The Parish Magazine
of Saint Faith's Church, Great
Saint Faith’s Prayer for
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
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.
the Ministry Team
Elsewhere in this magazine our Treasurer refers to the meeting of the
PCC some weeks ago when we had a very challenging agenda!
I guess that when things are difficult at times, and we get that sense
of ‘not being able to see the wood from the trees’, it is easy to
think that all the problems in the world focus on us and our church!
Lent is a marvellous opportunity for us to get things in context and to
reassess our priorities. Some years ago the Archbishops of Canterbury
and York published some guidelines on how to try and understand what
‘commitment to the church’ really meant. It outlined the importance of
joining in the Church’s worship every Sunday, financial giving so that
the mission of the church might be enabled, living in love and charity
with our neighbours, upholding the values of family life, study of the
scriptures and the importance of personal daily prayer. In one parish I
served in we used this when we did a Stewardship Campaign in order to
try and help us realise that finance is only one small part of
Stewardship, however vital.
At the Bishop’s Conference for the laity in the Cathedral on January
20th (with an excellent turnout from our two parishes) Bishop James
made clear in what he said that the resources needed for the mission of
the Church are in the people; with that in mind, I said the following
day in my sermon that St. Faith’s must be one of the richest parishes
in the Church of England. As we give thanks for the hard work and
dedication that is the hallmark of our parish life, let us remember why
all the hard work takes place – because God loved the world so much,
that he sent his only Son to save us from our sins, to be our advocate
in heaven, and to bring us to eternal life. If we are looking for
something as a focus of our prayer and meditation during Lent we could
do no better than to ponder that fact each day.
By the time you read this, those who do come to church regularly will
have received a leaflet outlining our Lenten programme but also
including a suggested ‘Carbon Fast for Lent’. Bishop James asks us to
‘use this Lent to do a different fast and to focus on God’s earth and
its poorest people in whom, according to Jesus, we are to find him….. A
carbon fast is a reminder of what needs to be done urgently to help the
world’s poor, already suffering as a result of climate
change. It is also a ractical step
towards reducing our own carbon footprint!’ Some of the
ideas suggest in the plan include: find the most environmentally
friendly way to get to church; eat fair-trade chocolate if you haven’t
given it up (!), shop according to the LOAF principle (Locally
produced, Organic, Animal friendly and Fairly Traded); only fill the
kettle with as much water is needed: there are suggestions for each day
In this season when we are starkly reminded that ‘we are dust and to
dust we shall return’ it is no bad thing to consider the earth from
which we came and to which we shall one day return. Our concern for the
environment, our commitment to the study of scripture and the
worshipping life of the church: all these are vital parts, or should
be, of our mission strategy.
Finally, I do hope that many of you will take the opportunity to come
on the Lent Quiet Day, led by Fr. Aidan from Mirfield, entitled ‘Just a
minute!’ Among many things, Fr. Aidan will challenge us to reverse the
norm of fitting prayer into a busy life, into fitting a busy life into
prayer. Have you a few minutes to come along and be encouraged in your
prayer life and Christian journey? I hope so. I’m sure it will make us
an even richer community of believers and disciples.
With my love and prayers as we journey with Christ this Lent.
Holy God, our lives are laid open
before you: rescue us from the chaos of sin
and through the death of your Son
bring us healing and make us whole
in Jesus Christ our Lord who is alive
and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one
God, now and for ever. Amen.
In the Church of England’s new liturgical resource book, ‘Times and
Seasons’ the following is written by way of an introduction to the
season of Lent.
Introduction to the Season
Lent may originally have followed Epiphany, just as Jesus’ sojourn in
the wilderness followed immediately on his baptism, but it soon became
firmly attached to Easter, as the principal occasion for baptism and
for the reconciliation of those who had been excluded from the Church’s
fellowship for apostasy or serious faults. This history explains the
characteristic notes of Lent – self-examination, penitence,
self-denial, study, and preparation for Easter, to which almsgiving has
traditionally been added.
Now is the healing time decreed
for sins of heart and word and deed,
when we in humble fear record
the wrong that we have done the Lord.
before 12th century)
As the candidates for baptism were instructed in Christian
faith, and as penitents prepared themselves, through fasting and
penance, to be readmitted to communion, the whole Christian community
was invited to join them in the process of study and repentance, the
extension of which over forty days would remind them of the forty days
that Jesus spent in the wilderness, being tested by Satan.
Ashes are an ancient sign of penitence; from the middle ages it became
the custom to begin Lent by being marked in ash with the sign of the
cross. The calculation of the forty days has varied considerably
in Christian history. It is now usual in the West to count them
continuously to the end of Holy Week (not including Sundays), so
beginning Lent on the sixth Wednesday before Easter, Ash Wednesday.
Liturgical dress is the simplest possible. Churches are kept bare
of flowers and decoration. Gloria in excelsis is not used.
