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 Newslink            July 2001

From the Ministry Team

I am indeed fortunate to be blessed with many friends, some Christian, some not, and I enjoy long and sometimes heated theological debates with my non-Christian friends discussing the existence of God, belief in a `greater being‘, the life and teachings of Jesus, and  the `nothingness‘ after death.  We discuss the world and its problems, the good that exists as well as the evil, and our expectations of life in general.

It was during one such discussion on life and how we live that a non-Christian friend said that his mother (a Christian) had a motto in life, which he himself believed to the foundation of how all people should live. That is that we should all live by JOY. He said that his mother always would say to him, `JOY is the answer to a good and peaceful life.‘  He explained that:

 J  is for Jesus; we must always follow Jesus, his life and his teachings.
O is for others; we must love and care for others as Jesus asks us to.
Y is for yourself; to love and care for ourselves, as God loves each and every one of us, because if you don‘t do this, then you are as   an empty vessel, with nothing  to pour out, and nothing to give.

With all this in action, we should be filled with JOY.

Well, we know that life has its trials and tribulations, and it would be lovely to be constantly filled with joy, but sadly life is not always such plain sailing, and we tend not to walk around with a permanent `joy-filled grin‘ on our faces.  But how wonderful life could be if we did at least show to the world the joy and wonder of a God who lives and reigns within each and every one of us; our faces aglow with the love which He gives to us all.

During August we celebrated the `Transfiguration of the Lord‘.  This is in remembrance of the day when Jesus took Peter, James and John with him up a high  mountain  where  they  were  all alone.   There  Jesus  was  `transfigured‘
before them.  `His face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light.  Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.‘ (Matthew 17; 2-3)

Jesus literally is glowing with a brilliant light, so powerful, that it was `dazzling to the eyes‘. This brilliance of Jesus‘ appearance speaks to us of his purity and perfection. The transfiguration suggests a whole new way of seeing things, in which fresh connections make greater sense. To have faith, the ability to live with incompatibilities, and to trust that when heaven‘s windows are opened, the light which streams out will reveal a delicate and wonderful balance of a greater kingdom.  Jesus‘ own resurrection reveals to us a foretaste of the new life of heaven, similar to, yet different from, this one on earth. In his transfiguration Jesus talks with (the dead) Moses and Elijah in their resurrected form. This is revealed to them because a window is opened into heaven and Jesus is able to reveal the glory and wonder of God.

Each and every one of us is called to walk by faith and to exercise responsibly the free choices God gives us on the basis of what we already know of Him, and the love which he gives to the world. Sometimes we may, like Peter, James and John, be given mountain-top experiences, glimpses of glory, and wish life could always be like that, that is, on a `spiritual high‘.  But we have to live in the world as it is, with all its restrictions and demands, joys and sorrows.  But Jesus‘ transfiguration revealed to us all the promise of a greater love.  What we can do today, is listen to Jesus and try to reflect his glory to the world in love and with great joy.

May the God of hope and glory fill us all with JOY.

Jackie Parry

From the Registers

 23 May Robin Douglas
 3 June Elliot Sonny Alexander Hamilton
  son of Ben and Hayley
  Alexander Paul Polhill Siner
  son of Paul and Ruth

 2 June Andrew Clark and Jane Williams

Prayers and Verses from Christian Aid

All you powerful things praise the Lord:
Victoria Falls and Pacific Ocean,
tiger and tyrannosaurus,
killer whale and golden eagle,
forces of gravity and pull of the tide,
forked lightning and shout of the crowd.

Praise and magnify the one who created you.

All you gentle things praise the Lord:
sparkle of light and breath of the breeze,
scuffling ant and wriggling tadpole,
tear in the eye and hair on the head,
mustard seed and grain of yeast,
scent of the rose and whisper of prayer:

Praise and magnify the one who created you.

He knew the greatness of the small
who spied two pennies in the plate,
and felt the trust young hands relate
and blessed them all;
he said what mattered was not large
when in God‘s charge.

He knew the beauty in the small
who saw the sparrow in the sky,
and crushed the corn which seemed to die
when left to fall:
he sensed a wonder in each seed
which God decreed.

And so the kingdom comes, he said,
in hidden ferment of the yeast,
in vagrants summoned to a feast,
in broken bread:
what‘s undervalued in its place
is charged with grace.

