The Parish Magazine of St Faith`s Church, Great Crosby

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Newslink      February 1999

From Father Neil

Chris Price has asked me to say a few words for the Parish Magazine. I must start off by saying how much I am looking forward to moving to Crosby and Waterloo and to taking up my new appointment in April.  St. Faith’s is a church I had heard of many years ago. I was Organ Scholar at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle from 1984-86 and on more than one occasion during my time there met Fr. Richard and Angela Capper at the home of Canon John White. I heard of St. Faith’s again in 1991 when a friend from Westcott, Fr. Vivian Enever, moved to Liverpool to serve his Title with you. I first visited the building in 1992 for his First Mass. Fr. Vivian stayed with me in London in 1996 and I introduced him to a singer called Olivia Blackburn. She and I were rehearsing for a concert in Lambeth Palace the following week. She and Vivian met after the rehearsal and the rest, as they say, is history! When I moved to Liverpool in 1997 I met Ged Callacher and Mike Foy, who have very kindly brought their musical skills to Kirkby, and have enhanced our worship on many occasions. I was therefore delighted when Bishop John asked me to consider coming to St. Mary’s and St. Faith’s.

What will he change? This is perhaps the question most often asked when a new Vicar arrives! Accompanying the feeling of relief that the interregnum is finally coming to a close is perhaps a feeling of apprehension  wondering about the future. I share that with you! This is a new chapter for me as well as for you: the beginning of the United Benefice. There will inevitably be changes and challenges for all of us: not least the fact that I can’t be in two places at one time. Changes for the Church of England: most parishes are now using the new 3-year Lectionary. Here in Kirkby we have used the new rites for Baptism, Confirmation and Funerals. A new Eucharistic liturgy will be introduced in the year 2000.  We have a new Diocesan Bishop! It is a time of change for everyone. And yet, in the midst of it all, celebrating the New Millennium reminds us of that which is changeless and timeless. God’s love for all of us, revealed in his Son, Jesus Christ.  Proclaiming that is our task, first and foremost, and together we shall work out how best we do that.

We need to look to the new decade and ask what our priorities are going to be. This will take time, not least because we have to get to know each other first. I am very conscious of the great tradition of teaching and preaching at St. Faith’s, its reputation for good music and liturgy; the vocations to the sacred priesthood that have been fostered and nurtured. It has been served and is being served superbly by some excellent priests and laity. There is much for us to build on and there is much for me to learn about the parish and its life. Let me assure you that I don’t intend to come in and change things after five minutes! But change is an inevitable part of life and an essential part of growth. I hope that through discussion and exploration, through dialogue with each other, with trust and honesty, and above all with prayer, we can look confidently to the future under God’s guidance.

At the beginning of this new chapter we need to commit ourselves afresh to God. This morning at mass in Kirkby we celebrated the Feast of the Baptism of Christ and placed ourselves again in his hands as we renewed our Baptismal Promises. I was struck by the words of the prophet Isaiah in the first reading: See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them. (Is 42.9) Words for all of us to meditate upon, in Crosby, in Waterloo and in Kirkby.

Please remember me in your prayers and please be assured of my prayers each day for you and the people of St. Mary’s.

Fr Neil

From the Clergy

Change and contrast are human needs. We need them in religion as much as in our ordinary lives. The seasons of the Church Year are one part  an important part  of the inherited opportunities and variety of the Christian faith. We need Fasts as well as Feasts; how dull a year of ordinary Sundays, how dull equally a year of nothing but Feasts. Shadow and sunshine  the beauty of contrast. Take away Lent and Passiontide, and we rob Easter of its glory. The violets of penitence and the gold of the resurrection need each other, balance each other, make the harmony of the great and beautiful Liturgical Year.

In primitive times the Lenten fast was observed with great strictness and rigour. There are those, says St Crysostom, who rival one another in fasting, and show a marvellous emulation in it; some indeed who spend two whole days without food at a time, and others who reject everything except bread and water, and persevere in this during the whole of Lent. To us that sounds almost like the regime of a fashionable health centre, if we were to add plenty of exercise and fresh air!

