The Parish Magazine of St Faith`s Church, Great Crosby

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 December 2002 - January 2003

From the Ministry Team  

The light shines in the darkness

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.  What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.  (John 1:1-5 NRSV)

As a child I loved the Christmas season.  The colourful decorations, the cards, the huge Christmas trees with their twinkling fairy lights would delight me; the shop windows full of wonderful toys and displays of goodies would set me dreaming and wishing for all sorts of nice surprises which I hoped to receive on Christmas morning.

But what delighted me more than anything was a Friday afternoon in school, when it was story time.  The teacher would usually read us delightful adventures of pirates, or children‘s adventure stories, but come December we would be told a different kind of story: the Christmas story.

I can still remember the sense of awe and wonder I felt when I heard the story of a baby, born in a little stable in a far-off land, who grew to be the Saviour of the world. Looking around me I could see Christmas cards with angels on them, and some had drawings of the baby Jesus being cradled in his mother‘s arms, with a bright star shining outside in the darkness ™ a bright light for all the people to see, to guide everyone to where the new born king lay.  One Christmas I can recall my teacher, after finishing the ?story‘ saying quietly to us: ?That is what Christmas is all about, not cards and presents, but remembering that God sent his only son to be live amongst the people.  Jesus is a light shining in the darkness!‘

Emmanuel; God with us.

Angels singing, shepherds watching, kings travelling, all add to the colour and the attractions of Christmas, but they are not its heart.  For at Christmas we celebrate the Incarnation, that in the person and life of Jesus, God shared our human existence.  God is with us.  He is no longer distant, impenetrable, unknowable.  He is with us, alongside us, sharing our human existence, with all its joys and sorrows, with all its hopes and frustrations.

The story of the babe in the manger forms a crucial part of the greatest story ever told.  The very heart of the Christmas message is proclaimed in the beginning of St John‘s Gospel: The word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.  It is about God Incarnate ™ God becoming man, sharing our human lives, being alongside us.  Something indeed to celebrate!

What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”

With my love and prayers for a joyful and blessed Christmas.

Jackie Parry


Some people commented that last year's Christmas Day Eucharist wasn't very `children friendly' (apologies to the four or five children who were there!). So this year the 11 am Eucharist on Christmas Day will be more along the tines of our monthly Parade Eucharist with a sermon to involve and include the children. SO PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU BRING THEM ALONG!!

I‘m Fine, Thank You

There is nothing the matter with me,
I‘m as healthy as I can be.
I have arthritis in both my knees,
And when I talk, I talk with a wheeze.
My pulse is weak, and my blood is thin,
But I‘m awfully well for the shape I‘m in.

Arch supports I have for my feet,
Or I wouldn‘t be able to be on the street,
Sleep is denied me night after night,
But every morning I find I‘m all right.
My memory is failing, my head‘s in a spin
But I‘m awfully well for the shape that I‘m in.

The moral is this as my tale I unfold:
That for you and for me who are growing old,
It‘s better to say ?I‘m fine‘ with a grin,
Than to let folks know the shape we are in.

Lord thou knowest

Lord thou knowest, better than I know myself that I am growing older and will some day be old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.

Release me from craving to straighten out everybody's affairs. Make me thoughtful but not moody: helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest Lord that I want a few friends at the end.

Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing, and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the details of others pains, but help me to endure them with patience.

I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessening cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a Saint — some of them are so hard to live with — but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil. Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected people. And give me O Lord the grace to tell them so. Amen.

Go Placidly

..amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully remembering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

Be careful. Strive to be happy. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

The  Malawi  Connection   Margaret Houghton

Since last writing a most exciting development has taken place.  DIFED, the old Department for Overseas Development, contacted Mac and Dot to say they were particularly interested in seeing how the hospital at Mtunthama was developing, having heard great things were under way there.

To contact Frank Dzantenge at All Saints Church is difficult enough at best, but with a deadline of a few days to alert hospital staff to the news of such an important visit was well nigh impossible. However, faxes flew this way and that, telephone calls were attempted, then aborted because of numerous power cuts, messengers were sent and somebody was certainly looking after the situation, because against all odds, when the inspection team arrived, a few days earlier than expected, calm and cleanliness met the visitors. The team were so impressed with the efficiency and good order of the hospital that it was decided to provide funds for the building of both a maternity unit and an operating theatre; the news of which did not arrive in Plymouth until the building work was well under way.

