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 Newslink             February 2000

At the Turning of a Century

O Christ the same through all our story’s pages,
Our loves and hopes, our failures and our fears;
Eternal Lord, the King of all the ages,
Unchanging still, amid the passing years!
O living Word, the source of all creation,
Who spread the skies, and set the stars ablaze,
O Christ the same, who wrought our whole salvation,
We bring our thanks for all our yesterdays.
O Christ the same, the friend of sinners, sharing
Our inmost thoughts, the secrets none can hide,
Still as of old upon your body bearing
The marks of love, in triumph glorified:
O Son of Man, who stooped to us from heaven,
O Prince of life, in all your saving power, 
O Christ the same, to whom our hearts are given
We bring our thanks for this the present hour.
O Christ the same, secure within whose keeping
Our lives and loves, our days and years remain,
Our work and rest, our waking and our sleeping,
Our calm and storm, our pleasure and our pain:
O Lord of love, for all our joys and sorrows,
For all our hopes, when earth shall fade and flee,
O Christ the same, for all our brief tomorrows,
We bring our thanks for all that is to be.
O God, by whose command
The order of time runs its course:
Forgive our impatience,
Perfect our faith, 
And, while we wait for the fulfilment of your promises,
Grant us to  have a good hope because of your word;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

From the Clergy          February 2000


As you will have read in the January Newslink, there is to be an open meeting on Thursday 10th February at 8.30 pm to continue our discussions regarding Mission and Outreach.  This will be an opportunity to share any thoughts or concerns about how our church should be growing, involving more people in its life and getting involved in community issues. It will continue the discussions begun in 1998 by Fr. Mark: a congregation for the New Millennium.  There will be a presentation by the Ministry Team and we will try to look in particular at the current system of house groups or Parish Centres. Some are concerned about the future of the Parish Centres. What are they? Who can belong to one? What do they do? What should they be doing? We need to look honestly at this. It is important that we provide opportunities for people to grow in the faith and to share their faith with others. It can’t all happen at 10.30am on a Sunday morning. What do you feel you need from the Church that is not being provided at the moment? Come and be part of the discussion!

We also need to look seriously at the future redevelopment of the Church Hall. This may well involve setting up a fund-raising committee, a small number of people who can give a large amount of time applying for funding and other resources. We need to discover what the needs of the community are. What is lacking in the community? Can we provide it? There have been many discussions in the Centenary Committee and the PCC regarding community involvement. It is important that you come along and bring your thoughts and ideas.

At the same time we probably need to be looking at all the committees and groups at St Faith’s and trying to find ways of building even more effectively on the good work they are doing at the moment. In view of our financial situation (we are keeping our heads above water, but need to find ways of raising some £8,000 a year on top of regular giving) we will need to plan a regular series of events, large and small, to raise money. At the same time our social calendar will need continuing and careful planning so that we can enjoy our Centenary Year in its own right. This might mean setting up a steering/planning  committee of some sort to carry forward the work both of the Centenary Committee and of the Social Committee.

Churches, like all institutions, can be very good at making the right noises, saying the right things. The time has come for us to take some of our discussions forward.  Please book the date in your diary now and make every effort to come along. Your contribution is vitally important.

Fr Neil

 News from South Africa

Those who remember Fr Peter Roberts, an old member and long-time friend of St Faith’s, will be sorry to hear that he has decided to take early retirement (from 31 December, in fact) on health grounds from his work as parish priest of St Michael and All Angels in Gauteng, South Africa.

He is not moving far for the time being  into a town house in the Gauteng area  and hopes to negotiate a part-time role with a nearby parish to do a special project. He also hope to come to the U.K. in May or June and make final decisions as to his future.

All Peter’s many well-wishers share his regret that his health will not allow him to continue the full-time parish work into which he has put so much in recent years. We hope that all goes well with him and hope that we can meet him later in the year. He enjoys keeping in touch with St Faith’s through Newslink and sends his best wishes to the family of St Faith’s.

