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April 1998

From the Clergy       April 1998

Surrexit Christus Alleluia!

This Lent and Easter have brought a number of things into sharp focus from the past, and this process has been enhanced by the inspirational Lenten Addresses delivered by Fr. Thomas OSB. This is really the purpose of Lent, for we have all been called into our own Wilderness to gain a glimpse of God and to reflect upon the events that have happened to us during our lives.

Fr Thomas struck a root chord with me when he said that `we are called not to build the kingdom of God but to enter into it.‘ This neatly turns my thoughts of some years on their head, as I have always thought that we should preach and live the two commandments that Our Lord gave us. Yet this message is one that I have heard, and not heard, a number of times. Br Charles de Foucauld wrote that as followers of `The Way‘ we `must be a living sermon: each of us an example of life lived according to the Gospel. Looking at us people should be able to see what the Christian life is, what the Good News is .... We should be a living Gospel.‘

Fr Thomas went on to say how The Cross and Good Friday can only be understood in the light of Our Lord‘s ministry, as the Cross by itself is incomprehensible, and we can only understand the Cross through studying and  living  out  Our  Lord‘s ministry for ourselves.  At  the  end  of St. Mark‘s Gospel when we are told that ?Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see Him there just as He told you.‘ (16.7) This is an invitation to begin again with Him and follow Him in His way throughout our lives. We who follow the Church‘s year will know that this invitation is renewed annually to us, and that it presents us all with the opportunity to reassess our lives, and the type of people that we are, so that we may continually move ever closer to God. Through this never-ending pilgrimage we will one day come to understand the significance of the Resurrection.

It therefore seems appropriate this Eastertide that Clare and I will be leaving St Faith‘s on Low Sunday, for we will be heading to our own Galilee in Salford, Manchester as I take up the position as Curate at St Augustine‘s, Pendlebury. This will be a time when I will be able to apply the knowledge that I have gained from Fr Richard and everyone at St Faith‘s and also be able to utilise some of my previous experiences. Our leaving is a sad time for us, as we have made some good friends in the parish, and have appreciated your friendship and support over the last three years. My installation at St Augustine‘s Pendlebury takes place on the 6 May at 7.30 pm, to which you are all warmly invited.

Please continue to pray for us, as we continue to pray for you. May God bless you all, as the church of Saint Faith enters into its centenary years.

Yours in Christ.
Fr Christopher

Fr Christopher‘s departure has taken everyone by surprise, and his leaving will leave a very real gap in our church life. We are nevertheless delighted that he has achieved a posting with which he is so happy, and we thank him very sincerely for all he and Clare have done for St Faith‘s and wish them both every happiness in Manchester. There will be a farewell presentation after the Sunday morning service on Low Sunday, April 19th. Contributions to this may be handed to either Warden or sent to the editorial address. Ed.

Take Cubs Away? You Must be Mad!         Mike Carr

What do you get if you mix 22 wild screaming over-excited Cub Scouts, 7 wild screaming over-excited Cub Scout leaders, 7 apprehensive ?what have we let ourselves in for?‘ Dads and a weekend at Bispham Hall Scout Campsite? Answer? No, not Bedlam, (well no more than usual anyway) — and no, not chaos, (well O.K., maybe a little...)

What you really get is a fabulous weekend of fun, games and activities that even the Dads had to admit they enjoyed. (Yes, that‘s right - ENJOYED!) As well as the fun, games, lack of sleep, lots of food, bumped heads, washing up, more games and an assault course, we also did a lot of Badgework.

We learnt how to make bird feeders, how to help protect our environment and endangered animals. We learnt some new songs and sketches. We discovered that there is life without television (I overheard one Cub saying to another I‘m missing Gladiators on the telly, but I don‘t care!‘) And we also learnt how to make a chicken out of a teatowel (go on - ask one of us!)

We wound our merry way home on Sunday afternoon, after presenting all the Cubs with their World Conservation badges and the Entertainer‘s badges. Tired but happy, covered in paint, mud and sticky paper, swearing we‘d never do it again, but already planning the next one, we arrived home to cries of ?Did you have a good time?‘ Silly question!

I  would like to thank all the leaders whose support made the weekend possible, the Dads who ?pitched in‘ with good humour and the Cubs who worked hard and were so well-behaved (well most of the time!)

Here‘s to the next one ... we must be mad!

Bobcats Cub Pack,
10th Crosby St Faith‘s Scout Group

P.S. Posters produced by the cubs on the subject of Conservation are displayed at the church, and a `Jungle Book‘ mural, created over the weekend, will be on display in the hall.

