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

Saint Faith’s Prayer for Mission

God of unchanging power, your Holy Spirit enables us to proclaim your love in challenging times and places:
give us fresh understanding and a clear vision, that together we may respond to the call
to be your disciples and 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. Amen.

If you would like to receive a postal copy of Newslink  each month, free of charge, email the Editor 

April 2008

From the Ministry Team         

Two thousand years on, we rightly keep Easter as the celebration of Christ’s victory. But for Our Lord’s disciples the first few days after His crucifixion were full of fear and uncertainty. They were forced to meet in secret, huddled together behind locked doors ‘for fear of the Jews’. Their Lord had just been put to death in a hideous and barbaric manner; denounced by the Jewish religious establishment and disowned by the Roman military authority. Who amongst Jesus’s followers would be next on the list for summary arrest and torture? Who would be the first to wake to the hammering on the door in the middle of the night? They had no wish to be identified as a group. So they  arrived separately, perhaps even furtively, not wishing to be seen and recognised. And once assembled they met quietly, with the doors closed. No stranger should be let in lest he or she betray them. If I had been one of those disciples I would have done exactly as they did.

But the appearance, the experience, of the Risen Christ, changed everything. Very quickly the early church became completely convinced that the man Jesus, who had been nailed to the Cross, had become the victorious Christ. He had become the Saviour who had taken their humanity and placed it at the right hand of God. Jesus had been right all along. All he had said and done to establish the Kingdom of God, God’s reign of justice and peace, had been true.
I honestly wonder whether I have ever managed to throw open those doors: whether I’ve ever left the uneasy quiet of that stuffy room. I’m still furtive in my faith, still frightened to speak the name of God outside the four walls of St. Faith’s. I’m still timid and suspicious when there are strangers in church, still reluctant to welcome them either at the back of church or in the hall. And I don’t believe I am entirely alone in this. I suspect many of us are a bit scared to throw open the doors of the church either to venture out as Christians and risk ridicule, or to welcome people in -  lest their ideas of being Christian don’t quite match up with ours. But where is the confidence that should come from the mere fact of the Resurrection, from the knowledge not that I am right, but that Christ is right? As St. Paul said ‘if Christ be not risen, our faith is in vain’. And sometimes I wonder what has become of  my passion, my warmth and concern for the world for whom Christ died. Is it that I have stopped praying, asking, pleading for the gift of the Holy Spirit in my life?

Thank God the Risen Christ is still an inspiration to many. Thank God, the Holy Spirit still warms and inflames human hearts and minds. Wherever there is a searching for hope and peace and justice, and where these things are brought into being by love and self giving, there is an Easter garden. Whenever other peoples’ lives touch ours either within the church or outside it, we have an opportunity to open the doors. Perhaps we need a rather special Parish Survey to reveal for us the little green shoots of resurrection life that are springing up all around us. It humbles me to think of all that is done by our church members to further the Kingdom of Heaven: work among the elderly and lonely, the sick and the housebound, work in health and education among deprived and vulnerable members of our community, work for charities and hospices, for the developing world, for local government, for the Mission to Seamen.  The doors are so often thrown open.

Of course we can’t always be so confident. It just isn’t human not to have doubts and misgivings. Who among us has actually seen the Risen Lord? Many people, especially those faced with bereavement, pain, loss or betrayal find it so difficult to believe. But our Risen Lord remains our Crucified Lord. In every person and in every place where there is pain, cruelty and desolation there is a Golgotha. And there God meets us in his suffering compassion.

Thomas didn’t want to worship a sham. He didn’t want to worship a triumphalist Lord who had parted company with human frailty and pain. So many, within the church and outside it, need to put their fingers into the prints of the nails. They need to know, we all need to know, that Christ in his passion and resurrection meets us at our level of mess and muddle, of pain and imperfection. Even if we try to keep the doors closed, they are no barrier to the Suffering Christ. He meets us where we are, in doubt and uncertainty, even in despair and desolation. His message to us as his disciples, ‘Peace be with you’ is only believable because he shares our pain, cares for our pain. Our message of peace for the world is only believable if we share in the pain,  care for the pain. Only thus can the doors be opened. 

