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

Saint Faith’s Prayer for Mission

God of unchanging power, your Holy Spirit enables us to proclaim your love in challenging times and places:
give us fresh understanding and a clear vision, that together we may respond to the call
to be your disciples and to rejoice in the blessings of your kingdom;
we ask this in the name of Him who gave His life that ours might flourish,
your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

If you would like to receive a postal copy of Newslink  each month, free of charge, email the Editor 

February 2008

From the Vicar: '2008 - Being Shaped for Mission'

Dear friends,

By the time you read this letter the people attending the Mission Shaped Ministry course will have met with the Ministry Team and prepared some ideas with the PCC in preparation for launching some new initiatives at this year’s APCM.

Those who have attended (Kari, Jackie, Fred, Cynthia and Lynda) have plenty of stories to tell of dreams and ideas people have, as well as real and practical examples of how churches and communities are growing. They have a few ideas of their own too!

One area in particular which we all realise needs addressing is our Junior Church (or Sunday School). With Sunday no longer being a ‘holy’ or special day for many people, we do need to think seriously about this area of our work.

The fact that different generations do and see things in different ways is of course not a criticism of current practice: it is a fact that we are all too keenly aware of in every aspect of 21st century life.

However, whatever plans we may or may not make, one thing is abundantly clear: anything that proves to be worthwhile and creative entails a degree of sacrifice. You can’t talk about Christianity and take ‘sacrifice’ out of the vocabulary.

It’s human nature I suppose but we often want results without truly being prepared to put in the work! Whether it’s children’s work, work with the elderly, newer forms of worship and so on – there is a cost to ourselves if we truly believe it to be important and of God. No pain, no gain and all that!

That is the over-riding message of Lent. The Methodist minister Neville Ward wrote “unless we change, we cannot grow.” We are absolute utter fools and imbeciles if we think we can experience growth and change by allowing things to stay the same. Such a view is a very warped and misguided understanding of Good Friday and Easter Day.

The journey of the Magi is an account of people who were prepared to be led by faith because they had a vision and were determined to follow it. We can very often have meetings  where  we  share visions  and experiences  and come up  with all sorts  of trendy words and far-fetched plans. What is needed to accompany the vision is prayer and faith and a determination to work for God’s sake.  Faith is about stepping into the unknown; it has been for millions down the centuries, why should it be any different for the good people of St. Faith’s Crosby?

The following meditation is a reflection for Epiphany but a prayer which is relevant all year round for people who want a faith that lives, rather than just a faith that talks!

With my love and prayers for exciting times ahead!

Fr Neil

Who am I now?  

O God, who am I now?
Once, I was secure
in familiar territory
in my sense of belonging
unquestioning of
the norms of my culture
the assumptions built into my language
the values shared by society.

But now you have called me out and away from home
and I do not know where you are leading.
I am empty, unsure, uncomfortable.
I have only a beckoning star to follow.

Journeying God, pitch your tent with mine
so that I may not become deterred
by hardship, strangeness, doubt.
Show me the movement I must make
    toward a wealth not dependent on possessions
    toward a wisdom not based on books
    toward a strength not bolstered by might
    toward a God not confined to heaven
but scandalously earth, poor, unrecognised …

Help me to find myself
as I walk in others’ shoes.

Lent: A Time of Turning Round

Truly dust we are, and to dust we shall return;
and truly yours we are, and to you we shall return.
Help this to be a time of turning round and beginning again.
Through the forty days of Lent, help us to follow you
and to find you: in the discipline of praying
and in the drudgery of caring –
in whatever we deny ourselves,
and whatever we set ourselves to learn or do.
Help us to discover you
in our loneliness and in community,
in our emptiness and our fulfilment,
in our sadness and our laughter.
Help us to find you when we ourselves are lost.
Help us to follow you on the journey to Jerusalem
to the waving palms of the people’s hope,
to their rejection, to the cross and empty tomb.
Help us to perceive new growth amid the ashes of the old.
Help us, carrying your cross, to be signs of your Kingdom. 


