The Parish Magazine
of Saint Faith's Church, Great
Saint Faith’s Prayer for
Faithful God, in baptism you have adopted us as your children,
made us members of the body of Christ and chosen us as inheritors
of your kingdom:
bless our plans for mission and outreach; guide us to seek and do
empower us by your Spirit to share our faith in witness and to serve,
and send us out as disciples of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
the Ministry Team
In just a few weeks’ time the PCC will again be making the journey to
the peaceful setting of S. Luke’s Formby for what has become a firm
fixture in the diary – the Away-day! It doesn’t seem a year since the
last one and it will be a good exercise to see what we have done since
last May, and what we said we would do but haven’t done! I would like
to open the day up this year to any member of the congregation who
would like to come along. Please come and have your say; please come
and contribute to the debates because they concern us all, not just the
likes and dislikes of those of us on PCC.
In preparation for that day I ask you to use the prayer which appears
at the bottom of this letter.
We must not neglect the importance of prayer in all that we do. Without
it, are we offering anything uniquely Christian to our community? We
can offer holiday clubs and schemes for our work with young and old
alike; we can talk about ways to use our buildings in a more
imaginative and income-generating way. But ultimately if prayer and
worship aren’t at the top of the agenda then we may as well be another
secular agency in the highly competitive pick-and-mix consumer society.
Please use Holy Week and Easter as a time to pray that we may be open
to new and exciting ways and that God may take us and use us, not just
as servants in the community, but as channels of his love and his
grace. We must not be selfish when it comes to God’s love, we have
received it freely and we are called to share it freely.
Holy Week is a wonderful opportunity for us to be spiritually
re-charged as the liturgies unfold, telling the story so powerfully of
what God did in Jesus Christ. These are events which quite literally
changed the course of the world, and we need to be changed and
challenged by those events.
We cannot be an authentic Easter people without first travelling the
journey to the Cross. If our love for God is genuine, then we will be
prepared to take up our cross and follow him in this most important of
I know boasting is wrong, but I often tell other clergy friends how
lucky we are at S. Faith’s that the Holy Week services are so
well-attended. Liturgies belong to the whole community, not just those
who are ‘keen’ or those who have nothing better to do! It would however
be great to see even more people tracing the steps of Jesus during Holy
Week. It will make our Easter celebration mean so much more, to say
nothing of the excitement of the Easter Party! Having had a year off
last year (from the party that is) let us make sure that this year’s
truly goes with a bang! Fancy dress is optional, but for those who are
game, the first prize for the best fancy-dress is a meal for two at
Let us travel together, as a family, during this Great Week, to hear
and experience once again the amazing love God has for all the world.
Above all, give thanks for all the many things which go to make S.
Faith’s an exciting and vibrant place to belong to. At the time of
writing we have around twelve people, adults and children, who will be
preparing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in June. This is a
wonderful sign of the new life of which Easter speaks so powerfully.
With my love and prayers for a holy and inspiring Easter
God of unchanging
your Holy Spirit
to proclaim your
love in challenging times and places:
give to our parish
fresh understanding and a clear vision
that together we
may respond to the call to be your disciples
and so to rejoice
in the blessings of your kingdom;
we ask this in the
name of Him
who gave His life
that ours might flourish,
your Son, Jesus
Christ our Lord.
Thanks for the Warm Welcome
I would like to thank everyone at St. Faith’s for the welcome I
received when I visited you to share your worship in January. The cold
temperature of the building contrasted with the warmth of the welcome!
As some of you will know, I regularly worship at St. James’ in Birkdale
and visited your church to explore the diversity of the Church of
England. I am currently testing my call to ordained ministry and
progressing through the selection process which will lead me to a
Bishop’s Advisory Panel in May or June this year.
Many of your traditions are different than mine and I have learned a
lot from my time with you. It is good to know that we can worship God
in so many different ways, in different styles but with one accord. I
enjoyed sharing in your worship and in particular the music. You have a
very accomplished choir and organist whose contribution to worship is
invaluable. It was great to see so many different people involved in
the services and good to hear what the Sunday School had been doing
each week. I was pleased to be able to chat with and get to know many
of you in the hall after the services and I thank you for your
There are many different talents within your church and I was glad to
see so many being used in ‘Cinderella’! I attended the Monday
performance with my family and thoroughly enjoyed the show. There were
so many gifted people involved, singers, dancers, actors and the
inevitable dames, it was as good as any professional show I’ve seen,
and those involved seemed to be enjoying it as much as we did.
