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

Saint Faith’s Prayer for Mission

Faithful God, in baptism you have adopted us as your children,
made us members of the body of Christ and chosen us as inheritors of your kingdom:
bless our plans for mission and outreach; guide us to seek and do your will;
empower us by your Spirit to share our faith in witness and to serve,
and send us out as disciples of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.


December 2005

Singing in the Streets
Leonard Clark

I had almost forgotten the singing in the streets,
Snow piled up by the houses, drifting
Underneath the door into the warm room,
Firelight, lamplight, the little lame cat
Dreaming in soft sleep on the hearth, mother dozing,
Waiting for Christmas to come, the boys and me
Trudging over blanket fields waving lanterns to the sky.

I had almost forgotten the smell, the feel of it all,
The coming back home, with girls laughing like stars,
Their cheeks, holly berries, me kissing one,
Silent-tongued, solemnly, by the long church wall;
Then back to the kitchen table, supper on the white cloth,
Cheese, bread, the home-made wine;
Symbols of the Night’s joy, a holy feast.

And I wonder now, years gone, mother gone,
The boys and girls scattered, drifted away with the snowflakes,
Lamplight done, firelight over,
If the sounds of our singing in the streets are still there,
Those old tunes, still praising:
And now, a life-time of Decembers away from it all,
A branch of remembering holly spears my cheeks,
And I think it may be so;
Yes, I believe it may be so.

From the Ministry Team:  December 2005

The strong and solemn music of Advent prepares the heart and mind for the coming  festival. The lights are lowered and the worshippers sense the mystery of the message of
prophecy and promise. Nothing is too clear; we are encouraged to search out a way  ahead. The season of early darkness and shortening day reminds us of our needs and
deficiencies; artificial light, brightly blazing, cannot dispel a very kind of gloom and dark  shadow surrounding us. There is the true light to look forward to; Advent urges us to
make sure that our wants and our needs genuinely coincide.

Darkness has a part to play in our spiritual development. We cannot expect to see and understand every issue and problem with an equal clarity. We close our eyes when we
pray; not to escape nor wish away any unpleasant distractions but to concentrate upon him who is invisible. Shutting out the light, we symbolise our helplessness and our
dependence upon God. Some, in their maturity, remain open-eyed, casting off prejudices and hates, removing the blinkers that shield the wider view, focusing where we can with
care and concern on others’ needs. Such are the preliminaries to the putting on of the armour of light.

There are many kinds of darkness. The gross darkness of cruelty and greed obviously appals us. Yet there are also twilight regions, less black but subtly misleading, in which
apathy, carelessness, and self-pity darken counsel and blind our judgement. We think we can get by with bluff and fudge; this semi-darkness is light enough.

Out of such darkness, we begin to be shaped, with lessons learnt and pain endured. We benefit when, in addition to going through the motions of the Advent ceremonies, we
discern not without some humbling and agonising, how our lives should be directed.

With God the darkness is no darkness. The night is as clear as the day. So sang the psalmist, when at first he thought he could hide from life’s realities and mused
“peradventure the darkness shall cover me”. In the darkness willingly faced and accepted, discoveries are made. The wisest among us are not know-alls; on the contrary, they are
the sort who recognise human limitations. A modern poet has shared some of his wisdom with us in the lines he wrote:

O Lord of hidden light
Forgive us who despise
The things that lie beyond our sight
And give us eyes.

Every blessing this Advent-tide,

Fr Dennis

‘You’ll Never Squawk Alone’

The fashion for punning newspaper headlines (not unknown in this publication) can be tiresome, but when the Daily Telegraph came up with this one on October 25th all is, as
they say, forgiven.

By the time this issue is in print, the story it headed will probably be forgotten, but it should not be allowed to pass without some memorial. It is a matter of fact that the
discovery of a foetus in an Anfield street led to the rapid accumulation of flowers, teddy bears and mawkish messages in a style well-known to everyone who is familiar with
Liverpool’s instant shrine tendency. The foetus, presumed to be that of an aborted child, was commended to the arms of Jesus and its hapless mother was begged to come forward
and be helped and forgiven.

Only later, and on examination, was the truth revealed, and the police forced to issue a statement to the effect that the object was in fact the foetus of a chicken, whose mother is
of course now extremely unlikely to come forward. Just how something so tiny could have been mistaken for its human equivalent is not clear, but naturally enough the media
seized on the story with delight. Every variety of chicken and egg joke and headline appeared, but for sheer delight nothing can beat the one at the head of this item

The Intercessions

The intercessions are known as the ‘Prayers of the People.’  This is because they are led not by the priest but by a member of the congregation. They are prayers which are meant
to offer to God our cares and concerns for the world, and as such are a very important part of the liturgy.

