Newslink Menu

Return to St Faith`s Home Page



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 2007

From 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 of Lent.

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.

LENT 2007

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.
                    (Latin, 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 – LENT GROUPS

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
6.30pm                 Stations of the Cross and Holy Eucharist

Saturdays in Lent in S. Faith’s
11.30am             The Rosary

Saturday 10th March
10.00am – 2pm   
led by Fr. Aidan Mayoss, C.R.,
at S. Joseph’s Prayer Centre, Freshfield Pine Woods, Formby

Baptism Visitors
There will be a meeting of the Baptism Visitors’ Team in the Vicarage on Monday, 26th March at 8.00 pm.

Autumn on Iona

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 discussion too.

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 or by phoning 0845 601 9567. Booking is now open.

Meeting about Mission

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!

Spirit 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 Scotsmen, Ed.)

 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’

Bicentenary 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 worth attending.
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.

Kathleen Zimak

‘Saint Faith’s to Close in June’
Chris Price

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 doors.
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 artist area.

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 to Parliament.’

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. 

The 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 than these’.

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 real.

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 we ask.
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 God!

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 disappear.

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…


The 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 just sand.’

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 Jones

What 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 Atric…

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 Peace group.

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 society:
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

Kathleen Zimak

Ash Wednesday

A 'Times' 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 ourselves.

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!

Men’s Group Retreat Revealed
Michael Holland

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 previous years.    

‘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 support.

So …

* 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 leadership group.

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 Grace prayer:

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.

David Jones

100+ Club Winners for February

1st     152    Fr Russell Perry
2nd     122    Brian (‘Hampers’)
3rd     85    Fr Dennis Smith
4th     49    Pat Mackay

Newslink Menu

Return to St Faith`s Home Page