Music Notes    Miriam Jones

There is not a lot to report on at present, musically, as much of our current workload has been covered in previous articles, so I would like to give you a little look at the background work that goes into the preparation for `bolstering up‘ the Sunday morning worship, and other occasions. Before I do, and equally relevant, there is the sudden realisation that our annual visit to Liverpool Cathedral is now imminent. It‘s amazing, just a few weeks ago we were saying `after Easter we‘ll get stuck into the ”stuff for the Cathedral!‘ (and there is plenty of it), and now, having had a crack at some of it, here comes stark reality only 7 weeks to go (at time of writing) Can we really be ready in time? Will we sound good enough? Can we do the beautiful musical writings of Haydn and his notable colleagues justice? And, on top of that, can we represent our parish in a church, often receiving visitors from near and far, in a fitting manner and not let our fellow worshippers at St Faith‘s down? I am sure we can, if we try, as we do each and every week.

If we want to achieve all of the above and meet our objective of the parish choir, enhancing (musically) our worship, the following will have to happen. We will sometimes listen to famous choirs executing the works we are learning with consummate ease (and will forgive ourselves for the sometimes loud and terrible mistakes we will make whilst trying to copy this); we will endure the `note-bashing‘ exercises of going through each part ™ soprano, alto, tenor and bass  the most necessary of practices to ensure we know what we are supposed to be singing (even if we do not achieve it); and turning up for as many extra choir practices as possible (work etc permitting). Practices are usually 7.15 ™ 7.45 on Wednesday for the junior members, followed by choir club in the church hall, and full practice on Fridays, 7.30 - 8.30. However, in the run-up to any major musical event, we all try to attend on Wednesday until 8.00 and Friday practice starts at 7.15, extended sometimes until 9.00. For concerts happening in St Faith‘s with an orchestra, usually Saturdays or Sundays, a full practice takes place in the afternoon, often just allowing enough time to go home (as long as you live within 15 minutes of  church), get changed, a bite to eat and out again! Sunday Evensong usually entails arriving at church at about 5 pm to have a final run through with the organ, not a luxury we have on normal practice nights, Ged has to do everything, conduct, play the piano, shout (only joking, he never — well, rarely, shouts!).

In addition to all this, there are many of us who take our copies home, and for those of us lucky enough to be able to read music and have access to a piano, a quick run through always helps. For those who can‘t read music, the dedication is even more - listening endlessly to recordings, making it fit into the mass of  `black dots‘ before the eyes, hoping the diction of the performers is reasonably intelligible, as this often helps (even if it is in Latin!). Although I know that not everyone appreciates the music that is proffered every week, I hope this has given just a small insight into the dedication given, voluntarily, by schoolchildren, nurses, teachers and many others, in their valuable free time, along with trying to support the other activities that happen at St Faith‘s, in their aim to enrich the worship in this place.

Summer Saturdays at St Faith‘s

The Saturday Open Days and Recitals continue to thrive. Thanks to the teams and individuals who have given their time to organise concerts, look after visitors and soloists and to prepare and serve the excellent light refreshments (from our ad hoc Heath Robinson porch kitchenette!). If you would like to help on one or more summer Saturdays please sign up; if not, and if you haven‘t already done so, do drop in and enjoy one of the free concerts (and the excellent value food and drink).

Recital programme for July and August

JUNE  30     Amadeus: the Chamber  Choir (David Holroyd, Director)
JULY  7 Iain Harvey (Organ)
  14 John Davey (Horn) and Gerard Callacher (Piano)
  21 David Steel (Organ)
  28 Ian Dunning (Baritone) and Derek Sadler (Piano)
AUGUST 4 Derek Sadler (Organ)
  11 Anne Crew (Soprano) and Neil Kelley (Piano)
  18 Neil Kelley and Gerard Callacher  (Piano Duet)
  25 Stephen Hargreaves (Organ)

Holy Days in July and August

Tu  2 S. THOMAS THE APOSTLE:  9.30am Eucharist
W 11 S. Benedict, Abbot, Patron of Europe:
  10.30am Eucharist in S. Mary‘s
F 20 S. Margaret, Martyr: 6.30pm Eucharist
M 23 S. Brigid, Religious, Patron of Europe:
  10.30am Eucharist
W 25 S. JAMES THE APOSTLE: 10.30am Eucharist in S. Mary‘s
Th 26 Ss. Joachim and Anne, Parents of the BVM:  7.30pm Eucharist
Tu 31 S. Ignatius of Loyola: 9.30am Eucharist

