The Parish Magazine of St Faith`s Church, Great Crosby

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June 1998
From the Clergy     June, 1998

Whit Sunday is a new day for the Christian. The festival is full of comfort, life and love. Those who waited for the coming of the Spirit were not disappointed. They became new people, and the world noticed the change in their style of life.

It was a small world which was represented on `the birthday of the Church‘. Yet, north, south, east and west, with many cultures and a chorus of different languages, all had the same experience. From the Black Sea to Libya, from Mesopotamia to Rome, the wonder spread and the news was heard.

Later, it was declared that there was liberty, whenever the spirit of the Lord was to be found. That freedom gave power to those who received the Spirit - not to do anything they liked, but to express in their lives, without fear of inhibition, the comfort, life and fire of love, ever to be associated with the Spirit‘s initiative.

The institutional life of religion and faith became transformed. Those who had praised God in a building now discovered that their bodies, their physical constitutions, would in future be temples of the Holy Spirit.

A rushing, mighty wind and the life-breath of the Creator stirred the individual; each one had a spirit to respond to the Spirit, not to be blown away and overwhelmed, but to be filled with both power and responsibility.

Here was a mighty tension, creative, free from confrontation, exercising perfect liberty through obedience and a willing service. Those who received the Spirit had a new vision of life; they perceived the dignity of being `bound in the Spirit‘, committed to God by love and pledged to share that love with neighbour, friend and stranger.

The institution became a family of all nations and mingled races. The spirit of Jesus contained the best of the traditional qualities of prophecy, caring leadership, and a wide vision for a whole world and all flesh.

His Spirit also brought new freedom and broke down barriers of prejudice and discrimination. Was it not true that he was born of a Hebrew mother, rejoiced in the faith of a Syrian woman and of a Roman soldier, welcomed the Greeks who sought him, and suffered a man from Africa to carry his cross‘?

He was a new life, and that life was larger than law.

Yet we distinguish liberty from licence. We do not relish power without responsibility when we capture aright the meaning of the Spirit. Tension continues for all who would be one in the Spirit, who find themselves in a warring world, in a divided church, and in a society marred by injustices and torn apart.

The flesh wars against the spirit. The urgent prayer `Take not your Holy Spirit from us, O Lord‘ reminds us of our plight. We want to rejoice in the spirited power which helps us to see that hate is barren and unproductive, that selfishness has never won co-operation from others, and that fear and force have constantly failed to bring to the world any lasting peace.

Two beautiful prayers, both of which invoke the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, are often said in the Vestry before the celebration of the Eucharist:

Come O Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of your faithful people and kindle in them the fire of your love, who lives and reigns God for ever and ever.

Come Holy Spirit of God and grant us for our hallowing thoughts which pass into prayer, prayer which passes into love and love which passes into life with you for ever.

With every blessing,                          Father Dennis

Of Open Days and Guidebooks

By the time this issue is read, we shall be about to inaugurate the first of eight or ten summer Saturday Open Days at church (see page 5 for details). It is, sadly, many years since we have been able to leave the church open for all to visit. The time was when it was safe to do so, but increasing vandalism, and a fairly rapid change in public perception of churches from being respected places of sanctuary to being legitimate targets for theft and desecration, has meant that, like so many other places of worship, the open door has been replaced by the locked one, and usually the armoured glass and grills to go with it.

But from the beginning of June this year, until at least the end of July, St Faith‘s will be open from 11.00 am to 2.00 pm for all to visit. There will be things to look at, things to buy and free organ recitals to listen to. And there will, we very much hope, be at least three church members or friends in attendance each week to run things, sell things, show people around and guarantee security. Please, if you have not already done so, offer a Saturday, or part of one, and help to make these open days a success. Give your name to Audrey Dawson (or phone 928 2770) if you are willing to help.

