We have for some years produced a regularly-updated free Guidebook, History and Directory for visitors to Saint Faith’s. The text of the current edition is reproduced below, and may be used by itself or in conjunction with the words and pictures provided in the Virtual Tour which can be accessed by following this link
WELCOME TO SAINT FAITH'S
For over 100 years, this church has been a place of worship, prayer and fellowship. People entering this hallowed building have been drawn closer to the presence of God. In your visit we hope you will spend some moments of prayer, sensing the holiness and mystery of God, as it is reflected in the loftiness and adornments of this building. And if you can, come back on a Sunday morning, when the church is alive with the worship of Almighty God as we break bread together and rejoice in His sacramental presence, before meeting together in fellowship in the Church Hall..
This leaflet tells you something of the history of St Faith’s:
and why it was built, and what there is in it of interest for you
It also gives details of services, as well as of the various
connected with the church, and people to get in touch with if you
to know more. Whether you have come to worship, to look around, or
to sit quietly for a while, we bid you welcome. We invite you to
look at the various displays on the boards at the back of church,
take a complimentary copy of this guide and of Newslink, the
or, if you wish, to buy any of the items on sale, including the
Furnishings of Faith, which describes the various features of the
in greater detail.
Revd Denise McDougall, 27 Mayfait A|venue, Crosby. L23 2TL. Tel 0151 924 8870
Canon Peter Goodrich, 16 Hillside Avenue, Ormskirk, L39 5BB 01695 573285
Fr. Dennis Smith, 16 Fir Road, Waterloo. L22 4QL. 928 5065
Dr Fred Nye, 23 Bonnington Avenue, Crosby. L23 7YJ. 924 2813
Mrs Jacqueline Parry, 21 Grosvenor Avenue, Crosby. L23 0SB. 928 0726
Mrs Cynthia Johnson, 30 Willow House, Maple Close, Seaforth, L21 4LY, 286 8155
A GUIDE TO THE CHURCH
St Faith’s, dedicated to St Faith of Aquitaine, a 4th century French martyr, was designed by architects Grayson and Ould and erected between 1898 and 1900. It is built in brick and its bulk dominates the crossroads. From outside, note the small bell-tower, the Garden of Memory to the north and, also outside and near the North Porch, the foundation stone laid by the founder’s young son in May 1898. The Church was consecrated in April, 1900.
Many of the features described below are identified and explained by small panels at various points around the church. The visitor entering St Faith’s is confronted by the marble baptismal font, bearing the words from the Nicene Creed ‘I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins’; the font signifies the start of the Christian journey to redemption, culminating at the High Altar. At the back, the carved and painted boards on the west wall record the names of vicars and churchwardens of St Faith’s since its foundation in 1900.
The vast Nave focuses on the High Altar above at the far end; on the left in front of the pews may be seen the beautifully-carved sandstone pulpit bearing the image of the crown, symbolising Christ enthroned and in the company of cherubim; below are the figures of St Peter, with inverted cross, and St Paul with sword and book. Note the fine hammer-beam roof over the nave, and the barrel-vault roof over the chancel; also see the stained-glass memorial windows in the side aisles. These were given in memory of clergy and people associated with St Faith’s. The finest is probably that of Saint Faith herself, nearest the pulpit, which is by Bryans, as can be seen by the ‘running dog’ emblem. Many of those in the South Aisle are by theWhitefriars company and bear their trademark (a small monastic figure). Two more recent windows are the work of Linda Walton of Design Light Stained Glass. The first, in the north aisle, in remembrance of past worshippers, was dedicated in 1999 as part of our Centenary Celebrations. Immediately on your left as you enter the Church by the south porch, is the fine Lord Runcie Memorial window, dedicated in 2001. As a boy, Robert Runcie worshipped and served at St Faith’s before going on to become Archbishop of Canterbury: the window incorporates landmarks in his life (including Merchant Taylors’ School and our neighbouring parish, St Luke’s); it also commemorates all who have served as priests at St Faith’s or found their vocation here. A signed photograph of Lord Runcie may be seen on the wall near the Lady Chapel to your right.
