The Parish Magazine of St Faith`s Church, Great Crosby
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From the Ministry Team
As I’m writing this I’m sitting in my garden on a warm, sunny spring afternoon, the weather being particularly lovely for the time of year, and I’m very aware of noises coming from neighbouring gardens; someone mowing a lawn, a couple chatting, children playing, their laughter sounding so sweet as it’s carried along on the warm breeze.
I’m feeling very aware of the beauty and pleasures of God‘s creation. However, sitting here in my peaceful little garden, it’s hard to imagine that there is trouble in the world, the aftermath of the war in Iraq continues and people continue to suffer and feel alone. I can’t help wondering if people elsewhere are at this moment searching for God. It brings to mind a little story I read a while ago, and I’d like to share it with you now.
The little child whispered, ‘God, speak to me’, and a meadowlark sang, but the child did not hear.
So the child yelled, ‘God, speak to me’, and the thunder rolled across the sky, but the child did not listen.
The child looked around and said, ?God, let me see you‘, and a star shone brightly, but the child did not notice.
And the child shouted, ‘God, show me a miracle!’ and a life was born but the child did not know.
So the child cried out in despair, ‘Touch me God, and let me know
are there!’ Whereupon God reached down and touched the child. But the
brushed the butterfly away, and walked away unknowingly.
How many times have we asked God to speak to us, or to show us He is with us, to let us know He is here? Have we always been aware of His presence, or have we too brushed away the butterfly, unknowingly? I suppose that many of us have on occasion felt as though God wasn’t with us, but God chooses to reveal His presence in the way He feels is best for us, all we need to do is to have faith, be still, and see Him in all His wondrous creation.
What a gentle and loving way to show His love to the world, in sharing with us his creation, and being present with us at all times.
A few weeks ago a friend sent a poem/prayer to me and I’d like to share this with you also, as I feel its message is that of hope and awareness of God’s ever present love.
God, give us eyes to see the beauty of the Spring,
And to behold your majesty in every living thing.
And may we see in lacy leaves and every budding flower,
The hand that rules the universe with gentleness and power.
And may this Easter grandeur that Spring lavishly imparts,
Awaken faded flowers of faith lying dormant in our hearts.
And give us ears to hear, dear God, the Springtime song of birds,
With messages more meaningful than man‘s often empty words.
Telling harried human beings who are lost in dark despair.
Be like us and do not worry, for God has you in His care.
May we all be ever aware of God‘s loving presence in the beauty we see around us, every day.
With my love and prayers,
Some years ago, while staying with Fr Charles Billington and Heather at their lovely country rectory in the hills near Abergele, Charles and I were enjoying a spring morning walk along the leafy lanes, when he spoke to me about the writings and insights of a recently-deceased priest of great spirituality and prayer. ROBERT ELLSBERG, in his ‘All Saints’, observes:
‘Anthony de Mello was an Indian Jesuit who achieved international fame for his writings and spiritual retreats. From his reading of the Gospels he discerned that Christ was not so much concerned with imparting doctrines to his listeners as in awakening them to new life and the offer of salvation that was in their midst. Through parables, symbolic actions, and teachings, Jesus constantly startled people out of their preconceived notions of religion.‘Wake up!’— that was his message. It was a challenging message, and one that led him to the cross.
De Mello’s own method of spiritual direction followed a similar style. Drawing on an eclectic fund of stories, borrowed from Hasidic, Zen, and Sufi masters, as well as from Jesus and the mystics of the West, he tried to awaken his listeners to the presence of God in their midst. The fact that his audience consisted of spiritual seekers did not make his task any easier. Most seekers were like the man who travelled all over the world on the back of a buffalo, seeking the definition of ‘buffalo’; or the fish who constantly sought to discover the meaning of the ocean. Just so, the person who constantly attended retreats and conferences to discover God.
De Mello’s teaching was often expressed in simple definitions. Theology: ‘The art of telling stories about the Divine.’ Mysticism: ‘The art of tasting and feeling in your heart the inner meaning of such stories to the point that they transform you.’ But someone who preferred to memorize such definitions was like a ravenous person in a restaurant who devoured the menu instead of the meal. Christian doctrines were simply a finger pointing to the moon; they were misunderstood if they became the final object of our attention. The gospel, for de Mello, pointed us to the Truth that lies behind words, concepts, and images — to what the mystics liked to call ‘the God beyond god.’