Centenary Report                Chris Price

Last month‘s magazine carried the first details of the plans for our three-year Centenary Celebrations. Since then the `ad hoc‘ steering group has met twice more, and smaller groups have met and laid plans for happenings in areas in which they are especially interested. In the April issue we spelt out plans for worship and music: this month it is time to spell out what it is hoped will happen in other areas.

Celebrating with Events

We plan to put on, or to host, various dramatic events. It is hoped that schools from the area will want to stage performances at St Faith‘s, using either the Church or the Hall. Already pencilled in are productions by Merchant Taylors‘ Dramatic Society. They are considering staging a production here next summer, and this might well be a performance of one or more of the religious early Mystery Plays: possibly with some input from our own people (you may remember that we tried to launch this some while back, but it never got off the ground). In the following year there could be a performance of `Images of Liverpool‘, a presentation of writing about and from Liverpool which has already been staged at M.T.S. and at St Michael‘s Church, and will be staged at St Luke‘s before long.

It would be very good if Crosby Road School, Manor High School, and indeed anybody else, might consider performing for us. If anyone is interested in helping to co-ordinate such a programme and in making contacts, please let me know.

It would not be St Faith‘s if we didn‘t manufacture opportunities to eat and drink together at various stages. The May 24th opening service will be followed by a meal at Merchant Taylors‘ (exactly echoing what happened on the same day in 1898, incidentally) — and we shall obviously do something similar at the final Patronal Weekend in 2000. In between there could be Centenary Parish Dinners, as well as other excuses for overdoing things.

The Social Committee (expanded, we hope) will obviously be steering these gastronomic events, and they will also be co-ordinating the Open Mornings this summer. We mentioned last month summer Saturday Organ Recitals: it has now been decided to open Church from about 11 am to 2 pm on the Saturdays of June and July, and perhaps into August. There will be things on display and things for sale, including the launch of a new free guide booklet  to St Faith‘s, supported by a promised grant from the Open Churches Trust. Coffee will  be on sale, together with light lunchtime refreshments, and in the middle of each session our own and visiting organists will play for the assembled multitudes entirely free of charge. We shall need welcomers and salespersons for all these sessions.

Other events are being thought about. We want to visit places, and invite people from various places to visit us. It would be good to take parties to other churches (and cathedrals, as suggested last month) and to welcome them to us, either for worship or social events: obvious local candidates are St Paul‘s, Croxteth and our friends at St Mary‘s, to whose Beetle Drive some of our people recently went. Suggestions — and offers of help in planning in this area — are also very welcome.

Everything Else ...

Next month will feature plans for published literature (that guide book, a new version of the Church history etc), archives, displays, sales items (mugs, tapes etc) — and of course artefacts, with, we hope news about the Votive Candle Stand, stained glass windows, and a new look for the back of the church. We are ?going for it‘ as hard as we can, and it is very heartening to see so much enthusiasm and commitment emerging at this difficult time, as we enter the second year of the interregnum. Your prayers are asked for all that is being done and will be done — and your ideas and offers of help are always welcome.

Out of an African Hospital         Fred Nye

My brief medical `sabbatical‘ in Malawi last June followed a ?self-invitation‘ to the Malawi Department of Health. This was arranged via a former colleague at the Tropical School in Liverpool who is now running Malawi‘s TB control programme, and who was also our host during our visit. The original idea was that I should give some tutorials to the student Clinical Officers, the ?bare-foot doctors‘ who form the back-bone of all Malawi‘s medical services. In fact, when I arrived at the capital city‘s main hospital, Lilongwe Central, there were no medical specialists whatsoever. This sort of medical `inter-regnum‘ seems to happen fairly frequently as the medical staff are often young expatriates paid local salaries and appointed on a haphazard and hand-to-mouth basis. So I found myself, mercifully briefly, the only medical specialist for a population of about 3 million people.

Malawi has a yearly health budget of around ten million pounds to spend on its eleven million population. In comparison my own Hospital Trust at Aintree spends one hundred million pounds every year on a fraction of that number of people. We were also told that 20% of Malawi‘s medical expenditure goes on sending VIPs to South Africa for expensive treatments. Small wonder therefore that the medical wards at Lilongwe were short of almost everything: beds, mattresses, drugs, disinfectants and at times even soap and water. Some patients, including the very ill, had to be ?nursed‘ on the bare concrete floor. Laboratory facilities were basic and unreliable and we had to treat diabetes without blood tests and without the intravenous fluids necessary for resuscitation.

