The Parish Magazine of St Faith`s Church, Great Crosby

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 Newslink            April 2001

From the Ministry Team

It hardly seems a year ago that the appeal was made on Radio Merseyside for a donkey to lead the Palm Sunday Procession! Once again we are hoping to welcome Elvis and/or George to begin our celebration of Holy Week. We are so fortunate to be able to enter fully into the drama of Holy Week, the liturgy bringing alive the important stages of Our Lord‘s journey to the Cross and our celebration of the Resurrection. The cross and resurrection are inseparable. It is in the light of the resurrection that we worship the Crucified Lord and are united with him. On the day before Palm Sunday, Saturday 7th April, there will be a Quiet Day of Recollection at St. Michael‘s, Altcar led by Fr. Stephen Webb (Parish Priest of S. Agnes, Ullet Road). This will provide us with some much-needed time to pray, to reflect and be still before the drama of Holy Week unfolds.

We are looking forward to welcoming Bishop Jim Roxburgh to preside at the Easter Vigil liturgy and to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation. Candidates from both churches will be presented for Confirmation. Do please be there to support and encourage them with your prayers, and remember to bring a bell (or some other suitably noisy instrument!) to help to swell our celebration of the light of the Risen Christ.

The details of all the Holy Week Services can be found in the opening pages of this magazine. Do please make a special effort to attend as much as possible. Last year‘s Holy Week attendances were very good  let‘s aim to do even better this year.
Fr. Neil

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Prayer and Spiritual Growth      Fr. Neil

I am grateful to all who took the time to complete the questionnaire on ?prayer and spiritual growth‘. It is helpful for us to know what people want the church to be offering. In addition to the completed forms others have passed on comments and requests to members of the Ministry Team. After Easter there will be a meeting for all interested in joining an ?Emmaus‘ course. Further details to be announced. 28 forms were returned with results as follows:

General Bible Study Course      16
Rosary Prayer Group       17
Silent Prayer/Guided Meditation group     6
Emmaus Course       9
Monthly service of Eucharistic Devotions and Benediction     18
Justice and Peace Group/Social and Community Awareness Group    5
Sharing in the Healing Ministry of the Church    7
Church History       1
Teaching on the Sacraments      4
Catholic Tradition within the Church of England    6

PCC Away Day

All PCC members and those elected as Churchwardens and Deputy Churchwardens will be attending the PCC Away-Day which will take place once again in the delightful setting of St. Luke‘s, Formby on Saturday 5th May from 10.30 am 4 pm.  If you have any matters you wish to be raised please let Fr. Neil know in good time so that they can be included.

Cubs Communication Camp Weekend

At the weekend we had intended to hold a camp at Llansannan in North Wales but because of the foot and mouth we could not go. Akela spoke to Father Neil and asked if we could stay in the church hall, and we stayed in the top hall. On the Friday we played games and things then after supper we went upstairs and we watched a video called `The World Is Not Enough`, a James Bond film. The film was great but we had to go to bed after it. All of the leaders went downstairs for a rest.

On Saturday we got up at 7.00 am and had our breakfast and played another game. Then we made a string phone with cups and string and passed a message to each other. We tried two people, then four and ended up with twelve sending and listening, but this was not very successful (we will have to rethink the numbers). After a break we started on our code wheels and while they dried we all went to Crosby Library.

Crosby takes its name from the Norse word `Kross` and the Scandinavian `Bi` making `Krossbi`, this means `the village of the cross`. We tried to find out more about Crosby and some of the people in it. We looked for Anne Robinson and Mrs Blair as we knew they came from Crosby but could not find anything. We found out that St Faith‘s Church was opened in 1900 and a train going to Southport crashed in Waterloo station as it went under Five Lamps bridge and ended up on the platform killing 15 and injuring 20 people.

We found all of this information in the reference section of the library (and loads more) but we had to leave for church to get our dinner. After dinner we finished our code wheels and sent messages to each other in code. Bagheera sent Akela a message on his mobile phone. We then had a few more games and made paper planes (air mail) in the hall, while we did this Akela went to get our tea at McDonalds and we had Happy Meals. After tea we wrote down the things we found out about in the library. We then went up to the top hall and watched `Chicken Run` film and that was great too. Father Neil came in just as it started and had seen it also but then he left and hoped that we had fun. After the film it was time for bed so we got washed and into bed.