Unfortunately, we have over the last few months, for various reasons, lost a few people who previously helped with this ministry and I would be very grateful for any offers of

Leading the intercessions need be no more difficult than reading a lesson. We have, in the Chapel of the Cross, several books of intercessions which follow the lectionary and can
be used as they stand. Alternatively, they may be used as a stepping off point for your own words.

If you feel you might like to help, please do have a word with me or Father Neil. Training will be provided, including an introduction to the above-mentioned books. Please do give
this your serious consideration, as it not only lessens the frequency for others but also gives the congregation a chance to hear other voices and other concerns.

Joyce Green  (Tel. 474 9793)

100+ Club November Draw

The winners of the 5th Anniversary Draw were:

49    Pat Mackay    £150
114    John Knight    £100
70    Irene Taylor    £70
50    George Kelley    £50

To celebrate the anniversary, each winner this month received a bonus gift, courtesy of  Miriam Jones. Thanks once again to Mim, whose sterling efforts over the past five years
have brought the fine sum of £22,000 profit to our church coffers. Keep up the good work, churchwarden!

Peace be with you?

David Jones

Shortly after Fr Neil commented in a sermon that some people find the Peace uncomfortable, the following correspondence appeared in ‘The Daily Telegraph’.

If church attendance has fallen markedly over the past 25 years, could it be since we have been expected to shake hands and greet all around us in the middle of services? I’ll gladly
speak to all and sundry before or after the service, but, please, not (as some years ago a priest wrote in this paper) ‘that misnomer the peace’.

This exhortation I found in an East Anglian  church: ‘If the Peace of the Lord you are missing,/To the still, small voice hearken and listen./Disturb not your prayers,/Or your
neighbours at theirs,/With your handshaking, hugging and kissing.’

The introduction of the ‘Peace’ was but another unacceptable element of the new-look church services foisted on worshippers by the Anglican Church. However, this intrusion
can easily be avoided by dropping to one’s knees for a moment of silent prayer, arising after the disturbance has subsided.

A correspondent suggests dropping to one’s knees at the intrusion of the ‘Peace’ is a way to opt out. When I did this at a local church, a lady in the pew behind tapped me on the
shoulder until I was forced to turn round, shake her hand and respond to her unearthly smile.

I am afraid that dropping to one’s knees in prayer during the ‘Peace’ seldom works. I have tried it on many occasions. Peace devotees are a breed not to be thwarted: they pat
your back, pat your head – or bend down and breather unctuous murmurings in your hear. I am wondering about a water pistol.

(Delighted to find someone else rifling the ’Telegraph’ for titbits. The names of the correspondents have been omitted, but the final writer is a priest…! Ed) 

Deanery Mission 2006
For some months members of all the churches across the Bootle Deanery have been meeting to consider having a Mission to children and young people next year.  All our
PCCs have been asked to discuss supporting the Mission and making a commitment into the future.
Assuming PCCs do support the Mission, it will begin on Mothering Sunday next year and last through the following week.  ‘Y-Kids’, a locally-based Christian Children’s group
will be working in and around our primary schools and churches alongside Activate Teams, from Youth for Christ, who will go into our secondary schools.
We need to ‘own’ the Mission and make sure it helps us spread the Good News across Bootle, Litherland, Netherton, Waterloo and Crosby. There is agreement that this should
be a beginning - and certainly not a moment for churches to feel guilty because work with youngsters has become too much.
There is funding available to sustain this work and support from the Diocese for our plans. The vision is to create a Youth Church and several Children’s Churches, working
outside normal parish boundaries and prepared to work ecumenically. Please pray for this Deanery Mission, for PCCs as they discuss what it may mean and for those responsible
for planning the details. The name of Jesus Christ continues to change peoples lives for the better, our responsibility as a church is to make sure people hear his name.
Nick Wells

Area Dean of Bootle

Modesty no Obstacle! (Ed!)

I hope modesty does not prevent our esteemed Editor from including this in Newslink. We are sure he would like to know how much we all appreciate the endless time and hard
work that Chris puts in. He produces our Sunday service sheets week in, week out, and often for special services mid-week. Not forgetting the splendid Newslink, which we all
look forward to reading each month.

Well done, Chris! And thank you. You do a grand job.

