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July and August 1999

COMMON WORSHIP 2000 - Why change the Liturgy again?           Fr Neil

As a member of the Diocesan Liturgical Committee, this is one of the commonly-asked questions when visiting parishes in the Diocese. It is also one of the questions likely to be addressed at a Conference on Common Worship 2000 in the Cathedral next year. The conference is for Clergy, Readers and all responsible for leading worship, although I suspect many from a wider audience will want to come.

We have moved from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer (and the ones before that) to BCP 1928, Series 1, Series 2, Series 1  2, Series 3, and then in 1980 the ASB. Add to that Lent, Holy Week and Easter, Enriching the Christian Year, The Promise of his Glory, Patterns for Worship and you realise that an absolute fortune can be spent on worship material before we think about Common Worship 2000. If you’ve never heard of any of these books then congratulations! We are moving from a liturgy with four eucharistic prayers (in ASB Rite A) to one with six or seven in the new Common Worship rites. It is ironic that the Church of England is returning to use of the word Common in relation to the liturgy, at a time when there could not be more alternatives and options since the Book of Common Prayer. The BCP of 1662 will remain the official worship book of the C of E, though of course so many people of my own generation will never have heard of it at all, let alone experienced its worship. That is very sad. Part of me wishes we had a common liturgy and another part of me is grateful for the variety of new material also.

Why a new liturgy? Good question  and others likely to be asked at the Conference will be What are the principles behind the changes? When and how will it be published? and how can we develop a strategy in our parish?  Like all other things in the C of E nothing will happen overnight! Common Worship 2000 will be the result of nearly 20 years of debate, reflection and consultation!

We at St. Faith’s will begin to use the new lectionary (system of reading Scripture) from this Advent Sunday. (St. Mary’s began using this with many other parishes in 1997 when it was first introduced). Although we speak of the new lectionary, in reality, it is only new for us at St. Faith’s and not for the majority of parishes in the Church of England.

Having experimented with one of the new Eucharistic Prayers on Pentecost Sunday, I found I had very mixed feelings about it. I’m not used to having to make responses at the end of each paragraph in the Eucharistic Prayer. It meant we had to follow the text word by word rather than allowing the words to speak to us. More frequent use may help it to feel familiar. We will use another of the new Eucharistic Prayers when Bishop James comes for the Confirmation (we shall in fact use the one he wrote) but like every other parish in the Church of England, we shall try over a period of time to explore what is best for us, and our long-term use, as these liturgies become available.

It is important to remember that we are only one of thousands of parishes being affected  it’s nothing unique to St. Faith’s  and another important thing to remember is that the liturgy is about more than just the Eucharist.

One of the best things that has happened has been a total re-thinking of the funeral rites.  This includes beautiful prayers for the departed and a huge resource of prayers which are appropriate for very sensitive and difficult occasions (i.e. after a violent death, suicide, the death of a baby or young person, a severe illness, coping with shock and grief). Whilst I might occasionally moan that when Common Worship 2000 is eventually published we might need a liturgical A to Z± to find our way around some services,  many of the changes must be welcomed, particularly for pastoral reasons. And welcomed if ultimately we can offer a liturgy which is well-structured, flexible and accessible, particularly to visitors and people dipping their toe in the water: a liturgy which both speaks to us of the transcendent nature of God and yet at the same time makes connections with our daily life and the life of our community.

The new Baptism rite provides a very full liturgy (with provision for the newly baptised to be clothed in a new garment, and more options with the prayers) although some of the criticism from those who have used the new baptism liturgy is that the wording of the promises made by parents and god-parents is too theological. New services of wholeness and healing will also meet a huge pastoral need, as will forms for the reconciliation of a penitent.

Lastly, if you have any comments about anything new which we might use in the liturgy, do please let me know. So often one hears comments via other people and by the time they come back they have been so distorted that one never knows how much truth there is in them! I was told by the Bishop at the Induction Service to lead the people in worship so please help me to fulfil my responsibility by letting me have any feed-back you may have.

Be Still and Know that I am God          Fr Neil

Read Psalm 46, with its references to the earth being moved, wars, floods, destruction, burning of chariots, and then reach the wonderful refreshing words of verse 10: Be still and know that I am God. Pause before you read them. Words of relief. A reassurance that even in the most awful turmoil and business of life the awesome presence of God can be known. Psalm 46:10 has inspired many a devotional hymn. Be still, and know (that I am) God

Being still is something most of us find difficult. Silence can be awkward, it can unsettle us. It can also be golden. So very often, in many churches, the period of time before the liturgy begins can sound more like the bingo waiting to start rather than a time for reflection! Silence before the liturgy can help us to open up to God, who may be trying to speak to us. Silence helps us and others remember that we are in church to worship God in the beauty of holiness. That feeling of expectation and awe, that sense of holiness, can only be made by us. Our building has a real sense of atmosphere, of holiness. But our noise, chatter and gossip can easily prevent others from praying. Worship is not simply something done for us by the choir or readers or priests. We each have a part to play, and the silence we keep, the prayers we say, can encourage and help others to do the same. Of course there is a warning in the Gospel about praying on street corners but we do need to encourage each other with silence. We need to encourage each other to pray. Most of what we say to each other before the service begins can easily be said afterwards. That’s why we have coffee (and sherry!) in the hall.

On Sunday mornings at the main Eucharist there will be a period of reflection before the first hymn begins. Please use this as a time to pray, pray for your preacher and celebrant  we certainly need it! Pray for those whom you have come to remember particularly.  There are many ways in which we can use silence  even in a busy church.

Let us welcome silence as a friend and pray that the more we wait on God, the more he will speak to us. There is a sign I am sure many of you have seen in various churches throughout the country; it says:

Before the Eucharist  talk to God
During the Eucharist  let God talk to you
After the Eucharist  talk to each other.

