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The Parish Magazine
of Saint Faith's Church, Great Crosby
Saint Faith’s Prayer for
Faithful God, in baptism you have adopted us as your children,
made us members of the body of Christ and chosen us as inheritors of your kingdom:
bless our plans for mission and outreach; guide us to seek and do your will;
empower us by your Spirit to share our faith in witness and to serve,
and send us out as disciples of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
From the Ministry Team
Every Lent and Easter we are invited to make real in our own lives some terrifying words of Jesus - "those who would come after me must deny themselves, take up their cross and follow me" (Matthew 16.24).
In thinking about what taking up my own cross might mean I have been helped recently by some words of Richard Rohr, a Roman Catholic monk and spiritual
writer who founded the Centre for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He says that what we are being asked to do in taking up our cross is to "bear the burden of our own reality".
The reason I have found that helpful, while not for a moment minimising the difficulty of actually doing it and living it, is that it helps me bring the cross into my
own world. If I always think of the cross as that crude form of execution used by the Romans to kill Jesus all those years ago outside Jerusalem, I can never make it mine. But the cross as an understanding of what it means to be a Christian is real here and now, as well as in its historical sense.
"Bearing the burden of my own reality" is about trying to be true to all that I am. True to the unique and particular person that God created me to be. True to the
highest and best to which God calls me. True to all that I am faced with in the real time and place in which God has made me alive. True to the realities of the best in
human culture and society, and alive to the real everyday political and social events into which God enfolds me at every moment.
"Bearing the burden of my own reality" means being properly awake to all those things, and recognising that at every moment I am faced with a choice - or probably, many choices. It means understanding that for much of our lives we feel as if we are at 'cross purposes' with things. Being truly alive means that bearing the demands and challenges of life, the reality of other people, the pain of difference, the reality of sin and failure - will be felt very keenly - as contradictions, and some form of crucifixion. But to avoid those tensions is to stop living a human life - or at best to be half living.
This season of the church's year reminds us that this is not bad news - it is Good News. Far, far from easy - but the only life worth living. Some final words from
Richard Rohr again from his marvellous book 'Everything belongs':
"The following of Jesus is not a 'salvation scheme' or a means of creating social order (which appears to be what most folks want religion for)....it is a vocation to share the fate of God for the life of the world.....Those who agree to carry and love what God loves, which is both the good and the bad of human history, and to pay the price for its reconciliation within themselves - these are the followers of Jesus - the leaven, the salt, the remnant, the mustard seed that God can use to transform the world. The cross is the dramatic image of what it takes to be such a usable one for God"
From the Ash Wednesday liturgy
Brothers and sisters in Christ, since early days Christians have observed with great devotion the time of our Lord's passion and resurrection. It became the custom of the Church to prepare for this by a season of penitence and fasting.
At first this season of Lent was observed by those who were preparing for Baptism at Easter and by those who were to be restored to the Church's fellowship from which they had been separated through sin. In course of time the Church came to recognise that, by a careful keeping of these days, all Christians might take to heart the call to repentance and the assurance of forgiveness proclaimed in the gospel, and so grow in faith and in devotion to our Lord.
I invite you, therefore, in the name of Christ, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and prayer, fasting and self-denial; and by reading and meditating
on God's holy word.
