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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 

December 2008

From the Ministry Team

Dear All,

‘Advent is on Tuesdays’

I wouldn’t recommend anyone to have open heart surgery if they can avoid it, but believe it or not it does bring unexpected benefits. When I was in hospital recently our three children were frequent visitors and so I saw a good deal more of them than usual – a very welcome bonus that I had not foreseen.

Another blessing was the re-discovery of saying one of the daily offices regularly. Cardiac rehabilitation involves extra rest, peace, and quiet; so there has been plenty of  opportunity! The Office book I have found most helpful is the Franciscan version ‘Celebrating Common Prayer’, which provides simple patterns for Morning, Evening and Mid-day prayer, finishing the day with Night Prayer, or Compline.

One of the many obstacles to personal prayer is the feeling that you have to ‘go it alone’. And yet whenever we pray we share in the minute by minute, hour by hour, offering of praise and worship of the faithful right round the world. We are also fed by that great tradition of prayer, accumulated over the millennia, which reaches down through our Christian roots to the bedrock of our belief, in the Old Testament.  And of course we add our small voice to those of all the angels and saints in their eternal hymn of praise in heaven.

‘Celebrating Common Prayer’ expresses it like this:

“From the beginning of the life of the Church, the baptised ‘remained faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to sharing the common life, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers’. Individuals, continuing Jewish custom, prayed at fixed times through the day and, in various parts of the Church, there developed the custom of devoting certain times of each day to prayers in common”.

So my prayers, and the prayers of the Church, are always intermingled. One of the great advantages of using the daily office as a template for individual prayer is that the Church’s communal worship becomes a vehicle for personal prayer and carries it upwards to God. Within the framework of the Office there are times for thinking about the challenges of daily life, for personal thanksgiving, penitence and intercession, and - at night - for reflecting on the past day. There are many other aspects of the daily office which you can use for yourself, not least the rich variety of psalms and canticles which so often record intensely personal, not to say intimate, conversations with God. So many of the insights God has revealed to the Church can become suddenly, and vividly, our own.

A unique feature of the Franciscan office which greatly appeals to me is the way in which the days’ themes echo those of the Church’s year. So Sunday takes on the character of Easter Day: Monday, that of Pentecost: Tuesday, Advent: Wednesday, the Incarnation, Thursday, Epiphany: Friday, Passiontide, and Saturday the Kingdom.  So I can enjoy the blessings of these great seasons every week: Advent comes round every Tuesday and Christmas every Wednesday!

Hopefully you will not need a spell in hospital to enjoy the riches of daily prayer. The Franciscan offices will by no means suit everybody, and time is a limiting factor for most of us. But I do believe that there is always an appropriate pattern of prayer, waiting to be discovered, to suit each and everyone’s personal needs. So, this Advent, why don’t you go looking for it?

God Bless,

Fred Nye

Notice Board for December

Saturday 29th November   10.00 am – 12 noon
Young People’s Activity & Craft Morning
in S. Faith’s Church Hall
This will culminate in an all-age act of worship in church at 11.40 am

Sunday 30th November - ADVENT SUNDAY
6.00 pm  Churches Together Advent Carol Service in Christ Church

Bring Along a Toy, please!

At the 11am Parade & Family Eucharist on 7th December there will be the usual offering of toys. Please bring along a new toy (unwrapped). The preacher is Kay Lyons from the Children’s Society. Kay is also a Reader in the Diocese. These are given to Sefton CHOICES to distribute to needy families at Christmas. All toys given will be taken to St. Nicholas’s, Blundellsands on Monday 15th December to be distributed.

Christmas Services and Events

Wednesday 24th - CHRISTMASS EVE
4.00pm        Blessing of the Crib, Christingle Service and First Mass of Christmas at S. Mary’s
11.00pm      Vigil of Carols and Readings

9.30am        Holy Eucharist (said) at S. Mary’s
11.00am      SOLEMN MASS

Friday 26th  – S. STEPHEN’S DAY
10.30am      Solemn Mass, followed by sherry and mince pies in the Vicarage

If there are people who are housebound and unable to attend church over Christmas, Fr. Neil is more than happy to bring Holy Communion to them on Christmas Day after the morning services. Please let him know on 928 3342 if that is the case.

Holy Jesus,
to deliver us from the power of darkness
you humbled yourself to be born among us
and laid in a manger.
Let the light of your love
always shine in our hearts,
and bring us at last
to the joyful vision of your beauty,
for you are now alive and reign
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen

Thursday 1st January 2009
12 noon: Sung Mass for both congregations, followed by a glass of champagne in the Vicarage to welcome and celebrate the New Year together. 

Lost, Stolen or Strayed?

