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

Saint Faith’s Prayer for Mission

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


July 2007

From the  Ministry Team

When the mass is over, the service begins!
I know I have mentioned these words many times before, words which were hung over a church door in London so that as people left at the end of the Eucharist they were reminded of the task before them – to go in peace to love and serve the world in the name of Christ.
The attitude of the long-standing member of St. Faith’s who recently boasted that in the eight years of the united benefice he has never once set foot inside St. Mary’s for a service does nothing to encourage growth in the church. I know of one person from St Mary’s who won’t attend a joint service at St. Faith’s because of the incense! I know of others who don’t like going to St. Mary’s because “it’s not our style”. I happen to have it on fairly good authority that both forms of worship are equally acceptable to God.
We easily miss the point, when we think that worship and coming to church are bound up with “what I want”; the reason we are called by God into His Church is so that we may be sent out as lights in the world to draw others to His love. A quick glance through the headlines of any daily paper illustrates the different ways in which people’s lives are in complete darkness and often without any purpose, direction or meaning. It is into the real ambiguities and complex world situations that the light of Christ must penetrate.
But Christ has no hands on earth to do his work (to quote St. Teresa of Avila) but ours. If our attitude to our faith is self-centered and based on what we want or get, then the mission of the church is doomed to fail. At the heart of our faith is sacrifice and self-giving. Just look at the crucifix to see that.
We should be encouraged that there are new ideas and programmes designed to assist with the mission of the Church in an age where it is increasingly seen as irrelevant. Nothing can be taken as given any more. At all baptisms, weddings and funeral we print the words of the Lord’s Prayer in full as many have never learned that prayer. One such new programme is called “mission-shaped ministry” and is a one-year part time course which aims to equip people for ministry in the 21st century. I am delighted that at the time of writing four members of our Ministry Team are considering doing the course.
It is for Christians who want their churches to be more effective in mission; a course for all denominations, traditions and streams and for recognized ministers who want to sharpen their skills. Those participating will learn about the nature and shape of the church, the qualities and caracheteristics of Christian ministry and will be helped in the process of listening to God in our own culture and community. It is designed for busy Christians who are active in ministry and part of the learning comes through reflection on our own context and story.
Of the course the Archbishop of Canterbury says:
“The next big step in taking fresh expressions of church forward is making the right kind of training available in every part of the country. The mission shaped ministry course looks set to make a major contribution here and I’m delighted to comment it”.
I hope and pray that those who embark upon this course will help us all in our thinking that it might become truly mission shaped. That is, we will be more concerned about taking the love of God to those who do not know him, than seeing membership of church as “getting what we want”. Read John 3:16 – God so loved the (whole) world – not just our little part of it!
With my love and prayers
Fr. Neil

Mystery Worshipper      
Fr. Neil

For some time now the Ministry Team has been discussing the Ministry of Welcome that is offered in our benefice and tried to identify if there are areas that need developing. One of the things that will help us in this is by having people (who are well and truly “outsiders”) coming along to services and giving us some feed-back on the welcome they have received, the accessibility of the liturgy and other areas such as provision for young children. Equally important though can be the impressions and lessons we can from other churches. Would you like to share in this experiment? If so we are looking for a handful of people who, over the coming months, will visit a different church to their own to see what welcome they receive! It would be a very interesting exercise and I am certain would help us focus on areas of our own church life. If you would like to do this, please speak to me. It is hoped to visit a broad cross-section of churches from different traditions to see what lessons can be learned and then applied to our own situation as we seek to build upon our current ministry of welcome.
Moveable Feast?
Ann Lewin
(In the Book of Common Prayer the Feast of St. Thomas was December 21st. It is now July 3rd)

How do you feel, Thomas,
Your day being moved
From winter solstice
To high holiday?

Perhaps you rejoice in
More attention, away from
The tinselled run-up to
The Christmas Feast.
For me, reflection on
Faith emerging from doubt,
The stirring of meaning,
Needs darker symbols:
Has more to do with
The almost imperceptible
Shift of the earth on its axis,
A flicker of light
On the shortest
Than a blaze of certainty
In midsummer’s sun.

From ‘Watching for the Kingfisher’

Fr. Derek Hyett

For the first two weeks of July I shall be on holiday (free from chest infections and illness this time, I hope!). I am grateful to Fr. Derek Hyett, who will be staying in the Vicarage during that time. Fr. Derek will be on hand to deal with day-to-day matters on the ‘phone and at the door and will take care of most of the weekday services. Not only does this relieve a problem of security at the Vicarage but also saves a lot of scrambling around looking for people to cover the weekday services or having to cancel them because we cannot find cover. I know you will give him the warm welcome he always enjoys when he is back here. 

Fr. Neil

Our new Parish Administrator
Fr Neil

Back in December 2006, both PCCs approved the appointment of an Administrator. The Diocese were fully involved and consulted and the post has their full support and backing.  I am particularly grateful to the Diocesan Secretary and the Diocesan Personnel Adviser for their guidance and advice throughout the process.