After the initial euphoria the obvious hit: how are funds for equipping an operating theatre found? The answer is with hope, prayer and the most wonderful person who has kindly anonymously donated £10,000.  What a fantastic start.

Offers of cotton sheets, towels, etc have been promised following the appeal made in  church a few weeks ago and I am most grateful for the wonderful response from all. Knitters have been volunteering to knit squares for the maternity unit, general hospital and the most needy families in the village.  The knitting programme should be working within the next few weeks.  Further volunteers are always welcome.

By the time we sit down to our Christmas dinner this year, it is expected many thousands of Malawians will be facing famine yet again. Although there is probably enough maize to last until the end of the year, the future is still very much unknown. Fortunately, in Mthunthama, with the providence of Mac and Dot, a large store of maize has been bought in whilst prices were more stable earlier this summer, therefore hopefully at least one village has a reasonable prospect of being nourished this winter.

I know Mac and Dot will want to join me in thanking our most generous benefactor whose gift has brought nearer the realisation of Frank Dzantenge‘s vision for his people.

Christmas Card Corner        Audrey Dawson

I always enjoy Christmas, with all the preparation it involves, and look forward each year to receiving cards from friends we haven‘t seen for a while. However, I do think that the giving and receiving of cards is getting a little out of hand, particularly to friends we see sometimes several times over the Christmas season and could, as we do, greet personally instead, and put the cost of all those cards to a better use.

So I would like to suggest that we send just one card to ?All my/our friends at St Faith‘s and donate any money we have saved by doing this. These cards would be displayed on a  board at the back of church, suitably designed by the Sunday School, and the money put in a ?Christmas Candle Box‘ which would be placed near the cards. The money collected would then either be sent to a charity or used for much-needed Church funds ™ whatever the P.C.C. decides.

This suggestion was discussed at the last Church Council meeting and received unanimous approval. It is of course only a suggestion, and everyone must decide what they would prefer to do... but please look out for our card to you all nearer Christmas.

Christmas Card Postscript

The editor wishes to announce that, despite his best intentions, he has not been able to produce St Faith‘s Christmas Cards in time this year. Being retired, as everyone predicted, seems to have brought less free time rather than more... or perhaps it‘s just all the magazine and other church printing! He promises to work on a new design for Christmas 2003.

A Christmas Reflection

The Infancy Narratives contained in the first two chapters of the gospels of St. Matthew and St Luke, with which we are so familiar, have long been the subject of much scholarly examination and debate. Professor Michael Goulder, in a book on the literary structure of St. Matthew‘s gospel argues in some detail that what looks like a genealogy or family tree is in fact a carefully constructed poem. And the poem is about the centrality of grace.

Grace, in Christian thought, is the working of the unconditional love of God for all humanity: an unconditional ministry of Jesus. So the whole first chapter of St. Matthew‘s gospel is about the working of God‘s grace in the birth of Christ and through all the long centuries of preparation. St Matthew is telling us of the grace of God, who for his loving purposes uses the great and the good and also the unknown and the unconventional; the grace of God which works through the lives of an Abraham and a Solomon and also through a Rahab and a Bathsheba.

That long list of patriarchs, Kings, scoundrels, unknown men and unlikely ladies is telling us that there is nothing which stands between us and the love, power, mercy and forgiveness of God. And so that genealogy is then all about Amazing Grace — the grace of God which upholds and inspires all our lives and which always will. To illustrate this, Professor Michael Goulder wrote a poem which tends to upset the nerves of the pious:

Exceedingly odd is the means by which God
Has provided our path to the heavenly shore
Of the girls from whose line the true light was to shine.
There was one an adulteress, another a whore.
There was Tamar who bore what we all should deplore
A fine pair of twins to her father in law,
And Rahab the harlot, her sins were as scarlet,
As red as the thread that she hung from the door,
Yet alone of her nation she came to salvation
And lived to be mother of Boaz of yore,
And he married Ruth, a gentle uncouth,
In a manner quite counter to biblical lore,
And of her there did spring David the King
Who walked on his palace one evening and saw
The wife of Uriah, from whom he did sire
A baby that died — yes, and princes a score:
And a mother unmarried it was too that carried
God's son, and laid him in a manger of straw,
That the moral might wait at the heavenly gate
While the sinners and publicans go in before
Who have not earned their place, but received it by grace,
And have found them a righteousness not of the law.