His postal address is c/o P.O. Box 44108/Linden 2104/Gauteng/South Africa

Thank You

Joan Jones would like to thank Father Neil and everyone who thought about her during her stay in hospital; also for gifts, cards, flowers and visits, all were appreciated very much.

They Also Serve

Alert readers who scan the lists of officials at the back of the magazine may have noticed that we have a new Sacristan. This invaluable official’s role consists of stage-managing a great deal of what goes on at the Holy End, thus ensuring the smooth running of our quite complex ceremonial. Ron Rankin has relinquished the post after a period of loyal, efficient and devoted service in the great tradition of George Goodwin, and we record our grateful thanks to him for his unobtrusive and quiet dedication to the task of helping us all at St Faith’s to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

In his place we welcome the elevation of Martin Jones, who has already proved himself a worthy successor to Ron and, indeed to all those who have served St Faith’s in its first century.

Faith in the States  Fr Mark

San Antonio, the Rio Grande Valley on the Mexican border, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Boston  incredibly different experiences of the mix of people and places that make up the United States of America. I went to spend time with clergy and congregations who are involved in similar broad-based organisations to the one I am part of in Liverpool, and to learn from them about how what they are doing is revitalising and strengthening church life.

Church life is very different in the States. Far more people go to church and church is much more a part of the culture and of public life. Politicians, for example, need to be able to talk the language of the church. Here, for the most part, they need to avoid it to remain credible. American churches also reflect the dominant, entrepreneurial spirit of the country.  This results in situations which it is difficult to imagine in Britain: Roman Catholic churches in L.A. with 15,000 people at mass on a Sunday; an Anglican rector with a salary package of 250,000; and churches in poor areas which are just allowed to go to the wall if they cannot support themselves.

I came back with three particular bits of learning from the most impressive churches I saw which I think are relevant to us here:


To build strong, vibrant, attractive congregations there needs to be opportunity for people to share who they are and what their faith means to them. This has to be about more than just annual Lent groups. Congregations need to develop a culture in which talking at a deep level with others is part of what it means to be a Christian. I’m not talking about a let-it-all-hang-out, touchy-feely sort of thing, but instead an understanding that we encounter God in the warp and weft of our lives, and in our relationships with one another. Again and again in the bible we are told that God is not pleased with our sacrifices and solemn assemblies. Emmanuel is God-with-us. We should take our daily experience very seriously because in it we apprehend grace.


We are the Body of Christ we proclaim at every eucharist, while increasingly our secular culture encourages a thorough-going individualism. You can’t be a Christian by yourself, because by definition it means being part of a community. This means that, like the stories of the people of God in the bible, we should understand ourselves as a people who are on a journey of faith together. This is not just a matter of belonging to a particular club, but about a sense of the community of faith being always in some sort of tension with the prevailing principalities and powers of our world. As Christians we are citizens of another country or kingdom, in this world we are always strangers and pilgrims. As a congregation at St. Faith’s we need to have worked out together what that means for us as a community.


Taking each other seriously, and the reality of the world in which we live, will inevitably lead to action  together. Another word for this is MISSION  being sent to do things as a result of our faith. Which things we decide to do can only come from talking to each other, to our neighbours (whoever they may be) and from our commitment to taking these realities into our prayer and worship. One of my colleagues in America has said: Does it make sense to worship together, then advise people to go out and do good on their own? The operation of a singularly individual ethic is but the moral manifestation of individualism. Such an ethic dooms individuals to tiny acts of kindness and congregations to irrelevance.

The next St. Faith’s P.C.C. meeting on 10th February will be an open one when we can begin to wrestle with these questions together as we continue to reflect on what it means to be the people of God  100 years on  in this place. I hope you will all want to be there.

