The Parish Magazine of St Faith`s Church, Great Crosby
April 2004

 Newslink Menu

  Return to St Faith`s Home Page


From the Vicar

Dear Friends,

‘Be still, for the presence of the Lord...’

We are fast approaching that week of the year when it seems that the only sensible thing to do is to bring a sleeping bag to church with you! There are many things I enjoy about being Parish Priest of S. Faith’s, but one of the things which encourages me so much is the good number of people who turn out for the services of Holy Week. These services should never be seen as optional extras - something for religious fanatics or sad people who haven‘t got anything better to do! A firm commitment to the Holy Week services can only deepen our faith in the living God as we recall the great events of our salvation, and importantly we do so as a community of people seeking to deepen their commitment to each other.

We can be excellent at turning up to church, but how good are we at finding space and silence to pray outside the liturgy? Worshipping God means making quality time for him. Any relationship or friendship or marriage can only grow when people give time to each other. Problems occur when selfish attitudes arise. Commitment is needed in our relationship with God. So too reflection is needed. The hymn ‘Dear Lord and Father of mankind’ puts it so well:

Drop thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of thy peace.

Order is needed. Not chaos. Order will lead us to God. Chaos will lead us to ruin! Our prayer life, and our participation in the liturgy, both require us to make time for God; that we make him a priority. We need to prepare for an encounter with Christ. We need stillness and that can be very difficult - partly because we often lead such busy lives, partly because we don-t know how to handle silence. We can be afraid of it. And of course the more time we spend in silent prayer and meditation the more we come face to face with our shortcomings and our sins. No wonder we don’t make time for silence!

In his book entitled ‘The Mystery of the Cross’ the late Cardinal Hume writes: ‘Darkness and coldness are part of the spiritual life. Every hermit knows that, and so do all who try to take prayer seriously. Love is tested by absence, and desire for God is awakened as much in periods of trial as in moments of spiritual ease. That is why so many people do not persevere in prayer. There can be no substitute in the spiritual life for being alone with God.’

Worship however must never become escapism. The reality of the world is there to be faced. But we never face it alone. We carry Christ with us and we are called like Mary to be God-bearers in the world. Our worship feeds us so that we have strength to witness to Our Lord in our daily living.
In conclusion, some words of Tom Wright (now Bishop of Durham) from his book ‘For All God’s Worth’ (Read 1 Corinthians 13 first)

‘Though we sing with the tongues of men and of angels, if we are not truly worshipping the living God, we are noisy gongs and clanging cymbals. Though we organize the liturgy most beautifully, if it does not enable us to worship the living God, we are mere ballet-dancers. Though we repave the floor and reface the stonework, though we balance our budgets and attract the tourists, if we are not worshipping God, we are nothing.

‘Worship is humble and glad; worship forgets itself in remembering God; worship celebrates the truth as God’s truth, not its own. True worship doesn‘t put on a show or make a fuss; true worship isn’t forced, isn’t half-hearted, doesn’t keep looking at its watch, doesn‘t worry what the person in the next pew may be doing. True worship is open to God, adoring God, waiting for God, trusting God even in the dark.

‘Worship will never end; whether there be buildings, they will crumble; whether there be committees, they will fall asleep; whether there be budgets, they will add up to nothing. For we build for the present age, we discuss for the present age, and we pay for the present age; but when the age to come is here, the present age will be done away. For now we see the beauty of God through a glass, darkly, but then face to face; now we appreciate only part, but then we shall affirm and appreciate God, even as the living God has affirmed and appreciated us. So now our tasks are worship, mission and management, these three; but the greatest of these is worship.’

May our worship here at S. Faith’s during Holy Week lead us to the profound joy of being God’s Easter people.

With my love and prayers.

Father Neil


Sunday 4th April - PALM SUNDAY

8.00am Office of Readings and Morning Prayer
10.30am  Blessing of Palms in Merchant Taylors’ School car park   followed by procession to church for
11.00am HIGH MASS and dramatic presentation of the Passion
7.00pm Sung Compline (plainsong) and Benediction

Monday 5th April - Monday of Holy Week

7.00am Office of Readings
10.00am Morning Prayer
10.30am Eucharist
6.00pm Evening Prayer
8.00pm Stations of the Cross and Eucharist
10.00pm Compline

