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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.


February 2007

From the  Ministry Team

You may not have noticed, but the Church of England has a completely new Prayer Book – the first since Cranmer wrote the Book of Common Prayer! In my ignorance, the first I heard about it was at our annual Readers’ training day in November: I went along to a ‘workshop’ on spirituality given by Bishop David and he commended it to us.

The new book is called ‘Daily Prayer’ and is one of the many publications in the Common Worship series. Sorry to enthuse – but, after the Bible, I think this is the most important aid to spirituality which any Anglican can possess! It is in fact a treasury of prayer, scripture and worship which runs to no fewer than 903 pages. It speaks with a voice which, though contemporary, seems to capture well the timeless nature of prayer, and both ‘liberals’ and traditionalists will gain inspiration from it without any cringes or discomfort. Nevertheless its format is reassuringly conventional: even the ‘rubrics’ (the comments and instructions) are properly printed in red!

Those of you familiar with the Franciscan ‘Celebrating Common Prayer’ will find your way around the new book fairly easily, as there are many similarities between the two publications. Daily Prayer is designed to be used by individuals, small groups or even whole churches. Its strength lies in the richness and flexibility of the material it provides. Most importantly it provides forms of prayer and worship which can be used at any time of day, at any season, and within whatever your time constraints may happen to be. The various sections are centred around Morning Prayer, Prayer During The Day, Evening Prayer and Night Prayer (Compline), but many permutations and combinations are possible and indeed encouraged. Interleaved with the Offices are prayers of penitence, short Bible readings, the two ‘tracks’ of the Common Worship Lectionary readings, and four interchangeable Psalm cycles. In other words there is absolutely no excuse for complaining that you cannot find anything to suit your circumstances! I think you will be impressed by the choice of material provided to support and embellish the seasons of the Church’s year, and by the particularly beautiful prayers for Festivals and Saints’ Days. This is in a very genuine sense a Catholic prayer book.

Those of you who went on the Parish Retreat last year will remember our friends Rachael and John Willard. Whenever Linda and I stay with them in their home in Cheltenham we are invited to join them for the prayers they say daily together before breakfast. This is always a privilege, an inspiration and a challenge for us – but how else can the Christian life  be  properly  expressed and  underpinned?  To quote  from  the introduction to ‘Daily
Prayer’:  “As George Herbert put it, ‘seven whole days not one in seven’ will we praise God, pray for God’s world and allow ourselves to be formed and re-formed by God’s word’. Please try and get hold of a copy of this lovely book. And, better still, use it and pray it. God Bless,
Fred Nye

LENT 2007

Shrove Tuesday 20th February (the day before Lent!)
‘Poulet and Pancake Party’ in the Vicarage. Details later.

Wednesday 21st February   
ASH WEDNESDAY – the First Day of Lent
7.30am     Holy Eucharist and imposition of ashes (SF)
10.30am   Holy Eucharist with hymns and imposition of ashes(SM)
8.00pm    SOLEMN EUCHARIST and imposition of ashes
                Preacher: The Bishop of Beverley, followed by Baked Bean Supper (SFH)

Tuesdays in Lent in S. Mary’s
7.30pm    Stations of the Cross

Fridays in Lent in S. Faith’s
6.30pm  Stations of the Cross and Holy Eucharist

Saturdays in Lent in S. Faith’s
11.30am The Rosary

Friday 2nd February
CANDLEMASS (The Presentation of Christ in the Temple)
10.30am    Eucharist with hymns (S. Mary’s)
8.00pm     Solemn Eucharist & Procession of Light
                 Preacher: The Right Reverend Alan Chesters, C.B.E.

Lent Group

On Wednesday evenings during Lent, beginning on 28 February, there will be an opportunity to do some thinking about our faith in preparation for the Easter mystery. What does it mean to follow Jesus’ journey towards crucifixion together every year? What does his 2000 year old death mean in today’s culture? How do you and I make sense of it, and make real in our own experience the new life that Easter promises?
More details later.

Fr Mark

The Prince’s Trust Corporate Challenge 2007

Regular Newslink readers may remember that a few years ago, Mona Turner’s son Paul, a former St. Faith’s chorister and sidesman, competed in the Tresco Marathon and wrote a short piece about his experiences.  Well, just when Mona and Miriam thought he’d hung up his marathon shoes and was settling down to the quiet life, he’s off on his travels again – this time to a much more remote, and hostile, destination.  Paul explains…

During March, I’ll be part of a 6-man team trekking, mountain-biking and abseiling in a race against teams from other companies across part of the world’s oldest and least forgiving desert region: the Skeleton Coast area of Namibia.  We will spend six days and nights in the desert, covering nearly 200km - assuming we don’t get lost! - over gravel plains, dry river valleys, rocky ridges and some of the highest sand dunes on Earth.

