The Parish Magazine of St Faith`s Church, Great Crosby
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From the Vicar
The Bible tells us to love our neighbours, and love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people! (G.K. Chesterton)
I can remember shortly after I was ordained going into the local infant school where bullying was a problem, and the Headmistress asked me if I could ‘weave’ into my assembly something about good behaviour. I could have told them to go to church on Sunday and see how all the Christians loved one another. But that would have been lying! I spoke about how we have to learn to live with people we don‘t always get along with. I suggested to them that if there was someone they found difficult they should pray for them. A little boy put up his hand and said ‘Father Neil, do lots of people pray for you?’ (out of the mouths…....!)
We are told constantly that the church is dying; for many years there has been an unhealthy obsession with figure-keeping and documenting trends in worship. Thousands upon thousands of pounds have been spent on this! We can blame Sunday trading, boring and irrelevant preaching, service times at unearthly hours, the Bible is outdated and so on. The pessimists tell us the church is dying and we can‘t do anything about it.
It is not always someone else’s fault though. You are probably just as aware as I am of people who have been ‘put off’ Christianity because of us practising Christians (or so-called). We are bound to make mistakes because we are human. We do not always practise what we preach. That is a claim levelled at us often.
But what does it mean when we fail to ‘practise what we preach?’ Well, firstly we must ask, what is it we preach? The message we preach (or should preach) is the gift of reconciliation. The fact that God, in Christ, was reconciling humanity to himself.
Do read 2 Corinthians 5: 17-20: ‘So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.’
That is our mandate; and our mission must be to bring people to know the healing and reconciling power of God and to experience that healing and reconciling love in us, the Body of Christ, the Eucharistic community.
There will always be times when the church makes the headlines because the Vicar has been caught with his pants down or the scout-leader has run off with the PCC secretary. True, that doesn’t always help to create a positive image of the church. But the real sin, the real scandal, the real damage is caused when human beings fail to acknowledge their human frailty and don’ seek to be reconciled with God and each other. That inability to seek reconciliation, or offer forgiveness, is one of the most destructive forces at work within the church ™ that is well and truly failing to ‘practise what we preach’!
During the season of Lent let us remember one simple fact; namely, that if we are not reconciled to our brothers and sisters, we are not truly reconciled to God. The epistle of James says ‘the tongue is a fire. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the image and likeness of God’ (James 3:6&9)
Perhaps if we need a resolve to help us as we journey through the season of Lent it is this: to be people of reconciliation not just with words spoken in church, but in daily living for each other.
S. Mark’s Gospel tells us that the Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan (Mark 1:12-13). Jesus withdrew in order to discover God’s will for him. And yet it was in coming closer to God that Satan tried his hardest. It will always be the same for us; the closer we come to God, the harder the devil has to work. That is why regular prayer is so essential if our day is to be focused on God.
Please use the special services and study groups during Lent as a way of deepening your relationship with God, rather than doing nothing and thereby deepening Satan‘s resolve to win you over!
With my love and prayers
Help us live for one another, bind us in love;
stranger, neighbour, father, mother - bind us in love.
All are equal at your table, through your Spirit make us able
To embrace as sister, brother, bind us in love.
‘Aspects of Love’
A series of Bible Studies led by Fr. Neil exploring ways of responding to the love of God. These take place at S. Mary’s, following the 10.30 Holy Eucharist.
Wednesday 3rd March (Deut 5:12, Mark 14:22)
‘LOVE AND WORSHIP’
Why the Eucharist is important?
Wednesday 10th March (Luke 10:3, Matt 5:16)
‘LOVE AND SERVICE’
Can Christians make a difference in the world?
Wednesday 17th March (Matt 5:1-12, 2 Cor 12:30)
‘LOVE AND HOLINESS’
The saints of yesterday, today and tomorrow
Wednesday 24th March (Luke 6:27, Luke 10:25)
‘LOVE AND CHARITY’
Love your neighbour as yourself.