Safely Home

I am home in heaven, dear ones,
Oh so happy and so bright.
There is perfect joy and beauty
In this everlasting light.
Then you must not grieve so sorely,
For I love you dearly still;
Try to look beyond life’s shadows:
Pray to trust our father’s will.
All the pain and grief is over;
Every restless yearning passed.
I am now at peace forever,
Safely home in heaven at last.
There is work still waiting for you,
So you must not idly stand.
Do it now while life remaineth:
You shall rest in Jesus land.
Did you wonder I so calmly
Trod the valley of the shade?
Oh, but Jesus love illumined
Every dark and fearful glade.
When that work is all completed,
He will gently call you home.
Oh, the rapture of that meeting:
Oh, the joy to see you come!
And he came himself to meet me
In that way so hard to tread,
And with Jesus arm to lean on
Could I have one doubt or dread?
An anonymous poem by a young girl who died at the age of 14.
From West Word, a Scottish Highlands Community Newspaper.

Bored to Death?

The Daily Telegraph’s Damian Thompson argues that mainstream Christianity must rediscover its sense of magic  or lose its few remaining adherents

I have yet to meet a clergyman who is really looking forward to the Millennium. On the other hand, I’ve lost count of the number of bishops and priests who have told me, in the superior manner of a scientist exposing a magic trick, that of course, Jesus wasn’t really born 2,000 years ago. They are keen on the millennial remission of Third World debt; but everything else, from the Dome to jubilee pilgrimages, is dismissed as a lot of fuss about nothing. Bah, humbug! just about sums it up.

I used to think that this reflected a simple failure of imagination on the part of the clergy. But then, a few weeks ago, the Church of England finally admitted that its Sunday attendance figures have dropped below a million. Add to this the latest English Church Attendance Survey, which shows that a further million people have stopped going to churches of all denominations since 1989, and the clergy’s millennial sulk seems rather more forgivable.

For the mainstream Churches, the Millennium celebrations will be about as much fun as a birthday party overshadowed by the terminal illness of the host. Indeed, they have already worked their way through most of the Kubler Ross stages of dying, displaying at various times anger (think of the Archbishop of Canterbury cancelling his subscription to the Church Times), denial (The Church of England’s suppression of its Sunday figures) and now, increasingly acceptance. The other day, I was at a conference on the future of the Churches at which a vicar stood up and said: The Church of England isn’t viable any more, and I’m thinking of chucking it in and doing something else.

There is a new awareness that institutional decline can no longer be contained, and it is not confined to Anglicanism. Methodism is on the verge of voting itself out of existence; Roman Catholic Mass-going has gone into dizzying freefall and the shortage of vocations is crippling: the Catholic church I went to as a child, a cavernous building once proposed as the cathedral of a new diocese, no longer even has its own parish priest.

Judged by church attendance figures alone, post-war theories of irreversible secularisation have been proved right. The problem is that, according to so many other measures  the sale of spiritual books, the flourishing of alternative medicine and therapy  we are more open to the mystical than ever before. Sociologists now write about the re-enchantment of the world as if it were established fact; so why is Christianity excluded from this revival?

But if we take a closer look at the figures, we can see that the decline is not monolithic. Two Christian traditions buck the trend: happy-clappy± evangelicalism and Eastern Orthodoxy. It is a bizarre conjunction: the percussive enthusiasm of the one is surely the polar opposite of the other’s mystical stillness. How can their success be anything more than coincidence?

And yet these traditions in fact have plenty in common. The forest of upraised arms in a charismatic church and the iconostasis of a Greek sanctuary mark the borders of sacred space: they produce an engrossing sense of leaving the ordinary world behind.

It is not easily achieved. The numinous Orthodox Easter liturgy and the barnstorming Pentecostal revival meeting are both, in the best sense, pieces of theatre. Like the greatest plays, they hold out to the audience the possibility of a life-changing experience; but this can be achieved only if the players  priests, preachers, musicians  are masters of their craft. It will not work if people are bored.

Which brings us back to the mainstream Churches. To say that their services are, for the most part, eye-wateringly boring is not childish petulance: it is a statement of fact. The boringness of church (and clergy) goes a long way to explaining the precipitate decline of western Christianity.

It will not do to blame it all on a complex matrix of cultural and demographic changes: these can actually work in favour of the Churches, propelling people into unfamiliar services as they search for new patterns of community. But mainstream Christianity will not be able to take advantage of this religious deregulation until it learns to compete in the spiritual market-place.