Tempting as it is to see this as an opportunity for all of us to hand over any administration or work that we currently do, the real purpose of such a post was that someone was appointed to try and manage the areas that currently aren’t covered. This is nothing to do with bad organization on the part of any of us here, simply that we are all working to capacity and quite honestly few of us have the time to take on any extra. Given the sad reality that there are fewer, rather than more, people wanting to be involved in the day-to-day running of the parishes, the post of Administrator was felt to be essential if we are to seek to grow and develop our parishes and United Benefice. The post should be seen to complement and develop the work we do already.

After some advertising a formal interview process took place with Churchwardens from both parishes being involved and we are delighted to welcome Liz Mooney to this new post and to the family of St. Mary’s and St. Faith’s.

Liz has extensive experience with internal audit, compliance and business projects having initially studied accountancy. She took a Bachelor of Theology degree and has been involved in church, community, charity and sporting clubs all her life, including work for “Asylum Link”. Liz has served on her local PCC for over twenty years and is their Treasurer. She teaches in the Sunday School, writes the weekly church newsletter and has worked with Special Educational Needs pupils. She has strong organizational, leadership and management skills and, last year, obtained the European Computer Driving Licence qualification. Her business background is also helping her with the re-ordering of her church to make the facilities more accessible, working with regeneration initiatives in Liverpool.

Based in a nicely-appointed office in St. Mary’s Annexe (again thanks to the Diocese for their help with this), the immediate priorities for the Administrator will be:

To re-launch the Friends of St. Faith’s
This was launched at the end of 2002 but for various reasons we haven’t been able to find someone to develop this important group of supporters for some years now.  Fr. Peter has agreed to become Chairman of the Friends. This group is important not just because it can bring in revenue – destined for the repair and improvement of the fabric -  but it keeps former members in touch with what is going on and enables them to support the church’s work through their prayers and in other practical ways.

Marketing the space
Currently the church stands empty and unused most of the week (apart from daily masses which, sadly, are poorly attended). We need to investigate whether there are groups or organizations who could use the space which will mean the church is open more and the building is used more as well as generating much-needed income from renting of both church and hall. There are occasional hall bookings on a Sunday but we must perhaps now look to securing a more permanent use of the hall on Sundays too as we are still some way from matching income to expenditure.

The Administrator will make contact on a weekly basis with all avenues of the media (radio, TV, press) to ensure that every activity that takes place gains maximum publicity. This is not only essential in terms of support for events but also to raise the profile of the church in the community and to demonstrate quite clearly that the Christian Church here is alive and well and there is plenty for people to get involved with.

We have a dedicated team of baptism visitors but as the years go on there is more work to be done in keeping in contact with families, especially inviting them to special services and events. A new initiative will be the sending of cards on the anniversary of baptism and there is much work  to be done in the detailed organizing of this.

Christian Stewardship
It goes without saying that we continue to be thankful to God for all those who give of their time and talents voluntarily to the life of St. Faith’s. That commitment continues to be important and is, of course, a right and proper part of our Christian Stewardship, offering to the Lord the time and talents He has given us. And now, in addition to that wealth of commitment already present, we look forward to some newer tasks being embarked upon too.

100+ Club Winners for June 2007

1st    £140    Chris Price (no fix, honest! Ed)
2nd    £100    Peter Goodrich
3rd    £70    Rita Woodley
4th    £50    Mary Crooke

Well There’s a Thing…
This intriguing piece of information was received by the editor in an unsolicited email from one John Runcie.

‘At three minutes and four seconds after 2.00a.m. on the 5th of June last, the time and date were 02:03:04 05/06/07. This will never happen again.’

Saturday Recitals
David Jones

This season’s Saturday Recitals are proving to be as popular as ever! So far, we’ve enjoyed some brilliant talent in choirs, a brass ensemble, a jazz band and solo singers as well as an organ recital.  Average attendance at the recitals (at the time of writing) is slightly up on last year which is very encouraging – so thank you for your support.

The next few weeks’ performers are:

Saturday, 30 June
Michael Broom (baritone) and James Firth (piano)
Saturday, 7 July
Michael Wynne (organ)
Saturday, 14 July
Liverpool Brass Ensemble (Matthew Hardy and friends)
Saturday, 21 July
Rob Fleming (horn) and Neil Kelley (piano)
Saturday, 28 July
Gregor Cuff (‘cello) and Neil Kelley (piano)

We look forward to seeing you each Saturday!

Stations of the Resurrection           
Fr Neil

Just when you thought the Lenten discipline of ‘extra’ services was over, a new discipline of ‘Easter’ devotions appeared in the Stations of the Resurrection. These services, held on the Saturday evenings of Eastertide, sometimes attracted as many as 20 people, and followed the order in the new Common Worship Liturgy Book “Times and Seasons”. Based on the various appearances of Jesus after his Resurrection, the services drew together a blend of scripture, contemporary and classical music and poetry.

We used some posters for the purpose, put into temporary frames, but I would be glad to have any feed back from those who came, and especially whether it might be appropriate to look for other artwork, or possibly consider having some commissioned for next year? Here are two of the poems used; both are taken from the book ‘Watching for the Kingfisher’ by Ann Lewin.

