The Parish Magazine
of Saint Faith's Church, Great Crosby
Saint Faith’s Prayer for
God of unchanging power, your Holy Spirit enables us to
proclaim your love in challenging times and places:
give us fresh understanding and a clear vision, that together we may respond to the call
to be your disciples and to rejoice in the blessings of your kingdom;
we ask this in the name of Him who gave His life that ours might flourish,
your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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From the Ministry Team
A couple of months ago I wrote about one half of my job, which is about getting local people involved in making decisions about how public money is spent in their area. So, as promised, here is something about the other half of my job, with Church Action on Poverty.
During my years as a parish priest in Bristol, not long after being ordained, I had a conversion experience - something very dramatic which has shaped my life ever since.
I’d been sent on a training course in New York. Ten days of intensive encounter with people from all over the United States to explore a particular way of citizen participation. The experience began in that notorious area called The Bronx on New York’s lower south side. We arrived at an enormous church hall which was packed with about three thousand people. I thought at first it was a church service. A gospel choir was leading some spirited singing and everyone was joining in vigorously.
But then the mood changed. Everyone quietened down. And two women in their late twenties began to address us. They invited a string of parents on to the platform who talked about their community and its problems. In particular, they talked about how their children were pestered by drug dealers on their way to and from school every day. They told us how frightening this was, what it was doing to their neighbourhood, how it was corrupting young people.
Then they invited a guest onto the stage – the New York Chief of Police. He was given five minutes to speak. And he was asked to respond to a demand from local people – that safe corridors for young people should be provided by the police morning and evening to allow them to go to school, and return, unhindered. At the end of his speech the Chief of Police said ‘yes’, he would do as local people had asked. He then thanked the assembled people for their persistence, and for their participation, and he agreed to a working relationship with them which would continue around a whole list of issues to do with crime in the area.
While I was in New York I listened to many similar stories of ordinary people getting together, in large numbers in a very disciplined way, to bring about change in their communities: drug houses being closed down; affordable housing being built; good and decent paying jobs being created – all by local people building new relationships with those in power.
And what I came to understand during that training programme – my conversion - was that the real problem is not the endless list of issues which face poor (and not-so-poor) communities. The real problem is people’s sense of being powerless in the face of those issues, and the way in which they are often conditioned to think that we have no voice in what is happening in their communities, and that there is no way that they can make a difference.
In non-democratic countries (such as Zimbabwe) people are blocked from the political process by violence, the threat of violence, loss of livelihood and imprisonment. In democratic countries – like the UK - the process is more subtle. The complexity of issues and their solution often makes participating difficult. Or there is the appearance of people being involved which ends up simply being a charade. Then there is the imbalance when ordinary citizens try to challenge the policies of officials and bureaucrats - particularly when the citizen is poor, not well educated, or does not speak the language fluently. As a result, the vast majority of people in modern democracies have given up trying to impact public policy, even in the most basic ways such as casting their vote. And we can see clearly some of the result of this passivity and apathy – the poor living in ever more alienated, marginalised and dangerous communities; and the rich putting up fences and hiring private security firms and living in what are known as ‘gated communities’.
My conversion experience was to a way of working called broad-based community organising. It is a process of bringing together a large, disciplined, well-researched coalition of different community and faith-based organisations whose members are determined to make a difference in their neighbourhoods and across their city or area.
I am currently working in Manchester with almost one hundred such organisations which are thinking of coming together in this way – to share their stories of concern, to carry out detailed research on particular issues, and to build respectful two-way relationships with power holders in the city in order to bring about change. The diversity of this growing coalition is amazing – and it creates energy – Muslims, Jews, every Christian denomination, Unitarians; refugees from almost every corner of the world; people who run carers organisations; tenants and residents groups; cultural organisations; two prominent groups trying to tackle gun and gang crime.