I would like to thank Father Neil (for answering so many of my
questions so patiently), Father Dennis and you all for your welcome and
I hope you will pray for me as I explore my call. I look forward to
attending to occasional services with you and will keep Father Neil
informed of the outcome of my panel.
Prayer is like watching for the kingfisher.
All you can do is be where he is likely to appear, and wait.
Often, nothing much happens:
There is space, silence and expectancy.
No visible sign, only the knowledge
that he’s been there and may come again.
Seeing or not seeing cease to matter.
You have been prepared.
But when you’ve almost stopped expecting it,
a flash of brightness gives encouragement.
Rise heart; thy Lord is risen. Sing his praise
Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise
With him mayst rise:
That, as his death calcined thee to dust,
His life may make thee gold, and much more, just.
Awake, my lute, and struggle for thy part
With all thy art.
The crosse taught all wood to resound his name,
Who bore the same.
His stretched sinews taught all strings, what key
Is best to celebrate this most high day.
Consort both heart and lute, and twist a song
Pleasant and long:
Or, since all musick is but three parts vied
O let thy blessed Spirit bear a part,
And make up our defects with his sweet art.
of the Resurrection
In Advent 2006 the Church of England published a new volume of services
entitled “Times and Seasons” giving us, at long last, official
liturgies to celebrate the times and seasons of the Christian year. One
of the features of the book is a liturgy, new to many, called the
Stations of the Resurrection (or Stations of Joy). As the name implies
they are similar in pattern and format to the familiar Stations of the
Cross (the Via Crucis, or Way of the Cross), but focussing on the
appearances of Our Lord after his resurrection - the Via Lucis (the Way
“As with the Stations of the Cross, we move from station to station,
reading an appropriate Bible passage and meditating on it. By using the
resurrection appearances as a focus for reflection and meditation we
have an opportunity to appreciate and celebrate the Easter mysteries of
the resurrection of our Lord. The resurrection appearances are more
than just stories or history, they are a record of personal encounters
with our risen Lord, so silence and space should be given to allow the
liturgy to enable that encounter to happen today”
(from “Times and Seasons” © The Archbishops’ Council
During Eastertide at Saint Faith’s we shall celebrate the Stations of
the Resurrection at 7pm beginning on Saturday 14th April. All are
Monday 23rd April 2007 at 7.30pm
SUNG EUCHARIST in honour of S. George,
Patron of England,
followed by wine and APCM
Please note that soon lists will be in church for those who wish to
indicate their willingness to serve as Churchwardens, Deputy
Churchwardens and PCC members. For those elected to office, please note
that a requirement is to attend the Liverpool Archdeaconry Visitation
which this year takes place on Wednesday 9th May 7.30pm in S. Faith’s.
30th July – 3rd August, 2007
This year will see the fifth Children’s Holiday Club at St. Faith’s.
The first Club was in 2003 and over the past few years it has gone from
strength to strength. About 50 children. aged between 5 and 11 years,
attend daily for the week. They are divided into four groups according
to age, with 12-14 children in each group. There is a leader for each
group and a helper.
I have had the privilege of organising and leading these clubs,
learning the ropes from Lynne Connolly at St. Mary’s; however this year
I am unable to commit myself to the week. I will be happy to set
everything in place, and do all the administrative work, but for the
week itself we will require someone who is able to be available for the
full five days of the club and take on the responsibility of running it
for the week.
It is a rewarding experience and I will give that person all the help I
can. Please let myself or Fr. Neil know if you are interested in
taking on this task.
Week and Easter Services
Holy Week Preacher:
Fr. Geoffrey Hardman
8.00am Office of Readings and
10.30 am Blessing of Palms at Merchant Taylors’
School and Procession
11.00 am Solemn Eucharist and Reading of the Passion
7.00pm Compline and Benediction
Monday 2nd MONDAY
IN HOLY WEEK
9.00am Morning Prayer
6.00pm Evening Prayer: Book of
Common Prayer (S. Mary’s)
8.00pm Eucharist with hymns and
Tuesday 3rd TUESDAY
IN HOLY WEEK
9.00am Morning Prayer
6.00pm BCP Evening Prayer (S.