Jan Sutch Pickard

(‘Eggs and Ashes’)

Lent 2008

Wednesday 6th February   
ASH WEDNESDAY – the first day of Lent

7.30 am        Holy Eucharist and imposition of ashes (SF)
10.30 am      Holy Eucharist with hymns and imposition of ashes (SM)
8.00 pm        SOLEMN EUCHARIST and imposition of ashes
                    Preacher: Fr. Neil
                    followed by Baked Bean Supper (SF)

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

8 February      S. Mary’s
15 February    S. Faith’s
22 February    S. Mary’s (*)
29 February    S. Faith’s (*)
7 March         S. Mary’s
14 March       S. Faith’s

(*) these services will take the form of a meditation on the Way of the Cross with poetry and music (classical and contemporary)

Saturdays in Lent in S. Faith’s at 10.30 am
Lent talks by Brother Tom

9 February     The Last Week
16 February   Death of the Living One
23 February   Supper and Garden
1 March         The Trials
8 March         Crucifixion

These talks will be followed by coffee prior to the 12 noon Eucharist

Aspects of Christian Living
A series of sermons at the 11.00 am Sung Eucharist during Lent 2008 in S. Faith’s

Christian Living and…
… Spiritual Growth   
Lent 1 (10 February)    Canon Linda Jones Team Leader, Church Growth Team
… Sharing Faith       
Lent 2 (17 February)    Phil Pawley Diocesan Missioner
… Worship       
Lent 3 (24 February)    Fr Neil  Diocesan Adviser on Liturgy & Worship
… Sacrifice         
Lent 5 (9 March)        The Revd Kath Rogers  Senior Resources Officer
… Discovery       
Palm Sunday (16 March)    The Revd Dr Jeremy Duff  Director of Lifelong Learning

Lenten reading…

Some suggestions from Fr Neil

Jesus Christ the Apple Tree by Anthea Dove         
ISBN: 9780281059614

The eighteenth century song, ‘Jesus Christ the Apple Tree’, celebrates the beauty and fruitfulness of Jesus. It has inspired Anthea Dove to look at the gospel stories afresh, to seek out what are for her the powerful qualities of the person Christians believe to be the Son of God. As the author helps us meditate on Jesus in this way, we realize not only how human he was, but how alive he is in humanity. There is a sense in which he is the leper, is the woman suffering from a haemorrhage, is the frightened deportee forced to return to a land where he will be tortured and killed, is the young woman dying of cancer. He is not a separate superior being looking on with compassion while we suffer, but at the very heart of our pain. The many stories and illustrations that make ‘Jesus Christ the Apple Tree’ such an engaging read, often pack a disconcertingly powerful punch. As a result, those looking for a book offering real spiritual sustenance will not be disappointed.

(by the same author: “Lent for the Not so Holy”)

You Shall Be Holy (Spiritual Basics) by Tony Philpot
ISBN: 1-84417-029-2

The business of being alive is the business of understanding our relationship with God, and then living it. Getting a handle on this is not always easy. We need some initial help, a few pointers. There are sections on prayer; on commitment; on radical unselfishness; on trusting; on living in freedom rather than slavery. There is a chapter on the Holy Spirit and a section on our own experience of Jesus. There are some reflections on how the Church fits into all of this and how we fit into it, so that we are not Christians-in-a-vacuum, but Christians in the context God has provided, which is his family. There are two chapters on the Eucharist, two facets of the many-faceted diamond. Finally, a chapter on the motherhood of Mary is an attempt to show how real she is and how she belongs to the human development of ordinary people.

Thirst for Life: The Cafod / Christian Aid Lent Book 2008
ISBN: 9780232527216

As these reflections on the church’s chosen readings for Lent show, our preparation for Easter shadows the wilderness experience of Jesus. For Christians, this was the moment when the whole of creation was poised between two futures. Lent was the time when candidates for baptism prepared themselves to change their lives forever. And it is also a special time of expectancy, reflection and making choices. We ask ourselves: Who do we want to be? What values are we to live by? What do we hope for?  Who we are to follow?
‘Thirst for Life’ invites us to draw closer to God, not only through prayer and contemplation but through the renewal of our lives and the transformation of the world. The contributors are Chris Chivers, Anthea Dove, Mary Grey, Robert Kaggwa, Nicholas Sagovsky and Hugo Slim.