The Fourth Sunday of Lent (Laetare or refreshment Sunday) was allowed
as a day of relief from the rigour of Lent, and the Feast of the
Annunciation almost always falls in Lent; these breaks from austerity
are the background to the modern observance of Mothering Sunday on the
Fourth Sunday of Lent.
As Holy Week approaches, the atmosphere of the season darkens; the
readings begin to anticipate the story of Christ’s suffering and death,
and the reading of the Passion Narrative gave to the Fifth Sunday its
name of Passion Sunday. There are many devotional exercises which may
be used in Lent and Holy Week outside the set liturgy. The
Stations of the Cross, made popular in the West by the Franciscans
after they were granted custody of the Christian sites in the Holy
Land, are the best known.
Here at S. Faith’s we are keeping Lent in the following ways:
Tuesdays in Lent in S. Mary’s
7.30pm Stations of the Cross
Wednesdays in Lent for both parishes –
These will take place on Wednesdays 28th February, 7th, 14th, 21st,
& 28th March from 7.30pm – 9.30pm (at a venue to be announced on
the Sunday Sheet) and will be led by Father Mark. Each evening will
take the form of a presentation and discussion on themes that are
common to the Season of Lent, namely:
Each of the evenings will conclude with an act of worship.
Fridays in Lent in S. Faith’s
Stations of the Cross and Holy Eucharist
Saturdays in Lent in S. Faith’s
LENT QUIET DAY - “JUST A MINUTE…”
Saturday 10th March
10.00am – 2pm
led by Fr. Aidan Mayoss, C.R.,
at S. Joseph’s Prayer Centre, Freshfield Pine Woods, Formby
There will be a meeting of the Baptism Visitors’ Team in the Vicarage
on Monday, 26th March at 8.00 pm.
Revd John McManners, one of the most knowledgeable priests on the
Celtic Saints in the north east of England, is to lead an Autumn
Pilgrimage to Iona in September to which everyone is welcome. To join
this journey of a lifetime to the Island of St Columba, pilgrims make
their own way to the historic City of Durham. Trains stop at Durham
from all over the country and there are some excellent deals if you
book in advance.
The pilgrimage leaves Durham on Thursday 20th September and is for
seven nights. The first night is spent in one of the many Colleges near
to the Cathedral itself where, if you arrive in good time, you will be
able to visit the final resting place of St. Cuthbert.
Then on Friday 22nd after breakfast the coach leaves Durham and travels
north to Oban, visiting the oldest Celtic cross in Britain on the way
north at Ruthwell, before journeying on to Whithorn, where the group
will celebrate the life of St. Ninian.
Then after a night near Oban we board our ferry to Mull, travel across
Mull to Fionnphort and from the small jetty we take the smaller ferry
to the beautiful island of Iona.
Here we will enjoy almost a week as residents of Bishop’s House, where
we enjoy the hospitality of full board, home made cooking and talks
from John McManners. There are services three times a day and you go to
whichever ones you want to go to. There will be times for quiet and
Our return journey brings us back on the two ferries to our coach,
which will be waiting for us, and then we are back in Durham on the
evening of 28th September.
What a pilgrimage! What a journey! The group is limited to 20 in size
and full colour brochures are available on www.ukltg.com or by phoning
0845 601 9567. Booking is now open.
Most readers will probably be aware of the existence of St Faith’s
Mission Group, even though its deliberations have rarely featured in
Newslink. One of the regular items on its agendas over the last few
years has been the considering of the findings of the Parish Survey on
mission and the making of recommendations to the PCC as to possible
action to be taken in the field of mission – and one high profile
outcome of these discussions has been the staging of the ‘All-Age
Worship’ services on a monthly basis. The Group has also addressed a
wide range of other mission-related activities, and we print below,
courtesy of Group Chairman Fred Nye (forgive the non-PC term but he
isn’t a piece of furniture. Ed), some highlights of the meeting that
took place on January 31st last, as a means of bringing this key
group’s work to a wider audience.
The meeting reviewed the recommendations it made to the PCC in April
2005. On the subject of Family Eucharists, it was reported that formal
feedback had been almost universally encouraging, although there were a
few church members who persistently opposed the whole concept. It was
felt to be vital that the PCC, and indeed the whole church, supported
the services and those who planned them. The Group reaffirmed the
importance of these services in encouraging participation in worship,
especially by young people. It was important to continue and develop
this initiative and not be distracted if it did not attract many new
church members. It was noted that in 2007 there were to be only seven
such services, because of holiday and uniformed organisation
commitments: since these were not on the same Sunday each month, good
advance publicity was necessary.
The Group discussed publicity for young people’s activities. Fred would
like to revive and improve an ‘events news-sheet’, and various relevant
issues of publicity were discussed.
There was discussion of study courses and prayer groups. Fr Mark’s
courses and the Walsingham Group were both valued for their input and
success. It was felt that there was a need for an ‘open’ and informal
prayer group where people could get to know each other and learn
confidence in prayer. Fr Neil commended a forthcoming conference
entitled ‘Leading your church into growth’ and there was discussion of
the possibility of the PCC’s sponsoring some places.