And so the Easter season invites us to open the doors of our churches, open the doors of our hearts and minds, so that we can meet our Risen Lord in the Gethsemanes, the Golgothas and the Easter Gardens of the world he came to save. Let’s pray for just a little more confidence to do the job he has entrusted to us. Opening the doors can be risky, we will take a few knocks and be left with a few scars. But those scars are signs of a humanity shared by Christians and non-Christians alike, a humanity which through the wounds of Christ has now been transformed into the life of God himself.
Wishing you all a joyful Eastertide.  God bless.
Fred Nye

The Liturgy of Holy Saturday

Last month we explored the different parts of the Maundy Thursday liturgy. Here we consider the different parts of the service we know as The Easter Vigil as described in the liturgical book “Times and Seasons”

The Easter Vigil marks the end of the emptiness of Holy Saturday, and leads into the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. The singing of the Exsultet, the ancient hymn of triumph and rejoicing, links this night of our Christian redemption to the Passover night of Israel’s redemption out of Egypt. Christian baptism is a participation in the death and resurrection of Christ, a dying to sin in order to be reborn in him, and the Easter Vigil was from early Christian times a preferred occasion for baptism. It is fittingly a time when those who are already Christians may repeat with renewed  commitment the promises of their own baptism, and strengthen their sense of incorporation into the royal and priestly ministry of the whole people of God. The Easter Gospel is proclaimed with all the joy and splendour that the church can find.

The Easter Eucharist may follow immediately on the Vigil, or be deferred until Easter Day. All the resources of the church – music, flowers, bells, colours – are used to celebrate Christ’s resurrection. The ‘Alleluia’, which has been silent throughout Lent, returns.

Now the queen of seasons, bright
with the day of splendour,
with the royal feast of feasts,
comes its joy to render. (John of Damascus)

The earliest Christian observance of Easter consisted of a vigil of watching and waiting, fasting and prayer, that lasted through the hours of darkness. Because the vigil began after evening prayer when, as every night, the evening candle was lit, in the Western Church on this particular night this light ceremony was eventually understood as symbolizing the return of the light of Christ and the beginning of the Easter celebration.

We begin with the lighting of a new fire from which the Easter Candle is then lit. Here, the resurrection is proclaimed from the outset in the Service of Light. The Easter Candle, together with the candles held by the individual worshippers, should, if possible, illuminate the church. This illustrates the way that Christians understand the Old Testament and interpret life itself in the light of the resurrection of Jesus. The history of our salvation in the Scriptures is heard in the light of the Easter mystery. The Service of Light reaches its climax  with the  Easter  Proclamation.  The Old Testament readings from the Vigil then follow. We hear the story of our salvation and are invited to reflect our own personal journey in the light of the Easter revelation.

The Easter Liturgy is not just one of the Easter services but a major baptismal event, because baptism and Easter have been closely linked from at least the end of the second century. Lent became the period of preparation for entering into the Church’s fellowship through baptism at Easter. Candidates entered into the life of Christ’s death and resurrection in the midst of the Church’s celebration of them. It is therefore appropriate that there should be a celebration of Baptism, or at the very least, there should be a Re-affirmation of Baptismal Vows by the Christian community as a public declaration of their union with Christ in his death and resurrection.

The celebration of the Eucharist is the proper climax to the Easter Liturgy when we are sacramentally reunited with our risen Lord.

For this is the Passover feast,
when Christ, the true Lamb of God, is slain
whose blood consecrates the homes of all the faithful.
This is the night when you first saved our ancestors,
freeing Israel from her slavery
and leading her safely through the sea.
This is the night when Jesus Christ vanquished hell,
broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.
This is the night when all who believe in him are freed      from sin,
restored to grace and holiness,
and share the victory of Christ.
This is the night that gave us back what we had lost;
beyond our deepest dreams
you made even our sin a happy fault.
Most blessed of all nights!
Evil and hatred are put to flight and sin is washed away,
lost innocence regained, and mourning turned to joy.
Night truly blessed, when hatred is cast out,
peace and justice find a home, and heaven is joined to earth
and all creation reconciled to you.
Therefore, heavenly Father, in this our Easter joy
accept our sacrifice of praise, your Church’s solemn offering.
Grant that this Easter Candle may make our darkness light.
For Christ the morning star has risen in glory;
Christ is risen from the dead and his flame of love still      burns within us!
Christ sheds his peaceful light on all the world!
Christ lives and reigns for ever and ever!   Amen.