On Sunday Akela told us off because we woke him at 4.00 am and at two other tuimes, we also woke up Riki but she didn‘t shout as much. We got our uniforms on and we went in to Church Parade service. Thank you to Father Neil for letting use the hall (but we would rather go to Wales) and to Bagheera, Riki, Kaa, Grandad and Akela for the weekend.

From the `Wolf Pack` ——
Andrew, Billy, Danny, David, Jake, Jez, John, Neil, Sarah D, Sarah Y, Steven and Tab

Notes from the choir stalls     Stephanie Dunning

It's no use, I have to admit it.  Oh well, here goes; I hate Lent. I really do. Don't get me wrong. Spiritually it is a formidable experience and the only way to prepare for a shattering event like Easter. I hate it chorally. The self-discipline and absorption with things spiritual are accompanied by grim, plodding and miserable hymns. Too many hover around a single note with mind-numbing tedium. Who can intone `Forty days and forty nights‘ without feeling  he has been singing it for exactly that length of time?
Fortunately there are plaintive and beautiful anthems to sustain us, and the whole glorious panorama of Easter on the horizon. The week demands stamina of even the most hardened chorister. Come and join us for at least some of this aural feast. We all love Palm Sunday, and wonder which animals might accompany our procession this year. On a more serious note, Maundy Thursday is a deeply moving service, and both the Easter Vigil and Easter Day will give you joyous music to enhance your worship (Howells and Duruflé among others). Or perhaps you prefer the Good Friday liturgy, understated and thoughtful, attended by a smaller group of singers who will share with you Tchaikovsky's Crown of Roses.
Of course, we are working on other material simultaneously. The Cathedral work will start in earnest soon. Like you, we are also pleased to greet the New People's Mass setting, which will give us some regular music in common with St. Mary‘s. After a lean period, we are once more privileged in having a choir with the depth to support such a programme. Just as well, given that the recent spate of sore throats and coughs has depleted our ranks of late! A huge welcome to Val Broom, the latest addition to the altos. Typically, our only undermanned section is that of the tenors. Anyone out there, ideally of Italian, Welsh or Russian descent, who can help out?
We ought to be thinking of the future too, however. Our trebles are numerous at present and do a great job, bolstered as they are by a strong junior school choir tradition. We will lose them eventually, as the pattern has dictated over the years, to university or work away from home. Few stay these days to prop up the other parts as they grow older. Is there anything we can do to attract children  to this valuable musical and religious experience? Our son David abandoned the choir when he started
at Merchant Taylors‘ in September. A pity, as he is gifted with a lovely (and extremely high!) voice, which still resounds from the bathroom every morning. He claimed pressure of work, but we all knew that fear of peer ridicule was an important factor in his decision. Not even the carrot of financial profit during the wedding season could tempt him back, in an era when choirboys no longer have "gang" status and kudos. The church is working hard to draw young people in, so if anyone has any ideas about specifically choral motivation, do let us know!

Very many thanks to Ged for his unfailing commitment to one of the heaviest workloads of the choral year , and a happy and blessed Easter to you all.

Resurrection Reflections     From Fr Dennis

A Reading from `Resurrection‘ Bishop Rowan Williams

When we read the Gospels it is hard to dismiss the consistent echo of disorientation and surprise concerning the resurrection. A chronicle of Easter Day would be a hopeless enterprise. Perhaps all we can recover across the centuries is the piercing note of shock, and that says a great deal.

Even in the Gospels, one thing is never described. There is a central silence, not broken until the second century, about the event of resurrection. Even Matthew, with his elaborate mythological scenery, leaves us with the strange impression that the stone is rolled away from a tomb that is empty. Jesus is not released by an angel (like Luke‘s Peter in Acts), but raised by the Father. It is an event which is not describable, because it is precisely there that there occurs the transfiguring expansion of Jesus‘ humanity which is the heart of the resurrection encounters.

It is an event on the frontier of any possible language, because it is the moment in which our speech is both left behind and opened to new possibilities. It is as indescribable as the process of imaginative fusion which produces any metaphor; and the evangelists withdraw, as well they might.

