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 Newslink            March 2001

From the Ministry Team

In a corner of my bedroom, leaning against some bookshelves, (for fear of nocturnal intruders) stands a considerably large, exceedingly heavy, handsome-looking stick or `pilgrim‘s staff‘ — a treasured moments and happy reminder of a much enjoyed and most memorable holiday in the summer of 1985, in Britain‘s smallest Cathedral City — St David‘s, on the Pembrokeshire coast.

On March 1st the Church celebrates the festival of Saint David, Patron of Wales, or `Dewi Sant‘ to give him his native name.

He was certainly a great and good leader, in the early and formative days of Wales, and of the Welsh Church. Many ancient records, full of legend and fantasy, give their versions of the story of St David, so that it is difficult to sift the truth from folklore and imagery.

According to the chief story, he was the son of a Cardigan prince or chieftain, and of St Non, whose well is still to be seen near St David‘s. David was an ardent student of theology from his youth; he travelled through Wales founding monasteries, went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem and was there consecrated Bishop. On his return he settled in a quiet place called the Valley of Roses, where he spent much time with scholars; this is now St David‘s, with his monastery, now the cathedral, half-hidden in the quiet valley, a very beautiful spot.

The life in St David‘s monastery was noted for its severity (Fr Neil and I might  have  been  struggling!);  nevertheless,  many  came wishing to join the
community. The life of the monks was hard; they tilled the ground, using no oxen but yoking themselves to the plough. They worked in silence, and none possessed any property of their own. When the outside work was done, they devoted themselves to reading and writing until evening. Then they went to church,  remaining  there  at  their  devotions  `until  the  stars  are  seen  in the
heavens, bringing the day to a close.‘ Bound by a rule of silence, they fed on roots and herbs, and drank milk diluted with water (definitely not the preferred or customary libation of any of St Faith‘s clergy!)

David took a principal part in two important councils, at Brefi in Cardigan and then at Caerleon. At the first of these he was nominated as Primate of Wales in place of St Dubricius, and moved the see from Caerleon to Mynyw (Menevia, St David‘s) where he presided as abbot-bishop.

David himself is said to have followed an even stricter and more austere life than any, basing his rule on the way of life of the ancient Egyptian desert communities. David was known as Dyfrwr, in Latin `Aquaticus‘, that is, the Waterman, meaning perhaps that he and his monks were teetotallers.

St David is often depicted with a white dove on his shoulder; this refers to his attendance at a synod in 519 at Llanddewi Brefi, called to check the Pelagian heresy, spreading widely in Wales. St David expounded the Gospel tenets with great power, and as he spoke a white dove descended and rested on his shoulder, while the ground rose under his feet until he was standing on a small hillock, and his voice could be heard from afar `like a trumpet‘. Several Irish saints are stated to have been pupils of St David or to have visited Mynyw, and he seems to have had influence on monastic developments in Ireland.

His last exhortation to his flock before his death was, `Brethren, persevere in the things you have learnt from me ...‘ At his death he is said to have had a vision of the Lord, and to have cried out, `Lord, take me up to thee!‘ It is said that St Kentigern saw his soul at the moment of death carried to heaven by angels.

St David‘s remains a most beautiful place of pilgrimage, and the Cathedral displays a shrine with the relics of St David, discovered during restoration work and now safely housed near the high altar.

Blessed be God in his Angels and his Saints.

Fr Dennis

Lent 2001

Ash Wednesday, 28th February  The First Day of Lent

7.30 am Holy Eucharist and imposition of ashes
8.00 pm SOLEMN MASS and imposition of ashes
 followed by Baked Bean Supper and launch of
 the Lent Project 2001: School of Faith, Malawi

Sundays in Lent at 7.00 pm (except 25th March)

 Compline and Benediction

Tuesdays in Lent at 10.00 am in the Vicarage

 Bible Study on S. Mark‘s Gospel

 Week 1: Introduction and General Background
 Week 2: Ministry in Galilee
 Week 3: The Journey to Jerusalem
 Week 4: Ministry in Jerusalem
 Week 5: The Passion Narrative

