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Forward in Faith-North America changes focus

Forward in Faith-North America changes focus
FiF-NA is in transition; furloughs paid staff

By Mary Ann Mueller
VOL Special Correspondent
August 3, 2017

Forward in Faith-North America (FiF-NA) is in the throes of transition in part caused by a drastic drop in income and part by a refocusing on the mission of the organization.

Executive Director Michael Howell announced that income for the non-profit organization dropped from $49,815 in 2016. So far only $28,993 has been added to the coffers in 2017.

However, ACNA Bishop Keith Ackerman, FiF-NA's past president, would take issue with the definition that Forward in Faith is an "organization."

"Forward in Faith is not really an organization but it is a living organism," the bishop corrects. "It is the inheritor of the Oxford Movement, proclaiming the historic Catholic faith of the undivided church."

So as a living organism Forward in Faith's proclamation of the historic Catholic faith of the undivided church has not changed as much as it is being refocused.

Forward in Faith is refocusing its understanding of its place in mission by putting a renewed emphasis upon the financial support of men headed for the priesthood and training already ordained priests to better evangelize and present the Gospel message in today's world.

To help meet this goal Forward in Faith has been gifted with a half a million dollar grant by Schwartz Trust. Income generated by interest and investments will be channeled to support Forward in Faith's redefined mission. The breakdown will be 75% going toward funding seminarians and training priests to evangelize with the remaining 25% being plowed back into the trust to help sustain it and make it grow.

The recent FiF-NA Assembly was held at St. Stephen's Church in Hurst, Texas. Usually Forward in Faith Assemblies are held at Our Lady of the Snows, Illinois located just outside of St. Louis, Missouri. But the move to the smaller Texas venue was a cost cutting measure. Even with the use of a scaled down setting, Forward in Faith is not planning on hosting a 2018 Assembly.

Forward in Faith is not the only non-profit ministry to have to tightening its financial belt in recent days. Only about 19% of FiF-NA's membership monetarily support it. Since 2014 only 464 members has been financial donors. The result is that Forward in Faith has had to "furlough" its paid staff: Executive Director Michael Howell and Executive Secretary Julia Smead.

It is hoped that at sometime in the future, when the nonprofit's giving again increases, that Forward in Faith will be able to afford to rehire its executive director and executive secretary. Until that time their collective duties will be parceled out to various FiF-NA council members and other cost cutting measures will be implemented to insure that Forward in Faith keeps a strong internet presence and fulfills its refocused mission and ministry.

Forward in Faith's President, Fr. Lawrence Bausch, said that FiF-NA's internal restructuring does not signal the ending of a season but rather a turning of a season.

Mary Ann Mueller is a journalist living in Texas. She is a regular contributor to VirtueOnline

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