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

Saint Faith’s Prayer for Mission

Faithful God, in baptism you have adopted us as your children,
made us members of the body of Christ and chosen us as inheritors of your kingdom:
bless our plans for mission and outreach; guide us to seek and do your will;
empower us by your Spirit to share our faith in witness and to serve,
and send us out as disciples of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.



From the Ministry Team: January 2006

Dear friends,

Recently I went into a packed church. You knew it was a church as there were dozens and dozens of candles alight (although the slightly strange thing was that people were happy and enjoying themselves!) There was a tremendous atmosphere. Loads of people wanting seats. The church in question?  A 200-year-old Polish Catholic church on Seel Street.

No longer used for worship, it is a fantastic Cuban restaurant. It's an amazing building, quirkily but respectfully restored by architect Richard Eastwood, complete  with the original, hypnotically-lit altar, stained glass windows and resplendent theological paintings. Many of the original features have been preserved but quite radically juxtaposed with elements of contemporary design including a dark, deliciously glossy bar, Havana-style booths, ferns and unique chandeliers made from what look suspiciously like antlers. There were great colours: opulent reds, dark greens and browns. Textures: leathers, perspex and smooth wood. And the accessory of choice? Candles. Lots of half-melted dripping ones. Their bill for candles must be higher than ours!

But in all seriousness, it is a chilling reminder of what happens when church buildings are no longer required for worship or what happens when we simply cannot afford to maintain them.

We all know of course that we do not need our current church building in order for us to witness in an authentic way to the Christian faith in Waterloo. But it does help us without doubt!

By this stage the figures are well known to you all regarding our budget for 2006. The time and energy given to worrying about money is regrettable although understandable. In an ideal world, there are so many more important things that we as Christians should be concerned with. But we have to live in the real world and face some hard facts, namely that if we are to maintain a presence in this area, and a vibrant one at that, it costs money. Sorry, but that is the fact of the matter!

By the time you read this you will all have received a letter from me (or you should have) asking you to review your giving to the Church. Early responses are tremendously heartening and it is good to see new people joining the planned giving scheme or asking to donate to the church via their bank. With a generous response to this campaign we can look to our future with confidence. How sad it would be if we ever got to the stage where we couldn't afford to maintain S. Faith's and our lovely church was turned into a swanky restaurant or a block of designer flats. We must work hard to ensure that this will never be the case.

Some say the Church of England has reached a stage of crisis. But as we often know from events in our own lives, crisis can be less about 'breakdown' and often more about 'breakthrough'. A time for new opportunities.  Something good can come out of something bad. That is, after all, the over-riding message of the Cross.

For the church today, what should be firmly on our agenda is the opportunity to proclaim the Gospel in a new and fresh way.

But it's not just about dealing with empty pews and money. If that's what we think we are about we are wrong. The basis for true and authentic mission is about something quite different. If we think mission is on the agenda because we're short of money and numbers then we have lost the plot big time!

Mission is, quite simply, bringing others to the joy of the Gospel which we experience, or should do! Mission is the over-riding theme shining out of the Crib this Christmas. The message of the Crib is that God is love and His love is for all. Our response to the love displayed in the Crib must be the desire to share that with those in our community. Any other response is quite frankly selfish or ungrateful!

The Christian Gospel is needed more than ever in our world today. Please do all you can to help us bring that Gospel to the people committed to our care.

With my love and prayers as we celebrate the birth of our Saviour.

Father Neil

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.'
 from `The Desert ' by Minnie Louise Haskins. 
Quoted by King George VI in his Christmas Day broadcast, 1939.

Dates for the Diary

SUNDAY 1st  January
Please note time: 10.30am    Family Eucharist in S. Mary's for both congregations
followed by a glass of champagne to welcome the new year.

Eternal Lord God, we give you thanks for bringing us through the changes
of time to the beginning of another year. Forgive us the wrong we have
done in the year that is past, and help us to spend the rest of our days to
your honour and glory; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Friday 6th January
7.30am Eucharist (said)
7.00pm Procession and High Mass. (please note early start)
Preacher: Fr. Bruce Walles (Vicar of S. Giles's, Aintree) followed by Epiphany Party in S. Faith's Hall. Tickets on sale now. We will be joined by friends from other parishes so get your party tickets early to avoid disappointment!

        Eternal God, who by the shining of a star
        led the wise men to the worship of your Son:
        guide by his light the nations of the earth,
        that the whole world may behold your glory;
        through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Sunday 8th January
11am     High Mass with renewal of Baptismal promises
Preacher: Fr. Derek Lloyd (S. Andrew with S. Margaret and S. James, Burnley)

        Grant us, Lord, who behold your glory,
        to drink from the waters of the new creation
        flowing from the river of life at your baptism.
        Give us the wings of the Spirit
        that we may hasten to meet you at your coming,
        and praise you, with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
        now and for ever.  Amen.

