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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.

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August 2008

From the Ministry Team         

From the Ministry Team  

What does it mean to have “the mind of Christ”? In his letter to the Philippians, St. Paul makes it clear that it means sharing his ministry of service – “assuming the nature of a slave.” Few of us, if we’re honest, are likely to find that attractive. We’re much better at consuming than caring, and even saving people sounds more exciting than serving them.

But the ministry of service which Christ incarnated and taught is neither as dull nor as obvious as it seems. First of all, it means knowing how to receive. Christian service is not at all the same as “doing good”. Before St. Peter could be an effective disciple he had to receive Christ’s service (John 13: 1-15); and even Jesus, at dinner in the Pharisee’s house, knew how important it was to receive the loving service offered by the woman who anointed him. (Luke 7: 36-end) Before we rush out to serve others, we have to recognise our own deep inner need to receive; and sometimes we find it much easier to busy ourselves in giving to others rather than in disposing ourselves to receive from them.

The second point about Christian service is that there is nothing remotely utilitarian about it. To have “the mind of Christ” does not simply mean to have a bias to the poor. It means that we are to have a bias to the most apparently useless and redundant people, however unfashionable or unpopular that makes us appear. There is an appalling extravagance about the woman wasting all that precious ointment on Christ’s feet. But it is not more appalling, or extravagant, than the attention Christ pays to the woman with the haemorrhage, or to Simon the Pharisee, or for that matter to Judas Iscariot, whose feet he washed. Christian service should have at its heart precisely this instinctive bias in favour of those least likely or able to respond – the dying, the apparently unproductive, the very old or the very young; and such service is judged not by its efficiency or immediate results but by the quality of love that informs it.    

The third point about Christian service is the most important of all; and again the anonymous woman who anoints Christ shows us what it is. Christian service is not service of others for Christ’s sake. It is service of Christ for others’ sake. We serve Christ in them. So humility, the primary disposition of those who seek the mind of Christ,  is not grovelling  self-abasement.  It is something much deeper:  the capacity to
discern the presence of Christ in those we serve, and particularly (as Christ had to do in serving Simon and Judas) in those most likely to hurt or disparage us. That will never be easy or popular. Yet that is precisely what having the mind of Christ entails; and it requires little effort to recognise that nothing else, and certainly nothing less, will break down barriers, or change our world.

With my love and prayers,

Fr Dennis

Weekday Services in August

Please note that during the month of August weekday services will be as follows:

Monday 10.30am       Holy Eucharist
Tuesday 9.30am         Morning Prayer
Wednesday 10.30am  Holy Eucharist in St. Mary’s
Friday 6.30pm           Evening Prayer
Saturday 10.30am      Holy Eucharist

Grateful Thanks!

Once again the Over 65’s Holiday Club has come and gone, the third of its kind, and everyone has enjoyed it enormously! Elsewhere you will read reports about it (and see some pictures on the middle pages. Ed). My grateful thanks to Joan Tudhope and Lynne Connolly for working so hard to bring this about. Thanks also to our Parish Administrator, Liz Mooney, for securing funding for this from the Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund.

And by the time you read this we will be catering for the other end of the age scale having enjoyed (if that’s the right word) our fifth Holiday Club for 5-11year olds. Further details and pictures to follow! Again, thanks to Joan and Lynne for organizing this (a United Benefice isn’t such a bad idea after all, is it?). And thanks too to the gallant band of helpers who have given a lot of time and energy to make sure that all goes off smoothly and without hitches.

Fr Neil

For the Diary

Sunday 17th August
The Feast Day of the Blessed Virgin Mary

with games and Bouncy Castle for the Children. Tickets on sale soon!

Saturday Concerts

The 2008 series of Summer Saturday concerts is drawing towards a close. Still time to enjoy any (or all) of the remaining musical treats:

26 July        Robin Panter (viola) and Neil Kelley (piano)
2 Aug         Alan Watkinson (tenor)
9 Aug         Paul Broadhurst (organ)
16 Aug       Pamela Ashcroft (mezzo soprano) and Brian Williams (baritone)
23 Aug       Gerard Callacher (organ)
30 Aug       Greg Cuff (‘cello) and Neil Kelley (piano)

By Schisms Rent Asunder…

Chris Price

It wouldn’t be the good old C of E if we weren’t facing imminent crises in most areas. They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but it is hard to see much good news in one of the two areas of high-profile current controversy in our Church. The long-rumbling conflicts between liberals and conservatives over the issue of gay priests (and gay bishops) seems to have led at last to the long-forecast break-up of the Anglican Communion, with large numbers of African evangelical Anglicans forming their own breakaway organisation and effectively declaring themselves no longer in communion with the liberal American church and, it would seem, with Canterbury and our long-suffering Archbishop. The imminent Lambeth Conference is certain to hit the headlines, doubtless for sad and bad reasons. Watch this space…

The other big long-running issue is, of course, the ordination of women, and the likely prospect of women bishops. The issue has come to the fore locally with what we at St Faith’s will surely see as  really  good  news:  Bishop  Nigel  McCulloch,  once  of  St Faith’s, has recently ordained his wife Celia to the priesthood. Martin Beckford, Religious Affairs Correspondent of the Daily Telegraph, provides the details and opens the wider debate.