John and Mary Crooke

Celtic Summer

An invitation for people in the Diocese of Liverpool.
Every summer Durham’s character changes significantly when the students go on vacation and the historic streets behind Durham's majestic Cathedral breathe more easily.
From August 2-9, Revd Rob Marshall will lead one of his immensely popular Celtic Summer trips, taking in Whitby, Lastingham, Ripon, Holy Island, Bamburgh and
Monkwearmouth. Based at St.John’s College in Durham, this is a great trip for parish groups to join in and is great value (£460) at the height of summer. Experience worship,
learning and a time of relaxation and fellowship. Brochures are available on 0845 601 9567 or or at

PC Watch
Dormouse Conservation Time!

Bath and North East Somerset council are planning to hire a part-time, £21,000-a-year dormouse conservation officer.

They wish to ‘identify dormouse heritage’, they plan to hold ‘dormouse-related activities’ and – best of all – to promote ‘intellectual access’ to dormice.

Comment seems almost superfluous in this Alice in Wonderland situation. The Dormouse at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party (probably held in Somerset) was more notable for its
sleepiness than its intellect, but when responsibility for the environment is on the political agenda common sense takes a back seat.

This writer can only hope that the dormice of Bath and district appreciate the gesture and don’t, like the predictably scornful members of the opposition parties on the council,
share the absurd belief that the money being spent on their behalf by a ‘wildly over-budget council’ would be better spent on schools and hospitals…

Confirmation Classes

The Bishop of Warrington will be administering the Sacrament of Confirmation next Easter in St. Faith’s. Any children or adults wishing to be prepared for Confirmation
should give their names to Fr. Neil as soon as possible.

Bring along a Toy, Please!

At the 11.00 am Parade & Family Eucharist on Sunday 4th December there will be the usual offering of toys. Please bring along a new toy (unwrapped). 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 12th December to be distributed.

December Dates for the Diary
(Please note: some are changes from the original Diary of Events)

Saturday 3rd       10.00 am     The Rosary

Sunday 4th:  ADVENT 2
                           11.00 am     Family Eucharist, Parade Service and offering of Toys

Saturday 10th    10.00 am     The Rosary
                          3.45 pm       Joint Sunday Schools Christmas Party in S. Mary’s Hall
                          6.00 pm       Taize Service of meditation and Benediction

Sunday 11th:  ADVENT 3
                          1.00 pm        Senior Citizens’ Christmas lunch in the Parish Hall

Saturday 17th   10.00 am    The Rosary
                           6.00 pm    Service of Penitence and Reconciliation in preparation
               for Christmas

Country Living?

Chris Price

We once thought that churches dedicated to Saint Faith were few and far between: but there seem to be quite a lot more than we thought, and thanks to George Smith’s
subscription to the Church Times, details about another one have just surfaced.

The article only mentions our namesake church in passing, its main focus being on the Revd Richard Morgan, Rector of St Mary the Virgin, Therfield, and St Faith’s, Kelshall,
Hertfordshire, in St Albans Diocese. Mr Morgan has recently been voted ‘Britain’s best-loved country parson’ by Country Life magazine.

The article is a gentle stroll through rural parishes where an urgent problem is the damage rabbits are doing to the graveyard, and where the only shop has just closed, killed off by
town supermarket competition. It portrays the Rector as well-loved, deeply involved in village and country life, and, supported by his wife Christine, very clearly a major focal
point of his community. Apart from harvest suppers having metamorphosed into safari suppers, it is easy to believe that life there hasn’t changed much for centuries, and, with
just 600 residents in Therfield, hasn’t grown much bigger down the years either.

I was brought up in a country parish where life revolved around church and village school (where my father was headmaster), and can readily identify with the world the
article affectionately portrays. Living now in suburbia, where parish boundaries mean nothing to almost everyone, it is tempting to think that parish community life and identity
have gone for good. We shouldn’t forget the great swathes of our country where the old pattern clearly survives, and where footpaths, rabbits, reduced bus services and the like
still matter. We read of Britain as being a mission field for re-evangelisation from abroad – but when the foreign missionaries come back to reconvert us it will be the cities, not the
countryside, which calls for their services.

And St Faith’s, Kelshall? All the article says is that the church dates back to the 1400s and that there has been a priest in the parishes since the Domesday Book. I have tracked
down a photograph online, but, not for the first time, nothing about, for example, how our patroness came to be attached to this place. We had this church on our website list
already – but spelt Kelsall. Now we have the right spelling, at least… 

Death by Red Tape

Charities 'strangled' by red tape checks on volunteers

Fr Neil has supplied this article from a recent Daily Telegraph, which will doubtless strike a sympathetic chord in many readers. It was written by
Sarah Womack, Social Affairs Correspondent.
Charities and churches are being strangled by red tape that requires even grandmothers to get criminal record checks to work in church creches, says a report today. The Better
Regulation Task Force, whose members are appointed by the Government, says care homes are having to build rooms to a certain size even though autistic adults prefer
smaller spaces.