Finally, the Children’s Holiday Club was discussed. Joan Tudhope was
thanked most warmly for the very hard work she has put into this
activity in recent years. Unfortunately she will not be available this
summer – and we urgently need a volunteer to take over!
of the Age
The Scottish Executive has spent £2.5 million on a campaign
to teach people how to wash their hands, As well as giving 14 health
boards funding to employ ‘hand-washing coordinators’ on salaries of
£50,000 a year, the Executive has produced a guide to the ten
stages of hand-washing. Stage 8, for example, involves ‘rotational
rubbing, backwards and forwards, with clasped fingers of right hand in
left palm, and vice versa.’
(Don’t laugh: last month we mentioned
the splendid Guide to Good Defecation Practice. Clearly the above
initiative is a vital follow-up, which should not be confined to dirty
Churches are being urged to modernise their funeral services to
take away ‘the fear of death’. A forthcoming Christian Resources
Exhibition will feature a range of ‘upbeat’ ways to commemorate the
dead, including motorcycle hearses, fireworks that explode ashes into
the sky, and headstones that play videos of the deceased.
A retired civil servant was fined £455 and given a
conditional discharge after diving into a swimming pool. The
unfortunate man, who had been swimming at the same London pool for
twenty years, had unwittingly flouted a new safety rule which requires
visitors to lower themselves slowly and gently into the water.
All items vouched for by ‘The Week’
of the Abolition of the Slave Trade
During the weekend of March 24th and 25th 2007, Liverpool will
celebrate the abolition of the slave trade with events in the Anglican
Cathedral and the Albert Dock.
An estimated 15 million Africans were transported as slaves to the
Americas between 1540 and 1850. Ships from Liverpool accounted for more
than 40% of the European slave trade. The town and its inhabitants
derived great wealth from the trade. It laid the foundations for the
town’s growth. It is no exaggeration to say that the grand buildings
which grace Liverpool’s waterfront and inner heart today were built
with the blood money of slavery. There were ten large merchant houses
engaged in the slave trade and 349 smaller firms.
Nevertheless, leading philanthropists from Liverpool were among the
most vocal opponents of the slave trade, among them William Roscoe, who
was among the Members of Parliament who voted for the Abolition Bill in
1807. Liverpool was the first city to make a public apology in
recent years for its part in the slave trade. Liverpool sculptor
Stephen Broadbent has recently created a sculpture entitled
‘Reconciliation’, a copy of which stands near the Bluecoat Centre;
copies have also been made (incorporating additional designs created by
Liverpool school students) for Benin in West Africa and Richmond in
America, all lying along the triangular slave route.
A most worthwhile visit can he made to the Slavery Gallery in the
Liverpool Maritime Museum, and a walking tour of the sites of Liverpool
connected with slavery can be arranged at the Maritime Museum with Mr
Eric Lynch, himself a descendant of a slave family, and a most
informative and interesting guide. The John Moores University Roscoe
lectures this year are following the theme of slavery and are well
While celebrating this bicentenary, however, we are reminded that
slavery has not disappeared and that human trafficking and child labour
remain among the great scourges of modern times.
Faith’s to Close in June’
Some weeks ago I floated this provocative headline on the church
website, making it clear, for the sake of avoiding undue stress in our
ageing congregation, that the reference was to a church on the other
side of the globe.
We first learnt about our namesake church in Montmorency, Australia, a
year or two back, and I added details of the church and area, supplied
by parishioner Barbara Talbot, to the growing online record of churches
dedicated to our patron. We learnt that the church, in a hilly, treed
suburb north of Melbourne, opened its doors in 1918, and became a
parish in their own right in 1962. It was described as ‘middle of the
road’ in churchmanship, but with candles and vestments, eucharist-based
worship and celebrating our Patronal Festival. Perhaps significantly,
it was also described as having ‘very few younger members’.
Then, a few weeks ago, I was sad to receive New Year greetings from
Barbara and Montmorency, with the news that their days were numbered.
She takes up the story.
‘The Bishop has decided that it is time for us to move on. We have been
a part-time parish for the past ten years. On May 27th, 2007, we will
have a Celebratory Memorial Service, June 3rd will be our
Deconsecration Service and then we are off to Eltham to worship at St
Margaret's Church. St Faith's Church Montmorency will then close its
I have been here since February 1960, and know that when the time comes
it will be a sad time. We have to go through the memorials, gifts,
faculties, contents etc and this work is keeping us too busy to feel
the sadness yet. Eltham is only a couple of kilometres away. Like
Montmorency it is hilly and treed, with a lot of mud brick homes and an
Regards to you all from Barbara Talbot’
On behalf of our St Faith’s, I have sent sympathy and good wishes
across the world. It is sad to record the loss of a sister church – but
there are over fifty more with our dedication known to us. Visit the
list and features on a number of those listed, on
Three sets of pictures on our centre pages (not here, but all
accessible elsewehere on the website!) illustrate members and friends
of St Faith’s out and about in three very different locations.
