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The Parish Magazine
of Saint Faith's Church, Great Crosby

Saint Faith’s Prayer for Mission

Faithful God, in baptism you have adopted us as your children,
made us members of the body of Christ and chosen us as inheritors of your kingdom:
bless our plans for mission and outreach; guide us to seek and do your will;
empower us by your Spirit to share our faith in witness and to serve,
and send us out as disciples of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.


MARCH 2006

From the Ministry Team         

'When I am weak, just then I am strong.' St Paul evidently intended to shock. He himself was a living example of this paradox. In many of his experiences, he found signs of contradiction. He was blinded before he saw clearly. He learned about freedom from his spell in prison. He sensed the strength of his faith in all kinds of predicaments, in storms at sea, in a shower of stones hurled at him by his opponents and persecutors. He was a convincing visual aid, illustrating the truth that his strength was indeed made perfect in weakness.

This sort of language is heard by Christians in the days leading into the season of Lent. The readings from scripture encourage us to look at ourselves again with a realistic and critical eye. It is not a time for drawing up a list of strengths and weaknesses. It is little use trying to perform some balancing act. Statistics cannot provide answers before we venture upon any endeavour, small or great. It is idle to recall the number of times we have failed. It is usually quite unimportant to count and enumerate our sins and weaknesses. The quality of life we live in the face of many complexities demands treatment and attention.

Attitudes carry more weight than tangible achievements in many human case histories. The experience of those who act in honesty and faith often produces unforeseen blessings and unexpected solutions to problems after much suffering and little obvious success, in the eyes of the world. There are many ways of showing that we are sorry, and want to start again.

The apostle Paul is sometimes misunderstood. He appears to use the first person singular with great frequency in his writings. Yet it is a mistake to reckon him as egotistical. When he writes 'I', he often corrects himself with 'not I', 'Not I, but Christ who lives in me.' He moves himself off centre and shows that his true strength lies in his life in and with Christ. The weakness of the crucified not only makes him stronger but sets him free. He affirms the liberation which obedience to Christ brings to his whole attitude to life.

This freedom from self is something to be sought and struggled after in the Lenten season. We see both strength and weakness in the concept of freedom. If the faith by which the Christian lives is Christ-centred, then freedom from self, rather than freedom for self-expression, becomes the goal.

The challenges and contradictions of the prolific writer of New Testament letters ceases to baffle us when we remember that he lived in a scene of public troubles and religious controversies. His words speak not only to us as individuals, but also to ourselves living as citizens living in communities and neighbourhoods.

With my love and prayers this Lententide.

Fr Dennis 

LENT 2006

Wednesday 1st March   
ASH WEDNESDAY - the First Day of Lent

7.30 am       Holy Eucharist and imposition of ashes (SF)
10.30am      Holy Eucharist (SM)
8.00pm        SOLEMN EUCHARIST and imposition of ashes
                    Preacher: The Rt. Revd. Martyn Jarrett, Bishop of Beverley followed by Baked Bean Supper (SFH)

Tuesdays in Lent in S. Mary's

7.30pm        Stations of the Cross

Wednesdays in Lent in S. Mary's

11.00am      Bible Study led by Fr. Peter [following the 1030 Eucharist]
                   The Kingship of Christ in St. John's Gospel
                   8th March, 15th March, 22nd March, 29th March, 5th April

Fridays in Lent in S. Faith's

6.30pm       Stations of the Cross and Holy Eucharist

Saturdays in Lent in S. Faith's

10.00am     The Rosary

Picturing Lent....

By popular demand, Sunday Evening Theatre returns after Benediction on the Sundays during Lent.

I Confess    [5th March]
Otto Kellar and his wife Alma work as caretaker and housekeeper at a Catholic church in Quebec. Whilst robbing a house where he sometimes works as a gardener, Otto is caught and kills the owner. Racked with guilt, he heads back to the church where Father Michael Logan is working late. Otto confesses his crime, but when the police begin to suspect Father Logan he cannot reveal what he has been told in the confession.

The Mission    [12th March]
Jeremy Irons plays a Spanish Jesuit who goes into the South American wilderness to build a mission in the hope of converting the Indians of the region. Robert DeNiro plays a slave hunter who is converted and joins Irons in his mission. When Spain sells the colony to Portugal, they are forced to defend all they have built against the Portuguese aggressors.

Heaven's Above    [19th March]
Peter Sellers stars in this comedy as the Reverend John Smallwood, an unconventional prison chaplain who is appointed as Vicar of the town of Orbiston Parva by mistake. Unprepared to conform to the town's rigid expectations, Smallwood immediately creates an uproar upon his arrival by unwittingly shaking up the town's social order.