But to get back to the Clinical Officers. They were my guides, advisers, colleagues and interpreters throughout my visit and I cannot speak of them too highly. It is the Clinical Officers who run all the core medical services, especially in District Hospitals and rural areas. From their position at the sharp end of the medical service, their work places them at daily personal risk of acquiring TB, HIV, and other dangerous infections. Many of them could have become doctors if their families had been able to afford to send them to Medical School. Yet they and their work are persistently undervalued compared with qualified doctors, both in status and cash terms. Is this a legacy of our own scale of values? I do not know if I taught them anything useful but I know I learnt a lot from them.

Tropical medicine formed part of our workload, but many of the problems I had to deal with were, sadly, fairly familiar. Many patients were suffering from HIV or TB. Of the patients we saw who had pulmonary TB, 77% also had HIV, and 30% were destined to die within one year. HIV and AIDS influenced our work in many ways. There is no blood transfusion service in Malawi, so the blood has to be obtained from relatives. When a donation tests positive for HIV it will naturally have to be rejected, but the relatives will want to know why. In fact we tried to avoid transfusion unless things were desperate, because of local problems with HIV testing. Surveys had shown that 8% of blood assessed as HIV negative was in fact positive. But one of the most tragic aspects of the AIDS epidemic was its effect on health care staff themselves. Many were visibly suffering from the disease and often staff would not work for very long after qualification before becoming sick.

I have so many lasting memories of Malawi, but perhaps the most enduring is the recollection of our AIDS patients, and their terrible suffering as they faced the terminal stages of their disease. We could do so little for them; it wasn‘t a question of not having the expensive medicines, we didn‘t even possess such basic drugs as morphine, brufen, anti-emetics and vitamin pills. Nor did we have the Community Staff trained in palliative care who could do so much to comfort them. Recently we have heard that one of the young expatriate doctors in Lilongwe, Nicky Hargreaves, has set up a pilot palliative care service in the community, which is beginning to make a real difference. Nicky has worked incredibly hard to get this going, and through the generosity of one of St. Faith‘s parish centres we have been able to send her a cash donation for drugs and other resources which has been very warmly welcomed. If any reader would like to contribute to this project, please do get in touch with me. I can guarantee that any donations will reach Nicky securely and that they will be used solely and exclusively for direct patient care.

A Stitch in Time     Audrey Dawson

As part of the Centenary Celebrations, we are going to make ten wall hangings, one for each decade, to illustrate the life of St Faith‘s throughout its first century. They will be made with various materials, using several forms of stitching: so, if you can use a needle, can glue, iron or draw, and would like to take part, please contact me. We would also like ideas of what to depict. Please put your ideas on the sheet at the back of Church.

Would anyone be willing to help make kneelers for the Church? The kneelers are worked in cross-stitch and come in a kit costing £19.95 each. If you would be willing to make one, or to pay for one, please also contact me. You can choose your own design — see the back of church — and a loved one‘s intitials could be worked into the sides of a kneeler.

News Extra

Readers may have noticed that this issue, which was supposed to cover April and May in the usual double act, is in fact just the April Newslink. In view of the impending Great Event at the end of May, the Editor has rashly decided to produce a special, one-off, edition for May. This will contain some ?ordinary‘ news and notices, but will concentrate on the Centenary and on the history of St Faith‘s, with more extracts from past publications, and as many pictures and photographs as possible.

Please feel free to contribute to this special issue with your ideas, memories, thoughts and hopes. And, especially, with any archive material you may be able to lay hands on. I have begun to collect together all the old photographs, drawings, plans, pictures, leaflets, service details, programmes, menus, adverts, and of course magazines that I can get my hands on — and would warmly welcome anything and everything that might be of interest, right from the beginning of St Faith‘s story onwards. Material can be copied and returned, or kept in our archive: but please speak to me about anything you might be able to offer. Elsewhere there is an appeal for magazines to fill the gaps in the Crosby Herald collection: this means issues from 1910 - 1918, and also various dates between 1936 and 1947.

A Taste of Italy

Why not support the Talents Scheme whilst enjoying the sights of Tuscany, Assisi and Rome by coming along to a

SLIDE EVENING  to be held in the Upper Room of the Hall on  MONDAY 20TH APRIL at 8.00 pm.

The slide show will be followed by a chance to socialise over cheese and wine (Italian, of course!). Tickets cost £3.50 and may be obtained either from Joyce Green or Joyce Tudhope.