The Lady Chapel houses the Blessed Sacrament, reserved in the tabernacle on the altar, and used for taking communion to the sick; confessions are heard beneath the crucifix on the south wall. To the left of the altar is the votive candle stand, dating from 1999; funded by a legacy from the late Mrs Elsie Bell, it was designed by Mr Robin McGhie and made by Wilkinson Welding and Fabrication of St Helens. You are welcome to light a candle and to say a prayer. Next to the stand is the lovely statue known as the ‘Rabbit Madonna’, the work of the Anglican nun Mother Maribel of Wantage. If you look closely you will see the infant Jesus has a toe missing! On the wall on either side of the Lady Altar are icons of Saint Faith, and of Christ as the suffering servant, both designed and given by Mrs Margaret Bell. Nearby in the south aisle, and in the corresponding position in the north aisle, may be seen (except in Lent and Advent) the Centenary Banners, details of which are in the leaflet available. Against the pillar at the entrance to the Lady chapel stands the statue of our patron, Saint Faith; it is of continental origin, and was discovered and brought to St Faith’s in January 2004 by Fr Neil Kelley.
The Chapel of the Cross (behind the pulpit opposite) contains the Great Crucifix, an almost lifesize figure of Christ on the cross, which is a focus of worship in the chapel and is brought into the chancel in Holy Week. It was a further gift from the founder, arriving from Italy in 1928, and is the work of the Stuflesser firm. On the walls here and around the church are fourteen striking embroideries of the Stations of the Cross. These were designed by Sister Antony, and worked by a team of embroiderers, including members of our own congregation, at the Metropolitan Cathedral. This chapel, like the Lady Chapel, is used for weekday worship; it also houses the memorial book, dedicated in 2000.
The chancel screen separating the main body of the Church from the chancel was designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, architect of Liverpool Cathedral. It is finely carved, and carries the figures of the patron saints of other Liverpool churches built by Douglas Horsfall. From left to right they are St Agnes (with her lamb; her church in Ullet Road, Liverpool, still survives), St Paul (now St Paul’s, Stoneycroft), St Chad (St Chad’s College, Durham is the patron of the living of St Faith's, which presents each new vicar when he is inducted) and St Catherine (with her wheel; her church in Abercomby Square, Liverpool, no longer exists). The screen was the gift of the founder in 1920 in memory of his son, killed in the Great War: an inscription in the stone records this fact. Below the screen is the Nave Altar on its platform, installed in 1969, with the matching lectern or reading desk.
If you stand between the choir stalls, you will see what is probably the most striking of the church’s architectural features: the superb reredos, the ornamental screen behind the High Altar. It is the work of the firm of Salviati of Venice, and was brought here by Douglas Horsfall, our founder, in 1901, a year after the church was built. The inlaid mosaic work is fine, and the angel figures and surrounding decorations are all individually painted: you may spot detail differences, including an incomplete inscription above one angel, and two of the angels (which represent the six-winged seraphim of the Book of Isaiah) facing the wrong way. The central panel features Christ’s crucifixion, with the figures of the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, named in Latin below, and with their appropriate heraldic representations. Notice also the seven sanctuary lamps hanging above the choir.
Near the High Altar can be seen three banners, including both the old and new banners of St Faith; the latter a fine piece of embroidery, also to the design of Sister Anthony. If you stand under the organ and look across and up, you will see the dedication stone with its inscription, quoted at the beginning of the history of the Church. The organ itself is a fine instrument, built by the Walker organ-building firm; it has been restored and improved, and you can best see the gilded and painted organ-pipes from the choir and from the Lady Chapel. Also in the sanctuary you can see the substantial carved presidential chair.
In the passage leading from the choir on the pulpit side can be seen a small statue of Mary holding a representation of the infant Jesus; this is the work of the Liverpool sculptor Arthur Dooley and was given by him. Also to be seen is the statue of the Boy Jesus, given in memory of Neil Brook, a server. In conclusion, it is interesting to note that the font, pulpit, chancel screen, choir stalls, sedilia (recessed seats in the sanctuary) and organ casing were all carved by Mr Griffiths of Bevington Hill, Liverpool. If you would like to know more about all these and many other items of interest in St Faith’s, the booklet Furnishings of Faith, on sale at the back of church, contains fuller descriptions of most of what has been described above.
‘The heaven of heavens cannot contain
how much less this house that we have built.’
This Church of Saint Faith is
to the glory of God as a thankoffering for the revival of
and Doctrine in the Church of England during the sixty years
Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria.
This inscription, carved high up in the Choir opposite the organ, helps to explain why this Church was built and what it stood for. In 1900, when it was put there, the Anglo-Catholic movement in the Church of England was working to bring to Anglicanism a greater emphasis on order, discipline and on regular eucharistic worship, and the new church built by our founder, Douglas Horsfall, was part of that movement.