WHY? - we are raising funds for The Prince’s Trust, which helps young people overcome barriers to get their lives working.  Through practical support – including training, mentoring and the provision of financial assistance – the Trust helps 14-30 year olds to realise their potential and transform their lives.  Since Prince Charles founded the Trust in 1976, it has helped nearly half a million young people.

The participants have two targets: to get fit enough to take on the physical challenge, and to raise at least £2900 – I’m aiming to raise a total of £3500.  As a regular long-distance runner, I’m not too concerned about the first target - certainly the endurance element, though I am working on upper and core body strength; the second target is where you may be able and indeed may like to help… the good old days of paper sponsor forms have just about gone, to be replaced by the white-hot technology that is the Internet - in other words, I’ve got my own fund-raising website –

So, if you would like to donate to help keep the oldest (by far!) member of our team focused on finishing the race, and, much more importantly, to help the Trust with its work, all you have to do is visit the site and follow the donation instructions, and I (and the Trust) will be most grateful.

Alternatively, if you don’t have Internet access, or are concerned about donating online, please have a word with Miriam, who has kindly volunteered to hold a few paper sponsor forms…

Thank you,

Paul Turner

The Man for the Ministry

…is nearly there!

Hello again, on a scale of 1 – 9 I’m on 8.  Term 7 was perhaps for some students, one of the most difficult and emotionally demanding.  The module for September to Christmas 2006 was ‘Christian Approaches to Ethics in Contemporary Society.’  The subjects which we considered and were given the opportunity to explore, dependant upon our personal experiences – which is why for some it was so difficult – were abortion, homosexuality, feminism, sexual ethics, marriage, divorce, euthanasia, ecology and animals, business ethics, war and peace.

With this diverse spectrum, it is obvious that all subjects cannot be covered in any depth; we did however, explore euthanasia and IVF during our residential weekend, which proved to be emotionally taxing for students with experience of IVF.  For the remainder of the subjects, as I have said, they are left to the individual to engage with.

For myself, I chose war and peace.  As many of you know I have a military background and as part of my vocational calling I was having difficulty in reconciling my growing faith with the nature of the role I was practising daily in the Royal Navy. 
Instead of offering you differing viewpoints as to how Christians can engage with issues of warfare, whether as combatants or non-combatants, below is one of my assignments for the term.  It is presented as a newspaper article based on ‘just war principles’ as applied to the first Gulf War, it expresses fears for a third Gulf War and suggests an alternative approach for individuals when considering the ethics of war.

World Peace – Child’s Play

I was recently saddened, dismayed and filled with prayerful hope.  Saddened by a recent study of the ‘just war theory’ as applied to the first Gulf War, you remember that war, 1990-1991, the removal of Saddam’s forces from Kuwait.  Dismayed by the hidden agenda of the joint naval exercises in the Straits of Hormuz in October this year, and filled with prayerful hope that the innocence of our children might give us the inspiration we need to heal our broken world.

The first Gulf War was portrayed by George Bush ‘as a just cause.’  From the invasion of Kuwait to the conclusion of Operation Desert Storm on 3 March 1991 the war was ‘characterised by just war language.’ Politicians and world leaders immediately condemned the Iraqi aggression and UN sanctions quickly followed.

Intense diplomatic activity ensued, to try and bring the crisis to a peaceful conclusion.  Saddam however, cared not a jot for sanctions or UN resolutions; all he wanted was Kuwaiti oil to raise Iraq out of its economic crisis.
With concepts of just cause, exhaustive diplomacy, the authority of the United Nations Security Council and right intention – to remove the Iraqi forces from Kuwait and not to continue to invade Iraq itself – the coalition forces went to war. So all the just war theorizing may have done is to ease a few consciences.  It certainly didn’t prevent the war. 

Anthony Harvey pessimistically wrote in his book, Demanding Peac:e Christian Responses to War and Violence. SCM 1999. ‘War…is endemic in the human race.’  That we will continue to fight each other until one is ‘victorious’ or a ‘more powerful force’ prevents us from doing so.