A Mirthful Reflection on April Fools‘ Day                Fr Dennis

   The first of April, some do say,
   Is set apart for All Fools‘ Day;
   But why the people call it so,
   Nor I, nor they themselves do know.
                                               Poor Robin‘s Almanack 1760

This name, give to the first day in April, reflects the custom of playing tricks on other people or sending them off on fools‘ errands. The origins of these practices are difficult to determine but April fooling may have had some connection with the ancient celebrations of the equinox, again terminating about April 1st. Another theory is that the fooling became customary when in 1564 the French decreed that the New Year began in January 1st as opposed to April 1st, so that the New Year gifts and cards which had been a feature of April 1st were transferred to January. For a joke, some people continued to send mock gifts and cards on April 1st.

The joking on April 1st in England does not seem to have been customary until the 18th century. In Scotland the fooling is sometimes called ”hunting the gowk•, or cuckoo, and April Fools were known as ”April Gowks•.

Fools are not always figures of fun, as is evident when the fools in Shakespeare‘s plays are considered. The Fool in ?King Lear‘ has some of the wisest lines allotted to him, and Touchstone in ?As You Like It‘ is no fool, with his ?great heap of knowledge‘. The Fools in the Sword Dances and Morris Dances no longer appear funny to modern sophisticated eyes, but all come to us from characters that were serious originally: the Fool is always a butt or victim.

The `silly season‘ is from midnight to midday on April 1st, formerly the first 12 hours of the New Year. The object is to discomfit the victim and if possible send him on a fool‘s errand, or tempt him into a response which indicates that the fool has believed something which is untrue. As one writer observed: ?How many shoelaces are said to be untied on this particular morning each year? How many invisible smuts appear on faces? How many victims are sent to buy a pot of striped paint, or tennpence worth of strap oil — to be delivered on that part of the anatomy ordained by nature to be strapped?‘

More ambitious, contrived fools‘ errands have been recorded, as in 1860 when a great number of people received invitations to the Tower of London — ?To admit bearer and friend to view the annual ceremony of washing the white lions‘. Many people actually attended. One of the great hoaxes of all times, though not in fact perpetrated on April 1st, was on the occasion when members and friends of the Stephen family (Virginia Woolf was one of those said to be involved) persuaded the Royal Navy to make arrangements for a party of important people from the Middle East (played in costume and make-up by the Stephens) to be conducted over one of His Majesty‘s warships and provided with full hospitality.

An April Fool catch which involved millions of viewers was the Richard Dimbleby TV programme about the spaghetti harvest in Italy, with a film of long strips of spaghetti being collected by farm workers from the trees. Similarly, the last item on a television news bulletin focussed on a spectacular novel design `bed‘ which was said to be so electronically designed that it could, in just three or four minutes, provide the equivalent of seven or eight hours‘s sleep!

At twelve noon, all is over. Any trick played after that hour falls back on the head of the jester. In these circumstances the proposed victim uses the age-old formula:
 April Fools‘ Day‘s past and gone;
 You‘re the Fool and I am none.

Commercial Break

We tried advertising in Newslink for a while a good few years back, then gave it up. This month, however, we are temporarily introducing it by way of an insert advertising the E.I.O. This may sound like something out of Old MacDonald‘s Farm (especially if you say it twice), but is actually Ecclesiastical Direct, who insure St Faith‘s and most other churches. They give back much to the Church, as well as being very understanding about such things as constantly broken glass in our church windows, and they provide the financial backing for the national Church Magazine Competition (from which we benefitted handsomely when Newslink won the national top prize a few years back). As you will see, insuring with them brings money to us, which is no bad thing, so we are happy to break with tradition and commend them to you.

From the Registers


26 January Bill Halsall
30 January Joyce Dickinson

Burial of Ashes

28 January Bill Halsall
15 February Jean Ford


7 February Victoria Beatson and Stuart Bradshaw


15 Feburary Jessica Smith
 daughter of Malcolm and Kathryn
22 February Georgia King
 daughter of Tracey
 Christopher Morris
 son of Dennis and Diane
 Daniel Allen
 son of Andrew and Diane

Church refuses to reveal ”unfair" low attendance figures‘

So ran a headline in February 13th‘s Daily Telegraph over an article by Victoria Combe, their Churches Correspondent. She reveals that the C of E has stopped publishing annual attendance figures `which have shown a relentless decline since the 1960s‘ because they are so depressing. `The statistics indicate a Church struggling to fill its pews, with fewer young people among the congregation‘ — but it‘s all down to a faulty way of collecting statistics, the Church claims!