Fridays in Lent at 6.30 pm
 Stations of the Cross and Holy Eucharist

Saturdays in Lent at 10.00 am

 The Rosary

The Wedding at Cana      A sermon by Joyce Green

`High Mass of Pentecost, followed by wine in the hall.‘ `Easter Ceremonies followed by champagne and fireworks.‘ We‘re now used to seeing such things on our notice sheets. These and similar events have become commonplace since Fr Neil‘s coming amongst us. There are many who enjoy such occasions of conviviality, and others who frown in disapproval at such goings on. Today‘s Gospel reading gives us a hint as to which group Jesus would belong if he were here amongst us. He enjoyed eating and drinking with people, it was a way of getting to know them, and of letting them get to know him. The story of the wedding at Cana paints a picture of God with us, a generous God who gives so much — nothing mean or penny-pinching here. He doesn‘t just provide a thimbleful of cheap plonk but gallons and gallons of the very choicest stuff.

John is writing to show his enquirers that Jesus is the incarnation of a very different God to the God of the Old Testament. This is not a God of fear and punishment, distant and delighting in sacrifices, but a God who is close to us, sharing our joys and concerns. Religion is meant to be joyful and festive. God takes delight in us, as the words of Isaiah proclaim in today's reading. `As the bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.‘

Weddings today are often big and costly affairs with celebrity weddings going completely over the top as each succeeding couple attempts to outdo the last, and magazines fight each other to the death to obtain exclusive rights to the photos. At the other extreme is the simple ceremony where the sole intention is the joining together in love of two people amongst the fellowship of their families and friends.

We don‘t know how elaborate or how simple an affair the wedding at Cana was at which Jesus was a guest. We can however understand and sympathise with the feelings of embarrassment which must have arisen when someone pointed out that the wine had run out. There were still a good few hours of merrymaking yet to come, it was late in the day and there was no local Threshers to run to. Did the young couple themselves know about it? If so it must have taken away some of the joy from their special day: they must have been mortified, knowing that there wasn‘t a thing they could do about it.

We can identify a little with those feelings, because there are times in our lives when things seem to spin out of control, when we feel completely helpless to
remedy a particular situation. Yet when we look back upon our lives we often see that it‘s just at times such as these that God enters quietly in and takes the problem into his hands, using it as an opportunity to show his love. We have to remember at these times to let go, and let God in. His strength is in our weakness.

The references to Mary in the New Testament are few, but in this story a small portrait is painted which shows her complete and utter trust in her son. Mary never stopped saying yes to God: at the annunciation, at her meeting with Elizabeth, at that birth in the stable, here at Cana, and ultimately at the foot of the cross. `Do whatever he tells you.‘ Words addressed to the servants; words, which perhaps speak to us as we grapple with problems to which there, seem no solution. When we renew our Baptism promises, we say, `We believe and trust in him‘. But do we really? Mary did and her whole life was spent in total trust and obedience to the will of God.

Mary was the one person at that wedding who knew that all was not lost. She knew her son, she trusted him and believed that he could help. So she went to him quietly and simply said, ?They have no wine‘. So, if they have no wine, what do they have available? `Well,‘ someone says jokingly, ?we‘ve got lots of water!‘  John‘s Gospel makes great use of the symbolism of water. Water was there at the beginning of creation, with God‘s spirit hovering over it. We ourselves came from water and are mostly made up of it. John tells us of springs and wells, of water pots and bucket and basins, and ultimately of water flowing from the side of Jesus. He is using water to show the raw material of our human nature.

God then, at that crucial moment at the wedding feast, redeems the situation. As he always does, he takes the raw material that is at hand. `Fill the pots with water,‘ says Jesus, and through his grace and love the water is transformed. All is saved, the merry-making and the feasting can continue, with God there in the midst of them, unrecognised. God takes whatever is at hand, and uses it for his purposes. That‘s us: you and me. Despite all our faults and failings, our sense of unworthiness, whatever each of us has is enough for God. All we have to do is offer it to him, to give him our yes, as Mary did.