An individual cannot challenge public policy effectively - but if they can organise 10, 20, 100 or 1,000 people, they can effect change. And we are not talking about rabble
rousing, this isn’t the force of a mob. This is simply active, responsible citizenship. It is about groups of people fulfilling their vocation as human beings – a part of which is to be able to shape the culture and society in which they live.
There are two events in the bible, one in the Old Testament and one in the New, when something extraordinary happens as people come together across their differences. The first is when all the tribes gather with Moses to meet God on Mount Sinai. The second is on the Day of Pentecost when all those people of different nationalities and languages came together and were able to understand each other and were filled with a strange new life.
Both events – both experiences of ‘mixed multitude’ - were times when God’s people received the Spirit, times when something extraordinary happened in their community. Broad-based organising at its best creates experiences of that kind. People coming together in the public realm as an assembly - which is the meaning of the Greek word for church – the ecclesia. People coming together around their values and their hopes and dreams - and making something happen which is new and extraordinary. And my experience is that this can effect real and lasting change – not just around the issues which people face – but also in the relationships they build with each other around the things they care about most. It is a way of renewing democracy.
I wish to thank the Family of St. Faith’s for the many cards, get well messages and their prayers during my recent illness.
Also for the very warm welcome you all gave me on my first visit back to church.. It was lovely to be back.
Canon and Convert
If you can’t be at St Faith’s on a Sunday morning, it is difficult to dream up anywhere better to be than at Chichester Cathedral celebrating its Feast of Title on Trinity Sunday.
That was where we were a few weeks ago, worshipping amid a riot of beautiful stonework, stained glass and vivid works of art, both paintings and sculpture, at the Sung Eucharist. Outside, peregrine falcons screamed in the sunlight from the spire which they haunt; inside the cathedral was surprisingly well-filled and the welcome, the music and the ritual itself were warm and inspiring. And on top of all this, the celebrant was the Dean, none other than Nicholas Frayling, late of St Nicholas, Pier Head and known to many of us. Over a glass of wine in the South Transept afterwards he took time out from greeting his congregation to welcome us and enquire after St Faith’s and our clergy – and he sends the warmest of greetings to St Faith’s and all who remember him.
What particularly prompted this piece, however, was the presence at the service of Chanoine (Canon) Dominique Albert, Archiprêtre (Arch-Priest, or Rector) of Chartres Cathedral, with which, as with several other great European shrines, Chichester has enjoyed long and fruitful ecumenical relationships. This distinguished French Roman Catholic priest was decked out in full French R.C. garb (the Dean invited Fr Neil to envy such sartorial excess!) and he preached passionately and often comprehensibly on the difficult topic of the Trinity. I don’t expect he took communion, but his presence as we all filed up through the chanting choir to kneel beneath the magnificent and colourful John Piper altar tapestry bore eloquent witness to the warm ecumenical embrace that is often possible between Anglicans and Roman Catholics. The whole experience was uplifting, devotional, and it felt entirely right in every way.
Within a few hours we were listening to a television studio discussion about the recent conversion of Autumn Kelly from R.C. to C.of E. before her marriage to Peter Phillips. The R.C. journalist Melanie McDonagh was sounding off indignantly about this, inveighing against the tyranny of the laws of succession, inferring both denominational treachery and pressure from the Protestant establishment. It was sadly all too clear that she felt that the girl had forfeited her birthright and sold her soul, if not to the devil, then at least to something vastly inferior to the True Church. The rebuttal came from the splendidly named Dickie Arbiter, who calmly pointed out that it would take a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions to remove the serried ranks of those currently above her new husband from the scene and thus put her in reach of the throne - and that no pressure of any sort had been put on her to ‘come over’. It was her free choice, and one to which she was as entitled as anyone else. Indeed so – and I felt that had the conversion been in the other direction I cannot imagine anyone making such a fuss.