On second thoughts, probably not stolen – we are talking about our church! This is to notify the good, but possibly careless or absent-minded, people of St Faith’s that we now have a Lost Property Personage. Audrey Dawson has agreed to coordinate the bringing together of items separated by their owners in church. She will take charge of abandoned things, look around for misplaced things, and seek to restore them to their rightful owners. So henceforth, if you lose anything, ask Audrey; if you find anything, give it to Audrey. We’re not sure what Audrey will do if she loses anything….

A Church Befriended
Chris Price

‘Parking for the walk is in a layby on the B4416 by St Mark’s Church in Brithdir. The church is worth a visit.’

So read the instructions found online for the Torrent Walk above Dolgellau: a marvellous walk along a winding tree-lined road and up a mile or so of riverside path as the Afon Clywedog foamed and rushed down beside us. But first we visited the church – and found something more or less unique in Wales. St Mark’s is hidden from view amongst a rhododendron-choked churchyard and its solid granite exterior seems to grow out of the earth and trees amongst which it is planted. But inside is a different story. This is an Art Nouveau church, decked out in Mediterranean warm colours (red ochre walls and vivid blue ceiling), with amazing altar and pulpit of glowing beaten copper, exquisite wooden carvings and Arts and Crafts fittings. What was it doing here, we wondered.

It turns out that this unique Victorian building was paid for in memory of Fr Charles Tooth, chaplain and founder of St Mark’s Church in Florence, a beautiful Anglo-Catholic shrine which gave its name to its little Welsh counterpart. Designed by Henry Wilson, itd is a Grade 1 listed building. Fr Tooth was the brother of Fr Arthur Tooth, imprisoned in 1877 for daring to flout what was then the law by introducing Anglo-Catholic ritual to the good old C of E. There were a few such ‘martyrs’ in England, and of course our own history was not without controversy. The Archbishop of York was petitioned not to consecrate ‘this mass house’, protestors more than once tried to disrupt our services in the first half of the last century, and this writer recalls Protestant Truth Society ‘heavies’ picketing us when the first Roman Catholic priest preached here – and later attempting to stop Archbishop Robert Runcie from appearing among us. So the churchmanship of the little Italianate church in the trees of Brithdir is easy enough to work out. Obviously this Fr Tooth, though he may have gone to Rome metaphorically, succeeded, along with the clergy of St Faith’s, in avoiding the worst rigours of the Protestant witch-hunts. 

It was declared redundant in 2005, and is now owned by an organisation of which I knew nothing until this visit; the Friends of Friendless Churches. Founded in 1957, this organisation exists ‘to save historic but redundant places of worship from destruction, decay and unsympathetic conversion for public access and the benefit of the nation.’ They own 38 buildings and are looking to own more. In England they rely on subscriptions and benefactions and own about 15 churches: the rest are in Wales, where the Friends’ work is funded almost entirely by Cadw (the Welsh version of English Heritage) and the Church in Wales (the Welsh version of the C of E). Armed with their list, I shall hope to unearth their churches at St Peulan’s and St Figael’s on Anglesey, St Baglan’s near Caernarfon, St Brothen’s at Llanfrothen and St Cynhaern’s at Ynyscynhaearn – if only to find out more about such splendid saints, and to see what the spell-checker comes up with.

Their website is Try ‘googling’ St Mark, Brithdir, to access more related sites, including some fine photographs. When we visited this magical place, two men, commissioned by the Friends, were making detailed 3-D digital scans of the lead Art Nouveau font, before moving on to the pulpit and altar. The idea, they said, was to make possible replicas of these beautiful and priceless objects should they be stolen. How sad that such a procedure should be necessary – but how good that people and organisations take such trouble to preserve, restore and make accessible something at least of our rich Christian heritage. The Friends have recently spent some £30,000 on repairs and will spend more. They work in partnership with the Ancient Monuments Society. Long may their quiet work flourish to the glory of God.

A Letter from Norfolk

A somewhat belated thank you from the Upper Wensum Benefice House Group for the very warm welcome extended by the congregations of S. Mary’s and S. Faith’s during our recent visit to your Benefice.

Talk still goes on about the meaningful services, starting with the 9.30 am Harvest Thanksgiving at S. Mary’s, followed by the Harvest Songs of Praise at 6.00 pm, which those of us who had survived the afternoon sight-seeing managed to attend, and then the Patronal Festival at S. Faith’s on the Monday night. Having arrived too late for the concert on Saturday, the wonderful music in celebration of S. Faith’s Feast Day was a much-appreciated compensation. As a former member of the congregation, it was a delight for me to see the positive reaction of our group members to the very different services.