Sa 4 S. John Mary Vianney (the Cure d‘Ars; Patron Saint
  of Parish Priests):  10.30am Eucharist
  11am HIGH MASS
W 8 S. Dominic:  10.30am Eucharist
F 10 S. Laurence, Deacon and Martyr:
  6.30pm Eucharist
Sa 11 S. Clare: 10.30am Eucharist
Tu 14 S. Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr:
  10.30am Eucharist
M 20 S. Bernard, Abbot and Doctor: 10.30am Eucharist
F 24 S. BARTHOLOMEW THE APOSTLE:   6.30pm Eucharist
M 27 S. Monica:  10.30am Eucharist
Tu 28 S. Augustine, Bishop and Doctor:
  9.30am Eucharist
W 29 The Beheading of S. John Baptist:
  10.30am Eucharist, S. Mary‘s

Wednesday 15th August
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Preacher: The Reverend Dr. Perry Butler
(Vicar, S. George‘s, Bloomsbury, Diocese of London) followed by drinks and nibbles in the Vicarage Garden

Magazine Matters

We are trying to update our parish records, checking on lapsed members and making sure we have included new people. An important part of this is ensuring that everyone who has any current association with St Faith‘s, whether actively, from a distance, or as a friend or well-wisher, gets a regular copy of Newslink given to them, either in church week-by-week, or through a visit or the post. We have discovered quite a few who, for one reason or another, haven‘t been getting their copy, and are in the process of allocating them to one of the team of deliverer/visitors. If, by the September issue, you are (still) without a contact, please let Chris Price (or Hilary Pennington) know. Many thanks to existing delivery team members, and special thanks to those who have recently taken on the job!

A Thought for the Feast Day of St Augustine 28 August

Sixteen hundred years ago in a garden in Milan a young man from North Africa became a Christian believer. He had been searching for something for many years and had tried quite a few of the spiritual disciplines and therapies on offer. He had a girlfriend he‘d abandoned — and a little son. He also had a ferocious mother who got at him for his fecklessness.

He managed to find a good job in a university, but his underlying depression weighed him down. As he sat in the garden with tears in his eyes he heard the sing-song voice of a child next door, chanting the Latin words: `Tolle, lege ... tolle, lege ...‘ (`Take, read‘). In the end he took hold of a copy of the Scriptures and read: `Arm yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ, and spend no more thought on nature‘s appetites.‘

That conversation was a turning point in history, for the young man was Augustine, who became one of the greatest philosophers of the Western world.

I am thinking of summer gardens because this time of the year reminds me of the weeks I spent in the garden years ago trying to revise for exams. Bird song, cherry and magnolia blossom bring back a frisson of fear. Yet they also bring a sense of grace. Gardens in May were the places I learned to learn. You see, I wasn‘t very attentive in class, but on my own, with a text, I would suddenly get the point — and my mind sang.

Without books, without reading, our understanding is uninformed, our judgements narrow. I sometimes think God would rather we were literate than that we were indiscriminately caring. Augustine found his true self through a child‘s cry and a challenging text. He met the living God on the page of a book, and it broke his heart and set him free.

Angela Tilby
`Thought for the Day‘: BBC Radio 4

The Empty Pew

The Church Times recently reported that a forthcoming new Collected Edition of the poems of Sir John Betjeman will include, for the first time, a poem written in 1948 just after the staunchly Anglican poet and his wife went their separate ways, with her going over to Rome. The poem was at the time withheld by the publishers as it was felt to be too revealing. It speaks movingly of the problems faced by religious `mixed marriages‘ and is reproduced by permission of John Murray (Publishers) Ltd.

In the perspective of Eternity
The pain is nothing, now you go away.
Above the steeple thatch, how silver grey
Our chiming church tower calling `Come to me
My Sunday-sleeping villagers!‘ and she
Still half my life, kneels now with those who say:
`Take courage, daughter. Never cease to pray
God‘s grace will break him of his heresy.‘

I, present with our Church of England few,
At the dear words of Consecration, see
The Chalice lifted. Hear the Sanctus chime
And glance across to that deserted pew.
In the perspective of Eternity
The pain is nothing. But, ah God, in Time ...

Organ Recitals at St Mary‘s

The people of St Faith‘s are warmly invited to the series of Saturday afternon organ recitals at St Mary‘s; they begin at 3.00 pm.

Sunday 12 July  Iain Harvey

Sunday 12 August Gerard Callacher and Neil Kelley (organ duets)

`Revealed: the Prayer Map of a Nation in Religious Decline‘    Chris Price

This sensationalist headline in a recent Sunday Telegraph highlights figures collected by a former Cabinet Office statistician, Dr Peter Brierley, mapping  churchgoing habits county by county across England and Wales, and comparing % attendances in 1998 with those in 1979. They make gloomy reading, confirming the national downwards trend, but also contain some interesting comparisons.