On the subject of prayer : a free-standing board has been placed in the Chapel of the Cross. Please use this to pin up any requests for prayer. Paper and pencils are provided. The petitions on the board will be included in the intercessions during the Friday 6.30 pm Eucharist each week.

Lastly, many thanks to all who help to maintain the daily Eucharist and Offices by coming along to them. If you have never been to a weekday Eucharist, why not try to come to one?

Would your Kitchen stand up to Inspection?

Hopefully it would, but St Faith’s Church Hall kitchen would not and, as we let the Hall to outside organisations, it is due for inspection by the local Health Inspectors to see if it is fit for public use. Unless it is improved, it will be condemned!

Unfortunately, there is little money available from Church funds to finance the work to upgrade the Hall kitchen. When the Vicarage kitchen was upgraded recently we kept some of the units for use in the Hall, but we need to buy a new cooker and refrigerator, as well as new worktops, paint etc. As money does not grow on trees we need to raise some, so please come to:

· An Afternoon Tea ·  in aid of the Church Hall Kitchen Restoration Fund
at 1 Belvidere Park, Great Crosby  on Sunday 4th July, from 2.30 to 4.00 pm.
Tickets þ4. There will be a Raffle.

A Reflection on the Feast of  The Blessed Virgin Mary        Fr Dennis

Happily, the new lectionary bids us keep Sunday 15th August as a Feast Day in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The keynote of Our Lady’s life was her unconditional giving of herself to God. She accepted, as far as we know without protestation, and with immense strength and integrity, God’s request to her that she should become the Mother of the Messiah  with all that this would involve. It is true, of course, that she was not  could not  be aware of exactly what was to come; but early, very early, she must have begun to realize that her task was to be not easy, nor without deep pain and distress, as well as joy and happiness.

The symbolic gift of myrrh from the Magi first pointed the way of sorrow to be followed, and at the Presentation in the Temple the mysterious, prophetic, words of Simeon brought the first shadows of the Cross. It was at the foot of that Cross that she stood as St. John tells us, when the disciples  all but one  had fled. The full weight of sorrow came upon her there.

The basis of Mary’s sacrificial self-surrender was her love of God. Her sole life was a gift of herself to God. Contained in this gift were joy, and sorrow, and suffering. Just as her Son made a willing offering and sacrifice of himself to God for us, so Mary was joined to him in his act of self-surrender.

What suffering this involved on her part, we must find it hard to understand. To be there, at the foot of the cross, when his life was ebbing away; to be there when, so touchingly, he makes provision for her, and places her in the care of John; to be there when in his great cry of triumph he is able to say, It is accomplished! and then bow his head and give up his spirit; to be there when, later, the torn and battered body is released from the cruel nails and brought down, to be placed in her arms  those arms where not so long ago, he reposed as a happy, laughing baby: the pain and grief must have been almost too much to bear.

Yet, Mary could not in the depths of her heart regret his death, for she knew that he himself willed it, and by it he fulfilled his Father`s task; his death became part of the gift of herself she had made to God, when she replied to the angel, Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.

Yes, we must say that for Mary, her sufferings and sorrow did not, could not, kill her joy. Always there was in Mary a calmness and a peace  and these arose and remained from her union with her Son, and the indwelling presence of God.

Mary, with her inner peace, a peace which withstood the worst a mother can face, the death of her Son, is a revelation of what human nature can become under the supernatural influence of God. She has indeed been magnified by God, he has lifted up the lowly, as her own Song, the Magnificat, has it. We may indeed take to ourselves the words her Son addressed to John, Behold, you mother!

Fathers` Day

Mender of toys,
Leader of boys,
Changer of fuses,
Kisser of bruises:
Bless him, dear Lord.

Mover of couches,
Soother of ouches,
Pounder of nails,
Teller of tales:
Reward him, O Lord.

Raker of leaves,
Cleaner of eaves,
Dryer of dishes,
Fulfiller of wishes:
Bless him, O Lord.

From Focus, the magazine of  St Mary the Virgin, Davyhulme

From Red to Black to Brown

Back in the 1960s, I was a chorister at St Alban’s Abbey. Shortly after leaving the choir (my voice hadn’t broken, but I was 15Á and O± Levels were not far off) I was invited to join the servers. As a chorister I wore a scarlet cassock; as a server, and as a member of St Faith’s choir, and later, as a parish priest, I wore a black cassock. Now, as a novice Franciscan Friar, I wear a brown habit, hence the title of this article.

Towards the beginning of 1996, I was allowed a three-month sabbatical from the parish where I was Rector and went to stay at Hilfield in Dorset, the Mother House of the Society of Saint Francis (SSF). I had warm memories of my one and only previous visit there in January 1978, and it felt like the right place to go on sabbatical  a community in whose life I could participate through prayer, study and work. I believed I had reached a turning point in my life, and needed to make some radical decisions regarding the future. That future might or might not lie within SSF.

I put my cards on the table in my first talk with Brother Samuel, the Guardian of Hilfield, from whom I had a lot of help during my Sabbatical. After only a few weeks, it became clear that I needed to explore this possible vocation to SSF more fully, and I began to talk to the Novice Guardian, Brother John-Francis, and a number of other brothers. As a result I became an enquirer and was invited to the Aspirants Weekend in late June, where I met four other men who were also testing their vocation with SSF. One withdrew in the course of the weekend, but the remaining four of us were invited to move to Hilfield as postulants at the beginning of October 1996.

That gave me three months to return to the parish, announce my departure, try to explain to the congregation what I was doing, and dispose of my worldly goods; selling some, giving away others and storing the rest (we are encouraged not to get rid of everything at this stage in case we or the Community changed our minds!)

