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The Parish Magazine
of Saint Faith's Church, Great Crosby

APRIL 2005


The Easter Anthems

Christ our passover has been sacrificed for us:
so let us celebrate the feast,
not with the old leaven of corruption and wickedness:
but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Christ once raised from the dead dies no more:
death has no more dominion over him.
In dying he died to sin once for all:
in living he lives to God.
See yourselves therefore as dead to sin:
and alive to God in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Christ has been raised from the dead:
the firstfruits of those who sleep.
For as by man came death:
by man has come also the resurrection of the dead;
for as in Adam all die:
even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

The Easter Preface

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.

From the Ministry Team - April 2005

‘If Music be the Food of Love’

It was at Cardiff Arms Park, the home of Welsh rugby. Wales were playing New Zealand. The crowd started singing Cwm Rhondda, that great Welsh anthem, and I was lifted into an ecstasy on the swell of the voices of that massed secular choir. A truly religious experience.

At the other end of the spectrum, I have watched people cavorting at rock concerts and rave events, clearly having the same sort of experience as I had in Cardiff. But the thump of the bass, and what I consider the noise, has left me cold and alienated. Sometimes I get agitated and disturbed by cars coming up the road with those super woofer bass systems which mean that you feel the music before you hear it as the radio waves challenge your heart beat before your ear drums.

Music can be such a powerful force. No wonder it has been so valued within religious traditions. The combination of rhythm, and varied pitch, and sung words can articulate human feelings more evocatively than almost anything else.
And today we have such an amazing choice of music. Endless stations on digital radio. Popular, classical, jazz, rock, blues, garage, rap, punk, and world music. If you haven’t tried it I recommend that you listen to ‘Late Junction’ on Radio 3 some nights of the week at about 10.30pm. You hear the most astonishing array of music from around the world which dissolves the distinctions between both secular and sacred, and popular and classical music.

But mostly of course we stay with the familiar: ‘I don’t know much about music, but I know what I like’ And church people can be so terribly snobbish about it. They talk of ‘dumbing down’ if popular music comes anywhere near a church service. And comparatively little of that astonishing array of available music is ever used in worship. We tend to have very fixed ideas of what ‘church’ music should be and can be very censorious if certain sorts of ‘church’ music don‘t hit the right spot for us.

I think this is because - like lots of things associated with church - we get locked into an attitude which is focused upon our own sensibilities and our own narrow sense of taste - which of course we think of as perfect! This represents a very individualistic approach to church and spirituality which puts ourselves at the centre.

The question we should be asking about music in church is not ‘what do I like?’ but ‘what is it for?’, and the answer to that second question is two-fold. Church music, like all aspects of religious worship, is of course first and foremost for God - an offering of ourselves and our lives. But secondly, church music and everything else in our worship (especially within the Anglican tradition) is offered for the whole community. We are aiming to celebrate acts of worship which are in a very real sense representative of all the people in this place, and that means acts of worship which everyone can feel a part of. So if our church musical tradition alienates large sections of the population then we are failing in both our mission and ministry.

For me, this is the heart of what being catholic means. Being catholic is about providing an approach to worship and spirituality which is universal - inclusive - for everyone! Gregory Dix in his great work ‘The Shape of the Liturgy’ suggests that in celebrating the eucharist we are enabled by grace to become the ‘holy, common people of God’. It is a great vision and not a bad mission statement for any church. But we will never get anywhere close to it if we are simply concerned in our worship and its music with what we know and like.

So how could we move on this?

One of the surprising things about our worship at St Faith’s is that there is never any debate about music. From time to time we get together and sing a few new hymns, but the shape and style of our church music is never explained, or questioned, whereas many other aspects of our worship and church life are. Why is this? Is church music a set piece? Is it just the preserve of church music specialists? I don’t think so. We need to open it up. We need to do some work on it together. We should be sharing our own likes and dislikes, but also listening to those people on the edge of the church. Most of all I guess we probably all need to listen to a lot more different types of music - nd probably some that are outside our comfort and sensibility zones! Perhaps most of all we should surely be exploring different musical traditions in our worship. So, a few ideas to think about.

How about a music conference for St Faith’ and St Mary’? A chance to listen and learn and try new things. An opportunity together to think about what music is for in worship, the different ways in which it might work in the liturgy, and how we might develop our musical tradition so that it touches the hearts of a wider range of people in our community.