Thanks to the good offices of Lord Lloyd Webbers‘ Open Churches Trust, an increasing number of churches are being helped to find ways of opening. It is therefore a great pleasure to be able to thank that worthy organisation for helping to fund St Faith‘s Open Days, principally by meeting the costs of printing a guide booklet for the church. This, put together by Chris Price and Eric Salisbury, is already available free to members of the congregation, and will be given to all our summer visitors. It consists of a brief history of the church, a guide and a parish directory, and we very much hope it will fill a useful gap for regulars and visitors alike. Please, if you have not already done so, take one (or write for one) for yourself or your friends. It also fittingly features an advertisement for the Open Churches of Liverpool, which are all very well worth visiting.

Verse and Worse             Chris Price

From time to time over a good many years, the editor has exercised his editorial privilege by printing his poetry, both secular and Christian, in Newslink (usually hidden away at the back). In recent weeks, I have finally got round to publishing the specifically religious poems, both those printed in these pages, those featured already in my collection Reflections and a few yet to see the light of day, in a small book to be sold as part of our Centenary Celebrations.

The collection is called Poems fom the Back Pew and most of its contents centre on the religious life of our church at various times of the year: some venture outside St Faith‘s. Most are properly serious, but a few are less so: even satirical and flippant in tone at times. Some of them even rhyme!

They will be on sale (for a mere £2.50: proceeds to the Talents Scheme) at and after the Grand Opening of May 24th, and anyone who cannot get to church but would like a copy is welcome to get in touch with me. Personally inscribed copies come at no extra cost!

Centenary Mugs

As many will already know, we have also marked the Centenary by commissioning a Centenary Mug from the firm that produced similar  commemorative objects on two occasions in the past. They are of high quality bone china, with the centenary logo, including a drawing of the church, in blue and green on both sides. At a cost of £4 they represent a pleasant and attractive way of marking the occasion, and providing yourself with the means of drinking the health of St Faith‘s now and in the future.

Get your mug(s) from Rosie Walker on a Sunday morning or write in requesting one to be sent to you. We have had to order quite a large number to keep the unit cost down and recoup costs (and make a small ultimate profit), so now is the time to repay our investment in faith and buy the ideal souvenir/Christmas or birthday present.

Be Your Age

When you are eighty,
All skinny or weighty
You come to the age when you‘re told,
You must not give in dear,
It‘s really a sin dear,
So hold up your chin dear, you‘re not really old!‘
But why should I be sprightly,
And skip about lightly
And why should I hustle and bustle and race?
I don‘t mind a ramble
But don‘t want to scramble,
And much rather amble at a sensible pace.

It‘s not suicidal,
For me to be idle,
Why should I be sitting and kneeling instead?
Why shouldn‘t I let up
If I will not get up one day from my bed?
I have great aversion
To needless exertion
It‘s nice once or twice to arrive at the stage
When folks that are good, do
The things that I should do
And easily could do, but won‘t at my age.

The years I‘ve spent baking,
In cooking, dressmaking
In mending, unending in bundles and stacks.
I won‘t live to wander,
Much time I would squander, why can‘t I relax?

They say Don‘t be fragile
But active and agile,
Your fire of endeavour must never grow cold!‘
But oh how I treasure
My long-looked-for leisure,
It gives me great pleasure,
I like being old!

Thank You from the Ketleys

We were overwhelmed by the generosity and love shown to us on our last Sunday and the weeks leading up to Low Sunday. That seems quite an inappropriate name for such a day, for I shall carry the memories with me for many years to come, as I am sure Clare will too.

Lie in Pendlebury has been going well, with lots of painting and decorating as we gradually turn the vicarage into a home. We have used some of your money to buy a microwave — this is a real saver and, thanks to Louise Bates (a very senior member of St Faith‘s) I am more than competent at cooking bacon butties! We have not decided quite what to do with the remaining momey, but we shall buy something for the house that will remind us of St Faith‘s and the happy time that we spent with you.

If anyone is visiting Manchester you are all more than welcome to visit us, especially if you have some Marsh‘s Eccles Cakes with you! Meanwhile, thank you all again.

Please pray for us as we pray for you.