Elsewhere you can read Michael Holland’s account of the Men’s Group
retreat, whose eucharists are celebrated by St Faith’s ex-vicar and
Men’s Group chaplain, Fr Charles Billington.
The opening centre page pictures illustrate the visit last year by
Senior Server Ken Bramwell and his wife Marie to Parliament and to the
Prime Minister, accompanied by Crosby’s M.P. Claire Curtis-Thomas,
herself no stranger to St Faith’s. Her words, explaining the occasion,
are an extract from her online activity diary on her website.
‘This was a fantastic day for me as I was able to give Ken and Marie –
Labour party members for over 50 years – the opportunity to come and
watch Prime Minister’s Questions – and then question the Prime Minister
himself afterwards! It was a tremendous honour for me to be able to
thank Ken and Marie for all the hard work they have done for Labour
over the years. It is their enduring commitment which demonstrates all
the very best qualities of their generation. Ken and Marie chatted with
Tony for about ten minutes and then they had a picture taken and I hope
they thoroughly enjoyed their day as I thoroughly enjoyed having them
The final two pictures are of Ushaw College, Durham, the imposing
establishment where our ex-Director of Music, Ged Callacher, is in his
second term as a seminarian studying for the Roman Catholic priesthood.
Ged sent them to the editor, thanking him for the regular arrival of
Newslink. He tells us that life is busy and fulfilling, and that he is
surviving well in a fine setting, peaceful and with beautiful
architecture. He appreciates the news from St Faith’s, and says that it
is interesting being on the outside looking in. He sends his very best
wishes to everyone.
Wedding at Cana
– a sermon preached
by Fr Mark Waters on 14th January, 2007
John 14 – ‘Anyone who has faith
in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things
Jesus promised that if we have faith in him we will be able to do what
he did, and will perhaps even do greater things than him. And ever
since the birth of the church, Christians have taken those words
seriously and apparently been able to perform all sorts of miracles. We
often hear of healing services in which lame people have walked, or
someone has recovered from cancer as a result of being prayed over.
Some have taken the gospel words even more literally in some strange
churches in America and at each service handle snakes in accordance
with the words in Mark’s gospel; ‘they will pick up snakes with their
hands and not be harmed.’
But as far as I know, Christians have never claimed to be able to turn
water into wine. It’s a pity, because it would be a winner, wouldn’t
it! We’d all be able to bring some jars full of water along to church
and go home with some fine Pinot Noir or whatever was our fancy!
But seriously, perhaps Christians haven’t attempted to turn water into
wine because the story of the Wedding at Cana is not one that we are
supposed to take literally. In common with so many pictures and stories
in John’s gospel we soon realise that so often in this gospel we are
dealing with symbolism – symbolism about who Jesus is. Picture after
picture. So Jesus is:
- the Bread of Life
- the Light of the World
- the Gate
- the Good Shepherd
- the Resurrection and the Life
- the Way, the Truth and the Life
- the Vine
And this morning in our reading from the second chapter of John’s
gospel – the first of Jesus’ signs in the gospel, and the one that
perhaps colours all the others – the picture we are given is of Jesus
as the new wine. The one who replaces big jars of water set aside for
washing, with the finest vintage wine. The one who offers the life
abundant, pressed down, shaken together, and running over (Luke 6.38).
If we accept this symbolism of Jesus as the new wine, we also have to
recognise that the wedding which acts as the setting for this story of
abundant life is not just an ordinary one. It’s not really about the
joining in matrimony of man and woman at all, instead it signifies the
coming together of something else. The story of the wedding at Cana is
a story about the marriage of heaven and earth – through Jesus. It’s a
symbolic story about the ways in which – through faith in Christ - we
are connected to God. And about the role of religion, the role of the
church in that process - and of how it is possible for faith to become
Jesus is the abundant provider of real religion, symbolised by this
special and wonderful wine. But if that is true, what was the water
that was on offer previously? What is Jesus replacing?
In Jesus’ time, the religion that was on offer was that of the Jewish
Temple. And there were two parts to it:
- the first part was a complex system of ritual behaviour in worship
through the Temple cult. It was very prescriptive, with extraordinary
detail about what you should sacrifice on the altar, how much blood
should be sprinkled around, and what the priests should wear in
worship. In other words it was a very rigid, fixed idea of what people
should do in church. And this system was managed and controlled by a
powerful governing class of clergy, called the Pharisees – a bit like
the Anglo-Catholic mafia!
- secondly, there was an equally elaborate system of requirements for
daily living. What you should and shouldn’t eat. What you should or
shouldn’t do on the Sabbath. How you should wash your pots. All sorts
of purity laws about relationships between people. And this system was
managed and controlled by a similarly powerful group of lay people
known as the Sadducees.