Special Services and Events during the Season of Lent:
25th February ASH WEDNESDAY - the First Day of Lent
10.30am Holy Eucharist with hymns in S. Mary’s Waterloo
8.00pm SOLEMN EUCHARIST and imposition of ashes
followed by Baked Bean Supper
Sundays during Lent
7.00pm Sung Compline (plainsong) and Benediction
Tuesdays in Lent:
7.30pm Stations of the Cross in S. Mary‘s
Wednesdays in Lent:
A series of Bible Studies at S. Mary’s following the 10.30 Holy Eucharist
‘Aspects of Love’ (see above)
Fridays during Lent:
6.30pm Stations of the Cross and Holy Eucharist
Saturdays during Lent:
10.00am The Rosary
The Sacrament of Reconciliation
There will be an opportunity, for those who wish, to make their Confession during Holy Week in preparation for the Great Feast of Easter. If anyone wishes to avail themselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation at any other time during Lent please contact Fr. Neil.
The Lord is my pace-setter, I shall not rush,
He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals,
He provides me with images of stillness, which restore my serenity.
He leads me in the way of efficiency; through calmness of mind.
And his guidance is peace.
Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day
I will not fret, for his presence is here.
His timelessness, his all-importance will keep me in balance.
He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of activity.
By anointing my mind with his oils of tranquillity,
My cup of joyous energy overflows.
Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours
for I shall walk in the pace of my Lord, and dwell in his house for ever.
Deliverance from the North-European disease
I would like to get away,
Walk, run, to another land.
I know that joy exists; I have seen it on singing faces.
I know that light exists; I have seen it in radiant eyes.
But, Lord, I cannot get away
for I love my prison even while I hate it,
for my prison is myself,
and I love myself, Lord.
I both love and loathe myself.
Lord, I can no longer find the door myself,
I grope around blindly,
I bump against the walls of myself, my own confines.
I hurt myself,
I am in pain.
Toki Miyashina, a Japanese Woman: Psalm 23 for Busy People:
Stand and Deliver? Chris Price
Every regular Newslink reader in theory gets his or her copy delivered personally. About 100 of you receive a copy by post from the Editor or from Fr Dennis, or maybe passed on by post from a church member. About 190 local church members or friends get their copy from one of our 19 magazine deliverers, all of whom deliver magazines to those on their list - whose size varies between 8 and 20 people. Through this network, deliverers keep in touch with their contacts, seeing them when they give them their magazines in church or call on them in their homes, and are thus able to act as a means of two-way communication between the church and its members, helping where necessary with information and the passing-on of questions and problems.
Church congregations come and go, and keeping accurate tabs on numbers and lists isn’t easy. So, if you don’t think you are on anyones’ list, and have been in the habit of picking up your copy from the ‘remainders’ pile at the back of church, please let the editor know. That pile is for casual visitors, concert-goers and the like, and we want everyone who belongs to St Faith’s to be personally attached to a magazine deliverer/visitor. And this is an appropriate time for me to thank those who tramp the streets (or the pews) and see to it that Newslink gets to everyone. Please keep up the good work, keep in touch with all those on your list, and pass on anything that needs passing to the appropriate person. Your work is an essential part of the ongoing mission of St Faith’s, and St Faith’s is grateful for what you do.
A final word about magazine finances. Newslink has been free to readers for most of its existence, and we want to keep it that way. St Faith’s, through its arrangements with the editor‘s Image Press at Merchant Taylors’ (who provide labour free and facilities at a subsidised rate) pays for the magazine as a part of our mission budget - and it is our hope that we can go on doing it this way. The recent advent of a colour photocopier at the school has led to the month-by-month subsidising of the cost of a colour cover by local concerns - we are grateful for their support and ask our readers to support them.