Yours in Christ,

Fr Christopher, Clare and Mungo

High Church Happenings

On Wednesday, May 6th, some fifty members and friends of St Faith‘s made their way by coach and car to the suburbs of Manchester to witness and support our ex-curate at his Licensing as Curate-in-Charge and Team Vicar-designate of the District Church of Saint Augustine of Canterbury in the Parish of Swinton and Pendlebury. The church is approached through an arched gatehouse and along a processional tree-lined way past its school buildings. It is a high church in every sense of the word: a noble piece of G.F.Bodley-designed Victorian Gothic, splendidly adorned and be-candled, and undoubtedly costs an arm and a leg to heat and several more limbs to maintain,  ever  since  the days  when  it was  known  locally  as  `The  Miners‘
Cathedral‘. Fr Christopher duly went through the appropriate legal and ecclesiastical processes, in the presence not only of Bishop Colin of Hulme (Manchester Suffragan) but Bishop John Gaisford of Beverley, the ?flying bishop‘ for this Forward in Faith parish. The latter took metaphorical flight (he would actually have had ample room for literal flight in the vast building) in an entertaining sermon, in the course of which he referred to St Faith‘s as being `a bastion of the faith‘!

Following this very long but absorbing service (a new format being used for the first time), there was time for generous refreshments and the chance to meet a few old friends (and young Fr Richard Capper) before heading home. Aficionados of churchmanship and of Diocesan traditions and practices had much to reflect on (it was observed that the visiting Roman Catholic priest could well have been the lowest churchman present) and all had much to enjoy and savour. We wish the Ketleys every joy and success in their new ministry and assure them of our prayers and continuing concern.

Archives Again

Last month we broke off our trawl through St Faith‘s magazines with Mr Baxter urging people to buy firewood to rescue women from the slavery of strong drink. In July 1906, he makes an impassioned plea for more, and more regular, communicants. ?There are many whose spiritual life would be made far stronger by  monthly Communion, carefully prepared for according to the teaching of the Prayer Book.‘ Men were the worst offenders in this respect!

Doubtless it would be the women who would rejoice most fervently when, in December, the Vicar recorded the arrival of great quantities of donated crockery ?which gives an air of quite reckless hospitality to the shelves of the kitchen cupboards.‘ What is more, a Mrs Rutter has very kindly given two strong tables, which suggest a message to Mr Baxter: they `preach uncompromisingly the plain unvarnished lesson of good solid work, and the Sewing Meeting may be expected to turn out good stuff accordingly.‘ Still in what is for him flippant mode, Mr Baxter awaits the arrival of a clock which will warn audiences to be punctual, and ?remind speakers that brevity is the soul of wit; meanwhile the (newly painted parish room) walls are drying fast, and warn speakers and also the present writer to ”dry up• before the patience of their readers be unduly tried.‘

In January 1907 `we hear  that two of the clergy in this Diocese may have to be prosecuted for disobedience to the Prayer Book?. Imagine, says Mr Baxter, what would happen if the laity who flatly disobey the Prayer Book by failing to communicate thrice annually, were likewise to be prosecuted. But this serious vein is not long sustained: 1907 was  a good year for Mr Baxter‘s sense of humour. Commenting on falling attendances at the Literary Society, he says: ?we shall come perilously near killing the bird that lays the golden egg. The editor writes ”bird• advisedly, for it would be unpardonable ingratitude in him to compare the buyers of tickets for all these concerts to the particular species of bird alluded to as above in Aesop‘s Fables.‘ (yes, he means goose!)

In March 1907 Mr Baxter explains and defends the taking of Communion in Good Friday. He has also at last found a possible Curate for St Faith‘s, and writes at length on the need to find the means to pay the latter‘s stipend. ?We must appeal specially to those who visit us from time to time on Sunday evenings; many of them are glad to share in the privileges which the Church offers, but do not bear their share in the expenses.‘

In October Mrs Baxter (was there one, or is it a misprint?) would be glad of a man to volunteer ?to teach fencing or boxing and the use of dumbells (sic) to the members of the Badminton Club‘. The Vicar later comments on the poor standard of Missionary giving at St Faith‘s, comparing us unfavourably with poorer parishes such as St Paul‘s, Kirkdale, who give twice as much.