Stations of the Resurrection

Fr Neil

Last year we experienced for the first time at St. Faith’s a new service entitled “Stations of the Resurrection”. The book “Times and Seasons” which was published the year before last says of this service:
“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 2006)

Last year a number of people came along on a Saturday evening and it is good to think that when our ‘Lenten’ discipline is over we can move to an ‘Easter’ discipline of ‘something extra’ too. We can use this service as a preparation for our sharing in the Eucharist the following Sunday morning. Both classical and contemporary poetry and music are used at these services, which last around 30 minutes. Come and join us: during Eastertide at Saint Faith’s we shall celebrate the Stations of the Resurrection at 6pm beginning on Saturday 29th March.  All are welcome.

The Saturday Lunchtime Recitals

The early Easter this year has another bonus: our ever popular Saturday Lunchtime Recitals start early too on Saturday, 29 March with Amadeus, the Chamber Choir performing for us.

The calendar this year also means that we get an extra 3 concerts in the season.  We will be welcoming some new musicians and have responded to last year’s customer feedback by adding in more soloists – as well as bringing back some of our favourites, including the youth ensembles, jazz band and choirs. We are also delighted to announce that, on 23 August, we will be welcoming back our former Director of Music, Ged Callacher, for an organ recital.

The revised programme for the first few weeks is:

    29 March    Amadeus: the Chamber Choir
    5 April        Matthew Hardy (trumpet) and Neil Kelley (piano)
    12 April        Birkdale High School Jazz Band
    19 April        Liverpool Brass Ensemble
    26 April        Stephen Hargreaves (organ)
    3 May        Liverpool Youth Ensemble (cond. Louise Hough)

The church will be open on concert days between 11.00am and 1.00pm and light refreshments will be on sale.  The recitals begin at 12 noon, last about 30-40 minutes and are free – but donations are gratefully accepted towards expenses and church fabric costs. Helpers with refreshment serving are always welcome!

Please note that, occasionally, it is necessary to change the programme at short notice but our website is regularly updated – now at - or see us on Facebook. We look forward to seeing you again.

David Jones

Bats in Saint Faith’s Belfry!

Bats in the belfry are not unusual in our churches, but St. Faith’s at Dorstone is home to not just one, but two of the rarest species in Europe.

Conservation officers at Natural England have been alerted to the presence there of Barbastelle  and  Lesser  Horseshoe  bats.  The  discovery  was  made  by ecologist Eric Palmer who has been radio-tracking Barbastelles in the Golden Valley and tracked one to St. Faith’s. He said the bats had chosen a well-appointed roost. He hoped their presence was not causing concern to the parishioners at Dorstone.

They knew they had bats but were unaware how special their guests were. “We were thrilled that these two bats have been identified as in our church,” Ray Birchenough, a local naturalist and member of the congregation said. The Rector, Roger James, added, “I had no idea we were sheltering such an illustrious animal. I have only heard grumbles about the mess bats can cause.”

Being Fair (and True to our Word…)

Fr. Neil

Mothering Sunday this year coincided with Fairtrade Fortnight and so we took the opportunity to launch a new initiative, a monthly Fairtrade stall which will take place on the first Sunday of each month after the Family Eucharist. Not only is it a convenient way for people to purchase Fairtrade items but all profits from the stall will benefit Church funds too - an added bonus! We have recently received a letter validating our request to be a Fairtrade church along with many others in the Diocese. This means that wherever possible we serve only products carrying the Fairtrade label at events for which we have responsibility (ie. coffee after mass). Since it is some while ago now that the PCC unanimously took this decision it is appropriate for us to review our current practice and to see if there are other Fairtrade products now available which we could be using. For example, we will start buying Fairtrade communion wine for use in the liturgy and the wine we serve after mass on Easter Day will carry the Fairtrade label. As part of its ongoing commitment to this policy the PCC will look, as the year goes on, to see if there are other areas of our church life that need reviewing too.

Here you can read about the Fairtrade Communion wine (which the treasurer tells me is no more expensive than the current supplier!)