Lent, Holy Week and Easter in the United Benefice
Tuesdays in Lent in S. Mary's
7.30pm Stations of the Cross
Wednesdays in Lent in S. Mary's
11.00am Bible Study led by Fr. Peter (following the 1030am Eucharist)
The Kingship of Christ in St. John's Gospel
8th March, 15th March, 22nd March, 29th March, 5th April
Fridays in Lent in S. Faith's
6.30pm Stations of the Cross and Holy Eucharist
Saturdays in Lent in S. Faith's
10.00am The Rosary
Sunday April 9th: PALM SUNDAY
8.00am Office of Readings and Morning Prayer
9.30am Sung Eucharist and Reading of the Passion (SM)
10.30am Blessing of Palms at Merchant Taylors' School and Procession
11.00am High Mass and Reading of the Passion
7.00pm Compline and Benediction
8.00pm Sunday Evening Theatre
Monday April 10th: MONDAY IN HOLY WEEK
7.00am Office of Readings
10.00am Morning Prayer
6.00pm Evening Prayer (SM)
8.00pm Stations of the Cross and Eucharist
Tuesday April 11th: TUESDAY IN HOLY WEEK
7.00am Office of Readings
9.00am Morning Prayer
6.00pm Evening Prayer (SM)
Wednesday April 12th: WEDNESDAY IN HOLY WEEK
7.00am Office of Readings and Morning Prayer
10.30am Eucharist (SM)
6.00pm Evening Prayer (SM)
8.00pm Eucharist with Liturgy of Reconciliation
(after which the Sacrament of Penance will be available for those wishing to make their confession in preparation for Easter)
Thursday April 13th: MAUNDY THURSDAY
7.00am Office of Readings and Morning Prayer
10.30am Diocesan Eucharist, with Blessing of the Oils in the Cathedral and commitment to Ministry, to which all are welcome.
7.00pm Holy Eucharist in commemoration of the Last Supper and Washing of Feet (SM)
8.00 pm. Solemn Mass of the last Supper, Washing of Feet, Procession to the Altar of Response and Watch of Prayer
Friday April 14th: GOOD FRIDAY
7.00am Office of Readings and Morning Prayer
10.00am The Way of The Cross (especially for children and families)
10.30am Morning Prayer (SM)
11.00am Churches Together in Waterloo Act of Witness at Crosby Civic Hall
12noon The Way of The Cross (SM) (especially for children and families)
1.30pm The Solemn Liturgy of the Day
Saturday April 15th: HOLY SATURDAY
7.00am Office of Readings and Morning Prayer
2.00pm Sacrament of Penance (SM)
8.00pm Joint Easter Vigil, Service of Light, Confirmations and First Mass of Easter
Preacher: The Right Reverend David Jennings (Bishop of Warrington); followed by Champagne, Easter biscuits and fireworks!
Sunday April 16th: EASTER DAY
9.30am Procession and Sung Eucharist (SM)
11.00am Procession and High Mass followed. by wine
6.00pm Festal Evensong, Procession and Solemn Te Deum (no sermon)
Monday April 17th: EASTER MONDAY
12.00noon Holy Eucharist with hymns followed by champagne in ther Vicarage
Summer Saturday Concerts 2006
We look forward to welcoming new and old friends of Saint Faith's at these popular Saturday Recitals.
22 April Merchant Taylors' School music students
29 April Gregor Cuff ('cello) and Neil Kelley (piano)
6 May Robin Panter (viola) and Vourneen Ryan (flute)
13 May Merchant Taylors' School music students
20 May Stephen Hargreaves (organ)
27 May St. Faith's Choir - Director: Gerard Callacher
3 June Ian Dunning (baritone)
10 June James Firth (piano)
17 June Michael Broom (baritone) and James Firth (piano)
24 June Michael Wynne (organ)
1 July Amadeus - The Chamber Choir - Director: David Holroyd
8 July Gerard Callacher (organ)
15 July Rebecca Hill (flute)
22 July Iain Harvey (organ)
29 July Cantelina (pupils of Ranee Seneviratne)
5 August Neil Kelley (organ)
12 August Pamela Jane Parry (soprano) and Neil Kelley (piano)
19 August Brian Williams (baritone)
26 Auust Neil Kelley and Gerard Callacher (piano duo)
As usual, the church will be open on concert days between 11.00am and 1.00pm and light refreshments will be on sale. The recitals begin at 12 noon, last about half an hour and are free (but donations gratefully accepted).
Two more entertaining examples of the comical extremes of 'correct thinking' under which we suffer. Both are from that bastion of unreconstructed thinking,
the Daily Telegraph.
School Play Romeos face ban on kissing
Romeo will no longer be allowed to seal his love for Juliet with 'a righteous kiss' or, indeed, any kiss at all, under new guidelines for school plays drawn up by the WelshAssembly.
The advice, which could soon be extended to the rest of the UK, says love scenes between pupils should 'stop at a peck on the cheek to protect youngsters from
It goes on: 'Drama teachers must cut or adapt plays if they have to in order to protect children. They should not rely on arguments about the artistic integrity of the text.'