Archbishop Carey is `known to be frustrated that the Church is judged solely on the number of ”seats on pews•...‘ (spot the euphemism. Ed) and believes that changing patterns of worship mean more people nowadays attend midweek services, being prevented from coming at weekends because of work and travel.

As the article correctly states, churchwardens have the responsibility of counting heads (under 16 and 16+) at all Sunday services, and these are the eventual basis for the annual statistics. `Yet the Church fears that some churchwardens reduce the average figure to save their parish having to pay a larger quota of money to the diocese ... the quota system is partly calculated on the size of the congregation.‘

There are apparently plans to carry out a detailed profile of the congregation on two or three chosen Sundays in the year and possibly a mid-week service. This would reflect the `significantly more robust‘ state of the Church‘s true health and show it as a seven-day-a-week church, ?serving God and the community‘ in so many different ways.

It is always interesting to read of shared adversity andother people‘s misfortunes (schadenfreude?) and the pleasure is perversely heightened when official subterfuge is uncovered. Churchill said that there are lies, there are damned lies, and there are statistics. If in doubt, move the goalposts: governments do it with unemployment figures, so why not the C of E? Meanwhile, St Faith‘s enumerators naturally tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth ...

  More `Net Gains‘ for Saint Faith

One of the electronic `pages‘ on St Faith‘s growing internet site talks about Saint Faith and our church‘s name, and mentions a few other of the St Faith‘s churches, sites (and ships!) named after her. It invites readers to e-mail us and tell us of any other St Faith‘s dedications out there.

A recent message from a lady called Sarah Jaskowska (or sarah @remote. as she is known on the w.w.w.) reads as follows:

There is a Saxon church dedicated to St Faith in the small hamlet of Farmcote, near Winchcombe, Gloucestershire. My husband and I had our marriage blessed there as well as having two of our children baptised there. One of the interesting features of the church is the section of graveyard occupied by unmarked graves of local victims of the `Black Death‘. Your web site is very interesting and, as editor of our local parish magazine, I would very much like to perhaps use some of the information in a future edition.‘

We have, of ourse, replied with thanks and willing permission to reprint as required. Still on our patron saint, followers of the controversy as to whether the late Enoch Powell should have been allowed so high profile a funeral may have noticed that his body rested overnight before the funeral in the chapel of St Faith, in Westminster Abbey — about as strong contrast as can be imagined with the more ancient deaths at the Gloucestershire St Faith‘s. The editor, a Gloucestershire man born and bred, feels that a pilgrimage beckons.

Still on the electronic front, contact has recently, and very fruitfully, been made with the Open Churches Trust (the Andrew Lloyd Webber foundation, whose splendid address is c/o the Really Useful Company). Thanks to Denis Griffiths following up a suggested contact with them, we are now helping them to establish a website on the internet, with links from our own site. Even more to the point, they are willing to fund our efforts to open St Faith‘s for visitors from time to time (see Centenary Report) and will pay handsomely for us to produce a free guidebook for visitors. Watch this space!


I am not moved to love thee, my Lord God,
By the Heaven thou hast promised me:
I am not moved by the sore dreaded hell
To forbear me from offending thee.

I am moved by thee, Lord; I am moved
At seeing thee nailed upon the cross and mocked:
I am moved by thy body all over wounds:
I am moved by thy dishonour and thy death.

I am moved, last, by thy love, in such a wise
That though there were no heaven I still should love thee,
And though there were no hell I still should fear thee.

I need no gift of thee to make me love thee;
For though my present hope were all despair,
As now I love thee I should love thee still.

Miguel de Guavera
translated by Samuel Beckett

Journey to the Seven Churches in Asia               Barbara Wolstenholme

Towards the end of the First Century A.D., a messenger carried the only copy of a letter written by John, the author of `The Revelation‘, by this time an old man, once again free, after `suffering for the Lord‘ during his imprisonment on the island of Patmos. Travelling ten or fifteen miles a day, perhaps sleeping rough or finding lodging at an inn on the way, the carrier of the letter visited each community in turn — Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. As he approached each settlement, excitement mounted amongst the Christians gathered in a house or farm to hear the message read again and again over several days, before the messenger with the precious manuscript moved on to the next Christian group.