The first year of my formation was spent at Hilfield, and, during the course of it, on the Feast of Candlemas 1997, I was clothed as a Novice together with Christopher and Oswin Paul. At Hilfield we played a full part in the offering of prayer and worship (four-fold Office and Eucharist), followed a course of study organised by the Novice Guardian, and worked in different areas of the Friary, particularly in the kitchen, in the sacristy, with the wayfarers in Giles House, in the grounds, and in the Guest House.

In the autumn of 1997, the three of us moved to Glasshampton in Worcestershire, which, although a Friary, has a more monastic feel to it. It is right out in the middle of the countryside and can be approached only by a rough track. The atmosphere is quieter than at Hilfield, with meals taken in silence and more time set apart for prayer and study. We were enclosed for the first eight months of our stay, with no outside engagements, minimal contact with guests, and one free day a month when we were allowed to go out, provided that we were back by midnight! SSF is fortunate to have such a resource as Glasshampton, which is also able to welcome a small number of guests and retreatants throughout most of the year.

Move number three took place last September and was to Birmingham where we are spending our Urban Year. We live on an outer estate in Northfield (SW Birmingham) in two adjacent flats, and, as well as working with people living on the estate, we have placements in local parishes, schools, the prison, and the hospital. Life at the Birmingham Friary is quite different from that at the larger houses, as we are mostly out all day, so we meet for Morning Prayer at 7.00 am followed by Prayer Time and Eucharist. In the Evening we keep both flats quiet for an hour at 5.00 pm and then say Evening Prayer and have supper together (taking it in turns to cook). Night Prayer is at 9.30 pm. The Chapel is a converted bedroom in the upper flat, and we welcome local clergy to preside at our daily Eucharist, which is the centre of our life.

In July our Minister Provincial, Brother Damian, will visit us to tell us where he would like us move to in September. That will be our Profession House, as we would expect, God and the Community willing, to make our vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience sometime after Candlemas next year.

I am delighted to be associated with St Faith’s in its Centenary Celebrations, especially as I enjoyed being part of the 75th anniversary events. I look forward to being with you in January of next year. In the meantime I will keep you in my prayers, and ask you to pray for me and for all who are called to live the Religious Life.

(Martin Freeman, member of St Faith’s Choir 1972-75,  our Centenary Preacher on Sunday January 30th, 2000)

Saturday Church Opening 1999

Following last year’s successful experiment in opening St Faith’s to visitors on  summer Saturdays, we have started doing the same this year. The Church is open to visitors from 11 am (following the 10.30 am Eucharist) to 1.30 pm, with light refreshments served throughout. Free literature (guidebooks, Newslink back numbers) is available, together with the current range of sales items (Centenary Mugs, Centenary Cookbooks, Poems from the Back Pew and St Faith’s Notelets), and there is always someone there to show visitors round and answer any questions.

From 12 noon to about 12.30 pm each Saturday, there is a free recital  details of recitalists for July and August below. If you came last year, when we welcomed many visitors and made some most interesting contacts  do drop in again this year. If not, then give it a try  you can come and go at any time. And if you would like to help with refreshments or welcoming visitors, please see Audrey Dawson, Chris Price or Denis Griffiths and we will be delighted to add you to our rotas!

July 3 George Gilford (Organ)
July 10 Michael Bennett (Organ)
July 17 Geoffrey Williams (Organ)
July 24 John Knight (Organ)
July 31 Stephen Hargreaves (organ)
August 7 Gregor Cuff (Cello)
August 14 Derek Sadler (Organ)
August 21 Gerard Callacher (Organ)
August 28 Neil Kelley (Organ)

The Young Man of Lochnagar

We would like to thank the family of St Faith’s for their prayers and support after Tom’s near-fatal accident in January. Tom and his climbing partner fell 600 feet down the ice-cliffs of Lochnagar before hitting a mound of snow and shortly afterwards the national Press. We would also like to thank everyone who has expressed continuing concern about Tom’s progress. He is now up and about, back at work, and coping well with day-to-day activities, although
several parts of his skeleton will never be the same again!

Fred and Linda Nye

Adverbs Matter    John Pugh

Another in the occasional series of assemblies delivered at Merchant Taylors` School

For reasons that still elude me I found myself go-karting badly in Blackpool the other day and it struck me then what I ought to say this morning. It struck me (it wasn’t the only thing that did) that this is really a rather tense time of the year. It’s a time of anxiety, hopes and fear. A time of exams, tests, trials, competitions  hopes of achievement, fears of underachievement; and it will undoubtedly spin out into the usual catalogue of certificates, grades, ties, championships, cups, appointments and disappointments.

I would like to share a thought with you which I hope everyone will find both reassuring and edifying. It’s not my thought  it’s something I read which at first I didn’t understand. A famous philosopher once wrote: It’s not what a man does in life that matters,  it is how he does anything at all. How, not what is the big question.

Only years after hearing these words did I appreciate their proper sense. It means that ultimately what you do in life (your achievements, your projects themselves) are an eminently trivial matter  how they are brought about, how they are carried through is what really counts. How can this be true?

Well firstly I must point out that any achievement is only an achievement seen from a particular position. It’s all relative. For example in our world big prizes and public esteem are handed out for knocking balls off green tables into pockets with a long stick or ferociously hitting a rubber ball back and forward across a net while grunting. We call such odd pointless behaviour sport and get very excited about it.

I’ve always felt extremely churlish about all this adulation given to those who are good at this sort of thing, for I too have a world-class natural talent  but one unrecognised in any public context. I discovered it as a child at children’s parties. I can balance a book on my head and win any race without the book falling off my head. I can even run upstairs and hop without dislodging the book. It is a prodigious, if silly, talent and one which perhaps at some future assembly I would be happy to demonstrate. But had this been a world class sport (and I can see no valid reason for it not being) I’m confident that I too, like other Sports Superstars, would be famous, obscenely rich, make tabloid headlines and get into fights in nightclubs. It is one of life’s cruel ironies that the only thing I am really good at happens not to be rated much by society.