Landmarks (Exploration of Ignatian Spirituality) by Margaret Silf
ISBN: 9780232522549

This is a book of landmarks for the heart’s journey. Written out of the author’s own prayer and lived experience, and inspired by her practical explorations of the insights of St Ignatius Loyola, it opens up questions which concern us all. How can we recognise God’s ceaseless action in our lives and begin to discern his will? What does ‘fallenness’ mean for us today? How can we live true to ourselves and make decisions in freedom? How do we penetrate our deepest desires and become free of the lesser attachments that obstruct them? Big questions - but as Margaret Silf shows, there are clues to be discovered in every moment and situation; at home, at work, in the garden, in the market, in the bath!

All these books available from the Liverpool Cathedral Bookshop (0151 702 7255)

You couldn’t make it up…

Just after Christmas your editor frequented a well-known South Road, Waterloo, establishment for a celebration meal, aware that the food was good but the service likely to be slow. He ordered a lamb dish and sat back… for just over an hour and a half! Finally the food appeared, with apologies and a complimentary bottle of wine for our table (so it wasn’t all bad). The lamb was tender and tasty and, I suppose, worth the wait.

There is a point to this story. Next Sunday we were singing a familiar carol in church: ‘See amid the winter snow.’ Suddenly the words loomed up, and the editor all but fell off the editorial pew.

    See the tender lamb appears,
    Promised from eternal years…

You really couldn’t make it up!

Fr Neil offers many thanks…

To all those who contributed and worked so hard, in many different and varied ways, for our Christmas and Epiphany celebrations. It was all very much appreciated and made for a very special time. Thank you all.

A Letter from Malawi  

Greetings from Malawi, Mtunthama

Dearest in Christ, Very many thanks for the gift you have sent to us, the Container and the items there in.  Indeed it is an expression of your love towards us the people of Mtunthama.  We want to acknowledge the receipt of a bicycle for Eunice and Good Office Chair for Frank and many other items for the Mothers Union, for Orphanage children who are enjoying watching the T.V., things for Church, Primary School and the entire Community.  May God bless you abundantly.

Items like the Piano, clothes, books, pencils, linen, cushions, beddings, plates, curtains, kitchen materials, tables and chairs, T.V. screen, toys, shoes, seeds for the garden, sewing machines, sewing materials and many other things.

There was a very big gathering when the container was arriving.  People are very happy and thankful for the donation.  We are praying for you and the entire country of U.K.

Eunice has started a project with the elderly people and is going on very well, pray for her as she share the word of God with them and assist them with some of their needs.  She is also leading women bible study group with the local village around.  Romans 8v28: We know that all things works together for the good to those who work according to God’s purpose. Thanks for the support you gave her towards her studies at African Bible College.  Now time has come for her to work for the Lord.  She has started teaching at All Saints Secondary School.

Thank God for the work the Mothers Union are doing to the orphanage, they go there to work every Saturdays (General Cleaning).  The Kamauzu Academy Students come every Friday.

Maranatha is now speaking. He can communicate fluently.  He has started Kindergarten. We are also very thankful for inviting some of our students and a teacher to U.K.  Its our prayer that they will learn more through this trip as they only knew some of the places through the world map. We are proud of it. Praise God that Daniel our nephew is amongst the group.

When are you visiting?

God bless you,

Rev. Frank, Eunice and Maranatha

(Readers will remember that, following an appeal by Margaret Houghton, members of our churches provided many items for this container as part of our ongoing support for Medic Malawi)

Christingle Crowds raise Commendable Cash Collection

This year’s collection  at the Christmas Eve Christingle service raised £216.44 for the work of the Children’s Society.

Switching Off

…a Positive Postscript

I tend to share Denis Griffiths’ sceptical view of the majority of politicians (Newslink, January 2008) but I do not agree with his view of the powerlessness of the individual.  Even before universal suffrage the lobbying of Government by petitions and the boycotting (by women especially!) of sales of sugar from slave plantations contributed significantly to the mounting pressures for abolition at the beginning of the nineteenth century -  despite the vociferous opposition of ‘our masters’ .

