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 Newslink           APRIL 2002

It is indeed right, our duty and our joy,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
almighty and eternal Father,
and in these days of Easter
to celebrate with joyful hearts
the memory of your wonderful works.

For by the mystery of his passion
Jesus Christ, your risen Son,
has conquered the powers of death and hell
and restored in men and women the image of your glory.
He has placed them once more in paradise
and opened to them the gate of life eternal.

And so, in the joy of this Passover,
earth and heaven resound with gladness,
while angels and archangels and the powers of all creation
sing for ever the hymn of your glory:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

From the Ministry Team  April 2002

And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.  (Matthew 28:20)

Although the wind and rain try to tell us otherwise, there is still the ccasional day when the sun breaks though the clouds and we can feel its warm rays shining upon us and warming the earth.  As it does so, we begin to see the beginning of tender new shoots peeping through the soil, struggling and reaching up and out as they journey towards the warm sunlight.  New buds begin to appear and eventually open, revealing brightly-coloured petals which can fill the air with beautiful fragrances.  The ground, once dull and bleak, is transformed into beautiful colour  the bright yellow petals of daffodils (and similar) reflecting the brightness of the sun. Yes, Spring is here, albeit with its changeable weather, but all around us we can see the evidence of new life springing forth.

As the bulbs in our gardens and fields have spent their time in darkness, so ave Christians spent some time in darkness during Lent — not only remembering Jesus‘ time of temptation in the wilderness and his struggle through darkness and suffering, but also reflecting and focussing on our own lives today; on our temptations and struggles, on our own continuing journey of faith, and then re-experiencing the awe and wonder of Easter morning as we recalled and celebrated the Risen Christ.

Jesus was no stranger to darkness, and yet he never lost sight of God, of being in His constant presence.  Even in death Jesus was not abandoned; God was present.  God acted and gave to Jesus, and to us, the gift of the resurrection, the possibility of new life.

?I am risen and am still with you‘ is the message of Easter Day.  Now, salvation and hope and the promise of the Kingdom shine forth upon the darkened world; humanity has risen with Christ, and the Risen Saviour is in our midst ™ ready to inspire, guide and protect those who have faith in his life and in his presence with them ™ with us.

About two years ago, a friend bought me some bulbs, which I planted in a pot in my front garden.  Spring came and they grew into lovely daffodils and, as Winter approached, the bulbs hid themselves beneath the soil and remained in darkness.  They were not forgotten about, they were simply not evident to the naked eye.  This March/April saw them once again nudging through the dark soil and stretching out their new life towards the warm sunlight, making me realise that, although apparently out of sight, they were in actual fact, always present.

And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.
(Matthew 28:20)

May the joy and love of the Risen Christ remain with us all, always.  Amen.

Jackie Parry

Common Worship and Compassion  Fr Neil

In last month‘s magazine I made reference to some words of the funeral liturgy from Common Worship 2000. In both the marriage and the funeral services there is a preface (or pastoral introduction) provided, which may be printed for people to use before the service. We offer (free of charge) a simple printed order of service for funerals and weddings if people require it and will include the words of the preface in it. Below is the pastoral introduction‘ to the funeral liturgy:

God's love and power extend over all creation.
Every life, including our own, is precious to God.
Christians have always believed
that there is hope in death as in life,
and that there is new life in Christ over death.

Even those who share such faith
find that there is a real sense of loss
at the death of a loved one.
We will each have had our own experiences
of their life and death,
with different memories and different feelings
of love, grief and respect.
To acknowledge this at the beginning of the service
should help us to use this occasion
to express our faith and our feelings
as we say farewell,
to acknowledge our loss and our sorrow,
and to reflect on our own mortality.
Those who mourn need support and consolation.
Our presence here today is part of that continuing support.

Notes from the Choirstalls at last!    Miriam Jones

Here we are, 2002, and by the time you read this, Easter! It is some months since our last offering, when you were last brought up to date with all (well, nearly all) of the choir‘s antics, and of course, some choral news!