Again and again in all four gospels it is made clear by what Jesus said
and did that this system of prescriptive religion sold people short. It
excluded lots of people – particularly those who were poor and on the
edge of things, those on the margins of society. It had become a system
in which people were serving religion rather than the other way around.
Jesus offered a radical and controversial alternative to this
prescriptive way of trying to be the people of God. And what we read in
the pages of the New Testament about Jesus’ life and teaching tell us
what that alternative is. Real religion, true faith, real membership of
the people of God means this:
- firstly, trusting God’s will to heal and forgive
- next, becoming a people, a community, whose bonds – through faith -
are stronger than any other bonds between people - next, being
indiscriminately hospitable - no-one left out, no-one excluded, all
welcomed in, no-one too bad to be admitted
- next, a new power to see human relations as about service and
nurturing others, not about power and mutual threat
- next, a people who believe that their meetings with each other,
particularly around the altar, are meetings with Jesus: at the
eucharist, when we share bread and wine in faith, Christ rises again in
us and in this community!
- And finally, true faith is companionship with the living Jesus
through the Spirit he gives us – the breath of God that is breathed
into us, filled with that Spirit of love who knows what we need before
These are marks of religion that is real. In the New Testament, that is
what we are told real religion is like. Nothing less and nothing more.
So how do you think we measure up? Do you think that list that I have
just run through sums us up? Does that sound like us as a church?
The trouble is that the cost of realising that sort of spirituality,
that sort of communion with God is very high. Jesus paid a very high
price for it. Because what this sort of spirituality means is a refusal
to live by the systems with which this world is managed. It is
counter-cultural. It lives by other values. And so it is a challenge
and a threat to those who do live by the world’s values and systems.
The heart of the gospel is the account of how Jesus paid the ultimate
price for that sort of radical and controversial way of living the
faith: a way of living to which he calls each one of us. Real religion
is about being truly converted. And conversion means – literally –
living as if in a new world, living with our whole mental and
imaginative horizons changed.
And that’s why it is so difficult to achieve. It asks us to really
change. To shift our centre of gravity from what we know and are
comfortable with, to one in which every moment is a response to a
living and loving God – ever open to what is new and not reliant on
habit or custom or our own particular likes and dislikes.
Today, many people in our society are searching for some new wine in
their lives. They want spirituality. They want to find God. But when
they come to our churches they don’t always feel that it’s what they’re
getting. They feel as if they are getting short-changed: that their
glass is being filled with water and not with the new wine of abundant
life that they know – somehow - is possible.
We are living in a time when in much of our religion in the western
world the wine has run dry. And that means we are failing people -
letting them down.
We rush around fretting about what we can do. We try to tweak this or
that in our liturgies. We try to be ever-so-nice to new people who
appear. Or else we convince ourselves that as long as we do what we’re
doing as well as we can, somehow or other people are going to return to
the pews. Well, it ain’t gonna happen.
Whether we want to hear it or not, the churches which are attracting
people today are those in which a real and lively faith is evident.
Churches where people have been converted. Where they have a whole new
‘mind set’. Where it is obvious that their faith makes a difference to
who they are and how they live together as the body of Christ.
Now a lot of those churches probably have ways of doing things which
are pretty uncomfortable to us. They don’t work for us. We don’t like
the theology or the music or the hand-clapping or whatever. Well
perhaps that’s good news. Because that means that there are probably a
whole lot of other people out there who think the same as us, and would
love to discover a church which perhaps has an approach like ours. So
the battle is perhaps half won.
But the second half is about us. We need to be converted. We need to
have our whole mental and imaginative perspectives changed. We need to
become people who no longer live by the systems of this world, but make
clear by how we live that we do have another centre of gravity. People
who by the strength of what they share together through faith are
clearly a group of people who have something very special to offer
others. People who are unconditionally accepting of other people.
People who know that they have been forgiven, people who show signs of
having been healed.
So how do you think we are doing? How do we measure up? It’s a very
hard challenge isn’t it?
Good churches do turn water into wine. By the levels of their trust in
God, by the quality of their relationships, by a real belief that God
is here with us as we gather around the altar - people can sense when
all that is true.
But it has to start inside. Inside us, and inside our church. By the
quality of the attention we pay to each other in this Christian
community. By our stopping taking each other for granted. By our
willingness to be connected to each other – not just the people we like
or feel comfortable with, but everyone in this community of faith.
Everyone in our parish.
If the life of faith really is a marriage between heaven and earth,
then like any marriage it needs time. Time for ourselves. Time for
nurturing our relationships with each other. Time for God.
Don’t you sometimes get the feeling that perhaps we need to start doing
a little less as a church, and being a little more? Sometimes it seems
as if we have created so much that we have to do in and for church, so
many endless lists of activity, that there isn’t really much room for
We are the body of Christ. How many times in our lives have we heard
those words. We are the body of Christ! An awesome responsibility and
an honour and privilege of which we are always unworthy. But its true.