The contrast between the Archiprêtre’s benign presence at a great act of Anglican sacramental worship and the intemperate condemnation of the actions of an individual member of the Catholic laity speaks volumes about the polarities of viewpoints existing in the field of ecumenical relationships. All I can say is that in both cases actions speak so much louder than words. If the church is to survive and bear faithful witness in a divided and secular world, we surely need many more Chichesters and far fewer McDonaghs.
Christian Aid Week Collection 2008
Many thanks to our team of gallant collectors who this year raised a record total of £1094. Much of this was gift aided, enabling a further £106 to be recouped from the Chancellor by Christian Aid.
In Ghana there is a wise saying; ‘One stick can be easily broken. But many bound together are strong.’
Christian Aid works with around 600 different partner organisations in nearly 50 countries, empowering some of the world’s poorest communities to improve their lives.
Christian Aid Week is an essential part of making that work possible. Our team was part of a movement of more than 300,000 collectors who have raised millions of pounds of life-changing money helping individuals to help others in their communities.
This is an example of how the money is used. Idrissu, a Ghanaian, overcame poverty, disability, and stigma to become a teacher. But he was determined to empower others as well. Christian Aid’s successful campaigning on debt relief in developing countries helped secure vital funds for poor communities. Christian Aid supporters raised vital funds for SEND, Christian Aid’s partner in Ghana. SEND trained Idrissu on how to apply to his government for debt relief money. Idrissu has helped others with disabilities to access the free healthcare and resource centre they are entitled to. He’s also learnt sign language so poor people with hearing problems are no longer excluded from the community.
Together we have helped to transform Idrissu’s community
From envelopes through the doors of Waterloo to free healthcare for people in Ghana, we’ve empowered people together. Well done everybody!
A Reflection from the late Dr Leslie Weatherhead’s book, ‘Time for God’
In one of his books, Brunner, the famous theologian, tells us of a vision he had of the progress of humanity. He saw the forward march of the great human family, led by its prophets, saints and seers. But all those who moved forward had their gaze fixed on One far ahead and above them, but facing them and beckoning to them.
Christ is not merely one who two thousand years ago passed across the stage of history, doing lovely deeds, saying inspiring words and living a blameless life, who then disappeared into the unseen, and who inspires us now only by the records of the past. He is not merely the One who having conquered death is with His followers, standing by them and helping them in the problems of their daily life. He is the Christ of the future. He stands at the end of the road which every man travels. In Him all the trends of true progress find their culmination. He is not only ‘up to date’, to use a common phrase, but ‘up to’ a date we have not yet reached. He will be utterly relevant to life at a point in time which we who are living now will never see on earth. He does not influence us from the past only, or pledge His word to stand by us in the present. He beckons us from what we call the future, and any pathways which do not lead to Him will turn out to be false trails which, if pursued far enough, will bring us to disaster.
All of us who try to follow Him would be wise, whatever our label, to follow His beckoning finger. We may well go back to the records, within and without the New Testament, to make sure of His historic reality. (The evidence for this proves that His historicity is as well-grounded as that of Plato.) We are wise to ponder the Resurrection to assure ourselves that He is still alive. But the angel of reality calls to us also, ‘He goeth before you.’ Would we not be wise to overhaul Church services, Church organizations, creedal assertions, and, most importantly, our own Christian experience, in case we are hanging about an empty tomb when a living Master has gone on and beckons us to follow Him?
How easy it is to acquiesce in the familiar Church service long after it has anything of the life of the risen Christ in it! How easy to recite ancient affirmations when the living truth has long since left them! Froude, the historian, asks what the health of England would be like if there had been thirty-nine articles of medicine imposed three hundred years ago by Parliament, and if every doctor had been compelled ‘to compound his drugs by the prescriptions of Henry VIII’s physician, Dr. Butts’. Instead of moving forward in our apprehension of truth, we try rather pathetically to maintain its historic continuity of expression. We still seek the living truth among its dead forms, and so often the search is fruitless. ‘Why seek ye the living among the dead?’