The Ascension Perspective

Ascension means a
God-like view of things,
Rising above our usual
Rise, then, and know
The glory of a life
Set free from fear.


Lord, have mercy

God, you overstepped the mark
At Pentecost.  Those boundaries
So clearly drawn: be clean,
Be holy, do not dare draw near
Unless your hearts are pure,
Your sins forgiven – they kept us safe.
Then suddenly, with burning fire
And rushing wind,
You broke down our defences,
Surprised your way
Into our lives.

We’re at your mercy.
Can we bear
To be that close?

More P.C. Madness
Chris Price

No, not computer behaviour, just more believe-it-or-not stories - five of which cropped up in just one recent issue of The Daily Telegraph.

1. Asking pupils to put their hands up when they think they know the answer to a question in class could make quiet children fall behind, according to government advice. A suggested strategy involves choosing which child to question instead of inviting all the pupils who know the answer to put up their hands. Children could also be given 30 seconds ‘thinking time’ before being asked to answer…

2. Orchestras may have to play more quietly as part of the European Union’s control of noise at work regulations. Guidelines from a music industry working group could include not playing too many noisy pieces of music in one performance….

3. Bury firemen are facing disciplinary action after they were accused of sleeping on the floor of their station instead of on new reclining chairs. Three men are being investigated for ‘involvement in the use of unauthorised rest facilities.’ The fire service had replaced beds with £130,000 worth of new reclining chairs. The firemen were not allowed to use them until they had been given health and safety training on how to sit on them….

4. Leicestershire County Council has banned children of one area from playing in the street because it is a ‘danger to the public.’ All dolls and bicycles ‘must be removed from the road immediately.’ Children cannot play football in the street because using jumpers as makeshift goalposts has also been banned…

5. A parish council has ordered allotment holders to take out £5 million-worth of insurance in case a member of the public trips over a rake or a discarded carrot. The parish council clerk said: ‘We live in a health and safety conscious age…’

6.  Park benches across the country are to be replaced at a cost of thousands of pounds because they are three inches too low. New health and safety laws state that benches must be more than 17.75 inches high so that the elderly and disabled can get off them easily.

7. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has banned the use of the word ‘cock’ when applied to the male of the species, in case it causes offence. The word was replaced by four asterisks online, and the moderator for the site blamed the Microsoft software package for filtering the dreaded word out. A bird-lover had the last word: ‘I was thrilled to see on my bird table a pair of… Parus major. As bird-lovers will know, a Parus major  is a great tit, and while **** do not get past the censor, ‘tits’ clearly do not cause offence…’

Readers who are not offended by language of the final item may find a growing anthology of the editor’s P.C. gleanings at hml_file/curiouser.html

Your Church Needs You!

After a gap of a year, (during which our church hall was completely rewired), Saint Faith’s are now holding monthly table sales at our church hall in Milton Road.

Our next table sale is on Saturday 7th July with a NEW opening time of 11 a.m.  We do hope you will be able to attend and support our revised mid-morning table sales.

They have been organised in order to raise funds for our church.  Whether we bake cakes, sell bric-a-brac, book a table, or simply pay our admisssion costs into the hall; all the funds generated (apart of course from outside stall-holders’ profits) go to church. We all know how important it is to try and increase giving, put more money on the plate, but, if that’s not possible, what else can we as a congregation do?  Well, here’s something any of you can do: come along on Saturday 7th July and give us your support. Tell your family, tell your friends, tell your neighbours.  Come along and buy a delicious home made cake, (or two), a snack or a nice cup of tea. And if you want to support worthwhile charities purchase something from a charity table. At our last table sale we had stalls in aid of Macmillan Nurses and a local Children’s Hospice. As the sale opensat 11 a.m. you can visit the sale, buy your cakes,  find your bargains   and then scoot  next door  to the church
and enjoy the music recital!

Admission to the table sale costs just 30 pence. If you’d like to book a table please contact Ruth Winder - tel 0151 474 3633.

Corinne Hedgecock

Our thanks to Corinne for her sterling efforts in the field of publicity in the past few years. With the appointment  of our new  Parish  Administrator,  she can take a well-earned rest,  strolling round the odd table sale, perhaps! Ed.

Sermon for Corpus Christi
preached by Fr. Daniel Humphreys, St Augustus, Kilburn. The service at St Faith’s included the rededication of eucharistic ministers for the United Benefice

Picture the scene…..

‘Before dawn on the morning of 26 August 1506, after an early Mass, Pope Julius II was borne in his litter to the Porta Maggiore, one of Rome’s eastern gates, where he gave a blessing to those who had risen to cheer him on his way. With him were five hundred knights on horseback and several thousand Swiss infantry armed with pikes.  Twenty-six cardinals accompanied them, together with the Choir from the Sistine Chapel and a small army of secretaries, notaries, chamberlains, and auditors – a good part of the Vatican bureaucracy…..

