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 Newslink            June 2001

From the Ministry Team

Once again the PCC met for a day together at the beginning of May in the delightful setting of S. Luke‘s Formby. It was as always good to have some proper time together (I hate the term `quality-time!) and to be able to discuss and air certain issues of concern. Some of these were:

Liturgy and Worship
We debated points of liturgy, churchmanship and the way we order our worship, recognising that we can never please everyone all the time, but hoping that some of the new liturgical innovations would help people in the development of their spiritual lives. It became clear that we can never explain things too much people are always asking about the significance of what we do in church and why we do it  and we hope that when the Emmaus course begins, that might provide an opportunity for debate and discussion and for people to be able to ask questions. It was good to be able to record that attendances during Holy Week and Easter were very good and they seem to be increasing particularly for the Holy Days. We talked a little about how we understand S. Faith‘s to be in the `catholic tradition‘ and there were as many ways of looking at that as there were people present! There was a genuine feeling that we must at all times respect differences of opinion and conscience: `unity in diversity‘ can be a creative and positive way of living and could perhaps be the hall-mark of a spiritually healthy congregation! Mention was made of the recent Church of England publication `The Eucharist: Sacrament of Unity‘ in which much is said about the common ground which Anglicans and Catholics share about eucharistic doctrine. It might be useful to have an evening looking at this document at some point let me know if this is something you would value.

Hall Redevelopment
We have applied for a small grant to enable public meetings and discussion to take place. We are nowhere near making any decisions as yet and some concern was raised as to whether we would `lose‘ the Hall if we wanted Lottery funding. At some point soon these public meetings will be announced so I hope that those who have views and concerns will come along and share them. We tried to bear in mind in our discussions our on-going concern to be more mission-orientated. Outreach was not just about opening our doors on a Saturday: we were all keen to do more than that.

Money and Buildings/Maintenance
Ongoing! We need more money and it was felt a good idea that the Events Forum should be resurrected because this would provide an opportunity for brain-storming and a bringing together of ideas of a fund-raising nature. A meeting has been fixed for WEDNESDAY 20TH JUNE at 8.00 pm at 37 Abbotsford Gardens (Maureen Madden‘s home). Do please come along  we need everyone‘s thoughts, ideas and skills.

A suggestion was made that we set up an `Organ Fund‘. Since the current heating system was installed the concentration of hot air on to the organ has indicated some serious damage to the organ: the present heating system is sited too near the organ and flows in a direct line of the instrument, raising temperatures too quickly for the delicate actions and timbers of working parts. In addition tuning stability is almost impossible with extreme fluctuation of temperature.  A short-term solution is to install a humidifier (some £3,500)  which will certainly help combat low relative humidity and will benefit the organ. A meeting needs to be arranged with the organ builder and a heating engineer because if we don‘t take this matter seriously it could damage the long-term possibility of being able financially to keep and maintain a pipe organ.

Despite some serious problems (challenges, for the optimistic!) it was a worth-while day. We finished with a celebration of the Eucharist in S. Luke‘s church when, rather unusually for me, I celebrated in open-neck shirt. Have I gone all trendy?  no, I‘m sorry to say — I just forgot to take any robes!
Fr. Neil

Archdeacon‘s Visitation
All those elected to serve as Churchwardens and Sides-people are required to attend the Archdeacon‘s Visitation Service on Monday 4th June 2001 at 8pm in S. Mary‘s, Waterloo.

Thursday 24th May


Preacher: Fr. Roger Driver
(Rector, S. Matthew‘s, S. Andrew‘s
and S. Leonard‘s, Bootle)
followed by breakfast in the Vicarage

7.30 pm Said Eucharist with hymns



8.00 pm Procession and High Mass
followed by Bring-a-bottle party in the Vicarage Garden
Preacher: Fr. Geoffrey Davis
(Chaplain, Liverpool Cathedral)

Sunday 17 June

6.00 pm Solemn Choral Evensong,
Procession and Solemn Benediction
Preacher: Fr. Ian Shackleton (S. Luke‘s, Southport)

 Holy Days in June

Sunday 3 PENTECOST SUNDAY (`Whit‘)
 The Birthday of the Church
 11.00am HIGH MASS followed by wine
 Preacher: Fr. Mark Waters (S. Mark‘s, Kirkby)

 8am Eucharist
 11.00am HIGH MASS
 Preacher: The Right Reverend Ian Stuart
 (Assistant Bishop of Liverpool)

Monday 11 S. Barnabas, Apostle10.30am Eucharist

Thursday 14 CORPUS CHRISTI 7.30am Eucharist (said)
8.00pm HIGH MASS followed by Bring-a-Bottle party in the Vicarage Garden

Wednesday 20 S. Alban, Protomartyr of Britain
 10.30am Eucharist in S. Mary‘s

Friday 2 THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS  6.30pm Eucharist

 8am Eucharist

Thursday 28 S. Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr  7.30pm Eucharist

Friday 29 SS. PETER AND PAUL, Apostles  6.30pm Eucharist

`It all comes round again‘    Paul Turner

As many people may know, I was extremely fortunate to win the 1st prize in the 100 Club draw in both February AND March  managing to embarrass Miriam (my sister) not once, but twice. This piece describes where the money went; but first, some history.