Jesus' life is historical, describable; the encounters with Jesus risen are historical and (after a fashion) describable, with whatever ambiguities and unclarities. But there is a sense in which the raising of Jesus, the hinge between these two histories, the act which brings the latter out of the former, does not and cannot belong to history: it is not an event, with a before and after, occupying a determinate bit of time between Friday and Sunday.

God‘s act in uniting Jesus‘ life with his eludes us: we can speak of it only as the necessary condition for our living as we live. And as a divine act it cannot be tied to place and time in any simple way. It is, indeed, an `eternal‘ act: it is an aspect of the eternal will by which God determines how he shall be, his will to be the Father of the Son. These are abstract words, they describe nothing. They can only point to the truth that God‘s being and will are always and necessarily prior to ours. The event of resurrection, then, cannot but be hidden in God‘s eternal act, his eternal being himself; however early we run to the tomb, God has been there ahead of us. Once again, he decisively evades our grasp, our definition and our projection.

A Reading from `True Resurrection`
Harry Williams

`If we have been aware of resurrection in this life, then, and only then, shall we be able or ready to receive the hopes of final resurrection after physical death. Resurrection as our final and ultimate future can be known only by those who perceive resurrection with us now, encompassing all we are and do. For only then will it be recognised as a country we have already entered and in whose light and warmth we have already lived.

The possibility of the body‘s resurrection now in the present is thus of no mere theoretical interest. It is a matter of urgent concern to us all. What does it mean? It means my body being raised up to its own life. It means mind and body no longer making war on each other in a bid for domination, but recognising that they are both equally me. When I can feel that I am my body, and that this does not in any way contradict the fact that I am my mind, then I shall have had experience of resurrection. For it is death which separates and life which unites. To be raised to life, therefore, is to discover that I am one person. In the experience of resurrection body and mind are no longer felt to be distinct, they function as a single entity.

When I feel that my body is me, and that this is the same as my mind being me, then what I am feeling is that I am me. It is an experience which has come to most of us at some time or other. But it is generally a temporary experience which is quickly forgotten, for the bias of our basic assumptions is against, it and our fear soon once again takes control. The battle for domination re-asserts itself. Body and mind fall apart, competing with each other for the prize of being me. And in their falling apart the disintegration of death sets in.

Yet the experience of resurrection returns and I know myself again as one person for whom to be body is to be mind and to be mind is to be body. And this experience of oneness within myself invariably brings with it the experience of oneness with the external world. I no longer feel separated from the people and things I live among. While renaming fully themselves and preserving their own inalienable identity, they also become part of what I am. The separation between me and them is overcome so that I share an identity with them. My own resurrection is also the resurrection of the world.

From the Church of England Website

Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England
In Advent 2000, the Church of England unveiled a new generation of liturgy. Known as Common Worship, the material is a mixture of old and new that promises much for the collective worship and life of the Church. The material replaces the Alternative Service Book 1980, which ceased to be authorized on December 31 2000.

Part of the function of liturgy is to create resonances with people‘s experience and their own situations. That is why we sometimes need a mixture of ancient and modern, as well as vibrant images in the text. Another function of liturgy that has been a key consideration in the development of the Common Worship material is the concept of the Christian life as a journey — a journey that can be travelled by both Christians and those as yet uncommitted. The emerging liturgy is designed to be dynamic, a powerful tool for both mission and spirituality that will help people along the way. You can find more information about Common Worship, together with resources and the liturgical texts to read for yourself on the Church of England web-sit (

The Alternative Service Book 1980
During the twentieth century the Church of England, like other Christian churches, felt the need to produce liturgical rites in modern language that drew on the latest fruits of historical scholarship and at the same time met the pastoral needs of the age. A period of experimentation began in the 1960s and culminated in the publication in 1980 of the Alternative Service Book 1980 (ASB), which was intended to be an alternative to The Book of Common Prayer. The ASB was authorized in the first instance for a period of ten years, which was subsequently renewed for a further decade, until the end of the year 2000.