Under new rules, 40,000 bell ringers in Church of England churches also have to undergo criminal record checks every three years. New bell ringers have to go through an eight
point application process including providing two referees, being interviewed and vetted by the Criminal Record Bureau.

In other areas of the voluntary and community sector, people are spending hours filling in duplicate forms rather than doing their job.

A Task Force spokesman said: ‘Voluntary and community organisations are often regulated by more than one body and find they are being asked for the same information,
in a slightly different format, from each of them. For example most use agency staff to fill gaps. Agency staff must be CRB checked. If the agency staff member likes the charity
and applies to work there permanently then the CRB certification is not transferable. The process has to be gone through again and the fee paid again.’

The Task Force highlights the case of Sunday school volunteers at a small church in West Sussex. ‘New regulations mean that two adults must be in attendance at all times,’ the
report says. ‘The volunteers must produce three character references. One of the women is a lecturer at Guildford Law College and mother to two teenage boys. The other is a
grandmother of more than 70 years of age with four grandchildren who has never had to prove her character to anyone, and found the process difficult and stressful.

‘She would have decided against volunteering once these hurdles became apparent but her friend asked her to persevere otherwise the Sunday School would have to be
cancelled. Yet very often the only two children in the Sunday school are this grandmother’s own grandchildren.’

The Voluntary and Community Sector is a major employer, with over 569,000 workers and a further 16 million volunteers. Its role in social and health care is likely to increase
rapidly over the next 10 years, with the Government introducing a new Task Force to expand the role of voluntary sector organisations in providing NHS services. The
spokesman said: ‘If the health service is to harness the potential of the sector to improve services, then the Government must make it a priority to free the sector from the overly
burdensome red tape and bureaucracy it faces and allow it to innovate, evolve and truly flourish.

‘Of course regulation is needed to prevent bad people from doing bad things but it needs also to be proportionate, accountable, consistent, targeted and transparent.’

The Task Force makes a series of recommendations including ‘lighter touch and more flexible regulation’.

It says one chief executive of a charity told how one of her volunteers had been unable to take a mentally ill adult to a football match because he was going with his wife who had
not been CRB checked. The Task Force also recommends that more be done to reduce the VAT burden for charities.

A Christmas Reflection

… written in the mid 1930s for the Daily Telegraph by the then Dean of Durham, The Very Reverend Cyril Alington, D.D. Supplied by Fr Dennis.

There is a little-known Christmas carol, by a well-known author, which has as its refrain the words:

From far away we come to you,
To tell of glad tidings strange and true,

And the setting rightly puts the emphasis on the last word – precisely where the emphasis is needed to-day.

No one doubts that the Christmas tidings are glad; to many people the good news seems too good to be true; no one doubts the ‘strangeness’ of the story, and its strangeness
startles those who are accustomed, without thinking, to believe that the world in which they live is a simple place, and that it is only religious people who complicate matters by
introducing difficult questions which it requires faith to solve.

It may be hoped that more familiarity with science will eradicate this idea, for the world of the scientist is at least as full of mysteries as that of the saint; but, as has often been
said, it takes more than a generation for scientific teaching to be assimilated by the average man, and the scientific teaching of two generations ago was satisfied both that
few mysteries remained to be solved and that their explanation was only a matter of time.

Religion, like science, has had its cocksure period, and is paying the penalty for it. As long as it was assumed that it was only moral obtuseness which could prevent a man from
accepting the full Christian revelation, honest men were suspicious and men of inquiring minds were frankly hostile. It is one thing to say that you believe that what you know is
the truth, and quite another to maintain that nothing else is worth knowing, and that the truth which you know is so obvious that only fools or knaves can reject it.

Religion today does not make either of these mistakes: it stands before the world with a theory which it claims to be coherent, but it does not suggest that it is complete. It holds
that in any final account of the universe which may ultimately be given, the truths which it believes must find a place, and that that place must be a central one, for they concern
the most vital interests of man. It declares, and might well declare more boldly, that it offers a serious and reasonable attempt to grapple with the problems of the world’s
existence, and that there is no other to be found. If we may not build on the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Men, on what other possible foundation can life be hopefully

Dr Whitehead has declared that the Western Church made possible the triumphs of modern science by its ‘superb and unshaken confidence in the ultimate rationality of the
universe’. It holds that faith to-day, though it is by no means obvious that its critics share it, or, if they do, that they have any right to do so.