The longer-serving members of St Faith‘s family may just about remember me as a chorister and sidesman back in the 70‘s  and your Editor may well remember me as an apple-cheeked (or should that be acne-cheeked? Spot the difference! Ed) schoolboy.

Shortly before I moved to rural Wiltshire, I discovered that, after many years trying unsuccessfully to play football, it was easier for me if the ball wasn‘t involved at all ™ so I started regular jogging, then progressed to running, which in turn eventually led to the natural conclusion ™ the marathon.

My first attempt at the distance ended at 18 miles  I hadn‘t realised just how hard it was going to be — but subsequent events Mersey & London — proved more successful and enjoyable.  In 1993, I reached the `big 4-0‘ & became a Veteran, in running terms at least, and decided to run one last (!) marathon, from the eponymous battle site to the original Olympic Stadium in Athens.  I‘ll never forget the feelings I experienced when, after over four hours of hot, dusty roads, a few mangy dogs, decidedly dodgy water supplies & the final 5-mile descent into the Sunday morning smog, I saw the Olympic Rings high above the far end of the white marble stadium.

However, the marathon bug stayed with me, and last year I went over to Tresco in the Isles of Scilly to take part in their inaugural event, initiated by some of the staff of the island‘s hotel, called (strangely enough) The Island Hotel.  The serious side was to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, as the head chef‘s daughter suffers from CF.  A massive field of 28 eventually managed to complete 8.5 fairly flat laps of the island to raise over £23,000 for the Trust  so they asked us back this year.

This is where the 100 Club prize money came in very useful  it paid for my travel and accommodation. On Saturday 21st April, I set off via train and heli- copter to St Mary‘s, the largest island, where I would be staying for two nights.  Sunday dawned damp and cool, but the rain stopped just before I left the guest-house to catch the launch over to Tresco.   I met up  with  eight  other `survivors‘
from last year and a lot of new faces, some of whom were taking part in their first marathon.  Entrants included a baker and a boatman from St Mary‘s, a teacher from Washington DC, two BBC journalists, a couple of retired gentlemen, and a grandmother who had flown over from Jersey via Exeter.

At 9:30, with a mixture of excitement, anticipation and some trepidation, we started on the first of the 7.5 laps of the island, each of which would include two long steady hills and one shorter steeper one (a different course from last year).  Apart from about 300 yards of earth track on each lap, the whole of the course was solid concrete  not the best surface for running.  The first 4 laps went by quite easily, but just after 15 miles, I began to feel rather ill (presumably because of the jolting from the hard surface) just as I had last year, which had resulted in me being forced to retire at 17 miles, (although I went back the following day to complete the full distance).

This year, I was even more determined to finish, and with help from a fellow runner who is a specialist in acupressure and advised me on a method of combating nausea, I managed to get through the `bad patch‘ and finished the event at a somewhat leisurely jog, including a couple of stops at drinks stations on the last lap to thank them for their support & encouragement.

After a massage and shower, we walked/limped/staggered to the Community Centre for the presentation ceremony, where a cup of tea, a sandwich and a cake revived me, just in time for a celebratory (and free) glass of champagne a pleasant change from Isostar. As there were only 76 finishers from the field of 85, each and every runner was presented with their medal and certificate (and a kiss) by Stephanie Cook, the Modern Pentathlon gold medallist, and two of her team-mates.

All in all, it was a great weekend, and I‘d recommend it to anyone who‘d like to run a marathon without all the hassle and hype of a major event ™ but probably not first-timers, as it is a demanding course, physically and psychologically.

I‘ve now embarked on the last leg of the event  collecting the sponsorship money; family, friends and colleagues have contributed over £400, and my employers have agreed to match the amount I raise, so I should be able to hand over £850+ to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

So as a result of my participation in the 100 Club, I‘ve enjoyed a weekend away, and the CF Trust and St Faith‘s will benefit.

`It all comes round again.‘

Half a Century of Service  Fr. Neil

On Monday 23rd April, S. George‘s Day, about 70 of us gathered for a Solemn Mass to celebrate S. George, had a glass of wine and settled down to the Annual Meeting. The meeting was lively and interesting and new people were elected to serve in various offices, as well as some re-elected to various posts.

