The Parish Magazine of St Faith`s Church, Great Crosby
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From the Ministry Team July 2004
On Saturday 3rd July people from our Bootle Deanery and Sefton Deanery will be coming together for a day of celebration in the Cathedral as part of their Centenary Celebrations. As part of the exciting and varied programme celebrating 100 years of existence the Cathedral is hosting a number of ‘Deanery Days’ when people from all over the diocese can gather together and take part in a day of activities, planned and organised by lay members of those deaneries. Kathleen Zimak from S. Faith‘s has been part of the group planning our Deanery Day. Many churches in our deanery already have coaches and buses booked (and filled) so I sincerely hope S. Faith‘s wont be the church with the least amount of support for this day!
This led me to think back to some of the discussions which took place both before I arrived in the parish and shortly after when we were looking to celebrating our own centenary in 2000.
On 4th March 1999, at a meeting looking at ‘Young People and Families’ here at S. Faith’s, people expressed the following hopes:
I do not wish to comment on any of these statements. However it is important to look back on what we said we wanted to do, and to see how much of it we have achieved, and how much is still part of ongoing talk!
At the present time the mission group is looking at different ways in which we can engage with people on the fringes of church life or those enquiring about the faith and spiritual matters. The present discussions are useful and very important. However, like all ‘think-tanks’, we need to make sure that discussions lead to action, not just more words.
I have recently had meetings with the police and local councillors looking at the problems of anti-social behaviour in the area. Forget the rights and wrongs of vandalism and children using the grounds as a play area, we have also to face the fact that this large building in Milton Road/Liverpool Road might put on nice concerts and big services but it offers very little for young people in the community. Even the one week of holiday club we are trying to offer is only just going ahead as volunteers to help are few and far between. That is not a criticism but a statement of fact.
Are we as a congregation far too inward looking? Do we have a shared concept of ‘mission’? We might talk and use some impressive words and statistics but until the ‘mind’ of the congregation changes and we own some common sense of purpose and vision we will never move forward.
As the Cathedral celebrates its centenary let us remind ourselves of what our centenary was about: thanks for the past, vision for the future and commitment to serving the present needs of the church and community.
With my love and prayers
St Mary Magdalene
From Robert Ellsberg’s ‘All Saints’, a reflection on the feast of St Mary Magdalene, on July 22nd.
Mary Magdalene was one of the original Galilean disciples of Jesus and the most eminent among the many women who followed in his itinerant ministry. Little can be said about her origins; she is characterized simply as ‘ woman from whom seven demons had gone out’, a statement subject to various interpretations. It was St. Gregory the Great who identified Mary with the woman, ‘a sinner’, who sought Jesus out in the home of a Pharisee to wash his feet with her tears and dry them with her hair.
This gesture, which scandalized the other dinner guests, prompted Jesus to say, ‘Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much’. From this conflation, now rejected by scholars as well as the church, there came about the popular representation of Mary Magdalene as a penitent sinner or prostitute.
This image of ‘The Magdalene’ has appealed to artists and dramatists throughout history, and it has doubtless been a comfort to many. But in attaching such a stereotypically female image to Mary Magdalene the Western fathers also helped to efface the memory of the leadership and prominence of women in the early Jesus movement. This amnesia was already well under way by the time the Gospels were written in the late first century. One of the most distinctive features of Jesus’ movement was the presence of women among his intimate disciples. And yet the story and even identity of many of these women was left on the margins.
It is all the more significant when women such as Mary of Bethany, her sister Martha, or Mary Magdalene are named. It is a sign of just how vital a place they still occupied in the church‘s living memory. Mary Magdalene, in particular, was firmly associated with two vital facts: that she was a witness to the crucifixion and that she was the first witness of the Risen Lord.
