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June 2002

From the Ministry Team 

Anniversaries are an integral part of life for all of us, whether we celebrate a birthday, a marriage, the anniversary of a death or something more personal which is important to us.

Writing this on April 29th I have in mind my Induction here at S. Faith‘s exactly three years ago today. To celebrate, I spent the evening with one of the Emmaus Groups! As part of our discussion entitled ?Belonging to the Church‘ we were each asked to share with each other something which excites us about belonging to the church and something which we don‘t feel happy about. Yes ™ we could have been there all night. Quite a number of people said how unhappy they were with unnecessary squabbling and petty moans, but, we decided, we were only human! It was clear that each one of us will have different ways of seeing things but that each one of us, despite our differences (or more positively celebrating our diversity) is committed to the on-going growth of our church and United Benefice. As always the session was punctuated with much laughter and no small amount of good food! What happens post-Emmaus? Is there a need for such groups to continue? This will be discussed at PCC soon, and when the three groups come together on June 16th for the Celebration Dinner. We must be constantly looking at how best we can help each other to ?grow in the faith‘ so please speak to the Ministry Team at any time if you feel S. Faith‘s can provide something which is lacking in your spiritual life (Bible Study, groups for prayer and meditation, and so on). Within our two churches and the resources and talents we have in our two congregations we ought to be able to cater for everyone‘s spiritual needs!
On Friday 28th June at 7.30pm in S. Mary‘s I will be celebrating a Eucharist in thanksgiving for ten years of priesthood. I am delighted that Fr. David Woodhouse is kindly giving up precious retirement time to come and preach and I do hope that all of you can be there. A priestly ordination may be in some ways a personal thing, but no priest can function without the people he serves. There will be a party in S. Mary‘s Hall afterwards to which all are welcome.

Before I came to S. Faith‘s I‘d heard from a number of people what a marvellous reputation S. Faith‘s had for looking after their clergy. All I can say is that the reputation was very much understated! As I give thanks for being Parish Priest here for three years can I please take this opportunity to thank all those who have kindly supported me by their prayers, encouragement and in so many practical ways. Nor must I forget as well all those who have put up with my mistakes! It is such a joy to be here and I hope that remains so for very many years to come.

Remember, O Lord,
what thou hast wrought within us,
and not what we deserve,
and as thou hast called us to thy service,
make us worthy of that calling;
through Jesus Christ or Lord.

Our Prayers and Good Wishes... Alan Brooks on the occasion of his ordination to the Sacred Priesthood. We remember him, his family, and the people of S. John‘s Waterloo in our prayers this Peter-tide. As we think of those preparing for Ordination we continue to remember Denise who will shortly approach her final year of training. Please pray for her, and for all who are preparing for Ordination.

...and of course, our warmest  congratulations to Fr Neil for surviving three years at St Faith‘s — and, in advance, for ten years in the priesthood. Ed.

Thoughts from a School Assembly       FrDennis

In her new autobiography, the ever-entertaining Lady Thatcher has turned her attention to the religion of Islam. She hails its family values, its sense of community and charitable works. All very laudable! But the former Prime Minister is shocked to find that there is another, darker side to the Muslim world. And she describes as disturbing‘ the connection she sees between Islam and violence.

Disturbing, yes. But Lady T seems to overlook the unpalatable fact that all faiths have a darker side, and many of the faithful can become violent. In this, she echoes our chattering classes who persist in under-estimating the strength of religious feeling. They wish to relegate religion to a dusty little corner of our day-to-day existence. They do their best to portray it as a pastime for those past their sell-by dates. They mock it as eye-glazingly boring. This you may argue, is to be expected in a country that remembers the blood spilled in the name of the church during the Civil War. And it is just as well, given the continuing ?troubles‘ in Northern Ireland. Fearful of these excesses, the British want religion to be low key; they want to see it as a John Betjeman poem, with spinsters bicycling through the village on their way to evensong. Keep religion quaint, and you need never worry about it disrupting your community.