Curious Crosby Customs
The editor, browsing the internet, came upon these extracts from a site entitled ‘British Popular Customs Present and Past.’ The first rang a bell, but the second was new, and fascinating.
The Crosby Goose Fair
‘At Great Crosby, a suburban village about seven miles from Liverpool, early in October, every year there is held a local festival, which is called the ‘Goose Fair’. The feast takes place when the harvest is gathered in about that part of the country, and so it forms a sort of ‘harvest-home’ gathering for the agriculturists of the neighbourhood. It is said also that, at this particular period, geese are finer and fatter after feeding on the stubble-fields than at any other time. Curious to say, however, the bird in question is seldom, if ever, eaten at these feasts.’
Saint Faith’s Day Custom
‘On 6th October a very curious custom is observed in the North of England. A cake of flour, spring-water, salt, and sugar must be made by three maidens or three widows, and each must have an equal share in the composition. It is then baked before the fire in a Dutch-oven, and, all the while it is doing, silence must be strictly observed, and the cake must be turned nine times, or three times to each person. When it is thoroughly done it is divided into three parts. Each one taking her share, and cutting it into nine slips, must pass each slip three times through a wedding-ring previously borrowed from a woman who has been married at least seven years. Then each one must eat her nine slips as she is undressing, and repeat the following rhyme:
“O good St. Faith, be kind to-night,
And bring to me my heart's delight;
Let me my future husband view,
And be my visions chaste and true.”
Then all three must get into bed with the ring suspended by a string to the head of the couch, and they will be sure to dream of their future husbands.’
The alleged source is simply recorded as ‘Brand's Pop. Antiq. 1849’. The editor believes that it is high time that this venerable custom was revived - and where better than in our church at our next Patronal Festivities? Perhaps the Catering Committee could take the lead. We can probably find three widows without much trouble…..
Toes emerging, gently stirring,
Feet for life that’s just begun.
Feet for crawling, toddling, walking,
Feet for splashing, feet for fun.
Feet for running, hopping, skipping,
Feet for tapping to the beat.
Feet for climbing, kicking, scoring,
Feet for cycling down the street.
Feet for swimming, socialising,
Feet for stepping out in style.
Feet for dancing and romancing,
Feet for cruising down the aisle.
Feet for rambling and exploring,
Feet for strolling in the sun.
Feet for shuffling, stumbling, falling,
Feet at rest, life's journey done.
(read at a recent funeral conducted by Fr Dennis)
The Servers’ Sponsored Saturday Saunter
As you may know, some of the serving team decided that a ‘different’ way of fundraising for our church this year would be to do a sponsored walk. The 17 mile coastal route from Southport, back to Waterloo was chosen, as it would prove suitably pleasant and challenging for those choosing to participate. Therefore on Saturday 31st May the newly formed ‘St Faith’s Ramblers’ met up early in the morning at Southport Fair to commence the walk. Whilst organised by the serving team, the invitation to participate in walking was open to all, and I was really pleased to see so many taking part. The line up included David Jones, Ken Bramwell, Martin Caesar, Brian Evison, Judith and Gary Moizer, Emily Skinner, Sue and Grace Walsh, Phil and Chelsea Jones, Cathy and Mike Taylor, Christine Spence and of course yours truly. We were also joined by a few other friends, all of whom made the event even more memorable. Upon leaving Southport Fair, we left our baggage and sundries with our support team (Geoff
Moss and Kevin Walsh) whose job it was to meet us at specific points along the journey to provide refreshments, moral support and a lift home (if required). I am pleased to say that this last function didn’t need to be fulfilled until we reached Hall Road Coast Guard station, where two of our number decided they needed to go on ahead to the church in order to organise our welcoming committee!