Fr Dennis

Continuing along the Road ... after the Emmaus course, what next?            Diana Waters

At the end of the Emmaus course many people expressed very positive feelings about it. As well as commenting on the actual content of the course, several people remarked that one of the things they had most appreciated was the way in which it had brought them together with people outside their regular circle of friends in the church, in a setting where it was possible to talk in some depth about issues of faith.

In response, the P.C.C. came up with the idea of organising some kind of regular group meeting that could help build, strengthen and maintain relationships such as those formed during the Emmaus course. There are, of course, some house groups that continue to meet regularly, but there was a feeling that perhaps a new initiative would be useful, particularly for those who have joined the church relatively recently.

There was considerable discussion about how such meetings might be organised, whether each meeting should have a definite focus on a particular subject or whether people would prefer an open agenda, and so on. In the end, it seemed that the best approach might be to begin with an open meeting for anyone who feels they might have some interest in such an ongoing group, to see what those actually participating would find most useful.

So, if you are interested, please have a word with me some time over the ext few weeks. Previous attendance at the Emmaus Course is not required. If there is enough interest, I will then organise a first meeting early in the New Year.

FAQ  (Frequently Asked Questions)    Stephanie Dunning

 Mum, say,
 Why do we stay
 Close-knit at home over our Christmas holiday?
 Well, dear, we're
 A nuclear family
 And we‘re supposed to be
 Together, sharing the jollity.
 Oh — I see.
 Not because Dad hates visiting Auntie May, then?
 No. Don‘t ask again.

Mum — hey,
How did we receive
All those exciting parcels on Christmas Eve?
Well, lad, we had
A chat with the man in red,
He it was who came to your bed.
Oh, yes, that‘s what Dad said
As he patted my head.
And that‘s the story we should believe, then?
Yes. Don't ask again.

 Mum - pray,
 What is a star,
 And why do we follow it from afar?
 Well, you see,
 That‘s what we
 Call the people who appear
 On television, this time of year,
 For they are the models by which we steer.
 Oh, dear.
 Not a Creator‘s sign of his mercy and power,  then?
 Stunned silence. Amen.

Alpha - IT's all in the name    Ann Birch
I work for a leading Information Technology Training Provider called Alpha Training. We provide specialist skills training for people who want to be I.T. Technicians. In addition to a number of roles, I am responsible for marketing and advertising and we always ask any potential trainees where they have heard of us. I was intrigued when a potential candidate came to see us the other week and, when asked this question on the Application Form, cited 'Back of a bus'.

My colleague didn't question him any further as he thought that maybe I had launched a new campaign without telling him (not something I make a habit of, I hasten to add!).  Together we puzzled over this for a few minutes until it clicked. He was referring to the (Church) `Alpha Course‘! Strangely though, he hadn‘t seemed the slightest bit surprised to find my colleague talking to him about I.T. courses and may indeed be starting with us soon.
This throws up all sorts of interesting conjectures, most of which I will leave to your imagination - but I wonder if Father Neil has had any enquiries about I.T. courses?

How many Christians ....does it take to change a light bulb?

… It depends on the denomination:

Charismatics. Only one. Hands already in the air.
Pentecostals. Ten. One to change the bulb and nine to pray against the spirit of darkness.
Presbyterians. None. Lights will go on and off at predestined times.
Episcopalians. Eight. One to change the light bulb and seven to say they liked the old one better.
Lutherans. None. Lutherans don‘t believe in change.
Salvation Army. None. The lights are on but no-one is at home.
Quakers. What‘s a light bulb?
Anglicans. Can‘t be done without a faculty, a health and safety committee meeting, qualified electricians with tower scaffolds, safety harness and £5 million insurance cover.

The Good Old Hymns

This is the tale of Albert Sims
Who loved to sing the good old hymns;
In Albert‘s deep melodious bass
His soul the King of Heaven would praise;
A Christian soldier on to war
He'd march, his hymn books to the fore
And Satan‘s hosts would always flee
At Albert's shout of victory.
One Sunday (‘twas the first in Lent)
The choir o‘er their hymn books bent
And forth came unfamiliar notes
Quite alien to the diehard throats.
The congregation, weak and quavering
Soon took it up, the Vicar favouring
His flock with an encouraging smile
But Albert Sims with lowering dial
Was heard to mutter furiously —
?Old hymns are good enough for me.
Why do we have these tunes new fangled?
It‘s summat that the Vicar's wangled.‘
Rather than stand for this, he'd sit:
He did — and had a fatal fit.
They tried to save him, but in vain
He‘d never sing on earth again.
St  Peter said ?Now Albert lad,
Thy music-making weren‘t so bad —
Wouldst like a harp, or happen a lyre?‘
Bert said: ?Nay, put me on the choir
And let me sing the good old hymns.‘
But very shocked was Albert Sims:
Heaven‘s choir was not just C. of E.
?Twas Methodist, Baptist and R. C.
 And more, too numerous to state
Were in the choir at Heaven‘s gate
And all sang tunes of every kind
But no one really seemed to mind.
Plainsong and chant and chorus martial,
Metrical psalms, to which Scots are partial,
In lofty shout or low soft hum
In fact all hymns of Christendom ...
Swiftly enlightened, Albert Sims
Saw that they all were ?good old hymns‘
And joined in each, with heart and voice
Which made the hosts of heaven rejoice.
So if you have a hymn tune new
Don‘t moan and groan, or kick the pew—-
Let this your faltering tones inspire:
You‘re practising for Heaven's choir.