And yet. Here in Britain we don‘t have the Saudis‘ religious police, who were referred to only a couple of weeks ago on a radio news bulletin; we don‘t have a Sharia law that punishes a thief by chopping off his hand or an adulteress by stoning her. But like me, you must have seen on television, pictures of Protestants and Catholics hurling stones across the sectarian divide; and witnessed the vicious hatred with which Hindus describe their Muslim neighbours. And it‘s only a few weeks ago that we heard on the news about a Muslim father who murdered his daughter because she refused to marry the man he‘d chosen for her. Religion — shock, horror — is a powerful force for evil as well as good. It may operate as an underground current in our secular society, but it is no less powerful for it. For some people —  and they need not be wild-eyed fanatics — faith is all-important.

It confers a badge of identity and a set of rules and guidelines for life. It inspires them with goals. It is the revolutionary spirit that makes them challenge the evil they see in the world around them; it is the glorious upheaval that transforms their lives and fills them with hope and love.

Religion, I believe, deserves our respect — for the awe-inspiring good it can generate; but, too, for the terrible deeds that can be done in its name. So beware, the non-believer who takes lightly this faith. Beware, the secular society that ignores its religious citizens. As September the Eleventh must surely have brought home — religion does have its dark side. You ignore it at your peril.

Thoughts from the A.P.C.M.             ChrisPrice

‘A.P.C.M.‘? Perhaps A.G.M. is more recognisable! I refer to the annual meeting each Anglican church has to hold, at which officers are elected and the parish has the opportunity to question its leaders. It is always held around Eastertide and is followed, sooner or later, by the Visitation, which is not by the B.V.M. making a surprise appearance, but the Archdeacon exhorting the wardens and sidemen of the Deanery, and their admission into office by a bewigged religious judiciary.

Our A.G.M. at St Faith‘s used to be held on Passion Sunday, in the Hall after the morning service, but the change of service times made this impracticable, and it has recently been held in church on a weeknight, currently on St George‘s Day, following the service celebrating that day.

It has to begin with the Vestry Meeting, at which Church Wardens are elected. This meeting is open to everyone in the parish, whether on the electoral roll or not (a safeguard against any furtive conspiracy by regular churchgoers to pervert the course of justice). History does not record any attendance by diligent or even passing parishioners, and the vestry meeting invariably flows seamlessly into the A.P.C.M. proper. This goes through all the proper procedures, such as presenting minutes, appointing or electing various officers (with the usual shortage of candidates for Treasurer and the usual relief that the sitting tenant is willing to continue) and scanning and listening to an account of the Accounts. P.C.C. vacancies are filled: this year there were five places and no fewer than 13 candidates. For the record, the outcome of this healthy democratic exercise was the election of Mike Broom, David Fairclough, Irene Taylor and Rick Walker for three years, and Gordon Slater and Caroline Vitty (who tied for fifth place) for two years.

The Chairman makes his State of the Nation remarks, telling us whether it has been an annus mirabilis or an annus horribilis (usually a bit of both), and he is duly thanked and appreciated. There follow, or at least there have done since Fr Neil introduced the procedure, brief reports on the varied activities of the church in the past year. It makes for a long evening, but the variety and content of the reports (16 of them in 2002!) makes it worth the wait.

And so we heard from  the Altar Servers  (a small but dedicated team); the Baptism  Visitors‘  Group   (a  new  and  much-appreciated  experiment);  the Catering Team (a growing band of providers of fine cuisine); the Choir (regretting their inability to perform at Winchester Cathedral but looking forward to Liverpool); Churches Together in Waterloo and Seaforth (still together and hoping to get more so); The Deanery Synod (discussing matters of grave local import); the Fabric and Premises Committee (keeping the roof on and the pigeons at bay); the Men‘s Group (drinking a lot in distant parts and pretending to be spiritual about it); the ‘84 Group (socialising and chewing the fat every month, as women do); the Ministry Team (clergy and readers setting the pace for the life of the church); the Pram Club (outreach for young mothers in the hall); the Sunday School (sometimes more children than teachers); the Sunday Specials (sociable lunches for the single); the Uniformed Organisations (showing the flag in the hall and in church); and the Wedding Preparation Team (another new and much-valued lay service). And all this is not to mention others who don‘t report, such as the Cleaners, the Sidesmen, the Launderers, the Communicators (including me printing endless things, including this esteemed periodical) and doubtless others besides.