Our small country churches have congregations of approximately 20 and only a few organists to cover the seven churches within the benefice, so that we resort to recorded music on occasions. This is preferable to the previous practice whereby the churchwarden picked out the opening bars only on the church organ, which invariably resulted in a musical floundering of the congregation half way through the hymn. One of our churches has no electricity at present, a situation that has existed now for over a year. Services take place in the Chancel, with a heavy curtain hanging at the entrance to keep away the draughts. Any evening services are candle-lit. However, these churches are beautiful, with interesting individual features and are well worth a visit if you are in the area.

Finally, the UWHG thoroughly enjoyed the visit and felt Liverpool deserved its year as Capital of Culture. Thank you for your contribution to this enjoyment.

Hilary Pennington

‘Nowt so Queer as Folk?’

“A C of E clergyman has said that homosexuals should be tattooed with health warnings similar to those seen on cigarette packets.

The Rev Dr Peter Mullen said in an  internet blog that homosexuality was ‘clearly unnatural, a perversion of natural instincts and affections, and a cause of fatal disease.’

He wrote: ‘Let us make it obligatory for homosexuals to have their backsides tattooed with the slogan SODOMY CAN SERIOUSLY DAMAGE YOUR HEALTH.’

The Bishop of London said the posting was ‘highly offensive.’ Dr Mullen, 66, has been told that he could face disciplinary action. The rector said that he meant no harm: ‘I wrote some satirical things on my blog and anybody with a sense of humour or any understanding of the tradition of English satire would immediately assume that they’re light-hearted jokes.’”

Aislinn Simpson, Daily Telegraph, October 7th, 2008

Christian Aid News          

* The recent Harvest offerings at S.Faith’s enabled us to send a donation of £209.50 to Christian Aid. £164.50 of this was gift aided, enabling the charity to claim a further sum from the Inland Revenue.St Mary’s Church congregation donated a similar sum from their Harvest services. Further details from Howard Pate, their Christian Aid coordinator. Many thanks to the members of both churches for their generous support.

* Advent Footsteps calendars will be distributed on Advent Sunday, offering a daily reminder of the needs of the world and an opportunity to attach a small donation each day to the calendar.  Donations will be collected in time for the Christian Aid Christmas appeal.

* Supporters are urged to join Christian Aid’s campaign ‘Countdown to Copenhagen’. On December 11th 2009 in Copenhagen, the world’s richest nations must agree a level of carbon emissions that will save the world from catastrophic effects of uncontrolled climate change.  Christian Aid is working with partners in 23 countries to help the world’s poorest people cope with the effects of global warming, but more needs to be done in the North politically to bring pressure on our own government and the European Union.
Fairtrade News            

* Sales of goods at the two Fairtrade stalls at S.Faith’s and S.Mary’s churches are reaching the £1000 mark.  Thanks to all who have supported the stalls.

* The sale of Traidcraft Christmas gifts and cards at S.Faith’s during September and October, together with the raffle of the Christmas Traidcraft hamper, have enabled us to donate over £100 to church funds as well as ensuring a fair wage for producers in developing countries. The raffle will be drawn on Advent Sunday. We are grateful to all who have encouraged us by their purchases.

POSTSCRIPT  The UK Fairtrade market is doubling in value every two years and in 2007 reached an estimated retail value of £493 million, with over 3000 certified Fairtrade products for sale through catering and retail outlets.


How much of the price we pay for Fairtrade products actually reaches the producers?

Whatever the price of the product on the shelf,  the FAIRTRADE mark ensures that the producers have already received what has been agreed to be a fairer price, as well as the social premiums to invest in the future of their communities. The Fairtrade price applies at the point where the producer organisation sells to the next person in the supply chain. It is not calculated as a proportion of the final retail price which is negotiated between the product manufacturer and the retailer.

Kathy Zimak

Do they know it’s Christmas?

St Faith’s congregation has generously supported The Waterloo Partnership ever since the community charity’s inception in 2005.  ‘Our’ Waterloo is linked by friendship with Waterloo Sierra Leone, a town which because of its situation on the main highway from the capital Freetown suffered particularly during the long civil war. With the advent of political stability its people long to lift themselves out of poverty and to build a more secure future for themselves and their children.

The response to our Christmas Gift scheme last year was overwhelming, providing well over £8,000 for our community projects in Waterloo SL. Two UK committee members visited Sierra Leone in February, and were encouraged to find that your gifts of hens and farming equipment had visibly improved the wellbeing of the poorest members of the community, especially vulnerable women. Our partners are anxious for us to go on supporting all the current agricultural projects as they continue to develop.

Our ‘uniform’ scholarship scheme has enabled 40 very disadvantaged children to get to school: without this help they would have no chance of education. We now aim to raise a fund of £10,000 so that this cohort of children is properly supported until they leave school.

This year the Gift Scheme has been extended to include help for the Community Health Centre, which is chronically short of all basic supplies, and also for a highly motivated group of physically disabled blacksmiths who need funds for training apprentices. With investment and encouragement this enterprising group could become entirely self-sufficient.