Or if that was too much to fit in with all of our other commitments, how about simply trying a completely new musical style for one liturgical season, and then getting some feedback about it from everyone?

Or, alternatively, some of us might like to go to one of the regular music workshops for churches that are held in the diocese so that we can bring back some new ideas.

What do you think? There are lots of possibilities. Let’s just not leave it to a see-saw between different perspectives in parish magazine articles. God’ gift of music is too important, and too precious, for that.

Fr Mark

St. Faith's Holiday Club
1st - 5th August, 2005

There will be a meeting for all who are interested in helping in any way at the Holiday Club. The meeting will be on Monday, 18th April, at 8.00 pm in the Upper Room of the Church Hall. We need leaders and helpers for the groups and people to help set up the hall, make tea, coffee, wash up, clean up and all sorts of other tasks.
Please do consider helping at what is a very enjoyable and rewarding week.

Many thanks.
(474 9923)

Saint Faith in Norfolk
Alex and Kathleen Zimak  

With several other parishioners, we visited Norwich in February to attend the installation of our former vicar, Fr Richard Capper, as Canon Pastor of Norwich Cathedral: we found that unusually in addition to his cathedral duties he is also Priest in Charge of the parish of St Mary-in-the-Marsh.  As we were staying in Norwich with friends for several days, we used the opportunity to explore this parish. We thought at first that the church‘s name indicated that the site of the church was far away, but then we found during our tour of the cathedral that one of its chapels is used by the parishioners for their weekly worship. The  former building of St Mary-in-the-Marsh was demolished five hundred years ago. On Sunday morning we visited Richard and Angela’s beautiful old house in the Close: it dates back to medieval times and a wooden beam in one of the rooms is thought to be from a tree growing during the Norman invasion!  We found on the wall of a Georgian brick house on the opposite side of the Close an inscription that this had been the site of the demolished church. It seems that the demolition had given an opportunity for  further building development (nothing new!) by the Cathedral and the parishioners were given the compensation of the use of the Cathedral chapel. That means that Richard has his small parish in the Close and his own home is part of it.

Then Alex found on the town map that around the area of the cathedral is a St Faith's Lane. We wondered why our patron saint was so well known in this area of England. We asked a priest in the cathedral why this saint’s name  was chosen for the nearby lane but he could not answer this question. One cathedral guide was similarly baffled but another said that near Norwich airport was an abbey dedicated to St Faith and it was perhaps the influence of the Normans, who came however from northern France, not from the south where St Faith had been martyred. We learnt later that William the Conqueror’s forces included soldiers from many parts of France. When we discussed our problems with St Faith in Norfolk with our friend, Veronica, who is a historian, she found in her extensive collection of books some information  that we think could be interesting for our parishioners.

In the book ‘The Normans in Norfolk’  by Sue Margeson, Fabienne Seillier and Andrew Rogerson, published by Norfolk Museums Service in 1994, it is written that Robert FitzWalter and his wife Sybil, when returning through France from a pilgrimage to Rome, were imprisoned by robbers. They prayed to God and St Faith, who appeared to them in a vision,  loosened  their  chains and fetters, and set them free from their prison. They went  to the Abbey of Conques, were welcomed there by the Benedictine Abbot, dedicated their fetters and, after reading the story of St Faith’s life, vowed to build a monastery, a cell of the Abbey of Conques, when they returned home to their manor at Horsford. Two monks went with them and began in 1105 to build the Horsham St Faith Priory, only some miles to the north from Norwich, now very near to the Norwich airport.

There are substantial remains of the monastic buildings to the north of St Mary and St Andrew’s Church. Only the refectory remains more or less intact, with the most impressive mid-thirteenth century painting surviving in England and which tells the whole story of the monastery’s foundation. In the book ‘The Buildings of England, Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East’ by Nikolaus Pevsner and Bill Wilson, published in London in 2000, we are told that the abbey refectory was uncovered partly in the 1920s, and partly in 1969 during an overall restoration of the house. In the upper zone of the painting is an enormous Crucifixion flanked by the Virgin and St John. The figure of Christ is unfortunately destroyed from the waist up. Flanking this are two crowned figures, that to the north almost certainly Saint Faith herself. Excavated from behind the northern wall in 1969, she is in wonderfully fresh condition. Below is a unique series of scenes illustrating the foundation of the priory. It shows the FitzWalters being captured by brigands in the south of France, their miraculous rescue by St Faith, their return to England, and the building of the priory. The scenes were extensively repainted in the 15th century but much of the paint belong to the original scheme. So does the wheelbarrow in the building scene, one of the earliest depictions of these Chinese inventions in western art. The square walled garden to the south of the refectory represents the cloister. The elaborate entrance from the cloister to the chapter house is still impressive, with two pairs of 12th century capitals with interlace and figure carving.