Enlightenment could not be received at second hand. The most eloquent report of the taste of a peach was no substitute for one’s own experience of tasting the fruit. ‘In the land of the spirit, you cannot walk by the light of someone else’s lamp,’ he said. ‘You want to borrow mine. I’d rather teach you how to make your own.’ True knowledge, saving knowledge, was in any case ‘to be transformed by what one knows.’
Disciple: ‘What’s the difference between knowledge and enlightenment?’
Master: ‘When you have knowledge you use a torch to show the way. When you are enlightened, you become a torch.’
De Mello was director of the Sadhana Institute of Pastoral Counselling in Poona, India. His books were originally published in India, and for many years he was little known outside of Jesuit circles. In the 1980s, however, foreign editions of his books began to appear, and he was in much demand as a retreat leader and spiritual director. Those who experienced his retreats often spoke of his authority, his extraordinary combination of peacefulness and energy, and his ability to make the familiar lessons of the gospel appear like startling revelations.
Among his writings, de Mello left many meditations on the theme of his own death. Such thoughts encouraged, simultaneously, a spirit of detachment and an appreciation for the preciousness of earthly existence. Thus, he was well prepared when he died suddenly of a heart attack on June 2, 1987, while preparing to deliver a series of conferences in New York. He was 56.
To a disciple who was obsessed with the thought of life after death the Master said, ‘Why waste a single moment thinking of the hereafter?’
‘But is it possible not to?’
‘By living in heaven here and now.’
‘And where is this heaven?’
‘In the here and now.’
Annual General Meetings are not calculated to pull in the crowds and enthral their audiences. But they are a legal requirement in the established Church of England, and, perhaps more importantly, they are a public demonstration of the democratic and accountable nature of our parochial system. Anybody in the parish, on the Electoral Roll or not, may attend the Vestry meeting at the beginning, and vote for their chosen candidates in the election of Churchwardens (an ancient safeguard against corruption in high places, but invariably more honoured in the breach than the observance). And everyone on the electoral roll can attend, scrutinise the accounts, elect PCC members and hear the incumbent’s ‘state of the nation’ speech, as well as raising and speaking about any issues of their choice.
Anglican AGMs (Annual Parochial Church meetings these days) are usually held around or soon after Easter. The timing is flexible, and St Faith‘s used to meet after the main Sunday morning service. With the changes of timing in the United Benefice, we had to move the time, and currently hold the meeting on St George‘s Day, following the High Mass for the patron saint of England on the evening of that day. Thus it was that, following a service when hymns to the Queen of England and the Queen of Heaven were uniquely juxtaposed, some fifty or so good folk drank wine to see them through the necessary subsequent bureaucracy.
Amazingly, the church was not suddenly thronged with parishioners coming in off the streets to elect rival wardens. Nor did the subsequent ?meeting proper‘ challenge the incoming Deputy Wardens (welcome to Derek Sadler and Kathy Zimak; thanks to retiring Deputies Chris Spence and Ken Hollis). Five new PCC members out of a field of seven were chosen, and the accounts were presented, spoken about by Treasurer Margaret Houghton, and voted through. Fr Neil then spoke of the past year‘s events and developments, and underlined some of the implications in the financial report. While we are keeping afloat (praise be to God), we have no reserves, and no means of meeting unexpected demands or major developments. PCC members would be contemplating these facts at the forthcoming Away Day; below, Fr Neil writes about our levels of giving and our financial future.