Finally volunteers were called for to swell the ranks of the Catering Team (lots), the Finance and Fundraising Team (few), the Hall Redevelopment Group (forwarding the imminent Lottery Bid) and the Premises Committee (to frighten off those pigeons). All in all it painted a picture of lively activity and commitment, with an encouragingly high ratio of crew to passengers. As was said during the evening, the Ministry Team at St Faith‘s could really be said to be some 150 in size rather than the five august personages who technically make up its number. Numbers in the pews may continue to fall here as elsewhere; last year‘s healthy little surplus on the accounts may be on the way to being turned into an unhealthy little deficit this year: but are we downhearted? It didn‘t seem like it on St George‘s Day, 2002!

A Fishy Story
From the magazine of St Mary the Virgin, Davyhulme, Manchester

One day, a few weeks after the floods had subsided, God called Noah. ?Noah,‘  God said, ?I want you to build another ark.‘ ?Another ark, Lord?‘ replied Noah, reaching for his old building plans and a pencil. ?Same as before?‘ ?No,‘ said God, ?I want you to build this ark with many levels.‘

To hold more animals?‘ asked Noah. ?No,‘ said God. ? I want you to fill this ark entirely with fish.‘ ?Fish?‘ exclaimed Noah. He took a deep breath. ?Two of every different type of fish?‘ ?No,‘ said God. ?I want you to fill this ark with one type of fish only: carp.‘

Noah put down his pencil and stood very still. He said slowly: ?Let me just check this again, God. You want me to build another ark, with many levels and then fill it with carp.‘ ?Yes,‘ replied God happily. ?I‘ve always fancied a multi-storey carp ark.‘

The Bear Essentials
As told by Jackie Parry in a recent sermon...

An atheist was going for a walk in the woods, when, rounding a corner, he  was suddenly confronted by a savage, clearly man-eating, bear. Seeing a meal approaching, the bear reared up, raised a mighty paw and was poised to crush the atheist‘s head.

Almost instinctively, the atheist prayed aloud: ?O God, help me!‘ Everything froze. Birds stopped singing; the bear‘s paw was halted in mid-stroke. Out of a dazzling light, God spoke: ?You are asking me to help you? You have spent your life denying my very existence and trying to convince others that I am a mere invention. Why should I intervene now?‘

Fair enough,‘ said the atheist, after a moment‘s thought. ?I can see that would be hypocritical and inconsistent. I can‘t ask you to make me a Christian, so how about you making the bear a Christian?‘

The great light faded. The birds began to sing again. And the bear withdrew its upraised paw. And then it dropped ponderously to its knees, clasped its pawas together, and began, miraculously, to speak. ?For what we are about to receive,‘ said the bear, ?may the Lord make us truly thankful...‘

Malawi Update   MargaretHoughton

The response to the Malawi Appeal has been absolutely phenomenal. To date, taking advantage of Gift Aid, a sum of £2,458 has been raised. My thanks to all who have given so generously and willingly. When Mac and Dot return from their visit to Malawi in June, I will have more news of the osition and hopefully some more photographs, which help us to keep more closely in touch.

Reflections for Corpus Christitide
from The Many-Splendoured Eucharist by Fred Belcher

The Eucharist, being the crown and centre of the Church‘s life, is a sign that communion with God in the largest and fullest sense of that word, is not an instrument of attaining some higher end, but is itself the end to which He is leading His creatures, in all kingdoms, and nations, and languages ™ by all their schemes of religion, by all their studies of philosophy, by art, by science, by politics, by watching, by weeping, by struggling, by submitting, by wisdom, by folly, in the camp and the closet, in poverty and in riches, in honour and in shame, in health and in sickness, and secretly longing and crying, and without which they cannot be satisfied.

ALEC R VIDLER, The Theology of F. D. Maurice, SCM Press, 1948.

Our Lord took, blessed, broke and gave the bread and the wine. This is a parable of Jesus‘ own life. God took Jesus‘ self-offering and blessed it; he broke Jesus‘ life in pieces so that it could be shared with others, and then from the Resurrection it was given back to him renewed and restored. When we do this in remembrance of him, our life is taken, broken and given back. In the action of the Communion Service we renew at the deepest, profoundest level the whole pattern of Christ‘s life within ourselves. We identify ourselves with Jesus, and he identifies himself with us. When we take the bread and the wine, this fourfold action is completed, and then we are sent out into the world to work out this same pattern of living in our everyday life.