If you are stuck for ideas for Christmas presents, why not consider picking up a Gift Scheme order form, available at the back of church every Sunday morning until 7th December? In return for your donation you will be sent a card with an appropriate certificate to give to your friend or relative, confirming that you have made a gift in kind on their behalf. Your Christmas gift of seeds, or school uniform or hens or medical supplies will be going to one of the poorest communities in the world, and will be received with real gratitude by our brothers and sisters in Sierra Leone.

Fred & Linda Nye
Tel 924 2813

100+ Club Draw: November 2008

1    20    Mona Turner
2    31    Ann Holland
3    94    Mandy, Sarah and Simon (Price)
4    9      Irene Taylor

Children and Holy Communion

Fr. Neil writes:

St. Faith’s PCC (and St. Mary’s PCC) recently passed a resolution to begin the process of preparing children for, and admitting them to, Holy Communion prior to Confirmation.

By the time you read this, we shall have discussed at PCC how to take this a step further and in the new year, I will say more about the process involved and how it specifically relates to our parish. However, as a background you may be interested to read what the Diocese says about this practice (and if you want to read even more about it visit the Diocesan website!). I am particularly anxious that those who expressed some reservations about taking this step have the opportunity to talk further and to discover more how this is being implemented in many parishes throughout the Diocese. The following comes from information available to parishes from St. James’s House:

“Bishop James welcomes applications from parishes seeking his permission to admit baptised persons to Holy Communion before Confirmation. The General Synod Guidelines have to be followed in order for a parish to be granted this permission. A condition of permission is diocesan registration. These guidelines focus on the proper teaching and continuing nurture of those being admitted to Holy Communion before Confirmation. The following procedures for use in this Diocese are based on the General Synod Guidelines 2006:

1. A clear policy for work with children.  Admission of children to Holy Communion before Confirmation will be a helpful step for a parish to make only if it already has a clear commitment to the Christian teaching and nurture of children within the life of the church. Many parishes may feel that the introduction of this new option in the process of Christian initiation provides a good opportunity to review their attitude and ministry to children in church.

2. PCC and Incumbent’s approval. Both the incumbent and the PCC must support the application to admit those who have been baptized to Holy Communion before Confirmation (and where appropriate, ecumenical partners must have been consulted). The voting figures at the PCC must be included in the initial application to the Bishop. The incumbent must ensure that the policy adopted for his/her parish is clearly and widely understood.

3. Age of admission to Holy Communion. In the Regulations and in the Bishop’s directions no age limit is being set. It is important that children and their parents are properly  prepared.  It is also  important  to note that  these regulations are not intended to
diminish the ministry of Confirmation. This ministry and that of Confirmation are an outworking of Baptism. The grace of God is offered to us through these ministries. So we need to give deep and prayerful attention to how the parish orders its ministry for children and for their families. With this in mind it is at the discretion of the Parish Priest to determine the age of admission.

4. Confirmation. It is at the discretion of the Parish Priest to determine the age of Confirmation whilst acknowledging that Confirmation can be held to represent an adult commitment of faith and that where no other ‘adult’ responsibilities, such as voting, driving, getting married, can be taken up during early teens, the 20s would be considered a more appropriate time for an adult act of commitment.

5. Preparatory Teaching. Those to be admitted to Holy Communion must already be regular members of the relevant nurture/teaching group for their age group before any special preparation begins. There must then be an appropriate course of preparation of candidates for admission to Holy Communion, which is approved by the Bishop. In the initial application the parish priest must tell the Bishop which course of preparation a parish will use, or send a copy of the teaching programme where a parish develops its local material.

6. Continuing nurture. The Bishop has to be satisfied that a programme of continuing Christian nurture is in place leading to confirmation in due course. The parish priest must ensure that those admitted to Holy Communion receive continuing Christian nurture in a context appropriate to them within the church’s life. It is important that all children undertake the preparation course. The priest, the child’s parents/guardians and the person in church responsible for the child’s formation (e.g. the child’s Sunday School, Junior Church, or Uniformed Organisation leader) all have, in varying degrees, a part to play in continuing to nurture the child in his or her Christian faith, and in the significance of Holy Communion.

7. The initial application to the Bishop. Parishes must complete all details on the Parish Application Form and return to the Bishop Of Liverpool if they wish to gain his agreement for adopting a policy of admission to Holy Communion before Confirmation.

