The Parish Magazine of St Faith`s Church, Great Crosby
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From the Ministry Team
Dear friends... the mass is ended. Go - get out there!
It seems odd, writing this only two days after celebrating Epiphany, to be thinking of Lent. By the time you read this we will be almost at the end of the Epiphany Season; the Crib will be removed after Candlemass, and as the liturgy of Candlemass reminds us, we move away from the Crib and turn to the Cross.
At the end of February we begin the solemn season of Lent. However, it is important that we see try and understand the connection between the various feasts and seasons in the church.
Those who came to the High Mass on Boxing Day will know that we celebrated the first person to be martyred for the Christian Faith, S. Stephen. It might seem a bit incongruous to think about martyrdom within twenty four hours of celebrating the birth of Christ; but it reminds us of the cost involved in being a Christian. Our Christmas celebration, in a splendidly decorated church with moving liturgy, mustn‘t detract us from the reality of Christian living. The Christ, who was born in poverty, miles away from comfort and security, is the Christ who challenges you and me to witness to him not just with words but with actions too. He calls us to move away from our familiar, secure ways of living, and to embrace the unknown. Very few of us will be called to surrender our lives for Christ in the same way as the martyrs but we are called to make a difference in our world and in our community.
On February 2nd, at 8.00pm in the Upper Room, there will be the first meeting of our newly formed ‘Mission Committee’ - we might decide to call it some-thing else (although I sincerely hope the evening will do more than just talk for an hour or so about a name!) The meeting is open to all who are concerned about the sort of outreach we should be involved in. Discussions for the redevelopment of the Church Hall ranging over the past 14 years or so have opened up a dialogue about our place in the community but they have not gone far enough. There will be those, as ever, who want to stay in the comfort and security of the past, but I hope there will be more people who will have the courage and bravery to embrace what the future might hold.
We need always to have in our thoughts both the Crib and the Cross. The Crib reminds us of the God who chose to be incarnate in human flesh, to share our life in all its complexity and who comes to us to strengthen us in our daily living. The Crib reminds us of the joy of being human. At the same time the Cross, which we focus on particularly during Lent, reminds us of the cost, the pain and suffering which are also part of human life; and importantly the price paid by Our Lord in order to give us the gift of eternal life. The Crib and the Cross go together and if we try to separate them we do so at our peril.
The mass is ended. Go - get out there! Or as someone once put it ?when the mass is over, the service begins!‘ The word mass, used at the end of every celebration, is important because it reminds us that what we are supposed to be about is mission. Strengthened by the Eucharist at the Altar we are then commanded to ‘go out’ and witness to our faith. ‘Go make disciples of all the nations’ are Our Lord’s own words at the end of S. Matthew‘s Gospel. We cannot and must not stay in the security of the church building. However uplifted we feel, the liturgy should never be escapism. What we have received from Christ we are duty bound to share with others.
These words will be used at the end of the Candlemass liturgy:
Father, here we bring to an end our celebration of the Saviour’s
Help us, in whom he has been born, to live his life that has no end.
Here we recall the baptism of our Lord.
Help us, who are marked with the cross, to share the Lord’s death and resurrection.
Here we turn from Christ‘s birth to his passion.
Help us, for whom Lent is near, to enter deeply into the Easter mystery.
Here we bless one another in your name.
Help us, who now go in peace, to shine with your light in the world.
As we move from the Crib towards the Cross may we have the courage to embrace whatever God has in store for us and for all His people.
With my love and prayers,
Some Thoughts on Candlemass Fr. Neil
The Feast we celebrate at the beginning of February has no fewer than four different names. Each name recalls a different aspect of this Feast.
First of all, the Feast is called the PRESENTATION OF CHRIST. This is because it commemorates the Presentation of Christ by His Mother in the Temple at Jerusalem exactly forty days after His Birth. In the Temple Christ was carried in the arms of the Righteous Simeon and watched over by the Prophetess Anna. This Feast is yet more proof that the Son of God truly became man. An infant, not a spirit or an angel, is brought to the Temple.