That ‘more powerful force’ turned out to be public opinion, or more correctly the coalition’s fear of it.  Having engaged in battle and as so often happens in the chaos of war, control of the sanitized, surgical action was being lost in massive bombing operations by B-52s on Iraqi infrastructure.  This, combined with the huge imbalance of military casualties in favour of the coalition forces, led to a declaration of ceasefire after the bombing of the retreating Iraqi forces on the Basra road.
So it could be said that just war principles of discrimination – that you ensure that non-combatants are not targeted - and proportionality – that the good you intend to do by going to war is not obscured by the conduct of the war itself – were responsible for the ending of the war.
I was saddened that this war, although it achieved its objective and was seemingly fought under ‘just’ circumstances, left nothing but a legacy of misery. 

Following the end of Operation Desert Storm coalition air forces remained in action over Iraq for most of the 1990’s, making the ‘peace’ won, at the cost of thousands of mainly Iraqi lives, an elusive one.  Finally, the ‘Saddam issue’ resulted in the second Gulf war.  Expressions like ‘weapons of mass destruction’ and ‘shock and awe’ were to become familiar.  And what of Iraq today?  As we hear daily, and are in danger of becoming desensitised to, Iraq is in a downward spiral of self-destructive sectarian violence that leads ever closer to civil war.   

Following my sadness I was dismayed to read Dilip Hiro’s article ‘Dire Straits’ in the Guardian 20th December. In it Hiro reports on the ‘Pentagon led’ naval exercise ‘Leading Edge.’  The exercise apparently lasted for five days and involved combined elements from the navies of US, UK, France, Italy, Australia and others, as well as ‘observers’ from ‘19 other countries.’  Its aim was to ‘block the transport of weapons of mass destruction,’ this aim has been greeted with scepticism to say the least. 

Its hidden aim is to ensure that the Straits of Hormuz remain ‘open’ for the export of oil to the West, should any future air strikes on Iran’s, ‘known and suspected nuclear facilities’ occur. This is in stark contrast, Hiro informs us, to recommendations that the U.S presidency embraces diplomacy, especially in dialogue with nations like Iran and Syria. 

Is this the third Gulf War in waiting, is there no hope, are we to be condemned to perpetual warfare; are we to resign ourselves to Harvey’s comments about our nature?

Whilst submerged in this seemingly hopeless gloom of pessimistic reflection, I came across an anecdote from Bernard Tetlow, which not only gave me hope for our future, but also adds weight to Harvey’s suggestion that there is another way for the individual to engage with issues of national and international security. 

Traditionally there have been two approaches adopted by Christians and others, to the morality of their participation, or the participation of their armed forces, ‘in their name,’ in war.  That is the application of just war principles or of declarations of pacifism whilst working for ‘peace.’  Both were evident in the first Gulf War, the former by the coalition governments as explained above, and the latter, particularly by the Roman Catholic Church.

Harvey suggests in his chapter, ‘Non Violence and the Pacifist Alternative,’ that there is common ground to be found between just war theorists and pacifists.  That common area has become known as non-violent resistance.  Harvey suggests that we as individuals exercise our rights and use the ballot box to determine that personal opinions are reflected in national policies.  That we realise our social conscience and express it in public demonstration; interestingly, he calls for the training of ‘unarmed civilian peacekeepers,’ a civilian enterprise that would work toward reconciliation of conflicting issues, either between nations or within nations.  This is not about undermining the role of the United Nations, it is about educating ourselves and thereby our society in its continuing development toward world peace.  Imagine if we trained our children in peacekeeping, what fruits would we harvest?  A slump in the sale of plastic battleaxes might be a good social indicator.

Mr. Tetlow, in writing to the Daily Mail on 20th December, told the story of a vicar struggling to prepare his sermon because he was being continually distracted by his young son. The stressed vicar leaves his desk and starts to search for something to occupy the child.  He comes across a magazine with a map of the world on it; he tears the page out, with the idea of turning the map into a jigsaw puzzle.  The vicar cuts the map into jigsaw shaped pieces and gives it to his son with instructions to piece the picture back together. Fully confident that he will be able to work without further distraction, the vicar returns to his study. To his great surprise after only a few minutes his son returns, proudly displaying the completed picture. 

Stunned, the vicar looks at the picture and says: ‘That’s amazing, son, how did you manage to put it back together so quickly?’  ‘It was easy, Dad,’ the son replies. ‘because on the other side was a picture of a man, and I thought that if I got the man right, then the world would be right!’
My best wishes for a peaceful 2007,

Martin Jones

About the Adviser on Liturgy and Worship…
Fr. Neil writes

Back in September when the Bishop of Warrington licensed me to this new post people asked what it was about. In all honesty I couldn’t really say then and am slowly beginning to work out what it all entails so have promised to say a little about it in this month’s magazine.