The writer of the article quotes two crucial moments in Shakespeare's great love story. Ending the balcony scene, Romeo tells Juliet: 'Farewell, farewell! One kiss
and I'll descend.' And in the play's tragic climax, Juliet, suiting the action to the words, says to her dead lover: 'I will kiss thy lips; haply some poison yet doth hang
In neither case, says Education Editor John Clare, does a peck on the cheek seem to meet the case. Indeed not - but then who cares about artistic integrity when the sacred cow of child protection is let loose?
Nurse struck off over eye joke
In a further fatuous example of the way of our modern world, a nurse who put a patient's glass eye in a colleague's drink for a joke was struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. The hapless nurse, late of Newcastle's Royal Victoria infirmary, says she had sought the patient's permission before borrowing the offending eye, but was nevertheless told that she had 'compromised the dignity' of her patients, and suffered disbarment accordingly. No wonder there is a shortfall of nurses when those who decide their destiny have such a shortfall of humour.
Poetry for Lent and Easter
I am not moved to love thee, my Lord God,
by the Heaven thou hast promised me:
I am not moved by the sore dreaded hell
to forbear me from offending thee.
I am moved by thee, Lord; I am moved
at seeing thee nailed upon the cross and mocked:
I am moved by thy body all over wounds:
I am moved by thy dishonour and death.
I am moved, last, by thy love, in such a wise
that though there were no heaven I still should love thee,
and though there were no hell I still should fear thee.
I need no gift of thee to make me love thee;
For though my present hope were all despair,
As now I love thee I should love thee still.
Miguel de Guavera
To hear a
far cock crowing
At midnight is not well:
When up and crew the black cock,
The demon plumed with hell,
The night before Good Friday
Great tears from Peter fell.
Its malice and its gloating
Went through him like a sword
Recalling how the third time
He had denied his Lord.
But the cock of Easter Sunday
Crowing at first light,
The white cock plumed with heaven,
Gold sheen among the white,
Sets every bell-throat singing
And heart's bell with delight.
But none sang more than Peter's,
Who knew so well, so well
His risen Lord forgave him
And the black cock down in hell.
When Jesus came to Golgotha they hanged Him in a tree.
They drave great nails through hands and feet, and made a Calvary:
They crowned Him with a crown of thorns, red were His wounds and deep,
For those were crude and cruel days, and human flesh was cheap.
When Jesus came to Birmingham they simply passed Him by,
They never hurt a hair of Him, they only let Him die;
For men had grown more tender, and they would not give Him pain:
They only just passed down the street, and left Him in the rain.
Still Jesus cried, 'Forgive them, for they know not what they do!'
And still it rained the wintry rain that drenched Him through and through.
The crowds went home and left the streets without a soul to see,
And Jesus crouched against a wall and cried for Calvary.
The Donkey's Owner
donkey, he did - good luck to him! -
Rode him astride, feet dangling, near scraping the ground.
Gave me the laugh of my life when I first see them,
Remembering yesterday - you know, how Pilate come
Bouncing along the same road, only that horse of his
Big as a bloody house and the armour shining
And half Rome trotting behind. Tight-mouthed he was,
Looking he owned the world.
Then today, him and his little donkey! Ha - laugh? -
I thought I'd kill myself when he first started.
So did the rest of them. Gave him a cheer
Like he was Caesar himself, only more hearty:
Tore off some palm-twigs and started shouting,
Whacking the donkey's behind... Then suddenly
We see his face.
The smile had gone, and somehow the way he sat
Was different - like he was much older - you know -
Didn't want to laugh no more.
Maundy Thursday Watch: St Faith's
High invisible roof: warm still air.
The shadowed crucifix outlined against carved beams.
And light spilling out through the pillars:
Soft radiance from a firmament of flickering candles,
Gold and white in the night, swaying shadows.
Burnished sanctuary lamp mirroring the arc of fire below;
Dark grouped leaves and boughs, and frozen flowers:
Christ on the altar in Gethsemane.
The dull roar of traffic sounds outside the walls.
Silent worshippers kneel or sit to keep their watch,
With only the rustle of a page, the shifting of a chair
To move the soft silence.
