what that stands for? It's the Annual Parochial Church
Meeting. Used to be called the A. G. M. (Annual General Meeting). Still
not sure what it's about? Read on...)
As part of the establised church of the nation, St Faith's, like all
Anglican parish churches, has to hold an annual meeting at which
acounts are presented, elections to the Parochial Church Council and
various posts are held, and (in our case) reports from the various
groups, organisations and activities that make up our church life are
The meeting is in two parts. The opening Vestry Meeting elects
Churchwardens, is open to the public at large to attend and vote.
The meeting proper, into which it invariably flows seamlessly, does
At the 2010 meeting, held following the service for the eve of St
George's Day, the pattern was duly followed. Following the various
elections, and the presentation of the church accounts (an increasingly
complex business, especially now that our designation as an official
Charity involves an extra layer of bureaucracy and paperwork for our
beleaguered Treasurer!), Fr Neil presented his 'State of the Nation'
bulletin report and the Church and Community reports below were
available for all to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest. You can
access the offical report (statistics, elected members and full church
accounts, in the format now required by the Diocese and the Charityy
Commisioners, by clicking HERE.
on for the Chairman's report and he Church and Community reports... and
at the end a timely cartoon.
Fr Neil started by introducing a moment of silent prayer to remember
those of our church family who had passed away since the last APCM:
Edwina Harding, Alan Turner and Joyce Woods.
Fr. Neil thanked Kari Dodson (in her absence) who, at the Archdeacon’s
Visitation service, concludes her term of office as Churchwarden and
welcomed Margaret Houghton who takes over from her next month.
During the past year, the PCC appointed Judith Moizer as Sacristan and
Leo Appleton as Assistant Sacristan; the PCC also welcomed the services
of Ron Rankin as Verger. Training sessions had been arranged for
servers. Since the last APCM we welcomed Revd Denise as a member
of the Ministry Team, just before Fr. Neil’s sabbatical leave.
We welcomed new Eucharistic Ministers – although the swine flu pandemic
meant that their assistance was not needed for a time – and thanked
those whose term of office had come to an end. Fr. Neil also offered
thanks to everyone for their commitment and hard work in the daily life
of St Faith’s.
The joint PCC Away Day will take place on 8th May at the Seafarers’
Centre. It is probably the most difficult away day we will ever have as
there are some very crucial decisions to make regarding financial
management and survival. Action had been taken to address the
Parish Share deficit and the Diocese had acknowledged the efforts being
made. Fr Neil reminded everyone present, as on previous
occasions, that all meetings are public and open to everyone although
only PCC members can exercise a vote.
As a result of the MSI course during Lent last year, two new
initiatives were started: a drop-in for school mums, which may be
re-launched at some future point, but thanks were extended to those who
tried; and the very successful initiative to support families of
service personnel. The important thing is to have the courage to
give things a go. If not, we will never know!
Fr Neil thanked people for all that they have done and continue to do
but, as he has said more than once since he returned from study leave,
he is very much aware and appreciative of the extra responsibilities
the Ministry Team undertook during his four month sabbatical.
We were very fortunate to have three Mirfield students with us during
Holy Week – and five more will be joining us for the May Devotions, so
please come along to support them.
Fr Neil emphasised the importance of the Ministry to sick and
housebound. This has never been more urgent, with a growing number of
people from both churches now unable to worship in church on a Sunday.
The Ministry Team is seeking to co-ordinate a proper rota of how this
service is delivered.
He referred to the final report of the Sustainability Group and
encouraged members to take a copy home with them to study. The
report will be debated at the PCC Away Day. Fr Neil drew
attention to four key words from the quotation from Romans and
commented on their significance to the issues to be addressed
“May the God who gives you a spirit of endurance and encouragement give
you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so
that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:15-16
Fr Neil had taken the opportunity to visit many churches during his
sabbatical and saw at first hand the difficulties under which some
priests operate in challenging areas with very limited resources.
He commented that Saint Faith’s and Saint Mary’s still remain a good
place to be with people ready, willing and able to take on new tasks,
challenges and opportunities!
He concluded by saying, “Long may that be the case – we might feel
under pressure but remember God doesn’t call us to be successful, but
faithful. So with God, let’s KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON!!”