This meeting between the Righteous Simeon and Anna and the Saviour is why this Feast has another name: THE MEETING OF THE LORD. According to age-old tradition, Simeon was one of those seventy translators who in the third century before Christ had translated the Scriptures of the Old Testament into Greek. Coming to the words in the seventh chapter of Isaiah the Prophet, he had been awestruck by the affirmation that a Virgin would give birth.
The Holy Spirit had told him that he would live until he saw these words fulfilled. At the Presentation, which is the fulfilment of these words, the aged Simeon utters the words, familiar to those of us who have been brought up on Evensong: ‘Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace according to Thy word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people, a light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of Thy people Israel’.
Soon after uttering these words, he reposed, as did the Righteous Anna, who had also been waiting to see the fulfilment of the promise of the Holy Spirit that she too would see the Messiah in great old age.
According to the Old Testament, the Jews were commanded to present their male children at the Temple in Jerusalem forty days after their Birth. This was to give thanks to God and pray for the purification of the mother and health of the child, for it was considered that after the vital forty-day period it was almost certain that all mortal danger was passed. This is why this Feast has yet another name, found in the Church of England’s ‘Book of Common Prayer’: THE PURIFICATION OF S. MARY THE VIRGIN.
In past years in the Church of England, we have had the custom of ‘churching’, which is similar to this rite of purification of the mother, although in my 12 years of being ordained I have only once had a request for this service (contained within the Book of Common Prayer). When the Alternative Service Book was introduced in 1980 the ‘Churching of Women’ was replaced with a rather more positive ‘Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child’ service in which the emphasis was not on being ‘made clean’ but rather on both parents giving thanks.
There is also a fourth name for this feast — CANDLEMASS. This name was given to this Feast in memory of the ancient custom of lighting candles at it, which recalls the lights in the Temple at Jerusalem. The custom spread from Rome even to western parts of Russia and in the Russian Orthodox service-books there is a prayer for the blessing of candles on this day. For many years at S. Faith’s the blessing of candles has been part of the Candlemass liturgy.
But what does this Feast mean for us today?
Since it is exactly forty days since Christmas, it is time for us to think about the last forty days and ask ourselves some questions: What, in our day, can we present to the Temple of Christ, the Church? In what condition do we present our souls to Christ? (Do we actually think that much about our souls?) What sacrifices have we made in the last forty days? Have we thanked God for all that we have received? What has changed in our way of life since the Birth of Christ forty days ago? What progress has been made?
Whatever our answers to these questions, on this, the Feast of the Meeting of Christ, one thing is certain: If we are not spiritually prepared to meet Christ, then we shall never meet Him.
The Opening Prayer appointed for the Feast
whose Son Jesus Christ was presented in the Temple
and acclaimed the glory of Israel
and the light of the nations:
grant that in him we may be presented to you
and in the world may reflect his glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
It is a happy coincidence that in the month which saw the arrival of the splendid statue of our patron saint (pictures and report next month) we should also have heard of four other Anglican churches bearing her name in different parts of the world.
An email from Ian H.Gibson has come in response to the comment on our website home page where we say that we welcome news of other churches dedicated to Saint Faith. As a result, we can now add two Australian dedications, one in Canada and a fourth in Borneo!
Mr Gibson’s church is in Burwood, in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. From their website www.stfaiths-burwood,org.au we learn that their incumbent is Dr Colleen O’Reilly, that they have a Saint Faith‘s oratory in their church, that they celebrate the Patronal Festival this year on October 5th, and that they are thinking of building a labyrinth in their church grounds (I like the idea of an oratory, but am less certain about a labyrinth. Ed).
The other Australian church is in the same Diocese, and is Saint Faith’s, Montmorency, in the Yarra Deanery. They don’t have a website, but their postal address, the Editor is pleased to discover, is on the corner of Price Avenue in Montmorency.
Mr Gibson says that he has visited a Saint Faith’s in Vancouver, Canada. They don‘t have a website either, but the search engine tracked them down as being situated in the Granville-Point Grey Deanery of the Diocese of New Westminster, with the Revd Paula Leggett as rector and a lady Deacon to help her. Their church was founded in 1947.
The final church, which has, Mr Gibson tells us, been visited by a member of the Vancouver congregation, is St Faith’s in Kuching, Borneo. This has so far proved more difficult to track down. I have managed to locate it within the Anglican Province of South East Asia but that is as far as I have got.