Homily for J.T.
preached by Fr. Neil at the Mass of Thanksgiving for John Taylor RIP

No matter how many times we speak or sing about life after death, whenever we are faced with the brutal reality of a life suddenly taken from us, no amount of faith or belief can prevent us from feeling the pain, shock and real grief that we bring with us today. Whether we are here as a person with a strong faith, a weak faith or no faith at all, we are all of us are here — to be united completely in our feelings of  our love and support for Irene, Stephanie, Daniel and all John‘s family at this time. We are united in a common grief and in some strange way to make sense of why we are here today.

Quite simply we are here because we love John. Because he gave so much to so many people during his earthly life and we are immensely grateful for that: more grateful than any words can say. We are here to thank God for a very special and unique person. Shortly there will be tributes spoken by those who have known him over many years and have worked closely with him. A glance around this congregation today would see that so many different aspects of John‘s life are represented. Perhaps some aspects of his life that none of us knew of! The fact that in this Eucharist all ages are represented and involved — this pays tribute to a man who had so much time for people, young and old.

The picture on the front of the mass booklet speaks volumes about John: his love and his passion for life, for being outdoors. His deep passion for wanting others to enjoy life to the full. As we gather in the hall after mass, the family hope that all will come in, there will be stories told, memories shared. There will be laughter, but today there will be tears also.

There‘s a sense in which if we are completely honest, we feel that we shouldn‘t be here at all today. It‘s so tempting for me to try and find clever and magical words which would in some way make us all feel better and shield us from reality. But we are here. We are here to face the reality.

For Christians, the reality that has to be faced is that symbol and mystery at the heart of it all. At the heart of the Christian faith is the Cross. The mystery of the Cross teaches us that life and death, joy and sadness are inextricably bound together. We do not celebrate Easter Day before first going through the pain of the Cross. No matter how unbearable we feel the pain is, we know it doesn‘t stop there: we know today that John has moved on from this world to God‘s eternal paradise.  In that heavenly place says St John `God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.‘  That was the faith that sustained John on earth and it must sustain us today. Today John is free from pain, distress and suffering; we need to ask God to give us strength to wipe away the tears from our eyes. Today John will experience the fullness of God‘s healing love; we need to ask God to bring together the strands of our lives, to grant us his healing and to make us whole.

Our Lord‘s own earthly life seemed to many cut short. Nailed to a cross at about the age of  33. An awful tragic pointless death in a cruel and hostile world. Such a painful experience for those close to him; particularly to Mary his Mother, who never once gave in but stayed with him in his suffering at the foot of the Cross. And yet, in those years it was not a life wasted but a life in which so much had been accomplished: so much that it quite literally changed the course of the world. John‘s is not a wasted life but one which has been so varied, so colourful and full; one in which he has given freely to those around him. We will never know the full extent of his influence upon those around him. Lives have been touched, changed and most definitely influenced for good. We can only thank God for that and for the privilege of knowing him.

We leave John today in God‘s love and God‘s care knowing that in the fullness of God‘s time we will see him again and enjoy his friendship. I finish with some words from `The Prophet‘ by Kahlil Gibran:

We would ask now of Death. And he said:
You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil
the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide
unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.

Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before
the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling,
that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt in the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing but to free the breath from its restless tides,
that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain  top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

`Oh yes it is!`  Chris Price

Those with long memories can remember earlier pantomimes at St Faith‘s — even Fr Peter Cavanagh as an earlier Widow Twankey! How we managed it on the large shelf that passes for a stage at St Faith‘s I‘m not quite sure. Memory recalls these historic performances as being Fun — and whatever else may be said about the 2001 pantomime, it was very definitely Fun.

The original idea was to write our own pantomime, lifting where necessary from existing scripts, until we discovered that borrowing from existing shows would cause copyright difficulties It then became clear that, although there were plenty of people wanting to `strut their stuff‘ on stage or to support the effort backstage, we didn‘t actually have a producer...  Enter Peter Mercer, who provided not only his own script for `Aladdin‘, but provided himself as producer and, as it turned out, a provider of ideas, materials, contacts and assistance from the world of local drama, and to whom we owe a very real debt of gratitude for making the whole thing possible.