Thus the scene was set for our pilgrimage to the seven churches listed in the opening chapters of Revelation. For a week we travelled through the land made rich and fertile by the slow-moving Meander River, past cotton fields, and olives, sultanas, apricots, oranges, tobacco, with pine trees and poplars providing welcome shelter in the heat of the midday sun. Marble quarries, in use for centuries, and primitive coal mines scarred the hillsides.

Arriving at Ephesus in the early morning of a sunny February day, we walked slowly down the carefully restored but now deserted paved main street, past gymnasia and Roman baths, to the temple to Hadrian and Trajan‘s fountain, rivalling the Trevi fountain in Rome, to the imposing Celsus Library, the third largest in the world in Roman times. Moving on to the theatre, we sat on the stone seats which rose in tiers up the hillside and looked down at the orchestra area, now a mass of anemones in shades of red and blue, as we listened to a reading from Acts, Chapter 19, which brought home to us  the constant danger  experienced  by  the early Christians  who  in this wealthy, pagan city communicated with each other secretly, using the sign of a fish, fully aware that the authorities demanded that the Emperor be worshipped as Lord and God. We were reminded that Demetrius, a silversmith who had grown rich through the sale of shrines for the goddess Artemis, grew tired of Paul‘s preaching, which persuaded crowds to forsake their pagan beliefs and could tolerate the interference no longer. Calling together a group of workmen, they successfully prevented Paul from preaching to the crowds waiting in the theatre. A riot ensued, as a result of which Paul left Ephesus and travelled to the nearby port of Miletus, from where he sailed to Macedonia.

The words of Paul `Do not be afraid of the suffering to come. Be faithful unto death‘ were heard by a young man of twenty-six in Smyrna, (the birthplace of Homer), now buried under the modem town of Izmir. Sixty years later, this same man, Bishop Polycarp, stood in the arena on the hillside overlooking the sea. Refusing to worship the Emperor, choosing martyrdom rather than ?swearing by the genius of Caesar‘, he remarked: ?For eighty-six years I have served him and he has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme?‘  There is a small Roman Catholic church, dedicated to St Polycarp, still in use in Izmir today.

Moving on to the hill-top site of Bergama, (Pergamum in the ancient world), we  found  another  partly  restored  Roman  city,  the  capital  of  Asia   before
Ephesus took control. Here too were temples to Zeus, to the Emperor Trajan and to other deities, an important library, a theatre and the Asclepion, an ancient medical centre where massage, spring water, herbs, music and dancing all played their part in the healing process.

Thyatira, now engulfed by the fast-growing town of Akhisar, stood at a cross roads and was noted for the production of an expensive purple dye, derived from shell-fish. Today, dwarfed by unlovely tower blocks, many unfinished and windowless and with metal reinforcing rods protruding from the walls, a small site with fallen pillars, lumps of marble and fragments of mosaic marks the spot where a temple and a small Christian church stood before their destruction by severe earthquakes in the Middle Ages.

At Sardis, the ancient city of Salihi has been elaborately restored by teams from several American universities. Founded in the eighth century B.C., it grew wealthy through trade and even more so when gold was discovered in the local river (perhaps giving rise to the legend of the golden fleece as sheepskins were thought to have been used to collect the gold particles from the river). Here were carefully restored rows of shops, a gymnasium, swimming pool and a synagogue. A mile or so away, nestling beneath snow-capped mountains, is the Temple of Artemis, re-erected columns dwarfing  human visitors and, in the   corner   of   the    site,
a small dome-roofed Christian church which had withstood  earth-quake damage better than the temple.

Philadelphia,  youngest of the seven churches, is now completely engulfed by the modern town of Alasehir, whose wealth is based on the production of sultanas. All that could be seen in a cleared area in the centre of the town were the massive columns of an early Christian basilica.

Laodicea, the seventh church, was a thriving city, built for the wife of the Roman Emperor and well known for its marble quarries, black wool and much-sought-after efficacious ointments for ear and eye complaints. For thousands of years, natural springs have provided this area with hot water which cools only momentarily each year when melting snows run down the high mountains nearby. The Laodiceans would understand exactly what John implied by his describing them as ?Iukewarm‘!