Margaret Davies and Joan Tudhope were elected to serve as Churchwardens, thus ending a period of some 50 or so years in which Chris Price and Rick Walker have served the church in the office of Churchwarden. As their period of office comes to a close it is right that we record our thanks to them for their loyalty, devotion and commitment during that lengthy period. The duties carried out by churchwardens are many, too many to list here, and I shall always be grateful for what they have done, not least because they were involved in the process which led me to coming here as Parish Priest. I‘m certain that we will be calling on their wisdom and advice for many months to come. Thank you Chris and Rick, and of course Rosie and Angie (we all need support!) from the family of S. Faith‘s, past and present.

God in the Pulpit  Jenny de Robeck

He stood there in the pulpit, hands clasping the polished oak,
gazing on his rustling congregation,
who thought he did not know about their perennial bickerings,
backbiting and jealousies, and quibbling squabbles

It was a shame, because each and everyone there before him
loved him, as he did them  but not each other.
At each other‘s throats they always were.
So he opened his mouth and taught them saying
`St John‘s Gospel, Chapter thirteen, verse thirty-four.‘

Nothing else, eight words only, followed by silence.
He stood there in the pulpit full fifteen minutes,
compassionately watching their puzzlement,
hearing the coughs, clock strikes, breathings, paper rustlings.

Then, one by one, they reached for the pew Bibles,
turned to the page, and understood,
with hardly a word being spoken.

Love Thyself, Clergy Commanded   Sam Lister

Clerics overwhelmed by the responsibilities of running a modern parish have been offered Ten Commandments‘ to help them to cope with the pressure. More than 80 of them sought solace in Skipton, North Yorkshire, recently where they received advice from church leaders on how to tackle tension.

The commandments include `Thou shalt not try to be all things to all people‘ and `Thou shalt learn to say no‘. The conference was organised in recognition of a growing number of complaints from busy clerics struggling to balance professional and personal commitments.

The Rev Chris Edmondson, the main speaker, said: `Clergy have been very good at taking care of others but not so good at looking after themselves. There is high morale within the profession. Nonetheless, because there are now only 10,000 full-time clergy, in the UK, it can feel quite overwhelming.‘

Mr Edmondson, author of `Ministers — Love Thyself‘, a self-help guide, said that there were many exciting opportunities available in the Church, but sometimes the pace of change in modern life was daunting. `Somehow in this faster world we need to be able to move a lot slower inside ourselves,‘ he said.

Andrée Freeman, a training consultant and guest speaker, said: `There is a culture in the Church in which clergy put themselves at the bottom of the list.‘
The Rev Brunel James said the course had been a great benefit. `Sometimes you feel you are three different people but this sort of thing is a step in the right direction. It‘s quite refreshing to get time to think about your needs.‘

Holy Orders for a Stress-free Life

1   Thou shalt not try to be all things to all people
2   Thou shalt not be perfect or even try
3   Thou shalt leave undone things that ought to be done
4   Thou shalt not spread thyself too thin
5   Thou shalt learn to say no
6   Thou shalt schedule time for thyself and thy supportive network
7   Thou shalt switch off and do nothing regularly
8   Thou shalt be boring, inelegant, untidy and unattractive at times
9   Thou shalt not feel guilty
10  Thou shalt not be thine own worst enemy

Concert Dates for the Diary
The 2001 Summer Season of Open Saturdays and Concerts began earlier than ever this year: immediately after Easter, in fact. A 19-week programme of recitals kicked off with Ged on the organ, followed a week later by two talented young ladies on strings (violin and cello, not puppets), and, on the third Saturday, a gallant last-minute substitute tenor and accompanist. 50 or so people attended each morning, food and drink and an assortment of sales items were sold, visitors welcomed and fun and fellowship had by all. Come along between 11 and 1 (recital at 12) any Saturday and enjoy the experience — or sign up to help the catering/welcoming teams. The next few concerts are:

Saturday May 26 Jane Panter (Violin) and Neil Kelley (Piano )
Saturday June 2 Michael Broom (Baritone)
 and James Firth (Piano)
Saturday June 9 Michael Foy (Organ)
Saturday June 16 Monica Nurnberg (Oboe)
 Angela Davies (Flute)
 Susan Shields (Recorder)
 Gregor Cuff (‘Cello)
 Neil Kelley (Continuo)
Saturday June 23  James Firth (Piano)
Saturday June 30 Amadeus: the Chamber  Choir
 (David Holroyd, Director)

The `Emmaus‘ Course

For those who haven‘t heard of it, `Emmaus‘ is a means of welcoming people into the Christian faith and the life of the church. It is rooted in an understanding of evangelism, nurture and discipleship modelled on the example of Jesus as told in the story of the Emmaus Road. Emmaus enables the Church to:

1. Pattern its life round Christ‘s call to make disciples
2. Build relationships with those outside the Church.
3. Accompany enquirers on their journey of faith
4. Bring new Christians to maturity

Around 40 people from our two congregations have signed up to join the `Emmaus Course‘ and it is expected that the Course would run for fifteen sessions in small groups and in people‘s homes within the relaxed setting of a shared meal. The Course would cover such questions as :

Is there really a God out there? How do we know that we need him? A look at the ministry and death of Jesus, the meaning of the cross and the evidence for the Resurrection. What does the Holy Spirit do in our lives? What is a Christian? Learning how to pray and how to plan daily prayer time, how to read the Bible, what it means to belong to the Church, why we celebrate the Eucharist, discovering our gifts and how we share them, how should we give financially to the church ™ what are the ways of giving, how in relationships can we learn both to love and be loved. Why share the faith? So what are we sharing? How do we share it and tell our story?