Poterion Fairtrade

Poterion (the greek word for ‘cup’) is the world’s first Fairtrade Communion Wine that we have created together with Chile’s leading Fairtrade wine estate, Vinos Los Robles. The wine is made from a blend of premium Chilean grapes, Semillon and Merlot, grown in Los Robles’ vineyards in the Curicó valley. Lightly fortified to 15% alcohol to give the wine longevity, it is a smooth light red with red berry fruit flavours and a balancing sweetness.

Whitebridge Wines Ltd is an independent family-owned wine shipper set up in 1984.
Our aim is to provide churches around the country with an ethically sourced, well made, and high quality Communion Wine.

We Think We’ve Got Problems?

Chris Price

There is much food for thought in a recent feature in The Times, supplied by Fr Dennis. Under the headline ‘Catholic Church faces new crisis – Ireland is running out of priests’ Daniel Sharrock reports at some length about the problems faced in the Emerald Isle by a growing and massive shortfall of priests in training and in post.

Ireland once exported priests around the world: now it expects that in the next twenty years their numbers will have dropped by a staggering two thirds. The Pope’s favourite bastion of the faith in Europe is suffering growing secularisation as its prosperity grows. Last year 169 Roman Catholic priests died but only nine were ordained. 228 nuns died, but just two took final vows for the religious life. A predicted drop from 4,752 priests to about 1,500 is attributed to a fatal loss of the Church’s authority after a string of sex-abuse scandals. Despite a (probably temporary) influx of Polish immigrant workers, church attendance also has collapsed. And the faithful are ministered to by a priesthood whose average age is 62 – and rising.

The authorities are being challenged to consider relaxing the celibacy rules:  a majority of priests and a large number of bishops would allegedly favour this. The Director of Vocations in Dublin says: ‘some priests are reluctant to offer priesthood as a valuable way of life any more.’ And a commentator on Irish religious affairs told The Times: ‘Ireland is now the vocations blackspot of the world. It’s not a crisis, it’s a catastrophe.’

Last week a former Roman Catholic priest, now married, became Dean of the Church of Ireland (Anglican Communion) Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin. ‘It came to a point where I felt I needed to be honest,’ he said. I could see the Church was going one way and I another. My thinking was different on areas of human sexuality, on marriage, the place of women in the Church and the question of vocation of women and the admission of women to the ordained ministry.’

‘It’s all so different from 1947,’ Sharrock concludes, ‘when the Irish Government sent a note to Pope Pius XII inviting him to relocate to Ireland in the event of a communist takeover of Italy. The Pope replied to the Irish ambassador to the Vatican: ‘Ah Ireland, where else could I go but Ireland?’ He would have to think twice today…

Your editor is saddened but not too surprised to read all this. It certainly puts the problems of the C. of E. in a new light. Plurality of parishes is nothing new to us (the report suggests that in the near future there will be just one priest to every five Irish R.C. parishes – and the situation is seemingly even worse in France). But our drop in priestly vocations is nowhere near as severe, and may have levelled out, and the average age of our clergy is significantly lower. What it does seem to show is the handicap of a vast monolithic command structure which is so slow to recognise problems and even slower to respond to them. The Anglican command structure may seem archaic to us, but it much more democratic and flexible than that of Rome. Despite crisis and controversy, it has for centuries welcomed married priests; for a good many years now it has been enriched by an influx of women priests, whose numbers have done much to stave off disaster; and although it may yet face splits over the gay priests issue, it offers a humane and compassionate theological umbrella under which priests and people of every persuasion and opinion may shelter and share a common ministry, to their comfort and the immeasurable enrichment of our Church.

When next we bemoan falling numbers, a shortage of priests and an increase in quota payments, we should count our blessings. It is tempting on Irish Catholic Merseyside to look enviously as the crowds flock into R.C. masses, as once they flocked into Irish R.C. ones. But their numbers, even locally in their English stronghold, are falling inexorably, their vocations are likewise diminishing (how glad they will be when Ged Callacher is ordained!) – and they would do well to look nervously over the water to the country whence so many of them came, and whose present state is surely likely to give a clue to their future.

St. Faith’s Summer Holiday Club, RIP
2003 – 2007

Fr. Neil writes:

This may very well have been the heading in this month’s Newslink were it not for the fact that at the eleventh hour (as we were very nearly telling a hall user they could have the hall in the summer as we weren’t running a Holiday Club this year!) we have managed to save the day thanks to the considerable offer of help from Lynne Connolly 10
at St. Mary’s and Joan Tudhope who will run this as a joint venture! We have of course a number of helpers but this year, as you read in a previous edition of Newslink, no-one to take complete charge of the enterprise, no mean feat as Judith and Joan will tell you from their previous experience!

