The Parish Magazine of St Faith`s Church, Great Crosby
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A Clarion Call
for the New Year
Trumpet of God, sound high,
Till the hearts of the heathen shake,
And the souls that in slumber lie
At the voice of the Lord awake;
Till the fenced cities fall
At the blast of the Gospel call,
Trumpet of God, sound high!
Hosts of the Lord, go forth:
Go, strong in the power of his rest.
Till the south be at one with the north,
And peace upon east and west;
Till the far-off lands shall thrill
With the gladness of God‘s good will,
Hosts of the Lord, go forth!
Come, as of old, like fire
O force of the Lord, descend,
Till with love of the world‘s Desire
Earth burn to its utmost end;
Till the ransomed people sing
To the glory of Christ the King,
Come, as of old, like fire!
FROM THE MINISTRY TEAM January 2004
Faith - in our future!
This is the theme of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral's Centenary
year - 2004. Many special services and events are taking place; each
will have its own 'day'
at the Cathedral. Ours will be 3rd July 2004. For the first time the Queen will visit Liverpool Cathedral for the Royal Maundy Service.
On January 14th the Dean of Liverpool, Bishop Rupert Hoare,
visit Saint Faith's to celebrate the High Mass and bless our new statue
of Saint Faith. He will no
doubt pick up on the theme of pilgrimage in his sermon as we at S. Faith's will not only join in the celebrations at our cathedral in 2004 but will also be going to
Conques on pilgrimage at S. Faith‘s-tide.
We already have statues, icons and some beautiful stained
All these things enhance the beauty of our church building and are, in
some cases, a focus for our
devotion. The only trouble is, how do we know what Saint Faith looked like? We don‘t and I guess it will be quite some time before we do. Some of you may find out
earlier than me, perhaps I shall find out before you. Who knows?
We have a statue of Mary here in the Lady Chapel. How do we
that is what she looked like? Come to think of it, can we really be
that we have a true
likeness of Our Lord in the Chapel of the Cross or in the Reredos? In each case, if we waited until we had a proven authentic likeness and image then Christian
churches throughout the world would be very dull, bland and uninspiring places.
Why do we bother with religious pictures, with depictions of
in various art forms? We bother because we try to make sense of the
picture. Of course we
don‘t come to church to worship a crucifix, an icon, a statue, a crib figure; they are there to help us see the bigger picture. Mary, for example, is so often pictured
holding Christ out in front of her. The Orthodox tradition names her 'Theotokos' -™ meaning, literally ?God-bearer'. Such images remind us, or ought to remind us, of
our duty to bring Christ to the world.
A crucifix can seem to some quite bloody and gory - yet as we
gaze upon a crucifix, or a cross, we are reminded of the pain and
endured by Our Lord out of
love for sinful humanity. For many here at S. Faith's the Stations of the Cross are important devotions during Lent. The Stations have no real faces, we can't be exactly sure how the people looked on the Way of the Cross, but nevertheless the message comes through quite clearly.
The statue of Saint Faith which will shortly be ours will
to us of her life. The red of her robe, reminding us of the blood shed
by her, and other martyrs, out of
dedication to Christ and his Church. The palm held in her hand being an ancient symbol of a martyr. The book held close to her representing he faithfulness to God in
St. Faith is patron saint of pilgrims, prisoners and soldiers;
her relics were taken from Agen to Conques on 14th January in the year
866. I am very excited by the fact
that 35 people have definitely signed up to go to Conques on Pilgrimage next Saint Faith‘s-tide. But - the question on so many lips, did she really exist? We know that
she has been in the Calendar of Saints‘ Days in the Book of Common Prayer since 1549.
In the Diocese of Portsmouth, one of the five Churches
to her is the Church of Saint Faith, Havant, whose list of Rectors goes
back to 1249. From sometime
in the 14th Century Town Festivals were held on her feast day. They still continue today, though not in October but August.
The parish of Saint Faith, Kelsern in the Lincoln
is a church standing on the site of a deserted medieval village, the
of which are still visible. That
church of S. Faith has an ancient foundation with fragments of 14th. century glass in the windows as well as other notable stained windows designed by Sir Ninian
The parish of St. Faith‘s, Newton Longville, in the Diocese of
Oxford gives its second Rector as dating from the year 1278. Their
notes a Rector even before
that but gives no dates. There are chapels dedicated to S. Faith in Tewkesbury Abbey, St. Paul‘s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. The chapel to S. Faith in
Westminster Abbey was built in the 1250s. The 13th century wall painting in that chapel shows St Faith wearing a crown and holding the symbol of her martyrdom, a
gridiron. The mortal remains of Lord Tennyson, who died on S. Faith‘s day 1892, lie in St. Faith‘s Chapel in Westminster Abbey, along with those of Geoffrey
Chaucer, Edmund Spenser, and Charles Dickens.