All four Gospels name Mary among the women who followed Jesus to Golgotha and there witnessed his passion and death. While all the male disciples fled, it was these women who remained faithful to the end. It was also they, including Mary Magdalene, who went to his tomb on the day after the sabbath hoping to anoint his body. Instead they found an empty tomb, guarded by an angel who revealed the astonishing news that Jesus was risen. The women were charged to tell the disciples to meet the Lord back in Galilee. In the Gospels of John and Matthew, Mary Magdalene actually sees the Risen Lord. John provides a particularly poignant account, reflecting most clearly the special relationship that evidently existed between Mary and Jesus Here, after summoning Peter and the ‘beloved disciple’ to see the empty tomb for themselves, Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. Suddenly she sees Jesus, but does not recognize him. Taking him to be the gardener she says: ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away’. Jesus answers her with a single word: ‘Mary’, which is enough to identify him. ‘Rabboni!’ she cries; ‘Teacher!’ He instructs her not to hold him, ‘but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ And so Mary goes out to the disciples and says, ‘I have seen the Lord.’
Nothing else is known of Mary Magdalene. Her deeds are not reported in the Acts of the Apostles, nor does she figure in the writings of Paul. (In listing the appearances of the Risen Lord he begins with the appearance to Peter.) But the name of Mary Magdalene deserves special honour, particularly at a time when women are struggling to be heard in the church and society. It was she, the faithful disciple, who first proclaimed the good news to the Twelve. Thus she has often been called the ‘Apostle to the Apostles.’
Psalm 23 - for Busy Mothers
The Lord is my pace-setter. I shall not rush.
He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals.
He provides me with an image of stillness which restores my serenity.
He leads me in ways of efficiency through calmness of mind and His guidance is peace.
Even though I have a great many things to accomplish, each day I will not fret, for His presence is here.
His timelessness and His all importance will keep me in balance.
He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activities by anointing my mind with the oil of tranquillity.
My cup of joyous energy overflows.
Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours, for I shall walk in peace with my Lord and dwell in His house forever.
Malta, Shipwreck and Saint Paul
Malta in May and sitting on the harbour steps at Saint Paul’s Bay, looking out to Saint Paul‘s island in the warm early morning sun, the sea calm and deep blue, we listened to the passage from Chapter 27 of Acts of the Apostles which described very different conditions. The date was 60AD. A winter storm had blown up. The lifeboat had been cut loose, so that when the ship struck the reef. All aboard had to swim or cling to broken pieces of wood to get to shore. Miraculously, all were saved and to this day one of the nearby churches annually distributes 200 loaves of bread to the poor and needy to commemorate the event.
Paul was on his way from Jerusalem to Rome as a prisoner opting to be tried in Rome. He had fallen foul of the authorities in Jerusalem and realised that even if tried and acquitted there, his life would still be in danger. Perhaps more importantly, as evangelist to the gentiles Paul had his eyes set on Spain, so a journey by ship to Rome, at the authorities’ expense would take him nearer his goal.
He spent three months on the island and many traditions exist about his time there, some supported by archaeological evidence. As the passengers scrambled ashore, local people helped to gather wood to build fires. When a snake bit Paul on the wrist he survived unscathed and was later said to have miraculously removed the venom from Maltese snakes for ever. After the wreck, Publius, probably a local Head Man, took Paul in for three days, during which he cured Publius’ father who was terminally ill. As a result. Publius immediately became a Christian and was later made Malta‘s first Bishop, after which the rest of the population soon followed suit.
The Maltese are justly proud of the fact that their Christian roots can be traced back directly to Saint Paul. Shrines, pilgrimage sites, relics and commemorative statues abound. It could well be that Christianity has been present continuously since Paul's visit, in spite of Malta‘s turbulent history, ruled in turn by Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Norman and other Europeans before being leased to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem in 1530. They ruled until 1798, then capitulated to Napoleon. Soon the Maltese rebelled against French rule, seeking protection from the British. They becamepart of the British Empire in 1814 before gaining independence in 1969.
During its history, Malta has seen much conflict. In 1565, 9,000 Knights withstood the onslaught of 30,000 Turks for more than three months. During the second world war, the island was awarded the George Cross for enduring sustained German air attacks. In January 1942 Malta was subject to 262 air raids and in the next three months only eleven nights saw no raids. In addition, convoys trying desperately to bring supplies were in constant danger from torpedoes. In Malta today, 98 of the population are Roman Catholic, although there is liberty of worship.