‘The Bishop of Manchester has ordained his own wife, just days before he is due to address the Church of England’s governing body on the divisive issue of women becoming bishops. The Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch carried out the ceremony for his wife Celia at Manchester Cathedral, where she will serve as a full-time stipendiary curate in the parish of Cheetham.

The Diocese of Manchester had to lay on three separate services for its new clergy because 44 people were ordained this weekend.

Bishop McCulloch headed a church group that looked into the introduction of women bishops to the Church of England, which earlier this year suggested they should be brought in but with special provisions for those who oppose the historic move. However other bishops have rejected the idea of “men only” dioceses which would take in those across the country who do not want to be led by a woman bishop. It has been claimed that hundreds of clergy could desert the church over the move and claim millions of pounds in compensation.’

We send Bishop Nigel and Celia our warmest congratulations and best wishes for their future joint ministry. And the reported flood of 44 Manchester Diocese ordinands is likewise excellent news. From online photos of the ordination, the genders looked to be evenly divided. It is now increasingly hard to see how the English parish ministry could have been maintained at its present level (reduced though that may be) without the growing influx of women to the parochial ministry.  

Predictably, Fr Geoffrey Kirk, the general secretary of the traditionalist umbrella group ‘Forward in Faith’, is on record as saying that fewer men are now likely to join the Church. “Once a profession becomes predominantly female, men will stop applying. We have been predicting it for years. The average age is going up hugely, especially among women, and the priesthood will eventually become a hobby for grannies.”

Given our ageing congregations, being ministered to by grannies may seem no bad thing, and the elderly certainly need to have hobbies(!) John Knox’s ‘monstrous regiment of women’ may yet prove to be the salvation of the English church at least... or what is left of it if the schisms succeed.

Mari’s Desert Trek

‘These feet are made for walking…!

By now many of our readers will know something about Mari Griffith’s epic sponsored walk across some of the Sahara Desert next March. Below she explains what is going on, and invites us to support her. In the months ahead, there will be things happening at church in aid of her quest for funding, and if you log on to the church website you can read and see more details. From there, or directlyt by the link below, you can sponsor her online (as some of us have already done) and get her nearer to her goal. Go Mari!

Next March I shall be walking 100km across the Sahara Desert for Classic FM's charity ‘Music Makers’. The charity provides music therapy for disabled adults and children and under-privileged children, nationwide. As one who firmly believes in the power of music, it is a cause close to my heart.
This is someone who doesn’t like excessive heat, walking or sand! Yes, I must be mad: but when I applied I never thought I’d be accepted. To say it’s daunting doesn’t touch how I feel, but at the same time it’s all quite exciting. I’ve met some really lovely people, and I’ve been bowled over by the offers of help I’ve had already.

Fundraising has started with cake sales and plans for concerts and jumble sales. Our local football clubs have responded well, Everton sent me a signed photo of the present team to auction. I have to raise £2,500 by the beginning of December. Training has started with me going to the gym on a regular basis and forcing myself to walk.

So far I’ve only managed one and a half hours  and I have to build up to 7 hours a day. We will be walking over sand dunes, salt flats and in “Mirage Valley” we start near the Atlas mountains and walk towards the sea.

I do understand the  pressures on you all to give money but I do hope you will be able to support me in some way, and in return I shall provide you with evenings out, cakes and sales.

If you choose you can donate by accessing
So watch this space for news of my latest endeavours, and thank you.

Mari Griffiths

The Collectors

Many people collect things: antiques, stamps, butterflies - even fine wines (how do they manage not to drink it?) We became collectors for one week for Christian Aid: Father Neil prayed for us and sprinkled us with holy water, which made us feel ready to do the job.

On Wednesday morning we delivered envelopes to “Our Street”  - never knew letter boxes had so many positions, high, low, to the left, to the right, reminded us of our only dance class (Gareth has two left feet!). We had to collect on Friday because of our work commitments, so with firm resolve we set forth at tea time: more experienced collectors advised that was the best time to go.