St. Mary’s in fact helped us to get this project up and running back in 2003 when it kindly organized the first one for us and it has quickly become a regular feature of community life. Quite apart from having fifty disappointed children (and parents) to have cancelled the club would have sent out a very sad and confusing message about a church which regularly says how it wants to get ‘more involved’ in the community. But as we often realize, talk is easy! The plans we often have only ever come to fruition when people sacrifice their time and talents to turn words into actions.

So thank you Lynne and Joan – we will have 50 happy children and a considerably greater number of happier parents this summer again! We are of course fortunate now in having our United Benefice Administrator, Liz, to offer administrative support for this project too.

Thank you too in advance to all who will offer their continuing help for this project on a daily basis – building on the success of previous years and the dedication of Joan and Judith – we look forward to the sixth St. Faith’s Holiday Club, very soon!

Sam’s First Camp Diary
– Llansannan 15th – 17th February 2008

On the 15th of February on Friday the cubs went to Llansannan in Wales in our leaders (Kaa) car. When we got there we helped take everything in. When we finished that we did some games and activities in the main hall. Then we made our beds. I was next to Lukes  bunk. I slept in my sleeping bag but it was still cold at night.
On Saturday morning not everyone was awake so Akela came in with a spoon and pan and banged it really loud. So when everyone was washed and changed we met 5yr old
Scott, Bethens brother. So when we had had breakfast we went out for the day at Conway Castle. I got invested on the top of Conway Castle. Then we went to the Knight shop. Then we were off to the smallest house in Britian (we all got our picture next to it). Then we got a drink and went back. When we got there we played some games and watched a film and Kaa and Akela made some candy floss for the film.Then we went to bed but we had to be quiet because Scott was asleep. But in the night he screamed.

We got changed packed our bags and had a full English breakfast and I had 5 helpings of black pudding. Then we played some games before we went. So we got back to the church and went home with our parents.

By Sam Lunt

Final Farewell

An old priest lay dying. He sent a message for his accountant and his solicitor to come to the hospital. As they entered his room, he motioned for them to sit on either side of the bed.

He grasped their hands, sighed contentedly and stared at the ceiling. The visitors were touched and flattered that the old man had asked them to be with him during his final moments, but they were also puzzled because the priest had never given any indication that he particularly liked either of them.

Finally, the solicitor asked gently: ‘Father, why did you ask the two of us to come here?’  The old man said weakly: ‘Well Jesus died between two thieves, and that’s how I want to go, too…’

100+ Club Draw: March 2008

1    £140    Anne Holland
2    £100    Muriel Harrison
3    £100    Muriel Harrison
4    £50      Peter Birkett

Church of England Writes its Marriage Guide

From the Sunday Telegraph, submitted by Fr. Neil

There was a time when the vicar's role in a marriage stopped at the church gate after the confetti was thrown. Now, however, clergy are to offer advice on everything from financial planning to who should do the ironing. They will even venture into the bedroom.
Worried by the high numbers of divorces, the Church of England has produced its guide to the perfect marriage, called Growing Together, to help couples prepare properly for the rigours of modern marriage.

In 120 pages, the guide advises couples to make priorities among their goals in life, including sex, children and sport, even suggesting that they consider who does the cooking and who cleans the lavatory.

It tells prospective husbands they must learn to improve their capacity to listen, while prospective wives need to be honest about how they intend to spend their money. It also says the couple should talk openly about their love life.

‘Sex, far from being naughty, is something holy and wonderful and something to be celebrated. Like any other skill, it has to be learned, and their task is to be each other’s teacher,’ it says.

It adds: ‘A person from a prudish kind of home may find living with a partner who comes from a home where nudity and openness about sex is normal quite a threat.’ Couples are encouraged to discuss their biggest ‘turn-ons’ and ‘turn-offs’ and are provided with case studies to warn them that many people begin married life with a limited sex education.

The book uses a real case to highlight the naivety of some couples: ‘Kevin and Mandy had been married 18 months and were worried that they had not conceived a child. It turned out that they had never had full intercourse.’