Wednesday 4th WEDNESDAY IN
9.00am Morning Prayer
10.30am Eucharist (S. Mary’s)
6.00pm BCP Evening Prayer (S.
8.00pm Eucharist with hymns and
(after which the Sacrament of
Penance will be available for those wishing to make their confession in
preparation for Easter)
9.00am Morning Prayer
10.30 am Diocesan Eucharist with Blessing of the Oils
in the Cathedral and commitment to Ministry to which all are welcome
7.00pm Holy Eucharist in
commemoration of the Last Supper and Washing of Feet (S.Mary’s)
8.00 pm Solemn Eucharist of the
Last Supper, Washing of Feet, Procession to the Garden of Repose
10.00am The Way of the Cross
(especially for children and families)
11.00 am Churches Together in Waterloo Act of Witness
at Crosby Civic Hall
12noon The Way of the Cross
(S.Mary’s - especially for children and families)
1.30 pm The Solemn Liturgy of the
2.00pm Sacrament of Penance (S.
8.00 pm Joint Easter Vigil,
Service of Light and First Eucharist of Easter, followed by champagne,
Easter biscuits and fireworks!
8.00am Morning Prayer
11.00 am Blessing of the Easter Garden, Holy Baptism
and Solemn Eucharist, followed by wine
6.00 pm Festal Evensong,
Procession and Solemn Te Deum (no sermon), followed by “Fancy
Dress” Easter Party
God, our joy, our
song and our salvation,
on this, the day
that you have made,
you gather us to
exult in the risen Christ.
Set our minds on
the new life
to which Christ
fire our tongues
with the words of witness
and thrill our
hearts on this day of days
with the bread of
truth and the cup of the Holy Spirit.
We ask this
through Jesus Christ,
our Passover and
who is one with
you and the Holy Spirit,
now and for ever.
for our Panto
It was very good – Oh, yes it was! I was only sorry that I was 6,000
miles away at the time. However, due to the ever-efficient efforts of
our webmaster (thanks. Ed!) I was watching clips of the pantomime
before I returned to the U.K. And very proud I was too. I had heard
rumours that this year’s pantomime was possibly the best ever. Having
watched the DVD through, I can honestly say
that it was. What a tremendous amount of
dedication, hard work and skill went to make a
wonderful week for all involved and all who came to watch!
There were understandable fears about whether one so soon after the
last would work, but thanks to the skilled organisation of Leo and the
total support of his cast, it worked out well. Such events not only
raise the profile of the church in the community but they throw people
together in the most marvellous (and chaotic) way backstage that
friendships and relationships between people are forged and deepened:
all of that is highly important and contributes significantly to the
growth of our two churches.
I think the United Benefice Dramatic Society can rightly be proud that
its performances are now counted as among some of the best on offer
locally these days. Many congratulations to all involved and here’s to
the next one – oh yes you will!
We told our stories – that’s all.
We sat and listened to each other
And heard the journeys of each soul.
We sat in silence
Entering each one’s pain and sharing each one’s joy.
We heard love’s longing
And the lonely reachings-out for love and affirmation.
We heard of dreams shattered, and visions fled.
Of hopes and laughter turned stale and dark.
We felt the pain of isolation and the bitterness of death.
But in each brave and lonely story
God’s gentle life broke through
And we heard music in the darkness
And smelt flowers in the void.
We felt the budding of creation
In the searchings of each soul
And discerned the beauty of God’s hand
In each muddy, twisted path.
And his voice sang in each story
His life sprang from each death.
Our sharing became one story
Of a simple lonely search
For life and hope and oneness
In a world which sobs for love.
And we knew that in our sharing
God’s voice with mighty breath was saying
Love each other and take each other’s hand.
For you are one, though many
And in each of you I live.
So listen to my story
And share my pain and death.
Oh, listen to my story
And rise and live with me.