I am certainly delighted to join the Church Growth and Ecumenism Team at this very challenging time not just in the life of our United Benefice but in the life of the Diocese. It is good to see what is going on in the Diocese and, from conversations with priest-friends in other parts of the Church of England, good to be part of a Diocese which is taking mission and outreach so seriously at a time when we desperately need to.

For those who want to involve me I am available to help plan special services and liturgies and to share my ideas and experiences with Deanery Synods, PCCs and Ministry teams. In recent months some of what I have done has covered such areas as

* Refreshment for experienced worship leaders
* All-Age Eucharistic Worship
* One-off liturgies as tools for mission
* Music in worship
* Advising on re-setting music and planning liturgy for a church’s re-dedication
* Worship and the Work of God

Projects for 2007 in the Diocese include working with Churches Together in the Merseyside Region to produce a liturgy as part of the 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act which is to take place at the Albert Dock, and preparing “Times and Seasons”, “Creative Confirmations” and “Visual Liturgy” for the Lifelong Learning Team.  [Times and Seasons is a new book of liturgical resources covering the church’s liturgical year (see the Diary of Events for “Stations of the Resurrection” after Easter). Visual Liturgy is a computer version of liturgies to be found in various service books.] There are also various ‘roadshows’ in deaneries throughout the Diocese on the response to the Diocesan Review “Responding to the Call”. I am responsible for the worship element of each evening so this will give me an experience of meeting people in every deanery throughout our Diocese and forging greater links with them. Projects further afield this year include leading a workshop on liturgy for clergy and readers in the Winchester Diocese (in Winchester Cathedral) and advisory work for CME in the Willesden Area of the London Diocese.

Worship is at the heart of any Christian community and it is a real privilege to be able to share in plans and ideas for worship which, when done well, has real power to pull people towards God and experience something of his love.

The Lenten Season with Mary

As the child's father and mother stood there wondering at the things that were being said about him, Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "You see this child: he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected - and a sword will pierce your own soul too - so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare."

At the foot of the cross of Jesus,
by his solemn and dying wish,
a deep bond of love is fashioned
between the Blessed Virgin Mary
and his faithful disciples:
the Mother of God is entrusted to the disciples
as their own mother,
and they receive her
as a precious inheritance from their Master.
She is to be for ever
the mother of those who believe,
and they will look to her
with great confidence in her unfailing protection.
She loves her Son in loving her children,
and in heeding what she says
they keep the words of their Master.
Through him the angels of heaven
offer their prayer of adoration
as they rejoice in your presence for ever.
May our voice be one with theirs
in their triumphant hymn of praise.

R.S. Thomas

Always the same hills
Crown the horizon,
Remote witnesses
Of the still scene
And in the foreground
The tall Cross,
Sombre, untenanted,
Aches for the Body
That is back in the cradle
Of a maid’s arms.

Good Friday Mothers        
Patrick J. Carroll

You watched that Friday of the sunless skies
While they plucked your Fruit from a tree upon a hill.
That grief of yours, flood high and very still,
Found no escape to the spillway of your eyes.
Oh, there was John whom Wisdom had made wise,
And Mary of the Spices who felt her thrill
Of pardon. Ah, but they can never fill
The dark before the dawn when He will rise.
O Mother of all mothers, you know loss,
The pain of staring at a vacant place
Where Someone used to sit the evening through!
Comfort all mothers, Mother of the Cross,
These days of hoping for a homing face,
And make all mothers heroines like you!

A Waterloo Advent

In early December we were excited to be back in Africa to visit Sierra Leone for a few days, with a team from the Waterloo Partnership UK. We travelled with our chair, Claire Curtis-Thomas (herself an engineer) and Sebastian, a structural engineer, who spent their time in Sierra Leone doing intensive preparatory work for the Library and Resource Centre which the Partnership is planning to build in the other Waterloo. They were concerned with the engineering aspects of the structure, including the acquisition of construction materials, and were also doing the groundwork necessary to recruit, train and care for the local work force which will actually build the library.