Barbara M Sowood

From the Registers

24 September  Marie Antonia
1 November  Arthur Utley

Holy Matrimony
28 September  Lee Walker and Catherine Davies

Holy Baptism
3 November  Taylor Jayne Marsh
   daughter of Stephen and Hayley

A message from Jenny Raynor

It is good to hear that, following her recent serious illness, Jenny is now out of danger, home from hospital and recovering. She was able to attend her daughter Elizabeth‘s wedding recently. She is very grateful to the family of St Faith‘s for the many cards, good wishes and kind messages she received and for the great support she felt from so many prayers.

The Last Piece of England   Barbara Wolstenholme

A scenic four-hour rail journey from London to Penzance, followed by a 15- minute helicopter flight took us to Tresco, one of the Isles of Scilly about 2 miles long and half a mile wide, with one hotel, one pub, one shop, one church, one Primary school and a population of 120 rising to about 700 at the height of the season. There are no cars. Tractor-drawn trailers carry loads and bicycles are popular. Launches travel frequently between islands; a cargo boat from Penzance arrives several times a week and the helicopter flies each weekday, but not on Sundays.

The island belongs to the Duchy of Cornwall, but has been leased to one family, the Dorrien-Smiths since 1840. They have developed a wonderful garden in the south of the island, sheltered by a belt of trees where sub-tropical plants including palms flourish until a frost, which occurs every 30 years or so (the last in 1987), wipes out four fifths of the plants, so that the work of construction has to begin again.

In the gardens are two arches, all that remains of St. Nicholas‘ Priory, founded c.1060 by monks from a Benedictine Abbey at Tavistock in Devon. A 5th Century stone which lies near the arches may indeed be the earliest focus of Christianity in the Scillies Religious life did not flourish on Tresco, probably because of the rigours of life and by 1500 all the monks had been withdrawn. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries, an Anglican Chaplain was appointed to the larger island of St. Mary‘s, but he made only rare visits to Tresco, where lay workers, usually fishermen, kept the faith alive by reading prayers and preaching 'according to the doctrines of the Church of England'. In the 17+h century, the island was held by the Royalists. In 1651, the Dutch declared war on Scilly and Cromwell decided to attack and although he was successful, the Abbey caught fire and was burned to the ground. A few years later, a small church was built and tradition has it that part of HMS Colossus, wrecked in 1798 was incorporated into the building.

In 1775, the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge appointed the Revd. Coxon as Assistant Minister, to be resident on Tresco. He soon reported that he had no house of his own, only part of a room that was neither quiet, warm nor dry and his clothes became mouldy. The winter storms affected his nerves and he could not get medical attention. Food supplies were uncertain, with fish, corn and potatoes only available for half a year. He resigned. In 1779. the Revd. John Troutbeck took over. He reported that the people lived on fish and potatoes and that their mean houses were little better than stables. He moved to St Mary's and so Tresco was without an S.P.C.K. missionary until the Revd. William Davies arrived in 1783. He was kindly received, but he retired in 1796 because of complaints about his erratic behaviour!

The Revd. David Evans was appointed in 1796. A house was built for him and he was given a boat. Again, there were problems and he was discharged in 1817 after going on holiday and failing to return. In 1818. the S.P.C.K. appointed the Revd. James Lane. He found hunger and distress on Tresco, and was granted £400 for famine relief.

About this time, a Baptist Mission was established in Scilly and a church built on Tresco. The Mission flourished until the 1840's, when the Lord Proprietor 'caused notice to be served at the Chapel', which then became a Reading Room.