Comic Christian Corner
A pastor is demanding an end to nude cinema-going in his market town. More than 100 naturists turn up for regular screenings at a cinema in Cambridgeshire, and the Rev Jeremy Brooks is demanding that the ‘immoral’ practice be stopped. Each month, the naturists strip off and watch private screenings of commercial films such as ‘Calendar Girls’. The owner, however, said that the group posed no special problems apart from the fact that the heating had to be turned up.’
Have you ever stopped to wonder
When you come to say your prayers,
Who keeps the Lord’s House tidy,
Dusts the pews and stacks the chairs?
Have you ever thought just who it is
Who keeps the candles trim,
Removes the wax, fills up the oil
And puts the new ones in?
Have you ever stopped to wonder
Who scrubs the tiled floor,
Vacuums all the carpets
And beats the mat out by the door?
Who irons all the linen,
Keeps the altar colours ‘right’?
These are jobs that all need doing
Be it morning, noon, or night!
Have you ever stopped to wonder
Who makes the brass and silver shine,
Decorates our church with flowers
Or unlocks the door on time?
They are our unsung helpers
Who do it all for love
For our church and for our parish
And for the Lord above.
We tend to take for granted
Many tasks done by a few,
More help would be most welcome
So, could we welcome YOU?
Anon, from Holy Trinity Church guide, Hawley, Hants. We are short of people for the flower rota, and Mary Crooke would love to hear from anyone who could help. And the current stewardship appeal gives the chance for everyone to help out in any of the ways mentioned above — or in any other capacity. Your Church needs YOU!
‘Too Busy to Help’? Chris Price
‘Society has produced a generation of self-centred adults who feel no obligation to care for their elderly parents, neighbours or other vulnerable members of society, according to a report out today.’
So begins a recent article in the Daily Telegraph (apologies once again to Guardian readers and other ‘woolly liberals’!), reporting and commenting upon a Henley Centre report commissioned by the Salvation Army.
It finds, not surprisingly, that people are working longer hours and are thus unwilling to devote their little free time to ‘worthy’ activities such as the care of the extended family. As a result, a gap is growing in society, which will ‘inevitably lead to high numbers of elderly people having to care for themselves at home.’
One person in five apparently now has no wish to care for relatives when they get old, and one in two feel too tired in the evening to have the energy to do much anyway. Further thought-provoking conclusions concern the polarising of wealth in our affluent society and the growing tendency to move house frequently and travel further to work. The net result of these trends is a crisis in voluntary work.
The report thinks that volunteering needs to be made more attractive, encouraging gap-year voluntary service and offering tax incentives with rebates for those who commit themselves to voluntary or community work. We could apparently learn from the example of the French. Their government recently cancelled a bank holiday and used the revenue created to improve the care of the elderly in society.
The Salvation Army say ‘This report identifies that those in greatest need in 21st century Britain are often the time-consuming, unfashionable and unrewarding.’
There is perhaps nothing startling or new here - just confirmation
trends that have been increasingly apparent in recent years, and the
of problems that will not go away and can only get greater. What this
finds sadly significant is that nowhere in the article is there any
of the crucial role played in the care of the elderly and vulnerable by
churches and church people - indeed by all who obey the Christian
of love and compassion. Despite the best efforts of social
and community care, often all that stands between the
weak and helpless and total despair is the unselfish and unpublicised
of selfless visitors and carers. It would perhaps be too much to expect
the media, let alone society, to recognise the critical role of
folk in the care and healing of society, and in any case they shouldn‘t
really need such recognition. But at the very least we can hope that
people will sustain and increase their efforts in doing Christ’s work
His world - and in so doing preserve the proper balance between
Sales Report Chris Price
During the latter part of last year I have been employing various means of parting members of St Faith-s and St Mary-s from their hard-earned cash. I have made and sold (so far) 88 CDs and cassettes of Fr Neil and Ged performing on piano and organ, some 1,100 Christmas cards (the ‘rabbit Madonna’ and the Lord Runcie window) and 58 prints of assorted photographs of church people and objects.