It is sad, but inevitable, that at most church gatherings, money
up more time than does mission. As a welcome counter-balance, this year
again saw much of the meeting taken up by reports from a whole raft of
people on the departments and activities of
church. One after another, we listened to news of the many
and varied aspects of life at St Faith‘s. As the meeting ended, the
was complete: a church with problems (there can‘t be many around to
that would not apply these days) but a Christian family in good heart
spirit, seeking under God to worship their Lord and to do His work in
I was laughed at recently at a Deanery Chapter meeting when I said that we (the clergy) ought to be teaching more from the pulpit about the importance of tithing and sacrificial giving. The Vicar of S. Paul‘s Hatton Hill laughed at me! ‘You sound like an evangelical!’ he said. Many of you know I am not an evangelical (!) However one rarely hears of an evangelical church having money problems. Why is it that most evangelicals have got the message and many other churches haven‘t? Spelling out the facts and figures is nothing new to S. Faith’s, as material from previous Stewardship Campaigns shows. Taking a random look at weekly giving in the envelope scheme (parish purse) we found:
Number of people who give £1 or less each
Number of people who give £2 or less each week 7
Number of people who give £3 or less each week 9
Number of people who give £4 or less leach week 8
Number of people who give £5 or less each week 11
Number of people who give between £5 and £10 each week 12 *
Number of people who give £10 plus each week 4
Total number of people in Envelope Scheme: 64 (42.6% of Electoral Roll)
A look at giving via direct debit/standing order
Number of people who give £1 or less each
Number of people who give £2 or less each week 2
Number of people who give £3 or less each week 1
Number of people who give £4 or less each week 4
Number of people who give £5 or less each week 8
Number of people who give between £5 and £10 each week 11 *
Number of people who give £10 plus each week 11
Total number of people who give through the bank: 37 (24.6% of Electoral Roll)
* if everyone was in this band we would have few financial worries
This shows that around a third of people of people on the Electoral Roll do not covenant their giving (just as a comparison, some 90% of those on the Electoral Roll of S. Mary’s are in planned giving schemes). An arrangement via the bank is by far the best, as it is important to know exactly what we will receive - it helps planning and budgeting. However all giving, whether envelope scheme, direct debit or money on the plate, needs to be reviewed regularly. We know that patterns in church attendance have changed. Yet whilst some people come to church every two or three weeks, bills have to be paid each month. Whether you attend on a particular Sunday or not, your contribution is needed for the overall running of our church.
Since the introduction of the Charities Act, your elected PCC
have special responsibility for parish finances and so will be debating
these points throughout the year to decide how best this situation can
be improved. Money matters are not the most pleasant to talk about, but
unless we face this honestly now we are storing up trouble for
in the future. Please remember all PCC members in your prayers as they
tackle this task in the coming months.
People hardly know the Holy Spirit as a person, and then only in an incomplete, dim and confused fashion. It cannot be otherwise. For a full knowledge of the Holy Spirit would make all created being entirely spirit-bearing, entirely deified, and would confer a completely-realised illum-ination. Then history would be ended; then the fullness of time would be at hand, and all waiting would be over; then there would indeed be no more time.
But as long as history continues, only instants of illumination by the Spirit are possible; only certain individuals at certain moments know the Paraclete, when they are raised above time into eternity.
Certainly, the Holy Spirit is indeed at work in the Church. But knowledge of the Spirit has always been a pledge or reward: at special moments and with exceptional people; and this is how it will be until ?all is fulfilled‘. That is why, when reading the Church‘s writings, we cannot fail to be struck by something that seems strange at first but that later, in the light of what precedes, manifests its inner necessity. It is this: that all the holy fathers and mystical philosophers speak of the importance of the idea of the Spirit in the Christian world-view, but hardly any of them explains himself precisely and exactly. It is evident that the holy fathers know something; but what is even clearer is that this knowledge is so intimate, so hidden, without echo, ineffable, that they lack the power to express it in precise language.
But the closer we draw to the end of history, the more do new, hitherto invisible roseate rays of the coming day without evening appear on the domes of the holy Church.
Our characteristic attitude towards the Holy Spirit, it seems to me,
is precisely one of expectation, of hope; a gentle and reconciling
Thursday 29th May
6.30am HIGH MASS followed by breakfast in the Vicarage
7.30pm Holy Eucharist (said) with hymns
SUNDAY 1st JUNE
St Mary’s Patronal Festival
10.30am FESTIVAL EUCHARIST followed by BBQ lunch (please note time of service and also that there will be no 11.00am Eucharist at Saint Faith‘s on this day)
Celebrant and Preacher: The Right Reverend Ian Stuart
SUNDAY 8th JUNE
The Day of Pentecost (THE BIRTHDAY OF THE CHURCH)
11am HIGH MASS followed by wine
Preacher: Fr. Ken Miller (S. Columba‘s, Anfield)
SUNDAY 15th JUNE
11am HIGH MASS
Preacher: Fr. Geoffrey Hardman (S. James‘s, Haydock)
THURSDAY 19th JUNE
8pm HIGH MASS and commissioning of Eucharistic Ministers
Preacher: Fr. John Taylor (S. James’s, Wigan)
At this service all those who serve as Eucharistic Ministers will receive their licenses, which Bishop James has renewed.