There are in total 35 churches dedicated to her in the Church
of England to say nothing of the many churches in other parts of the
Kingdom, on the continent, in
America, Australia, Canada and no doubt other parts of the world. And, I am told, a window to her in Crosby United Reformed Church! Not bad for someone who may not have existed! Can so many people throughout the centuries have got it wrong?
The statue we will shortly have, indeed all the treasures we
in this building, are not here to detract us from our worship of God,
as an aid to bring us closer to
We are part of that great fellowship - the Communion of
In baptism we don‘t just join the Church of England but the one Holy,
Church - everyone baptised in the name of the Holy Trinity is a brother and sister in Christ. Baptism is the beginning of a journey with God - that journey doesn‘t
end at the completion of our earthly lives; we continue to journey closer to God and are welcomed, by his mercy and grace, into his kingdom.
There with Angels, and Archangels, with Mary the great Mother
of God, Saint Faith our Patron and the whole company of heaven we will
take our place. We will
worship and adore him for ever. That is our ultimate destiny. It is no mere fantasy. It is no optional extra. Both the Holy Scriptures and the Catholic tradition of the
church make that fact plain. Take away that vision of the whole of creation worshipping at the throne of God and there is no heart to the Christian Faith. It is where God ultimately wants us to be - whether we can comprehend it or not. We have been created to love and serve God in this life and to be happy with him in the next.
Do I think S. Faith existed? No. I think she exists. When we talk about our life in Christ, there is only the present tense. The saints, and all who have gone before us, are part of our family here and now.
I spoke of Mary being named 'Theotokos'. Whilst running this
through the spell-checker it suggested that I didn‘t mean Theotokos but
Text Books! It stirred
a thought in me as to whether my Christian Faith is something to be approached academically, going with what can be proved, what the history pages say. Or I can
move on from the history books and text books and seek to make it come alive in many different ways. Do we want a 'text-book‘ faith or a faith which is constantly
open to seeking and searching?
There is one phrase of the late Cardinal Hume which I always
an encouragement when I am frustrated by being a constantly-failing
being. He says ?saints
have a past; sinners have a future‘.
That sentiment echoes the words of the blessing Bishop Nigel
on S. Faith‘s Day: 'May Christ, who makes saints of sinners, who has
remember today, raise and strengthen you that you may transform the world'.
We thank God that the saints - most especially our own patron
- continue to point us to him. As we look forward to a year of
in 2004 may we, in our
turn, lead lives which also point people to the love of God. Let us have faith in our future, inspired by the witness of our special friend in heaven, Saint Faith.
With my love and prayers,
Dates for the Diary
Thursday 1st January 2004
DAY OF PRAYER FOR WORLD PEACE
12noon Solemn Mass with prayers for Peace
followed by drinks in the Upper Room
Sunday 4th January 2004
EPIPHANY SONGS OF PRAISE
In S. Mary‘s Waterloo at 6.00pm
Followed by mulled wine and mince pies
(please note there will be no Compline and Benediction in S. Faith‘s that day)
Tuesday 6th January 2004
THE CELEBRATION OF THE EPIPHANY
8.00pm PROCESSION AND HIGH MASS
Wednesday 14th January 2004 8.00 pm
HIGH MASS OF SAINT FAITH
On the Feast of the translation of her relics from Agen to Conques
Celebrant and Preacher: The Right Reverend Dr Rupert Hoare
(Dean of Liverpool Cathedral)
to include the blessing of the new statue of Saint Faith.
followed by wine and 'nibbles'
Crosby Bible Society Action Group
invites YOU to a
200 years of making the Bible heard.
Includes: raffle, displays and stalls
Entrance 50p (including coffee and biscuits)
St Luke‘s Church Hall, Great Crosby
Saturday 10 January, 10.00 — 11.30 am
Raising awareness of Bible Society work locally and globally
Points from the PCC
... some of the issues raised and reports given at the December 4th meeting of the PCC
The FRIENDS OF SAINT FAITH'S had been launched, with some 75
supporters of the church having been sent information packs: replies
coming in. It was hoped that the new network would soon feature on the church website. (no sooner said than done! Ed.)
Fr Neil announced two special ADVENT SERVICES. One would be a
Taize-type service of meditation and Benediction, the other a
of penitence and
reconciliation in preparation for Christmas.
THE TREASURER reported that all past interest-free loans had
been repaid and we had not had to withhold any quota payments to our
at Church House.