8. Practicalities of administering the policy of admission to Holy Communion before Confirmation. Once the Bishop’s permission has been obtained to admit to Holy Communion before Confirmation, there are certain practicalities of procedure that the Parish Priest must observe:

(a) Who should be admitted? The priest decides after consultation with a child’s parents/guardians or with those within the church responsible for the child’s formation with the parent’s goodwill.
(b) The child must also wish to be admitted to Holy Communion.
(c) Parents must sign consent forms to signify their approval of the child’s admission.
(d) The child must already be a regular attender of worship or of the relevant teaching/nurture group for his or her age group.
(e) Evidence of baptism preceding admission to Holy Communion required.
(f) A register must be kept of the names and dates of admission to Holy Communion before Confirmation of all those admitted.
(g) A Certificate of Admission to Holy Communion should be given to the candidate and/or the candidate’s baptism certificate should be suitably endorsed with the appropriate information.
(h) Marking the occasion. Before a person is first brought to Holy Communion, the significance of the occasion should be explained to him/her and to his/her parents. The occasion itself should be marked in some suitable way before the whole congregation. Wherever possible, the person’s family should be involved in the service.
(i) Children at the Eucharist. The priest must decide exactly how much of the liturgy communicant children will attend. Even if there is a separate teaching group for children, anyone who is to receive Holy Communion should be present in the main assembly at least from the introduction of The Peace. An example of welcome: “We are the people of God. We welcome all in His name, the youngest and the oldest. We welcome you.”
(j) When a family moves. No person who has been admitted to Holy Communion and remains in good standing with the church may be anywhere deprived of it. When a family moves parishes, the priest must inform the family’s new incumbent of the communicant status of any children who have been admitted.
Diocese of Liverpool
Max Reay Mackay Shakespeare - an update

As many of you are aware (and have been praying for), our son Max has been undergoing treatment for kidney cancer since August 2007. It is with great joy that we can now report that Max completed his chemotherapy protocol in September, and received clear reports from scans done in October. This means that Max is currently cancer free.

During the past fifteen months we have travelled a road that none of us ever thought that we would have to tread, and it is only by the skill, expertise and compassion of the staff at Alder Hey, and all our friends and family, that we have reached this happy point. 

The journey has changed us all. Priorities in life have suddenly become much clearer, and we see the importance of treasuring every day, and seeking ‘fun’ at any opportunity. Max still has a lot in front of him, but for now we rejoice that with all your support we have reached this point with such as positive view of the future.

Thank you,

Dave, Nicky and Max.

P.S.. Pat Mackay also adds her thanks to the congregation of St Faith's for all the support during Max’s treatment: and the family of St Faith’s send their love and best wishes.

Thank You!

There are occasions when I am so thankful to be part of such a warm, caring church. I recently moved house and would like to thank people for their kindness, help and support. I’d like to thank Chris Price for trying valiantly to obtain for me an internet report, something my landlord needed prior to my renting the flat. Thanks to Joan Tudhope, who loaned me the use of her computer for printing the necessary report, and Bill, who wisely suggested I obtain a credit score.

I especially want to thank Fiona Whalley who, upon hearing I was moving to an unfurnished flat, offered me all sorts of beautiful furniture and accessories. It was a real godsend and I can’t thank her enough. Thanks also to Ruth Winder and Chris Spence for their advice, support and generosity – and anyone else I’ve forgotten. I feel so blessed to have you all as friends. Thank you all.

Corinne Hedgecock

Funny You Should Say That

A vicar concluded that his church was getting into very serious financial troubles. While checking the church storeroom, he discovered several cartons of new bibles that had never been opened. He asked for three volunteers from the congregation to sell the bibles door-to-door for £10 each to raise the desperately-needed money for the church.

Three parishioners volunteered for the task. The minister knew that two of them were salesmen and could do well. But he had serious doubts about Louie, who had always kept to himself because he was embarrassed by his speech impediment.

He sent the three of them loaded with bibles and asked them to report back in a week. To the first he said, ‘Well, Jack, how did you get on?’ Proudly handing the vicar an envelope, Jack replied, ‘I managed to sell 20 bibles, and here’s the £200 I collected.’ Turning to the second, he asked the same question. Paul smilingly replied, ‘I sold 28 bibles, and here’s £280 I collected.’

The vicar congratulated them both then turned apprehensively to the third and said, ‘Did you manage to sell any bibles last week?’ Louie silently offered up a large envelope. The vicar opened it and counted the contents. ‘Louie,’ he exclaimed, ‘there’s £3200 in here! However did you manage to sell 320 bibles for the church, door to door, in just one week?’

Louie shrugged. ‘I-I-I re-re-really do-do-don’t kn-kn-know f-f-f-for sh-sh-sh-sure,’ he stammered. ‘A-a-a-all I-I-I s-s-said wa-wa-was, “W-w-w-w-would y-y-y-you l-l-l-l-l-like t-t-to b-b-b-buy th-th-th-this b-b-b-b-bible f-f-for t-t-ten p-p-p-pounds o-o-o-or- wo-wo-would yo-you j-j-j-just l-like m-m-me t-t-to st-st-stand h-h-he re and r-r-r-r-r-read it t-to y-y-you?”’