After his three months stay in Malta, Paul left on a grain ship. It called at Syracuse on the east coast of Sicily and then at Rhegium and after a breezy voyage at Puteoli in Italy. Here Paul was welcomed by a group of Christians. He stayed a week and then continued to Rome. We do not know what happened next. Perhaps he was tried and acquitted; perhaps he died a martyr‘s death in Rome; perhaps he achieved his ambition and went to Spain. We shall never know, but we can be thankful that the writings of Saint Paul have survived and still educate and inspire Christians today, almost 2,000 years since they were written.
The Children’s Bible
Uncorrected statements about the Bible written by children.
My Day as a Toffee Lady Emily Skinner
On 28th February I was very lucky to be asked to be the Toffee Lady at the Everton v Aston Villa home game at Goodison Park.
I had a brilliant day. I got to meet all the players, but the best was Duncan Ferguson and Wayne Rooney. Duncan said I was his little princess and Wayne Rooney was even shyer than me!!
I had to wear a long blue dress with a white pinafore and hat which looked like it was from Victorian times. My mum told me that they have a Toffee Lady because in the olden days the nickname of the Everton team was the ?Toffeemen‘ as there was a toffee factory where the ground is. It has been a tradition at all the home games ever since.
I had to walk all around the pitch with a big basket full of toffees and throw them into the crowd. It was a bit scary because there where 40,000 people there!
My mum and Gary were in the bar when me and Lindsey, my cousin, met the players but they came out when I started to throw my toffees. My mum said she was really proud of me.
It was a brilliant day and we even won 2 -1!
I will remember it for the rest of my life.
See photos of Emily in her Toffee Lady outfit at Goodison Park
and with striker Wayne Rooney in the Springtime Gallery online. The
is delighted to print these pictures, and would be even more delighted
to include any pictures of any child with Michael
Owen at Anfield...
Some Thoughts Joan Jones
Growing old does have its compensations. It‘s something that can't be avoided. But just think of the knowledge and experience you have gained through the years.
When one becomes completely at peace with oneself, it often comes unexpectedly and we are aware of that special moment. Acknowledge it.
The Small Beatitudes
Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves;
they will have no end of fun.
Blessed are those who can tell a mountain from a molehill;
they will be saved a lot of bother.
Blessed are those who know how to relax without looking for excuses;
they are on the way to being wise.
Blessed are those who are sane enough not to take themselves too seriously;
they will be valued by those about them.
Announcements from Church Bulletins
Don’t let worry kill you. Let the Church help.
Thursday night - Potluck Supper. Prayer and medication to follow.
Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.
For those of you who have children and don‘t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
This afternoon there will be a meeting in the south and north ends of the church. Children will be baptized at both ends.
Tuesday at 4pm there will be an ice cream social. All ladies giving milk will please come early.
Wednesday, the Ladies Liturgy Society will meet. Mrs. Jones will sing ‘Put Me In My Little Bed’ accompanied by the pastor.
Thursday at 5pm there will be a meeting of the Little Mothers Club. All wishing to become Little Mothers, please see the minister in his private study.
This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Lewis to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.
The service will close with ‘Little Drops of Water’. One of the ladies will start (quietly) and the rest of the congregation will join in.
Supplied by Basil Blackledge
(Announcements claimed to be genuine, but some of them probably too good to be true! Ed.)
United Benefice Dramatic
After much thought and discussion it seems sensible not to go ahead with a pantomime this time round. Although these pantomimes are great fun and give a lot of enjoyment to those who come to watch and those who participate they do take up nearly half of the year! And at the present time there is still uncertainty about suitable scripts, to say nothing of finding a producer who is willing to give up six months for rehearsals. Let‘s hope that 2006 will see us all treading the boards again!!
Don't get lulled into a false sense of security though, there is
plenty going on to ruin any prospect of free weekends!
‘Hot Date at Walsingham’
a report by Glyn Paflin in the Church Times
Thousands of pilgrims thronged to Walsingham on Monday 31st May, when the Archbishop of Canterbury preached at the National Pilgrimage, led the singing of the Angelus, and gave benediction with the Blessed Sacrament at the Anglican Shrine.