We already know of a New Zealand Saint Faith’s, and there are a
of pictures of it on one of the website link pages. I will update the
with these four new churches, which brings the total of known church
in the worldwide Anglican Communion to (I think) 45 (stop press:
50! Ed). I wonder how many of them have got a statue of our saint?
From ‘Faith and Fun’ - a book
poems by the late
BISHOP CYRIL BULLEY.
Supplied by Fr Dennis
‘A Little Child Shall Lead Them’
What follows below is a rhyming version of the ideas about life and death of a young boy who knows that his days on this side of Eternity must be short. He set down his own ideas in essay form and this compression of them embraces them in his own words. Indeed only the word perfection and the phrase ‘whence I came’ are foreign to his child-like essay.
When Mummy first talked about dying
To say I was frightened is true.
‘Twas not that I gave way to crying,
For that’s what a sissy would do.
At nine I had heard about heaven,
But dying I couldn‘t understand;
But now I’m much older- eleven -
I think I can see what God’s planned.
My body is just my reflection,
My real self goes back whence I came,
And God who is love in perfection
Will welcome me home by my name.
The body dies, back in the old room
Of sickness, of pain and of tears;
The real self goes on to the new room
Of happiness, joy - and no fears.
Adults seem frightened. I just wonder why
They forget what the Lord Jesus said;
Believing in Him no one would die,
It‘s just one‘s reflection that‘s dead.
The new life's a secret but this much we know
That there we shall look on God’s face,
The light of his love will everywhere glow,
Making heaven a beautiful place.
‘Church’s “Third Way” on
The new year has dawned with a new development in the long-running newspaper analysis of the various prospective splits in our very own Church of England. We have become used to dire predictions of schism over the gay issue, and have indeed witnessed the deep divisions in the Anglican Communion abroad, with the conservative and fundamentalist evangelical wings of the African churches disowning the liberal branches in America over the elevation of Bishop Gene Robinson. That issue has tended to overshadow the ongoing division over the ordination of women, which now seems sadly to be coming once more to a head.
When the first women were ordained to the priesthood, some ten years ago now, the C of E partly defused the situation by the appointment of the famous ‘lying bishops’, who provided what was known as alternative episcopal oversight for those parishes who do not recognise the ordination of women as valid, and choose to look to these specially-appointed ‘non-geographical’ bishops rather than to their diocesan ones. A number of priests (and laity), unwilling to accept even this compromise, left our Church, mostly for Rome, but not in such numbers as had been gloomily predicted. And the growing influx of women priests did much to persuade many doubters - and these newly-ordained women are now happily ministering in parishes up and down the land: and in far greater numbers than those who have left rather than accept them.
But the fuse has been slowly smouldering over the decade, because priests rise up the hierarchy and some become bishops from time to time - and that was always going to be the case sooner or later with women. There are now already women archdeacons and cathedral dignitaries, and abroad there are fully-fledged women bishops, and before long a worthy candidate is certain to be in the running for a vacant see in our church. And that promises to raise an even greater storm.
Aware of the depth of the problem, the church set up a working party, whose draft report is now published, and which could, according to a Daily Telegraph article, be debated by General Synod this year. It proposes a third province ‘effectively a church within a church’ which, the newspaper report says, ‘could have its own archbishop, bishops, parish clergy and training college - but would exclude women clerics.’
‘Liberal supporters of women bishops,’ says Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent of the Telegraph, are likely to denounce the idea as ‘officially sanctioned schism, especially as they threaten a new set of divisions in an institution already riven by dissension.’ But the problem is unlikely to go away. A recent survey apparently suggests that as many as a quarter of the clergy are still implacably opposed to women becoming bishops. Several senior bishops are among their number, and Dr David Hope, Archbishop of York, has said that he will resign if women are consecrated while he is in office, although the Archbishop of Canterbury has privately made clear his sympathies with the idea of a third province.