The Visitor

If Jesus came to your house to spend a day or two
If He came unexpectedly, I wonder what you’d do.
Oh, I know you’d give your nicest room to such an honoured guest.
And all the food you'd serve to him would be the very best,
And you would keep assuring him you’re glad to have him there -
That serving him in your own home is joy beyond compare.

But when you saw him coming, would you meet him at the door
With arms outstretched in welcome to your heavenly visitor?
Or would you have to change your clothes before you let him in?
Or hide some magazines and put the Bible where they’d been?
Would you turn off the video and hope He hadn’t heard?
And wish you hadn’t uttered that last, loud, hasty word?

Would you hide your worldly music and put some hymn books out?
Could you let Jesus walk right in, or would you rush about?
And I wonder - if the Saviour spent a day or two with you,
Would you go right on doing the things you always do?
Would you go right on saying the things you always say?
Would life for you continue as it does from day to day?

Would your family conversation keep up its usual pace?
And would you find it hard each meal to say a table grace?
Would you sing the songs you always sing, and read the books you read,
And let him know the things on which your mind and spirit feed?
Would you take Jesus with you everywhere you’d planned to go?
Or would you, maybe, change your plans - for just a day or so?

Would you be glad to have him meet your very closest friends?
Or would you hope they’d stay away until his visit ends?
Would you be glad to have him stay forever on and on?
Or would you sigh with some relief when He at last was gone?
It might be interesting to know the things that you would do
If Jesus Christ in person came to spend some time with you.

Lux in Tenebris

Within the vast abyss of space and time
our sparks of consciousness ignite and fade.
Our little lives, with all their hopes and fears,
their laughter and their tears, are soon extinguished.

Against the backdrop of eternity
worlds, stars and galaxies are born and die,
and our whole universe, we’re told, moves on
to thermal death and dark oblivion.

But while I sit such gloomy thoughts to pen
a shaft of sunlight, gold without alloy,
falls on the page, and through the open door
a blackbird’s song flows in like liquid joy.

David Yarham

Suffering for the Little Children

In the New Year it is proposed to produce a United Benefice Children’s Magazine. We are inviting youngsters from both churches to contribute material for publication. For the first edition leaders of each church organisation (all uniformed groups and Sunday Schools) have been asked to provide a page. All those involved (you know who you are!) are hereby requested to submit material as soon as possible.

Parish Administrator Liz Mooney will be putting the magazine together, so please email copy, including any digital photographs, to her at

Celtic Summer 2009

The increasing attraction of the Celtic saints and the emergence of Celtic Christianity will feature at a major course at St Chad’s College, Durham next summer.

Details of the course have been released this week, with BBC Radio 4 Thought for the Day presenter Revd Rob Marshall once again leading the popular summer school.

The week will run from 13th – 20th July, and  costs just £438 (half board) in a university standard room.

Celtic Summer is open to everyone from this region. Participants register at the Durham College before a week of Christian pilgrimage and teaching focussing on the Celtic saints of Hilda, Aidan, Cuthbert and Cedd.

Those taking part visit Holy Island and Bamburgh as well as taking in Bede’s World, Whitby, Lastingham and Durham Cathedral.

“Each day consists of talks, services and many of the days include a trip out to a well know site including a highly memorable pilgrimage to Lindisfarne itself,” said Marshall this week. He is an experienced pilgrimage leader and is a priest in the team at St Mary Abbots, Kensington.

“The Celtic saints have so much to tell us about the way in which we face up to the challenges of mission today,” Marshall added.

For further information please contact Tracey on 01482 662721.

(St Chad’s College Durham, like us the foundation of Douglas Horsfall, are patrons of the living of Saint Faith’s.)

Santiago Diaries

Edited highlights from the recollections of four of the pilgrims who took part in the recent United Benefice pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. The full unedited diaries, with lots of pictures by Bill and Joan Tudhope, may of course be seen on the church website.

TUESDAY    It was back in January when a group of potential pilgrims met with Mike from ‘Vapour Trails Direct’ to discuss the feasibility of a pilgrimage to the Galician city of Santiago de Compostela. Santiago has been one of the most important centres of pilgrimage in Europe since the 9th Century.  Its Romanesque Cathedral is reputedly sited over the tomb of St. James, Patron Saint of Spain. It seemed feasible to me!

On Tuesday, 7th October, we pilgrims met together at St. Faith’s Church, after a Pilgrims’ Mass and Blessing before departure.  Climbing the steps to our plane I thought I felt pounds lighter than climbing down the steps of the coach a little earlier (that pounds sterling, not pounds weight). After arriving Santiago de Compostela Airport, a short coach ride later brought us to the ‘Hotel Los Abetos’ our pilgrims’ hostel for our four night stay.  The Hotel Los Abetos is not quite a hostel, more a 4 star mansion house with 2 double beds, TV, minibar, radio and safe (but ours didn’t work) in each of its 150 bedrooms.  Not really what Sue and I are used to, but we coped.