This event at Cana was the first of the miracles worked by Jesus. We tend to think of miracles as things that happened then, but not now. Yet God can and does still work miracles but in this age of technological knowledge and the advancement of science, we fail to see them as such. We also live in a world of ever-increasing secularisation and cynicism, a world which pours scorn on the idea of miracles. We who profess to be Christians need to have Mary‘s faith in order  to  show  to  the  world  that  faith  can  move  mountains  —  of  apathy, of intolerance, bitterness and hatred. We need also to know and believe that ourselves: to trust in God‘s power and wisdom rather than our own. Whatever our problems or the problems of the world, God can transform them if we take them to him. Our quiet prayers for others could have effects we‘ve never dreamed of, or which we will never even know about. There isn‘t one person in this church who doesn‘t have the materials out of which God can work miracles.

I‘d like to tell you about one such miracle. Here at St. Faith‘s we have been praying for a very long time for a baby girl. The child was not expected to live beyond a few months because of a serious genetic condition. That baby is now a beautiful two-year-old, starting to do things the specialists never dreamed she would be able to do, and her grandmother puts it all down to the atmosphere of prayer in which the child has been surrounded for most of her life. Her parents still live for each day, but each day is a miracle, a tribute to the generous God who heaps day upon day of delight in their growing child. They have been given so much more that they ever thought they could hope for.

We serve a generous God: a God who doesn‘t frown upon happiness and celebration, but comes to us in it. His ultimate generosity is shown when he died for us on a cross. He gives us his whole self, nothing held back. He gives us his body and blood in this Eucharist so that we can be one with him. So today let‘s join the wedding celebration, let‘s rejoice and be glad that we are on intimate terms with the bridegroom, and that he loves each one of us not till death do us part but even to eternity.

Walsingham Pilgrimage 2001    31st August — 2nd September

Will those who intend to join the pilgrimage this year and who have put their names on the list, please note that a non-returnable deposit of £25 will be required by 30th April, payable to Hilary Pennington, please.

Last year‘s cost was £105 per person. There will be a hired coach again and the final costs will depend on the number of people using this. When paying your deposit please indicate how you will be travelling.

We are Not Amused   Chris Price

While preparing my script recently preparatory to showing a W.E.A group round St Faith‘s, I came across a timely reference, by Christopher Howse in the Daily Telegraph, to what Queen Victoria, whose centenary the nation is currently marking, may really have thought about churches like St Faith‘s. People will be aware of the flattering reference to her to be read opposite the organ loft on the chancel wall, which perhaps implies that she would have approved of us.

In fact, she is on record, when recommending a man for the Deanery of Windsor, in looking for `a tolerant, liberal-minded, broad Church clergyman, who at the same time is pleasant socially.‘ One suggested candidate was acceptable, but her only regret was `that he is not of higher social and ecclesiastical rank.‘ More to the point, she definitely did not want a ritualist. `Stop all these ritualistic practices, dressings, bowings, etc, and everything of that kind, and above all, all attempts at confession!‘ However, with true Anglican comprehensiveness, she wrote to Disraeli in 1874 `the extreme evangelical school do as much harm as the high church.‘ And finally, she particularly disliked clergymen ?fussing about the poor or servants‘.

St Faith‘s Footnote ...

While contemplating writing a reference for a colleague seeking employment at the Leys School in Cambridge, I was surprised to see that its Mission Statement (how I hate that fatuous phrase!) was headed The Leys and St Faith‘s Foundation. Reading further, I found that while the main Leys School was founded by Wesleyan Methodists, St Faith‘s is an interdenominational independent preparatory schoolattached to it. The two schools are a registered charity known as The Leys and St Faith‘s Foundation. I guess Queen Victoria might have been slightly more amused by this.

Notes from the Choir Stalls      Miriam Jones

Well, quite a lot has happened since the last choir article, Christmas, for a start! As well as the usual busy practice time in December, the annual carol concert performed jointly with the Crosby Symphony Orchestra took place. There was a good turn out of both choir and audience, the music was inspiring, ensuring everyone there was well aware that the joyous season of Christmas was just around the corner. I think most people would agree that December seems to get shorter each year, as we are cajoled into buying increasingly more expensive presents and enough food and drink to last a family of ten for a month! Thank goodness for Advent, bringing us back to reality, reminding us what Christmas is all about, with the music performed ranging from contemplative to celebratory at this special time.