This doesn’t mean that Churches need to adjust uncomfortable doctrines to the mood of the times; in that sense, neither evangelicalism nor Orthodoxy has given an inch. What it does mean is that  church services need to meet the expectations of a generation accustomed to flawless professionalism in entertainment. Most clergymen cannot speak effectively in public; most church music is mediocre or worse: that must change.

Above all, an unsuccessful product line must be radically improved or discontinued, by which I mean formulaic liturgies that confront worshippers with the same drab vernacular week after week, in surroundings that, far from conjuring a new world, mimic the office furniture and wall-to-wall carpets of the working week. Unless this impoverished aesthetic is abandoned, Christianity in the West will simply bore itself to death.

The failure of the Churches is above all one of anthropology: they regard magic, beauty and excitement as frivolous distractions rather than qualities that human beings instinctively require from worship. Thirty years ago, the great anthropologist Mary Douglas warned of the dire consequences of toning down the dazzling mystery of Roman Catholic ritual; and now, according to the latest figures, English Mass attendance is just about to dip below a million.

For the Churches, magic is something to be democratised or deconstructed: no wonder they  made such a mess of the Millennium.

Mystery             Cardinal Basil Hume OSB

The meaning of things, and their purpose,
Is in part now hidden
But shall in the end become clear.
The choice is between
The Mystery and the absurd.
To embrace the Mystery
Is to discover the real I.
It is to walk towards the light,
To glimpse the morning star,
To catch sight from time to time
Of what is truly real.
It is no more than a flicker of light
Through the cloud of unknowing,
A fitful ray of light
That is a messenger from the sun
Which is hidden from your gaze.
You see the light but not the sun.
When you set yourself to look more closely,
You will begin to see some sense
In the darkness that surrounds you.
Your eyes will begin to pick out
The shape of things and persons around you.
You will begin to see in them
The presence of the One
Who gives them meaning and purpose,
And that it is He
Who is the explanation of them all.

What we in Church, and why ...


Shine as a light in the world to the glory of God the Father.

These familiar words are said at each baptism as the parents or god-parents receive a lighted candle on behalf of the newly baptised. The theme of light is central to the Christian life. In Baptism God calls us to be lights; that is, our lives must shine with his love in the world. In all that we do we are to show his light and glory.

It is interesting to observe how important the lighting of candles has become for people. They often have pride of place on the dinner table. Candles have been lit in thanksgiving for a life:
 nationally, for example, after the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales; privately, perhaps, for someone we love but see no longer. A relaxing bath is helped (so I understand!) by placing candles around the bath and playing relaxing music. And no birthday cake would be complete without a candle! Candles are important to many people. The imagery of light rather than darkness is part of our basic instinct and understanding of human life.

For the Christian Church candles are important. We use candles to help us pray. Lighting a candle is a powerful sign of  prayer. Sometimes a candle is lit as a sign of our prayer for a particular person or concern. It may be lit for ourselves. Sometimes we find it difficult to pray or to find the right words to say. Lighting a candle can help. We sometimes light a candle because we need help to pray. As the candle burns away in the darkness, so our prayer, or our desire to pray, burns before God. Children in particular enjoy lighting candles. We should encourage them to do so regularly and to use candles as a sign of prayer.

Sometimes people light candles as they enter church as a sign of their preparation for the service. Others like to light a candle as they leave church in thanksgiving for the worship they have shared in. In some churches, people light a candle on their way back to their place after receiving Holy Communion.  Please  feel  free  to  do  that  here  at Saint  Faith’s.   Children  in

particular, who cannot come to the altar to receive Holy Communion, often feel more included if they are able light a candle at communion time. It is a sacramental act. Just as we touch the body of Christ as the host is placed into our hands, so too the physical act of lighting a candle can help us to feel more involved in the  liturgy. The movement of people from the altar rail, to the candle-stand, to the pew can be a powerful expression of how life is a pilgrimage with prayer and action and movement all combined.