How was Lent kept in later days? Thirteen centuries after St Crysostom, Robert Nelson, at the beginning of the eighteenth century, was a prominent layman who wrote a book called A Companion to the Festivals and Fasts of the Church of England which passed through edition after edition during the next hundred and fifty years, and was frequently bound up with the Book of Common Prayer. Part of what Mr Nelson’s book says about Lent is this.

The design of the Church in this Order is that these forty days should be set aside as a proper season for mortification and the exercise of self-denial .... the public devotions should be constantly attended; we should be liberal with our alms, and very ready to employ ourselves in all opportunities of relieving the wants of our neighbours. And we should frequently exercise ourselves in meditation of diving subjects, the best means to make all discourses from the pulpit effectual to our salvation.

We should remember that these words were written at one of the darkest periods of our English Church history, when religious life in this country was almost at its lowest ebb. What a striking and significant contrast to the Lent of the average twentieth-century church member!

What is our own Lenten rule like? Have we attempted to think over what it should be? Will it be self-sacrificing in such a way as to enable us to enter  in some small and far-off way  into the sufferings of our Saviour?  Or is it so far some mere aspiration towards doing something for Lent   if indeed that?

Now is the time to think carefully; now is the time to make our love for Jesus the guiding principle of this Lent, as indeed it should be for all our life. Here is a master-key which unlocks the gate of heaven. On the last page of St John’s Gospel are three questions: they are all alike  Simon, son of John, do you love me? ..... Do you love me? .... Do you love me? Our faith can only have its perfect crown in us, as we set ourselves to learn the lesson of personal devotion to Jesus.

There are two very practical ways in which we may increase our love for our Lord during this Lent. First, when we say our daily prayers, let us spend a brief minute or two in thinking about His sufferings. Let us try to realize something of the agony of body and mind and soul which the crucifixion meant. If we have a crucifix, let us look steadfastly at that representation; if not, think of the Agony in the Garden, the Crowning with Thorns, the Carrying of the Cross. If we do this regularly, each day in Lent, we must gain a deeper and more intense devotion to Jesus.

Secondly, let us make the effort to attend one of the three regular week-day eucharists each week in Lent. For some, attendance on a Monday, Tuesday or  Thursday at 7.30 pm or a Friday at 6.30 pm is impossible, for some difficult; but with a little thought and arrangement, it should be within the power of most. Here is the best of all Lenten rules. It may sometimes be true that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it is certainly not true about communion with our Lord. It is as we kneel before the altar, as we plead his sacrifice, as we receive him into ourselves, that our hearts burn within ourselves and we are able to say, My beloved is mine, and I am his.

May a happy and a holy and a transfiguring Lent be yours.

Fr Dennis

Mid-Week Eucharists in Lent

Shared Sackcloth

Lent is a time of self-examination and repentance a chance to reflect, with a view to re-shaping our response to God. This is a very difficult thing to do by yourself. We need each other  for encouragement, for the stimulation of different ideas about and different experiences of God, and for summoning up together the courage to live the life that we could.

So this Lent at St Faith’s there is an opportunity to share something of the journey of Lent together. There will be a weekly gathering, based on five Lenten themes, in the shape of an informal Eucharist. The Eucharist, which will include some music and some silence, will be particularly marked by the space for discussion  a breaking of the word  after the readings. The Eucharists and related themes will be as follows, and will all begin at 7.30 pm:

Tuesday 23rd February Don’t tame the wilderness
Monday 1st March Welcoming rather than avoiding conflict
Monday 8th March Why suffer? How much? Who for?
Monday 15th March See-through Christians
Monday 22nd March On not wasting your life: to what must I die?

                                    Fr Mark

Thursdays at 7.30 pm

At these Eucharists Fr Dennis will give a series of addresses based on the Signs (Miracles) of St John’s Gospel.

Fridays at 6.30 pm

At these Eucharists Fr George will lead the congregation in the prayerful and time-hallowed devotion of the Stations of the Cross.

A Congregation for the New Millennium: Phase 2!  Fr Mark

As part of our Centenary Celebrations a group of about 20 souls from St Faith’s have been struggling with some of the complex issues facing our society as we approach the new millennium. We have also been trying to think what this might mean for the shape of the Church, and the shape of our church. They have been very interesting and participative evenings. (Yes! Ed.)