The year has been one of change and development. At the 2009
APCMs Doreen Whitlow stepped down as churchwarden and was thanked
warmly for her contribution to the team. In her place we welcomed Joy
Our big challenge was Fr. Neil’s long overdue sabbatical at Mirfield,
which started in October. To our great good fortune Denise McDougall
‘new’ NSM curate was licensed to the United Benefice just before Fr.
Neil left, and we have all been helped and encouraged by her support
This ‘mini interregnum’ produced a steep learning curve, certainly as
far as I was concerned! Taking the parish phone calls on a rota system
was a fascinating and sometimes demanding experience, but the
arrangement worked well and will be adopted again if and when the vicar
is away for any length of time. We also introduced a more formal rota
for home and hospital visits. This has now become well established and
will hopefully ease the vicar’s workload a little.
Fr. Neil returned in February, refreshed and invigorated, to receive a
warm welcome from the team (mixed with a little relief!)
We are now preparing for some testing times ahead, as our two parishes
discuss the problems of falling income and falling numbers. At our
recent team ‘awayday’, lead by the Dean of Liverpool, Justin Welby, we
were encouraged to seek a common vision, to learn together, and to pray
As we begin this year, we thank God for His presence among us in word
and sacrament, fellowship and service. Please continue to hold Father
Neil, and the rest of the ministry team, in your
First of all a big thank you to all teachers and helpers who have as
always worked hard to make our Sunday sessions interesting and
worthwhile for the children. Their work is very much appreciated.
Despite their efforts, however, we have been unable to keep older
children attending regularly, and our numbers are dwindling again. It
is lovely to look after and nurture our younger children, but we need
older ones so that we can take part fully in activities and worship,
especially at all-age and parade services. All ideas welcome!
We continue to lay on parties and events during the year, some together
with St Mary’s, and we are grateful to Fr Neil for the use of the
vicarage garden in the summer. His prayers for fine weather are usually
It has been said that the medium is the message: that presentation of
information is almost more important than the information itself. We
thus aim to present the news from St Faith’s as attractively as
possible within the constraints of funding and facilities, and hope
that this is a proper use of resources for mission.
Newslink continues to be published monthly. A campaign to encourage
readers, both local and further afield, to access the magazine via the
website electronic edition , has resulted in a reduction of the ‘hard
copy’ print run from over 350 to a current figure of 315: at least a
tree or two saved in the rain forest. The online edition features
monthly colour photos, whereas we only fund full colour in the printed
edition every few months, and then do so relatively cheaply thanks to
the good offices of the Archdeacon’s magic machine. We are also
grateful to the steady stream of contributors (not just the vicar!) who
fill our pages month by month with a variety of articles and notices,
as well as dubious jokes (not just from the clergy).
The church website is doing well, with anything between 30 and 50
‘hits’ a day, and a current total of over 112,000 since its launch. A
growing library of ‘pages’ enable readers to access news, notices,
pictures and archives, as well as jokes and assorted curiosities. If
you still haven’t tried it, log on to www.stfaithsgreatcrosby.org.uk.
Apart from these brand leaders, we produce the weekly liturgy and
notice sheets for us and for St Mary’s, as well as assorted flyers,
posters, tickets and the like for both our churches, as part of our
communications strategy. The beneficial financial arrangements with
Merchant Taylors’, home of this writer’s Image Press, give, we feel,
excellent value for money. Our watchword: the Word made
There have been a few changes to the Serving Team this year and we have
been pleased to welcome new members Richard Woodley and Gareth
Griffiths. Judith Moizer took over as Sacristan, with Leo
Appleton as her deputy, and two training sessions were arranged by Fr
Neil for new and existing servers. Thanks are due to the loyal
and dedicated team who serve each Sunday and at all the special
services throughout the year.
The catering team was busy as usual during 2009 with our annual events,
successful despite the weather.
On May 3rd we celebrated Fr Neil’s 10th anniversary with good food and
fun in our usual way.
We celebrated St Kevin this year with an Irish night, when we were
entertained by Irish dancers, a ceilidh band and lots of Irish music
and dancing. The evening was planned to also celebrate our Kevin Walsh,
and as a fundraiser to start the fund for the installation of toilet
facilities for the disabled. A total of £700 was raised which
gave us a good start, thanks to those who organised things.