In recent years many cathedrals, such as our own, have realised that it is helpful for visitors and regular worshippers alike to light candles. The opportunity of lighting a candle in a hospital chapel can be enormously helpful to people, especially at times of great anxiety and stress.

February sees the wonderful feast of Candlemass. In a building like St. Faith’s we know how moving liturgy can be when darkness and candle-light are effectively combined. The Eucharist celebrated by candlelight can be a very moving experience. The new candle-stand at St. Faith’s is a very tasteful and important aid to our worship and many of us are grateful that it is there. I hope that it will continue to be a genuine aid to prayer and devotion for years to come as we seek to draw closer to God.

Lord Jesus Christ,
For the salvation of the world you went up to the cross
To give light to the world which was in darkness;
Shed that light on us, we pray, that we may come to your
eternal light,
And, through the merits of your passion,
Enjoy life with you in heaven,
For you are alive and reigning now and for ever. Amen.

Next month’s article: Processions

Fr Neil

A Reflection for Candlemass   Fr Dennis

The splendour of the Temple in Jerusalem  a vast building; courtyard after courtyard, building after building, colonnade after colonnade. One of the greatest buildings of the time, fresh from the hands of the builder, in gleaming white stone. Herod the King was responsible for this amazing concept; and it was the glory of Jerusalem. Not simply because it was a great building, but also because at its centre was the Holy Place, the Tabernacle, symbolically the presence of the Lord in his House. Behind the veil of the Tabernacle  only pulled aside once in the year, for the High Priest to enter  was the Ark, a chest, containing the Two Tables of the Law; the Golden Pot of Manna; and Aaron’s Rod. Over the Ark were the golden Cherubim, one at either end, with wings extended, as it were hovering over the Ark. Before the Tabernacle was the Golden Altar, or Altar of Incense; and further off was the brazen Altar, or altar of burnt-offerings, from which went up a perpetual smoke day and night.

At the heart of the Temple, the sacrificial cultus; almost impossible for us to imagine; the gruesome continuous slaughter of animals, the ceremonial sprinkling of blood, and the burning of the flesh and bones and intestines. All this was rooted in the ancient past, the primitive days of sacrifice. And not merely of animals  in prehistoric times it seems more than probable that not only the first-born of the flocks and domestic animals were sacrificed, but also the first-born male child of each human family. When this horrible custom was abandoned, the child had still to be offered, but now to the service of God in the Temple itself. However, a substitute could be given, either in the form of money, or for the very poor a pair of turtle-doves or pigeons, and the child redeemed. This ritual was what  Joseph and Mary were performing for their first-born, Jesus, thus fulfilling the Mosaic Law.

The one perfect Sacrifice given to us by God, Jesus Christ, his Son, means that he himself paid the price. That baby offered to the priests in the Temple was God himself, in a human life; and the symbolical presentation of the baby was to be fulfilled in grim fact by his death upon the Cross.

That death on the Cross was no symbolical sacrifice, but a real offering; the last possible act of God’s love in a human form, a real identification of Jesus with sin and death.

So Christ’s sacrifice opens the great way through to God for us. The price we pay  first of all, and vital, is our faith, our acceptance; in receiving the Body and Blood of Christ in the Holy Sacrament, we are acknowledging our lack of righteousness, if we were to rely upon ourselves. But secondly, we offer ourselves, in that faith we have professed, to be used as the Body of Christ in the world today, as he may will us to do, or choose for us.

Not I, but Christ in me, because Christ gave himself for me.

Confirmation 2000

Anyone interested in being confirmed this year should see either Joyce Green or Father Neil. Adults and young people are equally welcome to join our classes. Young people should be at least eleven years old and in the first year of Secondary School.

Classes will take place at the home of Joyce Green and will generally be on a Monday evening: young people at 7.00 pm and adults at 8.30 pm.

From the Registers


8     December Gordon Wolfenden
17   December Ivy Blackmore

R.I.P. Nancy Stone

All her many friends and well-wishers at St Faith’s will have been saddened to hear of the recent and sudden death of Nancy Stone. Nancy, and of course her husband John before  her, was a faithful and much-loved worshipper and worker at St Faith’s over many years, and she will be greatly missed. Our sympathies go to all those close to her, and especially to Alex and Bob.