From the start we were determined these sessions should end in something practical  and they have!  One issue repeatedly surfaced in our discussions:  young people and families in the life of St Faith’s. We agreed this should be the focus of thought and action. So, with Fr Neil’s agreement, we will meet to continue the discussion on Thursday 4th March at 8.15 pm in the Upper Room. The aim is to map out  the areas of concern that we have, so that when our new vicar is here we do something about them. So, if you have concerns about people and families in the life of St Faith’s, or you have responsibilities for them in the church, please come to the meeting on March 4th.

Unravelling the Past   Chris Price

An intriguing investigation involving our Patron Saint, an address in Gambier Terrace, Liverpool, and a hopeful enquiry from Hull was set in motion when a much-redirected envelope came my way from the vicarage back in November.

The envelope was addressed simply to St Faith’s Church, Abercromby, Liverpool and contained a letter from a Mr Philip Pridgen from Hull, who was trying to trace the place and circumstances of his birth. All he had was a baptism card from the Chapel of St Faiths` in April 1929 and a birth certificate from the Parish of Abercromby. He believed that his mother had been sent across the Pennines in disgrace to Liverpool to give birth to him, but he knew little or nothing else. In a later letter he enclosed a subsequently- obtained copy of his birth certificate, locating his mother’s address as 12 Gambier Terrace, and a copy of the baptism card signed by the Rector of Liverpool. On this latter Chapel had been substituted for Church but it clearly was St Faith’s, and equally clearly not our St Faith’s.

I was naturally intrigued. Neither I, nor anyone I spoke to, was aware of any other St Faith’s dedication anywhere around, let alone within the jurisdiction of the Rector of Liverpool. I enlisted the help of Margaret Sadler of Church House, who in turn was helped by Chris Tyne of the Diocesan Registry. My first line of enquiry was prompted by the knowledge that Douglas Horsfall our founder had endowed a church in Abercromby Square  had it perhaps contained a St Faith’s Chapel? The church had existed in 1929 (although it has gone now)   but in fact subsequent enquiries proved this to be a blind alley.

The clue as to Mrs Pridgen`s supposed disgrace led to a second avenue of enquiry  perhaps the Gambier Terrace address was that of a home to which unmarried mothers might be sent to give birth. This indeed proved to be the case, and number 12 turned out to be, at the time of Philip Pridgen`s birth, a so-called Home for Fallen Women run by the Church of England. It now seemed more than likely that St Faith’s Chapel was part of that benevolent institution, and that the Rector of Liverpool would have conducted baptisms there. You can look out over the Anglican Cathedral gardens from the Refectory to number 12 Gambier Terrace, a large and now rather dilapidated three-storey building which at present seems to be flats.

And there the story ends for the present. I relayed the information to a very pleased Mr Pridgen, who has subsequently filled in some of his domestic details. He was brought up in Hornsea, Yorkshire by his grandparents, and until the age of seven was unaware that the lady who came to visit him as his Aunty Vera was in fact his mother, in service to and living with a Hull businessman’s family. When his mother married, he was told the truth and invited to live with her. But he chose to stay with his loving grandmother. His grandfather, a strict and hard man, who had banished his mother, had since died.

Vera Pridgen died in 1959 and in recent years Mr Pridgen began to try to trace some details of his origins, armed only with the clue of Liverpool and the documents he was able to unearth. He is delighted to have filled in some of the pieces of the jig-saw of his life and is more than happy for his fascinating story to be told here.

I may be able to find out a few more details as time goes by. In particular it would be good to know why the unusual dedication to St Faith was given to number 12. Might Douglas Horsfall still have had a hand in supporting an enterprise so close to one of his churches?

Whatever the outcome it is revealing to have been given a glimpse into so hard and unforgiving a time  and good to see the Anglican Church of the time involved in such compassionate social work. I am grateful to all who have helped with ideas and detective work and to Mr Pridgen for allowing me to tell something of his intriguing story.

