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December, 1999

From the Clergy

'Sacred Stories'

One of the great privileges of the work that I do is to have the opportunity of listening to the 'stories' of a lot of very different people. Many of these people are very different from me in culture, class, ethnic origin, faith perspective, or political orientation. In fact the work that I do to crucially focused on this opportunity for people to tell such stories to each othcr and then to act on them. Such stories are not private or confessional. They are public stories. They are stories of faith in the working of God In history - in our culture and society, in families and communities on Murfleyslde,
Two things never fail to surprise me. Firstly, most people I work with don't initially have any sense that they have a 'alory' to toll at all. But secondly, when they do realise that, and start to toll their story, you can almost visibly see them growing as they gain confidence, and a .sense of identity as a person. In telling their own story they discover who they arc.

This process has led me recently to a conclusion which may seem blindingly obvious. The conclusion is this - that your story and my story are sacred stories. They are as sacred and potentially God-filled as the stories we hear in scripture and in the liturgy of the church. Even, or perhaps especially, the parts of our stones which are painful, or shameful, or sad, I'm not sure how many people in church believe that about themselves and the things that have happened, and continue to happen to them. It has certainly taken me a long time to realise it. I think then1 is soim-iimr ,m unspoken assumption in church circles (and more particularly t ,iih<>hc cm Ics than evangelical ones) that God is only revealed in the 'official' stories of the tradition - church and bible.

The problem with ignoring our own stories is that we cut off the most potent way of engaging with God that we have. The locus of God's activity now is not the stories of the past but the stories of the present. So if we want to meet and know God we'd better get used to trusting our own experience and the experience of those around us. Now this does not mean to say that each and every experience I have is richly filled with unique experiences of God which I must immediately share with all and sundry! Nor does it mean that in any sense I have a hot line to the Almighty and that just because I feel something strongly one day then it must be God speaking to me! What I do mean is that if we spend time reflecting on what happens to us, really digesting our experience in a prayerful way, then - often with the help of trusted others - we can begin to discern some of the ways in which God is moving in our lives. Not like a thunderbolt probably, not necessarily directly, not obviously maybe or in ways that we might expect, but much more subtly, quietly, in a letting-be sort of way. A way which affirms us if we are faith-full. An intimation of a presence. A silent wonder, A discovering of who we are.

For this to happen two things need to be in place. One is a healthy ego! A sense - hopefully confirmed by others - that you are worthy: that you matter. You need to believe that God would spend time with you. The other thing that needs to be in place is the flip side of the first - you need to spend time with God! If God is more real and present in the still small voice than in the storm then we are going to need time spent quietly listening and being aware.

Last Advent on Saturday evenings I introduced a brief Service of Light as a way of travelling towards Christmas together. Quite a few people found the service useful, so it will be repeated this year. The aim is to create some of that stillness, some of that wonder, some of that belief that our own stories are intimately and irretrievably caught up in the bigger story of God.

The services will begin on the eve of Advent, that is Saturday 27th November. They will all start at 6.00 pm and be over by 6.30 pm. They will include some words from the wonderful tradition of Advent, some silence, some simple music, the lighting of candles, and the reading of the gospel for the following day. It would be good to see you there.

Father Mark

'Wachet auf!'... the Choir Christmas
Stephanie Dunning

At this time of the year the choir is at its busiest. Our lives seem to revolve around the warmth, light and joy that is the build-up to Christmas, and we share with all the fellowship of St Faith's the exhilaration and excitement that is the real 'waking-up'. It's tiring, but wonderful, and this year you will be hearing new music as well as old favourites.

Somewhat of a traditionalist at heart, I am really looking forward to contributing to the Hallelujah Chorus and to 'And the Glory of the Lord' in the services leading up to Christmas, and of course to the Mozart Coronation Mass at the Midnight service on Christmas Eve. I'm sure none of you will want to miss the beautiful Advent service, 'From Darkness to Light', which always manages to be both thought-provokingly solemn and full of hope and joy.

Then on December 12th we have the choir carol concert with the Crosby Symphony Orchestra, so popular and successful last time that we hope it becomes an institution - do support it as superbly as you did a year ago.