We were full of anxieties and looking through the pack Kathleen had armed us with we found a prayer which we said together, more in hope than belief we are ashamed to say.
Arrived at “Our Street” which shall be nameless, to protect the innocent and us from prosecution. Hand in hand we approached the first house, Gareth ever the gentleman said “ladies first” and with a firm push propelled me to the door. Dry mouth, heart racing, I timidly pressed the door bell, half hoping it wasn’t working, but alas a large plasma screen playing in the front room for all to see told us the householders were home. The door opened and I was confronted by a trendy young woman. I stammered far too quietly something about envelope and Christian Aid. All my rehearsals had been in vain, so I shook my large red and white bag at her. She smiled and said “ah yes, I won’t be a mo” and disappeared into the house, quickly returning with the envelope. We smiled probably too much and thanked her. We were exhilarated by this early success, we visibly grew at least an inch and moved on to the next door. At that moment we espied an interloper; the milkman was collecting in “Our Street” at the same time. After a brief confab we decided to cross to the other side so we didn’t all collide on one doorstep.

At the next two or three houses we had a positive response and our confidence soared, the bag got heavier and we were smiling: but not for long - the milkman had caught up with us. We crossed the street again to cover the ground we had missed earlier. Number 34,  sorry about that sir!  Rat-tatting on the door, we heard sounds from above
but no reply, knocked harder (getting brave now), door opened, embarrassed man flushed and breathless wearing nothing, quickly darted back behind the door and asked if we would call back in ten minutes (oh to be young again!) We continued on our quest, house after house, some answering, some not, some empty with overgrown gardens, children playing outside - “what d’yer want mister, I’ll get me mum", another envelope filled..

We were beginning to enjoy the experience and were surprised people wanted to chat about their children, their pets and their gardens. We did experience the curtain twitchers peering at us through veiled windows as if they were invisible. There was the little old lady who called to us down the street proclaiming she had been er.. er.. in the bathroom when we knocked and the man who was welcoming a be-suited visitor asking if he had been to court again! (we all know that joke). It transpired he was a policeman and had indeed been to court..

Unfortunately we didn’t collect from as many houses as we would have liked and we have been discussing strategies we should have adopted perhaps. A marching band or a bouncy castle - but “Our Street” had lots of nice people and a big thank-you to all who did give.

Back at church Rosie declared how heavy the bag was and I thought it might be a lack of paper money. She rightly reminded me all money was gratefully received.

The service at Christchurch for Christian Aid was enlivened by the enthusiasm of Sarah Corbett and her slide show of the work she had been doing with Christian Aid in Kenya. Shame she’s moving out of the area to work full time for Christian Aid but good luck Sarah.

We talked and thought about doing it all again but it’s “Our Street” -  the hassle, the time, the anxieties... Apparently though we have signed up for next year. My arm is still hurting, thanks Kathleen!

Gareth Griffiths and Brenda Cottarel

The July 100 Club Draw

1    50    Neil Kelley    
2    80    Muriel Harrison
3    76    Lillie Wilmot
4    153  Doreen and Howard Whitlow        

Elegy for a Fictional Sidesman
Kit Wright

Widely regarded
As Mynton Parish Church’s

Most talented sidesman
Of the post-war period,
Eric Arthur Upton        
Has handed in his plate.

Sombre and scrotal now
Hangs his collection bag,        

Dark in the Vestry
In abandoned state.

Sad are the aisles
That were graced by the advent

Of his soft-shoe shuffle,
Alert yet sedate:

Mournful the heads
Of the pews where benignly

And with seamless discretion
He would stand in wait.

Highly regarded
As Mynton Parish Church’s

Most finished servant,
As of even date,

Eric Arthur Upton,
Boxed as a rarity,

Pauses with honour
In his own lych-gate.

(as printed in ‘The Oldie’)


We beseech thee, O Lord,
pour thy grace into our hearts;
that, as we have known the incarnation
of thy Son Jesus Christ by the message of an angel,
so by his cross and passion
we may be brought unto the glory of his resurrection;
through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord,
who liveth and reigneth with thee,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Praises of Mary

O how wondrous is the dignity of the glorious Virgin!
She merited to become the mother of Him
who is the strength and beauty of the angels
and the grandeur of all the saints.
Mary was the seat of our sanctification,
that is to say,
the dwelling place of the Son
who sacrificed Himself for us.
“And I shall glorify the place where my feet have stood.”
The feet of the Saviour signify his human nature.
The place where the feet of the Saviour stood
was the Blessed Mary,
who gave him his human nature.
Today the Lord glorifies that place,
since He has exalted Mary
above the choirs of the angels.
That is to say,
the Blessed Virgin,
who was the dwelling of the Saviour,
has been assumed bodily into heaven.