In January 1908 comes the first apparent mention of the daily Offices being said at St Faith‘s. However, in February Mr Baxter inveighs against the deplorable track record of the Liverpool Diocese as a whole: nowhere, he believes, have ?the Church‘s daily services been so sorely neglected as in Liverpool.‘ St Faith‘s is, seemingly, no exception: ?there are many persons in this parish who could come if only they would take the trouble. At present, judging fron the attendance, faith and devotion are at a very low ebb.‘

By April Mr Baxter‘s thoughts turn to Good Friday, and he asks for people not to come in at the wrong time during the Three Hours‘ Devotion. `Last year the preacher and the congregation were seriously disturbed by people walking to or from their seats during the addresses.‘ Others had offended by sitting right at the back of church, causing thereby `an unecessary strain on the preacher‘s voice during a long and trying service.‘ However, he is pleased that ?prejudiced or ignorant people‘ no longer regard such services with suspicion: the Bishop himself is presiding at the Cathedral Three Hours.

Boys are, as ever, causing trouble throwing stones at the church; more seriously, at least in Mr Baxter‘s eyes, ?novels of a very objectionable character are to be found on the shelves of some of our circulating libraries.‘ The Clergy, he says, will be only too happy to ?supply any parents with the names of certain writers whose books ought not to be allowed in a Christian home.‘ Sadly, no actual authors or titles are named ...

More happily, Mr Baxter is pleased to be able to report in the November issue the outcome of the recent Bishop‘s Visitation. The Bishop had given a helpful and inspiring address and, more importantly perhaps, `stated with regard to the ornaments in the chancel that there was nothing to which any objection could be made. Those who think that the altar lights, the altar cross, and processional cross and sanctuary lamps are all illegal, and symbolic of distinctively Roman Catholic doctrines, should note well and ponder the Bishop‘s words that ”no objection can be made to them”.‘ It is intriguing to realise that such routine adornments were once the cause of such controversy.

The Big Issue          George Smith

`The Big Issue‘ is normally to be seen being sold in Liverpool city centre, but there is now a vendor in South Road outside Waterloo Station. Tommy, Vendor L75, had a letter printed in a recent `Big Issue in the North‘ thanking everyone in the area for their welcome and custom.

`The Big Issue‘ was set up in 1991 to give homeless people the chance to make an income. It campaigns on behalf of homeless people and highlights the major social issues of the day. It allows homeless people to voice their views and opinions.

To become a vendor you must be homeless or vulnerably accommodated. However, it is recognised that for many homeless people, being housed is only the first stage of getting off the streets, Therefore, if a rehoused vendor needs to continue selling `The Big Issue in the North‘ they may be allowed to do so. Vendors buy the magazine for 40p and sell it to the public for £1.00 All vendors receive training, sign a code of conduct, and can be identified by badges with photos.

Gardener‘s Psalm

The Lord is my Gardener, I shall not wilt,
He has prepared a bed for me in rich soil
Where I am well watered.
He has pruned and supported me,
Causing me to bloom to His perfection.
Even when the early frosts
And wintry winds seek to harm me,
He shields me with His cloche
Or re-pots me in His greenhouse and warms me.
He puts up a protective shade for me
Against the excesses of the summer sun,
Keeping me moist and oiling my leaves.
I am spoilt with attention.
I know that I am constantly in His love and care at all times,
And I shall live in the garden of the Lord forever.