Saturday 21st January at 7pm
Fish & Chip Supper and Quiz Night

Sunday 22nd January
11am    Sung Eucharist with prayers for Unity
    Preacher: Fr. Sean Thornton (The Transfiguration, Kensal Rise, London)

Eternal God and Father,
whose Son at supper
prayed that his disciples might be one,
as he is one with you;
draw us closer to him,
that in common love and obedience to you
we may be united to one another
in the fellowship of the one Spirit,
that the world may believe that he is Lord,
to your eternal glory;
through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday 2nd February
7.30am    Eucharist (said)
10.30am    Eucharist with hymns in S. Mary's
8.00 pm     High Mass by Candlelight & Procession of Light
    Preacher: Fr. Robert Hart (S. James, Haydock)

Almighty Father,
whose Son Jesus Christ was presented in the Temple
and acclaimed the glory of Israel 
and the light of the nations:
grant that in him we may be presented to you
and in the world may reflect his glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

An Epiphany Reflection

Apart from churches, which are often locked, art galleries, it could be said, are the only places where Christianity is publicly celebrated. In the National Gallery there is a sumptuous painting by the Dutch painter Gossaert, The Adoration of the Kings, which celebrates the festival of the Epiphany.

The picture is a striking reminder of how familiar biblical stories have always been clothed for their own day. (In the National Gallery, there are other quite different
interpretations of the Epiphany - one by Bruegel and another by Botticelli.) Gossaert has three Kings: Caspar keels in front of Mary, with his gift of gold. Melchior with his companions presents myrrh. Balthazar, the black King, offers frankincense. Parts of the Christmas story are mixed up in all this: Joseph looks on, there is an ass, and an ox, and a glimpse of some shepherds and sheep. In the sky the angels sing the Gloria, and in the very centre of the picture there is the star.

But in Matthew's story, the bearers of the gifts have no names. They are not Kings. They are astrologers - the wisest of the wise, and Matthew does not say how many astrologers there were.

Matthew is not an original writer. He embellishes motifs from the Old Testament: 'The Kings of Tarshish and of the Isles shall give presents: the Kings of Arabia and
Sala shall bring gifts.' There is also a direct allusion to an Old Testament story: Moses is leading the people to the promised land. He meets a wicked King, Balak of
Moab, who wants to destroy him. Balak summons from the east a famous foreign magician, Balaam, to help him. They come, but instead of cursing Moses, Balaam
says, 'There shall come a man out of Israel's seed, and he shall rule many nations... I shall see him, but not now. I behold him, but not close; a star shall rise from Jacob and a man shall come forth from Israel.' (Numbers 24:7-17) David is the star that Balaam had foreseen - the one who would be the true King, and later these verses were taken to be a reference to the Messiah, the anointed one from David's ancestors.

But only the astrologers understand. Herod is troubled and 'all Jerusalem with him' - a hint of the passion to come.

The appeal of this story lies, as so many pictures of the Epiphany show, in the powerful, the rich and the wise together with the poor, the shepherds and all creation
- the sheep, the oxen and cows and the asses worshipping and adoring the Christ Child. It is this which evokes a capacity to search for the truth and to worship God whoever we are, and wherever we are from.

The story does not make dogmatic statements. It is not a lecture in doctrine or theology. It does not bully or cajole its readers into saying that the only way to God
is through Jesus Christ. The story is that of testimony, and confession; it is a paean of love, a response to what was revealed of God in Christ, assimilated and written down after the Resurrection.

Fr Dennis

Letter to the Editor

Dear Chris

Rita Woodley sends me a copy of Newslink every month, which I find very interesting. The November issue I found, as usual, full of good topics, including,
along with the Patronal Festival, mention of the grave of Frank Hornby in Maghull.

My family were builders (real builders) in Liverpool, with a company founded by my grandfather, John Williams. They built, extended and maintained the Meccano
factory in Binns Road over many years. I remember uncoulored Meccano and the very first Dinky Toys (I'll bet Trevor wishes he had kept some - worth a fortune
now! Ed.)

You may remember, I was over forty years at S. Faith's and, briefly, Warden. The first Patronal Festivals, if they were on a weekday, were celebrated by a Eucharist in the morning at 8 o'clock - nothing more! The nearest Sunday was the celebration.

Newslink is passed to a choir member of Conwy Parish Church, S. Mary's. He always says that if he lived in Crosby, S. Faith's would be his church.

Yours faithfully,

Trevor Williams

A Day Away at Noddfa
Fred Nye

This year the Ministry team's annual awayday was held for the first time at Noddfa, a conference centre run by a religious community on the beautiful North Wales
coast. As we arrived we were greeted initially, not by the nuns, but by a group of hens clucking around inside the front porch (the Lay Sisters?)

I guess the day's discussion could be summed up under the general heading of 'Spirituality, old and new'. We began by giving a brief personal account of where
each one of us was in our own spiritual journey, a humbling and moving experience which enriched us all. We felt very strongly that many of our church members could benefit from sharing that same experience. To take this forward, Father Mark will be organising a new 'Christian Basics' course in the New Year. We will be inviting everyone, both existing members of our congregations and those who may be new to 'church' - in fact anyone who wants to explore their experience of life in the light of faith. We agreed that new ways of looking at Christianity should not threaten established patterns of church life: it was a case of 'both-and' rather than 'either-or'. The morning finished with a 'Eucharist in the round' in the chapel.

After an excellent lunch (the venue had been hand-picked by Fr. Mark!) Father Neil encouraged us to think of some other practical ways of sharing and extending our spiritual life. We agreed that we were missing opportunities for sharing the faith with baptism families, and we will be increasing our contact with these families by personal visits from church representatives both before and after the baptism itself. There is much more to baptism than a naming ceremony, and we felt we should
explain, and proclaim, the difference! 