While the engineers were doing their business, mostly in the capital Freetown, Linda and I spent our time in Waterloo itself, visiting all sorts of projects and activities, some already supported by the Partnership. This was a tremendous privilege, not least because we were given such a warm welcome by the local people. It was great to meet for the first time partners who had been only names to us – such as ‘Badara’ Mansaray, the chair of the Partnership and District Council, Fr. Thomas Blake, the Waterloo Partnership Secretary, and Leslie Whenzle, the Headman. We also met the Anglican Rural Dean Canon Leighton Davies, who hopes to visit family in the UK (and St. Faith’s) early in 2007. He showed us round his church, St. Michael and All Angels, where we paused for a while in the sanctuary to sing a couple of verses of ‘Lo, He comes with clouds descending’!

We started our formal business by meeting teachers from the Waterloo schools which will   be  welcoming  eleven   Sefton   school  teachers  in  February.   The  visit  is  being sponsored by a Commonwealth organisation and the teachers will be looking at how citizenship is being taught in a post-conflict situation. We are hoping that this link will foster a longer-term exchange of ideas (and people) between the two communities.

Linda and I were able to visit two important agricultural projects in Waterloo: the first was run by the local Youth Council, which also has responsibility for HIV/AIDS prevention. Their secretary, Veronica Kallon, is a young woman with an impressive combination of intelligence and drive. We were struck by the group’s high standards of horticulture and animal husbandry; the piggery and hen house would have been a credit to any English farm. The group is fortunate in having excellent technical advice from a trained agriculturalist. The Youth Council will be the first beneficiary of our ‘Send a Hen’ scheme: and it is already poised to set up a small business for selling both chicken and eggs, which will be a sustainable source of income for the community.

Our visit to the ‘WAYADO’ agricultural project (Waterloo Agricultural Youth and Development Organisation) was quite a contrast. This is a community of five hundred subsistence farmers. Made homeless in the civil war, they were originally given two hundred acres of hillside by the Government (since reduced to one hundred acres) as part of a famine relief scheme. Half the farmers are women, of whom 150 are widows, and there are also about 1500 dependent children living on the hillside. The poor living conditions lead to a high mortality: fifty of the women have been widowed even since the end of the war. The WAYADO group has already benefited from gifts of tools from the Partnership (15 wheelbarrows, 30 mattocks, other tools, wellies and gloves were sent out in our last container) but we obviously need to give them more support. They need help with irrigation, fertilisers and livestock, but they would also benefit from the sound technical advice at present available to the Youth Council, and our visit has facilitated this.

The Handicapped Association is another group which would welcome our support. Mostly disabled as a result of previous polio, the members of the group run a blacksmith’s workshop and a batik dyeing and tailoring business. With an injection of money and equipment they could manufacture hand-propelled mobility tricycles and heavier ironmongery for building purposes. This investment would help the group market their products and would create employment.

Perhaps the most challenging problem the Partnership has to face is that of child care. Many people at home have contributed to our School Uniform scheme which will enable at least some children from poor families to start Primary School. But at the moment we can do very little for the hundreds of destitute children from the Waterloo area – some orphaned, some abandoned, some sleeping rough, others fostered informally by extended family or ‘guardians’. Ideally children need to be fed and housed before they go to school: all this in a country where the vast majority of the population survives on less than a dollar a day.

There is insufficient space to write about our other visits to the clinics and maternity unit. Nor do we have the opportunity here to share with you all the excitements and vagaries of travel  in  Sierra Leone:  the skill  of our drivers  in constant  roadside repairs  to our local vehicles; or the once in a lifetime experience of the ferry between Freetown and the airport!

And although we spent a couple of hours each day driving across the capital, words cannot begin to describe the full horrors of urban squalor in the poorest country in the world. Despite this we hope you have been able to catch something of our feeling of privilege in being involved in this work. Margaret Houghton’s moving account, in the last edition of Newslink, of what Medic Malawi has accomplished in just a few years, has been inspirational for us. We are slowly learning how to work with our Sierra Leone partners so that we support activities which are sustainable and make a real difference. But we have learnt enough already to make us sure that we want to go on trying; and so now we can’t wait to return for another visit to that ‘other Waterloo’.

Postscript: We have heard that the last container was unloaded in Sierra Leone on December 22nd, including gifts of wellies, watering cans etc from St Faith’s.  Many thanks to all who helped with the supplying, funding and packing of this shipment.

Fred and Linda Nye

Oddities for the Old Year’s Ending

The Editor subscribes to The Week: a useful digest of world affairs. It also fearlessly exposes some of the idiocies of the age, and recently produced the following ‘guide to some of the surprising – and downright bewildering – decisions made by Britain’s bureaucrats this past year.’

West Midlands: A church was told it must pay for planning permission to put a cross in its grounds, because it counted as advertising. Dudley Wood Methodist Church, in the West Midlands, was charged £75 by the council.