Following the service there is the traditional ‘bring-a-bottle’ party in the Vicarage Garden.
SUNDAY 22nd JUNE
Sunday in the Octave of Corpus Christi
6pm FESTAL EVENSONG, PROCESSION AND BENEDICTION
Preacher: Canon Peter Cavanagh (Lancaster Priory)
SUNDAY 29th JUNE
Solemnity of S. Peter and S. Paul
10.30am Ordination of Denise MacDougall as Deacon in Liverpool Cathedral
11.00am Eucharist (said) with hymns in S. Faith‘s
SUNDAY 6th JULY
at 3pm Joint Sunday Schools’ Party, Picnic & Bouncy Castle in the Vicarage Garden
Watch your words
They become your actions.
Watch your actions
They become your character.
Watch your character
It determines your destiny.
mighty wind of God,
inhabit our darkness,
brood over our abyss
and speak to our chaos
that we may breathe with your life
and share your creation
in the power of Jesus Christ
(Janet Morley All Desires Known)
Punctuation for Feminists
Those who argue that punctuation is irrelevant, may care to ponder this sentence:
Woman without her man is helpless.
Now try putting a comma after ‘woman’ and ‘her’....
Grace Wilson Jones R.I.P.
At the great age of 103 years, Grace died peacefully in her sleep at
Alder Court Nursing Home in Bootle on the morning of Friday May 9th.
would have been 104 in August but, mercifully, was spared any further
Those in the Parish Hall on the happy and memorable occasion of her hundredth birthday will recall her obvious delight and joy in being able to share her celebrations with the family of St Faith‘s - where she was married in 1930!
Grace was a truly remarkable and wonderful old lady who will be greatly missed by those who were privileged to have known her. At the time of writing her funeral details have yet to be finalised. May she rest in God’s peace and be raised in His glory.
MIKE CARR presents the first of a regular series of reports on the activities of the uniformed organisations at St Faith’s.
Bobcat News Akela
‘We’re doing the Naturist badge on Saturday, Mum!’ I jumped in quickly. ‘It’s the Naturalist badge, Danny’‘ Danny couldn’t see the difference.
Nevertheless, one hot Saturday in March 16 intrepid Cubs and 5 gallant Leaders from the Bobcat Cub Pack fought their way through dense undergrowth and forged the crocodile-infested pools of Rimrose Valley, Seaforth, looking for adventure! The search was on for ferocious mini-beasts, poisonous plants and the monsters that lurk beneath the dark waters of Rimrose Valley’s ponds. Each explorer‘s task was to catch (‘carefully, we don‘t want to hurt them!’) and identify 6 mini-beasts, 6 pond insects and 6 plants.
Soon the petri dishes and pooters were crawling (quite literally) with a variety of spiders, woodlice, pond snails, beetles and so on, all of which were identified with the aid of microscopes, magnifiers and books from the library.
It was a great day out! The sun shone, all the Cubs completed the task to a high standard and earned the Naturist, sorry, Naturalist badge. Shame we didn’t see any crocodiles though!
Perhaps, we thought, we might have better luck finding crocodiles at Chester Zoo, so we joined Cubs from all over Waterloo, Seaforth and Crosby for this District day out. Two double-decker buses, full of singing Cubs and Leaders, left the Civic Hall at the crack of dawn on Sunday, 6th April.
On arrival, the Cubs were divided into groups and given quizzes to complete on the way round the zoo. Each group also had a disposable camera and Cubs took it in turns to take pictures for entry in a competition, to be judged in May. And yes! We saw a crocodile! We also watched the penguins at feeding time and saw two baby Orang-utans play-fighting in the sun - they looked just like our Cubs! Another great day out ended with singing all the way home on the bus. We can’t wait for the next adventure!
The Brownies are Appealing!