(Quoted by Fr Mark
in a recent sermon)
A regular feature of Newslink is
the reproduction of thought-provoking articles on religious, moral and
philosophical topics from various periodicals. The editor thanks those
who provide him with some of these, an also those who tell him that
they appreciate such articles. This month we feature three such pieces:
a coloured youth worker’s worries about gun culture and the breakdown
of family values, the concerns of the National Trust about the
plight of so many church buildings – and, below, a prominent Roman
Catholic writer’s warnings about the dangers of getting too close to
her church! As always, readers’ views are welcome, as, of course, are
all their contributions.
before you leap into bed with Rome
For generations, Roman Catholic schoolchildren in this country were
taught to pray for the conversion of England. Their prayers may soon be
answered: as talk of an Anglican schism grows, a leaked report hints
that the Church of England may recognise a modified form of the papacy.
This may seem an unlikely development in view of ancient prejudices:
Anglicans inveighed against ‘the whore of Babylon’, while Catholics
scorned their Anglican brethren as heretics. But, at a time when both
churches suffer from falling vocations, dwindling attendance and
depleted coffers, this marriage of convenience may not sound such a bad
Before we strike up the band and get the confetti out, though, we
should ask: do Anglicans know whom they are getting into bed with?
Editing the Catholic Herald
in the early 1990s made me realise that the popular view of the
Catholic Church owed more to fiction than fact. The British saw my
Church as an Evelyn Waugh creation steeped in incense, tradition and
heavenly choirs. How they recoiled when they set foot in their local
Catholic church and found a liberal Lefty priest preaching that raising
taxes was part of God’s plan, while tone-deaf youngsters wailed
In the same way, those Anglicans who want to break away from Canterbury
over gay priests will be horrified to learn that a great many Catholic
priests are of a similar persuasion. Those who bemoan their wishy-washy
liberal clergy will be shocked to find that much of the Catholic
hierarchy is trapped in an Old Left mentality that regards Neil Kinnock
as dangerously right-wing. Anglicans who hold up the Church of Rome as
a model for its black-and-white certainties should consider that, even
under a German Pope, Catholicism is about the Italian art of
arrangiarsi – or getting by. Thus, the Church bans birth control, but
the majority practise it; condemns divorce while allowing annulment;
forbids homosexuality, but shields paedophiles within its ranks.
A faith that teaches that even the worst sinner can confess and receive
absolution is immensely appealing, so it would not surprise me to hear
that some Anglicans are flirting with the notion of sheltering under
our umbrella. But let them know the facts, not fall for a fantasy.
in the Holy Land
As we reflect at Eastertide upon the tragic events that led to the
crucifixion of our Lord in Jerusalem we should pray for our Christian
brothers and sisters who live in the country where our faith was born
and whom we shall join in prayer as we rejoice on Easter Day.
The entire Christian population in Palestine and Israel is
approximately 162,000. Of these 120,000 are living in Israel, and the
remaining 42,000 are living under today’s Palestinian authority (the
Occupied Territories: the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and East
Jerusalem). In Palestine about one third of the total number of
Christians can be found in the Bethlehem district, and there especially
our brothers and sisters are facing many problems and living under dire
The separation wall built by Israel now surrounds Bethlehem and has
virtually cut off its citizens from other Palestinian cities, in
particular Jerusalem. Bethlehem’s economy used to be based on tourism.
But the Israeli wall has strangled the economy of the town and
increased already high unemployment and poverty. This situation can be
found across the occupied territories where illegal settlements
numbering 230, created by Israel are depriving Palestinians of their
homes and land. Homes are being demolished and thousands of olive and
fruit trees uprooted: sometimes to make way for the Wall, sometimes as
a form of collective punishment. A UN resolution of 2004 calling on
Israel to remove the Wall and to compensate the Palestinians continues
to be ignored.
Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land belong to a variety of church
denominations, including the Byzantine Orthodox Church, the oldest
church in the land. The Christian church has always been multi-ethnic:
the majority are Arab but it includes Jewish believers who were amongst
the first to believe in Jesus as Messiah and Lord, and Russian Jewish
immigrants who worship in the Orthodox tradition. As Anglicans we need
to support in our prayers the Diocese of Jerusalem with its Bishop Riah
Abu El Assal. The membership of the Anglican church combined with the
Lutheran church is less than 5,000: these brothers and sisters urgently
need our prayers and support.