South Yorkshire is the country‘s least devout county, with just 4.5% going to church on a Sunday (down from 8.2% in 1979). The Bishop of Sheffield doesn‘t deny the facts. `The main factor is that we have a small number of Roman Catholics. They are better at going to church than other denominations. And Meadowhall in Sheffield, is the busiest shopping mall in England. The busiest shopping day is Sunday.‘

By contrast, Merseyside, which has one of the highest concentrations of Roman Catholics in England, has the nation‘s highest proportion of churchgoers, with 12.1% attending Sunday services. But we have also experienced a dramatic fall from 20%, the third steepest drop in the country (the other two are the Isle of Man, down from 20% to just 9%, and Lancashire, down from 16.9% to 8.6%: both confirming a N.W. trend).

Nationally, the figure is down from 11.7% in 1979 to 7.5% in 1998. Dr Brierley warned that the churches faced virtual extinction if the trend continues. The main reason is the drastic drop in child attendance. ?In 1979 there were 1.4 million children in church. Today there are 700,000. The Church is bleeding to death.‘ And Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool, Vincent Malone, seems to agree, blaming the decline partly on people‘s growing feeling of self-sufficiency. `Everything seems to be within our own control. We don‘t have the same sense of dependency or the need to look beyond ourselves to theology.‘

Our own steady numerical decline at St Faith‘s over the last two decades is, once more, put in perspective by these figures: there is comfort in shared adversity, especially when our Roman Catholic friends and neighbours seems currently to be suffering an even more alarming decline. And it needs to be said once more that the success of the Kingdom is not necessarily to do with counting heads: the Church, after all, started with just a dozen disciples.

But there is another factor, not mentioned in the papers, which could give cause for greater disquiet. Churches like us with significantly reduced congregations may well be on the way to becoming stronger, healthier, more fighting fit: focussed on essentials and eager to grow in the faith — more passengers and fewer crew. But that also means there are fewer members around to pay the bills, the `plant‘ is no smaller, and the costs of maintenance, let alone improvement, continue to rise inexorably. The national Church‘s answer is, as we know, in part, combining of benefices — but this merely saves them clergy pay. The hard answer is closing buildings, and combining congregations until those that are left can maintain what they share, and have resources to spare for mission and for giving away. But, understandably, congregations are fiercely loyal to their traditions (`you worship God in your way, and we‘ll worship him in His way‘!) and resist to the death any talk of closure and amalgamation. And so the downward spiral continues, and falling congregations are increasingly preoccupied with maintenance at the expense of mission.

We at St Faith‘s are possibly in a better position than many (or most), since most of our neighbour churches, particularly to the south of us, have significantly fewer in the pews — but the problem is real enough for us and, if the trends nationally and locally continue, likely to get worse rather than better. We can only pray and work towards reversing the flow and becoming part of a nation, not in religious decline, but in growth ...

Prayer is not an occasional nod
Given in passing to God.
It‘s more like a marriage — a closeness of living,
A constant receiving and giving.

Emmaus Course

At the time of writing the Ministry Team is tackling the challenge of organising five different groups to meet each week commencing the end of September for a ten-week period. Details are yet to be finalised as there are over 60 people wanting to join the course, but letters will be sent to those who have expressed an interest when we have finally decided how the course will be run. Watch this space - and the weekly sheet!

`There are Varieties of Gifts, but the Same Spirit. There are Varieties of Service, but the Same God‘

These words of S. Paul in his first letter to the people of Corinth can more and more describe our common life and ministry here at S. Faith‘s and S. Mary‘s. I am delighted to report that eight people from the two parishes have volunteered to join a group of lay-people who will visit the homes of families before and after Baptisms. These contacts we make are crucially important for the life of the Church and I am delighted that there are more who will be sharing in this area of our parish ministry.

We have also now completed a course, facilitated by Marian Pope (Diocesan Marriage and Family Life Officer), which has trained four married couples from the United Benefice who will share with the Ministry Team in the preparing of couples for marriage, and, importantly, in the support we can offer to them in the years after their marriage. You can read an account of the Marriage Preparation Course elsewhere in the Magazine. Add to this the Bereavement Visitors Group which was commissioned last year (to say nothing of parish magazine distributors and Eucharistic Ministers!) it is good to see such a healthy sign of shared and collaborative ministry in both our parishes.


St Faith‘s Pentecost Celebrations  ...AS SEEN THROUGH THE EYES OF TWO OF OUR MEMBERS!