HUGH MONTEFIORE, Truth to Tell, Fontana, 1966.

The blessed sacrament sustains us so that we are ourselves Christ‘s body in the re-incarnation of the world. In the sacrament we are one with the risen Jesus, one with the saints in heaven, and the mother of the Lord and the holy angles; but as love is one and indivisible, Eucharist is the gate of heaven only as being also the gate through which we go out in the service of the world. In the sacrament the antimonies …are united and the fragmentary insights and apprehension of Christians are joined in one. Here the new militant is given the humility with which alone his welfare will be Christian, the activist is called to silence for a space to contemplate his saviour, the new mystic is shown the true goal of his quest, and all of us celebrate the sorrow and joy of Jesus in the glory of the triune God. So the Eucharist sums up the relation of God, Christ and the world.

MICHAEL RAMSEY, The Charismatic Christ, Darton, Longman, Todd, 1974.

All the four aspects of the contemporary spirituality …are worked through the Eucharist and its actions. First, it is an act of recalling and of reflection: it is the recalling and re-enacting of the mighty acts of God in creation, redemption and resurrection ™ the whole meaning of life is expressed in this outward and visible sign that nothing in life is secular but, as all has been made sacred in its origin by God, that we are to look for God in the midst and not at the boundaries of life, as Christ was discovered at Emmaus in the breaking of the bread. It is also the meaning of life in relation to ourselves, that being in Christ is our true nature, what we are meant to be, the self-affirmation of our real nature in its truest sense.

Secondly, it is an act of involvement both of ourselves with Christ and of ourselves with each other; it is an offering of God‘s creative world by man to God and the receiving back of the presence of Christ in that creative world with the intention that we shall then carry into the world not just ourselves but Christ ourselves. We and all our life, our work, or politics, our home, and our personal relationships, are taken, are offered in all their poverty as well as their goodness at the altar, in the confidence that, however imperfect, they are accepted. The offertory is symbolic recognition that daily work and daily life are not just things with no meaning or purpose beyond the getting of money by which to live but the presenting of what we are to the creator of what we are. But …it is an involvement with Christ that is taken back into the world; worship is lived. It is the life of Christ in the world of Christians. To be his body in the world we need to partake of His body in the corporate liturgy of the Church

Thirdly, it is an action which expresses the meaning of his Christian asceticism: ‘he took? but also ‘he broke?. It is in the identification with the broken body that we realise all that has to be modified and broken in us if we are to be His body to the world. We are called to realize in the very Eucharist that the breaking is an integral part of the triumph of the life of love, for love is costly. The world is to be redeemed, not accommodated ™ a task the Church has often been slow to recognize. The recognition of the pressures which are upon us just to be accommodating is the recognition that we who partake of the Eucharist cannot just expect lives of ease without pain or disturbance.

Finally, the Eucharist is the expression of community, for it is the joint action of the people of God, not something the clergy do for laity, but something in which we all have a part, in which the limbs of the Body of Christ areseen acting as a community. We come to the liturgy not only to receive the Body of Christ but to be the Body of Christ.  This means that the liturgical action must be seen to be the action of the whole Church, clergy and laity, in which each has a part to play. It means also that the Communion will only be obvious if it arises out of existing community and is the expression of a group life in which the acceptance and tension of community life have been experienced. Just as the liturgical action is the pattern of all Christian action in the world, so the liturgical society is the pattern of all society redeemed by Christ.

DOUGLAS RHYMES, Prayer in the Secular City, Lutterworth Press, 1967.

For here, all that matters is God: what He is, what He has done, what He is doing now, and what He will do ‘at the end? when God will be ‘all in all?. Here God gives and we receive. He acts, and we adore. He is, and we depend utterly upon Him.