The story of the FitzWalters is an interesting addition to our knowledge of St Faith. Could this tale also have influenced the dedication of our church?  We are now exploring the stories behind other sites in England that bear the saint’s name: she has certainly had an influence more profound than we had ever thought.

As one of those who made the pilgrimage to Norfolk, I find this article of great interest. Visitors to the St Faith's website will perhaps already have found a list of the known dedications to our patroness worldwide, together with some of the story told above about the church at Horsham Saint Faith. I visited that place some years ago, following the burial of my father's ashes at the Norwich crematorium - which is also dedicated to Saint Faith. There follow my own impressions of the 2005 visit. Ed.

Postscript to a Visit (and a Patron Saint!)
Chris Price

Newer members of our church may perhaps not know that Richard Capper was the eighth Vicar of Saint Faith’s, and Fr Neil’s immediste predecessor. He left us to become a Canon of Wakefield Cathedral, where many of us visited him for his Institution and on subsequent occasions.

Last year we heard the good news that, following the end of his contracted time at Wakefield, Richard had been appointed as Canon Pastor of Norwich Cathedral. At 3.30 pm on Saturday 12th February, 2005, during the course of Choral Evensong there, he was Collated and Installed as a Canon Residentiary of Norwich Cathedral, and licensed as Priest in Charge of the Parish of St Mary in the Marsh.

There were upwards of twenty past and present members and friends of St Faith‘s present in the choir of the magnificent cathedral to watch the Bishop and the Dean perform their various functions and to speak of their new Canon Residentiary. The Dean cleared up something of the puzzling reference to St Mary in the Marsh, when he explained that this church didn‘t actually exist any more: the Zimaks’ article above explains the rest!

Bishop Graham James is no stranger to St Faith‘s, having visited us last year for the 25th Anniversary of the priesting of our own Father Dennis Smith. Like the Dean, he spoke warmly of St Faith’s and its traditions and of Lord Runcie, its most famous product (to date!). He also celebrated his long association with Fr Dennis, whom he described memorably as ‘exotic’: saying that since Richard Capper had succeeded in coping with Dennis during his time at St Faith’s, the pastoral care of the community of Norwich Cathedral should pose no problems! Reference was also made to the lively transfer market between Liverpool, Wakefield and Norwich, featuring Richard Capper, Bishop Graham and Bishop Nigel McCulloch.

The service was splendid, and the music (Responses setting by William Smith, Psalm chant by Sir Edward Bairstow, ‘Mag’ and ‘Nunc’ by Herbert Howells), superbly sung by members of Wakefield Cathedral Choir and, by happy coincidence, the Choir of Saint Francis Xavier, Liverpool, on half-term holiday duty at Norwich. Afterwards, there was a stately ‘bun fight’ in the north transept and, as dusk fell, a chance to take in something of the awe-inspiring splendour of the great building, its furnishings and its surrounding close. The  photographs  on the ‘Capper Collation’ link from the homepage show  the  new  Canon  in  his impressive regalia (and descending from an impromptu perch and hoping for a soft landing!), the interior of the Cathedral, and the suspended globe that forms the fine votive candle stand.

The people of Saint Faith’s, both those who were able to make this pilgrimage and those who could not, will surely wish Richard, Angela, David, Matthew and Ruth every happiness and blessing in their new workplace, home and city. Richard has moved progressively Eastwards since leaving Lancashire: any further and he will fall into the encroaching North Sea. However, in a splendid city with (so they say) a church for every week of the year and a pub for every day of the year, why should he want to move again...?

Thank You, Catering Team
Thanks to all the members of the catering team for their support during what started out to be a very unhappy and unsettled year behind the scenes.

However, it has been another successful if rather low key year, the team have once  again produced an abundance of fine fare and atmosphere. As team co-ordinator I give my grateful thanks to them all for carrying out the myriad of tasks that go into ensuring the success of our social calendar. Thank you ladies - it is my pleasure to work with you.