Waiting for death to come to their Lord in the morning
To bring them life.
Footsteps echo quietly down the dark aisle. The vigil
Goes on. The faithful watch with Christ.
Outside the cold midnight brings another Good Friday.
Inside, no time, only the soft shadow of eternity.
Surely, God is here.
(or... have you spotted Dick?)
The fourth United Benefice pantomime, the story of Dick Whittington, was a tale of triumph over adversity and a whole lot of fun for a whole lot of people.
The adversity was the unavoidable dropping out, through illness and other problems, of the scheduled Principal Boy, the appointed Dame, and more than one other
supporting thespian and helper. The triumph, not too strong a word for it, was six performances to full houses (92% over the week) a barrel of laughs, many of them intentional, and a huge amount of fun for all concerned.
The pictures that accompany this account tell almost all the story. They show colourful costumes, brilliant lighting and lots of activity. They can't of course tell
you the jokes - no bad thing in some cases, perhaps! - the slickness of the action, the rousing choruses, the energetic dancing (easy enough for the young people but a real triumph for some septuagenarian chorus members) and the desperate manoeuvres involved in getting some thirty actors and actresses on and off a stage the size of a large pocket handkerchief, often in total darkness.
After the last performance, everyone sat round and watched themselves on the instant replay video, supping lemonade and tucking in to a fine provided feast, and
reliving, as the saying goes, the smell of the crowd and the roar of the greasepaint. Proper thanks was given to all who had done so much to make this show a success against the odds. The programme lists them all, and it would be invidious to name more than just one hero: Leo Appleton. As script adaptor and writer, stand-in Dame Victoria Sponge and of course producer, he held everything together and thoroughly deserved the thanks he received, not to mention the box of Turkish Delight, to be washed down with something a little stronger. But it was above all a team effort on both sides of the footlights, and it gave a lot of pleasure to a lot of people. After the dress rehearsal, one member of the audience said how much they had enjoyed it, and how good it was of us to have left in all the out-takes! We took this as the compliment it most certainly was - and can say with absolute conviction that it was All Right on the Night. Oh yes it was!
Wrinklies' Wit and Wisdom
Some irreverent observations on growing old
* A woman is as young as her knees Mary Quant
* It is better to be 70 years young than 40 years old Oliver Wendell Holmes
* A salesman, replacing my boiler, told me: 'The makers will tell you this boiler will give 25 years' service. He looked up , hesitated, and continued, 'But of course to you that would not be a selling point.' Kenneth Bruce, 78
* Twice Nightly Whiteley? Sometimes it's Thrice Nightly Whiteley. That man is a martyr to his bladder. Kathyrn Apanowicz, partner of the late Richard Whiteley
* You know you're getting old when you're interested in going home before you get where you're going. Alan Mainwaring
* I'm at an age when if I drop a fiver in the collection plate, it's not a donation, it's an investment. Ralph Layton
* Old age is when you know all the answers, but nobody asks you the questions.
* I still think of myself as I was 25 years ago. Then I looking the mirror and see an old bastard and I realize it's me. Dave Allen
* As you grow old, you lose interest in sex, your friends drift away and your children ignore you. There are other advantages, of course, but these are the
outstanding ones. Richard Needham
* Sometimes I wake up grumpy. Sometimes I let him sleep Car bumper sticker
* I don't need you to remind me of my age. I have a bladder to do that Stephen Fry
* After Sunday School my granddaughter said thoughtfully: 'Granddad, were you in the Ark?' 'Of course not!' I replied. 'Then why weren't you drowned?' James Potter
* I can still enjoy sex at 75. I live at 76, so it's no distance Bob Monkhouse
* In the theatre I'm playing, there's a hole in the wall between the ladies' dressing room and mine. I've been meaning to plug it up, but what the hell... let them enjoy themselves. George Burns, 82
* What if the hokey cokey really is what it's all about? Bob Monkhouse
* It's not that I'm afraid to die. I just don't want to be there when it happens. Woody Allen
* In Liverpool the difference between a funeral and a wedding is one less drunk. Paul O'Grady
* I do benefit performances for all religions. I'd hate to lose out on a technicality. Bob Hope
* He who laughs, lasts Mary Pettibone Poole
Train of Thought
Elsewhere in this issue you can read a poem called 'Indifference', by G.A.Studdert Kennedy. (The writer was an Anglican priest known as 'Woodbine Willie', and his signature graces an early St Faith's register as a preacher many years ago.) Fr Dennis suggested I printed the poem, and I am grateful, for its theme started a train of thought.