We then grappled with the question of how to sustain existing social groups within our two churches, while at the same time encouraging our members to meet more
widely so as to grow together in faith. We felt that social groups should always advertise their activities widely, and should always have an ethos of being 'open to
all'. A new focus for spirituality and prayer will be provided by the 'Walsingham Circle' which unites both parishes. They will use the Saturday morning Eucharist at
St. Faith's as a special opportunity for intercession and thanksgiving. Again the emphasis will be on openness, and a welcome for anyone, whether 'members' or not.
Discussion continued on new ways in which we can share the life of the spirit more openly. We all hope and pray that the introduction of a monthly all-age Sunday
service at St. Faith's will enable more people to discover the depth and richness of Eucharistic  worship.  We need  a new name for this service:  the best I have heard so far is 'Worship Together': any other ideas please? We also considered our ministry to the housebound: we felt that our team of Eucharistic ministers could offer communion at home on a weekly basis to anyone who so wished. Ideally the sacrament could be taken from church at the end of the Sunday morning Mass, thus emphasising our table fellowship together, and the unity of the Body of Christ.

As we were having tea before leaving Noddfa, we met a group from another church who had also been using the community's facilities. One of them asked me whether we had enjoyed any spiritual sustenance during the day. I confess that, tucking in to the sisters' delicious fruit cake, my mind was on other things. But I had to answer with a convincing 'Yes!'

Remembrance Sunday Remembered
Kevin Walsh

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month we fall silent to remember all those of all nations who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in wars and other conflicts.
This moving tribute is performed in many villages, towns and cities throughout the United Kingdom since the signing of the Armistice in 1918.

On Saturday 12th November last, Sue and I drove south to the home of Vicky and John Riley in Welling, Kent, for what for me was to be one of the most moving
events of my life. We safely arrived in Welling and were met by Vicky's mum and dad, Jenny and Geoff Moss who were to be our hosts whilst Vicky and John enjoyed a well-earned holiday. Evening meal at a local hostelry was followed by wine, good conversation and a Peter Kay DVD back at the house, then bed.

Sunday morning was a crisp cold and frosty one; undeterred Sue, Geoff and I caught an early train into central London. In the big city we walked amongst the already heavy crowds into Whitehall. After the necessary security checks I straightened my tie and checked that my medals were securely in position. Leaving Sue and Geoff at what we thought to be a good viewing point (not such a good photographic position though) near to the Cenotaph I went off to find my fellow NARPO members (National Association of Retired Police Officers), Even amongst the hundreds who had turned out to represent dozens of military and civilian organisations I found column M outside the old War Office and positioned myself among the marchers. Despite the fact that few of us had ever met before I felt that natural inbuilt camaraderie and we bonded like life-long buddies. We chatted, we laughed, we told yarns and, of course, we complained about 'The Job' not being the same any more. 'Better off out of it' seemed to be the resounding attitude of the more mature retirees.

Then at 11 am it was time to remember: remember all those who would never again be able to chat, never again be able to laugh, remember those who would never be going home to loved ones, family or friends, remember those who would never again enjoy the comforts that we take for granted. You could have heard a pin drop amongst those thousands of people. I have heard silence before, but never such a moving silence. It was cold outside, but I felt a spiritual warmth within.

The cannons roared, time to get set for moving off, the bands played, the old, the infirm, the young (and those in between) waited for their turn to proudly parade past the Cenotaph, around the corner, past Prince Charles taking the salute from the dais and on to Horse Guards Parade and dismissal.

It was an honour, a privilege and certainly a pleasure to have taken an active part in what to me was a very moving and emotional occasion. A celebration of life and freedom amongst memories of death and destruction through the sadness and madness of war.

Sadly, on our way back to get our train back, we witnessed a man having a heart attack in Westminster Tube Station and, despite the best efforts of two police
officers, it was clearly obvious that this poor man would not be able to tell anyone about his day out on this particular Remembrance Sunday. May he rest in the peace of the Lord.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.

Yet Another St Faith's...

But this time a fictional one, appearing in Agatha Christie's Miss Marple novel 'A Pocket Full of Rye', in which 'St Faith's Home' is an orphanage where one of the
characters originated.

Eric Salisbury

Preaching Christ the King

A sermon delivered at St Faith's by Fr Mark Waters

The readings today present us with two of the central images of God that we will know in our lives.

Firstly that of shepherd: the idea of God shepherding his people as we heard from the book of Ezekiel earlier on. The most well-known words for this image come from Psalm 23 - 'The Lord's my shepherd, I will not want' - recited at countless funerals, and at many, many other times.. One of the strongest and best-loved images in the bible: turned into many paintings, and church banners and hymns.

It's a pastoral image, drawn from the Hebrew people's occupation as herders of sheep. A natural image of a God who cares passionately. A God who is forever
gathering his people to himself. A God who will not rest until the one lost sheep is returned to the other ninety nine. And a metaphor for Jesus - 'I am the good
shepherd' we hear him saying in John's gospel. I love my sheep and my sheep love me. A role and responsibility which Jesus passed on to Peter, just before his passion and death. Peter, feed my lambs. Look after my sheep. Feed my sheep. The symbol first of the bishop of Rome, the pope, and then of every bishop in every diocese always carrying their crook. The chief pastor.