I am pleased to be able to report that, after deducting the expenses of these various enterprises, I have been able to hand over a total of £650 profit, to be shared between St Faith‘s funds and our Medic Malawi missionary project. Many thanks to all my customers!
While we are on the subject, I can still make CDs or cassettes for
orders, and am always happy to make prints of any of my pictures that
(or have appeared) on the displays at the back of church. There will
be pictures from the pantomime, and a video of the performance, with
I hope to swell the funds further!
And the Winners are...!
Prizewinners from the two most recent 150+ Club are as follows:
1st £170 Gordon Walker John Chapman
2nd £120 Rita Hedgecock Dorothy Wilson
3rd £80 Chris Price Julie Voce-Pascoe
4th £50 Margaret Davies Tony Madden
Elgar in Worcester Barbara Wolstenholme
Mist rising from the River Severn almost obscured our first view of the 11th century Cathedral at Worcester as we looked out from the guest-house window on a Monday morning in late November. An hour or so later as we walked past ‘one of the most peaceful and beautiful cricket grounds in England’, the sun came out and the mist dispersed.
Inside the Cathedral, we were reminded of the composer Sir Edward Elgar and his association with the city. Born near Worcester in 1857, he was the son of an organist and music dealer. In his youth, he worked as an orchestral violinist and, like his father before him, was organist at St George‘s Roman Catholic Church in Worcester.
A poem by Cardinal Newman, ‘The Dream of Gerontius’, written in
was well-known and much-loved by the time that Elgar came to set it to
music in 1900. This poem is the subject of a window in the cathedral,
to the memory of Sir Edward Elgar, O.M., G.C.N.O.’ Dominating the
design is the figure of the Risen and Ascended Lord, His right hand
in blessing. From Him, rays of light stream in all directions. Round
throne is a rainbow and beneath Christ‘s feet a group of cherubs
the line of the poem: ‘The very pavement is made up of life’.
the throne, angels, archangels and the heavenly host sing ‘Praise to
Holiest in the Height’.
Below is seen the Spirit of Gerontius carried upwards by his Guardian Angel and below this, the Passing of Gerontius. Here, the personages gathered around his bedside include not only his priest and friends but also biblical personages - David, Saint John, the Blessed Virgin, Saint Paul and Job. At a lower level, saints particularly associated with Worcester are found - Oswald, Gregory, Wulstan, Francis, Cecilia and Dunstan.
In the tracery of the window, the Incarnation, Agony, Passion, Crucifixion and Entombment of Christ can be found and at the top, the Heavenly City - the New Jerusalem.
After the first performance of the ‘Dream of Gerontius’, Elgar was disappointed with the critics’ tepid response, but its reputation grew steadily. Gerontius’ glimpse of God has been described as an unforgettable musical moment. As James Burton’s programme notes, written in May 2003, state: ‘Today, The Dream of Gerontius enjoys the towering status as a cornerstone of the choral repertoire’.
Focus on Faith Chris Price
Two events in quick succession lightened up the dark days of January 2004: both links between the past and the present. First came the long-awaited arrival of our patron.
Saint Faith comes to Saint Faith’s
Our January cover showed the new statue in place in church but went to press too early for any details of its origins and installation. Actually the second of these is easier to write about than the former, because we really know little about the statue. Fr Neil came across her in London, snapped her up and had her expertly restored and painted. All that is known about what dealers call the provenance of our Saint Faith, is that she was bought originally at a fair in Le Mans, where she was being offered by an English dealer, and that she probably originated in a northern European country (she was originally inscribe ‘Ste Foy’). But we know nothing of the exact origin, the date or the maker, which is fitting for a saint whose origins and historicity are equally mysterious.
What is certain is that she looks lovely, has met with widespread approval and looks, on her plinth, in colours that match her setting so well, and flanked by candles, as if she has always been there. A statue of our patron is something we have always wanted and never possessed: St Faith’s owes Fr Neil a very real debt of gratitude for all that he has done to bring Saint Faith to Saint Faith’s.