You may remember that we were invited to visit Winchester Cathedral to sing the services for a week this summer. Unfortunately, we have had to cancel our trip. It was decided that our numbers were not enough to sustain a ?big sing‘ for a whole week! Some of us could definitely not get the week‘s holiday from work, others would not be able to confirm their availability until nearer the time. It would  have been unfair to Winchester if we had left it any later than Christmas to cancel, as they would have to have found a replacement choir. A week‘s singing in a building of that magnitude would put a strain on most people‘s voices, including our solitary (and first female) tenor, Kari! All the practical decisions in the world can‘t take away our obvious disappointment: it would indeed have been an honour. We were also upset that we had to cancel the annual Carol Concert with the Crosby Symphony Orchestra for similar reasons. Both numbers and morale were low.

The latter changed on 23rd December. Anyone who went to the Christmas party in the Church Hall would, I think, agree that it should now be a tradition! It was a refreshing change to sing Christmas music, hear both serious and amusing readings, and actually feel that it was the season of goodwill in a relaxed and happy atmosphere, no doubt helped along by the mulled wine and nibbles! There were several raised eyebrows at the unusual attire worn by the choir. We had been given an incentive of a prize in the form of a bottle of champagne, which I duly won! I didn‘t know there were glasses as well, but I dare say someone was hoping the bottle would be opened and shared  tough luck, I was driving! (Thank you Fr Neil, I enjoyed my prize!) All our costumes were imaginative, and the only problem is, if the party becomes a tradition, we have a lot to live up to in the future! We had better start thinking now, although at the time of writing the Easter party is creeping up at an alarming rate.

As always, the Christmas services were wonderful  Christingle was the most organised it‘s ever been. For the first time, the choir knew where it was supposed to be at any given time, and nothing seemed to go horribly wrong, well, no sign of the familiar smell of smouldering hair, skin or robes! Midnight Mass was beautiful, as was Christmas morning, no surprises musically, which was  just  what  was  needed,  after  the  unsettled  month  or  two that had just passed. Familiarity sometimes breeds contentment. Most choristers had one service off over the festive period, but there were always enough of us to lead the singing of all the old favourites, complete with descants and high notes soaring into the rafters along with the incense.

We have now (almost) got through the normal  nay, obligatory  period of each and every chorister having a cough, cold or chest infection. We are not only known as St Faith‘s Church choir, but also as Consumptives‘ Corner! Although we have enjoyed a mild winter, we trust the spring will see off all the minor ailments!

Along with spring bringing growth to nature, let us hope for growth in our family here at St Faith‘s. Not only in the congregation, but also in the choir. New members are always needed Jake has made his mark, singing solo at Epiphany High Mass  and anyone willing to make the committment of leading the music at services, whilst also being able to practise their own faith in a fitting manner will be made more than welcome. We don‘t want to sound pious ™ whilst we take our duties and exercise our faith seriously, we still know how to have fun, at the right time! (St Faith‘s folk-lore will bear this out!)

Talking of fun, the choir are going to have another 24 hour Sponsored Sing. Details are yet to be arranged, but it will probably take place in June. We will start singing around 1 p.m. Saturday, finishing 24 hours later. This will, of course, encompass the usual  11 a.m. Sunday Eucharist, so not every minute of the 24 hours will be sung. Naturally, there will also be the obvious breaks between items, sorting music etc, to enable everyone to be prepared for the following item. However, I am sure this will be acceptable to most people sponsoring us, realising this is quite a mighty feat for so few in number. It is hoped that we can also perform an ?informal‘ concert on the Saturday evening, including items decided by Ged, but also we would like to invite you to request items you would like to hear (provided we have the music, or you can lend us the copies in plenty of time!). If requested in advance, the rendition may be better than if it is sight-read ™ but not necessarily! However, if you wish to do this, request slips will be available nearer the time.