The Eucharist begins with God; it is an act of God; it ends in God: ?All goes out in mystery‘. For the Eucharist unites earth and heaven. At every celebration, time, as we know it, fades away, and through Christ we are united with the Church Triumphant. As we worship, saying, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy,? we join with saints and angels, and with the spirits of just men made perfect, and with the great assembly of the first-born now in heaven. Time and space do not matter; here we touch eternity.

OLIVE WYON, The Altar Fire, SCM Press, 1945.

From the Registers

Holy Baptism

5 May Catherine Bevan
 daughter of Michael and Jennifer
 Emily Terese Kathleen Davies
 daughter of Darryl and Donna
 Joseph Norman McWilliam
 son of Phillip and Pauline

White Man Speak with Forked Tongue..

The Old Cherokee Chief sat in the reservation hut smoking the ceremonial pipe, eying the two U.S. government officials sent to interview him.

‘Chief Two Eagles,? the official began,‘You have observed the white man for many generations, you have seen all the progress and all the problems.? The chief nodded; the official continued. ‘Considering recent events, in your opinion where has the white man gone wrong?? The chief stared at the officials for over a minute, then calmly replied ‘When white man found this land, Indians were running it — no taxes, no debt, plenty hunting and plenty food. Women did most of the work. Medicine man free. Indian man free, hunting and fishing all the time.? The Chief smiled, adding quietly ‘White man dumb enough to think he could improve a system like that.?

Submitted by John Chapman.

Still the King‘
A story to comfort those of us who have difficulty remembering names.

Sir Thomas Beecham, returning to his hotel in Manchester after conducting a concert at the Free Trade Hall, was keen to return to his room. In the foyer, however, he noticed a distinguished-looking woman, whom he vaguely recognized but could not place in his memory. She saw him, so he paused for a few words. In the course of the brief chat, he remembered that she was married and, hoping this might identify her, he asked how her husband was and if he was still in the same job. Oh, he's quite well,‘ the lady replied,?and he‘s still the King.‘

A visit to Amsterdam   MikeHomfray

Recently, David and I spent a very pleasant few days in Amsterdam. It is a fascinating city, cosmopolitan and relaxed, and given that we were there over a weekend, we decided to go to Church on the Sunday morning. The Anglican church in Amsterdam (part of the Church of England‘s Diocese in Europe) turned out to be somewhat lower than any self-respecting St. Faith‘s parishioner could bear, so we were recommended the Oud-Katholieke church in the city. This is actually the Dutch Episcopal Church, in full communion with the Church of England, and in worship, very much in the catholic style. The week we attended, the illness of Fr. Robert meant that the Reserved Sacrament was used and the service was led by a Deacon, who bore a remarkable resemblance to local parishioner and occasional organist John Knight! Whilst the service was in Dutch, the liturgy was easy to follow, and we were introduced to an Englishman who had retired to Amsterdam some 14 years ago and told us that he still hadn‘t learned Dutch! We were made to feel very welcome and would recommend a visit, if any of you are planning to go to Amsterdam. We promised to send them a copy of Newslink‘, so there may even be a reciprocal visit!

Amsterdam is certainly a tolerant and liberal city, as the presence of the Oud Kerk in the City‘s red light district indicates, where prostitutes and pastors co-exist quite happily. A visit to the Ons‘ Lieve Heer op Solder (?Our Lord in the Attic‘) showed us that this was not always the case. In 1578, the Protestant majority forbade the holding of Roman Catholic services in public places, but the presence of ?secret‘ Roman Catholic worship was tolerated. In order to do this, ordinary houses were equipped with full chapels where Mass could be heard.

In this case, the attic of 40 Oudezijds Voorburgwal was converted into a Catholic church, and this remains intact. It is still used for occasional worship, and on our visit a couple were discussing arrangements for their wedding! It also contains a superb collection of religious artefacts ™ I don‘t think I have ever seen so many monstrances in one building.  Some of them were exceptionally elaborate and I think Dutch priests must have been a powerful bunch, since simply to lift them would have been quite a feat!

'Vatican bans Rogue Angels‘

Julian Conan, in a recent 'Sunday Telegraph' offers an intriguing insight into current Vatican thinking on one of the oldest of subjects.

The Vatican has banned the veneration of angels who do not appear in the Bible, in an attempt to ward off the influence of New Age religious movements and other angel-based cults.