Saint Anthony of Padua

The Assumption

No painter ever caught the magic other going -
This was a matter of an inward growing,
Simple and imperceptible as thought.
It was no pageant wrought
Of sounding splendour, welter of gold bars
Of molten day, mad stars,
Flurry of quick angels’ winging,
Bursts of their laughter ringing
In wild bliss.
The simple fact is this:
Love conquered at long last.
Her eager soul fled fast
With a great gladness like a song
Unto her Spouse above,
And her pure flesh would not be parted long
For sheer love.

Joachim Smet O’Carm


The recent ordination of Martin Jones to the priesthood was marked by two fine sermons. Fr Myles Davies’ Cathedral sermon is online (www.stfaithsgreatcrosby.html) as is Fr Neil’s sermon (below), preached at Fr Martins’ First Mass at Winwick the same day.  

The Priesthood
Fr Neil Kelley

In his book on priesthood entitled “Light in the Lord” there is a wonderful phrase of the late Cardinal Hume: ‘Saints have a past; sinners have a future’: a phrase which can be of great encouragement to all of us at times.

For I wonder how many of us priests here today would like to rewind the tape to the day of our own ordination, erase it and perhaps do things differently a second time round? Sadly, life doesn’t work like that, as we all know. Today is bound up with the celebration of two important sacraments, the sacrament of Ordination and the sacrament of the Eucharist.

But, Father Martin, give thanks today for another sacrament; for the sacrament of the present moment. You will never have this opportunity again of presiding at the Lord’s Table for the first time. As you sit here, in the role of presider for the first time at the Eucharistic banquet, give thanks for where God has brought and led you over these past years. Of course to say how many years might upset you, so I won’t! Give thanks for this moment: cherish it. Enjoy it. For it is where God wants you to be.

Presiding at the Eucharist is an important part of the life of a priest, and will be for Fr. Martin, but this morning he, along with a number of other women and men, was told: priests are to call their hearers to repentance and to declare in Christ’s name the absolution and forgiveness of their sins

All of us stand in need of forgiveness. And one cause for celebration for all of us today is that for those of us who are in need of God’s love and forgiveness, we have been given a new priest.

Why be a priest? Of course people have written volumes and volumes about what priesthood is – and isn’t – but at the end of the day, the answer to the question “why become a priest?” is because that is what God asks of certain people. He doesn’t require it of the perfect and worthy; far from it, every priest here is living testament to that! God most certainly has a sense of humour and is long-suffering when you look around at us lot! Priests are called and set apart to do the work God has for them.

Why, in fact, do anything for God, some would say? Of course people say that because we live in a society which easily understands the concept of satisfaction, self-satisfaction, but not the concept of sacrifice. We tend only to engage in things which will have some benefit for us. Ask people to do something and the answer may be “what’s in it for me?”

Following Jesus and being a faithful disciple is a difficult thing and the call to follow Christ takes each one of us in a different direction. If someone senses a call to priesthood, then the call to follow Jesus in that particular way means taking seriously a life of sacrificial service. For priesthood is demanding. It is not an easy option. And despite what some people think, it is not reserved for the perfect and flawless, but for those who know their brokenness. Martin, today you are set apart as one who will bring healing to that brokenness, the healing of Christ. You, in His name, will forgive sins and declare absolution.

There are those who think that membership of the Church ought to be a reward for good behaviour, and certainly those who think priesthood is. None of us is worthy. Every time we go to Communion we say, ‘Lord, I am not worthy’ - not mere words, but a statement of the truth. We’re not worthy of any of the sacraments, and that’s why the sacraments are gifts, not earnings. We are not given the Church, we are not baptised, or confirmed, or forgiven, or married or ordained because we are worthy, but because we are needy. The sacraments aren’t treats or luxuries, they’re necessities. We need them.  The Church exists not for the sake of the righteous, but for the sake of sinners. We are a Church that needs Christ. And therefore we are a church that needs priests.

‘Saints have a past; sinners have a future’. The journey to this altar today for Martin was not a smooth one, nor was it quick. Like many other journeys in life, we would all like to control the pace rather than have it controlled for us. There have been frustrations and disappointments on the way, there were certainly lows before the highs. But one of the things which speak volumes to me is the way Martin and Miriam have kept faith. No profound joy comes easily, and we only need to look at the cross to see that everything that is precious comes at a price.