We were fortunate to have Bishop Rupert Hoare, Dean of the Cathedral, to preside at the High Mass and to set the seal on things by sprinkling, smoking and blessing her. It was a fine and colourful occasion, with the usual lovely music to listen to and to sing: ‘In our day of thanksgiving’ had an extra beauty and poignancy on that memorable night.
The Horsfall Connection
By a happy coincidence, four days later we were visited by Mary, James and Lucy Rae. Mary is Douglas Horsfall’s grand-daughter, James her nephew and Lucy, her daughter, is therefore our founder’s great-great-grand-daughter! They came to the 11.00 am service, saw round the church and met many of us, before being photographed by the foundation stone. Later they were to visit St Agnes, Ullet Road, founded by Robert Horsfall, Douglas’s father. Mary is a fount of knowledge about the family, and its inter-connection with the Myers and Rae families: Robert Horsfall married Emily Myers, and the land St Faith’s stands on was given by the Myers family to ‘H.D.H’ .
We knew from the 1950 church history that there were no houses round St Faith’s in the late 1890s when the church was going up. The Myers’ residence, Crosby House (now in the grounds of Nazareth House) looked across open fields to what is now Kingsway. Mary Rae has given us a photo which proves this, and makes vividly clear the foresight of our founder in putting up our church in faith that a parish would grow around it. Two other pictures show the founder with Canon John Brierley, and, by himself, as printed in his newspaper obituary.
I am in correspondence with Mary Rae after her return south, and have already received cuttings and pictures which tell us more about the early years of our church.
There will be more to come, and I look forward to the exciting task
of updating and filling out the story of St Faith’s. Before too long, I
hope to open a web page on the ‘orsfall Connection’, alongside the
directory of other St Faith’s churches (now 50, and including a
Church and, possibly, a lunatic asylum!) More details next month,
with the newly-discovered identity of the maker of the Great Crucifix
the Lady Chapel. Watch, as they say, this space.
Liverpool Diocesan Group
WORKING FOR GAY AND LESBIAN AFFIRMATION WITHIN THE ANGLICAN CHURCH
Conference: ‘Creating an Inclusive Church’
Rt. Rev. David Jenkins, former Bishop of Durham;
Rt. Rev. Derek Rawcliffe, former Bishop of Glasgow; Canon Alma Servant;
Rev. Giles Fraser, Church Times and Guardian columnist,
and founder of Inclusivechurch.net
Discussion workshops on a range of topics.
The conference will conclude with a Eucharist
Celebrant: Rt. Rev. Rupert Hoare, Dean of Liverpool
Saturday 20th March, 1pm -5.30pm
Our Lady and S. Nicholas’, Pier Head, Liverpool
For further details, contact Mike Homfray on 07970 680483
or via email@example.com
Churches Together in
Lent Study Group 2004
This year, Churches Together in Waterloo are organising a short sequence of three evening meetings, during Lent, where members of all the local churches can come together to reflect on our faith .
We will be using Stephen Cottrell’s new book, ‘I Thirst’, as the basis of our discussions. Stephen has recently been appointed as the Bishop of Reading, and was a major contributor to the Emmaus course which many people in our parishes have taken.
Some of the last words Jesus uttered while hanging on the cross were ‘I thirst’. These sorrowful words are simple, yet very human. Jesus Christ, the thirsty one, shares deeply in the mess and muddle of human living. The cross is about the suffering and the longing of Jesus; it shows us his pain and his love. This book - the 2004 edition of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book - helps penetrate the deep mystery of a God who goes on loving, no matter what. No matter how exorbitant the cost, no matter the obstacles in his way, Jesus was determined to be obedient until the end. As Stephen Cottrell peels back the layers of meaning in this simple cry of longing, he prays that readers will experience, as if for the first time, the magnificent and all-pervading love of God. Cottrell hopes that as we come to the great festival of Easter, we will know afresh that the one who thirsts is also the one in whom our own thirsts are quenched. Only by exploring the remarkable love of this nailed-to-a-cross God can we begin to understand our own mortality and suffering.