Agnes of God    [26th March]
At a convent, fragile, unearthly Sister Agnes gives birth (she says it's a virgin birth), but the child dies. The police soon are involved because of the death of the baby. However, the main conflict is between Mother Superior, Miriam Ruth, who wants Agnes left alone, and Dr. Martha Livingston, a psychiatrist determined to help Agnes gain a stronger grasp on reality and uncover any wrongdoers.

The Last Temptation of Christ    [2nd April]
The carpenter Jesus of Nazareth, tormented by the temptations of demons, the guilt of making crosses for the Romans, pity for men and the world, and the constant call of God, sets out to find what God wills for him. But as his mission nears fulfilment, he must face the greatest temptation: the normal life of a good man. Based not on the Gospels, but on Nikos Kazantzakis' novel of the same name, this film attracted much criticism from the Church when it was first released.

News from the Waterloo Partnership
Chris Price

A lot has been happening since the last report of the activities of the Partnership, which, as readers will know, is building links between the two communities of  Waterloo in Merseyside and in Sierra Leone. There have been a various fund-raising activities - and, of course, the successful despatch, and the safe arrival, of the first of what we hope will be a series of containers of goods to our African namesakes.

Following an appeal to the people of Waterloo and Crosby, donated items of every sort arrived and were stored free of charge thanks to the generosity of local firm Armadillo Storage. The Steering Committee were also successful in locating large quantities of school furniture in storage locally, surplus to requirements following the drop in school populations. All this material was gathered, sorted, labelled and packaged and, on November 19th, stowed aboard a 40-foot sea container to begin the long journey to Africa.

Eventually, in the middle of December, everything arrived safely and was unpacked and, under the auspices of the Sierra Leone Waterloo Committee, distributed among local schools and the community. On the centre pages of this issue you can see a picture of the packing day, and another of the unpacking day, presided over by Alieu Mansaray of the Waterloo S.L. Committee.

Another carefully-staged major activity was the great Sainsbury's Christmas bag-packing and collection. On two hectic days in the week before Christmas, members, friends and assorted slave labour stood at the receipt of custom at Sainsbury's tills in Crosby village, packing the contents of customers' trolleys into bags and hoping for donations to the Partnership funds. This writer, who acted as treasurer for this project, can testify that a very large quantity of coinage was collected, that it amounted to some £3,111, that this weighs very heavy indeed, that the smell lingers for a long time and that paying it all in over the counter at the Post office is not a way of making friends with impatient queues!

There have been other activities worthy of note. On January 19th, Claire Curtis-Thomas accepted donations from the leaders of local Guides, Rainbows and Brownies intended to help their counterpart organisations in Sierra Leone to re-start and equip their groups which, along with so much else in that impoverished and war-ravaged country, have been more or less wiped out in the savage and bloody civil war.

Mention must also be made of other fund-raising - and profile-raising activities. There was a gala dinner and charity auction at Treetops in Formby,  a quiz night with Irish bingo, and a lecture by Lord David Alton of Liverpool. All three were happy and successful events in their various ways, although the second mentioned had the doubtful distinction of attracting a complaining phone call denouncing Irish bingo as a racist activity!

The purpose of the fund-raising is, of course, to finance the sending out of future containers. A lot more school furniture has been earmarked, and there are plans being discussed to help to set up a library and an orphanage in our namesake community. In all this, great care is being taken to make sure that what we are doing meets the real needs of the community there, and that we are sensitive to their problems. Valuable contacts have been established with church and community leaders, and it is planned that another group will go out before too long to maintain and strengthen these personal links.  

St Faith's is, as it has been from the start, actively involved in the strategies and work of the Waterloo Partnership. Kathy Zimak is currently treasurer, Fred and Linda Nye are constantly active on the strategic and resources front, and I created and manage the website ( which gives visitors the history of the Partnership, many pictures of its achievements, and up-to-date news of what is happening. An increasing number of local schools, churches and individuals are lending their help and financial support, and the Crosby Herald continues to give invaluable press coverage. At the time of writing, Granada TV are planning quite a lot of TV coverage of the Partnership's activities, so watch out for local news programmes! All in all, the Waterloo Partnership has had a splendid first year, and we are full of optimism for a future in which our local communities can give to their
opposite numbers in the world's poorest country the help and support they so desperately need.