Unfortunately, something else that happens at the same time of year, every year: coughs and colds take their toll. (I personally missed singing in most of the Christmas services for that very reason!) It would seem that the varying viruses being spread around have adopted the `painting of the Forth Bridge‘ syndrome  by the time everybody has been struck down with some sort of illness, the first person has caught it again! As you may notice (audibly) from week to week, the choir stalls are in danger of being renamed `consumptives‘ corner‘!

Following a few enforced cancellations of Friday practices due to St Paul‘s Patronal Festival, Candlemass and, of course, a performance of Aladdin, we will now have to address the fact that we will have to do some seriously hard work over the coming months. Lent and Easter will be the first `events‘ to require our attention, then Schubert‘s Mass in E flat is on the `menu‘ for our annual visit to the Cathedral in July, and Haydn‘s Nelson Mass has to be learnt for our own Patronal Festival in October.

All in all, a busy year ahead as usual, but it is also very rewarding as a chorister to be appreciated, and the compliments passed on to Ged indeed make all the dedication and effort worthwhile. Ged, in particular, devotes much of his time to the choir, in addition to all his other commitments, and I know I can speak on behalf of many people, both in the choir and the congregation, by publicly thanking him for all his hard work a choir can only be as good as its Director of Music and here at St Faith‘s we are very fortunate in having always had the most enthusiastic, diligent and creative of musicians in charge.

Here‘s to a musical 2001!

 The Lesson

A document doing the rounds of the teaching profession — but with something relevant to most of us!

The Jesus took his disciples up the mountain. And gathering them around him, he taught them, saying: `Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are the meek; blessed are the merciful; blessed are those who thirst after righteousness. Blessed are those who are persecuted for my sake. Blessed are those who suffer. Rejoice if you do these things, for yours is the Kingdom of Heaven.‘

Then Simon Peter said, `Do we have to write this down?‘

And Andrew said, `You don‘t expect us to learn this, do you, Lord?‘

And James said, `Is this going to be in the exam?‘

And Philip said, `I haven‘t got any paper.‘

And Bartholomew said, `Do we have to hand it in?‘

And John said, `The other disciples didn‘t have to learn this...‘

And Matthew said, `Can I go to the toilet?‘

And Judas said, `I‘m bored. What‘s this got to do with real life?‘

The one of the Pharisees asked to see Jesus‘s lesson plan and demanded, `Where are the learning outcomes? Why haven‘t you written down your aims and objectives?‘

And Jesus wept.

Words from an Assembly      Fr Dennis

Give us courage to change what should be changed; serenity to accept what cannot be changed, and wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.‘ This short prayer was composed by one of the most distinguished political and religious thinkers of our time — an American called Reinhold Niebuhr.

As a young student he used to preach occasionally in a little church at the place where his family went on holiday. One Sunday he composed the prayer and a member of the congregation so liked it, he asked for a copy. From there it went all over the place. Alcoholics Anonymous took it over, it was distributed to millions of servicemen in the last war, and it is often reprinted on cards of various sorts.

Reinhold Niebuhr was an unusual man: a theologian whose political thinking influenced many of America‘s most distinguished politicians. A man who began his ministry as a leading pacifist, but who campaigned for years to see Americans use military force against Hitler. This prayer, which he composed as a student, expresses well his approach to life, and it obviously sums up what many milllions feel. Give us courage to change what should be changed.

One of the besetting sins of religious people has been a tendency to put up with what can, and ought to be altered. For many centuries slavery, child labour in factories and gross inequalities of wealth were accepted as part of the unalterable constitution of things. But many ills can be eradicated, and, thank God, some found the courage to change what could be changed. Reinhold Niebuhr was always working for change in one direction or another.

As a young pastor in Detroit, from 1914 to 1927, when the motor industry was growing very rapidly, he was actively involved in forming trade unions, then illegal, and helping them to do battle with Henry Ford, to get reasonable pay and conditions. Later in life he helped to found a new political party.