From  the Registers


29th December 1998  Eileen Broom

Q.E.D.  the Final Instalment    Jean Price

The fourth and final part of Jean Price’s fascinating account of the making of the BBC2 documentary: Q.E.D.  the Forgotten Plague, in which she and her brother featured.

Months passed and I heard nothing, apart from a postcard from Emma in South Africa where she was doing something with zebras (later to be the second in the QED series.)

When I had nearly forgotten about it or thought it had all ended on the cutting-room floor, out of the blue on 13th July came a call from Emma inviting us to lunch in London with herself, Professor Oxford and Chris, the programme editor.

We were treated to an elegant lunch and delightful conversation in a very up-stage Kensington restaurant, then were carried off to the White City to see the tape in one of the studios. We were very pleased indeed with our first sight of the programme and were given our own copy. Armed with this and a huge bunch of lilies from Professor Oxford we made our way back to Liverpool. Certainly a day to be remembered!

As this account has been much to do with memory I might do worse than conclude as I began by quoting Jane Austen on brothers, sisters and memory.

Children of the same family, the same blood, with the same first associations and habits, have some means of enjoyment in their power, which no subsequent connections can supply ... .

I am fortunate in having many vivid memories of my childhood, from two years old onwards, most of them involving Philip. Whether he has memories or not I cannot tell: nobody can. But I like to think that something of what was, may have stayed with him in that strange, twilight world where he has lived so long alone.

My thanks to Dr Emma Walker for her sensitive treatment of her subject, to many people for their kind interest and to my husband, John, for putting up with it all.


Since writing this article I have heard from Professor Oxford that he has received about four hundred letters following the QED programme, which, as he says, will be very helpful to him in his research.

As some readers may have seen on TV, he has been in Spitzbergen, exhuming the bodies of six coalminers who died of flu in 1918. He says, I am hoping these will give us a solid clue as to the Spanish Influenza penetrating into the nervous system.

Postscript. The many readers who have enjoyed reading Jean’s story may be interested to know that there is a possibility of our providing copies of the BBC programme. Anyone interested should contact Jean Price or the Editor for details.

Laity Development Team        George Smith

The Laity Development Team works in Church House. As its title indicates it exists to provide opportunities and resources for lay people to deepen and increase their spiritual lives.

There are possibilities for courses and groups. The Christian Foundation Course, which some of St Faith’s congregation have undertaken in the past, comes from the Laity Development Team.

Various literature from the Team is on the publications table at the back of church. Do spare a few moments to have a look.

Believe it or not!

A drunken Russian Orthodox priest accidentally set off a hand grenade after baptising a child, injuring himself and the baby’s grandmother. After the baptism he apparently got drunk on spirits and accidentally removed the safety pin from the grenade. Police said the priest so far cannot explain where he got the grenade.    (Ceefax news report)

All Hands to the Vicarage!    Rick Walker

As most of you will have seen, during December and January there have been a lot of builders working in the Vicarage. They have been completing some essential work that is needed to bring the Vicarage up to the required standard (and paid for by the Diocese!) However there is much still to be done! The kitchen in particular was very out of date, and Geoff Moss and the team have just fitted a new kitchen to bring that important room up to a similar high standard. Now we are planning the decoration for the rest of the house in order that we can welcome Father Neil to the parish. As you can imagine, with five bedrooms and several reception rooms to decorate, there is a lot of work ahead.

Rather than having fixed working sessions where people can go and help to decorate, Geoff is looking for helpers to take on part of a room such as the skirting boards, painting walls, or perhaps some window frames. The work will be done at a time that is convenient to you and not necessarily during a fixed working evening. Hopefully this will suit everybody and allow us to share the work between more of us. Geoff will be putting up a list at the back of Church asking for volunteers very soon. If you feel you can help please add your name to this list and indicate which job you feel you can tackle. Please be generous with your offers: THERE`S A LOT TO DO.

Sonnet for the Centenary

They built in trust before the houses came
Foursquare uncompromising brick and stone
And gave their church a fearful martyr’s name
To mark its witness where it stood alone.

Thus Douglas Horsfall`s bounty came to be,
Founded in faith, sailing against the tide
People and priests one in adversity
With prayer and sacrament their daily guide.