I didn't know that...
Chris Price

Two fascinating bits of information picked up from a recent BBC natural history programme from the Kielder Forest in Northumberland. Ladybirds are really Our Lady's Birds. They are so-called because red, their predominant colour, is the traditional colour of Mary's garments - blue is a much more recent version. And the seven spots on one of the commonest varieties of the insect were traditionally linked with Mary's seven joys and seven sorrows.

The crossbill, which uses its powerful crossed bill to prise open pine cones for the seeds within, was said to have acquired its beak shape as a result of trying, in vain, to remove the nails on Christ's cross. Its striking red breast took its colour from Christ's blood.

...from Robert Ellsberg's 'All Saints', a reflection on the life of
Martin Buber
Jewish Philosopher (1878-1965)

 'God's speech to men penetrates what happens in the life of each one of us, and all that happens in the world around us, biographical and historical, and makes it for you and me into instruction, message, demand.'

Martin Buber, a Jewish philosopher and theologian, was one of the great religious thinkers of the twentieth century. Among Jewish thinkers he had a particular impact on many Christians, stimulating an appreciation for the Jewish origins of Christianity. But on an even wider scale he came to embody the humanistic ideal of dialogue and understanding between peoples of different faiths and conflicting interests, thus suggesting the positive role that faith might play in promoting a more human world. 

Buber was born in Vienna on February 8th, 1878. When he was three his parents were divorced, and he was sent to live with his grandparents, devout Jews, on their farm in the country. Buber himself soon strayed from religious practice. At the University of Vienna he studied philosophy and literature and married a German Catholic woman (who later converted to Judaism). Nevertheless, in reacting to the anti-Semitic culture of central Europe Buber was attracted to the early Zionist movement. It was thus that he began to explore and rediscover his religious roots. In 1904 he took a leave from his teaching position and other responsibilities to undertake a serious study of Hasidism. This period of withdrawal lasted five years and marked the great turning point in his life.

Hasidism, a movement of Jewish renewal initiated by the Baal Shem Tov in Eastern Europe in the eighteenth century, emphasized the awareness and celebration of  holiness in everyday life. As Buber summarized its essential message: 'God is to be seen in every thing, and reached by every pure deed.' Buber did not personally embrace the Hasidic life. But he believed that Hasidism reflected an essential dimension of Judaism. He believed it presented a vital religious message for the modern world, precisely because it represented a 'worldly holiness,' an attention to those sparks of the divine that lay hidden within the challenges and responsibilities of the present moment. He wrote, 'The task of each man is to affirm for God's sake the world and himself, and by this very means to transform them both.'

In 1909 Buber returned to teaching and at the same time undertook his lifelong project of collecting and popularizing the legends and orally transmitted stories of  the Hasidim. Through his friendship with the German anarchist Gustav Landauer, Buber further developed his commitment to communitarian socialism  as  the  social expression of his religious convictions. When Landauer was murdered during the Bavarian Revolution in 1919, it was for Buber a shattering blow that foreshadowed a season of even greater violence to come.

In 1923 Buber assumed a chair in Jewish religious history at the University of Frankfurt. That year he published his most influential book, I and Thou. Its theme was the relational nature of human existence, the fact that human beings are ultimately constituted as subjects by the quality of their relationship to others - whether nature, other people, or the Eternal Thou. Thus, our own humanity is diminished to the extent that we encounter others as objects rather than other subjects. As popularized by countless interpreters, this work achieved almost instant recognition as a modern 'classic'. It was in many ways his most personal book, outlining the spirit that underlay his own commitment to the 'life of dialogue.'

With the Nazi rise to power in 1933 Buber was dismissed from his job. In the coming years he engaged in a courageous struggle to defend Jewish rights and culture. But by 1938 he had been effectively silenced. With luck he managed to escape Germany to accept a chair at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Though he was sixty at the time, he still had another quarter century of his most productive work ahead of him.

In settling in Palestine Buber had fulfilled the Zionist ideal of his youth. Yet he expressed severe disagreements with much of the Zionist leadership. He believed it was a mistake to define the Zionist goal simply in terms of establishing a Jewish state. He bitterly opposed 'the disease of nationalism' and instead promoted what he termed a 'Hebrew Humanism.' On the basis of their common love for the land, he believed that a just and cooperative arrangement could be worked out between Jews and Palestinian Arabs. Instead, the war that accompanied the establishment of Israel in 1948 came as a bitter fulfillment of his worst fears.

Among modern Jewish religious thinkers, none had so great an impact on Christian theology as Martin Buber. This reflected not only the influence of I and Thou, but also the impact of his biblical reflections and his popularization of Jewish spirituality and mysticism. Buber himself wrote extensively on Jesus and Christianity. While of course rejecting Christian claims for the divinity of Christ, he extended affectionate recognition to the Jewishness of Jesus. Jesus, he believed, had exemplified the highest ethical and spiritual ideals of Judaism.