Consider too how pathetic our achievements are when looked at from a non-human perspective, relative to other species.

· Very ordinary fleas can jump 350 times their own weight and when drunk always manage to fall on their right side.
· Porcupines invariably float effortlessly, as those of you who have tossed porcupines into rivers can undoubtedly vouch for.
· Cockroaches can run around for nine days without a head and only stop when they run out of food.

And then consider those ordinary everyday events which would be mega-achievements if done by another species.

· No crocodile has yet succeeded in sticking out its tongue.
· No emu can walk backwards.
· Elephants can’t jump.
· Ducks can quack but for some mysterious reason not produce an echo.

A second, if weak, reason for being sceptical about human achievement is the fact that we are rarely either esteemed or remembered for what we did  more normally for how we did it. It’s characters, not achievers, who live on in memory.

Guy Fawkes is immortalised for failing heroically and totally to blow up Parliament  but no-one knows the successful inventor of the spoon. We owe a great debt to the man who designed the lavatory seat but we remember rather better the flamboyant style of Lady Godiva or Eddie the Eagle.

The crucial reason, though, for concentrating on the how, not the what, is that you never live your achievements, you only live through and experience the doing of them. The crucial question is not whether we can or should become world champions, top scholars, successful businessmen, master criminals, famous people, successful schools, great leaders: but how we must be in order to achieve these targets. You don’t live targets  no matter what they are  how things are for you in the meanwhile is all  you will ever experience.

Of course I am not saying that it doesn’t matter at all what we do  that sitting in a solarium pigging out on waffles, if done with enough verve and style, is as good as helping Kosovan refugees, but that’s because how we live as a whole matters.  Adverbs matter.

Hildegard of Bingen

Sweet branch
From the stock of Jesse,
How magnificent
That God saw the girl’s beauty,
Like an eagle,
Fixing its eye on the sun:

When the highest Father saw
The girl’s radiance
And desired his Word
To take flesh in her.

For in the hidden mystery of God,
Her mind was filled with light,
And there emerged from the Virgin
A bright flower,

When the highest Father saw
The girl’s radiance
And desired his Word
To take flesh in her.

O branch mediatrix,
Your sacred womb
Overcame death
And illumined
All creatures
In the fair flower
Born of the sweetest integrity
Of your sealed chastity.
In Honour of Mary

The Witnesses   Clive Sansom

It was like music:
Hovering and floating there
With the sound of lutes and timbrels
In the night air.

It was like waves,
Beating upon the shore:
Insistent with a rhythm, a pulsing
Unfelt before.

It was like wind:
Blowing from off the seas
Of other, far other
Lands than these.

It was like wings:
Like whirring wings that fly;
The song of an army of swans
On the dark sky.

It was like God:
A presence of blinding light,
Ravishing body and soul
In the Spring Night.
Margaret Saunders

Black Madonna,
Let me climb on your lap.
Feel my heart
 beating with yours.
Hear your voice
 call me child.
Tell me of the blessing
 of the wise wound
 and the falling blood.
Tell me of the richness
 of my womanhood
 and of the travail
 to bring the darkness to birth.
Tell me of the pain
 and emptiness and loss
 when the sword pierced through your soul also.
Mary; empty vessel; God-bearer
 and bearer of God’s sorrow.

John of Damascus

In you rejoices, O full of grace, all creation,
the company of angels
and all humankind.
O holy temple and spiritual paradise,
O pride of virgins.
Thanks to you, God took flesh
becoming a child,
he, our God, foremost of all ages.
Of your womb he has made, in truth, a throne
and formed it greater than the heavens.
In you, O full of grace,
all creation rejoices.
Glory to you.


My soul glorifies the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.
He looks on his servant in her nothingness;
henceforth all ages will call me blessed.
The Almighty works marvels for me.
Holy his name!
His mercy is from age to age
on those who fear him.
He puts forth his arm in strength
and scatters the proud-hearted.
He casts the mighty from their thrones
and raises the lowly.
He fills the starving with good things,
send the rich away empty.
He protects Israel, his servant,
remembering his mercy,
The mercy promised to our fathers,
for Abraham and his sons for ever.
Praise the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit,
both now and for ever, world without end.

Dante Alighieri
Translated by R. A. Knox

Maiden, yet a mother,
daughter of thy Son,
high beyond all other,
lowlier is none;
thou the consummation
planned by God’s decree,
When our lost creation
nobler rose in thee.

Thus his place prepared,
he who all things made
mid his creatures tarried,
in thy bosom laid;
there his love he nourished,
warmth that gave increase
to the root whence flourished
our eternal peace.

Lady, lest our vision,
striving heavenward, fail,
still let thy petition
with thy Son prevail
unto whom all merit,
power and majesty
with the Holy Spirit
and the Father be.

Frock Coats and Faculties

A parliamentary committee has recently rejected the Churchwardens Measure, overwhelmingly approved by the Church of England’s General Synod. It foundered over a clause granting bishops the right to suspend a churchwarden for good or reasonable cause, and followed widespread protests by MPs, prominent among them  Martin Bell. We reproduce below most of a recent editorial from the Church Times on this subject. Rick and I, each almost a walking miracle, would seem to be safe from episcopal autocracy for now, especially if we follow the correct procedures over fabrics and ornaments, but we probably ought to give up the frock coats ...

The office of churchwarden has changed over the centuries, and is, to be frank, now much diminished. Much as they might like to do so, churchwardens no longer set the rates. They no longer, on the whole, wear frock coats. They no longer (we are glad to say) collect pew-rents. Some of their other former duties have been transferred since 1919 to parochial church councils; and they no longer necessarily have a veto in the parsons appointment, since the PCC may appoint other representatives in this matter, or the bishop may put in a priest-in-charge. But the office still carries legal weight, as soon becomes apparent when the benefice is vacated or, more rarely, when things go wrong  when changes are made to the fabric and ornaments without following the correct procedure, for example, (! Ed.) or a cleric fails to fulfil his canonical obligations in worship or ministry.