That is why at the Christmas season it challenges the world, not with mere facile optimism, but with tidings, which, it maintains, are not only ‘strange’ and ‘glad’, but also
true – true because they reveal that Love of God which alone can explain the deepest instincts of human nature, those instincts which find so natural and so happy an
expression in the charity, the friendliness and the good will which we associate with Christmas Day. If ‘Christ became human that we might become divine’ it is at that season
that most of us are least unworthy of that tremendous epithet.

Top Ten Time

Which would be your best-ever favourite hymn? What would be your runners-up? Tens of thousands of viewers of the BBC’s Songs of Praise (one of the last surviving religious
programmes that actually reflect churchgoers’ ideas and preferences rather than those of trendy TV producers) have voted for their choices – and the result is fifty-fifty traditional
and modern. A modern hymn comes top, then two old favourites, then a mixture of both types. There is a strong Celtic theme (Welsh and Irish hymns and tunes) and, predictably,
all the hymns are easily ‘sing-able’.

The BBC welcomes the result, believing that ‘popular hymns answer a deep spiritual need in people that the Church’s liturgy often fail to reach.’ A former head of Religious
Broadcasting says: ‘One feels that hymns will survive even if the organised Church falls apart, because they are the people’s tunes and the people’s words.’ (note the doom-laden
prediction in that last sentence: will we live to see small groups of dispossessed and churchless Christians belting out hymns in basements?)

Whether it is the words, the music, or the happy combining of both, that score highly, is an interesting and unanswered question. Equally interesting would be to know which
hymns would be St Faith’s Top Ten – quite probably a good few of those on the list would feature in it.

This, then, is the list. The editor would be happy to print other people’s lists, or their comments on this lot.

 1  How Great Thou Art
 2  Dear Lord And Father Of Mankind (tune: Repton)
 3     The Day Thou Gavest (tune: St Clement)
 4  Be Thou My Vision (tune: Slane)
 5     Love Divine, All Loves Excelling (Tune: Blaenwern)
 6     Be Still, For The Presence Of The Lord (tune: Be Still)
 7  Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace
 8 Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer (tune: Cwm Rhondda)
 9     In Christ Alone
10 Shine, Jesus, Shine

Cell of Our Lady of Walsingham

Following the recent pilgrimage to Walsingham, several members of the congregations of both S. Faith’s and S. Mary’s joined the Society of Our Lady of Walsingham. Where
there are more than seven members who belong to the Society a Cell can be formed in the local church. To this end a number of people expressed a desire for such a Cell to be
formed with the following objectives:

    To make prayer a priority
    To make the Cell and its meetings/services as open and inclusive as possible,  whether people actually wish to join the Cell or not, and whether they visit  Walsingham or not
    To personally encourage new members or those who may want to explore what we are seeking to do and promote opportunities of sharing our faith together
    To have our church buildings open more (when meetings are held) for people to  come in and pray and to advertise this with notices outside and possibly adverts in 
           Church News or the Crosby Herald
   To discover more about prayer and how to grow in our personal lives
   To have an extended time of intercession at the 10.30am Eucharist on the last  Saturday of each month and to encourage people to attend this, as well as  submitting names and             
         concerns to be prayed for from both congregations.
  To celebrate with a Eucharist the feast days of Mary in the church’s calendar.

To this end on Thursday 8th December at 7.30pm (Conception of the BVM)  the Holy Eucharist in S. Faith’s will include an Advent Meditation. This will be followed by
mulled wine and mince pies at the home of Peter & Lynne Connolly, 8 Almacs Close, Blundellsands.


Christmas Communion

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 if this is the case.

The Consecrated Garage
Chris Price

Curiouser and curiouser! We knew there was a ferry by the name of Saint Faith, as well as a chapel in a lunatic asylum and some mysterious coinage from deepest Africa… but
now there’s a garage! Fr Dennis has passed me, courtesy of one-time St Faith’s member Les Crossley, a copy of the Hemel Hempstead Gazette, with the challenging headline
‘Family discover faithful flocked to garage for home service’.

It appears that the first priest-in-charge of this area of Hemel Hempstead, Peter Stokes, lived in Windmill Road, Adeyfield and the church (in the proper sense of a gathered
congregation rather than a place of worship) began meeting in their garage in the 1940s. Later they met in the house itself, before moving into a hut, which was shared by the
local football team and the communist party, presumably at different times of the week.