A Reflection for Whitsuntide

Sharing Christ‘s Spirit    H.J. Richards (b. 1921)

Many people think of the Spirit as a kind of ghostly third person
who, they are told, is of vital importance
to their spiritual lives, but they can‘t quite see why.
Perhaps it would help if we realised that the Holy Spirit
is nothing other than the Spirit of love in which Jesus
lived his whole life, and which he yearned to share with everyone.
He did this when he died.
It was only in his death that Jesus,
whose whole life had spoken of God,
became the Word of God so clearly
that no one could any longer be mistaken
about what God is like.
God is like this figure on the cross;
he totally accepts and suffers
the worst that people can do, and still forgives.
So in death, Jesus, the man who is for others,
receals that God is like that from all eternity,
totally for others, totally on our side
against the forces that would destroy us.
Indeed it is only because of that,
that the forces of evil are neutralised and transformed.
Because life is always stronger than death,
and love has a power that evil cannot match,
it‘s in this Spirit that Jesus lived his whole life.
His death meant that, intead of sharing that Spirit
with only the few that spoke to him and heard him,
he was now free of all limitations and could pour out that Spirit
on all who understand the meaning of his death.
And those who drank of that Spirit
said that they would ever thirst for anything else.
It had become like a living fountain of water
in their own hearts - this secret of living in God‘s own way.
To share the Spirit of Christ,
to live in the way he lived and died,
is to know God as he did.

The Good Shepherd             Joyce Green

`Be shepherds of God‘s flock that is your care‘. That casts the onus of you and me. What a responsibility! We are called to be shepherds, and part of our responsibility is not only to those we already know and love, our families and our friends, this congregation, but is also to those who are on the outside, those who are not part of our flock, but who are known to Jesus Christ by name, whom he loves just as much as he loves us. Those on the outside belong to him too, even though they may not recognise the fact. He wants them within the fold, and it‘s our job as shepherds to welcome them, to bring them in, to make them feel they belong. We are called to seek out the lost sheep and bring them home.

This seeking out of the lost is one of the aspects of Christ‘s life which is a common theme in the Gospels. He speaks of the lost son, the lost coin, and the lost sheep, whose shepherd loves it so much he leaves the other 99 to go and find it. I wonder who he would see as the lost people of today‘s society? Perhaps the ?Big Issue‘ seller, the refugee, the poor and hungry, the victims of land-mines, and those rejected by scoiety, and whom we see as odd, not quite the sort of people we want to mix with. Each of these people is known to him by name, and each is infinitely loved by him.

It is not inopportune to consider how many have been lost to Christ because of the attitude of the church, or because of our own attitude towards the stranger, the one who is different and doesn‘t really fit. How many strangers do we actually make the effort to welcome once they have been brave enough to come through our church doors? They come through those doors, whether they realise it or not, to encounter the one who is the door. Do we help them in their quest? Do we help them to find their place in the service book and hymn book? Do we smile and encourage them? Or do we make disparaging comments because they don‘t behave properly; because they don‘t conform to our expectations; because their children distract us?

Perhaps our key role as shepherds is at such times, particularly at Baptism services, for here is a new lamb joining the flock, and that new lamb and its family need to know that they are accepted and loved. They will only know that by our attitude towards them! These new lambs need to be nurtured, and Christ has no body now on earth but ours to do that. Farmers mark their sheep with their own mark to identify ownership. We mark our new lambs with the sign of the cross, the sign of Christ, but do we try to ensure that they and their families know what this means, and whose they really are?

Jesus spoke of having sheep who are not of this fold, people who have never known him. I wonder how many of those brought for Baptism grow up like that? And we blame the secularity of the world, we blame the schools, we blame the parents, whilst all the time ignoring the role of the church. For too long Christians  have been content to cast themselves in the role of the sheep, safe in the care of the good shepherd. They have forgotten the commands of Jesus to Peter, ?Feed my sheep, tend my lambs.‘ Faith cannot stop at the point of merely saying ?Christ is my saviour‘, faith must be shown and demonstrated. We have to go out of this sheepfold, this holy huddle of `chosen ones, ‘ to seek out the lost and bring them home, so that they too may enter through the one who is the door and find their true home.

The God for whom we wait ...

If you want God, and long for union with him, yet sometimes wonder what that means or whether it can mean anything at all, you are already walking with the God who comes. If you are at times so weary and involved with the struggle of living that you have no strength even to want him, yet are still dissatisfied that you don‘t, you are already keeping Advent in your own life. If you have ever had an obscure intuition that the truth of things is somehow better, greater, more wonderful than either you deserve or desire, that the touch of God in your life stills you by its gentleness, that there is a mercy beyond anything you could ever suspect, you are already drawn into the central mystery of salvation. Your hope is not a mocking dream.