As usual the year closed with the SS Christmass lunch, a changed menu
this year, we decided to be different this year as most pre-Christmas
dinners are the traditional fare and get to be a bit overdone by
Many thanks to all of the team for their hard work during 2009,
in particular at Christmas for shopping and organising a very
successful day in my absence.
Benefice Over 65s Holiday Club
Once again this week of activities was an enormous success.
Applications were such this year that we had to create a waiting
list. This year we had a full day out to York with a guided tour
around the Minster and a visit to the Jorvik Centre. People
enjoyed a fun afternoon out to Knowsley Safari Park with an excellent
afternoon tea at the end of the tour, and we also had a half day guided
coach tour of Liverpool with the excellent Blue Badge Guide, Elizabeth
Newell. We look forward to our week in 2010 and hope the week
will live up to expectations.
Lynne Connolly ran the August 2009 seventh S. Faith’s Holiday
Club. Once again the grants from Sefton Council and St.
Christopher Home Trust enabled the children to enjoy a great
week. The Club was at full capacity with over 50 children
attending the week’s activities. Thanks are extended to all the
Leaders of the Groups and to those who helped in any way
whatsoever. Particular thanks to Lynne for stepping in to run the
This year saw our bi-annual United Benefice Pilgrimage to Walsingham
with over 20 members of our congregations going. With Fr. Neil
being away on Sabbatical Leave, Fr. Martin Jones led the
Pilgrimage. In November members of the Circle visited St.
Oswald’s Winwick when Fr. Martin celebrated the Mass and he and Miriam
hosted a lunch at their home. Margaret Davies provided lunch
following the September Walsingham Circle Mass and Lillie Wilmot once
again hosted the mulled wine and mince pies event in December.
Thanks to Lynne Connolly for co-ordinating the programme.
The following programme is arranged for 2010.
30th January 12.00 Mass –
Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary (followed by lunch at the Royal
27th March 12.00 Walsingham
10.30 am S. Mary’s Patronal Festival – Visitation of the
BVM to Elizabeth
24th July 10.30 am
Mass – Eve of S. James’s Day
25th September 12.00 Mass
20th November 12.00 Mass – followed by lunch.
Another fairly routine year in the flower arranging calendar has gone
by, with increasing numbers of the congregation receiving posies on
their significant birthdays.
As with everything else, the cost of flowers has risen considerably,
the two retiring collections we have are down slightly, so 'one
off 'donations are very much appreciated. Andy at World of
Flowers always gives us a welcome discount and we continue, I hope, to
decorate the church with pleasure and with flowers!
A huge and heartfelt thank you must go to the faithful band of flower
arrangers without whose invaluable and artistic help the job would be
difficult. New recruits are always welcome.
Music in the
This report will cover the eighteen months I have been in the post of
Director of Music as I did not write one last year. The primary aims
have been to integrate fully the music of both churches to serve the
liturgy, using the resources available. Music is present to provide a
service the liturgy, and not to use the liturgy as a platform for
The choir at St. Mary's consists of a small band of faithful singers
who turn up weekly and lead the hymn singing. They are unable to make
any further commitment to singing at St. Mary's so it has not been
possible for any development to take place. Occasionally, they are
invited to join the choir at St. Faith's for big events.
The choir at St. Faith's is one of the last remaining four part choirs
in the diocese and consists of five sopranos, four altos, one tenor and
two basses. Their role has been slowly moving away from only singing a
motet each week to becoming an integral part of the liturgy.
As well as singing weekly at St. Faith's, they have also taken on
bigger challenges such as Bach Cantata no.10 with orchestra and Grab
Musik by Mozart, these (musical) successes are due in no small
part to the talented singers which form the choir. Many members of the
choir find the time commitments quite demanding and relieving the choir
of duty on one Sunday per month has gone a long way to ease the burden.
This has given an opportunity to explore the use of other types of
music in the liturgy when the choir are absent.
I am very concerned for the future of the choir, and hope that the PCC
will consider taking positive action within the next couple of years.
This will not be easy, or come free of charge but I firmly believe the
future lies in investing in the younger generation, recruiting
youngsters from schools and running a scheme such as providing them
with free music tuition in exchange for their services on a Sunday.
This is an issue that requires thought now before it is too late.
Occasionally the choir cannot sing the rehearsed repertoire if one or
two key singers are unable to attend.