The special service which always draws the crowds is the Christingle (6 pm on Christmas Eve). It invariably moves me. Advent is all about waiting and preparation, and since becoming a parent I have become rather a cliche, seeing the promise of heaven and rebirth in the expectant young faces, huge-eyed with wonder in the candlelight. Perhaps God, as our parent, watches our faces with the same love. It's a privilege to be part of it all.

Don't miss it. Don't forget - we have music and services three days running over Christmas itself, and we really look forward to seeing everybody there.

The Silent Word!

Little Wilmot

'In the beginning was the word' ... but all too often over the years it must have fallen on deaf ears; quite literally in some cases, despite sound systems and amplified preachers. It is easier for those of us who have no problems hearing the word from the pulpit to switch off our hearing aids (our ears!), especially if the word is uninteresting, than it is for those who have hearing problems or no hearing at all, to switch on - which might not always be a disadvantage, one may add!

But seriously - how equipped are we at St Faith's to communicate with our members who have a hearing loss or who have no hearing at all? Although I do not have the answers to this question, perhaps this article, based on a Deaf Awareness Training Programme I recently attended (my employer too is seeking to redress this issue), may help to stimulate some thoughts and actions amongst us.

As in all courses designed to raise awareness, we started off by finding out how much we knew about the issue. In my attempt to complete a questionnaire about deafness, it soon became apparent to me that this was something I knew very little about and that I was beginning to wander out of my 'comfort zone'.

How much do you know about deafness?                                         True  or  False

• A hearing aid will help a deaf person to hear more clearly.        
• All born deaf people use Sign Language.        
• You should shout to make a hard of hearing person hear better    
• Most deaf children have hearing parents.        
• Most people in the deaf community marry each other.        
• Loud noise is one of the causes of deafness.        
• To get a deaf person's attention, you should wave to them.   
The programme, run by The Merseyside Society for Deaf People, proved extremely informative, action-packed and fun. The practical lip-reading and finger-spelling activities were very enjoyable and the course certainly increased my awareness of deaf issues, at the same time doing wonders for my learning curve.
One of the major issues I discovered is that there are three categories of deaf persons: Deaf, Deafened and Hard of Hearing (HoH) with degrees of deafness ranging from mild, through moderate and severe, to profound hearing loss; each category requiring different social and communication needs. Hearing loss may be caused through infections; loud noises; accidents/trauma; inheritance (only 10% of deaf children have at least one deaf parent - the other 90% are born to hearing parents); physical defects; ageing - the latter being the most common.

If we are seeking to improve methods of communication at St Faith's for members with hearing losses, it is important to understand the differences that exist between Deaf, Deafened and HoH persons in terms of language: communication skills; communication aid requirements (technical and human), and culture.
Deaf people are born deaf, or become deaf in early childhood before language is acquired. Oral language and speech may be limited. They may use British Sign Language (BSL) as their first or preferred language and therefore may have difficulty in reading and writing and accessing audio and written information. BSL is visual, gestural and spatial, conveying information in a way quite different from the spoken language. Human Aid Communicators (HACs) may be required, such as a BSL interpreter or Note Taker to provide the communication link with the hearing community. Examples of Technical Aid Communicators (TACs) are a videophone which will enable the deaf person to use Sign Language to communicate with another deaf person in a different place and flashing lights and vibrating pager systems to attract attention or warn of danger.
 Deaf people are part of the deaf community, even though they live in a hearing one. They share a deaf culture and common language (English is not their first language), and 85%-90% tend to marry each other. They may not see themselves as being disabled but perhaps as part of a linguistic minority. They are the most discriminated-against group in employment.

Deafened people are those who have become profoundly deaf after acquiring spoken and written language. They may have good spoken/written language and may benefit from a hearing aid. A hearing aid, however, does not cure deafness, it will only amplify what a person already hears; a quiet distorted sound will become a loud distorted sound. Deafened people will rely heavily on lip-reading and may have to learn how to lip-read. Their HAC may be a Note Taker or Lip-Speaker who will relay information to lip-readers using clear Up patterns and no voice, Deafened people are unlikely to use Sign Language and mainly identify with a hearing culture. They may be unable to continue with previous employment.

