The Parish Magazine
of Saint Faith's Church, Great
Saint Faith’s Prayer for
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
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.
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
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.
(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’
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
new Parish Administrator
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
Club Winners for June 2007
1st £140 Chris Price (no fix,
2nd £100 Peter Goodrich
3rd £70 Rita Woodley
4th £50 Mary Crooke
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
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!
of the Resurrection
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?
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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…?
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
Rule 5 Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your
grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it
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
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
www.hostuk.org, or call the voluntary HOST organisers for your area:
John and Frances Quirk 0151 924 6269.
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?
from Andrew Marr’s ‘A History of
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
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.’
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
The family of St Faith’s offer
warmest congratulation to the
Newly-Doctored Christopher! Hope the process wasn’t too painful…
with the ‘Piscies’
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.
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
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
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
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
‘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,
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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