The shepherd image is about belonging. In order for anyone of us to believe, and to develop in our faith, we need a sense that we belong. This is the starting gate of faith. It's just the same in our human family. Children do not thrive unless they know that they belong. A human life that sets out from the security of a loving home is the life which stands most chance of happiness and fulfilment.

It's the same in our life of faith. Unless at some level we have that strong sense, however identified, that we are loved beyond measure, then our journey of faith is
going to be a more troubled one. And the image of the shepherd is without doubt the most used image in the bible of a God who cares about us and gives us that sense of identity and belonging.

Belonging means knowing where you come from. It's about having an identity; being secure in who you are. For Christians it is knowing that our ultimate home is
with God in Christ - that great Shepherd of the sheep.

The second image of God that we were given in the readings today is a harder one for us to hear, and to deal with. Jesus tells the story of a king who divides the sheep from the goats based upon their treatment of the least in society. This image is of a God who is a judge.  It tells us that some day,  somehow,  we will have  to face the consequences of our actions. And it suggests that this confrontation with our reality as seen and understood by God will be a surprise. The verdict of the king who separated the sheep from the goats was as much of a surprise to those who were praised for their behaviour as those who were condemned. The message for us all is that we will not expect the outcome - we will be surprised.

I want to suggest this morning that every one of us is on a spiritual journey which starts with the idea of God as shepherd, and then invites us to head for the much
tougher idea of a relationship with God which is about changing us, transforming us. This is the spiritual life. Inching along the spiritual path from a sense of basic
security with God to the uncharted territory of understanding the consequences of our behaviour and attitudes and particularly our treatment of other people. From
childlike trust and faith towards taking responsibility for all that we do.

Not surprisingly most of us get stuck on this journey of faith. Mostly in our lives we don't move beyond the idea of faith as a question of belonging.

A sense of belonging is a nice place to be in. We can peer over the wall at the people outside and think ourselves as the chosen ones. We can wrap ourselves in the blanket of church and believe that we have arrived. And most churches in their ministry and mission don't move beyond church as a place to belong.

So strong is this need to belong that the church has turned the idea of belonging into a fine art: usually by making various badges of identification. Some Evangelicals do it with some of their particular understandings of the life of faith. 'Are you saved?' is one of the excluding questions. Or, 'have you been born again?' The implication being of course that the questioner is always in the favoured position, already securely belongs, that they have arrived and the people they are engaging with have not.

In our particular tradition, the Anglo-Catholic one we have got more than our fair share of badges of identification We probably have more excluding factors than
anyone else. I can remember how at theological college unless you had 39 buttons on your cassock you were considered quite beyond the pale. Or unless you had a particular view of the eucharist you hadn't arrived. Our tradition in some ways can be very open and welcoming, but it can also be very forbidding, and very exclusive.

Can you imagine Jesus in the synagogue complaining that a rabbi had only two tassles on his phylactery? Or that only certain people could certain things in the
synagogue? It's exactly what Jesus castigates the Pharisees for. But that is exactly how we often behave.

When we act like that it is probably because we are insecure: unsure of ourselves, and of God's love for us.

And as the church gets more and more marginalized in our society, not surprisingly church folk get even more insecure. Just look at what is happening in the Anglican communion at the moment. All the divides! People maintaining that their way of seeing God is the only way! How ridiculous!

And, not surprisingly, here at St Faith's and St Mary's we are not very much different. The classic phrase of course is 'we've always done it like that'. Or, said
very proudly, I've been going to this church for fifty years, or for however many years. To which the answer should be, so what? The real question is - not how long
you have belonged, but to ask how has that churchgoing changed you, and helped you change the world in which you live?

When we get stuck on the details of the liturgy, or the way in which the church should order its life only through  particular people being able to do certain things, or
the regular round of the same events in our annual calendar organised by the same group of people, it's a pretty strong sign  that we've not got very far on that journey that the readings invite us to this morning. 

The idea of a church with a transformational culture, based on the idea and reality of discipleship, will not spend much time thinking about itself. The gospel this morning reminds us so powerfully that the real journey with God is not concerned with church, that instead we are invited to forget about ourselves and focus on others.

Notice in the gospel story that those who are condemned to the eternal fire by not responding to those who are hungry, or strangers, or naked, or sick or in prison
haven't even noticed that those people exist! While those who are invited to inherit the kingdom haven't noticed because caring for those people has become a way of life for them, what it means to be living out the life of faith.

Of course, there are going to be times for all of us when we need to come back to have that sense of belonging confirmed, when things are difficult in our lives, when
we are in crisis. Then we're going to need our faith and our church as a comfort blanket once more. And that's OK, that's fine: but only if we are also - at other times - making our selves take that extra half-step into that unknown territory of transformation. Moving beyond the church with our faith on a path of discipleship
with a living Lord.

This eucharist should be for us the most comforting thing that happens to us in our week. But, at the same time, it should also be the most disturbing. If both are true
then perhaps we are able to say that we have got some sort of right balance in our life of faith, and that we have truly set out on that journey from belonging towards

Are you comforted by this eucharist this morning? I genuinely hope you are. But are you discomfited and disturbed as well? That's harder, and for you alone to ask
yourself. I hope this is a pastoral place for you, a place of belonging, a place where you know yourself loved to bits by a God who gives his life to us that we might live.