Hard of Hearing (HoH) people - 8.7m people in the UK (circa 1 in 7 or 14% of the UK population) tend to become HoH with age and this number will increase in coming years. They have difficulty following speech and will benefit from using a hearing aid. They need a good acoustic environment with minimum background noise and rely heavily on lip-reading. There is a tendency to think older people are confused if they are slow to respond. Like the Deafened person the HoH will identify with a hearing culture, share the same language and may experience mainstream education. They may share some life experiences with the deaf, but this alone is not enough for them to be truly part of the Deaf community.

Although this article barely scratches the surface of deafness, I hope it stimulates thought and action at St Faith's so the word will penetrate if it falls on deaf ears.

Church Notice Board

    Toy Service - Sunday 5th December
As you will have read in last month's 'Newslink, on Sunday 5th December we shall ask people to bring along a toy (unwrapped please) which could be used as a Christmas present for a child of any age. The toys collected will be distributed through Social Services and other organisations in the Deanery. Also, if anyone can help to sort out and wrap the toys on the mornings of 16th and 17th December, please telephone Val Davies or Judith Ash on 922 3760 to offer help. The wrapping takes place in the Church Hall at St. Nicholas's Blundellsands. There are many families and children who greatly appreciate the help and assistance that is offered. Please respond generously.

•    Sunday 19th December
10.30am Sung Eucharist with Nativity Presentation by our young people and choir. (This will replace the sermon)

•    Christmas Eve; Blessing of the Crib & Christingle Service
Many hands make light work! We need some Christingle-makers: Over 300 Christingles need to be made and, yes I know it's a busy time for everybody, but if you can come along to the Church Hall on Wednesday 22nd December at 8pm and lend a hand (or two) we would be enormously grateful. We will ask for helpers again nearer the time but please - don't let that announcement take you by surprise: please put the date in your diary now!

•    Sunday School Leaflet
Now that we have a good number of people offering to assist with Sunday School we have produced a leaflet advertising the Sunday School. It is very attractive and includes coloured photographs of the children's activities. It is hoped to give the leaflet to Baptism families and other contacts. There are a number available at the back of Church. Please take one to pass on to any families who may be interested in Sunday School. Many thanks to Denis Griffiths who fed each of the 300 leaflets into his printer by hand (a very thankless task) and to the person who kindly met the cost of producing them.

• Stewardship Campaign and Gift Day 1999
It is good to report the fact that people have responded so generously and enthusiastically to this year's Stewardship Campaign. The support, dedication and commitment to St. Faith's has been second to none for many years and it is good to report that there is a significant number of new people joining the Parish Purse and Banker's Order Scheme, as well as those who wish to increase their regular giving or perhaps take out a covenant for the first time. This excellent response is such a healthy indication both of the future of St. Faith's and the commitment of so many people. This will certainly enable us to continue the good worship and work that has formed part of the tradition of the last hundred years. We haven't got there yet! We do need to give some thought to some significant fund-raising events in the year 2000. If you have any ideas about fund-raising activities, small or large, please speak to me or to any member of the FCC. As I have said before, when we are on a firmer financial footing, we can begin to think again about plans to redevelop the Church Hall, among other important projects.

Thank you also to everyone who responded to the Gift Day. At the time of writing a total of almost £7,000 has already been received in financial gifts; people have expressed an interest in helping with Sunday School (making the grand total of eight Sunday School teachers!) and among other things some very welcome offers to help with Church and Hall cleaning have been made. All in all it has been an overwhelmingly good response.

Thank you so much.