And the costly demands of being a priest continue until the day we die. As a priest, put upon pedestals at times (sometimes by ourselves, sometimes by others) what matters most is not so much the mistakes we make, but rather our ability, when we have fallen from grace, to be lifted up again and restored to the Father’s love. Hypocritical Christians aren’t those who have made mistakes, but those who will not allow themselves to be lifted up. We must thank God each time we come to the Eucharist that we are people who have been ransomed, healed, restored and forgiven!

Martin, that is the good news you must preach. That is the Good News we must all live. Without that we have nothing to offer the world. If that is not alive in our own hearts then we may as well shut up shop, go home and watch Match of the Day! But be prepared for the disappointments – the things we believe to be important aren’t always shared by others. You, like so many priests today, are serving three parishes and that will bring frustrations and disappointments at times. There is nothing more frustrating to plan a special service only to find that because it is in the ‘other’ church  some refuse
point blank to come. We talk about mission and growth in the church today and yet some can’t bear the thought of worshipping in their sister parish. No hope of a future with that attitude!

You may spend hours preparing bible studies and special prayer groups to find that only a handful are interested in the things you are passionate about. In arguments, people may want you to take sides, they will want you to be part of one group rather than another. I sure none of that attitude is to be found in the good parishes of St. Helen’s, All Saints and St. Oswald’s! Life can be tough, difficult and lonely as a priest, married or single. That is why the discipline of saying the daily office is vitally important and there is no substitute for that. You take those difficulties, those people (and sometimes those difficult people) and place them and you before God in prayer each day. With prayer, we never despair.

Yet there is hope for the church and for the world, and in a very few moments, Fr Martin, that hope will actually lie in your hands.  Martin, as you take, and break this bread you enable us share in the suffering and resurrection as members of the Body of Christ. That is why I believe there is hope for our broken church and for our broken world because it is in the very brokenness that we encounter the Wounded Healer.

The fact that we don’t deserve to be priests makes the gift of priesthood even more precious. Brothers and sisters, today is as much about you and me as it is about Fr. Martin. He cannot bear the weight of this calling in his own strength, but only by the grace and power of God. That is why this morning we promised that we will continually pray for you; we promised this morning that we will uphold and encourage you in your ministry. And so, with our love, we will.

The legacy of Miriam and Martin in the parish of St Faith will live on because they gave so much there, and they are giving so much now to the people here. But, Fr. Martin, you will shortly give us hungry, needy, frail human beings the bread we need for our journey. God has a purpose for you – we rejoice with you and for you today - and he has a purpose for each one of us. Bless your people, love us and help us to discover more how we must love God. Martin, in saying yes to God and becoming his priest, you have not chosen the easy path. However, God’s gift to you today is this:

To live in the midst of the world without desiring its pleasures:
To be a member of each family yet belonging to none;
To share all sufferings; to penetrate all secrets; to heal all wounds;
To go from people to God and offer Him their prayer
To return from God to people to bring pardon, peace, and hope;
To have a heart of fire for charity and a heart of compassion for sinners;
To teach and to pardon, to console and to bless always;
This life is [now] yours, O Priest of Jesus Christ.


One of the features of the church website is a page entitled ‘Curiouser and Curiouser’, recording some of the more entertaining absurdities of our P.C.-crazy, Health-and-Safety-conscious 21st century world. Below is a selection of recent gems.

Sorry old Fruit, 1mm too Small

A greengrocer has been banned from selling Chilean kiwi fruit because they are one millimetre too small. He was not even permitted to give away the 5,000 kiwis and will lose several hundred pounds because of the ban.

Inspectors from the Rural Payments Agency, an arm of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, made a random check and found that a number of kiwis weighed 58g, four grams below the minimum – the equivalent of just a millimetre in diameter too small!

The market trader guilty of this unpardonable crime claimed that the Europe-wide regulation was enforced with unusual rigour in Britain. ‘There is not a level playing field. This fruit will now go to waste at a time when we are all feeling the pinch.’

Not Flying the Flag

The mayor of Maidstone has been banned from flying the town’s flag on her official car because it might fall off.

The decision has been made on health and safety grounds amid fears that the crest – all of eight inches high and four inches across – could pose a danger to other road users. However, officials at the town hall admitted that they could think of no previous occasion when a flag had become detached from the chauffeur-driven Lexus.

Get off your Bike, Bobby!

A village policeman has been banned from riding his bicycle on duty until he passes a cycling test.

Nick Barker patrolled the Kent countryside by bike until senior officers realised he had not completed his Basic Police Cycle Skills Test. He had been riding a bike since he was a boy, but now has to travel between the villages he patrols by bus and then walk several miles to reach outlying houses and farms.