There are seemingly other options on the table, including that of
the process to go ahead without making any provision for dissenters (in
other words doing nothing!), and the ‘via media’ of expanding the
present system of flying bishops, not forming a new national
province’ but ministering as at present to parishes who chose their
Whatever course is chosen, there are bound to be yet more troubled times ahead for the beleaguered Anglican church. It has, of course, survived a succession of crises over the centuries, as indeed have all the mainstream denominations, and will doubtless come through this one as well. The continuing decline in church attendances in Britain and throughout Europe, and the attendant secularisation of society, seems to me a greater threat, and one unlikely to be affected either way by the row over women priests and bishops. Indeed, the secular Western world, already converted to feminism and equality, is likely to look more rather than less benevolently upon a church where women play a full part — but, sadly, they will still be no more likely to fill its buildings and swell its funds: for them churches are irrelevant, whoever preaches in them. A divided church is certainly less likely to be able to speak with moral authority to the nation, but then it hasn‘t really done that for decades anyway. In the end, it will probably in this writer‘s opinion come down as usual to the continuing and vital importance of the witness of individual churches, their priests and their people, for it is with them, rather than with Lambeth Conferences, Synods and House of Bishops, that the nation engages, and thus it is in them, if anywhere, that the nation‘s salvation lies and through them that, God willing, the gospel will continue to be proclaimed.
Sunday 1st February - The Eve of Candlemass
11.00am SUNG EUCHARIST,
and Parade Service
7.00pm Compline and Benediction
ASH WEDNESDAY - THE FIRST DAY OF LENT
10.30am Holy Communion in S. Mary’s
8.00pm SUNG EUCHARIST with ashing ceremony followed by Baked Bean Supper in the Church Hall
Grateful thanks from Fr Neil
Shortly after I arrived in Waterloo, I met Canon Raymond Lee at the Crematorium. I asked if he was busy and his reply was ‘Yes - but when you are retired you have time to do the things you were ordained to do!’ Since then he has been of great help, and we are most grateful to him.
Just over a year ago Fr. Peter Goodrich retired from stipendiary
and it has been marvellous to see him and Margaret with us so often. He
may not thank me for writing this (!) but I am particularly grateful to
Fr. Peter for his assistance, in both parishes, with celebrating the
(both on Sundays, Holy Days and weekdays) and for kindly helping with
when necessary. It is so good to have Margaret and Fr. Peter back
as ‘art of the family’ - long may it continue!
Please make a note of the....
Special Services and Events during Lent
Sundays at 7.00pm in S. Faith’s
COMPLINE AND BENEDICTION
Tuesdays at 7.30pm in S. Mary’s
STATIONS OF THE CROSS
Wednesdays following the 10.30am Eucharist at
BIBLE STUDY AND DISCUSSION – ‘Aspects of Love’
Fridays at 6.30pm in S. Faith’s
STATIONS OF THE CROSS AND HOLY EUCHARIST
Saturdays at 10.00am in S. Faith’s
Between the two Churches there should be something on offer to suit everyone‘s spiritual taste! Please make a special effort to come to something extra during the weeks of Lent.
S. Faith’s Summer Holiday
2nd - 6th August
Very soon this will be upon us (no rest for the wicked and all that…!) If you would like to help with the Holiday Club in any way please let me know. We need people to lead and organise activities for the various groups, people to assist the leaders, tea and coffee makers (for the helpers!) and it would be good to have one or two people who could come in for about half an hour at the end of each day to help with the clearing up. Also, help required to supervise the end-of-week disco and BBQ! Please speak to Fr Neil soon if you are interested in helping in any way at all.
Six months ago, our lives changed forever, when I was diagnosed with an aggressive and rare form of breast cancer. At the time I was seven months pregnant with our little boy Daniel.
We were truly devastated, and at the time wondered how on earth we were going to get through it. After the initial shock subsided, we decided that the only way we were going to beat this was to be positive and fight it all the way. I had too much to live for.
Our family and friends, both here and in New Zealand and Australia have been absolutely amazing. They have been with us and continue to be with us every step of the way. And we have been part of a worldwide circle of prayer, from here at St. Faith‘s to churches and fellowships in New Zealand and Australia. Amazing and very humbling.
The medical treatment I have received during these six months has been second to none, and I can honestly say that the NHS has provided me with the very best of everything. From the early referral to hospital from my GP Dr. Clive Shaw, to my oncologist Dr Aileen Flavin, and the brilliance of my surgeon Mr Lee Martin, I have been looked after wonderfully. Alongside these people, I have been blessed by receiving care from the most wonderful nurses, hospital and GP staff. We can‘t thank these talented professionals enough.