Other issues that couples are encouraged to confront are their financial arrangements, such as whether they have joint or separate bank accounts, and whether they want to be buried or cremated when they die.

Nearly 1 in 4 children in Britain now live in single-parent families, with the number of such families rising from four million to 12 million since 1972. While the number of divorces in Britain peaked in 1993 at 180,000, there were 167,000 divorces in 2004.

Although the book, the Church’s first on the subject of marital guidance, is aimed primarily at vicars, to help them prepare couples before they make their wedding vows, it is also available to those who want to go through the advice on their own. ‘We are not just interested in the wedding but in the marriage,’ said the Rt Rev Nick Baines, the Bishop of Croydon. ‘We want to prepare people for life and it’s particularly important we do this, considering the number of people who are getting divorced.’

Mr Baines argued that it was right for clergy to be discussing issues such as sex with couples, despite the sensitivity of the issue. ‘There’s an assumption that church people are from a different planet, but we’re not. We live in the real world and we are trying to help people talk about things that often don’t get talked about. We’re not trying to be trendy but are showing that we have the guts to address these big issues.’

A Church House spokesman said that the course was part of a wider drive to encourage clergy to get to grips with the modern wedding ‘market’, which has also involved vicars in attending commercial wedding fairs.

A spokesman for Relate, the relationship counselling organisation, said: ‘Couples who take steps to plan for their marriage as well as for the wedding day itself are setting themselves up for a healthier future together. It’s a really good idea to look at how you handle conflict, talk about money and know where your partner stands on starting a family before you say, ‘I do’.’

Telegraph Trivia

Thanks to the reporters of The Daily Telegraph, tireless in their exposing of the assorted absurdities of our age, we can present three fine reports from the same issue, that of February 22nd, 2008. The writer of the third item seemed unaware of the black humour in his final sentence!

Vacuous Volumes

I am happy to have discovered the Bookseller/Diagram Prize for the Oddest Title of the Year, winners of which have just been announced. Here are some of the best, and at the end, two previous winners.

* Are Women Human? And Other International Dialogues
* How to Write a How to Write Book
* Cheese Problems Solved
* If You Want Closure in Your Relationships, Start With Your Legs
* People Who Mattered in Southend and Beyond
* I Was Tortured by the Pygmy Love Queen
* Bombproof Your Horse
* Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers

Firemen Can’t Stand Smoke

Fireman have been banned from carrying out home safety checks unless smokers agree to stub out their cigarettes first, it has been claimed.

New rules state that people who request home visits from the London Fire Brigade must stop smoking an hour prior to the appointment and thoroughly ventilate the building to comply with the workplace smoking ban.

Clamping Down on Undertakers

Undertakers who left their hearse unattended momentarily while they made funeral preparations were ‘disgusted’ to find it had been clamped

The hearse was left in a private car park while staff checked coffin and flower arrangements in a nearby chapel. They returned to find their hearse and limousine clamped and with yellow tickets on the windscreen. They were told they had to pay £200, but were later let off.

A witness declared: ‘The undertakers were just mortified...’

Shocking Statistics!

At the end of last year, the Finance Committee and the PCC approved the budget for 2008 which revealed that we need to raise a massive £108,940 to maintain our services and our mission.

Individual letters will be going out shortly to ask people to review their giving but it might be helpful to see where the money goes.

The expenditure for this year breaks down as:
* £9,078 per month
* £2,095 per week
* £295 every day or
* £12 every hour

If you are not already in our Planned Giving scheme (either through the weekly parish envelopes or through a standing order with your bank), please consider how you can help us.  If you are a UK taxpayer, please sign a Gift Aid declaration form so that we can reclaim tax on your giving. Thank you!

David Jones


‘We Few, we Happy Few, we Band of Brothers’

(aka. Men in "Masque" 2008)

Dear Editor,

In response to the recently published pseudonymous account of the ‘Men’s Group’ retreat, I feel I must attempt to correct a sad misconception on the writer’s part. It grieves me to think that he should be so concerned about the misfortunes of the ‘Newslink’ readership whom he appears to view as perhaps forlorn and friendless!