Ultimately, he believed there were matters of irreconcilable difference between the beliefs of Jews and Christians. But he remained a tireless believer in the virtue of dialogue. 'Whenever we both, Christian and Jew, care more for God Himself than for our images of God, we are united in the feeling that our Father's house is differently constructed than our human models take it to be.'

Believe it or not...
These sentences allegedly appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services ...

The sermon this morning: 'Jesus walks on the Water.' The sermon tonight 'Searching for Jesus.'

Our youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8 PM in the recreation hall. Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.

Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don't forget your husbands.

The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been cancelled due to a conflict.

Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say 'Hell' to someone who doesn't care much about you.

Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.

Miss Charlene Mason sang 'I will not pass this way again,' giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.

For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.

Barbara remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions. She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor Jack's sermons.

The Rector will preach his farewell message after which the choir will sin' "Break Forth Into Joy.'

Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.

A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.

At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be 'What Is Hell?' Come early and listen to our choir practice.

Somebody warn the Pope...

In 1981 

1. Prince Charles got married for the first time. 
2. Liverpool were crowned soccer Champions of Europe 
3. Australia lost the Ashes tournament. 
4. The Pope died 

In 2005 
1. Prince Charles got married for the second time.
2. Liverpool were crowned soccer Champions of Europe 
3. Australia lost the Ashes tournament. 
4. The Pope died.

If ever Prince Charles decides to remarry, somebody please warn the Pope!   

Youth Pilgrimage to Taize 
15-23 July 2006 

Interested in going to Taize? Have you completed your GCSEs? Are you under 30? 

If you can answer yes to all of the above why not spend a week of your summer by  joining us on a pilgrimage to Taize?
Taize is an international ecumenical community that welcomes countless numbers of  young adults every year.
Book early to avoid disappointment. Cost £175. For booking form and information  contact: Sandra Holmes 0151 705 2142

Investing in the Future ... ours!
(A "Giving in Grace" article from the Liverpool Diocese, provided by  the Treasurer, David Jones)

Are you investing in the future and specifically in your own future? This is not an idle question given the on-going concern about pension funding and  how the young people of today will cope in their old age. So I make the assumption that you are investing in your pension either through tax, N.I. or savings. You will have realised that you need to invest for your old age.

How else are you investing in the future?

Are you investing in you children and grandchildren's education - buying books and  ther items for school to help them?  Do you have an internet connection to help them with their homework? All of these will involve time and money and probably patience but you probably consider them worth the effort.

Would you like to see a better local environment in which to live, a better country in which your family and friends can feel more secure and a better world where there is peace and justice for all?  If you are like me then your answer to this will be a loud but uncertain "yes". The reason for the uncertainty is, "how can we achieve this since we fear that things are getting worse rather than better."

I am constantly amazed by what people will invest time and money in. In November 2004, the USA flew an 'aeroplane' with a scram jet engine at 10 times the speed of sound. This aeroplane was twelve feet by five feet and fell to the ocean floor. What is this massive investment of money and time for - a faster and more destructive missile? Surely we should invest in environmentally efficient transport not speed?

It really is mind-blowing what people will invest in.  They believe that it is worth the risk, the money and the time. So what should Christians invest in? Well Jesus said, "Store up treasure for yourself in heaven." (Matt6:19-21) Now I have wondered on more than a few occasions what is this treasure and how do I get to store it? 

To be honest I am not really sure about the 'what' as eternal life is a free gift given without condition to those who give their lives to Christ, but I do have a few ideas about the how.

God is a God of love, justice and righteousness and God calls His people to be the means whereby His love, justice and righteousness are practised and expounded to others. If we want a better world for our family and friends we should have recognised by now that this cannot be in isolation to the rest of the world. Whether we are Christians or not, we know that without justice there can be no peace - even on  our  doorsteps.   What  happens  elsewhere  in  the world affects us as well as our neighbours in far-off lands?  If we wish to work for peace and follow Jesus we must invest in Christian work around the world.  If we want a better world we need significant Christian investment. We pray for God's kingdom to come on earth, (Matt 6:10) and God in His wisdom has decided that to achieve this He will ask you and me to invest in the process of bringing in His kingdom. The return on our investment is a better world and this strange incorruptible treasure in heaven.

So have I whetted your appetite for this investment? Read again Matt 25:31:46 and consider the following:

*    We need to invest in our local church so that those living in our neighbourhood have the opportunity to become Christians and everyone has a better place to live in.