It is not too late to sign up: we expect to begin the course in early September ™ more details in the July `Newslink‘.

Fr. Neil

Lighting a Candle in a Country that does not Exist    Barbara Wolstenholme

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus came violently into existence in 1974 as a refuge for beleaguered Turks in Northern Cyprus and is recognised diplomatically by no state except Turkey. Arriving by air from Istanbul in March, we spent a week delighting in the wild flowers, mountain scenery, the friendliness of the people we met and the monasteries, castles and ancient city of Salamis, its foundations going  back to the 8th Century B.C.
A steep, cobbled path first used by Crusaders in the 13th Century as they carried soldiers wounded in battle from their ships at Kyrenia (a staging-post on the way to Jerusalem) to the Abbey of St Mary of the Mountain passed by our bungalow at Bellapaix. Orange and lemon trees laden with ripe fruit grew outside our door  and the verges  of  the Crusader path  were  awash  with  the colour of wild cyclamen, yellow oxalis, small gladioli, blue iris, poppies, grape hyacinths and orchids. An olive tree planted 700 years ago still bears fruit.

As we drove out through the mountains to the eastern tip of Cyprus, women were harvesting potatoes, artichokes, asparagus, aubergines, carrots and  other vegetables and shepherds led their flocks of sheep and goats from one pasture to another. We walked through a wild flower meadow to Ayia Trias, an  early  Christian  Basilica  built in  the  5th century.  Although now in ruins, much of the mosaic floor remains, mostly in geometrical designs, except in the north aisle where two pairs of sandals, a  common symbol in the Middle East may represent the pilgrimage from this world to the next. On the same site, there is a deep, marble-lined cruciform baptistry.

A few miles away, on the beach, the ancient church of Ayios Thyrsos built on the site of a healing spring is used for a commemorative mass by the few remaining Greeks on the Saint‘s Day, 23rd July. On another day, we explored the Byzantine castle at Kyrenia, used as a prison by the British in the 1950's. Nearby, the former church of the Archangel Michael is now an icon museum. Famagusta was, during the 13th century, the wealthiest city on earth, well-known to Shakespeare who, it is said, made it the setting for `Othello‘. Today, the old walled city is crumbling. The 13th century Cathedral of St Nicholas, resembling that at Rheims, is now a mosque. In 1571, all the signs and symbols of Christian worship were removed and a minaret added, although what is said to be the tomb of St Nicholas is still respected.

A few kilometres from Famagusta is Salamis, the most important ancient city in Cyprus. Even though only 5% has been excavated, there is much to see. The gymnasium with two plunge pools is ringed by a gallery of headless statues, decapitated by Christians in a fury against pagan idolatry. Unlike his experience at Ephesus, St Paul was refused permission to address the crowds at the fine Roman amphitheatre, now used for concerts.

In the 5th century, the purported tomb of Barnabas, friend of St Paul, was discovered near Salamis and the monastery of Apostolos Varnavas was founded. Arab raiders destroyed it 200 years later, but a church still remains today. Until 1974, this was a famous place of pilgrimage. Three (biological) brothers presided over the monastery, supporting it through sales of honey and icons, but now the church is a museum.

The saddest sights were still to come. At Nicosia, we gazed from North Nicosia across a wall of oil drums and a `no go‘ buffer zone to the southern part of the city. Here there was much desolation. We walked down a street of abandoned houses where before 1974, Greek Orthodox Christians in houses displaying a cross lived peacably next to Ottoman people living behind doors decorated with the crescent. Now with decaying woodwork and dusty windows, they await restoration. The Roman Catholic Cathedra  of Ayia Sofia is one of the best examples of Gothic art in Cyprus. It was begun in 1209 by French masons who accompanied the Crusades, but desecrated by the Ottomans who took the city in 1570, chopping up pulpit and pews for firewood, opening tombs and scattering bones and using tombstones as flooring. This soaring gothic structure with its sense of internal space is now a mosque. Some Christian emblems still remain over the doorway of the 14th century Church of St Nicholas. Mary, the mother of Christ is shown on her deathbed with Jesus and the apostles grouped round her. She holds a baby who represents her soul about to depart from her body. Towards the end of our stay, back at Bellapaix, a small group of us walked slowly in the warm sunshine through the ruins of the Abbey, the honey-coloured stone of the cloisters so reminiscent of Whitby and what is left of Whalley Abbey. As we sat in the Greek Orthodox Church, now used only infrequently, because most of the Greeks have left, we were sad that churches once vibrant with Christian worship were now neglected and derelict.