What we do in Church - and Why

As the dedication above the choir stalls reminds us, St. Faith's came into being in 1900 as part of the catholic revival within the life of the Church of England. This is the first in a series of articles seeking to explain some of the practices which form part of that tradition of which St. Faith's, for almost one hundred years, has proudly been a part. Future articles to be published wit! include; lighting a candle, vestments, making the sign of the cross, the role of altar servers, processions, reservation of the Blessed Sacrament, use of silence, Holy Oils, music in the liturgy, Stations of the Cross, Holy Water, the Saints, use of incense, pilgrimages, the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession and Absolution), bells, Benediction and genuflecting. There may well be something you have wondered about for years but were afraid to ask!

'Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord, until he comes'. (1 Corinthians 11:26)
A votive mass is a Eucharist celebrated to commemorate a particular saint, devotion or event. For example, before a FCC meeting a votive mass of the Holy Spirit may be celebrated, asking the Holy Spirit's guidance on the meeting. Before the introduction of a daily eucharistic lectionary (a 'lectionary' is a system of reading Holy Scripture) some churches with a daily eucharist celebrated votive masses on the different days of the week. This was a preferable option to repeating the collect, epistle and gospel for the previous Sunday on each week-day. Traditionally the pattern was:

Monday        The Holy Spirit
Tuesday        The Holy Angels
Wednesday   St. Joseph
Thursday      The Blessed Sacrament
                    Christian Unity
Friday          The Holy Cross/Passion of Christ
Saturday      The Blessed Virgin Mary

The only practice these days which can still be found in some churches is a Eucharist of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturdays which have no particular celebration. Votive masses may be said in honour of the Patron Saint (ASB 871), for more vocations to the sacred ministry (ASB 878), for the Harvest (ASB 890), for World Peace (ASB 912), to celebrate a particular wedding anniversary (ASB 923), for the sick and dying (ASB 928) and for the departed, particularly on the anniversary of a death (ASB 936). The clergy are always happy to celebrate a votive mass for any pastoral reason or special occasion. Please do not hesitate to speak to Fr. Neil if you require this.

Lord of heaven
in the eucharist you bring us near
to an innumerable company of angels
and to the spirits of the saints made perfect:
as in this food of our earthly pilgrimage
we have shared their fellowship,
so may we come to share their joy in heaven;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Fr Neil

Thank You

Audrey, Chris and Richard Dawson would like to thank their friends at St Faith's for their prayers, flowers and messages of sympathy, following the sudden death of Richard's dear wife Rachael. Your support has been a great comfort for the whole family.


The Old Countrywoman

Each year, I act as an adjudicator in tne Ouse Valley National Poetry Competition - this year assisting Andrew Motion, the new Poet Laureate, sifting through hundreds of amateur and hitherto unpublished poems to select the eventual prize winners. Relatively few are even vaguely 'religious': this one, printed with the author's permission, is not only a worthy exception but also an entertaining poem in its own right.

I've been coming here on Sundays for seventy year or so.
'Twas here that I was christened and it's here I'll want to go.
Now I know you all gets vexed about the changes in belief -
Well, frills on top don't matter if you're comfy underneath.
I never lets it bother me if I'm High or Low or what,
While I've got me ten commandments I shan't go wrong a lot.
Now, I likes the old fashioned prayer book, and they like A.S.B.
And they can have what pleases them, and I'll read what suits me.
And half the hymns we sing these days I never heard before,
But I can stand and listen, and perhaps I'll learn some more.
All these guitars and instruments - it's no more than they had
Afore they put the organ in, when my Grandad were a lad,
And I don't suppose God'll worry - he wouldn't make a fuss,
As long as ail the singing's meant for him and not for us.
We've had clergy coming straight from college, full of summat new,
From incense on the aitar to posters in the pew,
And I lets 'em ail get on with it, 'cos all these fashions pass,
And you'll still do the flowers, me dears, and I'll still clean the brass.
I got this seat I always have, no draughts and nice and near,
So I can hear the organ and see the vicar clear,
And I tells God what's been happening, and what a week I've had,
And I thanks him for the good times, and he helps me through the bad,
'Cos all that really matters, as far as I can see
Is that I, down here, remembers Him, and He remembers me.

Small is Beautiful

Some lines inspired by a Christmas card depicting a donkey and a robin inspecting each other; supplied (but not written!) by Fr Dennis.