That support may come in the form of opposition to the continuing
investment by the Church of England in Caterpillar, the firm that has
provided 100 bulldozers to Israel, which are being used not only to
construct the infamous wall but also to wreak devastation in refugee
camps and in demolition of Palestinian houses. In 2006 the General
Synod of the Church of England endorsed a motion to divest from
Caterpillar but this decision was hastily rejected by the Ethical
Investment Advisory Group. They did so without consulting with Church
leaders in Palestine or seeing first hand the devastation caused by
Caterpillar’s bulldozers, as requested by Synod. The Caterpillar D is
now an indispensable weapon used by the Israeli military against the
civilian Palestinian population.
We can also purchase Palestinian products now on sail in some retail
outlets, olive oil and soap. We can join the ‘Living Stones’, an
informal network of friends and supporters of the indigenous
Palestinian Christian community promoting justice, peace and
reconciliation in the Middle East. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
An Easter message from Bishop Riah, the
outgoing Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem
‘Salaam and grace
in the name of or Lord Jesus Christ and greetings from the Land of the
Holy One. With all that has been happening in His Land over the last
few years, and the way the great majority of the world seem to have
been indifferent, the images of those people who ‘stood afar’ while
Christ was in great pain on His Cross have come alive. The drama
continues today but the actors change – to those standing afar,
watching and doing nothing I urge you to move closer and become
directly and positively involved.’
A PRAYER FOR THE HOLY LAND
When we have no words to express our anger
Lord, give us the voice to speak out.
When we find no reason to hope in the future
Lord, give us the strength to go on.
When we have no easy answers to the crisis we face
Lord, give us the compassion to try.
And for the sake of all people in the Middle East
give us the determination to struggle for justice,
until your peace is made perfect and the tanks rust with irrelevance.
for Thought 2: Gun Culture
Why do young people feel they want or need to carry guns and then use
them to shoot each other? The obvious answer is that weapons are now a
fashion statement that helps to enhance respect levels. But what we
seem to forget is the emotional aspect involved in carrying a weapon.
I see the problem as two-fold. Firstly, I believe that we as adults are
responsible because we seem to have lost the skills to nurture our
children emotionally. Our laws, and our haste to be liberal and treat
young people with respect, have caused us to do them a great injustice
by not imposing clear boundaries on them from a young age. We treat our
children as mini adults, instructing them on their rights, but not
their responsibilities. Because of this, much of young people’s
behaviour goes unchecked and unchallenged.
Secondly, we expose them to large amounts of violent, misogynistic
material very early on. They are raised in an environment where
disrespectful behaviour is cool and in many cases seen as the norm.
This gun culture was not invented by young people, it is learned
behaviour. Easily available violent and sexual music videos, games and
films serve to normalise extreme behaviour and to make violent and bad
behaviour cool an acceptable.
The solution to this is simple, but it will take time and effort. We
need to take control of the emotional development of our young people
from an early age. This means encouraging strong family units where
young people learn respect for rules and boundaries. They need to be
taught that their actions have consequences. Right now children are
fearless; they are only learning what is cool, not what is right. I am
suggesting that we censor what our young people are exposed to and that
we are more ready to challenge bad behaviour at home and in our wider
Only a small percentage of our young people are at present involved in
violence at this level. We need to act now to reduce this number –
because if we don’t it will only increase.
Shaun Bailey is a
coloured youth worker in West London
Helping a family to cope at a stressful and difficult time is not easy
but it can be handled efficiently and sympathetically by some banks.
Administering an estate is a lengthy process of information gathering
and paperwork, calculations and correspondence, accounts and
settlements. There can often be hitches along the way. Probate and
administration of the estate needs to be properly completed at a time
when family and friends are least able to cope.
The church’s bankers, Lloyds TSB, have a Private Banking division that
has a dedicated team to deal with the administration of estates. At
least two specialists are assigned to each case and there is a fixed
competitive fee, based on a percentage of the gross value of the
estate. Other banks and legal firms offer similar services.
Simply, these are the steps that are followed:
1. Valuing the estate – estimate what the estate is worth, see if there
are any liabilities.
