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March 2002

Christ has many services to be done;
some are easy, others are difficult;
some bring honour, others bring reproach;
some are suitable to our natural inclinations and material interests,
others are contrary to both.
In some we may please Christ and please ourselves,
in others we cannot please Christ except by denying ourselves.
Yet the power to do all these things is given us
in Christ who strengthens us.
Lord God, in our baptism you called us
and brought us into your Church,
commissioning us to witness to the faith of the crucified Christ
and to be his faithful disciples to the end of our lives.
So now with joy we take upon ourselves
the yoke of obedience and for love of you
engage ourselves to seek and do your perfect will.
We are no longer our own, but yours.
Put us to what you will
rank us with whom you will;
put us to doing, put us to suffering;
let us be employed for you or laid aside for you,
exalted for you or brought low for you;
let us be full, let us be empty;
let us have all things, let us have nothing;
We freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to
your pleasure and disposal
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
you are ours and we are yours.
So be it. And the covenant which we have made
on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.

From the Vicar

Dear Friends,

A new year often brings with it feelings of new hope and expectancy. The beginning of this new year also brought much sadness to the family of S. Faith‘s with the death of our dear friend and Reader, Marion Ashworth. In only a few days her condition moved from bad to worse and on 25th January the Bishop of Warrington celebrated her funeral rites. There was a good turn-out, not only from our own two churches but from Clergy and Readers in the Deanery. She was a faithful servant of the church and a good friend to so many. She will be greatly missed and we pray that she may rest in peace.

One of the many blessings of the Common Worship Liturgy in the Church of England has been the rich provisions made in the funeral liturgy. `Ah, the good old days,‘ some people say: `the golden age of the Prayer Book!‘  We have moved quite some way from a 1662 Prayer Book Funeral Service which made no provision for a sermon, or for the name of the departed to be mentioned (there would be a justifiable outcry if we didn‘t preach or mention the name of the departed!) to a Common Worship 2000 liturgy which engages with real feelings and emotions and yet one which points us to the great hope and reality of eternity. Those of you who have been to funerals in S. Faith‘s in recent months will perhaps have heard these words which come from one of the prayers used at the Commendation:

`Almighty God, as you bring us face to face with our mortality, we thank you for making each one of us in your own image and giving us gifts in body, mind and spirit...‘

These are poignant words and are appropriate particularly in this season of Lent. During Lent we are faced with the reality of the human condition: we are frail, we are vulnerable, our bodies don‘t always work as we would like them to! We cannot avoid suffering or pain, no matter how hard we pray. Our emotions are complex and sometimes difficult to understand. Some find it too painful to love others, yet long to be loved themselves. We wonder sometimes why we do the things we do. We can look for love in the wrong places. For many of us life can sometimes be a series of falling down, being helped to our feet again and, with God‘s grace, starting again. As the song puts it: ?Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again!‘ The Church gives us the season of Lent so that we can do just that. God is more forgiving, more loving and merciful than we can ever imagine.

Easter speaks to us of new life and new possibilities. It will speak to us far more powerfully if we have made a real effort during Lent. I remember a lady once telling me that she never went to church on Good Friday because it made her sad! How on earth can we fully appreciate what Easter truly means if we haven‘t first travelled along the Way of the Cross? There can be no Easter Day without Good Friday. Those who attend the special services during Lent and Holy Week know how powerfully the liturgy speaks to us. The Holy Week Liturgies include real drama - because they speak to us of real events - involving real people - and with a real message for a hungry and needy world today. I do urge you to make a very special effort during Holy Week and Easter. The dramatic events we celebrate changed, quite literally,  the course of the world. And it can be so today. Our lives can be changed if only we make the effort and place ourselves at God‘s disposal.

`Almighty God, as you bring us face to face with our mortality, we thank you for making each one of us in your own image and giving us gifts in body, mind and spirit... O come to my heart, Lord Jesus, there is room in my heart for thee‘

With every blessing for Holy Week and the joys of Easter.

Father Neil

Diary of an Ordinand         February 2002:  Half way there!

I can hardly believe it, just about halfway through the second year. The time seems to have flown by, probably because I spend my time meeting one assignment deadline after another, to say nothing of the group presentations, a silent retreat at Mirfield and college worship that has needed to be planned and delivered. This term‘s module is on Liturgy and Pastoral Practice and it has been really interesting so far. I am currently researching death, dying and the hereafter for my next essay.

Of course there has been my own personal milestone as well, preaching my first sermon, on Christmas Day at St. Mary‘s. The positive responses from everybody really did encourage me and the whole experience was uplifting and affirming. I‘m now thinking about my next sermon, which will be at St. Faith‘s during Holy Week. (I‘ve been a life long member of St. Faith‘s but climbing the steps into the pulpit will be an entirely new experience, and a very scary one!)