The gift of God is for the poor, the needy, the empty. It is for those who are too poor to recognise or identify their need. It is for those who do not even suspect the depth of tenderness with which they are loved, yet are potentially open. God is most known as God when he gives to the undeserving, when he fills the hungry with good things, lifts up the downtrodden, transforms hopeless situations and brings life out of death. His gift is most typically not the crowning of achievements, but wealth for the bankrupt and power at the service of the weak. When human resources are missing but people are open to God, then is the moment of faith.

Sister Maria Boulding

From the Registers


19th April Leigh Alexandra Dullaghan
 daughter of Christopher and Joyce.

Notices, Notices, Notices ...            George Smith

Communications at St Faith‘s have two outlets: the monthly Newslink and the weekly Sunday notices.

Items for Newslink can be expansive and of general interest, with much detail if necessary. Magazine items should be given to Chris Price, the Editor. They are welcomed at any time (and from anybody) but the deadline for the next issue can always be found on the back page of the current issue.

Church items for the weekly notices should be brief: event, date, time, venue for instance. They should be in writing and given to George Smith. The closing date is the Sunday before the date of the notice sheet.

For some things, using both outlets can be helpful. An item in Newslink giving background and detail can be followed up nearer the time with a brief notice on the weekly sheet.

Fr Peter Roberts

The Editor was sorry to hear recently that Peter Roberts, who has recently moved to a new parish in South Africa, is in hospital after experiencing severe breathing difficulties. He tells us that after many tests, he was diagnosed as suffering from a collapsed lung and a so far untraced virus, and that he is making a slow recovery.

He sends good wishes for the Centenary, and hopes to be in the U.K. at some time before 2000. In turn we send him (and his faithful and bewildered dog Bruno!) our love and prayers and best wishes for a full and speedy return to health. His address is 1123 Cornelius Street, Weltevreden Park, P.O. Box 5561, Weltevreden Park 1715, South Africa.

Ten Thousand Talents!            Chris Price

It is great to be able to announce at the beginning of our Centenary Celebrations that the Talents Scheme has reached its first really big target. The scheme was launched at the end of last summer as a means of harnessing the many and varied talents of the people of St Faith‘s to the task of raising enough money to meet our budget requirements and keep us out of the red without having to organise a Bazaar or similar activity in 1997. As time went on and the money came in, the original target of some £7,000 or so was reached, and we began to raise our sights and aim higher. Coincidentally our Treasurer (as Treasurers always do!) announced that, with increased Diocesan Quotas, extra expenses, a small drop in planned giving income, and so on, we really needed to raise the same figure again this year.

The people of the church have responded magnificently to this challenge, both in terms of doing and buying things (half of Crosby is probably sitting down to marmalade and bun loaves) and, equally pleasingly, by making donations, several of which, by being single gifts of £250 or more, have attracted Gift Aid Income Tax rebates to swell the total. As a result, we have just topped the magic £10,000 mark, and are still going strong.  The Talents Registrar gives grateful thanks to all who have made this possible, and looks forward confidently to the reaching of yet greater heights in the months ahead. It would indeed be wonderful if we could by the end of the calendar year have raised the total of £14,000 which, just possibly, will keep the smile on John Rankin‘s face for another year!

The editor is also grateful to receive from Joan Utley a recent article from the Daily Mail entitled `Go forth and multiply‘ which tells at length the story of a Somerset church which, surprise, surprise, has hit on the novel idea of a Talents Scheme! The good folk of this country parish seem to have offered various ideas that we have used (a cookery book and a taxi service are two examples). They have also come up with various novel schemes such as charging people to see new-born lambs,  using a vintage light plane to take and sell aerial photos, opening an Edwardian dolls‘ house to visitors and painting flowerpots.

The article ends `None of the parishioners, it must be said, followed the example of the third servant in the parable and hid their talent in the earth. This was probably just as well, because St Matthew advises: ”And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth•.‘