Attention everybody! We are looking for young leaders, i.e. adult and young females aged 14 or over, who like working with young people, enjoy a challenge and can spare at least an hour and a half on Monday evenings (school term time only).
We need unit helpers (female adults) who feel they could assist on a regular basis with the new Brownie programme. You could help make a real difference to the young women of tomorrow!
We are also looking for speakers - people to visit the unit and share their interests, skills and experience. Areas might include sign language, first aid, health, animals, local history, community awareness, medicine, dentistry, dancing, cake decorators etc etc.
If you think you might be interested in helping, please contact SUE WALSH on 920 0318.
We currently have vacancies in our unit. The girls are aged between 5 and 7 years and will automatically have a place in Brownies (if they wish) after their 7th birthday. Please contact CLAIRE HOCKNEY on 474 9355..
The Rainbows meet in the Church Hall on Monday evenings during
term time from 4.45. to 5.45. pm. The Brownies’ (aged between 7 and 10)
meeting follows from 6.00 to 7.30 pm.
The Open Gardens Afternoon Saturday 28th June
Last year, for the first time, members and friends of St Faith’s and St Mary’s had the chance to tour the gardens of various members of St Faith’s congregations on what was supposed to be a summer afternoon. Despite the weather, a good time was had by all doing the rounds and admiring the horticultural skills on display, and then enjoying an evening at the Vicarage, which was equally wet and just as much fun.
This year we are repeating the occasion, and tickets and itineraries will be available soon. Since lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place, we are confident that 28th June will be a fine day and look forward to an afternoon and evening to remember. More details in church and on the weekly notices in due course. Meanhile, the poem below will strike a chord with all our gardeners...
The Gardener’s Hymn
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
But what we never mention,
Though gardeners know it’s true,
Is when He made the goodies,
He made the baddies too.
All things spray and swattable,
Disasters great and small,
All things Paraquatable,
The Lord God made them all.
The greenfly on the roses,
The maggots on the peas,
Manure that fills our noses,
He also gave us these.
The fungus on the goose-gogs,
The club root on the greens,
The slugs that eat the lettuce
And chew the aubergines,
The draught that kills the fuchsias,
The frost that nips the buds,
The rain that drowns the seedlings,
The blight that kills the spuds,
The midges and mosquitoes,
The nettles and the weeds,
The pigeons in the green stuff,
The sparrows on the seeds,
The fly that gets the carrots,
The wasp that eats the plums:
How black the gardener‘s labour,
Though green may be his thumbs.
But still we gardeners labour,
‘Midst vegetables and flowers
And pray what hits our neighbours
Will somehow bypass ours.
(Anon: supplied by Marjorie Jones)
Another innovation last year was the United Benefice Charity Fun Day
at St Faith’s. This very well-patronised event provided lots of fun for
lots of people and made good sums for good causes. The weather was
and we are sure it will be equally splendid this year (ignore any
inconsistencies with the previous item!). In any case, the familiar
‘if wet, in the hall’ will apply if necessary, so note the date and
along and have a good time while helping charity. More details next
Over the years we have listened to many fine and memorable sermons at St Faith’s, delivered by our own clergy and readers and by a wide range of visiting preachers. Many have sunk without trace, but others have been captured in print in the pages of Newslink, or saved as part of our electronic archive. Now we have put together two sequences of sermons: one on the sacraments of the church, the second the sequence preached in Holy Week last year, and published them in a booklet, catchily entitled ‘Sermons from St Faith’s’.
It is on sale now at the back of church, and the proceeds will go to our ongoing Medic Malawi appeal. There are 13 sermons (lucky for some) at the bargain price of £2.50, which works out at just under 19p a sermon. Buy soon and avoid disappointment.
The 2003 season has got off to an excellent start, with as many as 70 people present on two succesive recent Saturdays. As has been announced, the concert on May 24th has had to be cancelled, and James Firth will now be performing in place of Derek Sadler on July 12th. Recitalists for the next few weeks are as printed below: the church is open from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm, refreshments are on sale, and the recitals run from 12 noon to 12.30 pm.
Iain Harvey (organ)
June 7th Michael Broom (baritone) and James Firth (piano)
June 14th Michael Foy (organ)
June 21st Gerard Callacher (piano)
June 28th Colin Porter (organ)
Mission Impossible? — The Word in Action.