As Christians we should surely remember that the gospel was spread often by those at the edges of society in the face of one of the most powerful and well organised (if corrupt) imperial powers of history.  The kingdom of God, Jesus said, was like a mustard seed, the smallest of seeds that grows into a very large tree. A group of individual men and women following Him were able to change the course of history. Why should we not be able to do the same?

So… abandon all defeatist attitudes and embrace the vision of the new Kingdom that Jesus won for us.  God can use even the politicians for his purposes -  witness the Emperor Constantine!

Kathy Zimak

Bishop Tom Stanage

Those who have been at St. Faith’s for many years will remember Tom from his curacy here, 1958 – 1961. As a young wolf cub and Sunday School member in those far-off days I can still vividly recall the sight of Fr. Stanage, clad in cassock and biretta, arriving in his blue mini-car a few minutes before 6.00 pm, in time for Evensong with Fr. Hassall in the Lady Chapel.

Both priests were an inspiration to many of us and a great source of encouragement and support in the early days of faith. It wasn’t the easiest of curacies for Tom, as Fr. Hassall had a severe stroke in 1959 which left him greatly incapacitated and placed a heavy burden of responsibility on Tom’s shoulders.

In 1976 Tom departed St. Faith’s for the newly created parish of St. Andrew, Orford (where another ex curate of St. Faith’s, Michael Raynor, is now Vicar) to be its Priest-in-charge and, from 1963-1970, Vicar.

It was in January 1970 that as an undergraduate at Lancaster University I received a phone call from Tom telling me that Fr. Hassall, now in retirement in Wolverhampton, had died. Some three weeks later, owing to a flu epidemic which had caused long delays for funerals, having spent the night at St. Andrew’s Vicarage we travelled in Tom’s car to St. Stephen’s, Wolverhampton, where Tom officiated as Deacon at the Funeral Requiem of Fr. Hassall. Also present from St. Faith’s were the Clawson family, Fr. Derek acting as Sub-Deacon at the mass.

Later that year Tom received an invitation to go to South Africa as Rector of Somerset West. In 1975 he was made Dean of Kimberley, in 1978 Suffragan Bishop of Johannesburg and in 1982, until his retirement in 1997, Bishop of Bloemfontein.

Over the years the Revd Denise McDougall and I have kept in touch with Tom, and some will remember the Revd Peter Roberts, erstwhile Server, PCC Secretary and Youth Club Leader at St. Faith’s, leaving his parish of Holy Trinity, Southport to work in Tom’s diocese, the country in which Peter still lives.

In the mid 1990s Tom was seriously ill with prostate cancer but in his recent Christmas letter he says the cancer is at bay and has been for nearly ten years. Although officially retired, he has been kept busy with Bishop’s engagements and in a didactic role as Acting Lecturer at the University of the Free State. Those who remember Tom will not be surprised to hear that he has maintained his great love of music and was due to be playing the Cathedral organ for all the Christmas services.

In a short while he and Christo, his friend of many years, will be moving into their newly- built Cape Georgian home near the city centre. Tom has sold his old Mercedes Benz after fourteen years and purchased a Corsa utility truck with air conditioning and power steering. He comments “She goes like a bomb, but my lovely parishioners all over the diocese hate the old bishop climbing out of a truck for Confirmations etc.”

It was good to hear from Tom and to know that, in his mid-seventies, he still lives life to the full and enjoys excellent health. He is fondly remembered with much affection and thanksgiving.
Fr. Dennis

Avoiding Trouble

If church members wonder how we manage our financial affairs, then I hope this article will be informative. Last November, I attended a Diocesan conference about Internal Financial Controls and the Charity Commission – serious stuff but very important!

Under charity law, churches were excepted from registration with the Charity Commission but, under the Charities Act 2006, the exception is removed from all Parochial Church Councils.  As our income at St Faith’s is in excess of £100,000, we are required to be registered from 1st October 2008.  For St Mary’s, registration is delayed until 2012.

A number of changes have been made to the format of the Annual Report which is presented to the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) in April.  They are designed to link more closely the aims and objectives for the year and activities planned for the year with the outcomes achieved. 