But are you discomforted and disturbed by this eucharist too? Because I also hope that this is a prophetic place for you, in which the prodding of the Spirit stirs up in you a desire for a different sort of life and a different sort of world. That's much harder, and a question for you alone to answer.

The Friends of Saint Faith's

We have decided to re-launch the Friends of St Faith's. A group of Friends has existed for some time now but it has been an informal arrangement and we want to
build on the network of many friends we have both in the parish and further afield.

The Friends of St Faith's is an association which seeks its membership from those who wish to show their support for the church and for its contribution to the
community. Sometimes, Friends are couples who were married at St Faith's, or had their baby baptised there, or they used to attend but have moved away, or can no longer come for health reasons.

The association is managed by a small committee and membership is open to all without qualification.

The aims of the Friends are:

*    To bring together the many people who love and value St Faith's;
*    To encourage and foster a wider awareness and appreciation of the church;
*    To publicise the numerous events and services that take place;
*    To assist the Parochial Church Council in the on-going maintenance of the
fabric of the building.

Benefits of membership include the monthly "Newslink" magazine, a copy of the Annual report and an invitation to an annual Reunion Dinner and other social events in the parish.  The sick will be remembered in our prayers.

Any money received from subscriptions, donations and fundraising events will be used for the maintenance and improvement of the church fabric.

There is a recommended minimum annual subscription of £10 for individuals or £15 for a family.  Cheques should be made payable to "St Faith's PCC" and sent to the Treasurer, David Jones, c/o The Vicarage, Milton Road, Waterloo, Liverpool, L22 4RE. We look forward to hearing from you!

In faith there is both up and down,
both sideways, front and back;
but going forward is the one
direction that we lack.

The boldly onward way of faith
has lost its middle ground,
and now become a cath'lic clique
wherein the pure are found.

All other paths have wandered off,
or so their preachers say,
for they alone hold all the truth
that saves one going astray.

But it is not just "Forward in Faith"
that brings us to our knees;
for at the other end we find
the "Alpha" devotees.

Thrust in our face at every turn,
they claim that in a week
we'll have the gift of many tongues,
including koine Greek.

But that's as far as this path goes;
there's praise but no "Amen!",
for as the closing meal is done,
they sign-up once again!

So, stuck between such two extremes,
the middling church plods on;
in city, village, hamlet, town,
she sings this heartfelt song:

"Come, leave your high and lowly ground!
Step out into the plain;
and sit with us upon the fence,
the spikes will cause no pain!

From here we see that many roads
lead onwards to our home;
no matter if their starting point
was Canterb'ry or Rome.

Let's walk together down the path,
what e'er our stance may be;
we all believe in Jesus Christ:
the Truth that sets us free!"       

(Anon: internet source!)

Pastoral Placement Page

During the month of January we will be welcoming a student from the Northern Ordination Course on placement at S. Faith's and S. Mary's. Josie Williams is
currently serving as a Reader at Christ Church, Bootle, and as part of her training for the ministry she will be with us for a number of weeks sharing in the duties of
preaching and leading parts of the liturgy as well as assisting the Ministry Team with their pastoral work and generally seeing what goes on in a parish of a different
tradition to her own. I know you will give Josie a very warm welcome. Please pray for her as she prepares to come and join us. I have asked Josie to say a few words by way of introduction which are printed below.

Introducing myself...

My name is Josie, I am married and my husband's name is Lew. I live and work in Bootle, my position is Community Development Officer for Christ Church Youth
and Community Centre. My home Church is Christ Church, Bootle, where I have worshipped for many years.

It was here that God called me to his service, first to the role of Licensed Reader and latterly to ordained ministry. As an ordinand, part of my training takes place in a supervised placement. Father Neil has kindly agreed to take on this role for me.

I am looking forward to this experience, to meeting and sharing fellowship in both parishes, to alongside Father Neil in some of the daily life and work of both parishes, and taking part in the life and worship of St Faith's and St Mary the Virgin. I hope to have the opportunity of meeting you all before my placement commences on 22nd January 2006. Until then may I wish you all God's blessing for 2006.

Josie Williams

We reproduce below the text of a handout produced by the Mission Group and
recently given or sent to the children associated with our Church.

Faith and Fun
 Events to watch out for this year and next!

We hope to bring you a new edition of this newsletter every few months, so that you can keep up to date.

•  Christmas at St. Faith's
Enjoy carols, candlelight and Christingles at the Christingle Service, 6.00 p.m. on Christmas Eve in St. Faith's Church. Don't know what a Christingle is? - then come along and find out! And do join us at St. Faith's at 11.00 a.m. on Christmas morning for the sung Eucharist, to help celebrate Jesus's birthday.

•  Christmas in Another Place
The Christmas story staged on Crosby beach with a real baby, a real camel and Antony Gormley's statues dressed up as shepherds!  Friday Dec.16th, Saturday
Dec.17th:  four free performances (4.00 pm and 6.00 pm each day), followed by refreshments.