Ruth Winder

From the Registers

Funeral                12 November 2004 Alice Dawber
Holy Matrimony   27 November 2004 Steven Jones and Paula Wilson

In Celebration of John Taylor

Saturday 9th April at 8.00 pm in St Faith's Church Hall
A Festive Evening of Music and Dancing, Memory and Mirth
With Traditional Scottish Fare and Libations
Please contact Fr Dennis for further details

KEVIN WALSH writes: I was clearing out some drawers (the cupboard type) and came across this anonymous item. Enquiries reveal it was published in 'The Triad News' some years ago. The Triad News is an Inland Revenue Staff Magazine and has nothing (I’m told) to do with any oriental mafia-style organisation.

Dance Like There's No-one Watching

We convince ourselves that life will be better after we get married, have a baby, then another. Then we are frustrated that the kids aren’t old enough and we’ll be more content when they are. After that we are frustrated that we have teenagers to deal with. We will certainly be happier when they are out of that stage.

We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our spouse gets his or her act together, when we get a nicer car, are able to go on a nice holiday, when we retire. The truth is, there is no better time to be happy than right now. If not now, when? Your life will always be filled with challenges. It’s best to admit this to yourself and decide to be happy anyway.

One of my favourite quotes comes from Alfred D. Souza. He said ?For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. This perspective has helped me to see that there is no way to happiness.

Happiness is the way. So, treasure every moment that you have. And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time... and remember that time waits for no one. So stop waiting until, you finish school, until you go back to school, until you lose ten pounds, until you gain ten pounds, until you have kids, until your kids leave home, until you start work, until you retire, until you get married, until you get divorced, until Friday night, until Sunday morning, until you get a new car or home, until you are off welfare, until the first or fifteenth, until your song comes on, until you’ve had a drink, until you’ve sobered up, to decide that there is no better time than right now to be happy.


So, work like you don’t need money, love like you have never been hurt - and dance like there’s no one watching.

Letter to the Editor

Whilst I do have a certain amount of empathy with your views re hymns in last month‘s magazine, and have oft been heard to utter ‘All that was missing during that one was the coffin, nay even tandem coffins’, a bod has to say that to turn up to all that tambourine-and-guitar-bashing every week would send one’s already delicate mental sensibilities completely off the scale, dear. Now and again is OK,  just as now and again with the more traditional stuff would be OK at Kingsway etc.

Our traditions are different, we are what remains of the beginnings of the whole Anglo-Catholic Tradition, which was the opening door for all the others, let us not forget, so let‘s live and let live, it ain’t broke yet, and change for change’s sake would be a disaster.

My church is where I come to  try to find the Lord I keep missing whilst I am running around my hamster wheel all week. I look for peace and time for thought and reflection, I could not do this to party music. Must agree though, DOWN WITH DIRGES!

Ruth Winder

(See Fr Mark’s Team Letter this month for another ‘take’ on the music debate. This correspondence is NOT closed! Ed.) 

100+ Club Winners

1 £150 132 Kath Broadbent
2 £105 56 Shelagh Mulholland
3 £70 149 Norman Winstanley
4 £50 60 Denise Walker

1 £105 20 Mona Turner
2 £105 134 Caroline Vitty
3 £70 129 Ron and Maud Williams
4 £50 73 Viv Shillitoe

...a personal view of a Spanish place of Pilgrimage
David Fairclough

Cheap air fares have opened up many countries in Europe, allowing us to escape for a long weekend quite easily. Finding ourselves in the vibrant city of Barcelona last October, we planned a day out, heading to Montserrat. By chance, Fr Greg, from Christ Church was in the city, so meeting up on the station we battled with ticket machines to head out for the day. Leaving Gaudi’s architecture behind on the FGC train, you emerge through Barcelona‘s suburbs. Barcelona is busy and loud on a Saturday night, so we all may have dozed our way through Spain's pleasant countryside.

An hour later, we arrived at Monistrol de Montserrat, 152m above sea level. At this point, passengers for Montserrat Monastery get off to join the rack and pinion railway, the ‘Cremallera’ which takes you a further 550m above sea level, gripping on to the mountainside as it climbs to the summit. Needless to say, the views are amazing - as long as you don’t have vertigo! - oh, and it was standing room only!

Disembarking at a modern station, we saw a small purpose built ‘village’ of accommodation blocks and shops, dominated by the monastery and Basilica. The place was heaving - not as much tourists, but locals. It seemed very much the place to go for a family day out on a Sunday. Housed in one of the buildings close to the station is a museum telling the story of Montserrat.