Somerset: When Max Foster saw two youths stealing his motorbike in Bath he rang the police - only to be told that officers could not give chase because the thieves weren’t wearing helmets. ‘They said they might get sued if the kids fell off and hurt themselves,’ said Foster, 18.

Dundee: An NHS trust in Dundee issued a four-page leaflet with helpful tips for going to the lavatory. The leaflet, entitled Good Defecation Dynamics, featured pictures, and advice such as: ‘When you sit on the toilet, make sure your feet are well supported’; ‘Do not slump down’; and finally, ‘Don’t forget to breathe’.

Edinburgh: When Mel Smith toured Britain in a play about Winston Churchill, he was told that he couldn’t smoke a cigar on stage when he got to Scotland, because of anti-smoking laws. Smith, who played the cigar-chomping leader in Mary Kenny’s play Allegiance, was free to smoke when the play was staged in England.

Lyme Regis: For 32 years, residents of Lyme Regis raised money for charity with their annual ‘conger cuddling’ contest - in which teams try to knock each other over with a 25lb eel tied to a rope. But now the event has been banned, after animal rights activists complained it was ‘disrespectful’ to the dead eel. Richard Fox, who founded the contest to raise money for the RNLI said: ‘How can you be disrespecting an animal’s rights when it is dead?’

Upper Caldecote: A postmaster who was beaten by armed robbers was ordered to pay the Post Office £3,000. Dilip Karavadra, 42, was battered with a crowbar when he confronted two men who burst into his shop in Upper Caldecote, Beds. He suffered head injuries and a broken arm. But the Post Office demanded lie pay towards the £6,695 theft, because he was not behind his security hatch when the robbers struck. He had stepped out to help an elderly customer post a parcel…

Torbay: The palm trees of Torbay were declared a health hazard. Planning officials said the palms’ sharp leaves could scratch a passer-by’s face or poke out an eve. ‘It’s a bit like keeping tigers,’ said councillor Colin Charlwood. ‘They are beautiful to look at, but you wouldn’t want them wandering the streets.’

Plymouth: Fire brigade chiefs at Greenbank Fire Station in Plymouth banned the traditional fireman’s pole because they were worried that officers could fall off, sprain an ankle or suffer chafing. They now have to run down two flights of stairs.

Ipswich: Suffolk Police tried to stop women binge-drinking by stressing the potential consequences. A pamphlet featured a photo of a girl lying drunk on the floor. The text read: ‘For those of you intent on getting ratted this weekend, think... If you pass out, remember your skirt or dress may ride up. For all our sakes, please make sure you’re wearing nice pants and you’ve had a wax.’

Bossy Britain – a few of the year’s more fatuous edicts and unnecessary bits of advice.

The Department of Education spent £50,000 on a guide to being a good father. The ‘Dad Pack’ includes tips on bathtime (‘Test that the water is not too hot’) and playtime (‘Take them to the playground’).

Church of England leaders warned that calling God ‘He’ encourages men to beat their wives. New guidelines for vicars also claim that marriage increases the likelihood of abuse because it gives husbands a sense of ownership; they warn that the violent, vengeful God of the Old Testament sets a bad example to men.

Whitehall wastes more than £80bn on pointless schemes every year, according to The Taxpayer’s Alliance. For instance, the NHS spent £225,000 warning pensioners of the dangers of ill-fitting slippers, while the Arts Council stumped up £77,000 to send a team of artists to the North Pole to make a snowman.

A Reflection for Candlemass

… from a sermon by Guerric of Igny, the twelfth century Cistercian Abbot of Igny, near Rheims. Supplied by Fr Dennis

Today as we bear in our hands lighted candles, how can we not fail to remember that venerable old man Simeon who on this day held the child Jesus in his arms - the Word who was latent in a body, as light is latent in a wax candle - and declared him to be’'the light to enlighten the nations’? Indeed, Simeon was himself a bright and shining lamp bearing witness to the Light. Under the guidance of the Spirit which filled him, he came into the temple precisely in order that,’'receiving your loving kindness,O0 God, in the midst of your temple’, he might proclaim Jesus to be that loving kindness and the light of your people.

Behold then, the candle alight in Simeon’s hands. You must light your own candles by enkindling them at his, those lamps which the Lord commanded you to bear in your hands. So come to him and be enlightened that you do not so much bear lamps as become them, shining within yourselves and radiating light to your neighbours. May there be a lamp in your heart, in your hand and in your mouth: let the lamp in your heart shine for yourself, the lamp in your hand and mouth shine for your neighbours. The lamp in your heart is a reverence for God inspired by faith; the lamp in your hand is the example of a good life; and the lamp in your mouth are the words of consolation you speak.