Tuesday 6th April - Tuesday of Holy Week

7.00am Office of Readings
9.00am Morning Prayer
9.30am Eucharist
6.00pm Evening Prayer
7.30pm Churches Together Service in S. Edmund’s, Waterloo
10.00pm Compline

Wednesday 7th April - Wednesday of Holy Week

7.00am Office of Readings and Morning Prayer
10.30am Eucharist in S. Mary’s
6.00pm Evening Prayer
8.00pm Eucharist with Liturgy of Reconciliation (after this service the Sacrament of Penance will be available for those wishing  to make their confession in preparation for Easter)
10.00pm Compline

Thursday 8th April - MAUNDY THURSDAY

7.00am Office of Readings and Morning Prayer
6.00pm Evening Prayer
 (washing of feet, procession to the Altar of Repose and
 Watch until midnight)

Friday 9th April - GOOD FRIDAY

7.00am Office of Readings and Morning Prayer
10.00am WAY OF THE CROSS (especially for children and families)
11.00am Act of Devotion and Witness at Crosby Civic Hall
 (Reading of the Passion, veneration of the cross and
 Holy Communion)
10.00pm Compline

Saturday 10th April - HOLY SATURDAY

7.00am Office of Readings and Morning Prayer
6.00pm Evening Prayer
8.00pm THE EASTER VIGIL (Vigil, Service of Light, aptisms,
Renewal of Baptismal Promises and Mass of the Resurrection)
 followed by champagne, fireworks and Easter biscuits!

Sunday 11th April - EASTER DAY

8.00am Office of Readings
10.30am Morning Prayer
 followed by wine and children’s Easter Egg hunt!
 followed by Parish Easter Party

Tinkling Thimble

‘There is a catholicising process going on in Anglicanism. Bishops have conceded candles, crucifixes, thimbles, vestments, and in some cases reservation.’

From an article in a Church magazine.

Our Rector has a sparkling mind,
Aesthetically nimble;
He loves to decorate the church,
With every sign and symbol;
But now he’s reached the last extreme,
And introduced a thimble!

Yet, will some board advisory
Discredit or disgrace it
Or can a worthy Chancellor
By faculty embrace it?
Lest some aggrieved parishioner
Petitions to displace it.

The Rector saw it in the press
That bishops won’t refuse it
So be it reverently worn,
That no one may abuse it
The only problem that remains,
Is how on earth we use it!

We’ve searched the Latin services,
To find the information,
On how a thimble is employed
By priest or congregation;
Alas, no ritualist to date,
Provides an indication.

Should it be tinkled like a bell?
Or struck against a timbal?
Do rectors wear them on their toes
As round they gyre and gimble?
Where is the seasoned sacristan,
Who knows the Use of Thimble?

So as we vainly sought a clue,
The atmosphere grew tenser,
Until a scintillating wit
Who made us seem the denser,
Said, ‘thimble’ might have been a slip,
For thurible, or censer!

From ‘Time for a Rhyme’

‘The New Imperialism?’

An extract from a thought-provoking vicar’s letter from the magazine of St Mary the Virgin, Davyhulme, Manchester.

Today we are faced with a new form of imperialism which is far more subtle than that of Babylon and Rome. The imperialism with which we are threatened does not use blatant persecution nor weapons of mass destruction. The new imperialism dresses itself in the disguise of ‘consumer interest’. It tries to convince us that we need to be able to shop 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and that it is motivated not by a desire for profit but by a concern for our welfare and convenience. The new imperialism also wears the disguise of religious tolerance and tries to marginalise Christianity by claiming that it might be offensive to other faiths to give Christianity too much attention in our multi-cultural society. This neo-imperialism is more devious and more subtle in the ways in which it attempts to achieve dominance over us than the old empires were, but the remedy remains the same. It is through a more faithful and diligent devotion to our faith that we shall resist the power of the new commercial and secular imperialism. If the secular and commercial forces which are at work in our culture threatened forcibly to close churches and put an end to worship then no doubt there would be a great outcry. The truth is that those forces are achieving that end not by direct assault but by stealth; and when we fail to give priority to our faith we are colluding with them.


A Vicar, a Rabbi and a Priest walk into a bar. The barmaid says: 'Is this some kind of joke?'


Food for Thought    Chris Price

Britain wallowing in ‘mourning sickness’

‘Britain is suffering from a severe bout of ‘mourning sickness’, a collective condition characterised by ostentatious, recreational grieving for dead celebrities and murder victims. The nation has replaced the social ties of Church and family with the rites of conspicuous compassion - the piling up of rotting flowers and sodden teddy bears, the ‘lapel loutism’ of empathy ribbons and the staging of ever-lengthening minutes of silence.’