A policeman who has passed the test said it involved ‘going around cones, like on a cycling proficiency course at school’. He also learned ‘how to cycle down steps at speed and how to dismount from a bike quickly to apprehend a suspect.’

(All as reported in the Daily Telegraph)

Branching out

Homeowners face having to pay specialists to inspect the trees in their gardens every three years under proposals drawn up by the British Standards Institution. The aim is to avert the danger of ‘branch shedding’ and ‘whole tree failure’ which account for around six deaths in the UK each year. By contrast, more than 4,000 people a year are killed by accidents in their homes.

Brain Death

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has banned the use of the word ‘brainstorming’ from use in meetings, in case it causes offence to epileptics and the mentally unstable. ‘We take diversity awareness very seriously,’ said a council spokesman. ‘Staff have been asked to use the term “thought showers” instead.’

(These two from the ‘Spirit of the Age’ column in ‘The Week’)

Letter to the Editor

29 Shaftesbury Avenue

I would like to thank all those people in St Faith’s who collected Tesco’s vouchers for schools and gave them to my grandfather, Ken Hollis, who collected them for me. I really do appreciate their efforts, and my son’s Special School really benefits from their ability to use them to acquire the equipment they need. They also pass on their thanks.

Mrs Emma Gregory

A Martian view of Earth Religions

“Like so many primitive life forms the creatures of the earth planet are sun worshippers. One day in every seven is set apart for the adoration of their deity, weather permitting. Their rituals vary, and each apparently involves a special form of dress; but all are conducted in the open air, and most seem to require the collection of enormous crowds. Some creatures gather in vast arenas, to watch strangely-garbed priests perform elaborate ceremonies involving a ball and sometimes variously shaped instruments of wood. Others, no doubt the mystics and solitaries of their religion, prefer to address the ball themselves with long clubs, singly or in groups of two or four, wandering in green fields. Some, stripping themselves almost naked in their ecstasy, go down to the seashore in great throngs and there perform their rites, often hurling themselves into the waves with frenzied cries. [This practice is unmistakably based on the dogma, found also among the semi-intelligent crustaceans of Venus, that the sun is a sea-god born anew each morning from the ocean; the use of large brightly coloured balls in these seaside rituals is confirmatory evidence.] After the ceremonial immersion, devotees have been observed to anoint themselves with holy oils and stretch themselves out full length with eyes closed, in order to surrender themselves entirely to silent communion with the deity.
“Human sacrifice, sad to say, is also practised, the instrument of death being a four-wheeled metal car. Often a chosen victim is run down and crushed. Even more frequently the sacrifice is voluntary; devotees enter the cars, and work themselves into a frenzy by travelling at high speed until they dash themselves to bits against other cars or stationary objects.

“There exists, however, a small sect of recalcitrants or heretics that does not practise sun worship. These may be identified by their habit of clothing themselves more soberly than the sun worshippers. They too gather in groups, but only to hide from the sun in certain buildings of doubtful use, usually with windows of glass, coloured to keep out the light. It is not clear whether these creatures are simply unbelievers or whether they are excommunicated from sun worship for some offence: we have not been able to discover what goes on within their buildings, which may perhaps be places of punishment. But it is noteworthy that their faces and gestures show none of the almost orgiastic religious frenzy with which the sun worshippers pursue their devotions. In fact, they usually appear long-faced and even placid, thus indicating minds blank of thought or emotion; in this connection, see Dr. Duerf’s monumental study, Totem and Taboo Among the Giant Centipedes of Mercury.”

Joy Davidman

‘Smoke on the Mountain’, 1955.

Holiday Club Diaries

Online may be seen pictures of assorted senior members of our churches enjoying the activities of the recent over-65s United Benefice Holiday Club. Below five of them (one for each day) tell their stories.

Day One: Monday, 16th June

The day started with tea and biscuits and an overview of the week’s programme.

We had our name labels attached just in case we forgot who we were.  The last time I had a name label fitted, I was an eleven year old evacuee!  We took part in a number of quizzes which gave us the chance to meet with friends.

After lunch we had an introduction to art, using plates of biscuits and Liquorice Allsorts as subjects.  Needless to say, most of the biscuits and Allsorts had disappeared before the lesson had finished!  Bob Pearson, who led the class, provided all the materials we needed, paper, oil crayons, pastels, pencils, chalk, wax crayons, and gave us a very enjoyable afternoon of experimenting with various forms of art mediums.  He was very patient with us all and certainly inspired some of us to dabble a bit more with drawing.

I enjoyed the week, it felt like being on holiday.  I have put my bucket and spade away and look forward to next year.  Please put my name down now.

Thanks to Lynne and Joan.