The phrase ‘green issues’ makes most people think only of the countryside. What‘s more, other phrases, like GLOBAL WARMING and CLIMATE CHANGE, can leave people feeling that these issues are out of their control. In fact both of these reactions are wrong.
Our ‘environmen’ is the place where we live and work. Every one of us is responsible for it. Its state affects every one of us! The lives we lead either add to, or detract from, the quality of our environment, and so what we don‘t like we have the potential to change.
Small and simple changes to our own lifestyles can add significantly to the bigger picture. For example, taking our litter home with us and leaving our cars behind whenever possible, add up to ensuring cleaner streets and cleaner air. Reducing energy consumption in our homes, by using energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances and by turning thermostats down a degree or two, saves us money whilst helping to reduce pollution. Recycling our waste reduces the area of land wasted on landfill and uses less of the world’s finite resources. Through our purchasing power we can steer the markets into becoming more environmentally responsible, whilst ensuring that people are paid a fair wage.
With determination, and through working with like-minded people, we can tackle bigger projects too. Streets can be cleaned. Wasteland can be transformed into havens for wildlife, or converted into children’s recreational areas. Graffiti can be removed and vandalism repaired. Buildings can be made to serve communities. Second-hand goods can be made available to those who need them, and healthy food can be procured through cooperative buying.
All of these things, and more, are already happening around the Diocese, giving us plenty of examples to learn from. That‘s why on April 12th Bishop James hosted an event which brought together speakers and representatives from parishes all over the Liverpool Diocese.
Each of the parishes is unique and every one of them has their own issues to deal with. Yet these Parish Environmental Representatives all have one thing in common. They all care about their environment! What‘s more, they are willing to give up their time to do something to help improve it!
The aim of the event ‘Earthing the Community - the Word in Action’ was to learn from people who are already active within their own communities and to establish a network through which information and expertise can be shared. By tapping into this network, through their representatives, parishes can begin to take back responsibility for their corner of God's creation.
Among the raft of reports on the various activities of St Faith’s presented at the recent A.P.C.M. was a heartfelt appeal from the Children‘s Church.
Angie Price had reported in 2002 that on some Sundays there were more teachers than children. Since then we have seen a small but welcome growth in the numbers of children, and, sadly, a corresponding drop in the numbers of teachers and helpers. As a result in 2003 the few remaining teachers are on duty at least every other week so that, what with holidays and other cover problems, they get into church for worship for fewer than half the Sundays of the year. If this trend continues Children’s Church may have to operate on a part-time basis.
Is there anyone out there who can help? You would be given all the
and support you need, and we can fit your available dates into our
Please think about this important work, without which the church of the
future at St Faith’s cannot exist, and see Angie Price or Fr Neil if
want to know more.
Silver Jubilee of Fr Dennis’ Priesthood
Friday, September 19th at 8.00 pm
High Mass of Thanksgiving
Preacher: The Rt Revd Graham Jones Bishop of Norwich
Visiting clergy are asked to robe, wearing white or gold stole, with
either cassock alb or cotta and cassock. Birettas optional!
Appropriate ‘Jubilee Refreshments’ will be enjoyed in the Parish Hall after the service.
All are most welcome!
Keep us, O God, from pettiness; let us be large in thought, in word,
Let us be done with fault-finding and leave self-seeking.
May we put away pretence and meet each other face to face, without self-pity and without prejudice.
May we never be hasty in judgement and always generous.
Let us take time for all things; make us grow calm, serene, gentle.
Teach us to put into action our better impulses, straightforward and unafraid.
Grant that we may realise it is the little things that create differences; that in the big things of life we are at one,
And may we strive to touch and to know the great human heart common to us all, and O Lord, let us not forget to be kind.
What is Time?
Time to enjoy yourself
Time to forgive
Time to think
Time to remember
Time to love
Time to care
Time to suffer
Time to give to others.
Time is precious.
It won‘t stand still.
WHAT IS FAITH?
Faith is something inside of you.
Truth and trust are 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.
4 May Jude Daniel Ainsworth son of Mark and Janette
Kian Clifton Morgan Son of Clifton and Bernadette
28 April Albert John Brandwood
12 May Sheila Sutcliffe
Burial of Ashes
4 May Margaret Smith