So through a century this temple grew:
Succeeding generations gave their best
To pass this blessing to the steadfast few
Who loved this place and found in Faith their rest.

Ours is that trust: to guard in latter days,
For all who come, a house of prayer and praise.

Chris Price

Public Speaking at the Prince of Wales

Each November, with the encouragement of Fr Dennis, a handful of fifth and sixth form boys from Merchant Taylors` take part in the Anthony Pedlar Public Speaking Competition, sponsored and organised by the Southport Council of Christians and Jews. Contestants have to speak for three minutes only, on a subject given several weeks in advance. Since the outset of the competition in the mid-1980s, single-word subjects have invariably been chosen e.g. Ambition, Responsibilities, Addiction, Intolerance. This year the subject was Inspiration and sixteen-year-old MARK SAUNDERS won the competition with the speech printed below:


The conventional view of inspiration is of an abstract state induced by something or someone that lifts the spirits and motivates or implants ideas that were absent before. Sometimes, inspiration sneaks up on you slowly, other times it is received in a blinding flash for no obvious reason. Either way, it is a sense that sweeps through the brain and body, motivating us to achieve greatness. The ability to inspire conjures up images of great public speakers, virtuous human beings, beautiful visual experiences and evocative music.

The ability to inspire others has had a significant impact on human history and is found in those who have been regarded as great leaders, who change the way we live or think. One thinks almost automatically of Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa and Winston Churchill as inspirational figures. Others such as William Shakespeare, Albert Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci, by their influence on the arts and sciences, are also inspirational.

It has often been said that Winston Churchill was the man who inspired the British people to resist German forces in World War II. What were the characteristics that gave Churchill this property to induce willingness to fight in the British people in the face of overwhelming adversity? It was largely his charisma, his skill as an orator and communicator, and a single-minded determination to pursue what he believed to be right. This was sensed by his audience.

Churchill’s inspirational qualities were, paradoxically, shared with his adversary  Hitler,  so  consider if  you  will,  the  other,  much  darker  side  of  inspiration. Just as a person can be inspired by a great leader or thinker to do good for his fellow man, the same energy unleashed by inspiration can be a force for evil. Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot have all inspired their different subjects. They brainwashed their rapturous followers and inspired them to commit mass murder and other atrocities. Hitler, for example, was able to inspire apparently ordinary people to conspire in the extermination of millions of Jews and ethnic minorities. Therefore, just as inspiration can lift the soul, it can equally lead to the darkest depths of inhumanity.

In conclusion, don’t be taken in by the cosy, rosy and romantic vision of inspiration. It is a potent and potentially dangerous medicine, that should, I believe, carry a Government warning  Caution! Uncontrolled Inspiration can damage your health!

Confirmation 1999

Those who are considering Confirmation in July 1999, when Bishop James Jones will be paying his first visit to St Faith’s, are asked to give their names to JOYCE GREEN. The qualifying lower limit for young candidates is that they must have started secondary education.

Classes will begin around Easter, and will be held weekly, on Tuesday evenings at 6.45 pm for younger candidates and 8.30 pm for adults. These will take place at the home of Joyce Green. Further, more detailed information, will be given nearer to the commencement of the course.

Youth Activities  Dates for your Diary        Denise McDougall

Plans are now well under way for our Centenary Schools Praise broadcast, which will go on air on BBC Radio Merseyside on Mothering Sunday, 14th March. There will be a full rehearsal on Wednesday, 10th February and the actual recording will be made on Thursday, 25th February, both starting at 6.30 pm in church. Seven local primary schools will be taking part, and I look forward to it being a memorable occasion and service. Many thanks to Fr George and to Ged Callacher for their support.

Centenary Report       Chris Price

With the new year, our Centenary Celebrations move into their next phase: planning 1999±s events, as well as looking forward to the Happenings of the Millennium Year. The Centenary Committee will have met by the time this issue appears, and will have looked back on the events of recent months.