From the Porta Maggiore, the procession snaked into the scorched countryside beyond the walls of Rome. More than three thousand horses and mules were needed to carry the mountains of baggage. At the head of this long column was the consecrated Host: not the thin white wafer of modern times, but a large, cake-like medallion that had been baked in an oven and stamped with inspiring scenes of the Crucifixion and Resurrection.’ (from Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling by Ross King).

Where were they all going? Unfortunately, I have to inform you that this plethora of ecclesiastical and military talent were on the way to battle. The Pope wanted the cities of Perugia and Bologna back under his control. They had rebelled, and were about to be taught a lesson. I presume it didn’t escape your notice that the Papal army was led by a consecrated host.

Onward Christian Soldiers. It is all rather distasteful I am sure you will agree with me.  And yet, at the same time, isn’t there something rather intriguing about the account of Pope Julius and the Host-led procession. Putting the consecrated Host at the head of the procession made a definite statement about what the Church believed and taught. They believed in the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. The Lord was leading them into battle. Remember the Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament, leading the people of Israel into battle? (Pope Julius was not having an original thought in 1506). He, and his followers, believed that the presence of the Lord at the head of his armies would bless and guide them as they went to war. There could be no greater mascot.

One of the things I love about this account is the sheer visibility – the unashamed dependence and love for the Blessed Sacrament. Nowadays we are inclined to worship behind closed doors – quite literally in some cases – and in another sense, through a fear of witnessing to what we believe, just in case it might offend. The very great danger we face when we slip into this way of thinking is that the faith becomes anonymous, nondescript. When we go back to the beginning to the new commandment given by the Lord in the Upper Room I believe we discover that this plea for publicity and notoriety is well grounded. Our faith is unique – ‘God was man in Palestine,/And ives today in bread and wine.’ (from ‘Christmas’ by John Betjeman.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, in instituting the sacrament of the altar gave his disciples the bread and the wine and told them to use them whenever they gathered to remember what he had done for them. Furthermore he assured them that when they did this he would be made present – remembered in their midst. ‘He gave it to them’. At the heart of any consideration of the Blessed Sacrament is gift – the sacrament is given by the Lord to His Church to be her means of communion with Him.  There can be no greater gift than this. 

When we prepare children for First Communion at S Augustine’s it is this point that we try to get across above all others. If the children grasp this – that Holy Communion, the Body and Blood of Christ – is the greatest gift we can possibly receive then they are ready to receive that gift (and children are generally quite happy to receive gifts). Surely that is as much as any of us can truly grasp, so great is the mystery.

And we must proclaim this unique truth, this gift – our crucified Lord is present on the altars of our Churches and in our tabernacles. In our second lesson we heard S Paul’s words to the people of Corinth:

‘Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death’ (1 Corinthians 11:26)

Those who act as Eucharistic Ministers will no doubt spend a considerable amount of time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, and fearfully and humbly distributing this greatest of all gifts. It is no light task that you have been entrusted with – be it undertaken here in Church or on the streets of the parish. Never forget the deeds of the Lord – give the Blessed Sacrament the awe and honour that is due to it.  In our gospel reading, the account of the feeding of the five thousand in S Luke, we heard our Lord instructing the disciples to give the people something to eat.  At one level this is exactly what you have been asked to do – to give the people something to eat – heavenly food, the pledge of future glory.  Yours is a public office, visible to those within and outside this Church. We all pray for you and with you, that God will bless you as you go about your work in this place.

As that procession snaked out of Rome on what I imagine was a steamingly hot August day, it doubtless attracted comment. Whatever the onlookers had to say (and let’s hope they were on their knees when they said it) not one of them could have denied this fact: that in placing the Blessed Sacrament at the head of the long column the Pope was stating that there is no part of life from which God is to be removed or sidelined. Considered in this way we can begin to see how profound this action was. It is so tempting, is it not, to allow God into certain areas of life (the more pious and genteel) and at the same time to deny access to those which are a little more complicated– grey areas perhaps we could say. Are we comfortable with a personal encounter with the Lord – the type of meeting when all is laid bare – a gospel meeting?I mean the type of meeting such as Our Lord had with the woman at the well in John chapter 4: ‘come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done’ – these are the words spoken by the women after the encounter. Adoring the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament we find ourselves in that uncomfortable and yet beautiful gospel situation where we intensify our relationship with Him and at the same time we are richly blessed and renewed.

You may (or you may not) be wondering what happened when Pope Julius and his entourage reached Perugia. Well, the city gates of Perugia swung open to receive the Pontiff, the bells tolled, and the people cheered – and not a drop of blood was spilled. The Blessed Sacrament was still at the head. The same was true in Bologna.

A bit of fun?  No – real life – and as such fraught with wrongdoing and sin. Our lives are surely taken up with the same sort of tensions and questions as our forebears – be they popes or peasants.  here are two very simple lessons I want to leave with you on this feast.  I hope and pray that through engaging with these lessons we will all grow in faith.