And then a woman from the group stood up and walked silently to the dusty altar. She took from her bag a candle and a box of matches. The candle flame flickered and then burned brightly, illuminating the corners of the church — a reminder that in spite of the deeds of evil people, Christ is alive today.

The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.

St. John's Gospel,
Chapter 1 verse 5

How to Plant a Garden

For the garden of your daily living ...

Plant three rows of peas
1   Peace of mind
2   Peace of heart
3   Peace of soul

Plant four rows of squash
1   Squash gossip
2   Squash indifference
3   Squash grumbling
4   Squash selfishness

Plant four rows of lettuce
1   Lettuce be faithful
2   Lettuce be kind
3   Lettuce be patient
4   Lettuce really love one another

No garden without turnips
1   Turnip for meetings
2   Turnip for service
3   Turnip to help one another

To conclude our garden we must have thyme
1   Thyme for each other
2   Thyme for family
3   Thyme for friends

Water freely with patience and cultivate with love, there is much fruit in your garden, because you reap what you sow.

And remember spring is here so start planning your garden of daily living — be happy.

(supplied by John W Chapman)

Table Sale Time!  Joyce Green

It‘s on us again! Time to sort out your jumble and clutter, get rid of that ugly ornament that Aunt Gladys bought you, throw out your old glasses and china, part with any unwanted gifts etc. Give it all to us and we will turn it into much-needed funds for church.

Our next Table Sale will not be in June as previously mentioned, but in July (date to be confirmed in next Newslink). We would be grateful if you would start gathering items together, also for offers of help to sell things. Would you please speak to either Joan Tudhope or myself. We can, if necessary, pick items up. Please do all you can to make this a success. Thank you.

The Lord Runcie Window  Chris Price

Since the last report on progress on the Lord Runcie Memorial Window money has been coming in steadily. At the time of writing, we have money or firm promises of funding amounting to just over £4,000 towards an anticipated final cost of some £6,000 for the design, execution and installation of the work.

Much of this has come from donors outside the immediate church circle, and we would like especially to thank those `old boys‘ of St Faith‘s who have contributed to the fund. It is good indeed to know, once again, of the high esteem and affection in which St Faith‘s is held by those who have served it in the past, and who are happy to see that love, both for the church and for its most distinguished past member, enshrined permanently in its fabric. It is worth pointing out once more that the fund is not the basis of a formal PCC appeal, at the possible expense of other giving or plans; the monies are being kept in a separate account until they are needed.

We still await a realised design, and will then begin the necessary processes of registering and obtaining permission for the project: we very much hope that these will prove little more than formalities, and that the work can go ahead over the summer.

Meanwhile, when trawling through the magazines of the early 1980s, I came across Jessie Gale‘s evocative account of Lord Runcie‘s enthronement in 1980. Jessie was Robert Runcie‘s teacher at primary school, and she formed part of his continuing attachment to St Faith‘s (which continued until shortly before his death). In the same issue, we printed alongside her account this entertaining extract from the late, and great, Gerald Priestland: it was part of his observations about the splendid enthronement service, and bears repetition today. Anyone inspired by the account may like to know that this writer, at least, still has the video of the service, should anyone wish to borrow it.

`...What a feast it all was for `listophiles‘! All those processions of bedesmen, crucifers, taperers, the Ostiarius, the Vesturer, the Six Preachers, the Legal Company, the Coronation Barons and Officers of the Cinque Ports, the Seneschal, the Appariter General and those cosy Canons Residential! And then the Ecumenical Guests — for this was an amazing   demonstration   of   the   underlying   unity  of  the  Church, despite its diversity. The Russsians meanly banned all Runcie‘s best freinds from their delegation, in retaliation for his frankness about what they are doing to clean up Moscow for the Olympics. But we did have such living myths as Special Apostle Abideye of the Cherubic and Seraphim Council of Churches, the Very Reverend Archimandrite Aragawi Wolde Gabriel of the Ethiopian Church, His Beatitude Baselius Mar Toma Mathew 1, Catholicus of the East of the Syrian Orthodox Church in South India, His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicus Patriarch of the Catholic Apostolic Assyrian Church of the Orient — not to mention His Eminence Cardinal Giovanni Benelli, Archbishop of Florence, who once thought he was going to be Pope but came, instead, to represent one.

Two conclusions from the ceremony: the Church of England could do with more brass-playing in its cathedrals, and more beards on its clergy. There is something uninspiring about processions of beardless chins...`

Rules for Living

For what purpose?
To fulfill our lives with a desire for happiness
and helping others.
A life is given to live.
Take a good look at it.
See what you can achieve.