Legend has it that in 880, a small group of shepherd children saw a bright light descending from the sky in the Montserrat mountains. In the same moment the children heard angels singing. Overwhelmed by the experience the children ran home to frantically recall the experience to their parents. For the whole month following the first visitation their parents were also witness to the same ‘heavenly experiences’.

A local priest was brought to the scene and witnessed the same experiences as the children and parents. The visions occurred in the same location in a cave on Montserrat mountain. When this cave was explored by the religious elders of the community they found a carved image of the Virgin Mary. And from that moment on the cave became a holy sanctuary for religious pilgrims. They tried to take the carving down but miraculously she reappeared back up the mountain, so they decided to build a monastery there!

The small wooden statue of La Moreneta (the Dark Maiden) is the soul of Montserrat. It is said to have been made by St. Luke and brought to Montserrat  by St. Peter in AD 50. Centuries later, the statue is believed to have been hidden from the Moors in the nearby Santa Cova (Holy Grotto). Carbon dating suggests, however, that the current statue was carved around the 12th century. In 1881, Montserrat’s ‘Black Madonna’ was crowned in accordance with Canon Law and proclaimed Patron Saint of the dioceses in Catalonia, by Pope Leo XIII.

This monastery was also notorious during the Franco regime for being a stronghold of Catalan culture and language. In direct defiance of Franco’s anti-Catalan laws, the monks of Montserrat continued celebrating marriages and baptisms in Catalan after the Civil War. The monastery became a refuge for the many Catalan nationalists that remained underground until Franco's death in 1975.

It seemed to be quite the done thing to queue for an hour and have your picture taken, whilst touching the statue‘s foot. (We didn’t!) After that, you may be inclined to light a candle and add it to the already packed racks and trays of candles on the passage out of the church. The basilica bustles with life, people come and go during services, cameras flash and families pose. We attended mass in the church where, in the week, the famed choir sing. In the Placa de Santa Maria, outside the church, Catalonian tradition is continued today, in which teams were building ‘human columns’, 11 or 12 people high, to the delight of the onlookers.

You can explore further by taking the funicular railway to Saint Joan, on the top of the mountain, where spectacular views await and you can walk to the hermitage. We also took the other funicular train to Santa Cova which takes you to St. Michael’s Path and the Monumental Rosary. This route, with its surprising views has been made even more beautiful by the 15 groups of sculptures corresponding to the mysteries of the Rosary. They are to be found all along the path to the Holy Grotto, a chapel grafted on to the side of the mountain. Here, surrounded by candles people brought gifts to the Virgin Mary and one was left with the conclusion that she had a liking for used baby clothes, given the number there which are distributed by the nuns. I can't imagine in Britain seeing an 18-year-old couple walking and photographing each other whilst standing next to a statue of the Virgin Mary. You do in Spain.

Spanish Catholicism seems to have an element of ‘folk religion’, where some sort  of  adherence  to  Catholic  teaching  is widely held,  in a country of rapid social change. People seem easy with the signs, symbols and attire of Catholicism but openly reject much of its social conservatism. After the Madrid bombs, the Conservative administration was removed in favour of a Socialist government. Spain‘s democracy is very young, the Franco years ending only in 1975, and that regime was regarded as being closely tied to the church.

The new generation are asking questions of their past and the new administration are responding with greater regional devolution, liberalizing of both abortion and divorce laws and the introduction of gay marriage. The Roman Catholic church tried to rally support against these changes but to little effect. Polls say nearly half of Spain’s Catholics now never go to Mass, and a third say they are simply not religious. Commentators remark that ‘Spain is turning into the Sweden of the Mediterranean’.

For me, Montserrat, whilst interesting to visit, lacked the spiritual, prayerful sense found in other places of pilgrimage. Its noise and commercialism detracted from the silence and holiness I felt in Walsingham. Each to their own! But it would be interesting to see Montserrat again in 10 years time. Would it be the same place or will its ‘folk religion’ remain intact whilst its pilgrims recognize the limitations of the dogmas in contemporary society?