The poem's theme is that of a modern generation who are indifferent to Christ and his teaching, and who simply ignore Him. Two recent events illustrate the truth of
this, however indirectly; in both cases not with simple indifference, but with attitudes showing how far our contemporary society seems to have moved from Christian values.
When coloured teenager Anthony Walker was so brutally murdered in a racist attack in Liverpool not so long ago, there was an outburst of shame and outrage here and elsewhere. He was by all accounts a lovely lad: Christian through and through and, in the weeks and months that followed, the calm faith of his mother Gee shone through everything that she said and did. My admiration for her attitude was further strengthened when, a few days ago as I write, she was interviewed by Gordon Burns on BBC local television. She made it entirely clear that she could not find it in her heart to hate those who had embedded an ice-axe in her son's skull, but rather extended to them the forgiveness that Christ had taught her and us. What particularly struck me, however, was the amazement which this statement produced. The interviewer was gentle and courteous, but seemed at a loss to understand how anyone could forgive and not be consumed with hatred and a desire for revenge. Without probably intending to, he made hers seem a unique and almost incomprehensible attitude, rather than a shining example of the Christian principles which, in the past, might have been taken as the ideal pattern of behaviour in a civilised society.
And then, following hard on the heels of this revealing interview, came the Prime Minister's statement, when being interviewed by Michael Parkinson, that he looked
to God as a source of inspiration and guidance when making up his mind to sanction military action against Iraq. This was met, in most of the media and by many leading figures, with hostility and even contempt. For his many critics, such decisions should never have been influenced by faith and beliefs, but solely by political and military considerations. The infamous Alistair Campbell had memorably remarked a while back 'we don't do God', and sadly it seemed that his words struck a chord with many in recent days. I was reminded of the amused condescension with which Jeremy Paxman asked Mr Blair on another occasion whether he and President Bush prayed together, as if this was an entirely ridiculous and irrelevant thing to consider doing.
Whatever one might think of the political issues in question, it is surely to a Christian both revealing and tragic that our leaders should thus be taken to task for seeking God's guidance and acknowledging their faith in him when faced with momentous decisions. It seems to me to be just one more example of the insidious sidelining of the church and all it stands for. In both of these stories, it is all too easy to see that we live in a post-Christian society, where open, whole-hearted and public expressions of faith are greeted with amusement, incredulity or plain hostility - or, as with Studdert Kennedy's image, an even more dangerous indifference.
Can anything be done? Are Christians doomed in our time to become increasingly marginalised? Can our individual witness do anything to counteract this creeping
secularisation? I don't know. But it's no good asking the Church to take a lead. It is far too busy tearing itself to pieces over gay priests and women bishops.
An Easter Reflection
Christians have always had to decide whether Easter is event or interpretation: it is both of course, which raises the further more delicate work of trying to analyse the mix.
In the religious tradition of Jesus and Paul, events were central to meeting with God and developing an understanding of who God is. Judaism has always been concrete rather than speculative. The great song of Moses and the People of God (Exodus 15: 1-11) unambiguously celebrates an event. Pharaoh was defeated and God's People found freedom of a new kind in a new environment. Some will want to take the reported details of that historical event as interpretation. Nevertheless, this Jewish song celebrates a fact, and in doing so proclaims God - in his uniqueness, his holiness and his glorious deeds.
The same God, in the fullness of time, raised Jesus from death to life; again demonstrating that he achieves his purposes through events and what the psalmist
calls 'marvellous works'. Another Biblical passage for Eastertide (1 Peter 1:3-9) is a Christian song (which complements the Jewish song of Moses) of praise to God who continues to reveal his character in his deeds and, adds the author, 'this is cause for great joy'; offering us 'living hope' and an inheritance which 'nothing can destroy or spoil or wither'.