•  The Walsingham Children's Pilgrimage
Those who work with our young people in St. Mary's Waterloo are keen to take a party of 7 - 11 year olds on the Children's Pilgrimage next year, and are organising a coach. The event takes place on the first weekend in April: funding is available for any who would like their children to go but would find the cost prohibitive. Why should it be just the older people who have the opportunity to go to these places and enjoy themselves? Please contact Father Neil if you are interested.
•  Scripture Union Camps and Holidays
'Scripture Union holidays are for young Christians who love to have fun and enjoy real friendship. They cater for a range of different age groups between 8 and 18, and combine a wide range of outdoor, art, craft and musical activities with an opportunity to join in lively worship, discussion and bible study. The holidays are well-organised and very reasonably priced - typically around £100 for five days.' For more information contact Diana Waters, tel. 931 1031 or for next year's programme check out the website: 

•  Greenbelt Festival  25th-28th August 2006
Round about 20,000 people are expected to attend the Greenbelt Festival on Cheltenham Racecourse next year.  'Anyone young or old  who enjoys music, arts,
politics and camping (less adventurous festival goers can stay in a nearby B&B) will have a fabulous time at Greenbelt. It is open to all and we would encourage anyone who is interested in going to be bold and book a place.'

You are very welcome to join us every Sunday morning at St. Faith's Church, Crosby, at 11.00 a.m. There is a Sung Eucharist in church, Junior Church with
activities in the Hall for 3-11 year olds, and refreshments afterwards for everyone. Once a month young people take a leading part in the service, with
their own music and readings, and we are usually joined by the Guides, Scouts, Beavers and Brownies.

Medic Malawi - How far has it come?

Margaret Houghton

Medic Malawi continues to be of invaluable help to the village of Mtunthama, not only with the provision of medical care, but as a source of hope and inspiration to
other parts of the country.

As famine bites harder this year and is expected to be even more devastating than in 2001-2, representatives from around the country have sought advice and help in setting up similar projects throughout Malawi.  The need is essential as Malawi has an under-5s mortality rate of at least 20% and expected to rise during the present famine.  Medic Malawi's nutritional programme for the under-5's is proving to be the most accredited project of its type in Malawi.

Fund-raising events, particularly in the Plymouth region, play a large part in offsetting the costs of the present building programme. Some examples of these are a
piano recital, sponsored bike ride, running a marathon and a number of choral concerts.  Indeed, one teacher from a local primary school in Plympton, having run a
successful marathon in 2003, decided to try for the London Marathon and was delighted to be accepted.  The money raised this year will be split between two
charities, Medic Malawi being one of those.  Rachel, the daughter of the talented and determined runner, spent three months at Mtunthama this summer during her gap year, helping in the hospital and orphan house.  Whilst there Rachel made a special friend of Bertha, who had been orphaned as a child and adopted by the Church of All Saints.  She married and adopted two orphans and had one child of her own. Within weeks of Rachel returning to England she received the devastating news that Bertha had died aged 30.  Medic Malawi's share of the funds raised from the marathon have gone to Bertha's widower to ensure that he keeps all three children and can educate them.  Any surplus funds will help the hospital building fund.

At the time Rachel was in Mthumtama a young nurse from Canada named Kyle also arrived at the hospital to give and gain experience in working with the under-
privileged.  So amazed and impressed was he with what he learned, that on his return to Canada he was determined to raise funds for future projects and help with the heavy load of the financial upkeep of the present set up.  A few weeks ago Mac and Dot received an e-mail asking for suggestions and help in setting up a charity in Canada to represent Medic Malawi, with the result that Medic Malawi Canada will soon be underway and has already proved most beneficial both in financial funding and medical equipment being sent to the village.

As the famine worsens, please remember the people of Malawi and give generously. The Medic Malawi bottle will be sited at the back of church to received any spare cash at any time after the services.

Margaret's report arrived at the same time as the next item: a newsletter from Mac and Dot Forsyth, known to us all from their visits to St Faith's. Although there is some inevitable overlapping of news, it is good t obe so well-informed abou tall that is happening in Malawi at this increasingly difficult time for their people.

Malawi Newsletter: November 2005

This is just a brief Newsletter to bring you up to date with developments, particularly because Malawi has been in the news recently about the food shortage.

The Mtunthama Relief Committee which organises the feeding programmes on the ground, has set up four programmes in outlying villages, providing a meal on three days a week for a total of 2000 people. The Under-5 programme at St Andrew's is already catering for many more children than would normally be the case at this time of year. It is possible that Action Against Hunger will support this programme - we await news on that. St Andrew's has set up a programme for adults in Mtunthama.

UNICEF, however, has reduced its support in the provision of drugs, though as no reason has been given we are optimistic that their support will be resumed in due course. To try to reduce the pressure on the Under-5 programme at the hospital, a 'Supplements at Home' programme has been established under the direction of one of the Clinical Officers, whereby mothers in outlying villages are taught how to administer food supplements and multivitamins to children, and given supplies of
maize and soya for the children.

Mtunthama Relief has negotiated to purchase maize at subsidized prices from Admarc (the government agricultural products agency) in Lilongwe; even with the cost of transport from Lilongwe this is much cheaper than maize bought at inflated prices on the open market.

The Operating Theatre is progressing well, roofing having started on 23 November. This means that during the rains it will be possible to complete all the internal work such as plastering, plumbing and electrics. Two of the medical staff have attended a course on palliative care in Lilongwe, enhancing the work being done with
HIV/AIDS patients. The Christian Health Association of Malawi recently carried out an inspection and were so impressed that St Andrew's is going to be up-graded. This is very encouraging, but of course it means more staff to pay and more staff accommodation to build.