2. Apply for Probate – papers are submitted, Inheritance Tax may be
due. It usually takes about four weeks for a Grant of Probate to be
3. Collecting the assets – settle any outstanding liabilities, pay any
cash gifts, how to deal with any remaining assets.
4. Dealing with income tax – complete the final income tax return and
agree the tax position with HM Revenue & Customs.
5. Property at home – if property is involved, estate agents will be
brought in and beneficiaries will be consulted before offers are
6. Assets abroad – any overseas assets usually involve legal
formalities in the country in question and an attorney may have to be
7. Distributing assets – funds are distributed to beneficiaries as soon
as possible, although a small reserve may be held back in case there
are further expenses.
8. Finally – once everything is finalised, a final account is sent to
the Capital Taxes Office, a full statement is prepared and then copies
are sent to the residuary beneficiaries together with any final
Many people like to review their wills periodically as family and
financial circumstances change. There can also be legal or tax
changes that affect the provision you have already made.
If this information is helpful, please talk to your solicitor or
bankers to ensure that your affairs are in order.
for Thought 3: Taken on Trust?
Recently the death knell tolled for many places of worship when
‘Inspired’, a campaign launched by English Heritage and backed by a
raft of conservation societies including the National Trust, publicised
some brutal figures. The estimated cost of repairing all England’s
14,500 listed places of worship is almost a billion pounds over the
next decade - and that doesn’t include thousands more unlisted
ecclesiastical buildings. The bill is almost three times what the
parishes, by the most optimistic calculation, could possibly raise.
Over the same period the trickle of churches becoming redundant is
predicted to become a torrent, and the statutory charity, the Churches
Conservation Trust, will be able to save no more than a handful of the
Not everyone associates the National Trust with places of worship, but
Sarah Staniforth, the Trust’s Historic Properties Director, has many
religious sites to worry about within the Trust’s portfolio, from the
Victorian splendour of the chapel at Tyntesfield to the spectacular
medieval ruins at Fountains Abbey and the important Bodley-designed
church at Clumber. She is deeply concerned about the churches beyond
the Trust’s borders, seeing the Trust as a good neighbour, offering
help and advice at a local level and giving whole-hearted backing
nationally for the campaign. ‘Churches are an important part of our
story - and what we stand for. They represent not just the skills of
past craftsmen, the wealth of benevolent landowners, but the cohesion
of communities of the past - and the present.’ The fact that many
National Trust properties lie close to places of worship is an
important factor. ‘A day out at a Trust house and garden will often
drive visitors to take in the local place of worship, too, so raising
awareness of the building and its possible plight, while acting as a
reminder of its importance: as part of the local landscape.’
The truth is that saving churches is a task beyond the means of any one
group or organisation: our churches and chapels need new money and new
people, and lots of both. We expected them to last forever, the setting
for harvest suppers and Easter services, the shelter for the mother and
toddler group, the picturesque backdrop for wedding and christening
photos. But perhaps we have been too casual consumers of heritage. We
didn’t look up at slipping roof tiles and green staining around cracked
gutters; we didn’t ask who, in a congregation of 30 retired people,
polished the brasses so beautifully; we didn’t cross the fields to put
something in the collection box when charmed by the sound of bells. We
felt virtuous at buying a postcard, when we should have put at least
the price of a round of drinks into that battered collection box for
replacing the lead on the spire. Now, if we were each to buy a crate of
postcards it wouldn’t be enough - but it is not, quite, too late to
Maev Kennedy writes
for The Guardian on archaeology and historic buildings.
On behalf of my husband, daughter and myself, I would like to thank the
congregations of St Mary’s and St Faith’s Churches for making our
wedding day so special. Without your help the day wouldn’t have been as
wonderful as it was.
We would particularly like to thank Fr Neil, Fr Derek and Fr Dennis for
a lovely service, Mary Crooke and Angie Price for the flower
arrangements, the choir who sang beautifully (and reduced many of the
congregation to tears for all the right reasons!), Sue Walsh for
reading the intercessions so well, the Serving Team, for all their
friendship and support, (not forgetting Kevin Walsh’s near death
experience when putting the nets up in the church hall!!) and Chris
Price and Denis Griffiths for the fabulous photos and DVDs of the day.