The book costs £8.99. The three sessions will be held on three consecutive Wednesdays in March, at 8.00 pm
WEDNESDAY 17th - Christ Church
WEDNESDAY 24th - United Free Church
WEDNESDAY 31st - TBC (one of the Roman Catholic churches)
If you would like to attend please let MIKE HOMFRAY know; he will also arrange for a copy of the book to be made available on payment of £8.99.
This is the Junk Mail crossing the border
Delivered by truck now, that's the order.
None of it wanted, all of it waste
All of it tinged with commercial distaste.
Delivering catalogues all unsolicited,
Names on the mailing list slyly elicited.
‘Yearly subscription’ – that’s the refrain;
‘Take out a loan or a time-share in Spain.‘
Unwanted brochures shrouded in plastic,
Thousands of leaflets bound by elastic,
All come unbidden, a waste of a trip,
Bound for the landfill, bound for the tip.
All come by lorries pounding the highways,
Blocking the ring road and clogging the by-ways.
No more will the Night Mail arrive at the station:
Derailed by the forces of privatisation.
‘ictorian problem - Victorian answer’?
That is an insult to the service they ran, sir.
Imagine old Isambard taking this tack:
‘Sorry we’re late sir, leaves on the track’!
Now, gone is the romance, gone is the snobbery:
The twenty-first century’s Greatest Train Robbery
So while we’re asleep the postman is driving,
And the profits of shareholders quietly thriving,
To bring us material for which none of us asked.
To redress the balance is how we are tasked.
Here comes the postman rounding the block;
Here comes the postman, here comes his knock.
With quickening heart I leap from my bunk;
‘Anything interesting, dear?’
‘Nothing, just junk!’
(One of the editor’s periodical forays into his secular ‘railway world’, but he hopes it may strike a sympathetic chord. The anonymous verse, doing the internet rounds, links the sad demise of the railway Travelling Post Office and wittily updates W.H.Auden’s famous poem in the context of the flood of rubbish which burdens today’s ‘posties’ (and the internet itself)
A Reflection for March Fr Dennis
Some, but by no means all, readers of Newslink will know that, along with other parishes in the Liverpool Diocese, St Faith’s is under the patronage of the governing body of St Chad’s College, Durham (another aspect of the ‘Horsfall Connection’. Ed)
In the early 1960s, when he was a priest of the Community of the Resurrection at Mirfield, Father Charles Billington, later of course to become Vicar of St Faith‘s, was known as Father Chad - Chad also being the name he and Heather were later to give to their son in the waters of baptism in our church. Almost seventy years ago, in a ‘Saturday Sermon’ for the ‘aily Telegraph’ the Very Reverend Cyril Allington, Dean of Durham, had the following to say about the saint whose feast day falls on March 2nd.
THE churches of England often hear the words of St. Paul’s great hymn and the pulpits re-echo them, as they attempt to reinforce the old moral that charity, unselfishness or love is the highest duty of man, and gives us ‘through a mirror, in a riddle’, the clearest picture which we can form of the nature of God.
The greatest of all Christian poets will be called to bear the testimony with which his poem closes to ‘the Love which moves the sun and all the stars’.
The preachers will be preaching to the converted, for, whatever our practice may be, none of us fail to see the attractive power of a life in which love is made manifest. As it happens the 2nd of March saw the close of one such life, and the old story, as it is told by the first of English historians, has a beauty of its own.
Ceadda, or Chad, was one of four brothers, ‘all notable priests of the Lord’. His elder brother, Cedd, was Bishop of Essex, and is sometimes regarded as a Bishop of London. He himself was for a time Bishop of York, but there was some question of irregularity in his appointment, and, refusing to stand on his rights, he retired from the church, which he had ‘ruled nobly’ for three years, to his monastery of Lastingham.