As the time drew near, what seemed at first a random collection of under-rehearsed chaotic moments began to take shape, until St Mary‘s Church Hall was ready to be transformed into a (very) little theatre and its stage into a professionally-lit Aladdin‘s cave of costumes, props, make-up, sound and lighting, and a whole range of individual and highly-entertaining performances, from Widow Twankey down. It also became clear that, as far as seating was concerned, demand was far outstripping supply. What began as three performances was re-scheduled first as four, then five, then with a public dress rehearsal, even six shows, all to capacity audiences of 90+ — and with some people still unable to get tickets. By the time the last curtain came down (O.K., across, then) some 550 people had watched the efforts of a team of 30 or 40 performers and support staff, and, to judge by all the happy faces and nice things said then and later, had all thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

It would fill this issue to review all the performances and performers — the pictures will give the flavour of what went on, for anyone who missed it and has yet to buy my video of the whole of one of the performances (a snip at £7.50). But justice demands a mention of Fr Neil‘s barnstorming performance as the Widow. Bearing all before him (and not a little behind him: it made for tricky exits through narrow gaps in the flats!) he swept on and off stage to bring the house down with cheeky songs, outrageous flirtations and larger-than-life acting, with perhaps just the occasional innuendo thrown in. Truly, there is nothing like a dame...    And everyone else,  young and old,  large and (sometimes very) small; solo acts and chorus line, threw themselves into it and gave packed audiences a show to remember. For those who insist on more detail, see Tristram Itemard‘s penetrating review below.

Undoubtedly the most satisfying aspect of the whole thing was the fact that it really was a product of the United Benefice Dramatic Society. People from both congregations (and their fringes) took part in various ways: acting, backstage, front of house, printing, serving refreshments and so on. It would have been very hard for either church to do something as ambitious and successful on its own; together the `Aladdin‘ production proved that two can be better than one. It was exhausting, sometimes fraught, but we learnt a lot in the process, and the impetus to do something like it again next year will probably prove irresistible. Ah well, there go winter weekends again!

`Aladdin‘: The Critic Speaks
Extracts from a hard-hitting review of the production presented, at the after-show party, by eminent critic Tristram Itemard.

The essence of panto lies in its humour; throughout the ages pantomime clowns have captured the hearts of children and adults with absurd costume, bizarre antics and a brand of humour which has stood the test of centuries. You obviously did not know this. Pantomime can be described as the representation of a story in dumbshow and, true to the traditions of comedy and pantomime, your production was liberally sprinkled with a varied selection of clowns and dummies. Turning to the actors, whom I hold most responsible for what happened, I begin with your chorus, the soft underbelly of the show. Every big production needs the full weight of the chorus behind it. Need I say more? The history of Lancashire abounds with stories of satanic women who practised the black arts on the craggy slopes of the Pennines. I spotted at least four of them lurking in your chorus today. If I could lump them all together I would merely ask `where would we have been without them?‘. You‘d have had more room for scenery for a start.

Widow Twankey‘s was a performance of immense stature. I will resist the temptation of saying that his was a bum performance, but it was certainly a little behind everyone else‘s. Neil does of course apply the happy-go-lucky technique to his acting: happy to have got a part and lucky if he ever gets another one. He displayed his versatility to great effect — but it's all right Neil, you can't get arrested for it. Now I turn to Brian Williams as the Vizier. He was apparently making a comeback after long years in the wilderness. I don't actually  know  how  anyone  can  make  a  comeback when they haven't been anywhere in the first place. He does, however, have a marvellous timbre to his voice, which probably explains why he looked so wooden. He didn't have a great deal to say, which was a blessing. In fact he has more lines in his face than he had in the panto.

Emperor Moo Shoo was played by Rick Walker. I must say I found his performance quite hypnotic; and I wasn‘t the only one he sent to sleep. He came across as a sort of Hannibal Lecter of the panto. I just wonder what happened to his muzzle. Iain Harvey played the slave. Who on earth let him out of the bottle? And where did he get those legs? When he first came on I thought he was standing behind some park railings. Moving on to the policemen Hoo, Flung and Dung, well, I‘ve seen more attack from an empty crisp packet. They did at least know their lines: they just didn‘t know who said them. Finally I single out Margaret Davies as the kindly spirit. I just wonder what kindly spirit she‘d been drinking.