Friday 22nd April
The Eve of St George's Day
7.30 pm Sung Eucharist
followed by wine and

Holy Week and Easter Services
Guest Preacher for Holy Week: Fr Terry Ranson

PALM SUNDAY (20 March)
8.00am Office of Readings and Morning Prayer
10.30am Blessing of Palms at Merchant Taylors' School and Procession 11.00am High Mass and Reading of the Passion
7.00pm Compline and Benediction

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

7.00am Office of Reading; 9.00am Morning Prayer
9.30am Eucharist
7.30pm Churches Together in Waterloo Service (Christ Church,Waterloo) 10.00pm Compline

7.00am Office of Readings and Morning Prayer
8.00pm Eucharist with Liturgy of Reconciliation
(after which the Sacrament of Penance will be available for those wishing to make their confession in preparation for Easter)
10.00pm Compline

7.00am Office of Readings and Morning Prayer
10.30am Diocesan Eucharist with Blessing of the Oils in the Cathedral  and commitment to Ministry (all are welcome)
6.00pm Evening Prayer
8.00pm Solemn Mass of the last Supper, Washing of Feet, Procession to the Altar of Repose and Watch of Prayer to midnight

7.00am Office of Readings and Morning Prayer
10.00am The Way of The Cross (SF - especially for children and ~ families)
10.30am Morning Prayer
11.00am Churches Together in Waterloo Act of Witness at Crosby Civic Hall 1.30 pm The Solemn Liturgy of the Day
6.00pm Evening Prayer
10.00pm Compline

7.00am Office of Readings and Morning Prayer
8.00pm Joint Easter Vigil, Service of Light and First Mass of Easter followed by Champagne, Easter biscuits and fireworks!

8.00am Office of Readings; 10.30am Morning Prayer
11.00am Procession and High Mass followed by wine
6.00pm Festal Evensong, Procession and Solemn Te Deum (no sermon) followed by Easter Party

12.00noon Holy Eucharist with Hymns

Saturday Concerts 2005

The 2005 season of Open Saturdays and Recitals begins, as traditionally, on the Saturday of Easter Week.

As always, the church will be open from the 10.30 Euchriast until 1.00 pm. Refreshments will be on sale, as will the usual range of church publications and DVDs. Concerts, which are free, start at 12 noon and last for half an hour (or more!). There is a retiring collection after each concert towards the expenses of the recital series. Volunteers to help with refreshments and welcoming of visitors are still welcome - see the list at the back of church if you can help. The opening concerts in the series are:

April 2nd   Neil Kelley (Organ)
April 9th    April Johnson (Violin), Matthew Dunn (Clarinet)
                    and Stephanie Bamford (Piano)
April16th   Amadeus - The Chamber Choir - Director: David Holroyd
April 23rd  Liverpool Youth Brass Ensemble - Director: Louise Hough
April 30th  No Recital (PCC away day)
May 7th    Michael Foy (Organ)

Operation Eden 
Kathy Zimak

People in Partnership for the Social, Economic and Spiritual Regeneration of Local Environments

Operation EDEN is a multi-faith project supporting and contributing to the development of sustainable local communities in Merseyside.  The project has supported a range of sustainable projects, including community food growing, youth involvement in recycling and environmentally efficient building refurbishment. The Diocese of Liverpool is a leading partner in the project together with a number of environmental funding agencies. The project is based at Church House and the Bishop of Liverpool has been instrumental in supporting the venture and raising its profile by a well-publicised launch event last year. Most parishes have an environmental representative, and somehow I find myself in that position!

?EDEN‘ has grants of up to £4,000 to support projects working towards environmental improvement. Some matched funding is required, in addition to in-kind support by volunteers and partnership with local organisations e.g. residents’ associations, schools etc.

Typical projects may include the development of community food-growing schemes, small social businesses, wildlife spaces, recycling and remediating brownfield sites. The following examples of churches in our Diocese give an idea of how grants might be used. St Mark’s, Childwall Valley, are in partnership with local residents to develop a community garden: St Basil and All Saints, Widnes, is in partnership with Halton Voluntary Action to enable young people in the Borough to help develop a community recycling scheme. St Luke’s, Formby (‘The Church in the Pinewoods’) began a Woodland Workshop when  clearing the site for building their meeting room.  Paths have since been created, seats, bat boxes and bird boxes have been put in place, wild flowers have been transplanted, daffodils and new trees have been planted. The church has been awarded the ‘Eco-Congregation Award’, the first one in the north of England.

Operation Eden’s Steering Group meets to determine grants in January, April, July and October. Application Forms are available from the Projects Officer.  A small grant of £400 is available through a simplified application process. Any faith community which has volunteers working on environmental issues and is within the area covered by the Diocese of Liverpool may apply.  Other funding is available and information about this is posted on the organisation’s web site on Could this be an area which might interest St Faith’s people?


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