The walk itself was very pleasant. We had great weather, and there was as much sunburn inflicted as there were blisters and aching limbs at the end of the day. The first part of the walk saw us take Southport’s coast road up until Ainsdale Nature Reserve. Then through the nature reserve for a couple of miles and on to the beach at Freshfield. The group was very motivated and kept each other going as we tackled different types of terrain (i.e. tarmac, woodland and sand – all before lunch!) We continued along the beach until we got to Formby, where we met up with our loyal support team and enjoyed lunch together and a well-earned break. Limbs did start to seize up at this point, and some of our gang began to discover joints and muscles they did not know they had! However, once refuelled and suitably re-motivated, off we set again. This time along a foot path out of Formby, which led us to the boat club at Hightown. This was probably the most difficult part of the walk, as the path and shrubbery meant that we had to do this part of the walk in single file, and it is much more difficult to engage with your fellow walkers and motivate them in this situation. But we were soon at Hightown, where after another quick comfort break and rendezvous with our support team, we set off across the sand dunes with Crosby in our sights! The coast guard station passed us by and we were soon at Crosby baths, where we could almost smell the refreshments being rustled up for us back at the church hall. We came off the beach here and made our way to College Road, at the top of which, St Faith’s came into sight and we knew we were home! I felt a real feeling of pride and achievement walking into the church hall, not least because we had done the walk as a team and enjoyed a lot of fellowship during the course of day. Of course there were lots of aches and pains to be dealt with, but the objectives of the day, those of challenging ourselves with such an event and raising funds for our church had been achieved. Many thanks to Ruth and to Eunice who were on hand to dish up scouse and foot massages respectively for our weary walkers (and I think even Kevin managed to get a foot massage after a hard day of driving the van!)
In all, I think everyone who participated had a great day, and I look forward to us making this a regular fund raising event. Speaking of which, I shall be more than happy to relieve any readers of their sponsorship money if they didn’t get round to sponsoring anyone. All sponsorship gratefully received will go towards church funds and I will report back as to the final total in next month’s Newslink.
Thanks to everyone who has supported us in this event.
(See the display at the back of church for Leo’s pictures of the Sponsored Stroll. All non-participants and non-servers congratulate the gallant band. They also Serve who only stand and Sponsor… Ed.)
Celebrating with Fr Martin
Sunday, June 8th was in every sense a red-letter day for Martin Jones, the latest in the long line of men and women who found their vocation to the priesthood at St Faith’s. His ordination day was marked by two marvellous acts of worship, great Anglican Occasions both attended by a goodly band of supporters from the United Benefice.
As always – and we ordination groupies have been to more than few such occasions over many years – the cathedral service was uplifting, inspiring, even awesome. There were wonderfully quiet and devotional moments (especially the repeated soft chanting during the sacrament of ordination) and thunderous sound from the organ, with full-throated singing from the great congregation. Two hours of worship, but the time slipped by.
Martin’s First Mass at St Oswald’s, Winwick, that evening, was equally splendid. Our coachload were disgorged into the sunlight with plenty of time to admire the lovely old church, in its verdant, tree-lined setting, and to be told the obligatory story of the supposed origins of the Winwick Pig. That’s another story – but it’s an odd link between Martin’s old and new churches that both feature a pig! (in the Runcie window, in case you didn’t know).
There were almost as many people in the procession as there had been in the cathedral; procession, and they were augmented by our robed choir. The service was colourful, joyful and devotional, and Fr Neil preached memorably on the meaning of priesthood, while a fully-vested Fr Martin celebrated for the first time with evident delight.
Afterwards across the green in the hall (and spilling out on to the sunny green) there were lavish refreshments, and speeches and presentations. Martin’s parishioners (from the three churches of Winwick, Holinfare and Glazebury) gave him a magnificent icon, and from the Walsingham Circle of the United Benefice he received a fine chasuble. You can see my pictures of much of all this at the back of church and on the website.