First of all – adoration is essential to Christian living. We are to love the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.  Try as hard as you can to spend time in silent adoration – simply meeting Jesus and cherishing the greatest gift of all. When we do this we are allowing God to communicate with us on his own terms. Very often we come to the Lord with a long list of woes, worries, and thanksgivings – understandable as this may be, it can prevent us from hearing his voice.

Secondly (and this is only possible when the first lesson has been learned and acted upon) take the Lord  out of  this building  into the circumstances of your life  –  and give him his rightful place at the head directing and blessing you and all with whom you come into contact. Pray that Christ may be truly present in you – that you may show forth in your life the fruits of his redemption.

Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you that in this wonderful sacrament you have given us the memorial of your passion: grant us so to reverence the sacred mysteries of your body and blood that we may know within ourselves and show forth in our lives the fruits of your redemption; for you are alive and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Magazine Matters
Chris Price

By now it will have become obvious that the last two issues of Newslink have not featured a full-colour cover or any colour photographs. Sadly, the inexpensive colour copying we have been using for some years now is no longer available, and the cost of having colour pages done by an ‘outside’ printer would make it an expensive luxury.

Several alternative strategies have been considered. If we charged (say) 50p per copy, the income would more or less pay for the coloured covers and internal photo pages normally featured month by month. Possibly the inclusion of several pages of paid adverts would achieve the same objective, as would the obtaining of sponsorship of the cost of colour printing by whoever might be persuaded to provide it. The only way of keeping production costs at their present level, however, is to revert to the pattern of the past: black and white photographs and ‘spot’ colour artwork, including the cover, making use of line drawings and the like. This was what happened last month, and is what you see happening in this issue – and after discussion, this is what the P.C.C. decided was the way forward at present. It is hope that funding can be found for a full-colour cover for, say three issues year, possibly for Christmas, Easter and the October Patronal Festival issue. The other options outlined above would rely on labour-intensive or costly processes or would put the magazine out of reach of many present readers and have been sidelined for the time being.

We hope that readers value the magazine sufficiently for its content and presentation (an extra four pages this month, mostly written, like most of this issue, by the Vicar and the Editor, one of whom apologises for this!) rather than the ephemeral use of full colour. By going down the currently agreed road, we can continue to fund the printing of a magazine that is free to all readers, as an important part of our church’s mission. And of course colour photographs (usually many more than can be fitted into the magazine) continue to feature, entirely free of charge, on the church website. What do readers think…?

The Gospel According to Microsoft

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, recently gave a speech at a High School about 11 things they did not and will not learn in school. He talked about how feel-good, politically correct teachings have created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept has set them up for failure in the real world. His words may strike a chord with readers…

Rule 1  Life is not fair - get used to it!

Rule 2 The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3 You will not make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4  If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5  Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6  If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7  Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parents’ generation, try delousing the wardrobe in your own bedroom.

Rule 8 Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to anything in real life.

Rule 9 Life is not divided into terms. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you ‘find yourself’. Do that in your own time.

Rule 10 Television is not real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11  Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.

Footnote  If you can read this – thank a teacher!
                 If you are reading it in English – thank a soldier!

An unusually interesting thing to do

‘Our Chinese student fitted in brilliantly.’
‘They were polite, friendly and helpful, and we now have a grounding in all things Mexican.’
‘A stimulating guest, who updated us on conditions in Zimbabwe, where we have connections through a church partnership.’
 ‘Our friends seem quite envious of our opportunity to have guests like this one from Taiwan.’

How about you? Might you enjoy welcoming a bright and well-informed person from another country for a weekend?

There are thousands of international students, mostly in their 20’s and 30’s, at universities across Britain. Most of them have no chance to get to know British people in a home environment, and so a great opportunity for increasing international friendship and goodwill is lost. All sorts of misunderstandings can be put right over a shared meal, or a stroll in the countryside.

‘I never thought families in the UK could be so attached and united.’ (male student, India)
‘This is an excellent, safe way to know more about UK and its people.’ (female, Hong Kong)

HOST is a charity, backed by the Foreign Office and the British Council, which has 20 years experience of matching students with hosts for one-off short visits. The need for more volunteer hosts – anywhere, any age, any status – is urgent. To find out more, please visit, or call the voluntary HOST organisers for your area: John and Frances Quirk 0151 924 6269.

Holy Smoke!
Chris Price

A recent Daily Telegraph story carried what could be grim news for St Faith’s. ‘Churches incensed by signs to stop smokers puffing in the pews’ ran the headline (not even that august journal can resist bad puns). Senior clerics are apparently ‘fuming’ (there they go again!) at regulations giving churches and cathedrals until July 1st to post ‘no smoking’ signs at their entrances.

Naturally enough, bishops and other clerical ranks are protesting that such signs are unnecessary and would deface their buildings. Their spokesman said that they did have difficulties with ‘the modern custom of men wearing hats indoors, people wanting to bring their pets in or even wanting to eat their ice cream cones’ – but, he went on, ‘One is bound to ask, when did you last hear of somebody smoking in church?’

The Bishop of Fulham declared: ‘This is yet another example of the aggressive nanny state. The whole thing is stark staring mad.’