Two concerts stand out in the memory. The Ensemble of St Luke’s, a professional quartet of members of the Liverpool Phil, accompanied the choir at Choral Evensong, and then, after wine had been drunk, gave a marvellous programme of classical favourites. Woodlands Hospice gained a goodly sum, and we were again reminded how well music sounds when performed in our central space. We hope the Ensemble will be back before too long.

Soon afterwards, our old friends from the Crosby Symphony Orchestra gave us a Christmas Concert with a difference. Orchestral items were interspersed with accompanied carols sung by our choir, with Ged Callacher making his debut as a conductor and waving his baton as if to the manner born. Here again the sound, and the performance, was splendid, and this is something else we should do again.

We have also enjoyed the preaching of a number of the many priests who either served at St Faith’s or found their vocation here. To date we have heard, and welcomed, Paul Dawson, Myles Davies, Chris Jones, Randell Moll  Derek Clawson and Colin Oxenforth (with over a dozen more lined up over the coming months). Photos of each of these worthies, flanked by assorted clergy and wardens, are among the many items of interest now featuring in changing displays at the back of church. The range of new display boards, together with lighting for them, has been funded by legacies and donations. This was of course also the case with the fine new Votive Candle Stand, which now graces the entrance to the Lady Chapel, and has met with almost unanimous approval. Although the final logistics of its use have yet to be worked out, it is used regularly at service times as a focus of prayer and quiet meditation, and was also the centrepiece of a series of innovative Advent Saturday evening devotions led by Fr Mark, as well as featuring most effectively in the Advent Carol Service.

The story of the stained glass window(s) continues. Now we have at last exhausted the  possibility of re-using glass from a redundant church, we have decided to go for  commissioning new glass,  and have  submitted a sketch by

Eric Salisbury to Linda Walton of the Warrington Design Light Company. It features the church, with representations of worshippers and eucharistic vessels, and includes words from the hymn In our Day of Thanksgiving as well as a dedication to Past Worshippers and a reference to the Centenary. We await further realisation of the design, following which we hope to be able to proceed to the obtaining of the dreaded faculty: our Vicar-designate sits on the Diocesan Advisory Committee for such things, so we need not fear a repetition of the Saga of the Shelf!

The year has seen continuing sales of the various Centenary items produced last year. Centenary Mugs and Cookbooks, Poems from the Back Pew and Notelets remain on sale to visitors and any church members who have yet to fork out. 1999 will, it is hoped, see the publication of a booklet, provisionally entitled Furnishings of Faith. It will be an updated and edited version of the various Newslink articles about the building, fixtures and fittings of the church written by various church members in recent years. Before it is finally put together, we hope to learn a little more about the reredos, and especially the answer to two questions: is it as great a treasure as some experts suggest? and should the surrounds be green rather than the present blue?

1999 will see a continuation of our policy of developing new ideas and looking forward and outward rather than inward and merely backward. Elsewhere you can read about the Schools Praise service, as well as a new Lenten devotion. We would certainly be looking to continue and perhaps expand the summer Open Saturdays with organ recitals which we started last year, and looking forward to what we shall do in the fateful Year 2000. There are several events already scheduled for the first half of 1999, beginning on February 6th with a concert sponsored by the Incorporated Society of Musicians, featuring performances by young finalists from local Associated Board exams. Their secretary is a Roberta Horsfall  an auspicious name for the Centenary! In March there is another Crosby Symphony Orchestra concert, and in May concerts by the Capriol Singers (the Bach B Minor Mass) and the Crosby Gilbert and Sullivan Society. Then in June staff and boys from Merchant Taylors` (including the writer!) perform Images of Liverpool in the Church Hall: it is the story of our city down the ages told in narrative, readings, pictures and music.

The Centenary Committee welcomes all who come to its open meetings, and all with ideas and suggestions. In particular, of course, we look forward hopefully to the arrival of our new Vicar and a chance to go forward together to mark these months and years to the glory of God and in thanksgiving for all that St Faith’s has meant to us. Keep watching this space!

Millennium Moan       John Bowen

1999 is a very significant year for me, not just because it’s the last year of the century and the millennium, but because it is the last full year of my working life. I’m already considering the openings for lively pensioners, jobs like lollipop man, or as I saw advertised in a supermarket, Retail Replenishers (shelf stackers to you).