Finally on Christmas Eve we received the news we had been waiting for. The tumour had been successfully removed with clear margins. It made for a wonderful Christmas in the Price household (Sure did! Ed.). The relief was overwhelming. we know the fight is not over yet, but with the continued support from family and friends, and the wonderful care from the medical staff, we know we can get through this.
Finally once again we thank the priests and people of St Faith‘s for your friendship, love, support, gifts, cards and prayers, and for the healing services.
With much love,
Lisa, Simon, James & Daniel Price
Hymns Ancient and (Very) Modern
Thanks to MIKE HOMFRAY the Editor has been directed to a rich website source of sometimes scurrilous but invariably entertaining updated versions of familiar hymns. This one gives food for thought for church treasurers, and indeed all of us committed to expensive church buildings.
The church’s main foundation
Is cheques and cash in hand,
That flow from celebrations
Enjoyed throughout the land;
But Treasurers are watching
The books with eagle eye,
Praying for some donation
That saves the spire on high!
Beset by bills from masons,
And parish shares that soar,
The old iron safe of plenty
Stands empty on the floor;
We cannot sell the silver,
The Diocese decrees,
And so the church of history
Is dying by degrees.
Unless we pay the piper,
The tune will not be played,
And come the interregnum,
No new appointment made,
Despite our protestations
Of numbers few and frail,
We must produce our Quota,
The Diocesan Grail.
Despite these sorts of pressures,
The faithful few hang on,
And scrape each ancient barrel
Till all resource is gone,
Then with the windows shuttered,
The doors locked fast and barred,
The House of God lies empty,
Ending this brief charade.
But buildings are not vital
For the true faith to win,
And from a deep conviction
Love turns us from our sin;
So if the Church of England
Loses its ancient past,
We might regain the balance
And find the truth at last.
The third United Benefice CHARITY FUN DAY open planning
will be held on March 25th. More details in the March edition of
and nearer the time on the weekly notice sheets. Please book the date
if you are interested in helping.
Healing Services Fr. Neil
These will now be held on the last Thursday of each month, alternating as before, between the two churches. Can I repeat my plea that anyone who would like to share in the laying-on-of-hands at this service should speak to me? It would be good to include and involve more people in this way. Do please consult the weekly sheet and the Diary of Events for details of dates and venues.
From Page to Screen: the
of a Journey
Ever since the books first appeared, the world has been divided into two camps: those who loved ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and those who didn’t. With the progressive release of Peter Jackson’s epic film version over the last three years, the division has spread into the world of film, and the ranks of Tolkien-lovers have grown even greater. As a life-long fan, who well remembers being present at the farewell lecture of the Merton Professor of English Language at Oxford University, I have relished the unfolding of what I have no hesitation in regarding as a masterpiece of film-making, and the screening of the final triumphant part marks the end of a towering achievement.
If you haven‘t seen them, do make a point of watching the films on the big screen, on video or on DVD. The extended versions in this latter format carry absorbing hours of background information, explaining some of the staggering skill that has gone into the special effects, the sound, and the digital creations responsible for so much of what you will see, not least in the creation of the character of Gollum. There has been nothing to equal Peter Jackson‘s films, and it is hard to imagine anything doing so in the future: this is the definitive version.
But the books remain, and they are equally worth visiting, or revisiting. They are superb works of the imagination, many-layered, poetic and quasi-documentary, and they are underpinned by Professor Tolkien’s deeply-researched scholarship, both historical and linguistic, which lifts the books far above the level of mere fantasy or escapism into a world of rich and convincing detail. One of the most impressive aspects, to this writer, of the filming process was the profound respect in which director, actors and production staff held the books, and the loving care with which they strove to be faithful to them. The author, of course, died many years ago, but it is sad that his descendants and estate have so clearly disowned the film, since it is created in no small part as an act of homage to the original masterpiece.