There should also be an assessment of risks, which is currently being prepared.  This is a detailed document covering such things as governance, operational risks, financial risks, external risks and regulatory.

The PCC will review its charitable activities against its objectives, i.e. what we’ve done compared to what we said we wanted to do, how we worship, serve the community and our fellowship and outreach.  We also have to set out our plans for the future.

The Annual Report will, in addition to the Diocese, be sent to the Charity Commission and must be submitted within 10 months of the year end.  The Commission has a policy of enforcing submission which could include police action!

There was serious concern over a church in this Diocese where their treasurer (who is now in jail!) had misappropriated funds.  All churches are now being required to implement a system of Internal Financial Controls (IFC).  The church is a charity and all PCC members are Trustees of the charity.  The Trustees are accountable to the beneficiaries of the charity and, ultimately, to the Charity Commission.  Sadly, these days, it is not enough to operate on trust alone!

Trustees have to show that funds are safe and that checks and controls have been implemented to offer security.  The vast majority of people are honest but organizations need to avoid putting people in situations where they might be at risk.  Controls act to protect Trustees from any charge of neglecting their duty of protecting the funds of the charity.

The Charity Commission gives guidance on controls that includes “must” or “need to” actions that Trustees have to take by law.  This guidance is broken down into 17 Sections that identify 119 specific controls or “Statements of Requirement”.  The procedure details what should be done, how it should be done and who should do it.

The PCC have to ensure that it is aware of the Internal Financial Controls that exist and that they are appropriate and effective.  An Audit Committee needs to be established to review the controls on an annual basis.  This Committee should not have any direct involvement in the financial functions of the church.

Just to give a flavour of the issues to be covered:

* Are incoming receipts banked promptly and regularly?  (Yes)
* Are proper books and records kept of all transactions?  (Yes)
* Are accounts formally approved by Trustees at an annual meeting?  (Yes)
* Are there at least 2 signatories to the bank mandate?  (Yes – 4)
* Is there a policy that a nominated signatory may not sign a cheque made payable to themselves?  (Yes)
* Is every effort made to minimise cash payments?  (Yes)

This checklist may seem to be very simple and basic but the Charity Commission have to be assured that everything is being organized properly. You will be re-assured to know that our PCC has approved a set of Interim Internal Financial Controls until guidance on all 17 Sections has been issued; this will probably take the next 12 months.

With effect from the APCM this year, potential PCC members (Trustees) will have to be made aware of their legal and financial responsibilities before consenting to nomination and, after the APCM, new members of the PCC will be briefed on a number of subjects, including a review of the accounts and a summary of the internal controls and procedures.

These controls and procedures are very important and have to be implemented, otherwise Trustees (the PCC) could be at risk. Unfortunately, this work has diverted me from other pressing matters – such as fund-raising and the stewardship renewal campaign – but good progress is being made.

If anyone has any questions or wishes to talk about any of the issues raised, I shall be happy to speak to you.

David Jones

 from the United Benefice Diary – make sure it’s not missing from yours… 

Saturday, June 22nd at  2.30 pm at Rick and Rosie Walker’s, 17 Mayfair Avenue, Crosby:
STRAWBERRY TEA - in aid of the Waterloo Partnership.

Oh yes it is…

The United Benefice 2008 pantomime, ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’ is rapidly approaching. Rehearsals have been under way for a good many weeks, and some of the cast  have even begun  to learn  their lines.  It promises to be another  cracking good show,
with the usual line-up of songs and dances, colourful costumes and a plethora of hilarious jokes in the script. Pleasingly, we are riding roughshod over political correctness and using the traditional title. Well, would you pay good money to see ‘Snow White and the Seven Persons of Restricted Growth’?

Booking is also well under way, and members of both churches can pick up booking forms (cash with order!) from their church or download online at the church website on,html

All forms and money should be returned to the editorial address/box office. Oh yes they should…. 