That‘s us done for a while, but we‘ll keep you posted about the new members that are bound to join, and that Sponsored Sing!

Commemorations in April

In 1997 the book Exciting Holiness was published to provide liturgical material for the saints and holy men and women commemorated in the Church of England‘s new Calendar. In this book a short hagiography is provided for each celebration. Below are some of those whom the Church remembers this month.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer  Lutheran Pastor - 9th April

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born in 1906 into an academic family. Ordained in the Lutheran Church, his theology was influenced by Karl Barth and he became a lecturer: in Spain, the USA and in 1931 back in Berlin. Opposed to the philosophy of Nazism, he was one of the leaders of the Confessing Church, a movement which broke away from the Nazi-dominated Lutherans in 1934. Banned from teaching, and harassed by Hitler‘s regime, he bravely returned to Germany at the outbreak of war in 1939, despite being on a lecture tour in the United States at the time. His defiant opposition to the Nazis led to his arrest in 1943. His experiences led him to propose a more radical theology in his later works, which have been influential among post-war theologians. He was murdered by the Nazi police in Flossenburg Concentration Camp on 9 April 1945.

Isabella Gilmore, Deaconess  16 April

Born in 1842, Isabella Gilmore, the sister of William Morris, was a nurse at Guy‘s Hospital in London and in 1886, was asked by Bishop Thorold of Rochester to pioneer Deaconess work in his diocese. The bishop overcame her initial reluctance and together they planned for an Order of Deaconesses along the same lines as the ordained ministry. She was ordained in 1887 and a training house developed on North Side, Clapham Common, later to be called Gilmore House in her memory. Isabella herself retired in 1906 and, during her nineteen years of service, she trained head deaconesses for at least seven other diocese. At her memorial service, Dr Randall Davidson predicted that Some day, those who know best will be able to trace much of the origin and root of the revival of the Deaconess Order to the life, work, example and words of Isabella Gilmore.‘ She died on 16 April 1923.

Mellitus, first Bishop at S. Paul‘s, Archbishop of Canterbury 24 April

Mellitus was a Roman abbot and sent to England by Pope Gregory the Great to undergird the work of Augustine, who consecrated him Bishop of the East Saxons with his see at London and his first church that of S. Paul. After some local setbacks and having to reside in northern France, he and his fellow bishops were recalled to England, but Mellitus was unable to return to London. He was made archbishop in the year 619 and died on 24 April 624. He was buried close to Augustine in the Church of SS. Peter and Paul in Canterbury

Christina Rossetti  Poet 27 April

Christina Rossetti was born in 1830 and was associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, of which her older brother, Dante, was a prominent member. Her elder sister became an Anglican Religious. Christina‘s own fame rests upon her poetry, which dealt mainly with religious subjects but also the sadness of unrequited or disappointed love. She was the author of the Christmastide carol In the Bleak Mid-winter. She died on 27 April 1894

Pandita Mary Ramabai  Translator of the Scriptures  30 April

Mary Ramabai was born in 1858, the daughter of a Sanscrit scholar who believed in educating women. Converting to Christianity, she nevertheless remained loyal to many aspects of her Hindu background, pioneering an Indian vision of the faith. She became well known as a lecturer on social questions, becoming the first woman to be awarded the title Pandita. She spent many years working for the education of women and orphans, founding schools and homes. Personally, she lived in great simplicity and was a prominent opponent of the caste system and child marriage. She died on 30 April 1922.

Behind You! — Panto 2002   Chris Price

There‘s a saying at St Faith‘s: do something twice and it becomes a tradition. Last February`s six performances of Babes in the Wood was the second annual offering by the United Benefice Dramatic Society (the united thespians of St Faith‘s and St Mary‘s, Waterloo) and despite the inevitable mid-term panic, despair and frustration it was a rip-roaring success in the end and has thus, almost certainly, now become a Tradition.