If the fault of mystically-minded people is to make a too easy acceptance of things as they are, the blindness of revolutionaries is to believe that everything can be changed. But alas, there are some rocks which will never be budged, and which will sink us, unless we take them into account. So Niebuhr‘s prayer reads Give us serenity to accept what cannot be changed. One of the harsh facts  that Niebuhr wanted men to face,  was human egotism and pride. It is tempting to make big plans on the assumption that men can be made perfect. But we all have a strong streak of self-interest in us, which results in society being an uneasy, imperfect and irritating series of compromises. Some men really are destructive, and have to be contained through the use of more effective force. Niebuhr strove to wake Americans, in the 1930s, to the horrors of Nazism, and to shake them out of their comfortable pacifist slumber — as, after the war, he urged them to stand fast against Russian expansionism.

Finally of course, we need wisdom to distinguish what can be changed from what is unalterable.

An old person with a serious illness may have to decide whether to have a difficult operation, which might change things for the better, or simply to accept the fact of a slow but not uncomfortable death. A hard decision where we need the wisdom which God supplies. Niebuhr was, above all, a wise man who illuminated practical problems, particularly political ones — not something that can be said of all theologians. He urged men to count the cost of what they were doing. If you were a firebrand, as Niebuhr was in his youth, you had to be realistic about how changes were to be brought about. If you were going to accept a situation as basically unalterable, you had to count the consequences and come to terms with them. Prudence, but more than prudence, wisdom, was necessary.

Eternal God, give us courage to change what should be changed, serenity to accept what cannot be changed, and wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

John Taylor `Gone Home‘ February 2001

John wasn‘t a large man. Indeed, many would say he was an average man doing average things. How wrong can you be? Those of us fortunate enough to know him as a friend, wonder how he accomplished all that he did, and how he fitted so much into such a small frame! Just take a moment to look at a few of his many achievements:

In addition to being fully committed to his family of whom he spoke often and with pride, he found time to run our Scout Troop here at St Faith‘s for over 15 years, often single handed. There are hundreds of boys and girls around Crosby who remember him fondly and will keep with them throughout their lives the many skills that he taught them. He was an ever-present member of so many teams of volunteers ™ painting vicarages, cleaning hall cellars, refurbishing Scout huts, fence repairs, Scout and Cub Adventure weekends, Talents Schemes, swimming galas, and so many other activities besides. He gave himself to organisations and to individuals openly and generously, and was a helpful friend to all.

Over recent years John also became involved with the `Mish‘. The Mersey Mission to Seafarers attracted him first as a volunteer driver, and latterly as a part-time manager. The Mish was yet another area in which he excelled. His natural compassion, humility, humour, commitment and talent to entertain, made him an ideal friend to seafarers from around the world who found in John a sympathetic ear, a helping hand and a reassuring help with whatever they needed. John became known as the best pourer of Vodka and Coke that the Mission has ever had. And who would want to disagree?

Can you spot the theme? Helping other people. A week before he died, a few of us spent a happy couple of hours with him and Irene in hospital, and in spite of his obvious weakness and the prospect of a long and painful road back to health, there was no hint of complaint or regret. John was thinking positively towards his recovery, and talking of the Men‘s Group retreat next year. It was perhaps fitting therefore that he died while the Group were away this year, in David‘s House in Yorkshire, one of John‘s favourite places. Here we were able to raise our glasses swiftly, frequently and tearfully, remembering his much-treasured contribution to the fraternity of the Group and its tall stories!

Life didn‘t always deal John a good hand, but with Irene, Stephanie and Daniel beside him he coped with whatever was offered with dignity and a cheerful outlook that humbled us all. John was a wonderful friend, commanding respect from everyone by his own unselfish example of quiet, polite dedication to helping others. No. John wasn‘t a large man. He was a giant.

Rick Walker

Finding St Faith‘s      Chris Price

Some time ago we ran a series of articles concerning the existence of a St Faith‘s House in Liverpool. Two separate enquiries had come in from men who, as children, had been born, reared and baptised in the place, and who were trying to find out more. We were able to inform a Mr Pridgen (now deceased) of his place of birth, and later gave the same information to Mr Richard Jones from Clynnog Fawr in North Wales. Mr Jones, who hopes one day to visit Liverpool and St Faith‘s, has now sent us further details about the place, as supplied to his son by Liverpool Libraries and Information Services.