A nurse from Canada spent six weeks at St Andrew's as a volunteer in August/September. On his return to Canada he set about raising funds and equipment, with great success. He has sent over £2500 and is setting up "Medic Malawi, Canada" as a Registered Charity to work in close liaison with us. As well as going to Mtunthama again next year, he is organising a group of fellow medics to work at St Andrew's in either July/August or December/January (or both!). It seems that among volunteer visitors next year there will also be an Australian medical student, one or two UK medical students and one or two UK dental students, all doing their electives, and two experienced dentists from Plymouth.

A very adventurous English lady living in Australia, Sally Symonds, celebrated her 70th birthday in October by doing a skydive! Instead of presents she asked friends to sponsor her, and donated all proceeds to Medic Malawi - over £1300. We thank you for your continued support, and wish you a very Happy Christmas and peaceful New Year. God bless you all.

Dot and Mac Forsyth


proudly presents:

Dick Whittington

Wednesday 22nd February - Sunday 26th February 2006
 In S. Mary's Church Hall - tickets and details available soon.

Walsingham Cell or Circle?
What's in a name?, asks Fr. Neil

In last month's Newslink I wrote a little about the newly-formed Walsingham Group. At a recent meeting, where we were delighted to welcome 5 new people (who may or may not come again!) we talked quite a lot about what to call the group. Cell is a rather negative and exclusive word. Prayer Group was suggested but the whole idea of the group is to do more than pray. The Thesaurus gave us all kinds of suggestions (some hilarious and others totally inappropriate!). The best we have come up with is Walsingham Circle. Apologies for the abbreviation! However a circle is all-embracing and encompassing and that is certainly the hope of the members, that our group will grow and help people to grow in their faith through discussion, prayer learning and meeting together for social occasions too.

With this in mind, dates for forthcoming meetings are:

Saturday 26th January
10.30am Eucharist with a time of extended prayer. (forms are available at the back of church or online for you to submit any requests).

This will be followed by a meeting at which we will look at the document published last year Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ. As you may know it is the work of the Anglican - Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), which is the official instrument of theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Churches of the Anglican Communion. The dialogue, which was first called for by Pope Paul VI and Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Michael Ramsey in 1966, was established in 1970. ARCIC began its work on Mary at its 1999 meeting, and completed the text in 2004. After the meeting there will be a lunch at the home of Muriel Harrison (7 Ward Road, Blundellsands).

Saturday 25th February
10.30am Eucharist with a time of extended prayer

Saturday 25th March - The Annunciation of the Lord to the B.V.M.
10.30am Eucharist in S. Mary's Waterloo with special prayers for the work of the Mothers' Union. This will be followed by a meeting looking at the various
ceremonies and liturgies of Holy Week led by Fr. Robert Hart. Fr. Robert was involved in the publication of the Church of England's new liturgies Common
Worship. Following the meeting there will be a simple Lent lunch in S. Mary's Hall.

Saturday 29th April
10.30am Eucharist with a time of extended prayer

Wednesday 31st May - Feast of the Visitation of the BVM to Elizabeth
7pm Eucharist. This will be followed by an "Any Questions" meeting. (For example, what is a monstrance or a humeral veil? Why do the colours of the robes
change? Why are bells used? Why are there different versions of the Bible? Why do some people genuflect or make the sign of the cross? Why a pink Advent Candle? Why are some parts of the liturgy sung and some said? Why is holy water used?) Come and ask your questions!

Diary of Events for 2006

Please make sure you get your copy from Church and please put the dates of events
in your diaries NOW!

Many Thanks...

...are due to the Sunday School Teachers and helpers who gave the children a wonderful joint Christmas party at S. Mary's complete with children's entertainer
and Father Christmas! And all that hot on the heels of the children's Craft and Activity Day too!

Thanks also to everyone who helped to prepare and decorate the hall, cook and serve the senior citizens' Christmas lunch. It was good for the second year that it was another joint venture with folk from S. Mary's present too. I know everyone looks forward to this and thoroughly enjoys it. This year was no exception at all!

Lastly, thanks to all those who for months have been planning our new-style Family Eucharist, which at the time of writing was last Sunday. The comments and
responses where overwhelmingly positive and I hope we will see this service grow from strength to strength! And people say the church is dead? Not on your life!   

Eucharistic Ministers

There will be a meeting for all who wish to be part of a Team of Eucharistic Ministers (assisting with the administration in Church and taking communion to the
sick and housebound) on Wednesday 4th January at 8pm in the Vicarage. This is open to all, whether currently serving as a Eucharistic Minister or interested in doing so. Our hope is to be able to offer to take the Blessed Sacrament to the sick and housebound on a Sunday straight after the mass.

Baptism Visitors

There will be a meeting for all interested in helping with preparing families for baptism and maintaining contact with them on THURSDAY 5TH JANUARY 2006
at 8pm in the Vicarage.

An Epiphany-tide Prayer

Father, we thank you for revealing yourself to us in Jesus the Christ, we who once were not your people but whom you chose to adopt as your people. As ancient Israel confessed long ago, we realize that it was not because of our own righteousness, or our own superior wisdom, or strength, or power, or numbers. It was simply because you loved us, and chose to show us that love in Jesus.