Just as important in the modern Church, however, is the model of lay ministry many churchwardens provide. A priest has been described as a walking sacrament, but in our commitment-shy society the churchwarden can be almost a walking miracle. The ideal churchwarden is the one who will bear responsibility without hugging it; whose example and encouragement make other lay people want to share their gifts, too; who will keep a brief for the parishioners (who in theory elect him or her) ... and who will co-operate with the bishop and other members of the clergy without kow-towing to then or to the agendas of distant committees, dignitaries and diocesan officials.

This degree of independent-mindedness is valued today in the Church less in the corridors of power than by those in the parishes who recognise their own lack of clout in the face of prevailing financial and theological trends. That will explain why few tears will be shed among the laity over the fact that the Churchwardens Measure must now return to the Synod. Synod members will now have a chance to show a respect for churchwardens rights that will help to ensure a continued flow of candidates for office. Synod can also send a clear message to parishes that they are entitled to staunch representations of their interests when dealing with bishops who may have other things on their minds.

Not Just Our Problem...
Methodists Aim to Halt Decline in Numbers

The Methodist Conference is to consider changing its rules to make it easier and more attractive for young people to join. It will also look at ways of responding to a growing interest in spirituality in Britain with more modern methods of evangelism.

Methodism, the third largest Church in Britain with a million members, has been declining for 40 years.

The figures this year show a fall of 7.8% in membership since 1996 and a five per cent decline in worship attendance. The number of people under 26 in the Church has dropped by 11.3 per cent. The elderly profile of the Church means almost half of the annual decline is due to death. The Methodist Conference will debate a report next month that questions the way members have to declare their commitment to the Church publicly and promise financial support.

Victoria Combe
Religion Correspondent, The Daily Telegraph

Revelation: the Merseyside Broadbased Organisation
Margaret Haughton

A revelation it was. Although the work of the MBO had been described to me, I had great difficulty grasping its full value until 19th May. The venue was Liverpool Cathedral: and a coming together of people with stories to tell.  Stories of litter, lack of local amenities, debris in public places, loss of community spirit, lack of equal opportunity in housing and education. The diversity of age, social background, even race, was of great interest and importance, proving that all types of people experience social problems.

To highlight a few of these stories:
 ·  A youth group who feel the gap between adults and youth has become too strained and are working towards a greater understanding and  meeting the police to achieve a better level of respect and communication.
 · A group of residents from Norris Green trying to recreate a community spirit now sadly lacking in their local area.  The aim is to work with Liverpool City Council to regain a feeling of safety and pride and to tackle the problem of hooligans and vandals who delight in reducing some residents to prisoners in their own homes.
 ·Skelmersdale residents treated onlookers to an amusing scene of Bank Spotters, where, from a hide, they spotted a real bank with people coming and going through its doors, an amenity lacking in that area.  A survey paper had been left on each seat and the audience were invited to complete these, highlighting the closure of banks within their own areas.  It soon became clear just how many had disappeared in the last few years.  Of course, when banks go, small shops suffer and close.  A spin-off was also loss of local public transport. The great supermarkets win, the community loses yet again.  This group had sought and gained a meeting with the head of the Bank of England to voice their concerns; an achievement in itself.
· The Somali community of Liverpool, estimated at around 4,000, has experienced difficulty in gaining reasonable housing, job opportunities and good education for their children.  Although the Somali people are aware of the initial problem of language barriers, nevertheless it felt Liverpool City Council has not given them a sympathetic hearing.

Not only were member groups with problems represented that evening, but representatives  from  churches of the  Liverpool Diocese.  People who had no stories to tell,  but who felt the  MBO  was  an  important  body,  there to help the

small voice be heard, with its expertise and experience, pledging their support with financial backing. The outcome of the evening was that not only were many people made aware of the frustrations and problems others experience, they also heard representatives of Liverpool City Council pledging their support, Bishop James offering himself as a mediator and Archbishop Patrick Kelly also offering his backing and support to certain issues.  A meeting was arranged between the Somali representatives and Liverpool City Council: a great stride forward in view of past indifference.

The MBO has much to offer, and many factions keen to draw upon its superb communicative skills and expertise.  The support and training given to  groups is obvious by achievement. Without becoming actively involved, the aim is to teach self-help, where to start, whom to contact and how to use those contacts. The MBO has proved that a small voice can be heard.

Protection for All     Linda Nye

The church community, like all voluntary organisations, has a duty to safeguard the safety of children in its care. You may have noticed the summary of the policy adopted by St Faith’s PCC, displayed in the church porch and hall. If you haven’t read it yet, please do so! It may look dry, but it is very important for both children and adults that the policy is known, understood and implemented. The key requirement is that the church community commits itself to providing a safe and supportive environment for all its work with children and young people.

What happens next? Now that the PCC has adopted the policy and authorised all the volunteers currently working with children, my next task is to ensure that all the adult leaders have a copy of the policy and to discuss its impact on their role. Good practice protects both the child from harm and the adult from the risk of unfounded allegation. so activities need to be planned so as to minimise situations where problems could arise. Some risk management however involves simple practical things such as fitting child-friendly locks, smoke alarms and a telephone; or looking at potential problems in a multi-occupied building like the church hall.

There is already planning afoot to extend the activities available to children and young people at St Faith’s. These will all need to be looked at in the light of good child protection practice, e.g. new volunteers should be regarded as job applicants, staffing ratios need to be complied with etc. Hopefully, there is going to be a lot to do! Any questions, please ask, and I`ll do my best to answer.