On Ascension Day I went to a service of Holy Communion at the Town Church of St Peter Port, Guernsey. The church was dimly lit and had a `Holy Hush‘ sort of atmosphere. The congregation was mostly made up of good and godly matrons. There were no hymns. The service was said, and it was from the Book of Common Prayer. To my pleasure I could remember all the words by heart from my younger days, and Cranmer‘s language was a delight and also a continuity with our historical past.

Almost as if to illustrate the diversity of the Anglican Church, yet its unity, on Pentecost Sunday I entered St Faith‘s to see balloons, decorations, lights and laughter. In the usual sung service were two beautiful old hymns (especially moving for me as both were sung at my husband‘s Requiem) but also new, modern hymns to sing praises with joy and jollity. The children came in wearing party hats and bringing a Happy Birthday banner, and wheeling in a large iced cake. What a party! What a family party! St Faith‘s acknowledging the whole church family. The procession even ended with the Warden Wizards carrying wands to the altar, who miraculously turned into Fairy Godmothers on the return down the aisle*. As I had remembered the words of the B.C.P from years back, I prayed that those children would remember the happiness of celebrating the beginning of the Christian Church in this way.

St Faith‘s has some services of High Mass which would not disgrace any cathedral, but here was a family occasion, all generations giving thanks together, praising the Lord and having fun.

* For those who weren‘t there: this was a happy extra-liturgical pre-Visitation handing over of staves at the offertory to the new wardens! Ed.)

Frances Luft

Happy Birthday to the Church

On Saturday 2nd of June, Father Neil asked the Sunday School to help him make the church look pretty. I went to the church at 4 o‘clock. We blew 100 balloons up. The balloons were red, silver, yellow and orange and we tied ribbons on the balloons and put them a round the church. And some of the balloons popped. On the Sunday, the church looked really pretty on its birthday.
Katie Rowlands  (7)

How To Give Your Cat A Pill
supplied by Joyce Green

1. Pick cat up and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of the cat‘s mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth, pop the pill in. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.

2. Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat procedure.

3. Retrieve cat from bedroom and throw soggy pill away.

4. Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for count of 10.

5. Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call spouse from garden.

6. Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, holding front and rear paws. Ignore low grows emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold cat‘s head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat‘s throat vigorously.

7. Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill from foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered figurines from hearth and put to one side for gluing later.

8. Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with its head just visible from below spouse‘s armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force cat‘s mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.

9. Check label to make sure pill is not harmful to humans, drink glass of water to take taste away. Apply band-aid to spouse‘s forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.

10. Retrieve cat from neighbour‘s shed. Get another pill. Place cat in cupboard and close door on neck to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band

11. Fetch screwdriver from garage and put door back on hinges. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus shot. Throw T-shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.

12. Ring Fire Brigade to retrieve cat from tree across the road. Apologise to neighbour who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil wrap.

13. Tie cat‘s front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table. Find heavy duty pruning gloves from shed. Force cat‘s mouth open with small spanner. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of fillet steak. Hold head vertically and pour half a pint of water down throat to wash pill down.

14. Get spouse to drive you to emergency room. Sit while doctor stitches finger and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Stop by furniture store on the way home to order new table.

The Barbecue Season ... IS WELL AND TRULY HERE.

Saturday 7th July  St. Mary‘s Parish Barbecue at St. Mary‘s Church at 7pm

Sunday 29th July Joint Barbecue for S. Mary‘s and S. Faith‘s Choirs and Altar Servers, 5pm in the (extended! Ed.) Vicarage Garden

Sunday 19th August Barbecue for both Congregations in the Vicarage Garden at 4pm: tickets available soon including family ticket (and yes, another Bouncy Castle for the children!)   -   bring your own drink, or visit Threshers‘ opposite the Vicarage and put your points on Fr. Neil‘s wine card!

Thank you Mr Taxman!  CHRIS DAWSON
St Faith‘s Church has been able to claim back £7,619.02 from the taxman during the past tax year on contributions from those members of the congregation who are tax payers and have signed a Gift Aid Declaration form.


If you are a tax payer and wish St Faith‘s to claim tax back on your contributions, please complete the Gift Aid form enclosed with this magazine and return it to one of the Church Wardens as soon as possible. Those who filled in a Gift Aid Declaration form last year do not need to complete another form — but if you are not sure whether you did or not, please complete the one enclosed.