Thus begins a challenging article by reporter Sean O’Neill in the Daily Telegraph, reporting on an unflattering portrait of British society offered in a booklet by Patrick West from the ‘Civitas’ think-tank, the Institute for the Study of Civil Society. His views are savagely critical of this trend in our behaviour, and he puts it down to cynical and selfish motives. These ‘collective carers’ are, in his opinion, merely wanting to be seen to care, rather than actually caring, probably because they want to be loved themselves. He dates the phenomenon from the Hillsborough disaster, when it was largely localised on Merseyside; since then it has spread rapidly through the reaction to the Dunblane massacre and the ‘ghoulish displays of weeping and countless bouquets of flowers left outside Kensington Palace following the death of Diana, Princess of Wale’.

Since then, the report believes, what it pointedly calls ‘grief lite’ has become for many an everyday and even enjoyable event, reaching its ‘fearsome peak’ when thousands of ‘grief tourists’ descended on Soham, to the despair of local people and their vicar, in the wake of the deaths of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

Tellingly, the report suggests that ‘the compassion caravan’ has a tendency to move on quickly to new causes. Today, Diana is a mostly forgotten individual. ‘On the fifth anniversary of her death, the gardens of Althorp and Kensington Palace were deserted. Diana had served her purpose. The public had moved on. They were now too busy ‘never forgetting’ other people.’

These are harsh words indeed, but they strike a chord with this writer, although I have some misgivings about the wholesale condemnation of ribbon-wearing, which is surely still often evidence of contributing to the worthiest causes. But I have long found something distasteful and morbid about the ‘shrines’ to road victims  left to rot  around posts in Merseyside  and elsewhere. The tributes at Anfield, which I well remember visiting in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster, were powerfully and movingly focussed on a local grief and its epicentre at the ground. Even then, though, I was uncomfortable at the pages of tributes in the local press, as many people seemed to be jostling for space just to be seen to be part of the mourning process. Since then, the phenomenon so acutely analysed by Patrick West’s polemic has become ever more mawkishly prominent, the product of sentimentality rather than sentiment and, as the report thought-provokingly concludes, has grown at the expense of real compassion. The report states bluntly that ‘the spread of ribbon-wearing has not been accompanied by a growth in charitable giving. Between 1995 and 1999, as ribbons flourished, donations to good causes dropped by 31 per cent.’ There may be no easily demonstrable link between these two trends, but it is tempting to believe in one, and certainly to wish that the mass practitioners of the ‘rites of conspicuous compassion’ would put their money where their mouth so obviously is.

Odd English

We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes;
 but the plural of ox became oxen not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
 yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice;
 yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
 why shouldn’t the plural of pan be called pen?
If I spoke of my foot and show you my feet,
 and I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
 why shouldn’t the plural of booth be called beeth?
Then one may be that, and three would be those,
 yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
 and the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
 but though we say mother we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
 But imagine the feminine, she, shis and shim.

(contributed by Fr NEIL via the internet)

Monday 26th April at 7.30pm
Sung Eucharist to celebrate S. Mark’s Day
followed by wine and the Annual Parochial Church Meeting.

Nomination forms will soon appear at the back of Church for the following positions: two churchwardens, two deputy churchwardens and five members of the Parochial Church Council (PCC).

At the last PCC meeting the duties of churchwardens and deputy churchwardens were discussed and I hope that those standing for election as Churchwardens will be prepared to chair the Premises Committee and a much-needed newly-formed Finance Committee. Given our current financial situation, the work of these two committees will be of paramount importance in the coming years, particularly if we are serious about redevelopment of the Church Hall. In any case, this year we will be required to make certain changes to both church and hall in order to meet the legal requirements of the Disability Act.

Fr. Neil

Advance notice...

Sunday 6th June - S. Mary‘s Patronal Festival
Celebrant and Preacher: The Right Reverend Jim Roxburgh, followed by BBQ lunch with live jazz band, bouncy castle and games for the children. Book the date in your diary now!
 Please note there will be no 11.00 Eucharist in S. Faith‘s that day).