That’s the heart of our faith. And perhaps if we could really
take it to heart and believe it, and begin living it together, so many
of the problems that we see our selves having as a church would
Water can be turned into wine. Every time we bring the bare water of
ourselves to this table, we become the vintage wine which brings new
life to the world. This was the first of the signs that Jesus did, and
revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
Birthdays are good for you. The more
you have the longer you live…
Jar and the Coffee
When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours
in a day are not enough, remember the jar... and the coffee.
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in
front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very
large and empty jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then
asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the
jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas
between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was
full. They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.
Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more
if the Jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes’. The
professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and
poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty
space between the sand. The students laughed.
‘Now,’ said the professor, as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you
to recognise that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the
important things, your family, your children, your faith, your health,
your friends, and your favourite passions. The things that if
everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still
be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter. Your job, your
house, and your car. The sand is everything else. The small stuff.’
‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no
room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you
spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have
room for the things that are important to you.’
‘Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play
with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your
partner out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to
clean the House and wash the car. Take care of the golf balls first,
the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee
represented. The professor smiled. ‘I’m glad you asked. It just goes to
show you that no matter how full your life may seem, theres always room
for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.’
Supplied by David
are Senior Citizens worth?
Did you know that we old folk are worth a fortune? We have silver in
our hair, gold in our teeth, stones in our kidneys, lead in our feet
and gas in our stomachs!
I have become a frivolous old woman, seeing six men every day! As soon
as I wake up, Will Power helps me out of bed, then it’s time for Jimmy
Riddle, then breakfast with Mr Kellogg, followed closely by the
refreshing company of Mr Tetley or my other friend, whom I only know by
his initials – P.G.! Then comes someone I don’t like at all: Arthur I
‘tis. He knows he’s not welcome, but he insists on being here, and
what’s more, he’s stays for the rest of the day. Even then he doesn’t
like to stay in one place, so he takes me from joint to joint. After
such a hectic day, I’m glad to get to bed with Johnny Walker. Oh, and
I’m now flirting with Al Zimmer.
The vicar came to call the other day and said that I should be thinking
of the hereafter. So I told him I did, all the time: for no matter
where I am, in the bedroom, in the kitchen, the sitting room or the
garden, I ask myself, ‘Now what am I here after?’
Well, I’ll close now, and hope that Will Power is your constant
companion too – but do make sure that his friend Emma Royd doesn’t
creep up on you from behind! And do watch out for the crafty one, Gerry
Margaret Penn: Supplied by John Chapman
Change Today – Choose Fairtrade
FAIRTRADE Fortnight: February 25th – March 11th
By changing to Fairtrade today, you can change the lives of farmers and
producers across the developing world. This is the idea behind
the theme for Fairtrade Fortnight 2007. A simple action like
buying a Fairtrade product can trigger a
positive change in people’s
lives in developing countries, as well as sending a message to
our own government that we want to see a change in global trade rules.
These are unfair rules that undermine livelihoods and reduce the
opportunities of millions of producers in developing countries.
When you choose a product with the FAIRTRADE mark, you can be sure that
they have been independently certified to ensure producers are been
paid a fair and stable price for their produce as well as a social
premium to invest in developing their businesses and improving their
communities. We thus play our part in enabling farmers and workers to
bring about change today in their own lives and communities, as well as
sending out a signal for justice in wider international trade.
What we have done at Saint Faith's Church so far:
* In line with 3,000 other churches across the UK, our PCC at its last
meeting made a long term commitment to supporting Fairtrade, and will
mark Fairtrade Fortnight by applying to become officially a Fairtrade
Church. This commitment involves, as we do already, using Fairtrade tea
and coffee for all church organised events. It means moving forward on
using other Fairtrade products, such as sugar, chocolate and fruit. It
involves a promise to promote Fairtrade during Fairtrade Fortnight and
during the year through events, worship, and community group activity.
* We have initiated a drive in the other churches in Waterloo to apply
in their turn to become Fairtrade churches, as the majority are also
committed to using fairly traded products.
* We are participating in an ecumenical Fairtrade event in Crosby
during Fairtrade Fortnight. This is organised by the Crosby Justice and
What we can do next:
As individuals, make a commitment to change
* Why not decide to buy, on each shopping trip, one product bearing the
Fairtrade mark? If your favourite shop does not stock any
Fairtrade products, ask why.
* Tell your neighbours why our church supports Fairtrade. This is very
much part of spreading the Gospel message.
* Pray for change both in ourselves and in the world.
A prayer from the URC
publication Commitment for Life
Justice-loving Lord, since Adam and Eve you gave us free will to choose.
We ask for knowledge to make the right choices in our consumer-led
choices that give a brighter future, secure future for all, that give
empowerment to producers, that give choice to those who have no choice.
Now is a time of choice; may we choose you.