A singing evening was held last year in a bid to recruit for the choir,
although the evening was enjoyable, no new recruits were forthcoming.
Two people from outside expressed a wish to join the choir St. Faith's
but both left after a short time. Those from Crosby and surrounding
areas wishing to sing or perform have much choice with many amateur
groups operating such as such as the Capriol Singers and Una Voce.
Unfortunately, singing in St. Faith's has rather less appeal than any
of those groups.
Both churches make good use of cantors. St Mary's rely on the services
of Peter Connolly who sings the responsorial psalms and gospel
acclamations weekly, we very grateful for his hard work.
At St Faith's, the use of cantors has been introduced recently, and
differs from St. Mary's as the cantor sings from the lectern, which is
the correct place for the word of God to be proclaimed.
Previously at St Faith's, the choir had sung the responsorial psalm
from the stalls, hearkening back to the days when they sung a psalm
using Anglican chant weekly. The situation was far from satisfactory as
the the words and music were not reaching the congregation clearly, so
now they are sung as they are designed, to be sung from the lectern
using the microphone. The cantor also sings the gospel acclamations and
any of the ordinary of the mass that requires it.
The Ordinary of the Mass
The status quo at St. Mary's is the Patrick Appleford setting. This
serves its purpose well but it may be time for a change
St Faith's use a variety of settings, Mirfield being the mainstay.
Other settings are in piecemeal form such as the Gathering Mass which
consists of the Sanctus, Benedictus and Memorial Acclamation only,
Allcoat is unpopular with the congregation and hasn't been used for a
My plans for the future are to slowly increase the number of choral
settings and to sing a choral Agnus Dei each week, whilst maintaining
the congregational settings which are well known. John Rutter composed
a setting of Communion Service in 1972 which is really quite good and I
plan to introduce this at St. Mary's as an alternative to Appleford and
later at St. Faith' if it works well.
On big occasions such as the Patronal Festival and the Easter Vigil,
the choir will sing the entire mass to a choral setting.
One of the most frequent criticisms faced at St. Faith's when the choir
takes more of an active role is: “The congregation won't be able
to join in”. I would put forward that the congregation can join in by
listening, and using the time for reflection or how they see fit.
Incidentally no-one from the congregation has complained about not
being able to take part, perhaps the rest is appreciated.
Hymns are chosen that have good music and texts, and are relevant to
the liturgy of the day. Occasionally new hymns and tunes are introduced
to the congregation, this can be a painful process so wherever
possible, a congregational rehearsal will take place before a service
in which new material is to be sung.
Psalms usually responsorial, but occasionally a flamboyant responsorial
psalm is sung.
Motets are sung during communion time and often contain meaningful
texts by theologians and saints that would not otherwise come to
people's attention. We are lucky that St. Faith's is broad minded
enough to allow music to be sung in other languages such as French,
German, Latin and Greek. Wherever possible, a translation is provided
in the service paper.
The organ at St. Mary's was built in 1895 by Norman & Beard of
Norwich, and rebuilt by Henry Willis IV in the 1960s. The organ is of
robust construction and for the most part, works well.
During the last rebuild, the action to the pedal pipes was renewed from
pneumatic tubing, to direct electric action. This has started to decay,
and a few notes are now unplayable, and occasionally, notes get stuck
on. The organ builder is concerned about this and will be producing a
report and estimate for renewal of the pedal action. Many of the tonal
alterations executed in the 1960s are not a success and it would be
good if these could be reversed, perhaps using second hand pipework,
but this is not essential.
The organ at St. Faith's was built in 1900 by J W Walker of London and
was enlarged in 1988 by David Wells of Liverpool. The situation at St.
Faith's is a lot simpler, the organ works well and could just do with
enlarging when funds permit. The blower ceased to work during the
summer of 2009 with the blowing company claiming it was not repairable.
Luckily it was repaired by two members of the congregation and seems to
be holding out well. The blowing company have been sacked. If any
alterations are to be made to the organ, a new blower will be necessary
as at present it struggles to cope with the demand placed upon it.
Donations were received for a new blower and these have been kept aside
for that purpose.