We cannot claim tax back unless you pay tax and your contribution is recorded in one of the following ways:

 ? Paying by Parish Purse
 ? Paying by Banker‘s Order
 ? Paying in a Gift Aid envelope available from the back of church
    (one-off gifts of any kind may be made in these envelopes)

For further information contact Chris Dawson: telephone 0151-928 2770


Thank you Everybody!  Audrey Dawson

Dear St Faith‘s,

The kindness shown to me during my `spectacular mystery illness‘ (thanks to Chris Price for kind comments in June issue!) has quite overwhelmed me. Thank you so much for your cards, flowers, meals and visits, and particularly for your prayers: I felt wrapped in a blanket of your warm loving care. Thank you Fr Neil for your visits at home and in hospital — they were very much appreciated. I cannot praise Dr Sharma and the team at Fazakerley highly enough for the treatment I received, although the exact cause of the infection I had is still unknown. It was a great comfort to me to know that Fred was not very far away. Thank you, Fred, for your visits and reassurance.

I feel very privileged to be a part of St Faith‘s family; thank you again for the practical and spiritual support that I received. God bless you all.

Word of the Window   Chris Price

A progress report on the Lord Runcie Memorial Window Appeal

Things are moving forward at the time of writing. Linda Walton‘s design is in the final stages and is looking good. I am unearthing accurate versions of the coats of arms of many of the establishments, secular and religious, with which Lord Runcie was associated and the final shape of the window is not far away. There may even be a design on display before you read this. By the time this appears final PCC will (all being well) have been given and the process of keeping the Chancellor and the members of the Diocesan Advisory Committee happy will be under way (the `F word‘!). It may be possible, if all works out, to have the window installed and dedicated just before Christmas: otherwise (Bishop James‘ diary permitting) we are talking about early 2002.

The money is coming in very nicely: at the moment we have cash or promises for just over £5,000 of the £6,000 final cost. If anyone is still thinking of contributing, there is still plenty of time, and Gift Aid will make your gift even bigger ...

Global Shrink

If we could shrink the earth‘s population to a village of precisely 100 people, with the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like this:

 57 Asians
 21 Europeans
 14 from the Western Hemisphere (north and south)
 8 Africans
 52 would be female
 48 would be male
 70 would be non-white
 30 would be white
 70 would be non-Christian
 30 would be Christian
 89 would be heterosexual
 11 would be homosexual
 6 people would possess 59% of the entire world‘s wealth
         ... and all 6 would be from the USA
 80 would live in sub-standard housing
 70 would be unable to read
 50 would suffer from malnutrition
 1 would be near death, 1 would be near birth
 1 would have a college education
 1 would own a computer.

(part of an article by Bishop Peter Price, from Horbury Magazine, via Wakefield Cathedral News)

Set a watch upon our tongue, O Lord, that we may never speak the cruel word which is untrue; or being true is not the whole truth; or being wholly true, is merciless. For the love of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

From a Normandy Crucifix

I am  the great sun, but you do not see me.
I am your husband, but you turn away.
I am the captive, but you do not free me.
I am the captain you will not obey.
I am the truth, but you will not believe ne.
I am the city where you will not stay.
I am your wife, your child, but you will leave me.
I am that God to whom you will not pray.
I am your counsel, but you do not hear me.
I am the lover whom you will betray.
I am the victor, but you do not cheer me.
I am the holy dove whom you will slay.
I am your life, but if you will not name me,
Seal up your soul with tears, and never blame me.

Change and Decay

Everything is farther away than it used to be. It‘s twice as far to the corner, and they‘ve added a hill, I notice. I‘ve given up running for the bus: it leaves faster than it used to do. It seems to me they are making the steps steeper than in the old days — and have you noticed the smaller print they are using in the newspapers?

There‘s no point asking anyone to read out loud: everyone speaks in such a low voice these days that I can barely hear them; and the material in clothes is getting so skimpy, especially round the waist and the hips.

Even people are changing: they are so much younger than they used to be when I was their age. On the other hand, people my own age are so much older than I am. I ran into an old friend the other day and she had aged so much she didn‘t recognise me.

I got to thinking about the poor thing when I was combing my hair this morning, and I glanced at my reflection — and do you know what? They don‘t make mirrors like they used to ...

From St Mary‘s Parish Magazine

A Summer Reflection  Fr Dennis

In a summer of the early 1970s, when staying in Hemel Hempstead with Leslie and Jean Crossley, the three of us drove into Central London for Sunday Mass at the lovely and architecturally unusual church of St Vedast, Foster Lane. A quartet of professional musicians accompanied the mass and, after the service, we joined the regular congregation for a glass of wine.

The celebrant and preacher was the newly-appointed Rector, Father Gonville ffrench-Beytagh, (yes, really! Ed.) who, only a few years earlier, had come to Britain in exile from South Africa, following his brave and outspoken criticism of the evil regime of apartheid.