Ken Bramwell

Day Two: Tuesday, 17th June

The day began with the usual early morning brain-wakening quizzes.

This morning’s first quiz related to international religions. The questions asked for dates of various festivals and in some cases either their native names, or the alternative English names.  The second quiz gave the name of ten English castles and asked for them to be placed in order according to their geographic location, placing the northernmost first.

A baffled silence fell amongst us, some souls gamely tried to answer the questions.  A check of the answers revealed that some had two or three answers correct - more inspired by guesswork than knowledge.

The morning’s main event was a film. Joan had acquired three films which she asked should be voted upon, to decide which film would be shown.

The first was ‘Love on the Dole’, This was dismissed as too depressing (‘we all have enough troubles of our own’). The second was ‘The Great Escape’.  Dismissed  (‘it has been shown on TV so often, we can repeat the script’).  The third film was ‘Tea with Mussolini’. That was accepted and preparations were made for its showing.

Peter Connolly erected the ‘screen’ and he and Lynne began to assemble the projection equipment. There was much reference to the book of instructions. Various instructions flashed up on the screen, and guidance to the manual – but no film.

The knowledgeable amongst us realised that they did not have the most important tool when people our age mess with electronic equipment – a child or young person.  A youth did appear upon the scene (a grandson of one of our number) and after a few quiet words and instructions, the film flashed up on the screen.

The cry then went up, ‘It’s too indistinct, we cannot see it properly.’  It was then realised that all the lights were still on and the curtains were open. So the film was stopped, the lights extinguished, curtains were closed and the film resumed.

I could not help but reflect on my childhood.  At the Saturday matinee, any break or resumption in the film would lead to chants, whistling, stamping of feet and ironic clapping – and the girls took part too. I had a quiet chuckle when I thought of the effect of the present audience behaving that way. A condemnation by the Vicar at the following three Sunday morning services – with names being mentioned and cancellation of any further clubs.

After lunch we went by bus to Dobbies’ new Garden Centre complex at Southport.  It is a huge complex covering several acres. Beyond a huge car park and coach area the main building houses a food hall, indoor design area, bookshop, aquarium centre, clothing and footwear section, garden furniture and barbecue equipment and a large restaurant. The rear of the building houses a section containing young plants, gardening equipment and supplies, beyond that, in the open air, are acres of plants, shrubs, trees, wooden garden buildings, pools and fish.

We wandered about the complex and many spent their pocket money there. We had to meet in the restaurant at three o’clock, where members of the staff gave a talk about plants and their care.   Members were also invited to discuss any queries they had about
plants or their gardens. We were then served with a very nice afternoon tea by the centre staff. Before we left, Father Neil thanked the staff for their time and care.

Another very memorable day and a triumph for those who organised it.  Our grateful thanks.

Ken Hollis

Day Three: Wednesday, 18th June

Wednesday was another enjoyable day, when we welcomed a return visit by members of O.P.E.R.A. (Older Persons Enabling Resource and Action) who gave us the benefit of their expertise in practical demonstrations of back and shoulder massage, foot massage and also hand massage: there was no shortage of willing volunteers eagerly taking part in these relaxing exercises, keeping the team very busy through the morning till lunchtime. Incidentally, if you would like to know more about O.P.E.R.A. the telephone contact number is 0151 330 0479.

After lunch we had a lively entertainment presented by talented pianist Ann Dickinson and friends (Brian, Pat, Bob and Doreen) in the form of Olde Tyme Music Hall.  They led a sing-a-long of many well known old songs – pure nostalgia – bringing back happy memories of television’s Black and White Minstrels, who revived so many popular ditties of the Victorian and Edwardian years.  We were then entertained with lovely sentimental duets by Pat and Bob, a hilarious duet by Brian and Doreen (‘I am 16, going on 17’ from ‘The Sound of Music’) both artistes being appropriately dressed in Tyrolean outfits, and then solo numbers by Brian.

The whole programme was a resounding success, and the enthusiastic applause fully illustrated to Ann and friends just how much we enjoyed the programme and how much their musical talents were appreciated by the Club members.

Joyce Jones

Day Four: Thursday, 19th June

In spite of the gloomy weather forecast it was warm and sunny as we boarded the coach on Thursday morning at 9.30 for our day trip. An hour and a half later we reached the Llangollen Canal Tea Rooms with plenty of time for light, delicious home-made Welsh refreshment, before boarding the narrow boat for a 2-hour cruise.
No sooner on the boat than we were served with a tempting variety of sandwiches, and mugs of tea or coffee - previously organised by our brilliant leader, Joan - lest we faint by the wayside! (Inert bodies are so much harder to get back to the coach on time!)