What is Faith?

Faith is something inside of you.
Truth and trust is strong within.
It takes over all your doubts.
Shall I or shan‘t I?
You feel good inside
because you just know
it‘s the only thing that makes sense.
Have Faith in yourself.

Joan Jones

A Reflection for Corpus Christi    Fr Dennis

The Eucharist is to do with Jesus Christ, or it is nothing at all. Jesus Christ who is present as the Holy Spirit calls us together to be the people of God to do this; Jesus Christ, present through the Word proclaimed; Jesus Christ, present in the Eucharistic president and in the whole Eucharistic action; Jesus Christ, so specially and preciously present in the sacred signs of bread and cup. In Austin Farrer‘s words, `This sacrament is not a special part of our religion, it is just our religion, sacramentally enacted. It is whatever Christ is, and Christ is everything to Christian people. In particular he is the supreme bond between us.‘

Bishop Michael Ramsay, at the end of a penetrating critique of the Parish Communion Movement wrote, `In the long run, the Eucharist will be its own interpreter and teacher. For the supreme question is not what we make of the Eucharist but what the Eucharist is making of us.‘ A fatal temptation of the people of God has been to turn worship into a cult and what might be descsribed as the `fatal fascination of liturgy‘ has sometimes tended in the same direction — for Anglican catholics to turn catholicism into a cult. But it is  life! We people of the Eucharist are to be Eucharistic men and women — and what is Eucharistic man?

Dom Gregory Dix put it like this in the introduction to his magnum opus The Shape of the Liturgy, where he contrasted this ideal with others such as `Acquisitive Man‘ and `Mass Man‘. He writes, `Eucharistic Man is man giving thanks with the product of his labours upon the gifts of God, and daily rejoicing with his fellows in the worshipping society which is grounded in eternity. This is man to whom it was promised on the night before Calvary that he would henceforth eat and drink at the table of God and be a King. That is not only a more joyful and more humane ideal. It is the divine and only authentic conception of the meaning of all human life, and its realisation is in the Eucharist.‘

Not a cult, but a life; the meaning of all human life realised in the Eucharist. However we think of the Eucharist, there is a Eucharist of life as well as of liturgy; and, unless we grow in the former, we shall never truly pray the latter. As the spiritual writer, Fyodorov says, `The question as to the presence of Christ in the Eucharist will be able to be answered in the affirmative when the Eucharist is not simply a ritual performed in church on Sunday, but when it is the regulating principle of life through all the week.‘ The Eucharist is thanksgiving — yes: but then also, in St Paul‘s words, `Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.‘ The Eucharist is sacrifice, oblation — yes: but then also, again in Paul‘s words: `I appeal to you ... to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.‘ The Eucharist is doxology — yes indeed: but then also, in the words of First Peter: `in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.‘ Eucharist is communion, is sharing — yes again: but hear the Christ of the Fourth Gospel: `As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.‘ Eucharist is presence: but also, `I am with you always‘ and so `You are the Body of Christ‘, `You are the light of the World.‘

Or again, there is the fourfold shape: taking, blessing, breaking, giving. This is not a liturgical or sacramental gimmick. This is not even a Christian `special‘ or optional extra. This is the Gospel clue to life. We give ourselves away to be taken and blessed, yes, and broken and given. The Paschal mystery and the liturgy of the Eucarist give the clue to right living and right loving. That right living and right loving is a great `Yes‘, in the theologian Peguy‘s fine phrase un oui vivant , a living Yes. Christianity is ?saying yes to God.‘

In Christ, as St Paul says, `It is always yes‘, but in us, it is often no! We find so many negative attitudes in ourselves, so much negative thinking. Just think for a moment of our attitude to life, to work, even to change. We so desperately need the grace of Christ‘s great `Yes‘. Thanks be to God that in the Eucharist we are identified with that great single-minded : `Yes‘ of the Son to the Father and the Father‘s world: we become and we are sons in the Son. Every day, in every Eucharist, it is he, Jesus Christ, who is active and at work. Take the language of offering. We offer Christ? But surely, also he offers us, and that first. Take the language of communion: we receive Christ? Why yes, of course, but also and more important, he takes us. We are here to be taken and he wants to make free with us. He is at work, he is active, in every Eucharist, transforming us into that great `Yes‘ of his.