Said the donkey to the robin
'What are you doing here?'
Said the robin to the donkey
'I'll soon make that quite clear.
You mark I'm looking upwards,
Your eyes are downward cast.
There's something you are missing.'
A vision which must last.
I know I'm small, of little worth,
And you are big and strong,
But I've a secret in my breast,
I'll give it you in song.
But promise first you'll pass it on
To human donkeys too,
Who keep their eyes glued to the ground
And miss the heavenly view,'
TILpromise/ neighed the donkey
In best vernacular.
'Then here it is,' die red-breast said:
'The Message of the Star.
Look up, not down. Lift up your heart!
There's Light, there's Joy, there's Hope;
And mortal men need not despair,
As through the world they grope.
Look up! for God has broken through
This sordid earthly scene.
And through its common fabric, weaves
A golden arrasene.
Look up! Look up! though dark the day,
The Christmas Light breaks through,
And human hearts uplifted are,
Where Christ is born anew.'

We're on the List

In order to avoid paying VAT on the Centenary Window, we had to prove that we were exempt by reason of St Faith's being a listed building. Margaret Sadler extracted from the Heritage people the details below, which constitute the official description of the church - something else for the archives!

SJ39NW    Crosby Road North
77888-1/3/29    (East side)
26/3/73    Church of St Faith
II (This is the bit that means we are Grade II Listed, Ed.)

Parish church. 1900, by Grayson and Ould; built at the expense of Douglas Horsfall (Stockbroker). Red brick with pink sandstone dressings, green slate roofs.
STYLE: Free Gothic.
PLAN: large nave with low north and south aisles, north and south porches, large north and south transepts, the latter with a slender octagonal south-east belfry tower, and a full-height chancel.
EXTERIOR: sandstone bands and string courses carried round. The west end of the nave has emphatic angle-buttresses and a large 2-centred arched west window with deep moulded reveal and elaborate tracery. Its 6-bay side walls are distinguished by flying buttresses spanning the aisles: the aisles have two small 1-light windows in each bay except the first, which have prominent square cross-gabled porches with diagonal buttresses, large moulded arches in two sides and gables enriched with bands and raised strips; and the nave has large 2-centred arched clerestory windows (2 lights in the 1st bay and 3 lights in the others), with differing tracery and run-out hoodmoulds. The gables of the transepts have angle-buttresses and large traceried 4-light windows. The tower has a base storey with weathered coping, small square-headed staircase windows on 3 levels above, and a tall belfry stage of sandstone with traceried 1-light windows, a banded brick parapet and a copper-clad spirelet. The chancel has a very large 5-light east window with elaborate tracery.
INTERIOR: brick, with pale pink sandstone dressings; wide 6-bay nave with arch-braced hammerbeam roof, narrow passage-aisles, sandstone arcades; very large chancel arch, Perpendicular blind arcading; good Perpendicular-style screen (1920s memorial to Horsfall's son, killed in Great War).


Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am the thousand winds that blow;
I am the diamond glints on snow;
I am the sunlight on ripened grain;
I am gentle autumnal rain.
When you waken in the morning hush
I am the soft uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight;
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there. I did not die.

De Profundis
(Out of the depth...)

Ian Dunning

The first of a series of four articles (tenor, alto and soprano to come!) reflecting, not always wholly seriously, on the joys of choral singing.

You probably know that the Choir is currently trying to recruit new members. The welcome acquisition of two accomplished bass singers to join this already thriving section of the choir means that this is possibly a good time to reflect on the bass voice and its niche in our choral heritage.

In our choir, the basses outnumber the tenors by 2.5 to 1. If all the adult male population of England were made to sing, the ratio would be more like 8 to 1, so when we complain of the national shortage of tenors, we are not quite so badly off as we might have been. However, our very numerical superiority often works against us.

In choral music, the entire harmonic structure of a piece rests on the shoulders of the basses. Therefore, whenever anything goes wrong, the other sections can easily blame us. (This is traditional.) Whenever the mistake is our fault, there is nowhere to hide - everyone notices. (This is part and parcel of the Bass Experience, but what is less widely known is that tradition demand that we carry back the can for mistakes made even when we are in the middle of a 32 bar rest!)