Sadly, in all this righteous uproar, no-one has mentioned (apart from double entendres in headlines) the clear and present threat this dictat poses to Geoff Moss and his gallant band of swingers, who faithfully, Sunday by Sunday, will be breaking the law of the land by (holy) smoking in church. Clearly urgent action is needed to protect our sacred rights. A public enquiry and a Government committee is the least we can expect. Tony Blair, a good High Churchman, would perhaps understand, but he will have gone by July 1st, and Gordon Brown is a dour Presbyterian Scot who cannot be expected to sympathise.

Will we fall victim to censership?

Food for Thought

from Andrew Marr’s ‘A History of Modern Britain’

If, by an act of science or magic, a small platoon of British people from 1945 could be time-travelled 60 or so years into the future, what would the make of us? They would be nudging one another and trying not to laugh. They would be shocked by the different colours of skin. They would be surprised by the crammed and busy roads, the garish shops, the lack of smoke in the air. They would be amazed at how big so many of us are - not just tall but shamefully fat. They would be impressed by the clean hair, the new-looking clothes and the youthful faces of the new British.

But they would feel shock and revulsion at the gross wastefulness, the food flown from Zambia or Peru then promptly thrown out of houses and supermarkets uneaten, the mountains of intricately designed and hurriedly discarded music players, television sets and fridges, clothes and furniture; the ugly marks of painted, distorted words on walls and the litter everywhere of plastic and coloured paper. They would wonder at our lack of church-going, our flagrant openness about sex, our divorce habit - our amazingly warm and comfortable houses.

They would then discuss it all in voices that might make us laugh at them - insufferably posh or quaintly regional. Yet these alien people were us. They are us. The crop-haired urchins of the Forties are our pensioners now. The impatient, lean, young adults of 1947 with  their  imperial  convictions  or  socialist  beliefs  are around us still in wheelchairs or

hidden in care homes. It was their lives and the choices they made which led to here and now. So although they might stare at us and ask, ‘Who are these alien people?’ we could reply: ‘We are you, what you chose to become.’

Post Box

Dear Editor,

On my, sadly, infrequent visits to St Faith’s it was George Smith who invariably greeted me at the church  door. His smile, the inevitable handshake and his obvious delight at welcoming back one of the ‘old hands’ made me feel I was truly home. He was a great Christian stalwart.  May he rest in God’s eternal peace.

May I also say that I found Fr Mark’s sermon: ‘Living the Mystery’  (Newslink June 2007) both informative and stimulating. Please pass on my thanks to him.
Best wishes,
Anthony Walker

George’s ashes were scattered in the Garden of Rest in the presence of a large number of people from the United Benefice after the service for Corpus Christi. Typically, he had said that he did not want his ashes interred and marked with a stone. The Garden, marking the resting place of so many members of our church, will now be an even more powerful focus of our thoughts and prayers. Ed

A letter from Bishop Ian Stuart, who came to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation last month.

Dear Neil,

I did enjoy my visit to St. Mary’s yesterday. It was a splendid service and I appreciated your assistance and courtesy. Please convey my thanks to all involved in the preparations for the day. Megan has also asked me to pass on her thanks for the lovely bouquet of flowers.

I enjoy working with you and, on my two visits to the parishes, have found the people very friendly and welcoming. If there is a suitable slot in your Diary of Events for 2008, I would welcome an invitation to celebrate and preach on one Sunday next year.

Yours ever,
+ Ian

Nearly Doctored…
the ramblings of a former St. Faith’s chorister
by Christopher J. Parker

For those who do not remember me, I was the en chamade tenor in St. Faith’s choir from 1997 to 2001, during the reign of Ged Callacher as Director of Music. I came to St. Faith’s through Ged, having met him on the BA (hons) degree course at Liverpool University. In fact, he initially simply asked me to come and sing at Wakefield Cathedral to bolster the numbers, but, like most things in life, one thing led to another, and, on the day of the Cathedral visit, I was ‘encouraged’ to come to church on the following Sunday morning. At that stage my faith had remained dormant for some years, and what experience I had of church was rather middle of the road Anglicanism. Therefore, St. Faith’s was a relevation. I quickly got to grips with the music and the liturgy; my faith was reinvigorated, and I kept coming back week after week. Margaret Sadler was the catalyst of my going forth for confirmation. Little did I know at the time that the late Lord Runcie was going to lead the service and lay hands on me! That was a very special day and my parents came up from Kent for the occasion.

I stayed on in Liverpool to do a Master’s degree and I then hung around for a further year while I began my Ph.D at Durham. Alas, my money situation became difficult, and I regretfully had to return home to Kent. The choir and congregation gave me a great send- off in a fashion that only St. Faith’s could manage. Until early this year I had been plodding on with the Ph.D, whilst working part-time for a Post Office counter franchise.