The house, in Gambier Terrace (just behind our Cathedral) is described in the Liverpool Diocesan Calendar for 1939-1941  as a Home for unmarried mothers and their babies. Soon after that date it must have closed, because in 1946 it was apparently the Women‘s War Service Bureau and later still Liverpool Art High School. The puzzle as to why the place was named after our patron saint remains unanswered: the Library merely confirms what we knew, that there was no St Faith‘s Church in the area.

The Diocesan Calendar carries a half-page advert for St Faith‘s Home ?incorporating St Patrick‘s Home, 20-21 St James Road‘. The Superintendent is one Deaconess (elsewhere called Sister) B.M.Gould, while the Hon. Secretary came from Formby. The text makes things clearer. ?The babies are born in the Home, and each mother is made responsible for the care of her own child. Terms of residence not less than six months after the birth of the child. Accommodation for eighteen mothers and eighteen babies.‘

Light is also shed on St Patrick‘s, which is `a Church of England Home for a limited number of children born at St Faith‘s, and provides an upbringing in a real home atmosphere‘.

Some while ago, through the internet, I heard of the Saxon Church of St Faith in the small hamlet of Farmcote, near Winchcombe, in my home county of Gloucestershire. Seemingly there is a section of the graveyard which contains unmarked graves of local victims of the Black Death. As time goes on, the trickle of items of information about our saint grows, and the wide distribution of her locations is increasingly interesting.

Letter to the Editor (and the Vicar)

Dear Revd Neil Kelley and Chris Price,

Thank you one and all for a wonderful and moving Candlemass service at St faith‘s last friday evening. You really showed up the church in a beautiful light; everybody and everything appeared at once to be twinkling, flickering and sparkling. Also, I have read your Diary of Events 2001, ?Furnishings of Faith‘, ?Newslink‘ and poetry books. They are all so well-produced and illustrated, and offer so much to look forward to in the coming year.

You might be interested to hear that I have suggested that a poetry corner, mostly for children, is created in the Carnegie Library: this cosy corner might include cushions, poetry books and posters. The idea has followed from the recent death of Adrian Henri. Given your own publications, you might also consider this for St Faith‘s.

Finally, I have recently been designing stained glass windows for another church in Crosby, and one in North Wales. I read with great interest about the Robert Runcie window, and I offer my skills free of any charge to you, if this is of any assistance. Thank you for the very warm welcome to St Faith‘s and best wishes to you all for the coming year.

Dr Robert MacDonald
`The Flying Column`

Early Spring Sales Bargains

In the light of this generous (and entirely unsolicited!) tribute, it might be appropriate to mention once more the various items currently on sale at the back of church: all proceeds to St Faith‘s. We can sell you:

`Furnishings of Faith‘ (articles about various items of interest in church)  `Poems from the Back Pew‘ (poetry about St Faith‘s: other anthologies also on sale!) ` Centenary Cookbook (speaks for itself!) ` Centenary Mugs (bone china souvenirs: still a few left). And, of course, free of charge, there are the current Church Guide Booklet and the Centenary Banners leaflet. Postal enquiries welcome!

`w.w.w.‘  Chris Price

Since we last reported news from the net, the St Faith‘s website has continued to expand, and is now an increasing source of information about the present as well as being a real archive of the past of our church. As more and more people get access to the internet, so the site‘s significance as a resource, as well as an advert and a `presence‘ grows.

For those unaware of what‘s on offer, the site offers the usual Home Page: basically a ?taster‘ and a glorified index to the remaining pages. These present the obvious: services, details of clergy and officers, organisations and so on. Then there is the Diary of Events, and also a News Page giving pictures and words of recent highlights. `Newslink‘ is reproduced each month (minus the boring and repetitive bits!), and past issues, currently going back some four years, are archived. There is a Virtual Tour of the Church, with photos, pictures and text describing all the main features of the building. Pictures, text and the voices of past Vicars can be accessed, and there are various poetry pages, containing some of my verses, and many better (known) ones, illustrating the seasons and the locality.

Back in 1975, we published, to mark the 75th Anniversary of the Foundation, my History of St Faith‘s. Based on George Houldin‘s little book `Fifty Years‘, the service registers and some local memories, verbally and from the papers, it has long been out of print. By the time you read this, its text, and possibly some pictures, will be accessible from the website. And as and when the author, who had foolishly promised to bring it up to date for the Centenary, but somehow found he had one or two (hundred) other things to do, gets round to it, the web will probably be the first to know!