We basses are seen as creatures of extremes, not surprisingly, since within the space of a few moments we may be sent down to find the B below the bass clef stave, then to reach for the E in the tenor range. (For verification, see the end of Tchaikovsky's 'Crown of Roses' then add on a unison verse of about any Communion hymn you care to name.) We respond to our music in extreme ways, according to popular belief. We are often accused of being 'Too Loud', 'Too Slow' or 'Too Fast'.

Never, curiously enough, are we called 'Too Quiet' or 'Too Good!' We often perceive unison music as 'Too High', but most non-basses seem deaf to this plea.

Traditionally, the bass lines of most hymns end with a sequence of notes quoted directly from the old English song 'Hot Cross Buns'. For once, tradition works in our favour - if, for some reason we are deprived of the 'dots' to read, then we can still usually 'busk' an acceptable harmony as long as we stick to the aforementioned nursery rhyme.

As basses, our fortunes are affected by the other sections of the choir. The tenors, for example, are generally acknowledged as the Elite Corps of vocal 'shock troops', with the power to bring a tear to the frostiest of eyes. If you can sing tenor, respect and status are yours for life. If however, you can barely carry a tune in a bucket, go and sit with the basses, where nobody will notice, let alone mind.

Any young bass who cannot handle the prospect of spending the next 40 or 50 years as the butt of all the scorn and prejudices of the choral world, might be tempted to defy his fate. For instance, he may work on his falsetto range and join the altos. This solution, however, is only temporary, as he soon discovers what every alto knows. This is that one spends one's life singing just three or four notes from one's lower middle register over and over again. On the rare occasions that the altos are given more scope, the music is either Baroque (ie laced with impossible runs, trills and ornaments) or Atonal (ie full of clashes and improbable intervals).

So, short of turning alto, how can a bass attain a state of grace and respectability?

You should:
1    Specialise in the low notes that -
a) Nobody else can sing, and b) are so low that nobody can tell whether they are the right notes anyway.
2 Call yourself a 'baritone' (or even 'bass-baritone'). This gives the impression that you know what you are doing. Also, the operatic connotations of this technical term come in handy sometimes.
3 Marry a soprano (If any breed of singer knows better than the basses how hard is the battle for musical credibility, they do). Sympathy just might be forthcoming from this direction.
4 Buy a pair of extremely tight trousers and sit with the tenors. (If sitting is almost impossible, the trousers are probably about right.)

How do we survive, thrive and even expand against all these odds? Why do we keep going, knowing how maligned, taken for granted and oppressed we are? Because in spite of all it brings with it, singing bass is a very experience. Singing bass in St Faith's Choir is even more so. Much more!{though now we would warmly welcome new members joining the other three sections too, to give us a run for our money!) Despite being .so meek, we'll never inherit the musical earth, so let's hear it for the 'engine room' of every choir... THE BASSES.   

Bargain Corner
Chris Price

Some years ago, using a steam-age cassette recorder, I recorded the church choir singing an hour of Advent and Christmas anthems and hymns. The resulting cassette: 'What Sweeter Music' sold well and was well received.

Now, using the miracles of modern home-grown technology (minidisc, graphic equaliser, CD-maker and computer inlay-printing program), the contents have been transferred to a smart-looking CD which those who have heard it testify to being up to professional standard. At £6 it represents a bargain, makes a fitting Christmas gift and swells church funds.

Other church 'goodies' remain on offer. Publications include 'Furnishings of Faith' (articles about the fixtures and fittings of St Faith's: now in a second updated printing) and 'Poems from The Back Pew' (my poems about St Faith's). Both of these cost (only!) £2.50. There are also copies of the Centenary Cookbook, sets of St Faith's notelets and the fine Centenary mug.

See, sample and buy these items at the back of church, or by post from the Editor.