Next week I start my second year placement, which I know will provide a real learning curve for me and hopefully go towards fulfilling a great sense of vocation. I will be working until the end of May at Jospice in Thomton as their Anglican Chaplain. Sister Julia is to be my supervisor and has already made me feel ?at home‘ there. It is ideal for me because I can take morning prayer on a couple of mornings a week before I go on to school. I shall visit patients after school and will be able to take Sunday services. I understand that Jospice is now quite ecumenical and every effort is made to meet every patient‘s individual spiritual needs.

On Easter Sunday I go off to Wakefield for an eight day residential. The theme for the week is Christian Mission in a Plural World. I‘m sure that the week will be very challenging in many ways but it will be good to focus entirely on the course work without having to plan any school work as well.

May I ask that you all continue to remember me in your prayers as I embark on my placement and as I carry on with my studies. Despite all the extra practical work there is no let-up in the other demands of the course and the academic studies and essays keep going regardless of anything else. Can I assure you as always that you are all in my thoughts and prayers. Without your love and support I know that I would not now be looking forward to the second half of my training with increased confidence and enthusiasm. God Bless.

Denise McDougall

Marion Ashworth R.I.P.

Homily preached by Fr Neil at the Funeral Mass of Marion Ashworth, R.I.P. on Friday 25th January 2002, and reprinted as a tribute to one who gave so much to St Faith‘s and who will be missed by so many.

I‘m sure I speak on behalf of everyone as we extend our deepest sympathy, our love and our prayers to Marion‘s sister, Sheila, and to members of the family at this time. It is so good to see so many people here today representing many different strands of Marion‘s life. And it is good not only to have Bishop David with us today to celebrate this funeral liturgy but clergy and readers from the Deanery; singers and eucharistic ministers from both churches and friends of Marion‘s from the Roman Catholic and Methodist Churches bringing up the offertory gifts.

Many of you knew Marion far better than me; some since childhood! I had the privilege of meeting her early in 1999 a few months before I came here to be Vicar. I couldn‘t have hoped for a more supportive and loyal colleague.

There may well be two over-riding feelings today  a sense of profound sadness that things didn‘t turn out differently for Marion, yet also a sense of relief that her suffering has ended. Those of us who knew Marion wouldn‘t have wanted her to suffer for a second longer than was necessary.

Marion was a kind and caring person with an impish sense of fun. She worked in the pharmacy department at the Royal Hospital before she began teaching ™ in the days when teachers were teachers and not fortune-telling target setters! She taught in Forefield Lane School and there are some here today I know who are grateful that Miss Ashworth taught their children! She taught also at Crosby Road School.

Marion received her Christian upbringing in S. John‘s Waterloo, where her family had many connections. She has been a member of this congregation for some 30 years and she has served this Church in many and varied ways. In her early days she was Brown Owl here and of course in recent years she enjoyed serving the Church in the capacity of Reader. In the last couple of years Marion‘s duties as a reader expanded and she enjoyed visiting homes preparing parents for a forthcoming baptism, leading part of the baptism service, and taking funerals.

Since retirement she was very busy and was involved with many things: the Anchorage at the Albert Dock, Crossroads here in Crosby and a volunteer for the National Trust at Speke Hall. Her diary was always full. She enjoyed the studying she did for an MA; she had passed all the exams and it would have been completed had things been different last year.

She led Morning Prayer here each Monday morning, and Bible Studies at S. Mary‘s, where she regularly attended the Wednesday morning Prayer Book communion service; she led Advent Meditations at S. Mary‘s, answered the door on a Tuesday to people calling at the vicarage to book baptisms and weddings. (We forget how daunting it is for people to come and knock on the door of a church or vicarage. They need a friendly reassuring smile and they certainly got it.) Whatever it was, Marion was diligent in her duties in both parishes and more widely in the Deanery. Marion would enjoy going to Bootle to lead Morning Prayer and preach and always came back full of it. Such friendly people, she would say, and very refreshing to do things differently.

She was secure in her own faith and she was not frightened of embracing things that were different or styles of worship that were different. It didn‘t matter to her whether it was Rosary and Benediction or Bible Study  she thoroughly enjoyed it all! Perhaps if more of us could be a little less bigoted and a bit more open the church would be a healthier place.

Everyone was so delighted that Marion seemed to be doing so much better. She spoke enthusiastically about getting back to things, but alas, it was not to be. She was sad to have missed last year‘s pilgrimage to Walsingham, but not half as sad as she was at having to miss Wimbledon! Tennis was one of her real passions! About a year ago, when a certain parish priest was performing as the Pantomime Dame, Marion pulled his leg and said that she would be sporting a more upmarket wig than `Widow Twankey‘. She tried always have a positive outlook and not to be defeated.