The photos that follow should give an idea of what it was like: those who can press the right buttons can see more in glorious colour on the St Faith‘s website. And there is still time to get, from me, a video of the whole show or one or two large glossy pictures and thereby swell the funds further.

We all (everyone, both side of the curtain, costumed and otherwise) had a marvellous time getting it together and putting it on. The experience of a show that brought together young and old, St Faith‘s and St Mary‘s, churchgoers and non-churchgoers, was something very special and all involved at every level deserve every congratulation.

Peter Mercer, of course, made it all possible and our special thanks go to him. At the (traditional!) after-show party and video showing, he made his thinly-disguised appearance as a Cwitic and lisped his way through a succession of hilarious insults, larded with bad jokes every bit as awful as the original script. We reproduce it as a tribute to his efforts and in the hope that it will persuade him to do the honours again in 2003 ...

The Critic Speaks ...

I see that your offering this year was ?Babes in the Wood‘ written and directed by Peter Mercer. I'm not sure which direction he directed it in but it obviously didn't get there.

The scenery was excellent. It just goes to show what can be achieved with a few rubber bands, a box of paper clips, a tube of Bostik and some old curtains — but enough about Brian Williams and back to the scenery. It was really quite effective with its castle walls, great oak door and portcullis. I wasn't quite so sure about the ramparts but I'll talk about Neil later.

I must first of all mention the villagers, or chorus as they are more loosely known   —   and  they  were  loose,  weren‘t  they?      Having  said  that,  I  was particularly impressed by them this year and I seem to recall telling the same lie last year. In all my years of reviewing pantomime, I've seen choruses come and choruses go but this one just sort of stayed where it was. I noticed there was a chorus of roughly fifteen but some of them were much older than that.

Now I‘ll move on to individual members of the cast, some more individual than others. We had Rick Walker as Friar Tuck. Now I thought dinosaurs were extinct but this appears not to be the case as one had obviously laid an egg on Rick's head; and of course this wasn‘t the only egg laid in this show.

Miriam played the part of Robin Hood. I‘m not sure which part of Robin Hood she played but I‘m sure we all have our own opinions on that. All I can really say about her performance is Come back Errol Flynn, all is forgiven‘. Now Robin, as we all know was the leader of a band of merry men. Did you see any merry men?  I saw at least two but they weren‘t in Robin‘s gang...

Rollo, Toffo and Smartie were the comic trio — it says here. Now all pantos traditionally have comic duos or trios and I have to ask why you chose to break with tradition this year. I‘m not sure actually that the choice of names Toffo, Rollo and Smartie was a wise one. Freeman Hardy and Willis might have been better.  Rollo Toffo and Smartie brought tears to my eyes but it had nothing to do with pathos.

What a wonderful part the Sheriff of Nottingham is: full of treachery, double-dealing and malevolence. Brian Williams played the part with great panache. Sorry I seem to have mis-spelt that word — I should have said he played the part with great PANIC — and a loss of short-term memory. I simply gasped when he made his first entrance. He strode on looking like something left over from The Good the Bad and the Ugly‘, and I  won't say which one it was. But how he delivered his lines! How did he deliver them? With a little help from his friends, that‘s how.

Having said that, he did have some very difficult lines to deliver — and he didn‘t. One recalls his line ?upstairs in the attic‘ — which is more than Brian did. He may have brushed up his Shakespeare but he certainly didn‘t brush up his lines. If my words seem a little harsh then they‘re intended to be. But to Brian's credit he did handle the arrow in the posterior scene exceptionally well. One could see the pain in his eyes, which was very similar to the pain in mine over his performance.

I‘d like to finish by pointing out one tiny flaw in Brian‘s otherwise mediocre display. In his duet with Dame Trot he actually sang a line which went: I practise every day to learn some clever lines to say‘. OH NO YOU DIDN'T!