In the Fourth Gospel (John 20:19-29), Jesus brings the disciples to the source of this unending joy. They were drawn deeper into knowledge of the Father, and then through the Son they also receive his unique gift of peace. A gift which, like the resurrection itself, bursts the boundaries of known experience because it is not 'of this world' (Jesus had already said to them: 'Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you' John 14:27).
The 'other-worldly' quality of the Resurrection event and experience demands a particular way of 'seeing and believing', which Thomas only slowly and painfully
discovers. There can be no absolute and certain method for discovering the Risen Christ. Each believer comes to faith in their risen Lord by his or her own route.
Thomas through doubt; John when he joined Peter in the empty tomb; then Peter, even though hurrying after John he was the first to go into the tomb; others when
they came 'to know the scriptures'; yet more, when they recognised Jesus in the breaking of bread.
On both occasions when the disciples met in the Upper Room, they were afraid and secured the doors against intruders. Now, by contrast, those who live in the power of the risen Lord need have no fear. They can open the doors and take their faith out into the world and live it to the full.
Joint PCC's Away Day
S. Luke's Formby, Saturday 6th May
Shortly after the APCM, it has become our custom to hold an away-day for both Church Councils so we can spend some quality time thinking and praying together
about the direction our parishes are going in (or aren't going in and should be!).
Would those who will be continuing to serve on the PCC please make sure that this date is in your diary and likewise those considering standing for PCC?
We have two outside speakers booked to help us with our thinking and discussing: Annie Merry, who works for Operation Eden in Church House, will help us think through some environmental issues and what we, as a church, should be doing to promote an awareness of these issues in our community. We will also welcome Linda Jones from the Church Growth Team who will help us to think where we are going with our plans for mission.
A part of that day will also be given to the formation of a five year development programme. What are our priorities for the next five years? What financial and human resources do we need for our dreams to come true? How can and should we prioritize the work that needs to be done? These and many others questions will require us to think seriously about our future as a church.
Such days can always fill one with dread - there are so many other ways of spending a nice summer's day! However, as members of the PCC, you do have a duty and responsibility to take a lead in the planning of our church life. Far from being dull, these days can be highly encouraging and affirming as we seek to work together to further the mission of God in this parish and united benefice.
Finally I commend this prayer to you for your use as the day approaches. I did the same in 2003 and on the day itself asked people to tell me - honestly - if they had
used the prayer. One or two admitted to using it. That's all! I appreciated the honesty but found the answer hugely depressing. I'm not being funny, but if we don't believe in the power of prayer, can we expect anyone 'outside' church to take us seriously? If we don't believe in the power of prayer then we may as well shut up shop now and spend Sunday mornings at home. Please, please use this prayer if you take seriously the work God is calling us to do in His name.
Faithful God, in baptism
you have adopted us as your children,
made us members of the body of Christ
and chosen us as inheritors of your kingdom:
empower us by your Spirit
to witness and to serve,
and send us out as disciples of your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Monday 24th April 2006 at 7.30pm
St. George's Day (transferred)
in honour of S. George, Patron of England, followed by wine and APCM
Saturday 22nd April 2006 at 7pm in S. Mary's Church Hall
St. George's Day Dinner
Traditional English Fayre with Quiz, sing-a-long and live entertainment. Tickets £5 available soon
APCM and Visitation
that soon lists will be in church for those who wish to indicate their
willingness to serve as Churchwardens, Deputy Churchwardens and PCC
members. For those elected to office please note that a requirement is
The Liverpool Archdeaconry Visitation which this year takes place on
Monday 8th May at 7.30pm in S. Paul's, Hatton Hill.
At the last PCC meeting it was agreed that all who wish to stand for any office (along with those currently serving so it's a level playing field) should provide a short resume of who they are, something about their life and work in the community, and why they feel they want to offer themselves for a service in a particular role. Many churches do this and it is an extremely healthy practice, not least because it provides a little information about people you may not know too well and helps you make an informed decision when casting a vote. More details soon!
This month's apology and appeal
.. is from the Editor, who is again embarrassed at the frequency with which his name appears in this issue, and as always, would welcome more variety of contributors.
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