The Society of Catholic Priests held their annual meeting last week at Hull Minster. It was an inspiring day for those who went and Hull Minster was a very welcoming place.
SCP is a friendly, affirming, group of priests within the Catholic tradition of the Church of England. It describes itself in this way:
The Society of Catholic Priests (SCP) is a growing society of men and women serving as Priests throughout the Anglican Communion. The society is seeking to promote priestly spirituality and Catholic Evangelism. It has a membership of well over 1000 priests, divided into international Provinces and Diocesan Chapters. In line with Catholic principles we are in full communion with our Diocesan Bishops. The Society has chapters in the UK and Europe, North America and Australia.
At this year’s Hull AGM SCP Members from a wide variety of Chapters attended; Norwich, Chelmsford, London, Southwark, Llandaff, Manchester, Leeds, St Asaph … The day began with a lovely Mass of Our Lady, Mother of Evangelism, followed by lunch. Then reports were given about the work of SCP over the last year and members of Chelmsford, York and Manchester chapters did short presentations about what they do in their chapters. There was open, frank and friendly conversation about the charism of SCP and how it can be developed to be more prominent in the Church.
And then there were elections! Those present could vote, and those not able to be present could appoint a proxy – some proxies came with sheaves of voting papers. Unlike some areas of the church, appointments are made democratically by SCP!
Each of the three provinces of SCP is led by a Provincial Rector (sometimes referred to as Rector General), the Hull meeting was the AGM of the European Province (with over 500 priest members). It was the year to elect the Rector General. There were two candidates and from the two Fr Ian was elected!
The role of the Provincial Rector is to lead and steer the Society and encourage its development and growth. This will involve Fr Ian in meetings and events away from Manchester, but it is a great honour and interesting and exciting work.
Fr Ian says: “I am sure the people of St Chrysostom’s will encourage and support me in this new area of work, and I will be strengthened by their prayers. Do pray for the Society of Catholic Priests!”