100+ Club Winners

December 2007
1st      140    Ada Slater
2nd    £100    Eric Salisbury
3rd     £75    John Knight
4th      £50    Paul Jones
January 2008
1st     £140    Chris Price (‘Fix!’)
2nd    £100    Mike Powell
3rd      £75    Rita Cooke
4t        £50    Jonathan Steggs

Singing St Faith

Thanks to Miriam Jones, we now know of a hymn tune with the name of our patroness. It was composed by George E. Lewis, one time organist at St Faith’s, and accompanies the well-known hymn, ‘Sun of my soul, thou saviour dear.’ If anyone knows more about Mr Lewis and his music, please let us know. Perhaps one day we shall hear the choir rendering our special tune. It is headed ‘Hymn Tune and Double Chant’.

When the Winters all were White

I have many childhood memories
That return to me again,
The biting cold of bedroom,
The frosted window pane,
The flower beds in the garden
Completely out of sight,
Covered with a snowy mantle
When the winters all were white.

Snowballs flying through the air,
The snowman on the lawn
With button eyes and carrot nose
Looking lonely and forlorn,
Hot dripping toast sprinkled with salt,
A mouth-watering delight,
Sweet memories of yesteryear
When winters all were white. 

The muffled silence of the streets,
The fox’s footprints in the snow,
Another cherished recollection
Of my childhood long ago,
Milk frozen in the bottles,
The north wind’s icy bite,
The frozen ponds and rivers,
When the winters all were white.

Fond memories of former years,
Of icicles and snow,
No central heating to warm the house,
Just an open fire’s soft glow;
Only on Christmas cards and photographs
Can such pictures now be seen,
They will soon be part of history
Now our winters all are green.

Anon, contributed by Ken Hollis

Holy Land Prayers for Peace

A pilgrimage to the Holy Land, led by BBC Radio 4 Thought for the Day presenter Revd Rob Marshall, including important visits to Christian communities, will take place next November (16th -25th) and is already attracting pilgrims from all over the country and local pilgrims are welcome.

The nine day tour starts at London’s Heathrow Airport and will take in many of the sites associated with the life of Jesus based both in the Galilee and Jerusalem regions. Rob Marshall is an experienced pilgrimage leader, writer and broadcaster and is also a priest at St Mary Abbots, Kensington.

After visiting the Lakeside churches around the Sea of Galilee, the pilgrims will hear at first hand about what life is like for the Christian community in Nazareth by visiting the Anglican parish there, before going south to Jerusalem for a five day visit.

“A highlight will undoubtedly be a pilgrimage to Bethlehem where we will see how the Palestinian Christian community is struggling to survive but with remarkable stoicism – and always offering a warm welcome,” said Marshall this week.

Brochures are available on 0845 610 6447.   For further information,  please contact Rene on 0845-601 6447.

A Report on Diocesan Finances

Although the rôle of a Treasurer is many faceted(!), being a spokesman for the Diocese is not part of the job. Nevertheless, parishioners may be interested in some information that came across my desk at Christmas in the form of the Liverpool Diocesan Board of Finance’s “Annual Report and Accounts Summary 2006”. Under the heading Achievements and Performance, they list the following:

* 21 parishes have achieved the “Child Friendly Church Award” in the Diocese.
* Around 50 churches are involved with the “Going for Growth” process.  The “Key Indicators Report” suggests that Sunday attendances throughout the Diocese have stabilised at around 25,000 adults (16+) each Sunday.  This equates to a basic total church membership of c.50,000.
* The Mission Opportunities Fund was established with £500K of capital in 2005 as a strategic reserve for the Diocese and, during 2007, it expects to work with key churches to develop pioneer ministries and plant further fresh expressions of church.
* 126 parishes (54% of the total) have undertaken ‘Giving in Grace’ programmes.  The average increase in giving is about 20-25%.
* There are three ‘House for Duty’ priests and two stipendiary readers in charge of churches.  This supports the aim of promoting flexibility and locally appropriate patterns of ministry and leadership.
* Training and development initiatives have been launched and plans for 2008 include leadership and management training for clergy.
* 98.8% of Parish Share was collected by the end of May 2007.

Under Future Plans, the new document “Responding to the Call” was endorsed by the Diocesan Synod in March 2006 and is available to read on the Diocesan website.