I deliberately don‘t mention the younger members of the cast in my review, because they were magnificent. I give them one word of advice, however. Watch and study carefully the acting techniques and stage presence of the senior members of the cast. That‘s how you‘ll end up if you‘re not careful.  To sum up, this was a pantomime liberally riddled with memory lapses. People forgot their lines. People forgot to come on. People forgot to go off. People forgot who they were. People forgot who everyone else was. Yes, it was a very forgettable show. I believe the show has been videotaped for posterity. If so, I‘m sure your version of `Aladdin‘ will make the Blair Witch Project look like a chimps‘ tea party.

Tristram Itemard (a.k.a. Peter Mercer)


The Centurion
Clive Sansom

What is it now? More trouble?
Another Jew? I might have known it.
These Jews, they buzz around the tail of trouble
Like lascivious flies. Do they think we‘re here
Because we love them? Is it their climate
That holds us here? Why think, Marcellus —
By God, just dream of it. Today in Rome,
Less than two thousand thirsty miles away
Fountains and squares and shadowed colonnades,
Men with smooth chins and girls that sometimes wash.
Well, who is it? ... I see,
Another to be taken to that bonehill.
They‘re coming now. Just listen to them! —
You‘d think they had a dozen there at least.
My sword, Marcellus. I‘ll be back to dinner,
Unless this fellow‘s a reluctant dier
Who loves the world too well.

Halt! Stop that shouting. Why is he dressed like that?
(His robes are purple. On his head
A hedge-crown. Where the thorns are driven
Berries of blood leap up ...) My orders differ.
Remove that crown — at once — return his clothes.
Kingship can wait until his throne is ready.
Till then, safe conduct. Hold your lines -
Especially that to windward: I‘ve no fondness
For foreign spittle. Hold the line. March!

`Halt. Here‘s the place. Set down the cross.
You three attend to it. And remember, Marcus,
The blows are struck, the nails are driven
For Roman law and Roman order,
Not for your private satisfaction.
Set to work.‘

(The grass is bare, sand-coloured: the hill
Quivers with heat.) What? As you please.
Seamless? Then dice for it.‘(The sun
Is brutal in this land, metallic.
It works for death, not life.) Well, is it done?
Now nail the board above: King of the Jews.
That turns the mockery on them. Watch them wince
At the superscription. Look, their faces!
Hate. Which man is hated most,
Myself, or him? He‘ll do for both:
They know their limitations. They know,
Greek, Jew or Roman, there is one command,
One only. What‘s his name?—-
He takes it quietly. From Nazareth?
I know it well. Who would exchange it
For this sad city, and become
The food of flies? Marcus, there!
Give him some wine: he won‘t last long.‘
That strain of wrist, the arms‘ tension
And scarecrow hang of chest. Ah well,
Poor devil, he‘s got decent eyes.‘

Our Lady
Hilaire Belloc

The crucified Him on Calvary
Upon an April day;
And because he had been her little son
She followed Him all the way.

Our Lady stood beside the Cross,
A little space apart,
And when she heard our Lord cry out
A sword went through her heart.

George Herbert

Rise, heart; thy Lord is risen. Sing His praise
 Without delayes,
Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise
 With Him mayst rise:
That, as His death calcined thee to dust,
His life may make thee gold, and much more, just.

Awake, my lute, and struggle for thy part
 With all thy art.
The crosse taught all wood to resound His name
 Who bore the same.
His stretched sinews taught all strings, what key
Is best to celebrate this most high day.

Consort both heart and lute, and twist a song
 Pleasant and long:
Or since all musick is but three parts vied
 And multiplied;
O let thy blessed Spirit bear a part,
And make up our defects with His sweet art.

The Paradox
Ruth Pitter

Our death implicit in our birth,
We cease, or cannot be;
And know when we are laid in earth
We perish utterly.

And equally the spirit knows
The indomitable sense
Of immortality, which goes
Against all evidence.

See faith alone, whose hand unlocks
All mystery at a touch,
Embrace the awful Paradox,
Nor wonder overmuch.