We were quite forcibly reminded of the ‘closeness’, ‘success’ and ‘open-nature’ of the ‘Group’ which enable it to have in-depth discussion, ‘commencing with moving narration’, on Love, Hate and Forgiveness (and all before lunch on a Saturday).While we are, no doubt, delighted that the writer sees the ‘Men’s Group’ as being so fortunate to have each other, to share so many secrets and to have meetings of a ‘very open nature’; let him not fret for too long about the deprivation of the rest of us. We may not publicly vaunt the discretion of our close friendships but that is probably because we understand the definitions of discernment and prudence.

The photographs of plastic ‘pinnies’ did not offend in the slightest (one would have expected no more) but perhaps a note of caution should be sounded about the content of subsequent ‘Men’s Group’ publications. With so much inference to secrets kept within the ‘Group’, they may be tempted to hint at initiation rituals next time!

The writer should perhaps ponder a little upon the contradiction between ‘open-nature’ and ‘closed shop’....

Maureen Madden

(Editorial explanation. Maureen writes in response to last month’s account by ‘Phillip’ of the Men’s Group retreat at Marske. This was penned by Denis Griffiths, who tells us that this is how he was often mistakenly addressed by a well-known ex-St Faith’s cleric on retreat!)

May Devotions to The Blessed Virgin Mary

Sunday 4th May at 6pm
Choral Evensong, Procession and Te Deum

Preacher: Fr. Philip Barnes
(Shrine Priest, Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham)
…followed by a glass of (Fairtrade!) wine.

Three Poems for Lent and Easter


The weather mild, unseasonably warm
And in the church the heating works for once,
Blaring dry gusty gales to swirl and rise
Up to the distant lofty raftered roof
Where dust lies dark and dry and decades deep.
Mothering Sunday: children crowd the pews,
A buzz of chatter, craning up to watch
The puzzling pattern of the liturgy.
Observing all from the back pew’s redoubt,
I see the servers’ solemn concentration,
The choir saintly beyond the figured screen
And flowers clutched in small and eager hands
In touching tribute to a mother’s love -
The happy holy muddle of a day
Relenting of its penitential mood
To grant refreshment in our pilgrimage.

And then, unscheduled, in erratic flight
A butterfly takes wing above the pews,
Dipping and rising on its glittering way:
Aroused too early from its winter sleep,
Bewildered by the moving, glaring light
To flutter in untimely resurrection;
It swiftly surfs the tides of tepid air,
Lost in a moment out of sight and mind.
When all is done and stillness falls again,
Intent on vestry business, counting cash,
My glance is held by brightness on the floor:
The glinting coinage of a higher realm -
A fallen angel, peacock-bright in death,
Wings wide and still, the colours glowing deep,
Back in a sleep with no awakening,
While we still wait our Easter flight of faith.

Chris Price

St Faith’s Church, March 9th, 1997
(The editor apologises for reprinting one of his efforts, but it is prompted by the appearance of an identical Peacock butterfly on Passion Sunday, 2008.)

The Donkey’s Owner

Snaffled my donkey, he did - good luck to him! -
Rode him astride, feet dangling, near scraping the ground.
Gave me the laugh of my life when I first see them,
Remembering yesterday - you know, how Pilate come
Bouncing along the same road, only that horse of his
Big as a bloody house and the armour shining
And half Rome trotting behind. Tight-mouthed he was,
Looking he owned the world.
Then today,
Him and my little donkey! Ha - laugh? -
I thought I’d kill myself when he first started.
So did the rest of them. Gave him a cheer
Like he was Caesar himself, only more hearty:
Tore off some palm-twigs and followed shouting,
Whacking the donkey’s behind .... Then suddenly
We see his face.
The smile had gone, and somehow the way he sat
Was different - like he was much older - you know -
Didn’t want to laugh no more.

Clive Sansom

The Resurrection

I was the one who waited in the garden
Doubting the morning and the early light.
I watched the mist lift off its own soft burden,
Permitting not believing my own sight.
If there were sudden noises I dismissed
Them as a trick of sound, a sleight of hand.
Not by a natural joy could I be blessed
Or trust a thing I could not understand.
Maybe I was a shadow thrown by one
Who, weeping, came to lift away the stone.
Or was I but the path on which the sun,
Too heavy for itself, was loosed and thrown?

I heard the voices and the recognition
And love like kisses heard behind thin walls.
Were they my tears which fell, a real contrition?
Or simply April with its waterfalls?