Alto-Gether Now Ian Dunning

The third in Ian’s series of irreverent offerings on the choral world.

The alto section is possibly the most underused and misunderstood resource in any choir. If each chord is seen as a sandwich, many composers cast the basses and sopranos in the role of the bread. (Something crisp, satisfying and wholesome. Nothing soggy will do). The tenors may see themselves as the lean meat, piquant smoked salmon, or mature cheddar which flavours the whole thing. Where, though, does this leave the altos? Please don’t dismiss them as a cheap and nasty margarine that glues the bread to the filling. The altos are best butter, healthy sunflower spread, or even tangy, wholegrain mustard.

When discussing the alto voice in Anglican choral tradition, we must take account of both the male and female versions of this species. Of the two; the contralto (or female alto) has had by far the more raw deal. For example, most French composers have strenuously refused to believe in their existence and written for haut contre (countertenor). Ironically, the countertenor himself, only a few years ago, belonged to a dimly recalled and semi-mythical past along with Bluff King Hal and Knights in armour.

In opera, the contralto suffers the stigma of being dubbed mezzo soprano  as though if one sings contralto one is only the equivalent of half a soprano. Much of the operatic contralto’s life is spent in trousers, as heiress to the horrific tradition that once took promising boy trebles and altos and employed drastic methods of prolonging their voices shelf-lives. Even when allowed to wear a dress and not replace a notionally male singer, the operatic contralto has a rough time. On the rare occasions when she is the heroine and is allowed to be sexy, she is either a complete tart (Carmen) or else the role is generally commandeered by sopranos (Rosina in Barber of Seville). For the rest, she is doomed to a life of playing witches, servants, old battleaxes or the operatic equivalents of bag-ladies.

The contralto really comes into her own in Oratoria. This is such a British institution that it is easy to forget that it was popularised by an expatriate German who had made his fortune writing Italian opera for audiences who didn’t understand the language.  (Indeed,  he  only  did  this when the bottom

dropped out of the opera market and he needed a means of making a quick buck.) There are many truly wonderful arias in the oratorio repertoire for contraltos. Of these, however, very few tend to be heard regularly, as a relatively small number have the market virtually cornered.
A number of years ago, I was at a music festival (not, I stress, Crosby, Liverpool or Southport!) and was competing in the Own Choice Oratorio Class. About 25 of us lined up to compete. Of these 25 or so, about 18 were contraltos. Of these aforementioned 18, some 14 chose to sing the same aria. This turned out to be He was despised, one of the most poignant passages from Handel`s Messiah. The overwhelming majority of these 14 renditions ranged from mediocre to wincingly awful and these mostly owed their awfulness to the snail’s pace at which they were rendered. As the class (and its very longwinded verbal adjudication) over ran into the lunch break by one hour 20 minutes, my appreciation of this lovely aria has never quite recovered.

There is a sense of never quite being appreciated which emanates from most alto sections, but in time most altos come to terms with the fact that normally they have to plough a furrow consisting almost entirely of about 4 or 5 notes from their lower-middle range.

The male alto or countertenor is sometimes seen as a slightly more flamboyant and extrovert being than his female counterpart, but happily in St Faith’s Choir, both species have co-existed harmoniously for years. If you suspect you might belong to either species, come and join us. There are currently vacancies for both contraltos and male altos.

The alto is possible the most self-contained and self-possessed member of any choir. They are doing things that nobody else can do  some tenors and basses can on occasions swap places, for example, but alto is out of most men’s range. Also, very few sopranos can live down there. Even the traditional insults singers reserve for each other cannot wound the alto, as even if it is asked: How many altos does it take to change a light bulb? (Answer 20. One to climb the ladder and 19 to say ±I can’t get up there  it’s too high for me) any alto worth her or his salt can counter: What`s the definition of an alto? answer  a soprano who can read music.

from St Mary’s magazine
PERHAPS, if we could see
 The beauty of that Land
To which our loved are called,
 From you and me,
 We’d understand.
Perhaps, if we could hear
 The welcome they receive
From loved, familiar voices 
 Oh! so dear,
 We should not grieve.
Perhaps, if we could know
 The reasons why they went,
We’d smile and wipe away
 The tears that flow
 And wait  content.