That‘s a part of the wonder of it all, day by day. He continues to do something about us, he continues to make something new of us, each of us and all of us together. The Eucharist is what anthropologists call a `rite of transformation‘. The bread and the wine, we know, are changed. But that is not much use unless we are being changed. St Paul claims that `we are being changed from glory to glory‘.  This is the  unique characteristic of this food,  contrasted  with all other foods, Augustine said. All other foods were changed into the substance of our bodies, but this food changes us into itself, into himself. As Pope Leo aptly put it: `We are transformed into what we receive.‘

?Come and see,‘ were the words in the Gospel. But we do more than just see: we share. We grow more like what we see, but if we actually share in Christ, in communion and in the whole life of his Body in the end we shall be re-created after his likeness, to be other Christs. In every Eucharist, in every communion, Christ seeks to make each of us a little more like himself, and all of us together, what we claim to be the Body of Christ.

Margaret Sadler

On Sunday 13th May after the Christian Aid service we expressed our thanks to Margaret Sadler, who has resigned from exercising her Reader ministry in St Faith‘s and St Mary‘s. Everyone is enormously grateful to Margaret for her thoughtful, committed and loyal service to St Faith‘s and St Mary‘s. I have certainly valued her contribution, as she has been particularly helpful in enabling the Ministry team to discover how it has needed to adapt tp the challenge of serving two parishes: her wealth of experience from her work in the Diocese has meant we have had ready expertise to call on when necessary (and to help us out of one or two little problems!) During the past two years, Margaret‘s ministry has developed in new ways; she has helped in the preparing of families for baptism, including taking part in the baptismal liturgy and following up with home visits. She has also taken pat in marriage preparation and led parts of the wedding services. There have been many wonderful signs of growth and development in both parishes during the last months and we are grateful for all that Margaret has contributed to enable that to happen. Margaret has been a much-loved and much-respected member of both congregations and we wish her all the very best for her future Ministry.

Notes from the Choir Stalls  Stephanie Dunning

Welcome once more to the vestry. In truth, there is little on which to update you at present. I am writing in the rather quiet period between the explosion of Easter and the May celebrations for Our Lady, a quite period underlined by Ged‘s absence accompanying a choral society on an acclaimed tour of Spain. Our heads are reeling with the news that in the next couple of months we have to learn two new masses, two new evensong settings, a new set of responses, the usual Anglican psalm chants for the cathedral and several new anthems - but as yet we haven‘t embarked on this daunting task.

This is not to say that we cannot be surrounded by music in all its forms. Having just attended a wonderful Saturday morning recital by tenor Alan Watkinson, (filling in at almost non-existent notice for a guest who had to cancel) and pianist James Firth (who hadn‘t seen the music till that morning), I can warmly recommend this series.  I suspect I am preaching in some measure to the converted, as, despite the PCC Away-day, there were nearly fifty in the audience. Mike Broom has made an extraordinary effort  to ensure an interesting and varied programme — the planning is fraught with networking, paperwork and publicity jobs — and would be very happy to see you there. It‘s informal and friendly, with refreshments provided, and my better half will be performing on July 28th!

There is a whisper in the stalls at the moment that new choir robes are on the horizon. You must have observed little boys in procession either engulfed in Batman cloaks, battling the extra inches at cuffs and hem, or, at the other extreme, displaying football socks and good few inches of sturdy calf. Cassocks that yawn with missing buttons; frayed edges that catch on the pews; alarming side slits! We do have a dress code, but it seems illogical to worry about the colour of our shoes when some of the robes are elderly enough to be quite disreputable!

However, the eventual choice of a new ?kit‘ is unlikely to appeal to everyone. I have worn some monstrosities in my time. In the Runcorn church where Ian and I were married, the ladies‘ robes were unflatteringly stiff, hooded, and of an impractical off-white hue, so that we waddled down the aisle like so many milk bottles. Guesting elsewhere, I once wore a ruff of Elizabethan proportions, over which I could just about see, and in which I resembled a large musical dahlia.

Like our worship, like our faith, our dress has to satisfy many different needs. The designer has to accommodate all heights and girths (no knotted belts, please!),   choose   a   practical   colour,   taking  into  account  the  dust  toll  and choristers‘ preferences, and fashion the garment out of some truly magical fabric which is flameproof (remember the candles!), easy to wash and iron and yet not uncomfortably hot, cold or heavy. For some people the clothes really matter, while others view them as a side issue which does not enhance the worship. What do you think? Do you prefer the simple or the solemnly ornate? Would you like to see more joyful colours? Or in the end — controversial one, this — would you feel more at one with us at prayer if we didn‘t robe at all?

PS A final quick word. `Get well soon‘ to Linda Nye, who has been suffering throat and vocal problems for weeks, and a big welcome to Mike Powell, whose dulcet tones are now gracing the occasional rehearsal once more — good to see you, Mike.

T-Shirts for Tots and Teenagers
This is an early appeal for T-shirts in good condition, for babies to teenagers, for the `shoe box‘ appeal. Any offers please to Joan Utley at any time. The T-shirts will go to Malawi or other African countries.

Get Well Soon
We were sorry and concerned at the news of Audrey Dawson‘s sudden and uite spectacular mystery illness. It is good to hear that things are looking up now, and we very much hope for a full and swift return to health for her.