Prayers to disputed celestial beings as Uriel and Josephiel were proscribed in a 300-page Directory of Public Piety, published last week by the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship. Chapter six delivers a stinging rebuff to followers of Uriel, Jophiel, Chamuel and Zadkiel, who enjoy a burgeoning reputation in New Age religions but make no appearance in the New or Old Testament. Seven ?holy‘ angels feature in Christian legend: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Chamuel, Jophiel and Zadkiel. Other nameless angels are generally divided into angelic orders such as the cherubim, seraphim and thrones. Only the first three play a part in the official biblical narrative, although all seven are cited in the Book of Enoch, which was eventually excluded from the Bible because of its controversial assertions on the nature and deeds of fallen angels.

The Vatican states in unequivocal language that ?the practice of giving particular names to the angels... is to be disapproved of. Popular piety towards the angels ... can lead to deviations.‘  The directory reflects unease in Rome about the role of angels in rival and often obscure Christian denominations.

The Mormon church was supposedly founded through the intervention of an angel called Moroni. New Age cults have revived the reputation of Uriel as the angel of peace, together with Jophiel, Chameul and Zadkiel. Rome also disapproves of the flourishing commercial trade in ?angel altars‘, brooches and lucky charms. It also has bad news for those who belive that a guardian angel follows their every move, helping out where possible. Protestants have traditionally rejected the idea of angelic intervention in human lives. ?Deviation‘ says Rome ?also takes place if the everyday events of life come to be seen in a schematic and simplistic mode, whereby the smallest setbacks are attributed to malign forces and successes and achievements which have nothing to do with man‘s path towards the maturity of Christ are attribued to one‘s guardian angel.‘

This is not the first time that the Roman Catholic Church has felt obliged to clarify the status and function of the angelic host. In the eight century, Pope Zachary decreed that no prayers were to be offered to Uriel on the grounds that he did not exist. Twelve centuries later it would appear that Uriel‘s latest comeback has been halted by John Paul II.

Some Holy Men and Women in June

June3:  TheMartyrsofUganda

Mwanga, the ruler of Uganda in 1886, wanted boys for his bed and when all the Christian pages began to refuse his advances, he had them put to death. They included Catholics and Anglicans. On their way to the place of execution, these young Christians sang hymns in honour of the Lord and some were still singing when the flames surrounded them. Barely a century later, the peoples of the land were persecuted by a tyrant who put many of the Christian leaders and followers of Christ to death. Anglicans and Roman Catholics unite on this day to remembers those who witnessed in Uganda for Christ, even unto death.

June8:  ThomasKen,BishopofBathandWells

Thomas Ken was born at Berkhampstead in 1637 and educated at New College Oxford. He was ordained priest in 1662 and worked first in a poor parish in the diocese of Winchester and then at Winchester College for ten years. He served as chaplain to King Charles II for two years and was then consecrated Bishop of Bath and Wells. After the king‘s death and the accession of the Roman Catholic James II, the new king proposed to rescind the Restoration penal laws, but Thomas and six of his fellow bishops refused to comply with this and were imprisoned on this day in 1688. But such was the integrity of Thomas that, when the king abandoned his throne and fled and the king‘s Protestant daughter Mary was offered the throne, together with her husband   William  of  Orange,   Thomas   felt   unable  in  good  conscience  to forswear his living, anointed monarch. He was deprived of his See, along with many other non-jurors, as they became know, and for a time there was schism in the Anglican fold. But Thomas spent his final twenty years in quiet retirement, anxious not to make trouble, and renounced his rights to his bishopric. He wrote many hymns (including one which makes reference to the Assumption of Mary: no 310 in our Ancient & Modern) and died on 19 March 1711.

June16: RichardofChichester

Richard de Wych, or of Droitwich as it is now known, was born there in 1197 and worked hard for his yeoman father to restore the family fortunes. Later he studied at Oxford and Paris and then in Bologna as an ecclesiastical lawyer. When he returned to England in 1235, he was made Chancellor of Oxford and eventually Chancellor to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Edmund of Abingdon. When Richard eventually became Bishop of Chichester, he was seen as a model diocesan bishop: progressing around his diocese on foot, visiting and caring for his clergy and people, generally being accessible to all who needed his ministry. He insisted that the sacraments be administered without payment and with a proper dignity. Whilst on a recruitment campaign for the Crusades, he fell ill at Dover and died there on 3 April 1253;  his mortal remains were translated to Chichester on this day in the year 1276.