Some £1,800 had been given to various causes. The 100+ club had raised £3,650 and other fundraising activities £4,700. We were trying to re-establish a reserve fund
to meet unseen contingencies.
Future PARADE SERVICES would feature a greater contribution
our various youth organisations, and the service on the first Sunday of
each month would be
made more child-friendly and possibly a little shorter.
CHURCHES TOGETHER IN WATERLOO had dropped the ?and Seaforth‘
now that St Thomas, Seaforth was no longer part of the group. There was
on the possible reorganisation of the local Anglican churches, but deliberations were ongoing. Fr Neil reported that St Mary‘s had worked hard to get rid of their
overdraft and would be starting 2004 in a positive financial situation.
Despite fears, the recent Diocesan QUINQUENNIAL INSPECTION had reported that St Faith‘s was basically in good shape and that only minor maintenance work needed to be done.
Other matters discussed included the formation of a MISSION
the hope of using FAIR TRADE products, the need for more t.l.c. on the
REST memorial stones, the desirability of a second Votive Candle Stand - and the debate as to whether the CHURCH HALL MIRRORS were made of glass or
Worth a Smile?
Two entertaining laugh-lines from the Daily Telegraph, this
from the pen of Caroline Chartres. Bishop-watchers will recognise her
the wife of the Bishop of
London, Richard Chartres — who, incidentally, accompanied Robert Runcie when he made his first visit here as Archbishop of Canterbury. With so distinguished a
pedigree, the editor is sure that feminists and/or the faint-hearted will not take offence.
The first is a dialogue between a lady driver and a policeman,
after the latter had stopped the former driving the wrong way up a
street. 'Excuse me, madam‘,
says the constable, ?Do you know where you were going?' 'No officer,' replies the lady, 'but it can't be anywhere worth going to. Everybody else is coming
The second, from a greetings card, is a dialogue between two
'Mother Superior,' says the first. 'Did you know we have a case of
in the convent?'
'Oh, good', says the Reverend Mother. 'I was getting a bit tired of the Beaujolais.'
From the Registers
Burial of Ashes
16 November Frederick Gates Smith
7 December Jude Evan Smith and
Zara Elizabeth Smith
children of Alan and Simon
Harry John Morley and
Abigail Erin Morley
children of Ronnie and Jody
Emily Moira Mathers
daughter of Amanda
Poems for Christmas and Epiphany
A Christmas Carol
The Christ-child lay on Mary‘s lap,
His hair was like a light.
(O weary, weary was the world,
But here is all aright.)
The Christ-child lay on Mary‘s breast,
His hair was like a star.
(O stern and cunning are the Kings,
But here the true hearts are.)
The Christ-child lay on Mary‘s heart,
His hair was like a fire.
(O weary, weary, is the world.
But here the world‘s desire.)
The Christ-child stood at Mary‘s knee,
His hair was like a crown,
And all the flowers looked up at him,
And all the stars looked down.
Walter de la Mare
Dim-berried is the mistletoe
With globes of sheenless grey,
The holly mid ten thousand thorns
Smoulders its fires away;
And in the manger Jesus sleeps
This Christmas Day.
Bull unto bull with hollow throat
Makes echo every hill,
Cold sheep in pastures thick with snow
The air with bleating fill;
While of his mother‘s heart this Babe
Takes His sweet will.
All flowers and butterflies lie hid,
The blackbird and the thrush
Pipe but a little as they flit
Restless from bush to bush
Even to the robin Gabriel hath
Cried softly 'Hush!‘
Now night‘s astir with burning stars
In darkness of the snow;
Burdened with frankincense and myrrh
And gold the Strangers go
Into a dusk where one dim lamp
Burns softly, lo!
No snowdrop yet its small head nods
In winds of winter drear;
No lark at casement in the sky
Sings matins shrill and clear;
Yet in this frozen mirk the Dawn
Breathes, Spring is here!
Sing, happy child, Noel, Noel,
Bright shines Orion‘s sword
Where every star stands sentinel
And watchful of their Lord.
Sweetly the carol singers speak,
They fill the firelit hall,
Singing of Mary, fair and meek,
And Jesus in the stall.
Hark, happy child, to what they say,
Lock in your heart their song
Lest you should lose it on the way
When every road seems long.
You will recall the spiced scent
Of leaves where no winds stir,
When gold and frankincense are spent,
And nothing‘s left but myrrh.
The Ending of the Year
When trees did show no leaves,
And grass no daisies had,
And fields had lost their sheaves,
And streams in ice were clad,
And day of light was shorn,
And wind had got a spear,
Jesus Christ was born
In the ending of the year.