Choose to follow your ways of compassion and justice,
justice-loving Lord. Amen
Editorial from 1998, supplied by Fr Dennis
'Rend your hearts and not your
garments' Joel 2,13
Fasting, repentance, discipline, asceticism - the associations of Ash
Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, are not popular. They conjure up a
kill-joy religion, an oppressive Puritanism cramping the human spirit,
and the condemnation of legitimate pleasures. We know too much of the
destructive effects of guilt-inducing preaching and an image of a God
of ferocious judgment and insatiable moral demand - a God who seems to
be more about fettering than freedom. We may also note the irony that
in our secular world dieting comes in where religious fasting goes out,
and counselling and therapy burgeon where men and women avoid
confession of sin and the acknowledgement of their need for forgiveness.
The truth is that a sentimental religion of constant sunshine has no
cutting edge. It fails to speak to the reality of the human condition,
and the reality is the sharp, dark, and often testing reality of sin,
pain, evil and death - the ‘time of trial’ or ‘temptation’ from which
the Lord’s Prayer prays that we may be delivered. The easy optimisms,
whether of Enlightenment rationalism or 19th-century faith in progress,
faltered in the face of the human capacity for evil. In the Christian
tradition, the human reality is a flawed reality. We neither see
clearly what the good is, nor do we have the strength to do it having
seen it. Knowledge, as Newman reminded us, ‘has no tendency to mend the
heart’. And the heart of Scripture is not the place of feeling, but of
willing and choosing (of which indeed feeling may be part), and the
human condition is of a flawed will.
Martin Luther wrote in a powerful phrase ‘that it is the love of the
heart that makes both God and idol’. We make God in our own image, and
become enslaved to power and passion and possessiveness. Sin is that
distortion, missing the mark of what is good, of the God who made us
for himself and in whom alone is our healing and our whole-ness. It was
St Augustine, long before Sigmund Freud, who perceived that human sin
is a consequence of disordered and mis-directed loving. The remedy was
not ceasing to love - to do that would be to become a block of wood, a
dead thing, the ice-bound in the abyss of hell - but to set our love in
order. And that order is defined by the two great commandments that
Jesus gave: the love of God - who is perfect love - with all our heart
and mind and soul and strength, and the love of our neighbour as
But the ordering of love is not something we can do in our own
strength. Only by grace, the reaching out to us of an enabling love in
which we are loved before we are even capable of loving - a love which
loves us as we are and for what we may become - may we be so ordered.
It is in the context of that grace and love, seen in the cross of
Christ to which Lent I leads, that repentance and fasting and
self-denial find their meaning. It is by grace that we are saved. When
we know that, we find that the ascetic disciplines of the spiritual
life are not negative, but are ways to train and develop the spirit.
Asceticism is only a technical word for ‘training’. We deceive
ourselves if we deny that training and practice are needed as much by
those who would grow in the love of God, and so in being truly human,
as by those who would be-come skilled in sport or music. Thus Lent is
indeed a springtime, as the old English root of the word reminds us,
not only because Lent and spring coincide, but because the discipline
of Lent is about that penitence which subverts pride and easy optimism,
and enables the flowering of the fruits of the Spirit. It is in
learning this that we discover the paradoxical truth in George
Herbert’s Ash Wednesday greeting of penitence and fasting:
Welcome dear feast of Lent!
Group Retreat Revealed
It is some time since we carried news of the venerable St Faith’s Men’s
Group. Following their annual retreat in Yorkshire, the editor
prevailed upon Michael Holland to share their experiences of their
away-days. You can read and see much more about the activities of this
male fellowship – if you dare - at
A two and a half hour drive up the M6 and across the Yorkshire Moors on
a crisp and sunny day resulted in our reaching our destination once
again at David’s House in Marske, six miles outside Richmond on the
edge of the Yorkshire Dales.
After settling in, Friday was a quiet day until the evening pre-dinner
Real Ale tasting session took place. We had a total of 22 different
beers to try. For those not familiar with this exercise, sherry glasses
are advisable, although we could not find any!
Saturday saw us in sombre mood. Geoff, our chief chef, managed to cook
one sausage per frying pan, making it hard work for the washing-up
party. We embarked on our discussion session which was entitled ‘The
differences between those who have and those who have not’ ie. the
unequal distribution of assets and wealth, not only around the world
but also in our own country. Are we aware of this? What can we do to
address this situation? What more can we do? Fr. Charles expanded the
subject by saying materialism is one factor but spiritual poverty is
also important, and how can we as a group from St Faith’s increase the
inclusion of others, particularly the children, into our Christian
lives? This, not surprisingly, opened up a huge and lively debate! This
in turn was followed by a quiet celebration of the Eucharist.
The afternoon was still bright and sunny, so we went to the old market
town of Richmond to replenish much needed stores. After dinner Kevin
organised one of his famous quizzes. Then followed a rehearsal of the
pantomine ‘Cinderella’ with Leo, Kevin, Paul, Rick, and Geoff as
prompter (all the ugly ones were there!) I am sure the lines spoken
where considerably embellished!