There‘s an old adage in the theatrical world which says ?If you can‘t act, become a vicar‘. I think this should be changed to read ?If you‘re a vicar don't act.‘ Neil‘s performance was outstanding, especially at the front where his bosom came on stage ten seconds before he did. He is of course an actor of immense stature, with an apparent penchant for ladies‘ frocks and smacked bottoms. All the other actors in this show should watch Neil carefully, for his style of acting is the epitome of just how not to do it. Unlike Brian Williams, Neil did however reveal many different facets to his character and cleverly disguised his theatrical failings with the use of numerous wigs, and how clever to keep us all guessing who he would actually be every time he came on. His impersonations of the rich and famous were spellbinding. At one stage he was Gloria Hunniford, then Rod Stewart, then Lulu, Sandra Rhodes and he even did a very creditable impersonation of Ann Widdecombe on her day off.

It would be remiss of me if I rounded off my little review by failing to mention the unforgettable rendition of Something Stupid‘ in the finale. This was pure genius and had everything going for it, especially nerve. The sight of Brian and Neil cavorting around the stage will forever be etched on my memory, unlike Brian‘s lines on his. I can see the pair of them now, wobbling around like a couple of escapees from the Home for the Bewildered.

This then was your second effort at  panto — and my God it was an effort. From an artistic point of view you may like to stretch yourselves at some time in the future by staging something different from pantomime, although having said that, your pantomimes are different. If you do decide to stretch yourselves may I suggest that a musical such as Grease‘ might be a good choice;  though in your case I think it would be wise to change the title to ?Lard‘.

What we do in Church and why...
Liturgical Seasons and Colours


One of the many innovations which has come from the Church of England‘s new liturgical Material, known as Common Worship 2000, is a re-thinking of the liturgical seasons during the Christian Year.

The Liturgical Year begins on Advent Sunday: yes, you might say, we know that. The ASB published in 1980 saw things slightly differently. You may remember from the days of the ASB seeing the heading Ninth Sunday before Christmas (Fifth Sunday before Advent.) What was so special about the ninth Sunday before Christmas? Answer  nothing, which is why the C of E has returned to the practice in the BCP and amongst the majority of the world‘s Christians of beginning the Church Year on Advent Sunday. The year begins on Advent Sunday and ends on the Sunday before Advent with the Feast of Christ the King. (Unless you‘re an Anglican in Canada in which case the last Sunday of the Year is ?The Reign of Christ‘, Christ the King being seen to be too male and politically unacceptable!)

What is Ordinary Time?  This phrase is new to the liturgical life of the Church of England and is one which has developed from the Roman Catholic Church and indeed from other parts of the Anglican Communion.

Prior to Vatican II in the 1960‘s, the Roman Catholic Church didn‘t have ?ordinary time‘: they had Sundays after Pentecost ™ that system had been established in the Roman Catholic Church by probably about the end of the 8th century. This practice was largely the result of the work of Alcuin of York who in 769 became Abbot of Tours, where he died in the year 804. Alcuin revised the lectionary, compiled a sacramentary and was involved in significant liturgical revision work.

In another part of the world, Sundays after Trinity had been the custom of the Roman Catholic Church on the Continent and a system which Cranmer followed in the BCP. (Remember, Cranmer‘s job was to revise and reform the liturgy ™ not re-invent the wheel!) However in 1980 the ASB returned to Sundays after Pentecost.  Unlike Eastertide, for example, the Trinity Season didn‘t focus on the Trinity each week; the Pentecost Season didn‘t focus on the Theme of the Holy Spirit each week. They were simply convenient ways of marking  the  Sundays,   the   ?green‘   Sundays  if  you  like,  but  they  weren‘t

specifically celebrating a season as we would with Lent or Advent or Eastertide where the theme is maintained each week. In the C of E‘s volume entitled ?The Christian Year‘ the note (p.15) on ?Ordinary Time‘ is as follows: ?Ordinary Time is the period… (when) there is no seasonal emphasis.‘

All three ways of referring to Sundays (i.e. after Trinity, after Pentecost and Sundays in Ordinary Time) have arguments for and against their use. At the end of the day personal preference may decide. However none of these ways of describing the Sundays (Pentecost, Trinity or ordinary Time) are uniquely Anglican or C of E. All have been received from the Catholic Church.