The bell at St. Faith's was cast by John Taylor & Co. of
Loughborough in 1899, weighs about 7cwt and strikes the note Bb. It is
tuned on the 5 tone true harmonic system, which the Taylor foundry
discovered in 1897. Three years earlier and the St. Faith's bell would
have sounded like an old bucket.
Some minor repairs are desirable to the bell but not essential at
present. One major cause for concern is the pigeon infestation in the
tower. As well as being a health hazard to humans, pigeon guano is
highly corrosive and seriously harms wood and metal. I suggest this is
sorted out as a matter of urgency.
St. Mary's use a recording to summon the faithful to church, but astute
members of the congregation may have noticed a large brass plaque in
the Nave by the South Transept stating “This peal of bells was placed
in the tower....”
Further investigations found that in 1914, a set of tubular bells were
installed in the tower by Harrington and Co., Coventry, the old bell
was given to a church in Wigan. Many times I have looked at the nave
roof trying to find rope holes but there is nothing. Members of the
congregation speak of a single bell being rung from behind the choir
door. They must have been rung from somewhere as there are references
in the parish magazines from the period of the congregation complaining
that one of the bells was out of tune and of the 'knocking' sound heard
inside the church when the bells were rung. I believe the bells are
still in position so when the weather is better, a friend and I plan to
ascend the tower with specialist equipment to find out and report
The church has continued its links with Medic Malawi and with the
Waterloo partnership, and these charities are very grateful for the
sterling support from members of the congregation in their fundraising.
Support for Christian Aid has been steady despite the financial
downturn, with £50 donated as a result of the Lent Count your
Blessings last year, £35 as a result of the Advent Footsteps
calendar, and £296 from the Harvest Appeal. The collectors in
Christian Aid week broke previous records by a total of 1125.70. The
church also equipped a classroom in Bangladesh through the charity’s
Present Aid scheme in memory of Mrs R Woodley, a lifelong supporter of
The PCC approved the sale of a Traidcraft goods on the Fairtrade stall,
as a means of contributing a little to church funds as well as
supporting overseas producers. The stall also sells goods
imported from the Occupied Territories (West Bank and Gaza strip) and
receives a discount for church funds. The stall ended its first year
with a healthy profit of £265.54 after selling £1500 worth
Together in Waterloo
The committee has continued its regular meetings under leadership of
the Rev Randal Brown of the United Free Church as chair with all
the member churches being represented by at least one of their
congregation. Lillie Wilmot, Kathleen Zimak and Jackie Parry represent
St Faiths. We are delighted that in future the committee meetings can
be held at the Seafarers Mission. At each meeting the representatives
give news of each church giving an encouraging interchurch perspective.
The year’s activities have included shared worship at the Christian Aid
week service in May 2009, when speakers from the Methodist church
described their visit to a Traidcraft partner in Peru. The Advent
Service was held this year at St Faith's, the choral music being shared
by the choirs of St Faith's and St Edmund's churches. Several member
churches were involved in the successful Narnia event at the former
Christ church building at Christmas.
The committee organized events for both One World Week and Fairtrade
Fortnight, holding a prayer vigil at St Mary’s during One World Week in
October 2009 in advance of the Copenhagen Climate Change conference,
and a Traidcraft Big Brew Event at St Faith’s in March 2010. The latter
was designed to celebrate both the Fairtrade movement and to campaign
for a willingness of the big five tea companies to make all their tea
production fairly traded. Both events were well attended by the
member congregations and the Big Brew was organized in partnership with
the Crosby Justice and Peace group who secured the support of
Sainsbury’s, the Co-operative and other local retailers. Over
£200 was sent to Traidcraft exchange for its community projects
overseas. In June 2009 another coffee morning was held at the UFC in
aid of the Waterloo partnership and raised £278.
Unfortunately again this year St Faith’s and St Mary’s were unable to
participate fully in the Procession of Witness to the Civic Hall on
Good Friday because of the Children’s special Good Friday activity at
St Mary’s but the congregation was represented at the service there.
The churches were again responsible for the Christian Aid house to
house collections in 2009. The local Christian Aid committee is chaired
by a member of the UFC and members of the congregations are also
represented on the committee. There will be a joint Christian Aid
service at John’s new church centre at 4 p.m. on May 16th.
The Rev Randal Brown has now completed his term as chair and Mrs Ann
Hogg of St Thomas’s is the new chair.
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