Looking Backwards And Forwards      Chris Price

It was the best part of three years ago that we learnt that our Vicar would be leaving us in the New Year, and that St Faith’s would be facing an interregnum (from the Latin, meaning between reigns  the technical term for the gap between incumbents). I suppose those of us who thought we were in the know imagined that we might perhaps have to wait a year for a new Vicar, but that it wouldn’t be much longer: in fact it turned out to be more or less twice that time, and probably the longest interval in the story of St Faith’s first century. Now at last it is well and truly over, and it is  a good time to look back at the period and try to see what it has meant for us at St Faith’s.

There is no doubt that it has been a testing time for many of us. With no single hand at the helm, there were inevitable conflicts of interest, gaps left in the system, and things that fell by the wayside. Inevitably, too, there was a steady decline in the congregational numbers at the main Sunday service: often down at the end of the interregnum to 120 or fewer, whereas not many years ago we would be looking for much nearer 200. Despite our efforts, there was bound to be some pastoral shortfall. Equally inevitably, and more rightly, there was little or no advance on the liturgical front; rather there had to be a sustained effort to maintain the status quo and hand over a ship that was still afloat rather than on the rocks. There were personality clashes and frustrations, and times when it almost seemed to big an effort to bother to keep things going.

But there was, I feel on reflection, much more to measure on the positive side. We were more than fortunate in having the devoted priestly services of Fr Dennis and Fr George, and the welcome addition of Fr Mark to the team. There were four, and soon to be five, readers willing and able to play a major role. And there was a heart-warming willingness on the part of a strong and dedicated team of laymen and women, who not only kept the existing framework in order, but helped with a surprising number of new initiatives.

Before the end of the last incumbency, there were embryonic plans being laid for celebrating St Faith’s Centenary, and a decision to do all that was possible to mark the years 1998, 1999 and 2000: the period between the Centenary of the laying of the foundation stone and that of the consecration. As the first of these dates drew nearer, the Centenary Committee drew a collective breath and decided to go for it in as big a way as we could. As a result, we set up groups to work on worship, music and communications. A list of over 40 bishops and priests with strong St Faith’s connections was drawn up, and its members invited to come and preach: we have already listened to many of them and look forward to a good few more to come. We kicked off with a truly Great Occasion, when Lord Runcie stayed with us and we celebrated May 24th, 1998. We started the Open Saturdays, and welcomed many visitors to the church. We designed and commissioned Centenary Mugs and wrote and published a Centenary Cookbook and a poetry book. We organised a wide range of concerts events and displays in church.

And there was more. The details are perhaps unimportant: what matters is that a team, lay and clerical, forged strong links and strengthened its commitment to the church; the result was, as this writer at least sees it, that we arrested a decline in morale and perhaps in commitment, did new things for the Lord, and found the experience rewarding and uplifting. The ship that sailed into harbour on the day of Fr Neil’s Induction may have been battered by the storm, but seemed well and truly afloat and even had some idea where it was going!

Now we are at the beginning of a new ministry and a new era for St Faith’s, and already exciting things are beginning to happen. We should embrace and welcome change and let the wind of the Spirit blow us  as it will blow St Mary’s  forward: the time of care and maintenance is now behind us. But at the same time it is at this moment entirely appropriate to give thanks for the two and more years that have just ended, for the bonds that have been forged, the work that has been done, and the rewards that have come our way. When Lord Runcie, then as I remember Bishop of St Albans, visited his old church a good many years ago, he quoted the words of the late Dag Hammarskjoeld, Secretary of the United Nations: For the past, thanks: to the future, yes! They are as fitting now as they were then.

Letter to the Editor

St Mary’s Convent, Burlington Lane, Chiswick

Dear Chris

Thank you so much for your June magazine  I am delighted to know that I shall be on your mailing list. I shall be able to keep an eye on you all! May I say how much I enjoyed my long weekend with you and thank you, all of you, for your welcome and for all the love shown to me. I really did feel that I belonged and hope at some stage to be able to visit Great Crosby again.

Please give my love and best wishes to everyone  including Fr Neil. I do hope that all is well. May God bless you all at St Faith’s and St Mary’s  I shall remember you often in my prayers.

With kind regards, Yours in Christ,

Elizabeth, SSM

From the Church Times ...

CORRECTION. Bishop Nigel McCulloch was in the camel photograph on last week’s Web page, but he was not riding the camel. We apologise for the error. The picture has now been removed from the Wakefield web-site.

HOLD THE LINE.  One of the Wandsmen at St Paul’s had occasion to reprimand a visitor who arrived shortly before a big service, his ear glued to his mobile phone. I’m sorry, sir said the Wandsman, but I’m afraid you can use that in here. The man desperately looked round the building. It’s all right, he promised. I shan’t be long. I’m just taking to my wife  I’m trying to find out where she’s sitting.

From the Clergy    July, 1999

When the Archbishop’s Commission on Urban Priority Areas published its report Faith in the City in 1985 a Tory cabinet minister was quickly on the airwaves branding it a Marxist document. What I suspect he was objecting to was the way in which the report pointed to the systemic ways in which poverty is created in our society  the ways in which institutions and their ways of working can alienate and marginalise people, pushing them to the edge. It would be much more convenient of course to be able to put it all down to fecklessness.

Dom Helda Camera’s experience echoes the same thing: When I feed the poor they call me a saint; when I ask why the poor have no food they call me a Communist. It recurs regularly when in one way or another people say that the Church must keep out of politics.

But of course the Church can’t keep out of politics  if by politics we mean the ways in which we as communities and a society come to decisions about our common life. I used to believe that the Church should keep out of party politics  until I remembered Oscar Romero in Latin America, or Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his stand against Hitler. Then I realised that there are even times when as Christians we have to be very partisan  which is a clear biblical witness.