The development of Methodism also began in the late 18th century. A small Chapel was built on Tresco c.1814, but 'was not frequently used' and by 1900, the island was the only one without a Methodist Chapel. At this time, Mr. Dorrien Smith, the Lord Proprietor, allowed Nonconformists to use the church room on Sunday afternoons, as long as those who attended also went to the Anglican Church each Sunday morning and evening.

In 1879, a new building which replaced the old church was consecrated, named after the Patron Saint of the island, Saint Nicholas. In 1982, a decision was made not to replace the resident clergyman who had left Tresco and so the Parsonage was used as port of a Holiday Scheme which welcomes visiting clergy to lead Sunday Services on the island. From September to May, Canon Donald Marr and his wife who is a Lay Reader minister on Tresco as honorary assistants to the Chaplain who lives on St Mary's, in partnership with Derek Tabron, Headteacher of the local school and a Methodist Local Preacher.

Only once has an Archbishop of Canterbury visited Tresco. In 1965, Dr Michael Ramsey came for the day and conducted a service at St. Nicholas' Church. For at least 1500 years, Christians have lived and worshipped on Tresco. In the words of Eve Cooper, author of 'Fifteen Centuries of Faith on Tresco1, St. Nicholas' Church continues as ever to provide regular opportunities for worship for Christians of every tradition and denomination and is an important focus for celebration and solace in the life of island families.

Advent Service page

Twas the Tuesday after Christmas,
There was only one mince pie,
And a piece of cake — no icing,
And a slice of ham gone dry.
We'd eaten all the pickles,
And every nut but one —
An almond that we couldn‘t crack,
...  but the turkey lingered on!

We‘d pulled a dozen crackers
And groaned at every joke.
A box of mild Havanas
Had all gone up in smoke.
There was just a drop of sherry left,
But all the wine had gone.
A chocolate bar had melted,
... but the turkey lingered on!

We‘d had it roast on Christmas Day,
And next day served it cold.
We ate it up in sandwiches
When it was three days old.
We curried it, we minced it,
We gave some to the cat.
We boiled the carcase up for soup,
And that — I'm glad to say — was that!

I s‘pose I should be grateful
That it lasted as it did;
Made all those meals for five of us
For less than fifteen quid.
But I fancied something different,
It's so boring all the same.
I s‘pose I'm never satisfied,
So there‘s only me to blame.

Plain fare or tasty grub, O Lord,
Give me my daily food.
Your goodness sees to all my needs,
My wants are plain ingratitude.

Richard Adams
The Twelve Days of Christmas
or Too Much of a Good Thing?

On the first day of Christmas, my true love said to me,
I'm glad I‘ve bought fresh turkey and a proper Christmas tree.
On the second day of Christmas much laughter could be heard,
As we tucked into our turkey — a most delicious bird.
On the third day of Christmas we‘d people from next door,
The turkey tasted just as good as it did the day before.
Day four relations came to stay, poor Gran is looking old,
We finished up the Christmas pud and ate the turkey cold.
On the fifth day of Christmas outside the snow flakes flurried,
But we were nice and warm inside — we had the turkey curried.
On the sixth day I must admit the turkey spirit died,
The children fought and bickered — we ate the turkey fried.
On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave a wince,
When he sat down at table and was offered turkey mince.
Day eight our nerves were getting frayed, the dog had run for shelter,
I served up turkey pancakes with a glass of Alka Seltzer.
Day nine our cat left home and Dad began to cry,
He said he couldn‘t face the thought of eating turkey pie.
Day ten all the cake had gone and the chocolate Yule Log too,
As if that wasn‘t bad enough we suffered turkey stew.
On the eleventh day of Christmas the Christmas tree was moulting,
The mince pies were hard as rock and the turkey was revolting.
On the twelfth day of Christmas at last Dad smacked his lips,
The guests had gone, the turkey too ... we dined on fish and chips.

Christmas Landscape

Tonight the wind gnaws
with teeth of glass,
the jackdaw shivers
in caged branches of iron,
the stars have talons.
Tonight has no moon,
no food for the pilgrim,
the fruit tree is bare,
the rose bush is a thorn,
and the ground is bitter with stones.

There is hunger in the mouth
of vole and badger,
silver agonies of breath
in the nostril of the fox,
ice on the rabbit‘s paw.
But the mole sleeps, and the hedgehog
lies curled in a womb of leaves
the bean and the wheat seed
hug their germs in the earth
and the stream moves under the ice.