Sacrament of Confirmation.
The Bishop of Beverley, the Right Reverend Martyn Jarrett, will administer the sacrament of confirmation when he comes to S. Faith-s this All Saints-tide, Sunday 31st October at 1030am. Any adults or children (year 5 upwards) wishing to be confirmed must speak to Fr. Neil as soon as possible. Confirmation Classes will begin after Easter.

to the Blessed Virgin Mary
Sunday 2nd May at 6pm
Choral Evensong, Sermon, Procession and Benediction
Preacher: Canon Richard Capper (Wakefield Cathedral)
followed by a glass of wine

Sunday Schools’Easter Outing

On Thursday 15th April the members of our two Sunday Schools will be enjoying a day out at ‘Gulliver’s World’. Would all those with children in the Sunday School please return the booking forms promptly.

Saint Faith’s Holiday Club

There will be a meeting for all those who are interested in helping with the Holiday Club in any capacity on Tuesday 27th April at 8pm in the Vicarage. We need people to lead groups, people to assist the leaders, and others to help make tea and coffee during the day for the helpers(!) We also need people to help clean the hall at the end of each day. In accordance with the ‘Protection for All’ policy within the United Benefice all those helping with the Holiday Club need to be ‘police-checked’ so please offer your help soon in order to give us time to do this. Please help us to make the second S. Faith’s Holiday Club even better than the first!

Another Satirical Hymn

Priests need vestments that are pretty,
So in state they may propel
Round the altar in procession,
And the Mass of Rome excel.

For the Office in the morning,
Starch-pressed surplice wide in girth,
Hangs down o’er the full length cassock
That is just an inch from earth.

Eastern rites in all their glory
Make our worship rich and rare,
Oblivious to all the people,
Clergy persons make their prayer.

Sacred host and wine of kingdom,
Incense getting up your nose;
Mystic chant of choral anthem
On a theme by Berlioz.

Ditching alb for fur-lined cassock,
Rural clergy bend the knee,
Trying to keep their butts from freezing
In the cold Epiphany.


The Saturday after Easter sees the start of the 2004 season of Summer Saturday Open Days and Recitals. As always, we hope there will be plenty of volunteers to help with the catering: please sign up at the back of church. Colin Porter (organ) will be giving the opening recital on 17th April, the Liverpool Brass Ensemble on April 24th, and Stephen Hargreaves (organ) on May 1st.

On Saturday 24th April the Capriol Singers are giving a concert in church. More details on the weekly news sheet nearer the date.

Memory Lane  Fr Dennis

Being able to have two weekends away during the school half-term holiday in mid-February proved particularly enjoyable. While staying with old Lancaster University friends in Derby, I was fortunate to spend an hour or so in the company of St Faith‘s oldest former curate, Canon Bob Honner, now almost ninety, and living in the delightful countryside village of Melbourne, where he was once Parish Priest.

Bob has many fond and happy memories of his years at St Faith‘s, serving his title (1938-1941) under the guiding hand of the then very popular and saintly Vicar, Father John Schofield. It was a source of much joy to Bob that in May 1988 he and his wife Alice were able to join us for the memorable Centenary celebration mass at which Lord Runcie preached. The occasion was of particular significance to him as, a great many years earlier, it had been Robert Runcie who had served at the altar for his First Mass. In recent years, Bob has taken great pleasure in keeping up with what‘s been going on at St Faith‘s by receiving his monthly copy of Newslink, and he sends his best wishes to all who remember him.

On the second weekend, while staying with friend and former server and St Faith’ P.C.C. Secretary Leslie Crossley, in Hemel Hempstead, I was able to take the opportunity of visiting St Albans. Following his death in July 2000, Lord Runcie was buried in the grounds of the Abbey in the Diocese of which he had been Bishop from 1970 to 1980.

Having placed some white roses on his grave, in a few moments of quiet reflection, it was both pleasing and poignant to be able to give thanks for all that Robert Runcie had contributed to the life and witness of the Church of God, and, at the same time, to recall with grateful joy and affection the fond and happy memories of his visits back to St Faith’, the church of his youth which had cradled and nurtured his vocation to the priesthood almost seventy years ago.

The Stuflesser Story  Chris Price

Readers will know that for some time now I have been trying to establish the origins of some of the ‘Furnishings of Faith’ in our church. Everyone is of course familiar with the ‘Great Crucifix’ which, as my cover photo shows,  hangs in the Chapel of the Cross throughout the year but which, as I write this, is set strikingly against its black backcloth in front of the folded-in High Altar reredos. Some people will be familiar with the fact that it hasn’t always been at St Faith‘s, but that Douglas Horsfall, our founder, brought it back from the Continent some thirty years after the foundation of the building. More than that, no-one seemed to know, until very recently.