Yes, on February 28th 2000, I sheathe my pen  professionally that is  for the last time and join that ever increasing and increasingly embarrassing section of the community, The Third Age. Shakespeare numbered it the sixth age The lean and slippered pantaloon, With spectacles on nose and pouch on side. So you can imagine my surprise when my employer included me on a training course to, and I quote Help me attain my full potential and make the most of the exciting new opportunities within the organisation.

I was reminded of my favourite uncle  well he would be any boy’s favourite uncle, as he drove the Aberdeen to Perth railway engine in the great days of steam. (He even drove the King and Queen). Six months before he was due to retire, British Rail sent him on an intensive course to learn to drive diesel engines!

Still, I suppose I should be grateful that my company considers that this old dog can still learn a few new tricks, or more likely, that they are compassionate enough to spare my feeling by including me in a scheme that couldn’t possibly benefit me or them one iota.

Nevertheless, it got me thinking. Surely there should be a course to prepare people for retirement, especially, as I’m reliably informed, the over 60±s are the fastest-growing group in divorce statistics. This I believe is due to the fact the men are living longer into retirement and being confounded nuisances around the home!

Course One for men would include such essential training as:
       (a)   How to keep from under your wife’s feet
       (b)   Learning to accept that your wife has successfully done the shopping
                for years, and doesn’t really need your expert advice.
Perhaps Newslink readers could suggest some other subjects. I’m sure the editor would be glad to receive them, and I`d certainly find them invaluable.

If you’re a Classic FM listener, you may already be aware of this poem  it came first in that radio station’s humorous poem poll last year.  The true identity of the author is unknown  the poem itself was discovered stuffed behind the vestry door of All Saints Church in Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield. So, especially for the ladies on the non-organ side of the choir stalls ...

The Alto’s Lament    by Bob the Organist

It’s tough to be an alto when you’re singing in the choir
The sopranos get the twiddly bits that people all admire.
The basses boom like loud trombones, the tenors shout with glee,
But the alto part is on two notes (or if you’re lucky, three).
And when we sing an anthem and we lift our hearts in praises
The men get all the juicy bits and telling little phrases.
Of course the trebles sing the tune  they always come off best;
The altos only get three notes and twenty two bars rest.
We practice very hard each week from hymn-book and the Psalter,
But when the conductor looks at us, our voices start to falter.
Too high! Too low! Too fast! - you held that note too long!
It doesn’t matter what they do  it’s certain to be wrong!
Oh! Shed a tear for altos, they’re the Martyrs and they know,
In the ranks of choral singers they’re considered very low.
They are so very umble that a lot of folks forget em;
How they’d love to be sopranos, but their vocal chords won’t let em!
And when the final trumpet sounds and we are wafted higher,
Sopranos, basses, tenors  they’ll be in the Heavenly Choir.
While they sing Alleluia! to celestial flats and sharps,
The altos will be occupied with polishing the harps.

(Supplied by Andrew Walker)

Flower Arranging

A big thank you to all the faithful flower arrangers who have helped over the past year. Your talents are much appreciated. There are, however, several vacancies in the rota for 1999.

Please think seriously about filling one of these gaps. If you haven’t tackled the job before and maybe feel nervous or hesitant, someone will help you. It can be a pleasant pastime.

I hope everyone has by now seen the beautifully-made new corner shelf next to the Roll of Honour in the Lady Chapel. It is dedicated to the memory of Elsie Bell and Ethel Green, who were both keen and talented flower arrangers.

Our grateful thanks go to Chris Dawson for his expertise in making the shelf.

(And the grateful thanks of the people of St Faith’s for all the hard work and beautiful flowers that have graced St Faith’s in the past year due to the efforts of Mary and the Flower People Ed.)

Centenary Cook Book

One or two delicious-looking recipes from Marie Bramwell have, by mistake, been left out of the Cook Book. These have now been printed on a loose sheet.

If you would like one to stick into the back of your copy, please see Mary Crooke. All unsold copies have had the extra recipes inserted. Plenty of copies available for sale at only £2.50.

Mary Crooke