It was by negatives I learned my place.
The garden went on growing and I sensed
A sudden breeze that blew across my face.
Despair returned, but now it danced, it danced.

Elizabeth Jennings

RIP Jenny Goodwin Kemp, MBE, JP, MCIPD

9 July 1918 – 9 February 2008

Brian Worster-Davies

An edited version of the address at the Civic Funeral Mass for our old  friend.

We come today to pay tribute to a very remarkable lady in her 90th year, and to offer thanksgiving for her life, which was one of unremitting service for the public good.

Jenny spent most of her life in Waterloo apart from some happy years spent on the Isle of Man, where she attended Ramsey Grammar School and became a reporter for the Isle of Man Examiner. Back on Merseyside in 1941 she saw war service as an examiner for the Ministry of Aircraft Production. Her long career with Cunard began in 1954 and ended as Fleet Personnel and Welfare Officer. She retired at least twice and was still called back for specific service into the 1990s. She was noted for her kin dness and it was often said ‘Jenny IS Cunard’.

Jenny did not collect committees – they collected her, because they knew she was a fighter and would work hard for them. She was first elected to Crosby Borough Council in 1953 and remained as a Councillor until 1992, serving as Mayor of Sefton with great distinction in 1982-1984 and 1988-1999. If she thought a cause was just she fought for it even if it conflicted with her party’s wishes. On occasions she was close to
losing the whip. A Conservative at heart but a maverick at times, she was a true champion of the people.

For her public service she received the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977 and the MBE in 1987. She also received various local awards for god citizenship. In 1989 she became the first lady Governor of the Indefatigable Sea Training School for Boys. Jenny loved her involvement with schools in Seaforth, Waterloo and Crosby as a Governor, and she was a patron of the Crosby Symphony Orchestra and President of Waterloo and Crosby Theatre Company.

Her Church has been vitally important to her since a child. She has worshipped here at St Faith’s for many years, with occasional forays to the Sailors’ Church, St Nicholas, Pier Head. She was a season ticket holder of Liverpool F.C. and had close links with the Royal and Merchant Navy.

The efficient functioning of the N.H.S. was an enduring passion and she was a member of many related committees. She had an immense involvement with the affairs of Fazakerley and Walton Hospitals, and her contributions were greatly valued. She fought to save Waterloo Hospital and it is fitting that her last 16 months were spent on the hospital site at Kemp Lodge named after her. She would want me to thank all the staff there for their tender loving care.

She was once described by a Judge as a sort of municipal Mary Poppins. Her own sense of humour was tremendous, she could laugh at herself and she was greatly in demand as a speaker. All her fees were given to the Royal Liverpool Seamen’s Orphan Institution, raising thousands over the years, and she was accorded the rare honour of becoming their first lady committee member in 125 years.

One could never go anywhere with Jenny without her being recognised: the little black pill box hat, the lace collar etc. Someone suggested we put a hat on her coffin but instead she has the Cunard flag she so much wanted.

No tribute can fully record the impact Jenny has made on people all over the world. I fear we shall never see her like again. I leave you with words she wrote in 1989:  ‘This is my city and my Merseyside and I would not have it any other way.’ She finished then by quoting a poem she had heard years before.

    The ships come in and the ships go out
    And that’s what Liverpool’s all about.

So Jenny, rest in peace as you so richly deserve and in the presence of your God to whom in your lifetime you were so devoted.    It has been a privilege to have been your friend.

Following the funeral, it was good to receive this letter of appreciation from the Mayor of Sefton:

The Mayor’s Office
Bootle Town Hall
Bootle L20 7AE

Dear Father Kelley,

Civic Funeral of Miss Jenny Kemp
25 February 2008

May I take this opportunity to express gratitude to you and your team in relation to the funeral of Miss Kemp on Monday 25 February 2008.

The service was absolutely marvellous and a most fitting tribute to a very deserving lady. I am extremely conscious that behind the very smooth conduct of the service and the associated arrangements lies a tremendous amount of hard work carried out by many who do not seek limelight or recognition. I would be most appreciate if you could pass on my thanks to all those involved.

My Mayoral Officer has also asked me to pass on his heartfelt thanks to Liz and your Verger whose cooperation and expert help and advice made the day go so well.

Once again, thank you, to you and your team for a most dignified send off for a wonderful lady.

The Mayor of Sefton

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