Good News from the Tax Man!

The Treasury is to relax the tax rules on Deeds of Covenant and Gift Aid, according to a report in Christ Church, Downend, Parish Magazine. Full details are awaited, but the old Deed of Covenant legislation is to be combined with new Gift Aid rules that abolish the £250 limit for donations. Tax relief will now apply to any donations, large or small, regular or one-off. Donors will be able to join the scheme by phone or Internet, removing the need to sign a form. Loose plate collections will still not qualify, however.

Good News from Malawi Margaret Haughton

Following the auction of gifts of fresh produce given for St Faith’s Harvest Festival, a sum of £60 was raised and kindly donated to All Saints` Church, Mtunthama, Malawi. The donation bought ten pews for the Church, whose congregation were previously seated on the dirt floor! The following acknowledgement has been received from their Vicar.

Dearest Brethren St Faith’s Church

How wonderful it is for the brethren to join together in unity. How we wish to see more members of your Church coming to Malawi All Saints Church.

For your information, in all the activities we are having at our campus we have seen the work of faith  your church will always strengthen our faith.

Thank God for the faith that worketh  you demonstrated it by sending £60. We are already have 10 benches and we are to continue.

God bless

Ven Frank Dzantenze


Following the most generous subsequent anonymous donation of £5,000 reported in last month’s magazine, a further letter of thanks has been received, informing us that the gift will make possible major work on the foundation of the new clinic at Mtunthama. Watch this space!

In last month’s magazine we published the text of one of the new Eucharistic Prayers. This month we publish Eucharistic Prayer D . This was largely written by Bishop James Jones with younger worshippers in mind. It has been used in St. Faith’s for Confirmation and Harvest, and will be used when there are baptisms in the Eucharist.

Eucharistic Prayer D

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give him thanks and praise.

Almighty God, good Father to us all, Your face is turned towards your world. In love you gave us Jesus your Son to rescue us from sin and death.
Your Word goes out to call us home to the city where angels sing your praise. We join with them in heavens song.

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Father of all, we give you thanks for every gift that comes from heaven.
To the darkness Jesus came as your light. With signs of faith and words of hope he touched untouchables with love and washed the guilty clean.
This is his story.
This is our song. Hosanna in the highest.

The crowds came out to see your Son, yet at the end they turned on him. On the night he was betrayed he came to table with his friends to celebrate the freedom of your people.
This is his story.
This is our song. Hosanna in the highest.

Jesus blessed you, Father, for the food, he took bread, gave thanks. broke it and said:
This is my body, given for you all. Jesus then gave thanks for the wine, took the cup, gave it and said:
This is my blood, shed for you all for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in remembrance of me.

This is our story.
This is our song. Hosanna in the highest.

Therefore, Father, with this bread and this cup we celebrate the cross on which he died to set us free.
Defying death he rose again and is alive with you to plead for us and all the world.
This is our story.
This is our song. Hosanna in the highest.

Send your Spirit upon us now that by these gifts we may feed on Christ:
with opened eyes and hearts on fire.

May we and all who share this food offer ourselves to live for you and be welcomed at your feast in heaven
Where, with the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Faith and all the Saints all creation worships you,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
Blessing and honour and glory and power
Be yours for ever and ever. Amen.