After dinner some people went straight to bed, well, it’s been a long day. Others had a quite nightcap in the bar. I considered going for a dip in the outdoor pool, perhaps a work out in the gym followed by a sauna. Nah! too tired, so Sue and I opted for a drink and went to bed, after all, it’s an early start tomorrow.

Kevin Walsh

WEDNESDAY   Our first sight of Santiago de Compostela by daylight was of a town shrouded in a pale morning mist. Our first sight of the Cathedral – ornate and very impressive, it towered up into the last shreds of the morning mist.

The Mass was at noon and our guide Diego made sure that we were there in good time to find places with a view of the great thurible. The guide book says “Under the dome is the pulley structure designed in the 16th Century... for the support and movement of the botafumeiro, a large censer that was used from the 14th Century onwards to perfume the air, redolent with the sweat of the exhausted pilgrims. Watching it swing from one side of the transept naves to the other, hurled and guided by a group of men known as tiraboleiros, is one of the most impressive sights in Compostela.”

Well, yes!!  Suspended in the great space at the centre of the building, the silver vessel looks big but not gigantic.  When it is lowered to the ground, though, it stands almost the height  of  a  man.    Filled  with  incense,  then  lit  and  billowing  scented  clouds,  it   is
immensely impressive. When it is raised and begins to swing, higher and higher and faster and faster, the words that come to mind are health and safety, rollercoaster, then guided missile. It does not swing every day so we were lucky to see the spectacle.  There were hundreds of people at the Mass, many of them pilgrims who had walked one of the pilgrims’ ways from France or other places all over the world. Huge backpacks were piled round the base of the pillars, some of them bearing the cockle shell that is the sign of the Compostela pilgrim. These days, of course, there was no sign of the pong that gave rise to the need for the mega quantities of incense – but it was lovely anyway.

Amazingly, Diego led us round the back of the altar, where we were able to touch, even embrace, the statue of James the Apostle as pilgrims have done through the ages. So many embraces have worn away his shoulders, he now wears a silver cape for protection!

It was a wonderful day, a perfect introduction to Santiago de Compostela and gave an entirely new view of the concept of pilgrimage. Our Pilgrims’ Progress was no arduous struggle, it was full of happy companionship, interest and warmth – but nonetheless a valuable and rewarding experience.

Hilda Garner

THURSDAY   We head off to the Sacred Valle (Ribera Sacra) via the historic city of Ourense. Here the dark Gothic Cathedral dates from the early 13th Century, not very extraordinary from outside, but once inside every space of ceiling and walls are covered with gilded ornate decoration. Taking pride of place, of course, is a huge crucifix covered with animal skin and with human hair on the head, which is very dark and hangs down over the shoulders. It moves in the air, so one can be forgiven for imagining it is living.  I am horrified by this at first but then thought, remember that Jesus was living when they nailed him to that cross. This is no ordinary crucifix and on closer inspection one can see the pain and agony on the face and very realistic wounds on the skin. This is not the usual pretty statues I have become used to – sanitised, not to offend or upset. This had a great impact on me. In those few minutes I felt the pain and agony, could almost hear the voices and smell the smells.

We arrived back at the hotel for Mass in the small white chapel, with simple stained glass windows, situated in the immaculately maintained gardens of this fine hotel, where we are staying.  Although we are only 28 in number we fill this small chapel and when we sing our voices fill the air and it sounds so good.

Brenda Cottarel

FRIDAY    Starts early, even though you feel a bit groggy (too much laughter last night, perhaps). After a large breakfast we board the bus and head off to the Coast of Death in the  dawn.   There  is  laughter  in  the  bus,  there always is.  Our smiling and enthusiastic guide, Diego, points out the sights to us. After one or two stops, it was on to Finisterre (World’s End). I am getting hungry, I have got used to three large meals a day on my pilgrimage and am looking forward to lunch.  Pilgriming is hungry work.

We arrive at the World’s End. There are a group of pilgrims who are burning their clothes. This act symbolises the renewal of their life after the pilgrimage.  I walked down to the water’s edge and watched the waves crash against the rocks and felt the spray.  You don’t have to go to church to feel God all round you.

After a delicious lunch, it was back to the bus. At this point we nearly lost a pilgrim, but at the last moment recovered her. After Compline we went to dinner and lots of laughter.  The day was only marred by one of our party falling and injuring herself.  But the day ended in a buzz, with enjoyment of good company and much to think about.