In today’s more relaxed atmosphere, when Christians work and worship together in a way the Victorians would hardly have dreamed of, and when St Faith’s is part of an ecumenical group of local churches of several denominations, it is difficult to imagine the controversy caused when our founder acquired a patch of land, in the middle of what was then mostly empty ground, and built a church which from the start insisted on the centrality of the Eucharist, or Communion service, and the use of candles, vestments and ornaments in worship. There was a petition to the Archbishop of York asking him not to consecrate ‘this Mass House’ and militant Protestant demonstrators besieged the Church from the beginning - a sad trend that continued for a good many years.
St Faith’s was designed for emphasising music and worship, and it has always done so. The uncluttered central space, with its wide sweep up past the Nave Altar to the High Altar, focusses attention on the Eucharist and God’s sacramental presence, while the wide central aisle is designed for the processional movement which is part of our pattern of worship.
However, much of what we take for granted today has been added since the church was consecrated in 1900. There was no organ at first (just a piano), no reredos behind the High Altar, no chancel screen below the Choir, very few candles and no statues at all: all these came later as a result of various benefactions and commissions. Despite this relative plainness, controversy surrounded St Faith’s for more than half a century. Bus conductors would shout ‘Change here for Rome!’, protestors regularly picketed the church, and when a visiting Bishop of Liverpool in 1908 set fire to his vestments on a pulpit candle, the general feeling was that this was a judgement on St Faith’s for using such idolatrous adornments in the first place!
In those first decades vicars came and went, the pattern of services was established and then changed, but St Faith’s remained relatively isolated and generally misunderstood. But slowly the worshipping community became established, and survived the continuing attention of the more extreme Protestant reformers. A bomb fell only a few feet outside the church in 1940, but a happier outcome of the Second World War was that St Faith’s was finally allowed to have the reserved sacrament in the Lady Chapel. In due course the Church held its Golden Jubilee, and in 2000 celebrated its Centenary. Recent incumbencies have seen the consolidation of the things for which the early clergy and people fought, as well as the introduction, by priests and people, of other features which, building on that foundation, have made St Faith’s what it is today.
Thus we have seen the installation of a Nave Altar in 1969, bringing priest and people closer around the focus of their worship. The Chapel of the Cross was created round the great crucifix, in what was originally the children’s corner. The organ has been twice restored and improved, and the choir and successive organists have built up an enviable reputation locally and on radio and TV, singing the services annually in Liverpool Cathedral and also performing elsewhere. The regular use of vestments as well as the use of incense on a number of occasions (both anathema to much of Crosby half a century ago) has been instituted; today many churches around us now centre their own worship on the Eucharist, and some use vestments. The congregation is far more involved in worship than in the past, and girls and women, as choristers, servers, eucharistic ministers and Readers, have played a full part for some years. Over the years many St Faith’s people have answered the call to the sacred ministry, most recently including the first woman priest to have found her vocation here. The removal of some of the back pews some years ago provided space for meeting, especially during summer Saturdays when the church is open for a programme of free recitals and for refreshments; we all meet every Sunday for coffee after the 11.00 am service in the Church Hall. Recent years have seen the commissioning of new banners, processional and wall-hung, the hanging of the Stations of the Cross and two new stained glass windows. In recent years we have launched an internet website with regularly-updated features describing and picturing worship and a wide range of events at and around St Faith’s. It houses a growing archive of church records, the text of the 1975 church history, full baptism and confirmation records and past editions of the national prize-winning parish magazine Newslink.
A wide range of activities, religious and social, is provided for adults and children, and we like to think of ourselves as a thriving congregation, keeping up with the times, seeking to witness to our faith and hoping to share that faith with the people of our parish, as well as with the parish of St Mary the Virgin, Waterloo, with which parish St Faith’s now forms a United Benefice, and with whom we share our Vicar and a growing range of activities (including a pantomime!). As we look back on our Centenary in 2000, and on the history of our first century of witness, we seek to remember our past and to rededicate ourselves for the future.
And so St Faith’s has been steered through a century of
Doubtless those who worshipped here at the turn of the century
amazed at what has been done: we hope they would also be
Certainly they would be more than happy at the excellent relations
enjoyed with other Anglican, with Nonconformist and with Roman
congregations: the old days of suspicion and even hatred are,
gone. We would like to think that there is a welcome at St Faith’s
everyone. We witness to a common faith, we serve the one Lord, and
proud to be carrying the traditions of the past into the 21st
the new millennium.
‘Truly the Lord is in this place;
no other than the house of God;
this is the gate of heaven.’
Text by Chris Price and Eric Salisbury
Designed and printed at the Image Press,
Merchant Taylors’ School, Crosby.
Ninth edition, revised July 2004
Details updated March 2006
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