That witness begins with Moses and the freeing of the Egyptian slaves, moves through the people of Israel’s forced Exodus to Babylon, the stinging words of the prophets against the rich and powerful, and on into the New Testament and the radical and revolutionary song of Mary’s Magnificat. Thus the scene is set for the very public and partisan words and actions of the Messiah, and the price which he has to pay for them. Our scriptural heritage calls us out of our church buildings to engage with the principalities and powers which shape the world in every age. As Christians we have no option.

And this is not just about individual ministry. This is collective action in the name of what we believe to be the mission of the Church for all God’s people  our concern for the needs and purposes of the entire community. It is about what we believe to be right, for ourselves and for others   our values.

The Church is good at getting people to learn and understand Christian values. What it is not very good at is getting people to fight for those same values, or to teach them how to translate those values into action against those who would despise and reject them. Without translation into action values remain as wish-lists, vague hopes which do not become reality.

In May about 25 people from Saint Faith’s attended an assembly of the Merseyside Broadbased Organisation (MBO) in the Cathedral. Margaret Houghton writes about it movingly later in this issue. There, in one particular way, people could be seen putting their faith into practice. I hope it is what I am doing in my job as Organiser of MBO day by day. I also hope it is something that St. Faith`s might consider as one way of expressing our faith together.

On 13th July at 8.00 pm there will be a meeting in the Church Hall to think more about how we might engage in mission at St. Faith’s, and whether this might be an opportunity of engaging more with our local community, our city, and beyond. I hope a good number of people will want to take part in that discussion.

Father Mark

In a Vicarage Garden ...

Sunday 1st August from 5.30 pm,  Choir and Altar Servers` Barbecue

Sunday 15th August from 3.00 pm, Party, Picnic and Bouncy Castle, for Sunday School children, families and teachers

Sunday 22nd August from 4 pm, Open Barbecue for both Congregations. Admission £3 (family ticket £8)

In this third and final article on · KEEPING FIT · Denis Whalley  gives some further hints as to how to live and eat healthier

Gill Edwards, a friend in the choir, asked me recently Have you drunk your two litres of water today? It is both flattering and comforting that the hours of research and at the key board are not completely in vain. Ladies and gentlemen (whatever your shape, size, height, weight or age) if you adopt only one thing from the tips in these articles let it be the one about hydration. It is vital to drink water. It is the body’s friend.

Golden Rule No. 1  Drink at least 2 litres of pure water each day.

Now, a few words on the topic of sexual equality  Prostate Cancer. Most of the major women’s cancers are now identified and systems are in place nationwide to diagnose and treat. Sadly, the male equivalent has been horribly neglected. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. It is not limited to the elderly and the rate is rising. There is no cure. With the exception of the medics  amongst us, I would wager that less than a handful of you know either the whereabouts or purpose of the dreaded gland. It is a chestnut shaped organ lying below the bladder and is responsible for forming part of the seminal fluid. At puberty, under the effect of androgen hormones, it grows, but stops at about age 20. Further growth often occurs after the age of 50. No one is certain why the cancer develops. It grows very slowly. It is a hidden disease because of the position of the gland at the base of the bladder and indeed, 75% of cases do not seek medical opinion until the cancer has  spread beyond the prostate. It is the Cinderella of cancers. It receives only þ1m. p.a. compared to þ16m that is spent on research into breast cancer.  The reason  for this  mention  is  that  on the  8th  July  the  Merseyside Prostate Cancer Trust will be launched. Support is needed to fund a new DNA Gene Sequence Scanner costing þ300,000 and thereafter basic operational costs. The writer is reliably informed that if a man survives everything else then prostate cancer will get him. So guys, it really is a case of your money or your life.

In the first article we looked at the excuses people give for not exercising. The most popular by far (given by 40%) was no time. If you are really committed you will find the time but, like everything else, it needs some planning and forethought. Try to get yourself a training partner. The hardest part of any exercise session is actually getting your backside out of the chair because until you do the reasons not to seem most compelling. The Chinese have a saying about how a long journey starts  each and every exercise session that you contemplate will have obstacles (some real, some not) that you must overcome. This is why a partner is so helpful. Imagine you’ve planned a run but it’s the end of the day, you’re tired, it’s raining, the theme tune of Coronation Street emanates seductively from the box. You decide I won’t bother tonight but I`ll run twice as far tomorrow. Even as you think it you don’t believe yourself and you begin to feel guilty. Just then comes the knock on the door: it’s your running buddie and she is raring to go!  You cannot refuse and so off you go. And do you know what? That run is one of the best ever and at the end of it you are so pleased with yourself for not having been weak. Never again will I dither you promise yourself, but, next day is a re-run of the same mental debate. Tomorrow you might be in the office having planned a session in the gym for lunch time. You are such a busy person, irreplaceable, a legend in your own lunch time  can the world survive without you for an hour? Definitely not! I have been running on a regular basis for over 20 years and I still face these demons on a daily basis.

Golden Rule No. 2  therefore is fix your weekly schedule of exercise (with a friend) and stick to it.

When you start on a health and fitness regime (and don’t forget to consider consulting your GP) the enthusiasm can begin to wane after a few weeks. At this point it is useful to have something to fire you up again. Therefore, before you start take a tape measure  and record your vital statistics including thigh, calf and upper arm - if you have a Polaroid camera take some photos. Finally, weigh yourself on accurate scales. By being able to monitor your progress in this way you should be able to stick to your plan.  Weighing yourself alone is not a very accurate guide because as you shed fat and tone up you will achieve more lean muscle mass. Anyway, the scales do not take account of your basic shape and build, over which you have no control.