*    We need to invest in justice and peace to relieve poverty at home and abroad. The Jubilee Debt Campaign has achieved significant results but only a small fraction of the debt has been written off. Tear Fund, Christian Aid and many other mission agencies need investment to relieve poverty and show Christian love and concern

Sick as a Parrot?

A chap was given as a gift a parrot with a very bad attitude. Every word out of its mouth was laced with enough foul language and profanity to make the vicar blush. He tried all he could to change its attitude by playing soft music and saying polite words but nothing worked.

Finally, after yelling at the bird, he lost his cool entirely and put the bird in the freezer. He heard it squawk and scream and swear... then suddenly there was quiet. The man opened the door, fearing he had hurt the bird, and the parrot calmly stepped out on to his outstretched arm.

'I believe I may have offended you with my rude language,' the bird declared. 'I am so sorry and will do my best to correct my poor behaviour'. The astonished man was about to ask the parrot what on earth had brought about this change of behaviour when the bird spoke again.

'May I ask,' he enquired, 'exactly what that chicken did to upset you?

Giving in Grace Update

First of all, a big "THANK YOU" for all the returned forms in the Giving in Grace campaign.  We have been much heartened by your generosity.  Thank you, too, to the parishioners who have opted to give to the church through a standing order.

Although we have not got the final figures yet (because there are still a number of forms to be returned), the weekly income has shown a significant increase since January and many more people have signed Gift Aid forms so that we can claim back tax from the Inland Revenue.  We should be able to give a precise figure in the next edition of Newslink.

If you have not returned your Giving in Grace response form yet, there is still time to do so as the red posting box has been left at the back of church for a few more weeks.  Even if you feel unable at this time to increase your giving, please return the form so that we know not to ask you again. 

Please ask if you need another form or one of the leaflets:

Planned Giving or Gift Aid leaflet
Gift Aid form
Standing Order form
Giving in Grace response form
A supply of weekly envelopes

Thank you again for your generosity.

David Jones    (Treasurer)
Miriam Jones (no relation!) (Gift Aid Secretary)

Fr. Neil

"Brothers and sisters in Christ: since early days Christians have observed with great devotion the time of our Lord's passion and resurrection.  It became the custom of the Church to prepare for this by a season of penitence and fasting.

At first this season of Lent was observed by those who were preparing for Baptism at Easter and by those who were to be restored to the Church's fellowship from which they had been separated through sin. In course of time the Church came to recognise that, by a careful keeping of these days, all Christians might take to heart the call to repentance and the assurance of forgiveness proclaimed in the gospel, and so grow in faith and in devotion to our Lord.

I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance, by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy word."

These words, which we hear at the start of the Ash Wednesday Liturgy are taken from a book of services and prayers entitled "Lent, Holy Week and Easter". They are words which may be familiar to us and they sum up what Lent is all about. The title of the book I've mentioned reminds us that Lent is not an event in itself (a solemn and miserable period of giving up all that we enjoy!) but rather a preparation for the great events of Holy Week and Easter. The Easter mystery cannot be fully comprehended at one level: the event of the Resurrection is literally so earth-shattering, that if we are to begin to understand what it means for us and for our world, we need to carefully and prayerfully prepare to embrace it.

The Church in her wisdom gives us the season of Lent so that we can prepare for Easter. However, the words used at the ceremony of the Ashes remind us of our mortality. We are frail, fragile, vulnerable human beings. Very few of us are perfect - you might be! - I certainly am not! Lent must be a time for us to take stock of our lives; our priorities, our needs, our sins, our strengths and weaknesses. Have we got the priorities right? Do we need to rethink our lives in some way or other? How much room is there in our heart for God? Is our Christian faith something we focus on for one hour each week or is it the thing that drives every moment of our lives? A good Lent will, sadly, mean some tough questions to wrestle with and more than likely some adjustments to be made. That re-assessing of our lives is one of the ways we prepare ourselves for Easter. The Easter message requires us to "go out to the whole world, and proclaim the Good News". All well and good. But we first have to accept that Good News in our own hearts and lives. Accepting unconditional love and forgiveness is one of the most difficult things for human beings to do.

Lent is a journey - a journey which may make us at times feel isolated, and yet a journey which takes us closer to the heart of God. The true Lent can come at any time!

The only price-tag that can be put on unconditional love is 'pain'. The cross teaches us that. So let us not be afraid of the journey even though it may at times be unpleasant and make us feel uncomfortable. Sadly that is the only road which will ultimately lead us to the glory of Easter.

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