Because of the huge wealth of new liturgical material now available most parishes and cathedrals produce a service book for each season. Some are very imaginative. Our own Cathedral has produced a very impressive service booklet entitled ?The Eucharist in Ordinary Time‘. Like us here, they have produced booklets for each season. In the Liverpool Cathedral booklet the introduction says: ORDINARY TIME is those parts of the Church‘s year which do not belong to a special season. Most of the ordinary Sundays fall after Trinity, but there are a few between the end of the Incarnation season and the beginning of Lent.

If you look at the ?Acknowledgements and Sources‘ section in Common Worship it shows just how far we have moved (thank God) in past years: a great deal of our new liturgy has been taken from (or influenced by) other sources, namely: the Anglican Church in Canada, the Church of Ireland, the Church of the Province of Southern Africa, the Methodist Church, the Roman Missal, as well as current liturgical scholars in the Church of England and of course the Book of Common Prayer. Last Advent the ecumenical Advent Service here in S. Faith‘s was based largely on liturgy and prayers from the Iona Community. We have celebrated Benediction informally using many Taizé chants. And why not? After all (as the hymn puts it) do we not celebrate ?One Church, One Faith, One Lord‘?  Why not One Liturgy.?  (one day!)


In the early church there was no particular significance in liturgical colours; the robes worn reflected what was customary among the Roman middle and upper classes. Not until the 12th century is there evidence of significant colours for various feasts. In one of the first known sequences of liturgical colours, somewhat surprisingly, black was suggested for Christmas and festivals of the BVM (often the most ornate vestment was worn for the major feasts, whatever the colour). Blue for Epiphany and Ascension. In a missal of 1570, White/Red was suggested for Baptism/confirmation (CW didn‘t invent red for baptisms then!). Yellow was an alternative to white for Saints who were not martyrs. In pre-Reformation England green and yellow were regarded as interchangeable.

Today, WHITE or GOLD is used for Christmas, Easter, The Blessed Virgin Mary, Corpus Christi, Dedication Festival, All Saints Day, Christ the King and Saints who are not martyrs. RED is used for Palm Sunday, Pentecost, the Apostles and Saints who are martyrs (i.e. S. Faith). PURPLE (the colour associated with penitence) is used during Advent and Lent, for All Souls Day, for funerals and Requiem masses. GREEN is used on the ?ordinary‘ Sundays and Weekdays of the year.  BLACK may be used for funerals and requiems. ROSE-PINK may be worn on the third Sunday in Advent and the fourth Sunday in Lent. In some churches there may be a BLUE set of vestments which are worn in Advent (symbolising the important role of Mary in the Advent Season). Also, some churches may wear a SACKCLOTH‘ vestment during Lent. Common Worship 2000 suggests RED for baptisms, celebrating the gift of the Holy Spirit (as per the missal of 1570). I still use white myself, call me old-fashioned!

So, how about a set of yellow vestments for the hot summer months as a break from green? Any offers?

You Took My Place

One day, a man went to visit a busy, thriving church. He arrived early, parked his car and got out. Another car pulled up near him and the driver told him, ?I always park there. You took my place!‘ The visitor said nothing, but quietly moved his car.

He went inside for the service and began to look at the magazines in display. He was about to pick one up when a member of the congregation came along and said, ?I always read that copy. You‘ve taken my magazine!‘ The stranger bowed graciously and turned away.

He found an empty pew and sat down. But a young lady approached him and declared, ?I always sit there — that‘s my seat. You took my place!‘ The visitor quietly moved away, but still said nothing. The service began, and the congregation fervently prayed for Christ to come among them. Suddenly, the visitor stood up. He slowly walked to the front of the church and held up his terrible, scarred hands. The congregation was appalled, and someone called out, ?What happened to you?‘

I took your place the visitor quietly replied.