I have returned to Liverpool to sing with St. Faith’s choir each year at the Cathedral; it always feels like I have never been away. I must thank Mike and Val Broom for putting me up (or is that putting up with me) each time. Last year I came back to St. Faith’s itself for the Sunday Mass to join in with the festivities concerning Ged’s departure. Finally the Ph.D thesis was submitted in January and I had a three month wait before my viva voce examination, which took place on 15 May (indeed, my girlfriend Debbie and I met up with Ged in Durham, where we caught up on the gossip, and Ged graciously showed us around his impressive and imposing surroundings at Ushaw College). Well, my examiners accepted my 100,000 words on ‘The Music of Sir Frederic Hymen Cowen (1852-1935): a Critical Study’ and I should graduate on 26 June. Rarely does a day go by when I do not recall my time at St. Faith’s: the beautiful liturgy, the usually glorious singing, the lively parties, and the hospitality and welcome of the people. Despite my six years at St. Mary’s, Addington, Surrey (we also have a connection with the Archbishops of Canterbury: six of them are buried in our church), I still think of St. Faith’s as my spiritual home. I hope these ramblings are worthy of record, and I pray that Anglo-Catholicism will remain strong in the parish of St. Faith’s.

God bless,

The family of St Faith’s offer warmest congratulation to the Newly-Doctored Christopher! Hope the process wasn’t too painful…

Pentecost with the ‘Piscies’ 
Chris Price

A good many years ago, we spent Whitsunday on the Hebridean island of Coll. The only place of worship there belonged to the Church of Scotland. After the service we realised that there had been no mention in liturgy or prayer of Whit, or indeed of the Holy Spirit, nor any hymns to distinguish this from any other Sunday. This year, on the mainland, a journey of 20 or so miles in search of a ‘proper’ service for Pentecost took us to the nearest Scottish Episcopalian Church – the ‘Piscies’ or, as they are also known ‘The English Church’, part, of course, of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The Eucharist was held in a little chapel with an interesting history. It is more or less all that survives of Courthill House in Kishorn, once a grand mansion owned by the Murray family, who had connections in very high places. Since that time the property has passed from hand to hand, and is now roofless, decaying and overgrown. But the little chapel, converted from part of the courtyard buildings, survives, and its small resident gathered congregation, together with any wandering Anglicans who root the place out, are served by an NSM from a good many miles away or, as was the case when we visited, a holidaying priest. He was from Devon, and three of those present (as well as us!) hailed from Merseyside. The service, in a pleasingly packed church (it holds 30!) was warm and friendly, with the twenty or so of us gathered round the altar for communion, with proper seasonal  hymns sung unaccompanied – and of course, coffee afterwards (out of a flask!).

Then there was time to see, at closer quarters, a stained glass window above the altar of St George slaying the dragon. His rather effeminate features are meant to resemble, we were told, Alastair Murray,  a son of the family killed in the Boer War (an amateur family tree at the back called it the BOAR War, and your correspondent briefly wondered if he was out there pig-sticking for England…)

Nearby an effusive brass told the gallant story of this officer of the Grenadier Guards in some detail. He was a proper Scot, no doubt about it, but the flag that flies prominently above his knightly figure in the glass is unmistakably that of St George and England… not the most diplomatic of signals to be sending out so soon after the Scottish Nationalists have taken over the running of their country, but probably no more than they would expect from the ‘English Church’!

We were staying at spectacular mountain-girt Torridon, in the second home of Angela and Peter Biggar, whom some will remember from their days at St Faith’s. We visited them in their first home above Inverness, and were shown round the Episcopal Cathedral there – a fine building,  where Angela is currently  learning,  from scratch,  to play the organ.  They

were keen to hear the news from Crosby and from St Faith’s, and they send their greetings to all in Crosby who remember them.

The modern world intrudes very little on the splendid remote wilderness of Wester Ross (we were out of television and internet range, with only intermittent mobile reception: so what’s the bad news?). But the absurdities of the 21st century intruded just once, on a walk above the shores of Loch Torridon. A remote Church of Scotland church, accessible only by foot from a rough off-road track, was on our list of places to visit. But it was locked and deserted, and a sad notice proclaimed that it was no longer used for worship. The reason? Not falling population, nor dwindling churchgoing habits – but Health and Safety and Disability regulations. They had had to close the place because there was no disabled access possible.

Never mind the generations of the faithful, the less mobile of whom were doubtless carried there to praise the Lord. Now they must travel miles on proper roads to the nearest fully-accessible place of worship, with the only journey they can make to Corrie Church being to join their ancestors in the burial ground beyond the church and above the silent sea. This writer, and his companions, found this inordinately sad, not to mention an insult to the disabled. It took a walk among the hills and woods and along the shore to restore a sense of balance. Enthusiastic upholders of the worst excesses of the nanny state are invited to justify this closure: we preferred to forget it as soon as possible and look for otters along the loch or lift up our eyes to the eternal and unchanging hills.

Fr Dennis’s Reflection
from Robert Ellsberg’s Book, “All Saints” – Daily Reflections On Saints, Prophets, And Witnesses For Our Time

Vincent van Gogh
Artist (1853 – 1890)

“I think that everything that is really good and beautiful, of inward moral, spiritual, and sublime beauty in men and their works, comes from God.” 

