be His disciples. That call is always present to all of us, but can present itself more immediately at particular moments in life. This is such a moment for me and my family.
I realize that some of you may feel that I am leaving just as you most need to be led through the difficult times which Traditionalist parishes of the Church of England are to face over the next few years.
To those of you who will remain as committed members of the Church of England, I am on a path that is for now different from yours. I trust that one day, in God’s good time, our particular journeys may reconverge. In the meantime, I cannot provide the Anglican leadership you expect and so it would be wrong for me to remain as vicar of this parish.
To those of you who are considering becoming Catholics, either as members of the forthcoming Ordinariate under the provisions of Anglicanorum coetibus or in a local Catholic parish, I trust that I am, in the manner of a middle-eastern shepherd, walking ahead of the flock, leading you by my example to safe pasture.
I shall cease formally to be vicar of this parish on November 1st 2010. On that date, this parish will enter an interregnum, during which your churchwardens, Trish Royle and Ken Elliott, supported by the members of the Parochial Church Council, will be responsible for the administration of this parish until such time as a new vicar can be appointed. The Bishop Fulham, the Archdeacon of Northolt and the Area Dean of Harrow will also support Trish and Ken in their task, and I urge you to do everything you can as a congregation to support them too.
Fr John and Fr Malcolm and others will lead your worship and provide your pastoral care, and I ask you to support them gratefully as they do so, especially if from time to time during the interregnum it is necessary that the regular pattern of worship be varied.
I shall keep you in my prayers, and I ask you to keep me and my family in yours, both over the next few weeks and into the future.