Like green leaves when they grow,
He shall for comfort be;
Like life in streams shall flow
For running water He;
He shall raise hope like corn
For barren fields to bear,
And therefore He was born.
In the ending of the year.
Like daisies to the grass,
His innocence He‘ll bring;
In keenest winds that pass
His flowering love shall spring;
The rising of the morn
At midnight shall appear,
Whenever Christ is born
In the ending of the year.
The Coming of the Magi
'A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.'
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.
Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.
All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.
FRIENDS AND fAMILY
... it's good to worship!
One of the encouraging signs of hope at S. Faith‘s over the
few months has been the sounds of (sometimes) restless young children
Church! There are a few
young babies who, in case we hadn‘t notice them, gently let us know they are there! I am not saying this as a sly way of moaning about noise; personally I have always
welcomed the sound of young babies in church, believing it to be a healthy sign that the church might have a future!! It‘s also encouraging to think that there might be an
opportunity to start a crèche. Let‘s hope!
I recently held a meeting in the vicarage attended by leaders
of the Uniformed Organisations of both churches. Amongst many things we
discussed details of
arrangements of Sunday Eucharist when there is a Parade Service. How can we encourage more members of our Uniformed Organisations to attend? What do we do
with them when they are there? What do we offer them when they are there? What can they offer us? How can we make the liturgy something which is truly shared by
people of all ages? Or do we secretly want them to follow the old maxim that ?children should be seen and not heard‘ and use them as an audience, watching the
grown-ups doing worship ?properly!‘ (judging by the bickering, bitchiness and quarrelling that can sometimes take place in churches straight after the service I
sometimes wonder what ?worshipping properly‘ actually means!)
Although I understand the thinking behind the term ?family
we must realise that that term can be as unwelcoming for some as it is
welcoming for others. It might
appeal to young people with children, it might also make other people feel that the service is not for them (e.g. single people, couples who for whatever reason do not or cannot have children, people who are widowed). We really mean all-age worship and in an ideal world I believe this would be worship which doesn‘t mean that
children take ?every job going‘, but that some children and some young people ™ together with older people ™ share out the duties and tasks as evenly and as
regularly as possible. But there is a danger of labelling a service ?all-age worship‘. Does that imply by default that on the other Sundays worship is not for people of all
I believe that we sometimes have to look at our own home
and see what lessons we can learn. Many of you reading this have
and no doubt you
brought your children to baptism, introduced them to Sunday School. Perhaps they went on to be confirmed? Are they still part of the worshipping family? Are your grand-children coming regularly? We talk about reaching those 'out there‘ - that is a difficult thing. If our own family members aren‘t coming to church any more, even though they have been encouraged to have an experience of the church, how much more difficult to expect those with no religious background at all to embrace the Christian Faith.
Ask your own family members why they don‘t come - but be
for their answer! Some of my family members tell me it‘s because the
has nothing to
say which is relevant; it is dull and boring. And yet when my niece and nephew stayed with me a couple of months ago they thoroughly enjoyed joining in with the
Sunday School at S. Mary‘s and I guess if they lived here they would be regular (with their uncle as the Vicar they would be!). If however my brother isn‘t taking them
or encouraging them to go (to say nothing of setting an example by going to church himself!) how are they going to know what is on offer?
I hope that in 2004 we will see further developments in our
life when our young people are in church. At present they read lessons,
lead prayers, take up
the elements and help as required in sermons. I hope to see more occasions when a particular group may take responsibility for the sermon-slot. Let the Guides tell us
why we bring toys to church in Advent for needy families. Let the Cubs tell us why we should take Christian Aid week seriously. Let us use their experiences and more
importantly let us encourage them to think they have something to contribute (and let us believe they have something to contribute).
I also hope that different groups can take responsibility for
choosing the hymns or songs we sing. They might not choose ?grown-up‘
or hymns which would win
prizes in poetry competitions. Good. Let us have more variety (so long as we don‘t let Fr. Dennis loose with a tambourine again!). There may well be people who look
down their noses in a snobbish way at 'children‘s hymns‘ - thank God we don‘t have any in our churches!
At our Away-Day last May both PCCs explored how we can involve
younger people more in the worshipping life of our church. Let us put
words into actions in
the coming months. Before I arrived Fr. Mark had begun a series of talks looking at a congregation for a new Millennium. The new millennium is here but have we lost a vision of what the church should be in that new millennium? Did we ever have a vision to start with?