Some readers may be aware that, since more or less everything on the world wide web is theoretically accessible to everyone in the world, it is possible, using what are known as Search Engines, to find out information on any topic. So an Australian aborigine (a wired one, that is) wanting to know about Salviati reredoses, would ask one simple question and, if he is lucky, instantly discover that there is one above the High Altar at St Faith‘s, the machine having found the words in the description of  our church! Already we have had communications from people looking for the names of Atcherley and Turnick, both of which are buried in our site (or St Mary‘s, which is linked to it) — and doubtless others will have found the answers to their prayers by such methods and not acknowledged the fact in our Visitors‘ Book.

So what was once a refuge for nerds and anoraks is fast becoming the central data base of the world. The time is probably coming when the electronic recording and communication of knowledge of every sort will be the first and most comprehensive resource of mankind. It goes without saying, I think, that the Christian Church ignores this fact at its peril; I am more than happy, therefore, that St Faith‘s is in there with the best (and the worst) of them. Anyone who has never sampled the web in general and St Faith‘s site in particular, is welcome to mention the fact to me or to Denis Griffiths: if there is the demand, we will lay on another demonstration.

A  Letter  from  Malawi
Frank and & Margaret Houghton

This is an extract from a letter received from Mac and Dot Forsyth, following the news of an anonymous donation to Medic Malawi received via St Faith‘s Vicarage.

`What fantastic news — a donation of £10,000!  It means that we can go ahead with all the plumbing and electrics for the hospital, and with the other donations coming we are now confident that all will be up and running well before we leave.  It also means that we can confidently leave here at the end of the academic year without the sense that maybe we should have stayed on to finish things.  Because we can look more accurately at a start date, we can begin to look for staff as well.  We already have in mind one nurse, possibly two, and an administrator to do all the administration and finances.  Hawkins Gondwe is going to sound him out this week.  We are working on how we can appoint a doctor, hopefully with the help of the Academy to provide accommodation and so share the cost.‘

The letter says it all.  How can we, who represent Medic Malawi, say thank you to our anonymous benefactor adequately, but to commend the work done with donations received so far.  I cannot emphasise too much how this hospital is going to change the health and life expectancy of the community of Mnunthama.  Our heartfelt thanks yet again to those who care so much for others.

Vera Hassall, R.I.P.  Fr Dennis

Very long-standing members of St Faith‘s will be sorry to hear of the recent death of Fr William Hassall‘s sister, Vera, at the age of 93.

Through her brother‘s seventeen years‘ incumbency of St Faith‘s (1947—1975) Vera, then a Headmistress in Wolverhampton and regular visitor to the parish, enjoyed many school holidays in Crosby and took a full and active part in the worship and social life of the church.

Owing to his increasing ill-health, on All Saints‘ Day 1965, following the celebration of the third and final mass of the morning, Fr William left Crosby, returning to his beloved Wolverhampton to make his home with Vera, and once again worship at St Stephen‘s where, prior to his move to St Faith‘s, he had been Vicar for fifteen years.

In recent years Vera had lived at a home for the elderly in Ross-on-Wye where, whilst holidaying in the area, I was on two separate occasions able to visit and chat with her about the old days and the happy memories she treasured of good times spent at Crosby. Sadly, advancing dementia and worsening health took their toll, and her quality of life greatly diminished. In her dotage she enjoyed a great deal of care and attention from the dedicated staff at Ross Court, and was shown much love and devotion by her nephew, Peter, and his wife Margaret.

For some of us, Vera‘s death brings an era to an end. An old, faithful and valued friend of St Faith‘s has passed over to the other side where, God willing, the trumpets have sounded a joyous welcome.

Bible Reading Fellowship

There are no longer enough subscribers for the Bible Reading Fellowship for them to be ordered through Church.

We are grateful to those who have looked after the distribution of the booklets through the years. For many years it has been Margaret Jones, and before her Anne Vincent. The booklets may now be obtained by individuals by post or from church book shops.