Interregnum news: 17 March 2024 thumbnail

Interregnum news: 17 March 2024

Summary update from the PCC

As your PCC, we have the following news to share:

  • At the Section 11 Meeting held on the 12 March 2024 at 7:30pm, the PCC voted to rescind the resolution[1] under the House of Bishops Declaration on the Ministry of Priests and Bishops.
  • The PCC voted as follows (the motion was FOR or AGAINST the resolution):
    14 to rescind (AGAINST), 5 to retain (FOR), 1 abstention and 1 member not present at the Section 11 meeting.

What this means for the parish

  • For those in the parish holding strong theological convictions about the sacraments regarding women as priests, this result is deeply upsetting and impacts their spiritual journey with our Lord in this parish. Please pray for all members of our parish affected by the PCC decision to rescind the resolution.
  • Rescinding the resolution means the Parish automatically leaves membership of
    The Society and Forward in Faith as these organisations are only for parishes with a Resolution. It also means our Parish can open Parish priest applications to male and female Church of England priests.
  • The parish will now have oversight from the Bishop of Oxford rather than the Bishop of Oswestry.

Next steps

  1. The PCC has appointed Anna Page and David Riding to be its lay representatives on the appointments process.
  2. The PCC decided to ask for a statement from the acting area Dean to be included in the Parish Profile document.
  3. Guided by advice from Revd Asa Humphreys, Parish Development Adviser for Buckingham, a working group of the PCC is continuing the work started last year to pull together the Parish Profile, the role description, person specification and advertisement for a new Parish priest. The group is Gwen Yates, Anne de Broise, Anna Page, David Riding, Fiona Collins, Marilyn Bazeley and Jane Hardy.
  4. The PCC will ask the Bishop of Oxford (the patron) to advertise the post once the Parish Profile, role description, person specification and advertisement documents are ready. This means placing the advertisement in The Church Times. It will also be placed on the Parish website.
  5. The application, short-listing, interview and appointment process will be conducted according to the Church of England’s guidance on the appointment of clergy, which is available online at

Your role as a member of the parish

It is important to recognise that whilst many in the congregations may view the rescinding of the Resolution as the means by which, irrespective of gender, the best person to lead our Parish forward in Mission and Worship can be appointed; those who believe in the male only historic apostolic succession[2] as part of their conviction of faith will be profoundly hurt by the vote outcome.

Those deeply affected by this outcome can obtain pastoral and spiritual care from
Fr Gary Ecclestone of St James Hanslope 07960027424 and/or Fr Victor Bullock of St Martins Fenny Stratford 01908 372825.

Following the vote to rescind the resolution, Fr Tunji Adebiyi is leaving the Parish. He plans to write a letter to explain his reasons which will be shared with the parish once it is received. Thank you Fr Tunji for all you have done for the parish, especially during the Interregnum.

At the Section 11 meeting the PCC was reminded of advice from Reverend Cassa[3] that female clergy will not go where their calling is not recognised by some of the congregation, therefore it is unlikely the next Parish Priest to be appointed will be a woman. Likewise, in the Anglo-Catholic tradition, it is unlikely that the next priest will have been ordained by a female Bishop. Our parish is likely to remain Anglo-Catholic.

Please continue to pray for the PCC and the whole Parish as we seek the person whom God is calling to be our new Parish Priest.

[1] The resolution wording: “For the sake of the unity of our Parish, this PCC requests, on grounds of theological conviction that arrangements be made for it in accordance with the House of Bishops’ Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests.”

[2] Historic Apostolic Succession: the ordination of priests by bishops in a continuous succession from the twelve apostles. For those who do not support the ordination of women, Historic Apostolic Succession means a continuous succession of male priests only. This is about the uninterrupted transmission of spiritual authority from the apostles and upholding the catholic order and the catholic doctrine of the sacraments, in particular the threefold ministry in historic succession. It is about the deep spiritual need for traditional Anglo-Catholicism and promoting and maintaining catholic teaching within the Church of England
See for information about Apostolic succession.

[3] Revd Cassa Messervy appointed by the Archdeacon of Buckingham, Guy Elsmore to facilitate and advise the PCC.

Interregnum news 17 March 2024 final

Interregnum news: 13 August 2023 thumbnail

Interregnum news: 13 August 2023

Summary update

Firstly, as your current Parochial Church Council, we would like to apologise for the delay in voting on the resolution and finding a new parish priest.

Since the APCM in April 2023, there have been various issues with PCC membership and eligibility of some PCC members to vote in PCC meetings. We have been advised by Archdeacon Guy Elsmore to ensure that we rectify these errors before proceeding further with the vote on the resolution and appointing a new priest. The PCC was due to vote on the Resolution on 20 June, postponed to
18 July when a vote did not take place.