There is, I think, something very special about canal cruising. Gliding smoothly along at a maximum speed of 4.5 mph, one sees everything from a completely different perspective. On a day like the one with which we were blessed, the narrow boat passes under overhanging trees through dappled sunlight - with occasional glimpses of magnificent landscapes beyond. We saw startlingly bright electric-blue dragonflies darting hither and thither close to the banks, whose many burrows and holes and tangled tree roots were doubtless home to water creatures we were not privileged to see! - although some of us were fortunate enough to spot a young otter!  and to say “Hello” to a young falcon (with his trainer!).
Our ‘Captain’, steersman and guide, Aubrey, gave us some interesting snippets of information about the origins of this canal.
Throughout England and Wales in the 1790s waterways were essential to the increasing industrialisation. It was seen as vital to connect the then Ellesmere Canal to the new pumping station on the River Dee at Llangollen. Though it presented many challenges, the canal itself would be relatively easy to construct, but how could the 1,007ft gap across the Dee Valley be bridged? Fortunately Thomas Telford and William Jessop, the most experienced canal and bridge builders of their time, were up to the challenge. Work began in 1795.
Nineteen pillars, each 116ft high and connected by 53ft wide iron arches were built to support the cast iron troughs which would carry the water. The mortar used to construct the pillars was a mix of lime, water and ox blood. Aubrey said nobody has yet worked out how many oxen this would have taken! The locally-cast troughs were dovetailed into each other and caulked by a mixture of pure Welsh linen and boiled sugar before being sealed over by lead. Once completed the trough was flooded and left for six months to check for leaks. Those seals haven’t broken in over 200 years!
The Pontcysyllte aqueduct was officially opened a month after the Battle of Trafalgar on the 26th November 1805 and cost the then considerable sum of £47,000.
Before taking us across this awe-inspiring, 126ft high structure our guide reassured us that the aqueduct, checked annually during winter for leaks, had passed with flying colours! He also explained that Pontcysyllte means “the bridge which connects”.
Regaining our ‘land legs’ we boarded the coach for the brief journey into Llangollen, where we had enough free time to look at the river, window gaze or simply wander aimlessly and pleasantly in the warm sunshine.
Our kind coach driver rounded an already perfect day off for us by choosing the scenic route over Horseshoe Pass - the sky still blue, and memories of an outing to remember keeping smiles on our faces!

Thank you for great companionship and a very special day!

Eileen Harrison

Day Five: Friday, 20th June

Friday dawned bright and sunny and was the last day of the Over 65’s Holiday Club.

At 10.00 am we set off by coach to a mystery destination, which proved to be the Theatre Organ Heritage Centre at Peel Green, Eccles. On arrival we entered an authentic 1920’s-style movie theatre where we were entertained by Joyce Aldred on a restored Wurlitzer organ, which slowly appeared from below the stage.

Robert Hope-Jones from Cheshire was the ‘father’ of the theatre organ and his patent was taken up by Rudolph Wurlitzer of New York, who exported organs world wide, and so began a working friendship.  Only around 100 organs came to the UK and the one at Peel Green was the first to arrive in Lancashire in 1927.  They were designed to accompany silent films in the 1920’s.

After the recital we received refreshments and then proceeded down below to a most interesting museum with over 100 years of history from Wirral to Wurlitzer.  It houses the largest collection I the world of Robert Hope-Jones artefacts, including a console dated 1894.  It also contained an area of sound effect pipes, such as drums, car horns, bells, bird song, triangles, castanets, whistles, tambourines, etc.  

We returned to the theatre to watch an amusing Laurel and Hardy film entitled ‘Two Cars’ which today would be termed ‘Road Rage.’  This was followed by a demonstration by Alan on the organ, explaining how the various sound effects were incorporated in the music.  It then ended with the National Anthem.  Altogether a superb few hours spent down memory lane.

On arrival back at St. Mary’s Church Hall we were kindly presented with ‘Tea at the Ritz’, as Peter aptly remarked, accompanied by appropriate background music. Tea consisted of cucumber, salmon and cream cheese sandwiches, scones with jam and cram and tea or coffee, served by Peter and Lynda, suitably attired as waiters in black tie and tails.

It was a lovely ending to a week of happiness and friendship enjoyed by all.  Our grateful thanks and appreciation go to Joan Tudhope and Lynne Connolly, who planned the week’s activities, and to Lynda Dixon who supplied us with refreshments, also to Peter Connolly for all his hard work towards the week’s success.

Special thanks to Waitrose of Formby for the slap-up tea!

Margaret Gallant

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