The PCC is anxious to form a 'Mission Group‘. This will not be
a group going around the parish knocking on doors asking people if they
have been saved (though it
would be fascinating to see what the results might be if we did that!). It is a group of people who will try to look at the many and varied strands of church life and see if
there are ways in which we can improve our contact with the community; whether that be in communications, liturgy, social involvement or some other way. It is good to worship with our friends and within the wider family of the Church. Let us hope that 2004 will see much more growth and development in this area.
If you are keen to join the Mission Committee then please note the date of the first meeting: Monday 2nd February 2004 at 8pm in the Upper Room.
Two Reflections for the Feast of the Epiphany
Canon Eric James
In all the great religions, the idea of pilgrimage has played
an important part. Alongside it, there has often been the idea of the
Journey. Both these ideas meet, it
seems to me, in the journey of the Wise Men to the manger at Bethlehem, which is celebrated by many on the Feast of the Epiphany. All this was the subject of one of
the best-known poems of T.S.Eliot, which he published as a kind of' ?pamphlet for Christmas‘. It begins with these five lines:
A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey;
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.
What many people did not notice, was that those first five
had quotation marks round them. Eliot had not written those lines
he had lifted them, unaltered,
from a seventeenth-century sermon of Lancelot Andrewes. It had, in fact, been preached on Christmas Day 1622, before the Court of King James, when Andrewes
was Dean of Westminster.
There‘s no doubt that Eliot thought the prose of Andrewes
with the finest English writing, not only of that time but of any time.
He also reckoned 19
Andrewes to be a superb preacher. But it was not simply Andrewes‘ prose that had so greatly affected Eliot. It‘s not too much to say that Andrewes‘ sermon had
affected Eliot‘s soul.
The Journey of the Magi is a poem about the painful necessity
of rebirth for us all — which is itself a kind of journey from Death to
Life — which Eliot felt he must
describe in his poem in intensely personal terms. Peter Ackroyd, in his biography of Eliot, calls it ?the poem of a convert‘. It‘s certainly a ?personal testimony‘ to a
journey Eliot himself had made.
On the Feast of the Epiphany, perhaps those first five lines
Eliot‘s poem may serve to remind us of that spiritual journey we all
to make — which is often quite
painful — though:
Journeys end in Lover‘s meeting,
Every Wise Man‘s son doth know.
The Rt Rev. Richard Harries, Bishop of Oxford
Epiphany in the early days of the church was much more
than Christmas. In the west the feast is associated above all with the
visit of those three mysterious
strangers to the Christ child. Who were they? What were they like? The story has both haunted and fired the imagination of people in every age. By the fifth century the
three magi had become three kings; by the eighth century they had got names; and by the fourteenth Kaspar had become a Moor. The story has inspired innumerable
painters. Christmas cards often show reproductions of some of the many famous paintings: depicting the Kings in all their finery kneeling down before the Christ child. In our own time the story has inspired novelists and poets. In this story, perhaps more than any other, we are conscious of the unity of religion and culture in our heritage and of what a rich treasury of painting, music and poetry it is.
But what did Matthew himself mean by the story? One of the
of modern biblical scholarship is that the writers of the Gospels
dull chaps just copying out legal documents; they were artists in
their own right. They had a point of view, a story to tell. And Matthew
gives us two clues to what he meant. First, you remember there is
a famous story in the Old Testament about the visit of the Queen of
to King Solomon with her tribute of gold and spices. Well, a commentary
on that story mentions that she was guided by a star. The second
clue is provided by another passage in Matthew, chapter 12, verse 42,
Jesus says to his followers:
'The Queen of the South will arise at the judgement with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.‘
Something greater than Solomon is here. That is what Matthew wanted to say in this story. As the Queen of Sheba came from the South, guided by a star, so now three sages come, also guided by a star, to worship before the Christ child; one greater than Solomon even from his birth, the King of Kings. That‘s how Matthew interpreted the event. What should we make of it?
Here is the last part of the story in the Authorised Version:
'And lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with
exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when the had
opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.'
The Dieter's Prayer
Fr Dennis‘s New Year message of encouragement and cheer to the Vicar,
with thanks to Joan Utley!
Bless my bathroom scales, Lord
Each week as I step on.
Help me lose a stone or two
And not put any on.
Keep me from temptation,
From chocolate and chips.
Keep my will-power going,
Just in case it slips.
Help me count the calories,
Steer me away from sweets.
Keep my sweating palms away
From naughty fattening treats.
Keep me from the cake shop, Lord,
Away from buns and crumpet,
And if a cake is in my hand
Please give me strength to dump it.
Help me enjoy my salad,
And foods to make me slim.
Keep me on the 'Low Fat' track,
So one day I'll be thin!