We need to do the following:

  • correct an oversight made by the Diocese regarding the number of Deanery Synod representatives we are allowed to have (3 rather than 4)
  • correct some procedural errors regarding the election of Deanery Synod representatives
  • potentially elect some PCC members as there have been four resignations from the PCC since the APCM, so we have a number of vacancies to fill

There was a delay in the Diocese notifying us about number of Deanery Synod representatives we are now allowed. As a result at the APCM in April, we apparently unfortunately did not follow the correct procedure for electing the Deanery Synod representatives because we appointed four (Bob Scarff, Anne de Broise, Jane Hardy and Mike Parsons) not knowing we could only elect three. This meant that at subsequent PCC meetings some members of the PCC could not vote. There has also been a change in the Vice Chair since the APCM.

Deanery Synod Representatives attend all PCC meetings and 3 Deanery Synod Meetings a year,
PCC members only attend the PCC meetings. You are welcome to talk to any member of the PCC to find out more of what is involved in being a Deanery Synod rep or an ordinary PCC member.

Once the PCC membership has been properly confirmed, we can take advice from the Diocese about facts and the implications of our decisions before voting on the resolution. After that vote takes place, we will finalise the draft Parish Profile and person specification so we can start the appointment process for a new Parish priest. See the background information on the journey so far if you wish to read the detail.

Interregnum news 13 August 2023

Interregnum news: 25 April 2023 thumbnail

Interregnum news: 25 April 2023

The following Interregnum newsletter was printed and handed out in the Parish Hall on 25 April at the APCM and is available in both churches:

PCC progress on finding a middle way for parish unity

The PCC has been taking action as promised in the Interregnum News on 22 January as follows:

  1. * Welcomed the new Bishop of Oswestry to the parish in early February when the PCC had a long discussion with him. Bishop Paul advised us to leave The Society and Forward in Faith, plus revise our new draft Resolution and Statement of Need.
  2. * Established there is no need for a 4 week notice period of a PCC decision to leave the Society and Forward in Faith (as these are membership subscription organisations which we can leave at any time), while there is a need for a 4 week notice period for the PCC to vote on adopting the revised Resolution and Statement of Need for arrangements set out in the House of Bishops Declaration.
  3. * Updated the revised Resolution and Statement of Need to add further clarity, with some wording from the Bishops. Adding such detail in the Resolution and Statement of Need means prospective applicants know exactly where we are coming from and what has been done to try and create unity in the parish.
  4. * Asked the Bishop of Oxford to approve oversight by the Bishop of Buckingham and a relationship with the Bishop of Oswestry, which he has done.

What this means for our parish

Once we leave The Society and Forward in Faith, we can seek interregnum cover from any male Anglo-Catholic priest, not just those who are Society/FiF priests. It also means the advertisement for the new Rector can go to a wider pool of male priests in the Anglo-Catholic tradition rather than being restricted to FiF/Society members only.

As explained in the January 2023 Interregnum news, legally, the parish cannot limit applications only to male priests without having a Resolution and Statement of Need under the arrangements set out in the House of Bishops’ Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests; it means we are asking for our parish to have a male priest. While our parish has a resolution in place we can:

  1. * appoint a male priest as Rector to provide sacramental, pastoral and teaching ministry
  2. * invite any female priest to provide pastoral and teaching ministry

The questionnaire responses showed that even among the majority who are in favour of the ordination of women and would be happy to have a female priest as Rector of this parish; many thought this parish would need to appoint a male priest this time to accommodate the minority (about 17%) who do not accept the sacraments from a woman priest.

Although we could probably argue the new Resolution and Statement of Need falls short of what many of us want, it does mean that as a congregation we can all worship and celebrate Mass together with the same priest.

The alternative would have been to rescind the existing Resolution completely and open applications to everybody regardless of gender then make provision within the parish for those who could not accept the sacraments from a female priest (if one had been appointed). In reality this would mean asking a priest from Forward in Faith/The Society to conduct alternative services, otherwise some of our parish family would go elsewhere to worship, which the PCC do not want. We really want to keep everybody together at All Saints and SMSG if we possibly can.

The Lord will not abandon us in this unique chance to grow as we go through this change.
We have the lovely Fr Tunji, Fr Malcolm plus occasionally Fr Ian and Fr Victor covering for our worship who are making this whole process easier. We have drafted a middle way which we hope is a bridge between our differences; it aims to be as caring and inclusive as possible.

We need to pray for patience as we sort through these thorny issues which many of us are passionate about. We ask our fellow parishioners for your forbearance and prayers while we urgently attend to this and seek a new Rector for our Parish.

New Resolution and Statement of Need

You can find the existing Resolution and Statement of Need, plus the new revised Resolution and Statement of Need within the folders in both churches and online at SMSG PCC subcommittee draft proposed new Resolution and Statement of Need revised April 2023