Gareth Griffiths

Memories of Manhood’s End

Back in the balmy days of early summer, we holidayed in West Sussex, and explored some of the quiet backwaters away from the resorts and major roads. One area that was particularly appealing was the great inlet of Pagham Harbour, a wide and deserted expanse of almost land-locked salt marsh, saved from exploitation to be today the haunt of birds and birdwatchers and lovers of solitude.

At the end of a remote lane, a path leads down to the wide spaces where the seabirds wheel and, twice a day, the sea floods quietly in over the marshes. This was once a place of great importance, a Saxon capital and a place of trade and royal business. St Wilfrid is said to have landed here in the 7th century and used it as a base to convert the pagan inhabitants of this remote peninsula, reputedly the last place in England to be won to Christianity. He founded a monastery here and it was the site of a cathedral before the see moved to Chichester. Today, in a well-tended and beautiful churchyard are rows of graves – and a small chapel. Once it was far bigger, but the nave was long ago dismantled and rebuilt some miles away. What remains is the chapel of St Wilfrid, and in it to my surprise and delight were copies of a Christmastide poem which I knew well, but about which I knew little. It is by Rudyard Kipling, who wrote a lot about Sussex, and it is about this very place.

Eddi's Service (A.D. 687)

Eddi, priest of St. Wilfrid
      In his chapel at Manhood End,
Ordered a midnight service
      For such as cared to attend.

But the Saxons were keeping Christmas,
      And the night was stormy as well.
Nobody came to service,
      Though Eddi rang the bell.

‘Wicked weather for walking,’
      Said Eddi of Manhood End.
‘But I must go on with the service
      For such as care to attend.’

The altar-lamps were lighted,
      An old marsh-donkey came,
Bold as a guest invited,
      And stared at the guttering flame.

The storm beat on at the windows,
      The water splashed on the floor,
And a wet, yoke-weary bullock
      Pushed in through the open door.

‘How do I know what is greatest,
      How do I know what is least?
That is My Father’s business,’
      Said Eddi, Wilfrid’s priest.

‘But - three are gathered together -
      Listen to me and attend.
I bring good news, my brethren!’
      Said Eddi of Manhood End.

And he told the Ox of a Manger
      And a Stall in Bethlehem,
And he spoke to the Ass of a Rider,
      That rode to Jerusalem.

They steamed and dripped in the chancel,
      They listened and never stirred,
While, just as though they were Bishops,
      Eddi preached them The Word,

Till the gale blew off on the marshes
      And the windows showed the day,
And the Ox and the Ass together
      Wheeled and clattered away.

And when the Saxons mocked him,
      Said Eddi of Manhood End,
‘I dare not shut His chapel
      On such as care to attend.’

Eddi was Wilfrid’s chaplain. The intriguing name of Manhood End refers not to some historical loss of courage (nor even virility) but is a corruption of Mainwood End: where a vast mediaeval forest came to its end here. The place does not exist ‘on the ground’ today, but lives on also in the splendidly named ‘Hundred of Manhood and Selsey Tramway’ – an almost legendary light railway which ran its ramshackle rattle-and-bang way from Chichester down to Selsey for a few years at the beginning of the last century before sinking back into oblivion. It was part of the empire of Colonel Fred Holman Stephens, who ‘collected’ lost-cause minor railways. But that’s another story.

Chris Price  

Child Friendly Church Award Scheme

As well as passing a resolution to place children and young people even more at the centre of our life together by admitting them to Holy Communion prior to Confirmation, the PCC has also passed a resolution to work towards being a “Child-Friendly” church.

The Child Friendly Church Award (CFCA) has been developed to help churches give children the best possible experience of church and acts as a tool to help churches evaluate their children’s and youth work. It is a self assessment scheme which is designed to celebrate and support a Church’s journey to being Child Friendly. CFCA Advisers work alongside the churches and guide them towards the final award which is presented for a 3 year period.

National interest in this Diocese of Liverpool scheme means that the CFCA logo can be seen outside churches of many denominations all around Great Britain, displaying that the churches take provision of children and young people seriously. Fr. Neil has asked a small working party look at the initial stages of this process, and both the PCC and congregation will be kept up to date as we work towards this.

A Decade of ‘+James Liverpool’!

“Liverpool Cathedral is really good. On 8th November there was a special service but they’re not going to do one next year”.

So writes Marcie Appleton after attending a special service to celebrate the Bishop of Liverpool’s 10th Anniversary here. The service was full and colourful, focusing on baptism, confirmation, lay ministry and priesthood: we had young people from St. Faith’s and St. Mary’s walking in the processions carrying blue or red streamers. The music was varied and the testimonies from some young people in our Diocese were thought-provoking and moving. On our behalf, the young people presented the Bishop and his wife with cards and gifts from our two parishes, thanking the Bishop for his support and encouragement.

It certainly gave the Vicar some ideas as to how he might celebrate his 10th Anniversary of being here next year…. Watch this space!

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