The Shrine authorities’ estimate was of 4000 people around the Abbey grounds, where 17 bishops attended the concelebrated mass led by the Bishop in Europe, Dr Geoffrey Rowell, for the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To mark the Archbishop’s visit, commenorative mugs were on sale in the Shrine shop; and Dr Williams was applauded when the Revd Philip North, the Shrine Administrator, observed that, though some of Dr Williams’s predecessors had been to Walsingham, ‘never before has a pilgrim been made Archbishop of Canterbury. You are an inspiration to us all as the leader of our Church’
Dr Williams urged the pilgrims to give more room in their lives to
They would be ‘magnified’, he said, ‘not by rushing around in panic
ourselves and standing on our dignity, but by being still enough to
and absorb the light flowing from God the Holy Trinity, something so
that it can put into perspective the fears and pettinesses that we
are real life’‘
Then: ‘At a time when we are forced to confront daily the images of wilful human blasphemy against the image of God in others . . . we need to hear Our Lady’s challenge: she sings for the insulted and injured everywhere: in Iraq and Zimbabwe and her own Holy Land’.
‘And she calls us in her Son‘s name not only to be still and let God flower in us, but to let God‘s justice work in us and through us also, as we seek to make room for each other with love and respect in our tormented and petrified world.’
There were three ‘Rs’, he said. ‘Relate — be in the company of God and God‘s friends to be reminded of what faith is; Relinquish — let go of what stops you being human, fear and prejudice, and the longing to be known to be always in the right; Receive — welcome with gratitude and reverence what God gives you through each other, through friend and stranger’
By common consent, this year’s programme was improved by the introduction of a lunch interval after the mass. It lent an appearance of Glyndebourne to ‘Stiffkey’s fair vale’, as picnics unfolded at leisure in the Abbey grounds. Umbrellas were brought out as protection from the sunshine, which relented only when the day‘s devotions were over.
By then, the small group of Protestants with placards, whose witness by the village pump this year was subdued, had melted away, leaving some of The Bull‘s most splendidly attired customers in possession of the Common Place.
A small party of pilgrims from St Faith’s were at Walsingham for the National Pilgrimage. Photos appear online in the Springtime Gallery.
For a better Church, believe in Hope
Daily Telegraph, May 25th
Let us praise Dr David Hope, the Archbishop of York, for attacking the Church of England’s abandonment of the mysterious in favour of committee chatter and liturgical banality.
It‘s rare enough that anyone gets into a pulpit to mouth more than a few platitudes along the lines of Alan Bennett‘s sermon in ‘Beyond the Fringe’: ‘Life, you know, is rather like opening a tin of sardines. We all of us are looking for the key.’
It’s even rarer that they’re outspoken and right. Dr Hope was spot-on when he attacked modern worship as entertainment, apeing ephemeral fashions. How right he was to praise the sort of worship that is worthy of God; worship that is awesome. That worship, he said, comes not from a busy church where you live in fear of being collared by an interfering churchwarden, but from the magnificent spaces of an empty, quiet church.
The archbishop is close to Philip Larkin, who loved visiting churches as long as there was nothing going on inside them. In ‘Church Going’, he wrote of the Church as ‘A serious house on serious earth it is/ In whose blent air all our compulsions meet/ Are recognised, and robed as destinies./ And that much never can be obsolete,/ Since someone will forever be surprising/ A hunger in himself to be more serious.’
Larkin wrote as a reluctant atheist. Dr Hope speaks as an Anglo-Catholic. We suspect he might even be happy to slip out of York Minster and nip across the North Yorkshire Moors to join the monks of Ampleforth for some plainchant.
For those somewhere in between Larkin and Dr Hope, the magnificent empty church spaces can be improved by the liturgy, the music and the priest, if they are of the best quality. So often, in recent decades, those extras have been second-rate and have taken away from the Church‘s majesty. The Alternative Service Book, which prevailed in Anglican churches from 1980 to 2000, was widely reviled. The English translation of the Latin Missal, used in Catholic churches since 1973, has been criticised as too humdrum. The same could be said of church music since Vatican II.
Thankfully, the tide has turned a little. A new missal, closer to the Latin original, is currently in draft form and should be available for use next year. Common Worship, the new Anglican prayer book, is an improvement on the Alternative Service Book, even if it does not match the poetic mastery of the Book of Common Prayer.