June2: Etheldreda,AbbessofEly

Etheldreda (Audrey) was born in Suffolk in the seventh century, a daughter of the king. She desired to commit her life to prayer and chastity and , after two arranged and unconsummated marriages, founded a religious house at Ely for both men and women, over which she ruled as Abbess. At her death on this day in 678, she was revered as a woman of austerity, prayer and prophecy.

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

Notes from the Choirstalls      StephanieDunning

What‘s your favourite piece of vocal music? Operatic, sacred, music hall? Is it a venerable, beloved hymn, a modern reminder of a particularly happy or poignant time of your life: joyous and dancing, sombre, moving, inspiring? After myriad hearings, ?Praise to the holiest‘ from Elgar‘s ?Dream of Gerontius‘ still stirs me to a small, bright glimpse of heaven, and I am stabbed to the heart by the plangent violins which herald the powerful ?Lachrymosa‘ from the Mozart Requiem. However, as a seventies teenager, I also have to confess to a delight in Abba and the Bee Gees!

Well, whatever you love, provided you vote for it, we are going to try to perform it for you. If it‘s something we don‘t know, you can even watch us rehearse from the first hesitant read-through! It doesn‘t have to be serious. Our 24-hour sponsored sing in June is going to have a strong request element. Miriam‘s article gives full details of how it is going to run. At the moment she is not well at all, so we send our love and very best wishes and hope for her return soon, for there is no better organiser!

Over recent months, it is fair to say that choir morale has drooped a little. Numbers are low (this does happen cyclically, as old hands are aware, but this time with the added worry that young people are not being recruited, save the loyal Jake!), with the knock-on effect that we cannot handle the ?big‘ double choir material, have less choice of anthems and are generally less satisfied with what we do sing ™ are we really making a meaningful contribution to worship? Not to mention the disappointment of having to abandon our projected visit to Winchester, which was not viable from the point of view of numbers or finances. The start of the Cathedral preparations is, however, making us feel better; that Mathias is going to be a challenge!

The good news is that our efforts to combat this with group bonding are definitely bearing fruit. Regular, reassuring get-togethers, such as our recent Greek meal out together in South Road, have spread more than a little happiness. There is nothing more exhilarating than dance, laughter, copious quantities of Retsina and a good plate-smashing session.

Except, maybe, for a sponsored sing. Turn the page now ... and do come.

The Sponsored Fun Sing           MiriamJones

As promised in March‘s magazine, and outlined above by Steph, we are having another 24 hour sponsored fun sing, with the emphasis on the fun! It is a time for all to enjoy themselves in the common quest to raise money!

It is to take place from 1.00 p.m. on Saturday 15th June, following straight on from the recital, which, I believe is being performed that day by a former Director of Music, Michael Foy, and will end at 1.00 p.m. on the Sunday, following the Sunday Eucharist.

Now for the fun part! There will be an ?informal‘ concert starting at 7.30 p.m. on Saturday, entrance only £1, payable at the door on the night, with a few items chosen by Ged and the choir, but from then on  it‘s down to you! We will have all the usual music to hand: people‘s favourite anthems, hymns, arias etc, and we want you to decide the rest of the programme. By the time you read this, you may have seen ?request slips‘ at the back of church. If possible, please fill these in before the night, but by all means, just turn up and we will do our best (sight-reading and/or memory skills permitting!)

This is also a plea for anyone who may feel that they could help with catering ™ someone to man the odd kettle at the back of church at key times, say 5-6 p.m. Saturday and then during the interval at the concert, plus any other time, maybe making a sandwich or two, would be very much appreciated. If you can help, please tell me, either in the hall on a Sunday, or ring me on 01744 883533.

We really want this to be successful, however, apart from the commitment from the choir, we do need support, both in the form of sponsorship, and by your presence and enthusiasm. Please come and enjoy yourselves with us in this venture, which is always a lot of fun!