Tonight there is no moon,
but a new star opens
like a silver trumpet over the dead.
Tonight in a nest of ruins
the blessed babe is laid.

Laurie Lee
The Ending of the Year

When trees did show no leaves,
And grass no daisies had,
And fields had lost their sheaves,
And streams in ice were clad,
And day of light was shorn,
And wind had got a spear,
Jesus Christ was born
In the ending of the year.
Like green leaves when they grow,
He shall for comfort be;
Like life in streams shall flow,
For running water He;
He shall raise hope like corn
For barren fields to bear,
And therefore He was born
In the ending of the year.

Like daisies to the grass,
His innocence He‘ll bring;
In keenest winds that pass
His flowering love shall spring;
The rising of the mom
At midnight shall appear,
Whenever Christ is born
 In the ending of the year.

 Eleanor Farjeon
The House of Christmas
There fared a mother driven forth,
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are all home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.

For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.
Here we have battle and blazing eyes
And chance and honour and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.

A child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam;
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost - how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky‘s dome.

This world is wild as an old wives‘ tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;
But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.

To an open house in the evening
Home shall men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.
G. K. Chesterton

A Christmas Carol

Before the paling of the stars,
Before the winter morn,
Before the earliest cock-crow,
Jesus Christ was born;
Born in a stable,
Cradled in a manger,
In the world His Hands had made
Born a stranger.

Priest and King lay fast asleep
In Jerusalem,
Young and old lay fast asleep
In crowded Bethlehem;
Saint and angel, ox and ass,
Kept a watch together
Before the Christmas daybreak
In the winter weather.

Jesus on His mother's breast
In the stable cold,
Spotless Lamb of God was He,
Shepherd of the Fold:
Let us kneel with Mary Maid,
With Joseph bent and hoary,
With saint and angel, ox and ass,
To hail the King of Glory.
Christina Georgina Rossetti

Hall Redevelopment          Fr. Neil

Following the submission of our bid, two people from the Community Fund recently visited S. Faith's to look at the hall and our proposals. It was a long meeting but seemed very positive. What we do know at this stage is that our proposals are going before the panel on 9th January and we should hear on the 17th January .Not alt bids reach this stage soI am delighted that we have come this far. However, nothing is certain... Watch this space and please light a few candles and say a few prayers before the 9th January!

Our Prayers and Good Wishes...
to Canon Anthony Hawley who leaves the parish of Kirkby, where he has been Team Rector since 1984, to become Canon Treasurer of Liverpool Cathedral. Canon Hawley will be Collated and Installed at a service on Saturday 30th November and we assure him, and his wife Rosemary , of our prayers and good wishes at this time.

The Angelus    Fr. Neil

We have been delighted to welcome some new Altar Servers in recent weeks. One of them, Kevin Walsh, commented to me that he has 'almost managed the art of ringing the Angelus' after Communion. It made me wonder, again, whether many people know what the' Angelus' actually is? The fact that the Angelus has been rung Sunday by Sunday and almost every week-day for over fifty years doesn't necessarily mean that we know what it is!

There have been articles in past editions of' Newsl ink on the subject of the ?Angelus‘. It is a prayer expressing praise for the Incarnation — God taking human flesh. It is appropriate to consider it as we celebrate the season of Advent — the preparation for the Feast of the Incamation: Christmas. The Angelus consists of verses from the scriptures (The Gospels of Luke and John) interwoven with three ?Hail Mary‘s‘ (a prayer based on verses from S. Luke) and concludes with a ?collect‘ (a prayer in a specific form).

Traditionally, the Angelus is rung at morning, noon and evening (6am, 2noon and 6pm) though the times may vary! For many years it was rung at S. Faith's around midday by Jim Burgess when he was Verger and by Fr. Dennis when he was a teenager! It is usually rung before Morning Prayer (9am rather than 6am!) and Evening Prayer each day. (That is, of course, if the person leading the office is prepared to do battle with the bell!)

Some of the anthems sung by the choir at this time of year use the words of the Angelus (?Angelus ad virginum‘). The words are printed here, so next time the bell rings you'll know what it‘s all about!

The Angel of the Lord brought tidings to Mary
And she conceived by the Holy Ghost

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners, now,
And at the hour of our death. Amen.

Behold; the handmaid of the Lord
Be it unto me according to thy word.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
And blessed is the .fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners, now,
And at the hour of our death Amen.

And the Word was made flesh.
And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
And blessed is the .fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners, now,
And at the hour of our death Amen.

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

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 the same Christ our Lord .