The Sunday Specials   Susie Greenwood

Pastoral care within the Christian Church takes on many forms and can be given and received in various ways. In mid-1993 a need was identified within the family of St Faith‘s for people living alone. Older members of the congregatuon, some widowed, some who had become more aware of living alone as the years passed by, but all finding eating alone on Sunday after church a difficult time, were contacted.

Thw Sunday specials was soon established to provide a meat-and-2-veg Sunday lunch in our home (there being no `homely‘ room on the premises at St Faith‘s) for 6 — 8 guests once every calendar month — and we are often still chatting at 4.30 pm! There are now over 20 partcipants, so our annual Coffee Morning in May is an ideal time for us all to meet together and with other Church members and friends.

Commencement of the lunches in 1993 coincided with the first St Faith‘s Talents Scheme, so from the outset we have been raising money for Church funds: over £1,600 so far. We bought new surplices for two choir mmebrs and recently contributed £180 towards the new music hymn books in the choir. £100 was given to Caroline Whalley‘s Akure fund and £50 towards the replacement water heater in the vestry. Over the years a network of freinds offering care and support to each other has been set up. We are always pleased to invite new people to a lunch and if anyone living alone reading this would like to join us we suggest you give your name to a churchwarden to pass it one to me.

Do come to our May Coffee Morning — details soon!

Diocesan Commission on the Theology of Friendship

You may have read in the Diocesan newspaper that Bishop James is setting up a commission to work through and investigate issues related to the ?theology of friendship‘, which will touch on matters of friendship, relationship , love and sexuality. This follows the debates which have taken place in recent years within the Church, and its members will represent a broad spectrum of opinion and experience.

Mike Homfray has been invited to join this Theology of Friendship group and welcomes your thoughts and prayers as he embarks upon this challenge!

Saturday Open Days and Recitals

With the start (we hope!) of the summer season, the Church is again open from the end of April on Saturdays following the 10.30 a.m. Eucharist until 1.00 p.m. Refreshments are served, there are free guidebooks available and various items for sale and at 12 noon there is a free recital lasting approximately 30 minutes. We hope very much that members and friends of St Faith‘s will come along whenever they can, not just to enjoy a whole season of excellent free concerts, but to meeet and greet visitors.

April Sat 21 Gerard Callacher (Organ)
 Sat 28 April Johnson (Violin) and Friends
May Sat 5 Joan Foster (Mezzo-Soprano) and friends
 Sat 12 Andrew Mellor (Organ)
 Sat  19 Peter O‘Connor (Flute) and Neil Kelley (Piano)
 Sat 26 Jane Panter (Violin) and Neil Kelley (Piano)

Annual Parish Meeting  Monday 23rd April 2001

The meeting is is to take place following the 7.30 pm Eucharist on St George‘s Day. Nominations are needed for two Churchwardens, two Deputy Churchwardens and members of the PCC. There will also be an opportunity for people to join one of the following groups: Catering Team, Finance and Stewardship Committee, Hall Redevelopment Group and Premises Committee. As last year there will be an opportunity for us to hear about the work of the different organisations in the parish and to ask any questions.

May Devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary
Sunday 6th May at 6.00 pm

Choral Evening Prayer, Procession and Benediction
Preacher: Fr. Kevin Jordan
(Chaplain, Westminster Cathedral)


Easter Sunday  Francis Kilvert

I rose early and went out into the fresh, brilliant morning, between six and seven o'clock. The sun had already risen some time, but the grass was still white with the hoar frost. I walked across the common in the bright sunny quiet empty morning, listening to the rising of the lark as he went up in an ecstasy of song into the blue unclouded sky and gave in his Easter morning hymn at Heaven‘s Gate. Then came the echo and answer of earth as the Easter bells rang out their joy peals from the church towers all round. It was very sweet and lovely, the bright silent sunny morning, and the lark rising and singing alone in the blue sky, and then suddenly the morning air all alive with music of sweet bells ringing for the joy of the resurrection. `The Lord is risen,‘ smiled the sun. `The Lord is risen‘ sang the lark. And the church bells in their joyous pealing answered from tower to tower, `He is risen indeed.‘

Is it P.C. - or is it Equality?     Mike Homfray

I have a confession to make. I am PC — Politically Correct. I must be. After all, I used to be an equalities officer as part of my job, I have been active in campaigns and activities around equalities issues, and I offer freelance training in equalities issues, in particular those surrounding sexuality.