Of course, each vicar in each parish can still choose to use the Book of Common Prayer. If a few more chose this option — or even, as Dr Hope recommends, just spoke less and prayed more — churches could regain their wonder.
Archbishop attacks ‘Pop Idol worship’
The Archbishop of York, Dr David Hope, launched a fierce assault on his own Church yesterday, accusing it of abandoning the mysterious for the banal and indulging in ineffective debate.
The Archbishop, who is second in the Church of England’s hierarchy, said that while ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’he warned that the proliferation of committees and talking shops had strangled the vibrant spirit and quiet prayerfulness found among early Christians.
Dr Hope’s blunt criticism, delivered in a sermon at Mirfield theological college in Yorkshire, reflects his fears that bureaucracy and internal divisions are undermining the Church's mission.
He said that the ‘Makeover/ Changing Rooms/Pop Idol culture’ exposed the superficiality of a society that ‘increasingly and paradoxically seems to be yearning for the things of the spirit - a yearning that apparently the Churches are failing to satisfy.’
Dr Hope said worship had to be accessible, but also had to convey a sense of the awesome.
‘The temptation, indeed the reality, I experience in quite a number of churches is simply to ape the passing styles of the times,’ he told the students. ‘Worship as entertainment; worship as distraction quite other than what it truly is or should be, namely the giving of worth to God.’
‘It is ironic that just at the time when not only so many young people but older people too have been captivated by the Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings genre of literature and film, the Church in its worship seems to have abandoned the mysterious in favour of the banal.’
The archbishop, a leading traditionalist, also called on the Church to recapture the power of prayer and to offer people space to be silent.
‘The most important witness that I believe is needed today more than ever is the witness of ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’,’ he said.
‘That is not in any way to minimise the quite proper role both of conversation, discussion and debate as well as what might be described as the Christian social agenda — the reaching out in service to those most in need around us.
‘But the danger is that we are becoming too much a busy Church and a chatty Church at the expense of being an effective Church.
‘No wonder that people are wary even of entering within in case they are so suddenly snapped up by some ardent vicar or churchwarden or PCC member and at once enlisted on to some committee, working group or tea-making rota.
‘More than ever, people are looking both for space and for silence,
the space and silence that our churches could and should provide.’
(Three successive newspaper articles this month, all courtesy of
Neil. It is good to see positive coverage of church events and to
robust statements from our archbishops. Ed.)
Thank you for your Prayers Frances Luft
I would like to thank my family at St Faith’s for the long-continued prayers each week for my daughter Margaret Bidwell. Margaret has been suffering from progressive multiple sclerosis for some years now and is at the stage when she can do very little for herself and is dependent on carers; she is a widow and lives alone in East Anglia.
Your prayers are greatly appreciated, not only for Margaret but they also support me very much. Thank you.
Cathedrals Old and New
A week in the sunshine of western Scotland recently gave me the chance of visiting two fascinating and strongly-contrasted cathedral churches. One was ‘ours’ - tiny, remote, Victorian Gothic, ‘catholic’ and struggling. The other, one of ‘theirs’, was vast, mediaeval, awesome and beautifully maintained but with never a candle or crucifix in sight!
The Cathedral of the Isles and College of the Holy Spirit is one of two cathedrals of the Scottish Episcopal Diocese of Argyll and the Isles, and sits in sylvan surroundings above the town of Millport on the little island of Great Cumbrae off the Ayrshire coast. We joined the congregation that all but filled it on Whitsunday. There were about 50 of us, and the place holds about 60! The cathedral, and the surrounding collegiate complex, now a retreat centre and unique bed and breakfast establishment, is a Butterfield gem, exotically decorated, with a lovely Lady Chapel, icons, statues and colourful wall tiling. At the service there was incense, reservation, a host of candles: all the accoutrements that we rejoice in at St Faith‘s but are rarely found in Scotland. But there was no choir, and just one visiting retired priest as celebrant.