A long but memorable day indeed. As we drove back, still bathed in sunshine, there was much to reflect upon and for which to give thanks: not least for the long line of ordinands who have found their calling at St Faith’s. It is good to know that the line
stretches into the future. Robed as an ordinand at St Oswald’s, and recently accepted for training, was Margaret Dixon, nurtured in the faith amongst us, and, of course, the daughter of the late George Goodwin, much-loved sacristan of St Faith’s. Below she tells us something about her vocation: we pray for her and for Martin, and for all whom God has called to serve him in the sacred ministry.
A Message from Margaret
Chris has asked me to write a short piece about my vocation. I was a member of St Faith’s congregation in my youth, so some of you may still remember me. St Faith’s and many older members of the congregation certainly helped to form and influence my early Christian upbringing. And I might not be in this position if it was not for the love and support that I received as a young person when I was developing my Christian Faith.
Hearing a call from God is an awesome thing but discerning where that call might be leading is a prolonged process. I began to explore my vocation about a year ago. This culminated in me attending a BAP (Bishop’s Advisory Panel) a few months ago where I was selected to train for the priesthood.
I have now begun taking services and preaching before I begin my part-time training at Cuddesdon near Oxford over the next three years. For my first experience of preaching on Ascension Day I even arrived to discover the Bishop had decided to sing with the choir that evening – nothing like having a senior cleric in your first audience! It must get easier after that!
I would like to give thanks for the support that I have received from many people from St Faith’s and ask you to pray for me over the coming months.
Love from Margaret
The Nun’s Story
Sister Mary Katherine lived in silence in the nunnery for five years before the Mother Superior said to her, ‘Sister Mary Katherine, you have been here for five years. You may speak two words.’
Sister Mary Katherine said, ‘Hard bed.’ ‘I'm sorry to hear that,’ the Mother Superior said, ‘We will get you a better bed.’
After another five years, Sister Mary Katherine was summoned again by the Mother Superior. ‘You may say another two words, Sister Mary Katherine.’
food,’ said Sister Mary Katherine, and the Mother Superior assured her
that the food would be better in the future.
On her 15th anniversary at the nunnery, the Abbess again called Sister Mary Katherine in to his office. ‘You may say two words today.’
‘I quit,’ said Sister Mary Katherine. ‘It’s probably best,’ said the Mother Superior. ‘You’ve done nothing but complain since you got here.’
(supplied by Joan
For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run its fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.
Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.
The 100+ Club June Draw
Maurice and Sally Noakes
2 Irene Salisbury
3 Rick Walker
4 Mandy Preece
The Summer Saturday Concerts
We are now past half way in the longest series of Summer Saturdays to date. Still time to come and enjoy a varied range of talented performers. Then church is open from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm, light refreshments are on sale, and the (free!) concerts, usually lasting between half and three-quarters of an hour, start at 12 noon.
The schedule for the next few weeks is:
28 June Judith Barker (alto)
5 July St. Faith’s Choir
12 July Ian Dunning (Baritone)
19 July Rob Fleming (horn) and Neil Kelley (piano)
26 July Robin Panter (Viola) and Neil Kelley (piano)
Fr Neil Kelley is delighted to announce the appointment of Sam Austin as Director of Music of the United Benefice of Saint Faith Great Crosby and Saint Mary the Virgin Waterloo Park. He will start his duties in September 2008.
Sam is currently the Organ Scholar at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral and is in the first year of studying for a Master’s Degree (organ) over two years at the Royal Northern College of Music. He has secured the Organ Scholarship at the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral for 2008/09. Previously, he has been the Percy Whitlock Organ Scholar at Birmingham Symphony Hall and Assistant Organist at The Oratory, Birmingham. He was the Organist and Director of Music at St Mary’s Priory Church, Warrington, and Musical Director of the Liverpool Festival Choir. He has given performances in many parts of the country and is also a keen bell-ringer.
Of his new appointment, Sam Austin said: “I am delighted to accept the appointment and look forward to some fantastic music making, with musicians of the united benefice and beyond”
(from the recent press release announcing the very welcome news of this appointment. You can see what Sam looks like, on the boards in church)
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