So it was with some interest and a mixture of interest, amusement and annoyance that I read the excerpt from A.N.Wilson in the February Newslink. Interest because I am always fascinated by anything which discusses this matter.... amusement because Wilson is a humorist and is all too aware that people like me are easy to `wind up‘... but also annoyance, because despite the fact that I found the article funny and in places pertinent, I am also aware of the underlying message which I think could undermine the fundamental aims of my own work in breaking down barriers and achieving a more open and less prejudiced society.

To clarify... someone like myself, who has been deeply and personally involved in these issues for some 15 years, is only too aware that there have been some painful and clumsy attempts in terms of equalities issues, and the over-emphasis on language, for example, can certainly take away from the reality of prejudice and discrimination that should be the focus of any such work. But I am concerned at the current backlash, which means that `political correctness‘ is used not just, rightly, to criticise these excesses, but the very genuine efforts of those who are working for more openness.... both in the Church and outside.

Take the question of awareness training. I have provided this for a number of years: indeed I recently facilitated a course aimed at voluntary sector groups in Sefton. During that day we were able to look at legal discrimination, talk through our own experiences, feelings and knowledge, and apply them to the organisations in which we work, given that all of us want to ensure that they are inclusive and responsive to the needs of a range of people, including those who may face discrimination. And sometimes `institutional‘ practices can be unwittingly discriminatory... or in the case of some groups, overtly discriminatory. I am tempted to suggest that one of my own courses may be of more assistance to certain Bishops than one with race as its central focus.... And none of us are perfect, or know all there is to know. In that last training day I organised, a number of participants had no idea, for example, that it remains perfectly legal to dismiss gay people from their employment simply because they are gay ™ there is no legal protection. I spent six years living in the heart of the Pakistani community in Huddersfield, and I learned a tremendous amount, yet that option is not open to everyone, and I would have thought that Anglican bishops may not have necessarily had that sort of exposure. So an awareness day, where one can explore one‘s feelings and learn, can be extremely valuable. None of us is perfect, and I think we all have prejudices, some of which we may not necessarily be aware of. I really don‘t think that Bishops are any more perfect than anyone else in that respect, although I hope they would be open to change and reflection!

There is, I feel, a tendency to react against the `excesses‘ by labelling everything which even mentions equalities issues as `PC‘, and the unintentional consequences of this may be to legitimise prejudices. This does not mean that I think that everything should be made an `issue‘ of and as a Church, I find St. Faith‘s an excellent example of a welcoming, inclusive Christian community, where old, young, white, black, gay, straight and so on are made genuinely welcome. But let us not forget that discrimination is very real. A country where the murder of Stephen Lawrence, the Soho bombings and the presence of Section 28 on the statute is far from one where we can be satisfied that prejudice has been extinguished.

So next time a genuine attempt at challenging prejudice is dismissed as PC, remember that it is only through the raising of awareness and legal equality that many of the prejudices of the past have been challenged ™ and that we do still have a way to go before we can say that we live in an equal society where diversity and inclusivity is respected.


Coming soon ...
Award-winning fuchsia plants, the kind gift of Dave and May Clark, on sale in St Faith‘s for Church funds.

Dave, who lives in Dorbett Drive, is an expert plantsman who specialises in the cultivation of fuchsias, and has won a whole range of local and national awards for his work, as well as being president of several  Fuchsia Societies , and a past Showground Director of the famous Southport Flower Show..

Thanks to his generosity, for which we are very grateful indeed, we are to be given no fewer than four hundred plants, fuschias and many others, with all the proceeds of whatever we sell going to St Faith‘s funds.

There are pictures of a few of Dave‘s  plants at the back of church, and they may be `browsed‘ on his website (http// We are planning to sell them towards the end of the month, in the hall on Sunday April 29th, and probably thereafter.  Prices are still to be decided: but two things are certain — every plant you buy will be a top quality bargain, and every plant you buy will be pure profit to St Faith‘s. So make a date for April 29th — and tell all your gardening friends!