As you have accepted us when we did not deserve your love, will you help us to accept those whom we find it hard to love? Forgive us, O Lord, for any attitude that we harbour that on any level sees ourselves as better or more righteous than others.  Will you help us to remove the barriers of prejudice and to tear down the walls of bigotry, religious or social?  O Lord, help us realize that the walls that we erect for them only form our own prisons!

Will you fill us so full of your love that there is no more room for intolerance. As you have forgiven us much, will you enable us with your strength to forgive others
even more?

Will you enable us through your abiding Presence among us, communally and individually, to live our lives in a manner worthy of the Name we bear?

May we, through your guidance and our faithful obedience, find new avenues in ways that we have not imagined of holding the Light of your love so that it may be a
Light of revelation for all people.

We thank you for your love, praise you for your Gift, ask for your continued Presence with us, and bring these petitions in the name of your Son, who has truly
revealed your heart.  Amen

"... and falling to their knees they did him homage. Then, opening their treasures,
they offered him gifts of  gold and frankincense and myrrh."

??? Questions of Faith ???

There have been so many developments in thinking about God in recent years, and ways of understanding the Bible, that things can sometimes seem very different to someone whose faith was nurtured years ago.

There used to be far less to read about faith not so long ago, and there also seemed to be far more certainty and clarity about Christian beliefs. Things have been opened up. We are aware of so many different traditions amongst Christians. There can sometimes seem like a bewildering range of options.

Beginning on Wednesday 11 January 2006, and continuing for a further three Wednesday evenings from 7.30-9.00pm there will be a Questions of Faith meeting
to begin to explore some of the things about Christian believing that people would like opening up.

The first meeting will involve looking at what questions people have - and making a start on the most popular one. We will then plan a programme for the following

Money Matters

Do you know how much it will cost to run S. Faith's in 2006?
Our Budget for 2006 requires us to raise

That means we need £7,418 per month
£1,712 per week
£243 per day
£10 per hour
17 pence per minute!!


Poetry Postscript for the year's ending

Crosby Christmas
Chris Price

The turning year brings Christmastide to greet a waiting world, 
And over men and nations see its message now unfurled, 
As distant thoughts turn home again and wandering paths draw near 
To hearth and home and fireside and memories held dear. 
In countless homes now, harassed mums check lists and lay their plans, 
And scurry home from Sainsbury`s weighed down with bags and cans. 
They shop around for gift-wrapped soap and nuts and tangerines; 
For cards with cosy messages and jolly Christmas scenes; 
While fathers long for mighty meals, old films and fat cigars, 
And children dream of talking dolls, computer games and cars. 
Now office boys and secretaries, made bold by party cheer, 
Think naughty thoughts and dream wild dreams to last another year. 
And Merchant Taylors' comes to church, perched on hard wooden pews 
To sing the well-worn Christmas hymns and hear the Christmas news. 
Once more their blended voices ring, the fair sounds rise and fall, 
As messages of love and peace waft gently over all. 
The dying echoes wander out and steal beneath the door, 
To lose themselves across the street in Crosby traffic`s roar. 
One rising tide of happiness sweeps gloom and grief away, 
Till far and wide the bells ring out to welcome Christmas Day.
 To other ears the Christmas bells toll out a different sound, 
And melancholy is the song their echoes ring around. 
They sound a world divided, by hatred torn apart, 
Where fear and doubt and misery clutch at the human heart; 
Where colour, race, or class or creed still sunder man from man, 
With all the ancient agonies heaped up since time began. 
Where greed and pride and selfishness rule in a world of fear, 
And violence and racial strife bring down the dying year. 
Those bells ring out in requiem for love and hope and trust, 
And peace lies broken, trampled down in grey and lifeless dust. 
Across the world, yet close to home, the bombers' murderous blast 
Reaps still the senseless harvest of a long and bitter past. 
In Europe and in Africa the starving children plead 
In ruined towns and barren fields for pity on their need. 
All through the world, beneath their flags, the nations threaten war 
On refugees, on outcasts and all the helpless poor 
Who have no love at Christmastime and none to hear their cry, 
As in the doorways of the world they watch our world go by.
Yet still the ancient Truth is shown to those with eyes to see: 
The Prince of Peace comes as a child in awe and majesty; 
The angel`s song sounds clear above our world's discordant din, 
As still to willing hearts and minds the Christ child enters in. 
He comes between the drawn swords and the nations armed for war: 
A helpless outcast innocent as once he came before. 
In him alone is found our peace: the Life, the Truth, the Way; 
He comes once more to rule our hearts - Christ born on Christmas Day. 

Welsh New Year Carol

Now the joyful bells a-ringing, 
All ye mountains praise the Lord! 
Lift our hearts, like birds a-winging, 
All ye mountains praise the Lord! 
Now our festal season, bringing 
Kinsmen all to bide and board. 
Sets our cheery voices singing: 
All ye mountains praise the Lord!
 Dear our home as dear none other, 
Where the mountains praise the Lord. 
Gladly here our care we smother, 
Where the mountains praise the Lord 
Here we know that Christ our brother 
Binds us all as by a cord: 
He was born of Mary mother, 
Where the mountains praise the Lord
Cold the year, new whiteness wearing, 
All ye mountains, praise the Lord! 
Peace, goodwill to us a-bearing, 
All ye mountains,
praise the Lord! 
Now we all God's goodness sharing 
Break the bread and sheathe the sword: 
Bright our hearths the signal flaring, 
All ye mountains, praise the Lord!

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