As we sat in the Greek and Roman theatres, walked down the ancient streets and saw for ourselves past glories, it became clear that to be a Christian during the first century was dangerous and required much courage and determination. The same is true in Turkey today. Although a secular state, with seeming freedom of worship, ninety per cent of the population are Moslem, with hundreds of new mosques under construction. We saw a small Anglican church in Izmir, serving the small ex-patriate community and visited St Polycarp‘s Catholic church, which has a mainly French congregation. We spoke to the pastor of a new Protestant congregation in Izmir, whose membership has risen to about fifty from ten a few years ago. These Christians feel isolated in the city of three million people, especially since they are from Muslim families and so are under stress at home and at work. In the far south-east of the country, a small community of Christian Syrian Orthodox monks at the Saffron Monastery near Mardin live in fear of their lives. Numbers have decreased drastically in the last ten years and the Christian School for boys has been closed by the authorities.

Maintaining a steadfast witness for Christ was difficult in the first century and still is.

More from the Archives

Last month saw the first of a series of edited highlights from the early years of St Faith‘s Monthly Leaflet. We pick up the story with Mr Baxter going to great lengths to defend the dubious practice of bowing to the Altar (`or Communion Table‘ as he is careful to style it). No-one was forced to make such reverences: ?many of our congregation will always leave it unused .. what helps one does not help another. Let us be broad-minded...‘ He is equally careful to explain to the suspicious the meaning and significance of the seven sanctuary lamps, giving appropriate scriptural references. He solemnly declares that `it has been been darkly hinted  that incense is burned in them; I need hardly say that they are in fact filled with harmless colza oil, which burns in a floating wick.‘

During the early months of 1903, the Vicar writes of the drive for a Parish Room, proposing to form a Work Party, for which ladies are especially asked to volunteer (some things haven‘t changed). He also reports on the planned incandescent gas fittings ?placed on four rings in the nave as an experiment‘.

Still on the subject of the Parish Room Building Fund, we read that Canon Armour, formidable Headmaster of Merchant Taylors‘ School, is kindly lending the school grounds for the performance of a ?Pastoral Play‘ on 4th July. ?The play is most interesting and admirably adapted for the open air‘, and Mr Baxter hopes all will attend.

Soon the Vicar is devoting considerable space to the new Memorial Window, to be dedicated on June 18th, in memory of Ferdinand Anderton Latham. He was ?a most regular and devout worshipper in St Faith‘s Church, and the window is near the place where he used to sit.‘ Mr Baxter gives a brief biography of Saint Faith, whose representation the window bears, and quotes two verses from the St Faith‘s Hymn, written by the ubiquitous `gifted Vicar of St Agnes‘s Church‘ (Elcum, after whom the founder‘s son was named). The artist of this, the first stained-glass window to be installed in our church, is given as a Mr Herbert Bryans ... ?a pupil of Mr Kempe; he also designed our reredos, and we are grateful to him for giving so beautiful a representation of our Saint.‘ Mr Baxter concludes: `It is to be hoped that, as time goes on, St Faith‘s Church will be adorned with many other windows.‘

In August Mr Baxter reports triumphantly on the success of the Fete at Merchant Taylors‘, in the ?bright summer sun‘. The green sward was dotted with gaily dressed crowds of people, the Clowns‘ Cricket Match went with a swing, and the Parade of Mail Carts, not to mention `their pretty tenants‘, pleased greatly. The Pastoral Play itself `made a spectacle the like of which this part of the world at all events has never seen before.‘ This sun-blessed event contrasts with the Choir outing to Southport, when it rained greatly on the ?merry party‘, without damping their good spirits, however.

More fun and games are promised at a forthcoming bazaar, which will feature a Japanese Tea House, where Smoking will be allowed after 7 pm, a license to sell tobacco having been obtained. Better still, other attractions will include Marionettes, an Indian Shooting Jungle (the mind boggles), a `Talking Machine‘ (not the Vicar, presumably) .. `and the following Competitions: for ladies, cigarette making and nail driving; for gentlemen, washing and hat trimming, and an open shooting competition.‘

In April 1904 Mr Baxter turns his attention to musical matters, writing at length about congregational music and the contribution of the choir. He makes a distinction between congregational worship and congregational singing: it is not necessary to join in in order properly to worship — if we do, we risk losing the value of it. This is clearly a statement of support for St Faith‘s developing choral tradition against those who were suspicious that such choral offerings were a denial of the true Reformation spirit. Finally, the Bishop is called in to testify: he, `at his last visit, admired the way in which our choir and congregation sang‘ (doubtess a great relief to Mr Baxter).

In June the incumbent tells us that the good Mr Horsfall has decided not to buld the Vicarage for some years, so the Church Commissioners (blessed be their name. Ed) have agreed to a move to a larger house. The new address will be in none other than Belvidere Park. `Belvidere Park is the rather pretentious name given to the first turning out of Myers Road West,‘ says Mr Baxter, thus libelling irreparably an address from which so many good and unpretentious St Faith‘s people have come, and indeed, are still coming to worship!