Gonville ffrench-Beytagh was born in Shanghai, educated in England, and spent his early life in New Zealand as a tramp and casual labourer. He then went to South Africa and was ordained priest, but fell foul of the authorities and was tried for subversion. He was convicted but later released on appeal. He is perhaps best known for his book `Encountering Darkness‘, which he wrote about his experience of being imprisoned by the South African authorities for working against apartheid. His other books are `Encountering Light‘, `Facing Depression‘ and `A Glimpse of Glory‘.

The following extract from `Encountering Light‘ is one which I have long valued:

`Think of yourself for a moment. There is no one on this earth who is like you. This may be just as well, but it is true. You may have an identical twin who was removed at birth for all you know, but there is not, and cannot ever have been, nor will there ever be, a person who is exactly like you. Even if someone has exactly the same genes and chromosomes, the environment in which he (or she) grew up will have been different and so he will have become a different person. It is not possible for someone else to have the same loves and hates and lusts and fears and anxieties and hopes and desires as you yourself have.

You are unique, you are yourself and there has never been, or can be, someone who is just like you, or who fills your place in the world. And if religion is, as it claims to be, a personal relationship with God, your relationship with God will be something unique to yourself and him. You can listen to preachers preaching, you can read about religion — and probably ought to do so because we can learn from each other's experience — but in the last resort your religion and your prayer is something of your own self.

Finally, at the end of your life, you will stand before the judgement seat by yourself. You are responsible for yourself. Many people have contributed towards your goodness and  badness. Many of them may well be blamed and have some responsibility for what is in you, but in the last resort, you are you and no one can take your place.

Gonville ffrench-Beytagh

Marriage Preparation Group  Ron and Laura Rankin

`Would you both consider being members of the Marriage Preparation Group we are forming?‘ was the question Fr Neil put to us one Sunday morning. ?Go away, think about it and come back to me,‘ was his follow-up remark. There was plenty to think about. What was this group to do? What were the objectives? How was it to function? There never having been such a group at St Faith‘s, there was no previous experience for guidance. From our point of view it was a real unknown quantity.

Putting aside any reservations, we agreed to go ahead to see how it would develop. We found that we would be joined in the group by Eric and Irene Salisbury plus two couples from St Mary‘s. A meeting was arranged by Fr Neil for us to meet Marian Pope from the Diocesan Board for Social Responsibility. It soon became apparent that any reservations we had were shared by all, especially by the people from St Mary‘s, who said that such a group had been tried there and it had not been very successful. Marian tried to reassure us by saying that groups were operating quite successfully in other parishes in the Diocese. She went on to outline certain areas and topics that could possibly be covered at group meetings with prospective marriage partners. One possibility that received a unanimous ?thumbs down‘ was using the meetings for evangelism.

Again, despite all reservations, the whole group decided to press ahead with four training sessions. These all went quite well and we became more familiar with what was expected from us and how to cope with it — in theory at least. The training sessions may be over but we are not going to be let loose on any unsuspecting couples yet — Fr Neil is not that brave or foolhardy. There has yet to be a meeting with the Ministry Team to finalise the format for group meetings suitable for all.

When couples are approaching marriage it is usually a very personal, private, sometimes stressful time. How we will fare we do not know, but it should be very interesting.

Advent to Trinity

Advent tells us Christ is near;
Christmas tells us Christ is here!
In Epiphany we trace
All the glory of his grace.

Those three Sundays before Lent
Will prepare us to repent;
That in Lent we may begin
Earnestly to mourn for sin.

Holy Week and Easter, then,
Tell who died and rose again;
O that happy Easter Day!
?Christ is risen indeed,‘ we say.

Yes, and Christ ascended, too,
To prepare a place for you;
So, we give him special praise,
After those great Forty Days.

Then, he sent the Holy Ghost,
On the Day of Pentecost,
With us ever to abide;
Well may we keep Whitsuntide.

Last of all, we humbly sing
Glory to our God and King,
Glory to the One in Three,
On the Feast of Trinity.


Sea Sunday — July 8th

Who needs seafarers? The simple answer is that we all do. Without them our shops and supermarkets would be virtually empty. They bring us food, electrical goods, toys and oil. They carry our manufactured products to other countries and bring in raw materials for our industry. The fact that over 90% of world trade is carried by sea underlines the importance of seafarers to all our lives.

But to meet our needs, seafarers pay a high price. They spend long periods away from their homes and families and face isolation and danger. At sea they are cut off from much we take for granted, like telephones, shops, medical care and the ability to escape from the pressures of work at the end of the day. In the brief time  they can get off their ships in port, often only a few hours, they are strangers who frequently face unfamiliar languages and cultures.