Georgina Edwards R.I.P.   Joyce Green

A few months ago, I stood at the pulpit to give an update on the good progress Georgina was making  she had even started at a special school. We had been praying for this little girl since she was born suffering from a genetic defect.

Sadly, Georgina died in February. Her grandmother, Wilma, daughter of the late Doris Halsall, wrote to me to say that Georgina had contacted a stomach bug at school and her immune system was unable to cope with it.

Wilma wishes to thank the people of St. Faith‘s for all their prayers and love over the three short years of Georgina‘s life. She adds that the doctors agree that in view of the nature of her illness, what Georgina had achieved in that time was, in their opinion, impossible. Wilma however prefers the word ?miraculous‘.

The effects of prayer are not always easy to quantify, but Wilma insists that it was through prayer that they were given so much more than the couple of months they were told was the maximum life expectancy for Georgina when she was born.

One little girl has lost her battle, but has left behind some wonderful memories to those who loved and cared for her. May she now be gathered to the arms of Jesus, and rest in his peace.

From the Registers


25 January Marion Ashworth
8 March David Eccleson


3 February Joshua Nathan Daniel Owen
 son of Susan
 Reece Stephen Owen
 son of Stephen and Susan

3 March Heather Frances King
 daughter of Raymond and Jacqueline

Joan Marion Ashworth

Sheila and her family wish to thank Father Neil and all Marion‘s friends for the prayers and sympathy, help and kindness so generously given. These have been a great comfort to us. God bless you all.
Sheila Roberts

Marion‘s ashes will be buried at St Faith‘s on Easter Sunday after the 11.00 Solemn Eucharist.

Reflections on Growing Old      Supplied by Fr Dennis (who says he isn‘t. Ed.)

Seventeenth-Century Nun's Prayer

Lord thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing older and will some day be old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion. Release me from craving to straighten out everybody‘s affairs. Make me thoughtful but not moody: helpful but not bossy.

With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but thou knowest Lord that I want a few friends at the end.

Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by.

I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others‘ pains, but help me to endure them with patience.

I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessening cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a Saint — some of them are so hard to live with — but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil.

Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people. And, give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so. Amen.


Two Ways of Growing Old    Jean Vanier

Old age is the most precious time of life, the one nearest eternity. There are two ways of growing old. There are old people who are anxious and bitter, living in the past and illusion, who criticise everything that goes on around them. Young people are repulsed by them; they are shut away in their sadness and loneliness, shrivelled up in themselves.

But there are also old people with a child‘s heart who have used their freedom from function and responsibility to find a new youth. They have the wonder of a child, but the wisdom of maturity as well. They have integrated their years of activity and so can live without being attached to power. Their freedom of heart and their acceptance of their limitations and weakness makes them people whose radiance illuminates the whole community. They are gentle and merciful, symbols of compassion and forgiveness. They become a community‘s hidden treasures, sources of unity and. life. They are true contemplatives at the heart of community.

The Devil's Beatitudes

Blessed are those who are too tired, busy or disorganised to meet with their fellow Christians on Sunday each week — they are my best workers.
Blessed are those who enjoy noticing the mannerisms of clergy, choir and servers — I can see their heart is not in it.
Blessed are the Christians who wait to be asked: and expect to be thanked
— I can use them.
Blessed are the touchy — with a bit of luck they can even stop going to church.
Blessed are those who keep themselves  and their time and their money to themselves —  they are my missionaries.
Blessed are those who claim to love their God at the same time as hating other people — they are mine forever.
Blessed are the troublemakers —  they shall be called my children.
Blessed are those who have no time to pray — they are easy prey to me.
Blessed are you when you read this and think it is about other people and not about yourself  —  I‘ve got you!

I Asked for Knowledge  ...