In conversation with him later, it transpired that they are in interregnum, and seem to be facing a struggle to survive. The scattered congregations of our sister church in the Highlands and Islands share a handful of itinerant clergy: still regarded as the ‘English Church’, they sit somewhat uncomfortably between the R.Cs and the spectrum of often direly dour Protestant churches of the Reformation. Although the previous incumbent (neither Dean nor Provost, but Warden) has shared the cathedral ministry with his wife, also a priest, the visiting priest, who rejoiced in the name of Fr Pagan, spoke bitterly of ‘priestesses’ and revealingly of the divisions within the ‘Piskies’, as they are known, over the ordination of women.
It was a revelation and a delight to share in their worship on their Feast of Title, but it made us realise how uncertain seems to be the future for the Episcopal Church of Scotland, with only about 30,000 committed members in the whole country. As with Northern Ireland, the Reformation struck more deeply and divisively than in most of England and Wales, and fragmentation is still all too often the name of the game north of the border. Instead of realising that Christians have their backs to a common wall these days, the churches of Scotland seem happier to turn their backs on one another.
Glasgow Cathedral is, as they say, definitely something else. Firstly, it is a Church of Scotland Cathedral (in itself something of a contradiction in terms for a church without bishops); secondly it is in the care of the state. As a result, it is immaculately maintained and showcased and alive with visitors. It is a quite magnificent mediaeval building, preserved intact and little altered from its centuries-old state, and filled with imposing architecture, vistas and artefacts. But in all other ways it wasn‘t our idea of a ctahedral at all. The many pre-Reformation altars, dutifully labelled and with their original sacramental purposes explained as historical curiosities, are devoid of candles and crosses. Even in the superb and beautiful vaulted lower church, with its forests of ancient pillars, there is no real sense of sacramental, living worship, and the entire place, for all its echoing grandeur, had no feeling of the numinous and felt more like a museum exhibit. A Cathedral presided over by a ‘Minister’ and run by the local Corporation, it is at the opposite end of the spectrum to the living eucharistic worship of Cumbrae’s Cathedral. Glasgow’s Cathedral lies securely in the hands of the sate, but safe though its body undoubtedly is, we saw little of the soul and spirit so clearly in evidence fifty miles away on the morning of Pentecost in what may well be the world's smallest cathedral. Here at least, small is beautiful. For the time being, anyway.
From the Registers
Burial of Ashes
9 May Florence Smith
23 May Roshini Jasmine Brown
daughter of Samantha and Neil
Newslink never fails to have an entertaining set of photographs. In last month‘s issue was a photograph of the Easter Garden, with an iron and ironing board visible in the background. Beautifully arranged, of course!
(Well, someone had to iron the folded grave-clothes in the bible! Ed.)
Charity Fun Day
Plans are now well underway for our third charity fun day, on Saturday July 10th starting at 10.00 am. There is a box at the back of church for people to suggest charities (home and overseas) who will benefit from the day. Please give us your suggestions. Also, please respond to requests for help both on the day and in preparation.
These days are great fun and show how well our two congregations
together. Please do your best to support the day.
Holiday Club 2004
Any offers of help (even the odd day or half a day) still welcome. Please see Joan Tudhope if you can help.
AUDITIONS FOR 2004 VARIETY SHOW at S. MARY’S WATERLOO
Some of you may have come to last year‘s variety show ‘Off Broadway’ which was put on by the Stage Right Theatre Company. This year‘s show is being planned and CHRIS FITTOCK, Artistic Director, says:
We are seeking performers aged between 12 and 18 for the following:
SINGING: Popular music, songs from Broadway and West End musicals, andyour own original songs.
DANCING: If you dance, or are part of a dance group, and have a piece youwould like to perform, please contact us.
ACTORS: We will be reviving a short play first produced at the Liverpool Unity Theatre in 2000, as well as giving the UK premiere of a new short American play.
AND PEOPLE WITH ANY OTHER SKILLS: Can you juggle? Fire-breathe…?
AUDITIONS will take place on Saturday 10th and Saturday 17th
July 2004 at St. Mary's Church, St. Mary's Road, Waterloo.
Please email email@example.com or ring 07931 843 464 for more details or to confirm a time for audition. This year's show will take place between Thursday 26th - Saturday 28th August 2004.