Diary 2000


W     2         CANDLEMASS  (The Presentation of Christ in the Temple)
                  7.30 am  Holy Eucharist
                  8.00 pm  HIGH MASS by Candlelight
                  Preacher: The Right Reverend James Roxburgh (Assistant Bishop of Liverpool)
Su     6      10.30 am Sung Eucharist and Parade Service
Th     10     8.00 pm PCC meeting: open forum on Mission and Outreach
Su     13     10.30 am  Sung Eucharist
                  Preacher: Canon Richard Capper (Wakefield Cathedral)
                  3pm Celebration of Marriage on the eve of St. Valentine’s Day
                  A service to celebrate the gift of marriage, to give thanks for those who have been married in St. Faith’s
                    during the past 100 years (their names will be published) and an opportunity for people to renew their
                    marriage  vows: followed by wine and wedding cake!
Su     27     10.30 am  Sung Eucharist
                  Preacher: The Revd Michael Finlay (Warrington Parish Church)

Events for the current month, taken from the Church Diary of Events 2000, will be published monthly in Newslink.  Please let us know of any changes or late additions in time for the monthly deadline date. Copies of the main Diary are available at the back of church.

From the Back Pew

Millennium Musings  Chris Price

With the Big Event come and gone, it is good to be able to look back on what was overwhelmingly a happy, peaceful and entertaining few days. The bug seems not to have bitten, the vast crowds have left behind only litter, and, as more than one preacher and politician has remarked, goodwill has been present in abundance, whether or not New Labour succeeds in bottling it. It is certain that no other event could have united the world across barriers of race, culture and religion to celebrate the same thing.

From a Christian perspective, all the fuss about the lack of genuine religious content in the celebrations seems perhaps not to matter too much after all. Of course it was, notionally, Christ’s 2000th birthday, give or take a year, but that was at Christmas, and it happens every year, and Christians at St Faith’s and everywhere knew that that was the feast that really mattered at the end of 1999 and celebrated accordingly. It seems peevish to grudge the world’s people a prolonged and, in the event, happy and trouble-free holiday. And in the event,  globally, nationally and parochially, the Message seemed to be pleasingly prominent. Many of the world’s peoples were seen at prayer or performing religious music. The Queen went to Southwark Cathedral and apparently said that that mattered more to her than the Dome. In the Dome the Archbishop was allowed his two minutes at prayer. More entertainingly, the newly-knighted Christian mystic and composer, Sir John Tavener, disgusted at the carefully-arranged lack of specific Christian content of the Millennium Resolution (after all, it wouldn’t do to upset non-Christians, even if it’s fine for them to try and upset us!), added a splendid O, Lord at the end of each line, so that, as the Daily Telegraph triumphantly reported, the last words spoken at the end of the old Millennium were resolutely Christian. (By the way, whatever happened to poetic expression? The last line of that resolution is, if I recall rightly, And from now on a new start - bland words worthy of the worst an Anglican liturgical revision committee might produce. Why not And from this day a new beginning?)

The next day at noon the bells rang out from churches across  the land. And in St Faith’s we celebrated a splendid Mass for the Millennium, with words, music and silence giving a powerful and moving focus and putting the previous night’s happenings  in their right and proper context.  This  writer  at least will not quickly forget the haunting Debussy flute solo after Communion, nor the stirring singing of that great and fitting hymn, Lord, for the years that ended the Celebration.

All this and champagne in the Vicarage to follow this splendid liturgical flourish (another product of Fr Neil’s skill and talents).  There could not have been a better nor more stimulating start to St Faith’s Centenary Year. The new Diary of Events 2000, published that day, offers a rich and varied and action-packed year, with scarcely time to draw breath before the climax of the October Patronal happenings. Elsewhere in this issue you will read of an outsider’s view that the Church lacks challenge, excitement and assertiveness and is, in short, boring itself to death. Be that as it may, St Faith’s in the years ahead has the best of platforms from which to launch itself under God into the new age with confidence and in faith. It seems proper to end by reprinting the words (from The Desert by the Bristol-born writer Minnie Louise Haskins) quoted by King George V in his 1939 Christmas broadcast, and to make it our real Millennium Resolution.

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown. And he replied: Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.

Holy Days in February

Weds      2nd        The Presentation of Christ in the Temple (Candlemass)
                             7.30am Holy Eucharist (said)
                             8.00pm PROCESSION AND HIGH MASS by Candlelight
                             Preacher: The Right Reverend James Roxburgh  (Assistant Bishop of Liverpool)