I wrote last month of the developing ‘Horsfall Connection’ and of the material being provided for me by Mary Rae, grand-daughter of ‘H.D.H.’ following her visit here. Among the cuttings she supplied was one apparently from our May 1930 Parish magazine about the arrival and dedication of the crucifix. George Houldin’s history of St Faith‘s, which I used as the basis for my 1975 book, incidentally quotes April 15th 1938 as the date. In the magazine article, Canon Brierley, the then vicar, explains that he has always felt that the displaying of the reredos on Good Friday gave the wrong signals: what was needed was not a ‘gorgeous work of art’ with its ‘beautiful gold mosaic background’ but something more simple. He records Douglas Horsfall as being in agreement, and as offering to buy a suitable crucifix. Sir Gilbert Scott, the architect of Liverpool Cathedral and of our chancel screen, was sought, and advised employing ‘the well-known Italian sculptor, Signor Ferdinando Stuflesser of Ortisei, in North Italy’.

Armed with this lead, I consulted the ever-efficient Google (internet search engine!) and found that the firm of ‘Ferdinand Stuflesser, Ars Sacra’, was alive and well and still sculpting statuary. What is more, praise the Lord, They offered an English language enquiry service. I sent a picture of our crucifix and was delighted to receive a prompt reply from a present-day Ferdinand Stuflesser. The ensuing electronic correspondence established several things. Our piece and others like it were indeed made at their works between 1920 and 1927. It would have been individually carved from Zirbel wood, a type of pine-wood - and if we wished to restore it we should entrust the work to Messrs Ormsby of Scarisbrick!

The Germanic name of the firm is explained by the fact that Ortisei, once in the Austrian Tyrol, subsequently became part of the Italian Tyrol. The firm continues to provide works of art worldwide - something which I established when searching the net  further for Stuflesser  references.  A  Roman  Catholic church in Indiana, USA, which boasts and describes a different Stuflesser statuary group, also has a large crucifix which, although not identified by the church, is clearly from the on-site photo a companion piece to ours, though with several small differences to underline the individual nature of the commission of each piece.

And so another piece of the jigsaw is fitted in. The search continues for the ultimate prize: the full story of the Salviati reredos, but it is good that, as we once more worship this Lent at the feet of the Great Crucifix, we know much more about its origins and manufacture.

The Horsfall Correction!

Last month’s Newslink contained a report of the visit of Mary Rae, our founder‘s grand-daughter, and our quest for accurate information about the circumstances of the foundation of St Faith’s. Unfortunately, the subsequebt article didn‘t get off to the best of starts, and some factual errors crept in.

For the record, Douglas Horsfall’s father, Robert, erected St Margaret’s, Prince’s Road: that fine church was consecrated in 1869 and he died in 1881. It was of course Douglas Horsfall himself who founded St Agnes, Ullet Road in memory of his father, and it seems to have remained his ‘prize church’, although St Faith’s of course benefited greatly from his continuing gifts over the years, not least in the funding of the Chancel Screen, the reredos, the Great Cruficix and the seven sanctuary lamps, the latter allegedly originally intended for St Agnes but transferred to us at a time of some dispute.

The editor is more than happy to put things straight and apologises to Mary Rae for the implication, however flattering, that Lucy Rae, her grand-niece pictured with her last month, is her daughter!

An Easter Reflection
from the writings of EDWARD NORMAN, Chancellor of York Minster

Where is thy Sting?

The death of Christ has sanctified death. It can have, or should have, no terrors beyond the natural fears which are inseparable from contemplation of the unknown world to which we are beckoned. Modern people, however, are unable to cope with death, and when they encounter it, through the demise even of someone they hardly know, tend to dramatize both death itself and the effect of its chilling presence upon the survivors. The culture of the day tends to sanitize death, or to celebrate the merely human qualities of the deceased rather than to envisage, in any realistic manner, the possible effects of impending judgement. We don't like to think of judgement at all, in fact, despite the emphasis given to it in so many of the parables of Christ. Just as the pagans were buried with their favourite possessions, and with the necessities to assist their journey in the afterlife, so in the neo-paganism of the modern world death rites are centred on the humanity of the departed instead of on the spiritual odyssey which is the actual purpose of life. It is now routinely expected that the funeral rites of the dead will include recordings of favourite songs, or recitations of poetry which the dead person liked: it is as if the pagan grave goods have been replaced by the compact disc. The traditional funeral rites of the Church, in contrast, set the life of man starkly into the general context of the ephemeral nature of all things - they are a commemoration, not of the human accidents of the departed, but of the everlasting changelessness of God and of the transience of human existence.