On Sunday morning we always have a Eucharist to coincide with St.
Faith’s. In our prayers we especially
remembered those former members who
have died and whose names are engraved on the paten from the
communion set which Fr. Charles donated to the men’s group several
years ago (Archie Pattison, George Goodwin, Doug Taylor, John Vincent,
(little) John Taylor and John Taylor). Following this, as is now our
annual custom, we walked down to the beautiful ancient parish church of
Marske to meet the small congregation at the end of their service. We
gave them copies of all of the last year’s Newslink magazines which
they are always glad to receive and read. Sadly their vicar retired two
weeks ago and they are now one of six churches that the Rector of
Richmond looks after. Following a brief conversation, Fr. Charles may
be able to help with their service when we return next year. Although
the church is very old, it has Victorian pew boxes each having their
own electric heaters (although I could not see any meters to put the
money in!). Their Diocesan Quota for the year is approximately
£5,500 - and they are up to date with their payments (and this is
with a congregation of six!).
We then retired to a nearby village pub in Downholme for lunch, which
was followed by a walk in the country or a siesta and a read of the
day’s papers. Monday came and appeared to go just as quickly, prior to
Tuesday morning departure for home to Crosby after a very busy clean
up. Fortunately this year there were no medical mishaps as in some
‘Giving in Grace’ Re-visited
The PCC had a long, serious and challenging discussion about the
church’s resources at its first business meeting of 2007 in
January. At the end of it, they were determined to commit to a
renewal of the ‘Giving in Grace’ programme.
To re-cap, Giving in Grace is about our response to the grace of God in
our lives. It is about personal discipleship in the difficult and
sensitive area of money. The programme describes different
groupings within the church:
* The Core group are people who give their time and talents as well as
their treasures and who exercise leadership. It includes the Ministry
Team, the PCC and other leaders in areas of ministry such as pastoral
care. From this group comes a substantial portion of the direct giving
of the church.
* The Congregation group are those who attend regularly – usually
weekly – and who are sufficiently committed to be members of the
Planned Giving Scheme. That is to say that they give regularly via the
weekly green envelopes or standing order.
* The Fringe group are regular, or occasional, worshippers who give by
a loose gift on the collection plate. In many churches, members of this
group will attend regularly to support their children in church
organisations or in preparation for baptism.
* Finally, there are those who are associated with the church who
rarely, if ever, attend the church except perhaps for the occasional
offices such as baptism or funerals and the festivals such as
Harvest. Nevertheless, they identify with the church, may be on
the electoral roll, receive Newslink, pastoral visits and consider
Saint Faith’s to be ‘our church’. We would call these people
‘Friends of Saint Faith’s’.
Shortly, letters will be sent out asking people to think about their
giving. A team of PCC members have offered to make parish visits. This
is not about ‘cold calling’ but it is about retaining and building
relationships with existing givers, about promoting fellowship,
discipleship and a greater depth of relationship and discussion in the
church. For the visitor, it often proves to be a very satisfying
experience. For the giver, they are appreciated and thanked for their
* If you give by a monthly standing order, please consider prayerfully
the level of your giving. If you do not yet give by standing
order and wish to do so, please ask me for a form.
* If you give through the weekly envelope, please consider, too, the
level of your giving and, similarly, if you would like to give through
the envelopes and do not yet do so, please ask me or Miriam Jones, our
Gift Aid Secretary.
* If you think you fit into the ‘Fringe’ group, please consider
becoming a regular member of the congregation and subscribing to the
Planned Giving scheme.
* If you are a ‘Friend of Saint Faith’s’, please consider taking out a
standing order to support our ministry and mission.
The teaching, worshipping and pastoral ministry of the church will mean
different things to each group – and so will the financial message we
wish to communicate. The crucial thing is that these groups are not
static. Our aim is that fringe members should move into the
congregation and congregation members should move into the core and
Money is important; of course it is. But Giving in Grace is also about
giving time and talents in the service of the church. There are a
number of vacancies in many of our teams for people who are willing to
help – so don’t be shy! For example, after Easter, we will need a new
Planned Giving Secretary and a Gift Aid Secretary to take over the
confidential administration from Miriam Jones when she leaves Saint
Faith’s. We are also looking for a new Communications Officer. So, if
you would like to help in any way, please let either Fr Neil, the
Wardens or me know. We’d love to hear from you!
The Giving in
Heavenly Father, give grace to us,
the living stones who form your Church,
to reflect prayerfully at this special
time on our love for You and our neighbour.
Make us mindful of the many gifts You
bestow upon us
and we ask that your Holy Spirit will
inspire and direct us in our choice of giving
remembering that we are only giving
back that which is truly yours.
Strengthen us, Lord, to meet this
challenge according to your will.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord who has
given all that we may live. Amen.
Club Winners for February
1st 152 Fr Russell Perry
2nd 122 Brian (‘Hampers’)
3rd 85 Fr Dennis Smith
4th 49 Pat Mackay
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