Betty, Keith and Christine managed to pull off yet another fantastic
spread along with many other contributors, including Laura
Caddick, Karen Lunt, Rosie and Rick Walker, Marie, Fiona
Whalley and Mary Crooke (apologies if I missed anyone!)
Family, friends and colleagues have all commented on what a wonderful
day it was and how there was a real feeling of community and
togetherness, Gary and I were overwhelmed by the love and support shown
by everyone. Even the DJ didn’t want to go home!
I am sure some of you are aware that Jack Winder had been in hospital
the week leading up to the wedding; it was a very emotionally-charged
week for us as a family, he was determined to be at the church and lo
and behold he made it! Words can’t convey how much it meant to me to
have him beside me walking down the aisle. I would like to take this
opportunity also to thank Mum. As many of you know, we haven’t always
seen eye to eye! but I truly thank God for her, and admire her courage
and strength of character, and love her dearly.
With all our love and best wishes
Judith, Gary and Emily
Reflection for Eastertide
from the writings
of Edward Norman, former Chancellor of York Minster
The Resurrection of Christ
Public opinion polls appear to show that more people believe in
personal reincarnation than in the Resurrection of Jesus, and that very
many people claim to believe in both. It is not a very encouraging
finding. Nor is the growing tendency among Christians to interpret the
Resurrection as a symbolical rather than an actual event: that the
followers of Jesus sensed his spirit among them, and that their
subjective joy comprised a kind of renewal of his life. The simple
truth is that the Resurrection is in separable from the Incarnation
itself. It is an affirmation of the nature of the Creation. God does
not work by magic, but in the laws of the very matter he has himself
exploded into existence and for a while holds in an expanding balance –
the universe. To be known about he must either be discovered in the
created order itself, by the use of human reason, or he must be evident
of our understanding in the only way which is not compatible with those
same laws of creation: by becoming one of us.
Both means of knowing God are available to us. In every culture on the
planet men and women have perceived the evidences of a Creator, and
have employed their capacity to reason to put their sense that this is
so into formal images of God, sometimes, alas, in grotesque ways. God,
for his part, entered the immediate experience of humanity by taking
upon himself the shared life of his creatures: a supreme act of
Revelation which confirmed the preceding intimations of his presence
and also directly opened the way of personal salvation to those whose
response recognized and acted on his mercy.
It is essential to this divine initiative that God really was a man,
and not either the mere appearance of a man (as some early heresies
taught), or an actual human whom God ‘adopted’ as his earthly
representation (a notion which crops up periodically in each century).
Jesus was truly God and truly man. And here is a great paradox; for
this was not a ‘miraculous’ occurrence, except according to a very
careful definition of the word – modern people tend to use the concept
of the miraculous as a kind of synonym for magic. It was an occurrence
which fully used the material nature of the creation, thereby
confirming that all God had made was a dimension of his purpose. Now,
resurrection stories were attached to numerous local divinities in the
cults and mysteries of the ancient world, and were a familiar part of
the expectations of those seeking religious help. Such cultic myths
were full of bizarre and extraordinary miracles performed by the
The Resurrection of Christ showed none of these excesses. Instead he
returned to the Father; his earthly body, being fully God as well as
fully man, ascending (or translating) with the entire power of the
author of all things. It was an event both spiritual and material, a
unique occurrence which signalled to the children of God – to all
people, that is to say – that human life had been endowed with the
dignity and purpose of eternal value. Whatever the dreadful
imperfections of humanity, the man who is God beckons each one of us to
The vicar was surprised when a man with no arms asked if he could ring
the church bells. The vicar wondered how he was going to manage the
bell ropes, but the man explained that he would climb up to the bells
and ring them with his head.
He went up to the bell tower and banged his head against one of the
bells. Getting really carried away, he banged it again and again and
finally rammed his face against it. Overcome with excitement, he
overbalanced and fell to the ground in a heap. A crowd gathered as the
vicar climbed down. ‘How dreadful,’ said one onlooker. ‘Do you know who
he is, Vicar?’
‘I don’t know his name,’ said the vicar, ‘but his face certainly rings
(Told to the editor
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