Before these moves, the Bishop of St Albans  conducted an open-air service on Windmill Road, where he told the faithful: ‘We want Adeyfield to be known as Faithfield.’ He then
led the congregation to the vicar’s garage which he blessed in the name of St Faith. A very faded photograph show the Bishop, arm raised in blessing, and a large entourage of
robed clergy and choir, outside the Windmill Road house.

It seems that the garage services got so popular that the vicar had to introduce a shift system to accommodate the crowds. Eventually, as related above, the worship centre
moved onwards and upwards, until the completion of the new St Barnabas Church.

Our patron certainly gets around, but this is the first recorded example of her occupying a garage. As usual, there is no clue as to why her name in particular became attached to a
suburban semi. Probably, as we guess is the case in other such dedications, it was the inspiring name rather than the French Connection that was the start – but it certainly
gives a new slant on that well-worn phrase ‘the House Church’!

Remembering St Faith’s … 

David Jones

St Faith’s Church has been blessed with many generous legacies and they are a vital source of income to pay for our mission and ministry in the parish and beyond. We thank
those individuals and families for remembering St Faith’s.

Leaving a will is not an easy subject but one which should not be neglected. The rubric in the visitation of the sick in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer states, ‘and if he hath not
before disposed of his goods, let him then be admonished to make his Will’.

Some people do not want flowers at their funeral and specifically ask for ‘Family flowers only. Donations invited for St Faith’s Church’. Gifts to charitable bodies, like the church,
are exempt from inheritance tax or gift tax, thus allowing your gift to go that much further in helping the church.

Here are some suggested clauses for a will:

(When you wish to give a percentage of your estate to St Faith’s): ‘I give …. per cent of my residuary estate to the Parochial Church Council of the parish of Great Crosby Saint
Faith in the Diocese of Liverpool free of duty to be applied as to both capital and income by them for such of the purposes specified in Section 5 of the Parochial Church Councils
(Powers) Measure 1956 as are charitable and I declare that the receipt of the PCC Treasurer or other proper officer of the Council shall be a sufficient discharge to my

In order to carry out your exact wishes, and to avoid the effects of inflation, it is wise to leave a percentage of your estate in this way, rather than a fixed sum of money.  It is also
helpful to the PCC not to have conditions placed upon the bequest.

(When you wish to leave a fixed sum to St Faith’s): ‘I give to the Parochial Church Council of the parish of Great Crosby Saint Faith in the Diocese of Liverpool the sum of
£…. free of duty to be applied as to both capital and income by them for such of the purposes specified in Section 5 of the Parochial Church Councils (Powers) Measure 1956
as are charitable and I declare that the receipt of the PCC Treasurer or other proper officer of the Council shall be a sufficient discharge to my Trustees.’

Making a will avoids problems concerning the disposal of your property.  It also provides you with an opportunity to help with the work of the church in the future.  If you have
already made your will, it is a simple matter to add a codicil, in order to include a bequest to St Faith’s and it is always wise to do this through a solicitor.

 Questions of Faith?

Talking to people who are new to faith, or people who have not been to church much, nearly always results in being asked a whole lot of questions about God. Get under the
skin of someone who has been to church for years and there will be questions too – but they will probably be too embarrassed to ask, because they think they should know the

Another reason for questions is that there have been so many developments in thinking about God in recent years, and ways of understanding the Bible, that things can
sometimes seem very different to someone whose faith was nurtured years ago. There used to be far less to read about faith not so long ago, and there also seemed to be far
more certainty and clarity about Christian beliefs. Things have been opened up. We are aware of so many different traditions amongst Christians. There can sometimes seem like
a bewildering range of options.

We should be questioning in our faith. If faith was all about certainty then it wouldn’t be faith! The recent parish survey showed that a large proportion of people at St Faith’s
would like Bible study groups, or prayer groups, or some sort of getting together in smaller numbers to talk about faith. So this is to advertise something which we hope will
begin to respond to that demand and upon which we can build.

Beginning on Wednesday 11 January 2006, and continuing for a further three Wednesday evening from 7.30-9.00pm, there will be a Questions of Faith meeting to begin to
explore some of the things about Christian believing that people would like opening up. The agenda is open, it is up to you! What happens when we die? What is God like? How
do I use the bible? What is prayer and how do I do it? Or any number of other questions. The first meeting will involve looking at what questions people have – and making a start
on the most popular one. We will then plan a programme for the following weeks.