But there is more here than mere epic achievement. The Tolkien
on the page and the screen, has a moral and philosophical dimension
is out of the commonplace. The values it enshrines, and the standards
‘good’ characters maintain, are universal, and they are Christian.
was a staunch Roman Catholic, and although he was careful not to
overt ‘religion’ into the stories, and to deny any easy allegorical
the tales are of a hard-fought struggle to meet
evil with the forces of integrity, and basic decent goodness.
is no pretence that the struggle is easily won, and a recognition that
sacrifices must be made and that much has to be lost in the process.
the book is often pervaded by a melancholy awareness of mortality, and
the passing of old glories and stories, and the ending is certainly no
glib fairy-tale. But it is most certainly what might be described as
a reading, and no less a viewing, leaves you feeling many good things -
awestruck, perhaps, impressed and entertained, certainly, but also more
aware of the value of life and the many-coloured God-given splendour of
the human condition. In these early years of the 21st century, with so
much darkness, uncertainty, cynicism and despair abroad in our world,
epic creation of J.R.R.Tolkien, and of those whose film so
underlines his achievement, can give us fresh hope and inspiration.
The Third United Benefice Dramatic Society
(Oh yes, it is!)
Wednesday 18 February - Sunday 22nd February
7.30 pm Wednesday - Saturday inclusive
2.30 pm matinees Saturday and Sunday
Tickets £6 (concessions £4)
Booking forms from church or Chris Price (924 1938)
Some performances fully booked - enquire for details
A Poem and a Reflection for
Feast of Candlemass:
supplied by Fr Dennis
Pangs to bring forth the meaning are severer
than labour on the straw.
What manner of God was sovereign heretofore,
that a birth should bring him nearer?
Pondering still, adrift in a dream, she stands
upon the marbled splendour
and must for the first impossible time surrender
her son to strangers’ hands.
Her gaze falls to a flagstone, raised and riven
by one pale seedling‘s power
and blindly blundering close upon the flower
a bullock, doomed and driven.
Her guardian fingers, swooping into pain,
are trampled and defiled;
she hugs them to herself and finds her child
is in her arms again.
Noon-dark the temple reels. She understands
no Lord sits on the throne
but this omnipotence that split the stone
and stretched and tore her hands.
Bishop John Taylor
Candlemas is a feast of vision; a feast of sight and insight. The candles remind us of the light which has broken into a world of darkness, where sin distorts, and where the goodness of God‘s creation is blotted out by human wickedness.
A child is taken to the Temple; taken by Mary and Joseph to fulfil the rites of the law. An old man is there, looking, searching, straining to see the promise of redemption being fulfilled and the dawning of the day of salvation. His rheumy eyes search for a sign of hope in a despairing world. He lives at a time of tension between God’s promise and a mocking world. And in his longing he is drawn to the Temple, to that place where sacrifice is offered, and where in costly giving men strive to know their Maker. He comes into the Temple, where the great veil or curtain, embroidered with the signs of heaven, guards the mysterious emptiness of the Holy of Holies, the place where God is, and yet is not, for God does not dwell in temples made with hands. Simeon comes, looking, searching; and he sees a child, and he takes the child into his arms and blesses God. His sight becomes insight. He sees and knows in the child he carries the promise of God fulfilled. Here is no less than the one for whom not only Israel but all nations long. He is ‘a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of his people Israel.’
The Feast of Candlemas has many names. It is the Feast of the Presentation of Christ; of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and in the East it is known simply as The Meeting - the meeting of Simeon with the infant Jesus, the meeting of God and Man as the Lord comes to his Temple. Here in this meeting, Simeon sees and knows the Christ of God; and that meeting is both joy and sorrow: joy that the light shines in the darkness and joy in the promise of salvation; and sorrow at the cost of salvation. If we adore the Lord as the Christ of God, and find in him a love that reaches the heart of human need, then we shall find as we come closer to him to share in his love and compassion that our adoration means a suffering with and alongside Christ. This will be so in many ways: in reaching out to the despairing and the angry and sharing with Christ in receiving and bearing their hatred; in patiently bearing misrepresentation, calumny and slander; in enduring beyond what is reasonable; in wrestling in prayer for those in need, those unloved, and those in pain of any kind. It is in praying deeply, and ever more deeply, that we can come to know and enter this sacrament of sacrificial love, this mystery in which Christ meets us in his Temple with the promise of salvation.
Bishop Geoffrey Rowell