Why do people dramatize death so much? They could cope with it much better in former societies, perhaps because it was more familiar. Most people today have never seen a corpse until they are mature adults. But in a Christian church the corpse of Christ hangs upon a cross, everlastingly sacrificed for our sins; the very thing we most seem to fear is at the centre of our religion. Modern people have converted life itself into a scramble for security and comfort: no wonder they are terrified at the mocking capacity of death to destroy their priorities in an instant. Do they really want to live forever? Presumably not, for it is an irrational idea - if there were no death, all living things would go on forever, the planet would long since have choked on itself, and without the perpetual renewal of life, ideas and values themselves would have become stagnant. So death is essential for life, and the death of Christ, celebrated this Eastertide, converts that life into eternal life. This is the beauty of transience, the melancholy  truth  that  we  are  all  of us
brothers and sisters of the rest of creation, mutually dependent for sustenance, locked together in a chain of recycling until the end of the world. Our individual insignificance in the perpetual process is redeemed by Christ. But first we need to use our lives to know him.

I am the Great Sun
From a Normandy crucifix

I am the great sun, but you do not see me,
I am your husband, but you turn away.
I am the captive, but you do not free me,
I am the captain you will not obey.
I am the truth, but you will not believe me,
I am the city where you will not stay,
I am your wife, your child, but you will leave me,
I am that God to whom you will not pray.
I am your counsel, but you do not hear me,
I am the lover whom you will betray,
I am the victor, but you do not cheer me,
I am the holy dove whom you will slay.
I am your life, but if you will not name me,
Seal up your soul with tears, and never blame me.

Charles Causley


My grateful thanks to all who have returned their Stewardship forms and who have requested banker‘s forms and parish purse envelopes; these two methods of giving are by far the most beneficial to the PCC as it helps us to know what income we can rely on. When the PCC met in October to discuss this issue, all the members there present made a promise that they would all increase their own giving. In so doing, the PCC wasn‘t asking the congregation to do something they weren‘t prepared to do themselves. If you haven’t yet returned your form please do so as soon as possible. If we cannot manage the extra income needed in order to meet our financial obligations to the Diocese, then the PCC will have to explore how else that money can be generated. In this lamentable age of too many churches facing possible closure I don‘t need to remind you that being in debt to the Diocese isn‘t a good place to be! Many thanks to all for your support and generosity.

Oh Yes It Was!

The United Benefice Dramatic Society’s third pantomime continued the tradition established by its two predecessors (‘Aladdin’ in 2002 and ‘Babes in the Wood’ in 2003). Like them, it made use of a script written by Peter Mercer, but this time the show was produced by our friend Brian Williams (remember the Grand Vizier in ‘Aladdin’?). As before it featured members and friends of both congregations and the usual supporting list of helpers on both sides of the curtain, and, after the usual labour pains, it was triumphantly delivered in St Mary’s Hall between 18th and 22nd February last.

All six performances (plus the public dress rehearsal free of charge to members of the youth organisations of both churches) were sold out and, as in the past, there were lots of people afterwards leaving the hall saying how much better a show it was (and of course how much cheaper, too!) than most professional shows on offer. Plans are already being laid for auditions for the 2005 Pantomime. The subject and script are still to be settled, but anyone wanting to get involved with the production in any way is asked to watch this space. There is no doubt that putting on a show like this involves a great deal of work for many people over a long period of time - but the result, in terms of the benefits to the United Benefice and the wider community, are great.

Denis Griffiths‘ Pictures on the centre pages (not reproduced here but which may be seen, with others, via the linked page on the home page of this site) show scenes from ‘Robinson Crusoe’ for those who missed it or wish to treasure the memory. As in previous years, there are other souvenirs available. Videos of the final performance (£7.50), CDs of 50 of Denis Griffiths’s pictures (£5) and individual prints (A4 £2.50; A5 £1.50) are all available from Chris Price.