The Society (Church of England)

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The Society, more fully The Society under the patronage of Saint Wilfrid and Saint Hilda and formerly known as The Society of Saint Wilfrid and Saint Hilda, is an independent association of Church of England clergy and lay people which defines itself as "an ecclesial body, led by a Council of Bishops". It is supported by Forward in Faith and administered by its director.[1]

The Society's stated purposes are:

  • to promote and maintain catholic teaching and practice within the Church of England
  • to provide episcopal oversight to which churches, institutions and individuals will freely submit themselves
  • to guarantee a ministry in the historic apostolic succession in which they can have confidence


Plans for creation of The Society were announced on 24 September 2010 by a group of bishops of the Church of England who do not ordain women to the priesthood. This was in preparation for the new situation that would arise following the ordination of women to the episcopate. Its council of bishops began to meet regularly in 2013.[2] In 2014, its members appointed a bishop's representative for each diocese of the Church of England.[2][3] Registration began in 2014 of male transitional or permanent deacons and female permanent deacons as "Deacons of The Society" and male priests as "Priests of The Society".[4]

Council of bishops[edit]

The Society's council of bishops are Church of England bishops. The following bishops are currently on the council:[2]

Mark Sowerby, Bishop of Horsham, was previously a member of The Society and its council of bishops. In June 2015, he announced that he had changed his views on the ordination of women and resigned from the council.[5][6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About The Society". Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "The Council of Bishops". The Society. Retrieved 6 December 2015.
  3. ^ "Bishops' Representatives" (pdf). The Society. 20 February 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  4. ^ "Priests and Deacons". The Society. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  5. ^ "Bishop of Horsham – Resignation as a member of the Society's Council of Bishops". Diocese of Chichester. 10 June 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  6. ^ Robinson, Tony (10 June 2015). "The Bishop of Horsham". The Society. Retrieved 10 June 2015.

External links[edit]