A few months later he was made Bishop of Mercia, and it is there, at
Lichfield, that his name is most highly honoured as one of the most
of all our native English saints.
While he was at York, like a true disciple of Aidan, he had ‘applied his heart to lowliness, abstinence and study’, preaching the Gospel everywhere, ?not making his journey on horseback, but going on foot, as the Apostles used’. When he went to Lichfield the masterful Archbishop Theodore ordered him to save his health by riding, and, when Chad protested, lifted him bodily on horseback. ‘You shall ride’, he said, ‘for’, as Bede adds, ‘he knew him indeed to be a holy man.’
At Lichfield he built a church of St. Mary to the east of the site occupied by that glorious cathedral which now bears his name as well as hers, and a house near by for his own dwelling. Seven or eight brethren shared his studies and devotions. It is recorded that whenever a high wind blew he called them to pray for God’s mercy on all mankind, deeming that the Lord thundered out of heaven to warn them of his approaching judgment on the world.
So the years passed in this little community till on a certain day Oswin, one of his company, being at work abroad, ‘heard suddenly a most sweet noise of voices singing and rejoicing come down from heaven to the earth’. It came to the roof of the oratory where the Bishop was at prayer, and after half an hour, ‘he heard the same joyful song return up to the heavens the very same way that it came, with unspeakable sweetness’.
While he was still wondering the Bishop opened the window of his oratory and bade him summon the brethren to his side. When they came he exorted them to keep among themselves and toward all the faithful folk the virtue of charity and peace, and then told them that the hour of his departing was at hand. ‘For that lovely guest’, quoth he (and he meant the angel of death), ‘who was wont to visit our brethren, hath vouchsafed this day to come to me also.’
Oswin remained behind when the brethren had de-parted ‘very heavy and sad’, and asked the meaning of the song which he alone of them had heard. The Bishop charged him to tell no man of it till he was dead, and then went on to say that ‘They were indeed angelic spirits which came to call me to the heavenly rewards, which I have always loved and longed for, and after seven days they have promised to come again and take me with them thither.’
And, as he spoke, so it came to pass, for on the second day of March he died, and it is not difficult to believe that a soul so loving and so humble was found worthy of those unspeakable joys which God has prepared for them that unfeignedly love Him.
May They Rest in Peace
Two successive days in early February saw the funerals of two long-standing members of St Faith’s. Nancy Yandell’s funeral at Sefton Parish Church was the first. Her late husband, Owen, had been the incumbent there for many years, but after his death Nancy had been part of our church family for a good many years until illness overtook her. In that most beautiful mediaeval church the gathered congregation heard Bishop Jim Roxburgh, the closest of family friends, speak eloquently of their lives and of the character and witness of Nancy, of whom many of us have the fondest of memories.
The following day, in St Faith’s, we said farewell to Margery Turner. We had known her, too for many years, accompanying and caring for her husband after his stroke, and after his death playing a full part in the life of our church family. Fr Neil spoke movingly of her life and faith to her family and friends gathered to give thanks for her long life.
These were sad occasions, as such occasions must always be, but for Nancy and for Margery, we can give thanks that, having born witness to the faith, they are now together again with the husbands they loved. At both services, the eloquent rites of the church, with the beauty of words and music, paid fitting tribute to those we mourn but for whom we give thanks - and summed up in the lovely prayer of John Donne, chosen by Nancy and spoken at her funeral.
‘Bring us, O Lord God, at our last awakening, into the house and gate of heaven, to enter into that gate and dwell in that house, where there shall be no darkness nor dazzling, but one equal light; no noise nor silence, but one equal music; no fears nor hopes, but one equal possession; no ends nor beginnings, but one equal eternity; in the habitations of thy glory and dominion, world without end.’
From the Registers
7 February Victoria Susan Scott and James Brian Bennett
10 February Margery Turner