We have to shine not only before others by our good works and by what we say, but also before the angels in our prayer, and before God by the intentions of our hearts. In the presence of the angels our lamps will shine with unsullied reverence when we sing the psalms attentively in their sight or pray fervently; before God our lamp is single-minded resolve to please him alone to whom we have entrusted ourselves.

My friends, in order to light all these lamps for yourselves, I beg you to approach the source of light and become enlightened - I mean Jesus himself who shines in Simeon’s hands to enlighten your faith, who shines on your works, who inspires your speech, who makes your prayer fervent and purifies the intentions of your heart. Then, when the lamp of this mortal life is extinguished, there will appear for you who had so many lamps shining within you the light of unquenchable life, and it will shine for you at the evening of your life like the brightness of the noonday sun.

Though you may think your light is quenched in death, you will rise like the daystar and your darkness be made bright as noon. As Scripture says, ‘No longer will you need the light of sun to shine upon you by day, or the light of the moon by night; but the Lord will be an everlasting light for you.’ For the light of the new Jerusalem is the Lamb.
To him be glory and praise for ever!

Miriam and Martin on the move!

In an earlier article for Newslink I explained that Miriam and I were in the process of searching for a new parish in which I could begin my training as Curate. That process has now been completed and I am extremely excited to announce that Miriam and I will be moving to St. Oswald’s in Winwick, North Warrington in July this year.

The experience of finding a training parish was in the end, surprisingly easy.  The DDO, the Revd. David Parry said to me ‘What about Winwick?’  ‘Where?’ I said.  Not being ‘a local lad’ I had never heard of the place and I had to consult my road atlas to find it. So an appointment was made for me to be interviewed by the area Dean of Winwick, Canon Bob Lewis to see if the many variables of what constitutes ‘church,’ would suit Bob, Miriam and me.

I spent most of a morning with Bob, who showed me around the parish and we talked not only about things of a parochial nature but also personal things too, things that make Martin tick! Suffice to say by the end of the day both of us were in agreement that St Oswald’s would be an excellent opportunity for me to continue in my ministerial training.
Miriam and I went along one Sunday morning so that she could see St Oswald’s ‘in action.’ St Oswald’s has a large choir and a strong musical tradition and worships in a catholic style, so Miriam felt that she could be comfortable in that atmosphere.  Therefore with everybody saying ‘yes’ individually, that is Bob, Miriam the DDO and myself we have a green light.

St Oswald’s is a pretty church and is one of the ‘must see’ churches in Merseyside; if you want to read about it, then please visit

So you can be assured that despite the nervousness and emotion of leaving St Faith’s that Miriam and I will be going to a parish that will fulfill both of our needs.  And although our emotions are mixed, you never really leave St Faith’s, you carry it with you until you return.  It is this family of St Faith that has brought me thus far and that is why you are coming with me in my prayers. With best wishes,


100+ Club Winners, January draw

1st  £140    Jackie Dale
2nd £ 95     Sheila Roberts
3rd £ 70      Julie Voce-Pascoe
4th £ 50      Rita Cooke

If you would like to be in the money, read on...! 

Not only shops and double glazing firms have BOGOF offers! Why not make it your New Year Resolution to have a luckier year? No doubt you can think of a number of ways to achieve this, but one easy solution is to join the 100+ club!

With membership currently standing at around 140, the monthly prize fund is £350, with the equivalent going to church funds. The more members we have, the more money is both won and donated. The maths is simple – if we have 150 numbers all with an equal chance of winning, 4 lucky people will get a share of £375, if we have 200 members, the fund increases to £500! Think of the benefits to your pocket, not to mention the church coffers! All this for £5 per month.

You can have as many numbers as you like to maximise your chances, and for a limited period only, any new members or those taking an extra number will get the first month free! And if you are already a member but don’t want another entry, introduce a friend or family member to the club and you will receive one month’s extra entry – free!

Introduction, membership and Standing Order forms are all available from Miriam Jones or Shelagh Mulholland. Go on, have a go and remember – you’ve got to be in it to win it!

From Father Mark

Most people know that I have had a break from St Faith’s and St Mary’s for the past few weeks to enable me to do some thinking about the future of my ministry. Sometimes we are too close to things to see the wood for the trees, and I wanted to step back to make some important decisions about how I should spend the next ten years or so of working life.