Flower Power Profits
The recent Plant Sale was a resounding success, raising nearly £350, which has been earmarked for the ongoing efforts to provide improved security (cameras, fencing etc) for the church and hall. Once again, our grateful thanks to Dave Clark, to May, and to the folks who arranged and sold (out!) the fine array of plants so generously provided.

100 Club Winners
The winners of the draw on May 6th were:  £100 - R.J.Cooper (86); £75 R.Pugh (62); £50 (K.Bramwell; £25 J.Taylor (12). Congratulations to all winners, and to those who didn‘t win it - better luck next time. Remember: you‘ve got to be in it to win it! (And don‘t forget: we‘re on the way to making it a 200 Club: why not take out another share (or two) or persuade a friend? It‘s vastly better odds than the National Lottery, and makes a very real difference to our church finances. Ed.)

Diary of an Ordinand      Denise McDougall

Firstly may I say a huge ?thank you‘ to everybody who so willingly gave me their time, comments, books and articles to support one of my last assignments relating to the Church and Society module. It was an enormous task but very interesting and I hope some of you will enjoy looking through the project when college have finished with it. It has been marked internally by the NOC tutors but if I decide to complete a degree in theology as well as the NOC certificate it needs to be second marked by Chester College. I was pleased to get 63% for the work, which was very encouraging. My current assignment is about the Oxford Movement, which again I‘m sure some of you will be interested to read after it has been marked.

The preparation for Monday evenings remains very intense and I continue to find it hard to keep all the plates in my life spinning, but I am managing it and trying hard to retain my sense of humour and keep things in perspective. My marks have been good and my essays have always been given in on time! Next deadline is May 7th for the Oxford Movement, followed by June 22nd for a critique of one of Julian of Norwich‘s books. Then on June 25th I have to give a presentation on Hosea. Never a dull moment!

The worship continues to be uplifting and although I really missed being with everybody in St Faith‘s on Palm Sunday, the service at college was wonderful, with an excellent sermon by the Bishop of Sheffield.

At the end of this term we have the Summer School to look forward to — Sneaton Castle in Yorkshire for a week. Our year group ?gel‘ very well together and some really strong friendships are forming. I hope that at some point during the week there may be some time to socialise: we tend to talk only about assignments and the pressure of work when we meet at weekends. I hope I don‘t have any difficulty trying to focus on the work during the ?residential‘ because it is a week before Alex‘s wedding! I could have nightmares ranging from Exodus to wedding cakes!

I really shouldn‘t have too many worries, though, because before I began training I knew I could only manage with God‘s love and guidance, along with support from everybody else. I feel God‘s presence every step of the way and my family have been fantastic. I really appreciate all their support and all the encouragement, prayers and love from all my friends at St Faith‘s. THANK YOU ALL.  I couldn‘t do it without you. As always, my love and prayers.

From the Back Pew (just...)    Chris Price

The Editor and ex-Churchwarden would like to take this opportunity of recording his very sincere thanks to all who have had nice things to say to, or about, him following upon his departure from office at the recent AGM (or APCM as it is now termed).

I have been overwhelmed by the steady flow of kind and appreciative messages and expressions of regret (even dismay!) received by letter, email, telephone and word of mouth on the days following the meeting: it is indeed good to be surrounded by so much warmth and friendship from so many of the family of St Faith‘s. It has been a very real privilege to serve the church for so many years (34!) from the Back Pew. But we at St Faith‘s are experiencing a period of change and challenge in so many ways, and in such a process nothing and nobody is exempt from that change. I know that St Faith‘s is in entirely capable and dedicated hands in our two new Wardens, (not to mention their replacements as deputies) and, I, together I am sure with Rick, wish them every success and happiness in their newly-elevated status. It will be good to think of them chasing up reluctant sidesmen, counting the cash, hunting for missing keys, arranging rotas, making detailed returns to the Diocese, chairing committees and generally enjoying the many delights that go with the job.

It also, I hope, goes without saying, that the surrender (however sudden) of my staff of office does not imply any abandonment of St Faith‘s in general nor, in particular, of the joys of editorship of this esteemed periodical and any of the associated pleasures of printing, duplication and assorted work in the ever-expanding field of church communication which have devolved upon me over the last three decades and more. Future editorial observations may come from a back seat rather than from the Back Pew, but I have no doubt they will keep coming.

When the dust settles, there may be time for a few mellow memories of all those years in office: of crises and triumph and of incumbents come and gone. For the moment it is probably enough to repeat my very real thanks to so many generous people and, perhaps, to quote, as Lord Runcie did at St Faith‘s a good many years ago, and I hope without delusions of grandeur, the words of the Secretary General of the United Nations, Dag Hammarsjoeld (or some such combination of letters): `For the past, thanks; to the future, yes!‘