In the eyes of the world, and in his own eyes, Vincent van Gogh was an utter failure. Though today he is one of the most popular and beloved of all modern painters, to his contemporaries he evoked nothing but contempt. He sold nothing in his lifetime. He spent his life in squalid poverty, preferring to spend what money he could obtain on paint rather than food. But his failure never deterred him from dedicating every ounce of his strength to the expression of his personal vision. For the sake of that vision, as much as any desert father,  he  was  prepared  to  sacrifice  every  natural  happiness.   His  subjects  were   not

formally religious. They included sunflowers, wheat fields, and starry night skies. But ultimately his subject was the holiness of existence. It was that vision and not the quality of his sacrifice that defined the religious dimension of his art.

Van Gogh was the son of a respected Dutch clergyman. Initially he too felt called to the ministry. But poor marks, along with his coarse and disagreeable manners tended to alienate his professors. When he failed his Latin exams he remarked, ‘Do you seriously believe that such horrors are indispensable to a man who want to do what I want to do: give peace to poor creatures and reconcile them to their existence on earth?’ For Van Gogh the ministry did not represent a respectable career but an opportunity to serve the poor. To do this, he decided, he needed no certificate or degree. And so he travelled to the desolate mining region of the Borinage, where he lived in utter poverty and tried to preach the gospel to the worn and exhausted miners and their families. His efforts ended in complete failure. The result was a personal crisis that caused him to turn his back altogether on organized religion. In a break with his family he told them he thought ‘their whole system of religion horrible.’

In 1880, at the age of 27, he turned instead to a career as an artist. This was a surprising turn but his vocation remained the same. Art became his way of expressing his solidarity and compassion for suffering humanity. As a preacher he had found that the images of poverty and misery among the miners turned his mind to God. And now through art he sought to record those impressions – not through traditional religious iconography, but by revealing the inner depths, the dimension of love, in which all reality was ultimately rooted.

‘What I want and aim at is confoundedly difficult, and yet I do not think I aim too                                                                                                            high. I want to do drawings which touch some people….I want to progress so far that   people will say of my work: he feels deeply, he feels tenderly… What am I in most people’s eyes? A nonentity, or an eccentric and disagreeable man… in short, the lowest of the low. Very well… then I should want my work to show what is in the heart of such a nobody. This is my ambition, which is, in spite of everything, founded less on anger than on love.’

Though he pursued formal studies, Vincent remained obstinately committed to his own style and vision. For years he practised drawing and sketching images of farmworkers and the poor, perfecting his technique before turning to painting. Nevertheless, he found no market for his work. His sole support came from his brother Theo, a successful art dealer in Paris. It was to Theo, his friend, his life-line to sanity, that he poured out his thoughts and feelings in thousands of letters.

‘There may be a great fire in our soul, but no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a little bit of smoke coming through the chimney, and pass on their way… Must one tend that inward fire… wait for the hour when someone will come and sit down near it – to stay there maybe? Let him who believes in God wait for the hour that will come sooner or later.’

Though he was a ravening maw for human affection and understanding, van Gogh’s intensity and disregard for normal courtesy deterred intimate relationships. He alienated almost everyone with whom he came into contact. Only Theo remained constant. Meanwhile he drove his mind and body to the limit with endless work, lack of sleep, and a diet consisting of little more than bread, coffee, and alcohol. His sensitivity to suffering and the miseries of life remained acute. But there were times when he hovered dangerously on the brink of madness.

While in Paris and Antwerp he developed a new appreciation for colour. In February 1888 he moved to Arles in southern France. There in that sun-bathed countryside he achieved a fantastic breakthrough, producing scores of paintings that showed an exhilarating intoxication with light and life. ‘It is as if nature starts to burn….How beautiful is yellow!’

His portraits too reflected a different quality – not just a sensitivity to human suffering, but also something of the sacred: ‘I should like to paint in men and women something of that quality of eternity which was symbolized formerly by a halo and which we try to convey by the very radiance of our colouring.’

But the strain of loneliness, poverty, and his own inner demons could not indefinitely be held at bay. After mutilating himself in the midst of a fit, he checked himself into a mental asylum. There he continued to paint, as much as he was able. Upon his release in May 1890 he settled in Auvers. In his last months his output was fantastic – mostly scenes of wheatfields under stormy skies. To Theo he wrote, ‘One does not expect out of life what one has already learned it cannot give, but rather on begins to see more and more clearly that life is only a kind of sowing time, and the harvest is not here.’

On July 27th, 1890, he shot himself in the stomach. When Theo heard the news he rushed to his brother’s side. Vincent said, ‘Who could imagine that life could be so sad?’ He died on July 29th.

The Parish of Saint Mary the Virgin, Waterloo Park
24-hour Sponsored Organ Play   

by Fr. Neil Kelley
in aid of Church Funds

Sunday 19th August 2007 at 4pm until Monday 20th August 2007 at 4pm
Please come and go as you please. Refreshments will be served.
Sponsor forms available from both churches or to ring for a form or make a donation please call 928 2082.

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