A Christmas Reflection
Fr Dennis

One of the attractions of Christmas is that it assures us of a God who shares our earthly life. He is born of a woman in an ordinary earthly family: 'And he feeleth for our sadness and he shareth in our gladness/ This is a deeply pastoral truth which helps us to make sense of the inequalities and sufferings of life. Ours is a God who does not remain aloof from his creation but has entered it in order to redeem it.

But there is another side of that truth which has been emphasised more in the East than in the West. That is, as St Irenaeus and other Christian Fathers have said, 'God made himself man, that man might become God', or as we pray in the collect, 'Grant that, as he came to share in our humanity, so we may share the life of his divinity/ This prayer reflects the mysterious words from the Gospel, Trom his fullness have we all received grace upon grace' (John 1:16), or as we read in the Second Epistle of Peter, 'He has given us the very great and precious gifts he promised, so that... you ... may come to share the divine nature/ (2 Peter 1:4)

This could all sound overweening and pretentious. Any talk of man becoming like God seems to smack of the optimism of the nineteenth century, when man was tempted to believe that the increase of knowledge gave him a command over nature which was God-like. Nothing could be further from the mind of the fourth evangelist or the early Fathers. They were bowled over by the wonder of. God becoming man, and although they perceived that this truth did throw light on the human condition, for them it was much more important for what it told them about God: 'the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father has made him known/ (John 1:18) Far from encouraging humanity to be too big for its boots they are trying to bring it back to a sense of awe and responsibility, simply because, by the incarnation, it has been drawn into an intimate relationship with God.

A hint of how this is to be understood is found in the passage from Galatians 4:1-7, where the fact mat God sent his own son born of a woman is said to mean that we have passed from being slaves to having the status of sons.
A child growing up has a vision of the world of his parents. He sees that they have wisdom and freedoms that he does not have and he looks forward to the day when, as a result of their training, he will have them too. It may be only a vision limited to the power to come in as late as he likes, or the freedom to leave his room untidy. But through such limited perceptions he is drawn into a life of greater reality and maturity. We, who have been told that unless we become as little children we cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven, also have terribly limited perceptions, but because of the incarnation and all that follows from it, we are being drawn (unless we stubbornly resist) into a life of greater reality, God,himself.

From the Registers

Holy Matrimony

23 October        Christopher Whithorn and June Edwards
25 October        Michael Raymond Makin, son of Kevin and Sandra

Words from the Web

The growing St Faith's Church website continues to bring visitors and surprises from around Britain and the world. With nearly 10,000 'visits' now registered, we have lots of pleasing comments from visitors, and have picked up fascinating bits of information. We now know of a St Faith's Church in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, another shared with the Methodists in Woolgrove Road, Hitchin - and a St Faith's House 'for willfull and fallen women' founded in 1898 and situated in New York! Queries to our site {mostly by e-mail to the editor) have included requests for information about the writers Leonard Clarke and M.L.Haskins and for the words of 'If Jesus came to your house' (by the way, can anybody help with any of these.,.?).

Below we reproduce an email from Ian and Vivien Liston (actually our first published 'E-mails to the editor'!) which speaks for itself. Internet addresses are often 'way out', and theirs is (Ian is a theatrical impresario!).

'What a truly remarkable site! It brought back so many memories. With my father John and mother Marion ( a staunch parishioner until her death in 1997) I lived at 82 Milton Road until I went to London to study in 1966.1 sang in the choir from about 1955-1960 and was confirmed at the (then) very early age of 9 in 1957.1 seem to remember Fr Richard telling me that mine was one of the very first names in the new confirmation register. I was in the cubs and scouts - Derek Clawson was our Akela. I never thought I'd hear the voice of Fr Hassall again! The choir sounds better than ever. (You can use the web to download and play sounds: our site has the voices of various clergy, old and new, this writer reading his poetry and the choir in full voice! Ed.) My elderly mother was too infirm to come to my wedding to Vivien in Surrey in 19995 and it was a great privilege for us when Fr. Richard held a special service of blessing for us in St Faith's. It was a very special day in a very special place.

We send you all at St Faith's our love and good wishes for the Centenary and hope that we may be able to visit you during the year.

With very special memories, 

Ian and Vivien Liston

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