Important things about these meetings:
*    We will not be looking for ‘right’ answers but exploring between us the range of Christian responses that always exist within a group of people.
*    The meetings are not for scholars. There will be no exam! They will be a matter of exploring our faith together in a supportive and encouraging way using language that everyone can understand
*    The meetings are for anyone – those who might have just become a Christian, those who are not sure whether they are believers in God or not, those who may have been Christians all their lives but would like a refreshing new look at their

There will be a list to sign at the back of church to get an idea of numbers and then we can decide on a venue. I look forward to some of us getting together in this new way to
do some exploring of ideas. It might even be an effective way of arriving at some more long lasting new year resolutions!

Fr Mark

Summer Recitals 2006

Unfortunately it has not proved possible to arrange a series of winter recitals this year – partly because of the risks associated with the very erratic heating system and partly
because there are so many other events on here at St Faith’s!  Still, we hope to try again next winter.

We are preparing a series of new Summer Recitals that start again on Saturday, 22 April 2006 and run through to Saturday, 26 August (the Bank Holiday weekend), starting as
usual at 12 noon.

We do, however, still need some more helpers to assist with preparing for the recitals on Saturday mornings.  There is a paper on the table at the back of church so please add your
name to it.  If we get a good number of helpers, your commitment should only be about once every four to six weeks.

Thank you – and we look forward to another excellent summer series!  Make a note in your new diary.

Christmas Services in the United Benefice

Saturday 24th         CHRISTMASS EVE

        4.00pm        Christingle Service, Blessing of the Crib and First Mass of Christmas in S. Mary’s
        6.00 pm        Christingle Service
        11.00 pm    Vigil of Carols and Readings
        11.30 pm    Blessing of the Crib,  Procession   and Solemn Midnight Mass

Sunday 25th        CHRISTMASS DAY
        9.30am        Said Eucharist with hymns in S. Mary’s
        10.30am        Morning Prayer
        11.00 am    HIGH MASS
        6.00 pm        Evening Prayer at the Crib

Monday 26th        S. Stephen the First Martyr
        10.30 am    Sung Eucharist (SF) followed by sherry and  mince pies in the Vicarage

During Christmas Week the Eucharist will be celebrated each day at 10.30 am.

NEW YEAR’S DAY – January 1st 2005
        10.30am        Joint Sung Eucharist in S. Mary’s for both congregations
        7pm        Compline & Benediction in S. Faith’s.

Too Much of a Good Thing?

On checking the contents of this very full issue, the editor notices an embarrassingly large number of articles written by him, not to mention rather a lot of extracts from the
Daily Telegraph. Apologies, if appropriate, are offered….

Poetry Postscript: Verses for Advent and Christmas

There was a Time: An Advent Poem

There was a time when there was no time,
When darkness reigned as king,
When a formless void was all that there was 
in the nothingness of eternity,
When it was night.
But over the void and over the night Love watched.
There was a time when time began.
It began when Love spoke.
Time began for light and life, for splendour and grandeur.
Time began for seas and mountains, for flowers and birds.
Time began for the valleys to ring with the songs of life,
and for the wilderness to echo with the wailing of wind 
and howling of animals.
And over the earth, Love watched.

There was a time when time began to be recorded.
A time when Love breathed and a new creature came to life. 
A new creature so special that it was in the image and likeness of Love 
Of Love who is God.
And so man was born and the dawn of a new day shone on the world. 
And over man, Love watched.

But there came a time when the new day faded.
A time when man who was like God tried to be God.
A time when the creature challenged the creator.
A time when man preferred death to life and darkness to light.
And so the new day settled into twilight.
And over the darkness, Love watched.

There was a time of waiting in the darkness.
A time when man waited in the shadows,
And all creation groaned in sadness.
There was waiting for Love to speak again - for Love to breathe again.
And kings and nations and empires rose and faded in the shadows.
And Love waited and watched.

Finally, there came a time when Love spoke again. 
A Word from eternity - a Word 
Spoken to a girl who belonged to a people not known by the world 
Spoken to a girl who belonged to a family not known by her people 
To a girl named Mary.
And all creation waited in hushed silence for the girl’s answer.
And Mary spoke her yes.
And Love watched over Mary.
And so there came a time when Love breathed again 
When Love breathed new life into Mary’s yes. 
And a new day dawned for the World 
A day when light returned to darkness, when life returned to dispel death 
And so a day came when Love became man - a mother bore a child.
And Love watched over Love - a Father watched His Son.