Again, at the outset, decide on a plan as to what you are hoping to achieve: be it to be able to run 2 miles, or lose 20 lbs in weight, drop from size 16 to 12 or even to run up that flight of stairs in work without being left gasping for breath. Write it down. As with all plans be SMART: your aims should be Sensible, Measurable, Achievable, Recorded and take place within a sensible Timescale. If you have access to the facilities of a gym, use them. Have the instructor work out a programme just for you using simple weights. The basic rules of muscle work are simple. If you use heavy resistance and complete 4-8 repetitions of an exercise (and repeat this about 3 times) then you will build maximum strength and muscle but do not burn fat. If you use lighter weights so that you run out of steam between 20-25 reps. (muscular exhaustion) you build minimum muscle and burn maximum fat. Between 20-25 reps. you create a tremendous amount of heat in the muscle which enables you to burn fat at source. Therefore, whilst your dimensions will decrease and you will look as if you have lost weight, your muscles will become denser and your actual weight may not drop that much.

A common misconception is that only cardiovascular work burns calories and therefore fat. This is true only to the point that your muscles create the energy appetite of which body fat is the chosen source of food. Accordingly, the more lean muscle that you have, the more calories that you burn whether running, on a bike, rower or whatever.

Golden Rule No. 3 therefore is to mix cardiovascular work with resistance work utilising weights that exhaust you between 20-25 reps. Muscular exhaustion means not being able to perform another rep.  it does not mean killing yourself.

Before you embark upon any exercise routine it is vital to warm up. Failure to do so places you at serious risk of injury. Further, you cannot work your muscles in the absence of heat. In theory, your maximum heart rate is 226 bpm minus your age for women and 220 minus age for men. So, if you are 30 the theoretical maximums are 196 and 190. To warm up you should aim to maintain a heart rate of between 60-70% of your maximum  as a general rule at this rate you should feel comfortable and not breathless. You should aim to do about 20Ð of warm up at this rate and then move on to the resistance work using the weights. The session should be concluded with a stretching routine that is designed not to neglect any part of the body  again you should seek help from an instructor, who will give directions as to the breathing co-ordination to be adopted. In time your flexibility will increase and you will be able to hold the stretches for the desired maximum of about 75-90 seconds.

Golden Rule No. 4  always warm up and afterwards warm down.

When you exercise, you raise your metabolic rate (i.e. the number of calories you burn). If you exercise early in the day your metabolism is raised for longer periods. When you sleep your metabolism slows down. Accordingly, the benefits of working out early in the day are that you burn more calories for longer, even after you have stopped training.

Golden Rule No. 5 is that you should exercise early in the day.

Diets do not work, if they did everyone would be thin. To be fit and healthy you need to exercise and eat sensibly. If you are going to take this whole thing seriously then you will need to do some further reading on the subject of nutrition. Books on the subject abound. Avoid miracle cures and follow your common sense. Eat regular amounts of high fibre to keep your digestive system flushed out and healthy. Eat your greens just like your mum said and likewise fresh fruit.

Enjoy yourself!
Denis Whalley

I am indebted to the following, from whose publications I have copied quite outrageously: · Bodydoctor Fitness - David Marshall.
  · The Food Bible - Judith Wills, Quadrille Publishing
  · Lifeplan - The Sunday Times

From the Registers

24 May         Helen Marie Hoskins

6 June           Lewis Sean Smith  son of Gary and Julie
                    Emma Joanne Smith
13 June         Matthew Thomas Rose  son of Andrew and Sandra

19 June       Clare Dickson and Mark Barry

Young People And Families  At Saint Faith`s       Fr. Neil

Following on from the meeting on 4th March led by Fr. Mark, 36 people met together on 10th June to discuss the issue of young people and families at St. Faith’s. The meeting drew together clergy, church council members, choir members, servers and many people who run groups and uniformed organisations in the Church Hall. And more supporters besides! Although we were primarily addressing our work at St. Faith’s, there were representatives from St. Mary’s too, which was good.

It was a very worthwhile meeting and a lot of passionate views were aired. As a result of our discussions the following decisions were made.


The current Choir Club which meets after Choir Practice each Wednesday might be extended to include all young people at St. Faith’s and St. Mary’s and might meet as a young people’s fellowship each week. We felt it was important to ask the younger members what they wanted from the church, as opposed to what we felt they needed.


There was a strong feeling that some new music (hymns and mass setting) might lift the service on a Sunday morning. Whilst the Great Festivals of the liturgical year have an automatic uplift to the service, we felt that there can be other ways of introducing more of an element of celebration to the green Sundays too. The new responsorial psalms and Gospel acclamations met with a positive response. Some people explained that they had been coming for a number of years and still could not understand how to sing Anglican chant!


We should be providing better preparation and follow up for those who come to us for the occasional offices. This is already happening as the readers now play a full part in both the preparation for baptisms and the services themselves. We hoped that this might be a step in the right direction.


Many people are not sure about what we do in church and why! Why do we genuflect, use incense, make the sign of the cross, and so on? Why different coloured vestments at different times of the year? What are the different parts of the church called. We felt there could be better teaching both about the nature of our life at St. Faith’s but also about the Christian Faith generally. The Clergy and readers are currently examining possible courses that we might use as a teaching programme.


There might be ways of improving our communication within the community. Small things like a board outside the Church Hall with information about the different organisations might help.

I think it is true to say that the evening was very positive: we were very keen to build on all the good work that has been done, and is being done, by many people. The meeting ended with a commitment to meeting again in the autumn to review any changes that have been made and to continue to look to the future with confidence.

The next meeting will take place on Thursday 11th November. Please book the date and come along.

The Computer and Sex ...

Women believe computers are masculine, for the following four reasons:

 · In order to get their attention, you have to turn them on
 · They have a lot of data, but they are still usually clueless
 · Most of the time, they are the problem
 · As soon as you commit to one, you realise that you could have
    had a better model if you had only waited a little longer.

Men, however, believe computers are feminine, for these four reasons:

 · No one but the Creator understands their internal logic
 · The secret language they use to communicate with other
    computers is incomprehensible to everyone else
 · Even your smallest mistakes are stored in memory for later
 · And as soon as you commit yourself to one, you find yourself
    spending half your pay cheque on accessories ...

(Courtesy of the Internet)