There are several interesting facts and figures in the Financial Review:
* During 2006, the Board of Finance (DBF) received £9.1m in income and paid out £9.7m in expenditure (including £0.3m investment in long-term property developments).  They hope to break even in 2007.
* The bulk of the income came from Parish Share collections (£5.6m) and national church allocations (£1.4m).
* The major item of expenditure (£7.1m) was on clergy stipends, pensions and housing.  Support for Mission & Ministry amounted to £1.8m.
* At the end of 2006, the total value of assets and funds held by the Diocese amounted to £53.6m, of which £35m was attributed to clergy houses.
* Clergy numbers have been ‘managed down’ in line with the Diocesan Review.  The 2008 Budget is based on 209 stipendiary posts, but by 2013, the number is expected to fall to around 180 posts.
* The Diocese of Liverpool is predominantly urban and has some of the most deprived communities in England and Wales, according to the 2004 “Indices of Multiple Deprivation” (IMD). A national average would suggest that there should be 21 parishes in the upper 10% IMD – in fact, there are 63; the average would suggest 11 parishes in the upper 5% IMD – in fact, there are 51.

A copy of the full report is available to read as a PDF file on the Diocesan website. I hope you find this summary interesting.

Gift Aid Footnote…

In last June’s Newslink, I reproduced an article from the Church Times about the then Chancellor’s decision in the Budget to reduce the basic rate of income tax.  April is fast approaching so I repeat the main points again.

“Gift Aid donations will have to increase [this year] to offset the effect of the Chancellor’s reduction in the basic rate of tax.  Otherwise, the Church of England could be an estimated £7 million a year poorer.  Oxford Diocese would lose £400,000.  But richer donors, who increased their contributions to ensure the church received the same amount, would not end up poorer, accountants said.

Under present law, for every £100 donated through Gift Aid, the churches can reclaim £28.21.  But when the 22p tax band is reduced to 20p in April this year, the value of the gift will drop to £25.  To restore the value, the standard-rate taxpayer will have to increase the donation to £102.57.”

As a rough calculation, based on the 2006 level of Gift Aid tax recovered, if levels of giving remain the same in 2008, St Faith’s could lose about £800 a year with the tax change.

David Jones

Decorating the Church

Victoria Mather (Daily Telegraph ‘Social Stereotypes’ series)

Eileen Batterham has been doing hideous things to the font with berries and chrysanths for 20 Christmases. She is certainly not going to be told by Rowena, a mere newcomer to the Manor Farmhouse, not to smoke in the vaulting, chill vastness of St Mary’s. Rowena, so eager to help, has entirely failed to grasp the rigid order of precedence re window ledge and pew.  She offered to hold a ladder for Mrs Cripswell, who does things with poinsettias to the ledge behind the altar, in front of the stained-glass nativity scene, but was firmly told, ‘I may have had two hip operations, dear, but I am perfectly capable.’

Rowena humbly held greenery for Mrs Possett, who has the arrangement by the lectern. Fortified by blood-red dahlias, it is rigid, like sticky-out arms and legs. Mrs Possett was inducted into the triangular method of flower design at Winkfield in the 1960s and she’s not going to change now.  Nice Susie who, after 10 years in the Chantry House, has been allowed to do the back windowsill, is dithering between her holly and her ivy. Rowena says there’s a socket ‘just there’ and wouldn’t it be lovely to have fairy lights woven in with Susie's greenery? As her still, small suggestion of festivity rings up the aisle, the collective breath of the flower ladies exhales in little clouds. Fairy lights? This is St Mary’s, not Santa’s Grotto at Harrods.

It is quite enough that Violet Mayfield, whose parents-in-law have only lived here since the last war, has given 200 night lights, which are so tiresome for the church wardens to light. Last year there was the tricky business of the new Polish family donating a battery-operated fibre-optic wreath for the church door. Where will it all end? Susie (who thinks fairy lights would be a heavenly lift to her sad little effort) gives Rowena a hug - as much as is possible through their layers of polar clothing - and says, ‘Don’t worry about old Eileen Battering-Ram, she’s really a duck. And in the end it all looks marvellous.’

(With apologies to our stalwart team, who, needless to say, bear no resemblance…Ed.

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