It has been a good experience. Although I have still had to do my full-time work with Church Action on Poverty, I have had a chance at weekends to visit a range of different churches, to talk to different people I trust, and simply to spend a bit more time than usual reflecting, reading and praying about things. I have been to a range of fascinating acts of worship – some very much to my taste, others from very different traditions; some very encouraging about the state of health of the Church of England, other less so. But all of them have provided food for thought about the ways in which the Church might be shaped to be more relevant to today’s changing culture.

The result of my deliberations has been a firm wish to return to full-time parish ministry. So at the moment I am waiting to see what the Bishop has to say about what might be possible within the Diocese the Liverpool, and whether or not I need to be looking further afield and what all that might mean for us as a family.

So I have been very grateful for this bit of time out – it has been re-creative - and would value your thoughts and prayers over the coming weeks as possibilities for the future unfold and decisions need to be made.

Stewardship 2007

The Diocesan initiative, “Giving in Grace”, is a stewardship programme – but not a fundraising exercise.  Carefully and prayerfully planned, however, it can yield significant financial results.

From the outset, Giving in Grace aimed to be a lay-led initiative with the focus on supporting, resourcing and developing ministry and mission in the local church.  The core document, the “Case Statement” was prepared by the PCC in 2005 and identified the need to raise more money and to develop our outreach and youth services.

Financially, the campaign in 2006 at St Faith’s was successful.  Weekly income rose by about £120, which was very welcome. BUT this was almost completely swallowed up by a huge increase in the cost of gas (94%) – which could not have been foreseen – and an increase in the Diocesan Parish Share.

People often ask about the Parish Share. What is it and how is it assessed?  The Parish Share relies on a combination of the Average Sunday Attendance (ASA) in a church and the socio-economic make-up of its parish. The ASA figure can vary year on year as congregations grow and decline. A key principle of the Parish Share system is that there is no cap on annual increases for each parish (ours increased by about 8%); rather, each parish is asked to pay its full share.

This year, the situation facing us is serious. Our Parish Share is now £3,342 per month – an increase of about £65 per week! And that’s before we do anything else. The replacement heating system is forecast to save money by being more efficient and energy conscious – and keep the church warm! Planned giving (envelopes, standing orders) in 2006 just about covered the Parish Share. It won’t cover it this year.

Although we were greatly indebted to the late John Taylor for his most generous bequest, it does not last long! Around £30,000 was spent on various premises-related items last year, plus £37,000 for the Parish Share. The new heating system will cost £55,000 and tenders for the disabled access works have come in at £30,000.  Goodbye legacy!

Jesus told a story of a man who discovered treasure in a field, a treasure so valuable that he sold all that he had to buy the field – and then he had to start digging! Giving in Grace continues to be a tool to help the church to dig for treasure as we face new challenges and opportunities in this New Year.

David Jones


Making Music in 2007

The Summer Saturday Recital Series programme

14 April        Stephen Hargreaves (organ)
21 April        Amadeus – The Chamber Choir – Director: David Holroyd
28 April        Merchant Taylors’ School Music Students
5 May          Birkdale High School Jazz Band
12 May        Valerie Watts (soprano) and Roger Stephens (piano)
19 May        Liverpool Youth Ensemble – Director: Louise Hough
26 May        Cantilena (pupils of Ranee Seneviratne)
2 June          Victoria Proudler (piano)
9 June          Julia Platt (soprano) and Richard Lea (organ) 
16 June        Chris Thompson (organ)
23 June        Matthew Hardy (trumpet) and Neil Kelley (piano)
30 June        Michael Broom (baritone) and James Firth (piano)
7 July           Michael Wynne (organ)
14 July        St Faith’s Choir – Director: Paul Burnett
21 July        Rob Fleming (horn) and Neil Kelley (piano)
28 July        Gregor Cuff (‘cello) and Neil Kelley (piano)
4 August     Ian Dunning (baritone)
11 August   Paul Burnett (organ)
18 August   Paul Broadhurst (organ)
25 August   Neil Kelley (piano)

The church will as ever be open on concert days between 11.00am and 1.00pm and light refreshments will be on sale.  The recitals begin at 12 noon, last about half an hour and are free but donations are gratefully accepted towards expenses and church fabric costs.

Please note that the programme may be subject to late change; full details and changes are regularly updated on our website Take a break from shopping and hear some familiar and not so well known works.  We look forward to welcoming new and old friends of Saint Faith’s at these very popular Saturday Recitals.

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