I asked for knowledge: power to control things;
I was granted understanding: to learn to love persons.
I asked for strength to be a great man;
I was made weak to become a better man.
I asked for wealth to make friends;
I became poor, to keep friends.
I asked for all things to enjoy life;
I was granted all life, to enjoy things.
I cried for pity; I was offered sympathy.
I craved for healing of my own disorders;
I received insight into another's suffering.
I prayed to God for safety: to tread the trodden path;
I was granted danger: to lose track and find the Way.
I got nothing that I prayed for;
I am, among all men, richly blessed.


Funny You Should Say That ...

First Foreigner: My wife has no chldren. She is impregnable.
Second Foreigner: ?No, no! That‘s not right. You mean your wife is inconceivable!‘
Third Foreigner: Excuse me, but that‘s not right either. I think you mean your wife is unbearable...‘

Small Boy: Mr Policeman, please help me — I‘ve lost my Dad!‘
Policeman: What‘s he like?‘
Small Boy: Beer and football.‘

Where the warfare is the hottest
In the battlefields of life,
You‘ll find the Christian soldier ...
Represented by his wife.

Saturday Open Days and Recitals

As you will see below, Mike Broom has put together a varied and exciting programme of recitals for the 22 weeks beginning in April. The support for these recitals grows year by year and it is good to see many new faces coming along ™ it‘s certainly the place to be on a Saturday lunchtime! If you are able to help with the catering please see the list at the back of Church. The Open Days begin with the Saturday 10.30 am Eucharist and end at 1.00 pm. The recitals are at 12 noon and refreshments and other sales items are available throughout. The programme for the first two months is as follows:

April 6th Stephen Hargreaves (Organ)
April 13th April Johnson (Violin), Stephanie Oade (‘Cello),
  Julie Oade (Piano)
April 20th Neil Preston (Clasical Guitar)
April 27th Andrew Mellor (Organ)
May 4th Derek Sadler (Organ)
Saturday 11th Nick Reed (Percussion)
Saturday 18th Ranee Seneviratne (Soprano) and Ged Callacher (Piano)
Saturday 25th James Firth (Piano)

Tuesday 23rd April
Patron of England
7.30pm Solemn Eucharist followed by wine and Annual Parish Meeting

Sunday 5th May at 6pm
May Devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary
Festal Evensong, Procession and Benediction
Preacher: Fr. Michael Raynor
followed by a glass of wine

Affirming Catholicism  Mike Homfray

The AFFIRMING CATHOLICISM group in the Diocese of Liverpool have  organised a series of talks, with discussion, on the four marks of the Church ?One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic‘. Unfortunately, the first in the series took place before we could go to press.

Each will begin at 10.30 am (coffee from 10.00 am) and conclude with the Eucharist at 12.00 noon. Simple lunch will follow — soup provided; please bring sandwiches.

The Church is, or should be...
The Revd Dr Barbara Glasson, Superintendent Minister of the Methodist Church in Liverpool city centre.
Saturday 25 May at the Methodist Centre, 96 Bold Street, L1.
(above the News from Nowhere bookshop. Merseyrail  Liverpool Central.)

Fr Nicolas Anderson, vicar of St Francis, Kitt Green, Wigan.
(and ex-curate of St Faith‘s! Ed.)
Saturday 6 July at St Francis, City Road, Kitt Green.
(Buses from Wigan Wallgate and North Western stations.)

Mr Craig Barnett, member of the Woolman House community, working with disadvantaged groups in the city, particularly asylum seekers.
Saturday 21 September at Walton Rectory, Walton Village, L4.


Further details from David Emmott, Liverpool Parish Church, Old Churchyard L2 8TZ. Tel 0151 236 5287 (10.00 am  to 14.00 pm weekdays); email , or ask Mike Homfray in church!

Next month, Mike Homfray, an Affirming Catholicism member, will look at this movement and its message to the Church of England  of today.