At the end of 1904 Mr Wyatt, Beach Lawn has most kindly promised ?a Bible or Church Service‘ to anyone in Sunday School who learns by heart I. Corin-thians Chapter 13. Mr Baxter commends the chapter‘s contents: if everyone followed its teaching ?the world would be a happier and brighter place‘.

The promised archive of the first ten years is now complete and available for loan: the years from 1910-1918 are missing, and the Editor still hopes that someone will know where they might be. More highlights next month.

Calling all Cooks!

It is proposed to produce a SAINT FAITH‘S CENTENARY RECIPE BOOK.

So please, all of you, part with and share with us your favourite recipes. We want as many as possible — soups, snacks, main course dishes, puddings, desserts, preserves — and we may run to a chapter of `Handy Hints‘.

Please if you can type the recipe (or at least write it legibly!), giving ingredients and method, and stating how many people it is meant for, and give your offerings to Mary Crooke or Lillie Wilmot at any time. By the way, you don‘t have to be a cook, so long as you know of a tasty recipe!

`And what about Luddenden?‘

Browsing around a Calderdale church recently, the editor picked up the Deanery Leaflet and was intrigued by this heading — and entertained by the column beneath it. The parallels are  striking, and the article might well have had our name substituted for Luddenden. Except, of course, that we haven‘t yet needed ?visiting clergy‘. And we‘ve raised £8,000 (and more) so far!

Luddenden is well known as the centre of the universe ... so why is this lively parish now well into the second year of an interregnum?

”Where are all those vicars that we assumed would be clamouring to come?• is the quote of the month from Luddenden. But it‘s not all bad news. The strong sense of fellowship in the parish has continued to grow, with the home team of lay people working well together with the visiting clergy.

The interregnum has also been a time of fund-raising — £5000 has been raised (nearly) for the re-ordering scheme, and a new choir vestry remains as the next target. Luddenden — centre of the universe — asks for our continued prayers — for themselves, and for a new Vicar.‘

Still Talking Talents ...         Chris Price

The Talents Scheme is going strong. In early March the total stands at wellover £8,000 and still quite a bit more promised and debts unpaid. Whether we shall meet our optimistic target of £10,000 by the time the Centenary Celebrations start at the end of May remains to be seen: nevertheless the sum so far raised is splendid and very encouraging — already well up, in the time the scheme has been running, on the equivalent income last time round.

As explained previously, the money raised last year meant that, without having to run a Bazaar or a Grand Auction or the like, we managed to break even and to fulfil all our charitable giving commitments. Needless to say, our estimable Treasurer, gloomily aware that Diocesan Quotas (not to mention costs of most other sorts) are increasing steeply each year, has kindly intimated that we will need to raise a roughly similar amount this year if we are to stay out of the red. Of course, we could plan a Bazaar, but in this first Centenary year all our efforts will be devoted to the programme of events we are planning. So it looks as if the Talents Scheme will have to run and run ....

A significant part of our success to date has, of course, been the income from Gift Aid. As most people know, this makes it possible for the Church to reclaim tax paid by tax-paying donors on one-off donations of £250 or more to St Faith‘s. When we first operated the scheme in 1994 we did not take advantage of this facility (and the threshold has come down in recent years), so in every sense this is new income. Our thanks to those whose generosity has helped us — and our invitation to anyone who may still be thinking of so doing: your £250 will be worth no less than £325 to us. Please see Chris Price for details. And please feel free to give smaller donations, and to think up new ideas, and to go on buying marmalade and the like. The new target is, as astute readers will have worked out, £14,000. Or you could offer to organise a Bazaar ...

 A Poem from the Back Pew


At this season, more than any other,
They step forward from the darkness,
Thronging the margins of the mind.
Silently they rise up from the grave of memory:
Some who have left their mark on this place and on us _
Long-past worshippers congregating again,
A parent mourned, a friend lost to the dark;
Others known only to their God:
Taken in their multitudes before their time
By man‘s inhumanity to man.
Their faces haunt us, their presence as real
As the heavy clustered lilies given in their memory,
Before they slip away into the shadows,
Back to the borders of oblivion.
But their death is only a beginning
And our lamenting will have an end
In the certain hope of the resurrection,
The new fire, the fanfare of faith,
When the past and the present come once more together
And all things are made whole again in God.

Surely ...

Chris Price