And, lastly, there came a time when you and I became a part of time.
Now is the time that you and I wait.
Now we wait to celebrate what the world waited for.
And as we wait to celebrate what was at one time, we become a part of that time 
A time when a new dawn and a new dream and a new creation began for man.
And as a part of time, Love waits and Love watches over us.

Advent Antiphons

From Mary’s sweet silence
Come, Word mutely spoken!
Pledge of our real life,
Come, Bread yet unbroken!
Seed of the Golden Wheat,
In us be sown.
Fulness of true Light,
Through us be known.

Secret held tenderly,
Guarded with Love,
Cradled in purity,
Child of the Dove,

Sr. M. Charlita, I.H.M.

December Eighth

Beloved, Mother of us all,
To-day we remember 
That, of all earth’s millions,
You, Mary, in the womb,
Were shining, whole,
And Godward-turned.
You only, O Morning Star,
Lighted the clouds of sin and waiting.
You only, Immaculate Ark,
Glided above the depths of the primal curse;
For you were to bear safely over those waters 
Emmanuel, your little Son, from whose baby hand 
Streams the rainbow up which we climb to God.
You only, little white moon, are the crystal 
Reflection of our Sun.
But for your whiteness, O Gate of Heaven,
We had never entered, nor seen our God.
But for your loveliness, O Mystic Rose,
We had never breathed the Rose of Sharon.
White Tower of David, Ivory Tower,
Princess whose beauty lured Love's kiss when life began,
Mother, who died a thousand deaths for us,
We thank Him for you.
To-day, when He smiles to see His image in you, clear,
Remember us.

Sr. St. Francis S.S.J.

Magnificat of Acceptance
 Ann Johnson
My soul trembles in the presence of the loving Creator
and my spirit prepares itself to walk hand in hand
with the God who saves Israel
because I have been accepted by God
as a simple helpmate.
Yes, forever in the life of humankind
people will sing of this loving encounter;
through remembering this moment, the faithful
will know all things are possible in God.
Holy is the place within me where God lives.
God’s tender fingers reach out from age to age
to touch the softened inner spaces of those
who open their souls in hope.
I have experienced the creative power of God’s embracing arms
and I know the cleansing fire of unconditional love.
I am freed from all earthly authority
and know my bonding to the Author of all earthly things.
I am filled with the news of good things;
my favour with God,
faithful trust in the gentle shadow of the Most High,
the mystery or my son, Jesus,
the gift of companionship with my beloved kinswoman,
Elizabeth, who believes as I believe.
The place in my heart that I had filled
with thoughts of rear and inadequacy
has been emptied and I am quiet within.
God comes to save Israel, our holy family,
remembering that we are the ones who remember,
... according to the kinship we have known...
remembering that we are the ones who remember
and that where God and people trust each other 
there is home.

The King is Coming

Yet if His Majesty, our sovereign Lord,
Should of his own accord
Friendly himself invite,
And say: ‘I’ll be your guest tomorrow night,’
How should we stir ourselves, call and command
All hands to work! ‘Let no man idle stand!
Set me fine Spanish tables in the hall;
See they be fitted all;
Let there be room to eat
And order taken that there want no meat.
See every sconce and candlestick made bright,
That without tapers they may give a light.
‘Look to the presence; are the carpets spread,
The dazie o’er the head,
The cushions in the chairs;
And all the candles lighted on the stairs?
Perfume the chambers, and in any case
Let each man give attendance in his place!’

Thus, if a king were coming, would we do;
And ‘twere good reason too;
For ‘tis a duteous thing
To show all honour to an earthly king,
And after all out travail and our cost
So he be pleased, to think no labour lost.

But at the coming of the King of Heaven
All’s set at six and seven;
We wallow in our sin,
Christ cannot find a chamber in the inn.
We entertain Him always like a stranger,
And, as at first, still lodge Him in the manger.

Sharon’s Christmas Prayer
     She was five,
      sure of the facts,
      and recited them
      with slow solemnity
      convinced every word
      was revelation.
      She said
they were so poor
they only had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
to eat
and they went a long way from home
without getting lost. The lady rode
a donkey, the man walked, and the baby
was inside the lady.
They had to stay in a stable
with an ox and an ass (hee-hee)
but the Three Rich Men found them
because a star lited the roof
Shepherds came and you could
pet the sheep but not feed them.
Then the baby was borned.
And do you know who he was?
     Her quarter eyes inflated
     to silver dollars.
The baby was God.
And she jumped in the air
whirled round, dove into the sofa
and buried her head under a cushion
which is the only proper response
to the Good News of the Incarnation.

John Shea


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