Seafarers are out of sight and are easily forgotten. This is why the Church has Sea Sunday to help us to remember and give thanks for their vital contribution to our lives, and to pray for them, the families left behind, and the Christian outreach to them through The Mission to Seafarers.

This missionary society, which until last year was called The Missions to Seamen, has been caring for seafarers for over 140 years, showing God's love to people of all nations and creeds. Today it is at work in some 300 ports, visiting ships to make the crews welcome, and offering hospitality, spiritual support, and help in times of need.

Your prayers and support for this work show seafarers that they are not forgotten. They enable their needs to be met while they are meeting ours. So please remember them, and the work of The Mission to Seafarers, on Sea Sunday. To find out more about this ministry to seafarers around the world contact your nearest Mission to Seafarers or:

Gillian Ennis
The Mission to Seafarers,
St Michael Paternoster Royal,
College Hill, London EC4R 2RL.
Tel: +44 020 7248 5202; Fax: +44 020 7248 4761

The United Benefice Dramatic Society Pantomime 2002

What is it?

When is it?
Week Beginning Monday 18th February 2002

Who is in it?
There are 16 principal parts, chorus, as well as backstage-helpers, front of house, props, make up and the usual team of helpers!

When do rehearsals begin?
Sunday 9th September at 4pm

Saturday 30th June at 2pm in S. Mary‘s Hall

More information
Telephone Fr. Neil on 928 3342

An Unbiased View of the Back Pew (Just)

Alternatively titled: The Rape of the Staff
- an heroi-comical poem in 5 stanzas

What dire results from election night sprang
What doleful tolls from St Faith‘s great bells rang!
And yet, tis true, we know, All Things Must Pass
Even churchwardens get put out to grass.

Not with more glories in the curved rainbow
The sun may rise o‘er the Runcie window
Than C.P. makes his graceful fond farewell
While handing staff to rule of women ... hell!

Close by those pews one time crown‘d with balloons
Where revered gents may now reflect on wounds
There now must dawn a new and diff‘rent day
And thoughts of what might be, be put away.

Oppressed with cares the anxious nymphs may be
But their frail forms are hewn from stronger tree
With bold (Red?) Ken to give valiant support
The `Staffing‘ dynasty need not be fraught.

Before the congregation melts in tears
We must allay all worries, doubts and fears
For what‘s to come we shout a brave `Hurray‘
For what is past we honour for its day.

(Abject apologies, Alexander Pope, to whom a not inconsiderable debt is acknowledged)

(The Editor is happy to print this entertaining pastiche and to respect Maureen‘s wish to remain anonymous...)

Thoughts and Thanks from Both Back Pews

Things won‘t be the same again! And no more should they be. After 16 years sitting on the front benches, which are of course the back pews of St Faith‘s, Rosie and I are looking forward to moving a little nearer the front now and sitting on the back benches. (You see, I learned something from watching the recent political happenings!)

What a 16 years it has been, and what extraordinary things Wardens are expected to be able to do. On my first Sunday, I spent half the time extricating some very spikey curlers from the long hair of a very distressed young lady at a baptism, and on other occasions have been involved with everything from warning preachers that incognito bishops were in the congregation, to preventing headstrong young curates from upsetting too many applecarts when ?sir‘ is away; and from avoiding ecclesiastical courts to helping newcomers leapfrog their way through the plethora of service books, hymn books, music and notices.

In short, the job of warden is totally fascinating and I shall miss it a great deal. It has been a privilege to play a little part in the life of a really live and interesting church, and to have been privy to some of the secrets of what rally happens behind the scenes ... see future articles for details!

In short, I thank everyone for their kindness, support and forgiveness as I have muddled my way along, and hope that Joan and Margaret are as lucky as I have been in the friendship that is St Faith‘s.

Lastly may I thank everyone for their kindness and generosity in contributing to my ?leaving‘ present. Rosie and I will make very good use of the Theatre Vouchers, and we are planning more trips for the ?Culture Club‘, so keep your eyes on the notices for details.
Rick Walker

Just room to add a few words to Rick‘s article. Apart from doubling the number of years, I would echo all he has said, and would like to add my heartfelt thanks for the generous gifts we received at the same time as Rick — but substituting Book Tokens for Theatre Vouchers. I am looking forward to having a bit more time to buying and reading books, although that‘s probably wishful thinking! And like Rick, I may find time for the odd revelation over the coming months ...
CHRIS (and Angie) PRICE