She was genuinely moved by the loving care and attention she received from people when she was ill. Typically, she wouldn‘t want to put anybody out  she received so much care and help, but that is only what she would have done for any one of us if things had been different.

We gather today to place our human emotions; our genuine thanksgivings, our grief  where they belong at the foot of the Cross. For Christians, the reality that has to be faced is that symbol and mystery at the heart of it all. At the heart of the Christian faith is the Cross. The mystery of the Cross teaches us that life and death, joy and sadness are inextricably bound together. We do not celebrate Easter Day  before first  going through  the  pain  of  the  Cross.  No  matter  how unbearable we feel the pain is, we know it doesn‘t stop there: we know today that Marion has moved on from this world to God‘s eternal paradise. In that heavenly place, says S. John in today‘s first reading, ?God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.‘  That was the faith that sustained Marion on earth and it must sustain us today. Today Marion is free from pain, distress and suffering; we need to ask God to give us strength to wipe away the tears from our eyes. Today Marion will experience the fullness of God‘s healing love; we need to ask God to bring together the strands of our lives, to grant us his healing and to make us whole.

Marion‘s is a life which has been so varied, so full; one in which she has given freely and unreservedly to those around her. Like so many, we will never know the full extent of her influence upon those around her. Lives have been touched, changed and most definitely influenced for good. We can only thank God for that and for the privilege of knowing her.

We saw Marion last in Church on S. Stephen‘s Day for what has become the traditional Boxing Day mass followed by sherry and mince pies in the Vicarage. She had written her sermon for the Sunday after Christmas but was not well enough to preach it. In the early hours of 5th January she was taken into hospital  the inevitable was going to happen, and it happened quite quickly.

On the night before she died, she received the last rites of the Church. No sooner had I finished the blessing than she removed the oxygen and told me to go and have a good rest on my holiday. I couldn‘t do much else, could I? She paused and said ?Maybe ... maybe I‘ll see you when you get back.‘ I think we both knew that wouldn‘t happen. After a much longer pause she said `We‘re in God‘s hands now‘. It wasn‘t said with any fear. It wasn‘t said with any anxiety, but a real sense of peace and trust; a longing to come home and to rest. Her comment put me in mind of these words with which I conclude:

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year.
Give me a light
that I may tread safely into the unknown.
And he replied.
Go out into the darkness
and put your hand into the hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light
and safer than a known way!
So I went forth and
finding the Hand of God,
trod gladly into the night.

That Sort of Girl...

From the Parish News for Gosforth with Nether Wasdale and Wasdale Head:

`She was a very attractive lay and had a number of suitors.‘

(Many readers will of course recall that the Vicar of these Lakeland parishes is none other than Fr Bert Galloway, late of this parish. Good to see that he hasn‘t lost his sense of humour. Ed.)

The Things they Say ...

Allegedly real quotations from recent GSCE History student exam answers.

The sun never set on the British Empire because the British Empire is in the East and the sun sets in the West.

Queen Victoria was the longest queen. She sat on a thorn for 63 years. Her death was the final event which ended her reign.

One of the cases of the Revolutionary War was the English put tacks in their tea. Finally the colonists won the War and no longer had to pay for their taxis.

Thomas Jefferson, A Virgin, and Benjamin Franklin were two singers of the declaration of Independence. Franklin discovered electricity by rubbing two cats backwards and declared: `A horse divided against itself cannot stand.‘ Franklin died in 1790 and is still dead.

Question and Answer

Question: The Bishop of Oxford sprinkled holy water on Oxford United‘s pitch to reverse a supposed curse. How does water become holy?

Answer: My vicar told me that the way he made Holy Water was to take ordinary water and boil the hell out of it.

 Robert Lappin, Middlesbrough (cutting supplied by Fr Neil!)

An Easter Reflection

... from the sermons and writings of Father Derek Allen (1925—-1991), former Principal of St Stephen‘s House, Oxford, and Vicar of St Saviour‘s, Eastbourne, supplied by Fr Dennis.

There is an extraordinary coming together of darkness and light in the celebration of Holy Week and Easter. This reflects something fundamental in human experience, for darkness and light co-exist at different levels in our daily lives too. `O ye Light and Darkness, bless ye the Lord, praise him and magnify him for ever‘, as the Church sings in the Benedicite. A priest-friend of mine insisted that we should be `Benedicite-Christians‘, praising, blessing, magnifying the Lord in each and every circumstance of life, however bewildering and perplexing that may seem to be. Holy Week itself is a season of unstinted praise and thanksgiving: ?we bless thee for thine inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ‘. It has all been leading up to Easter, the festival of new creation and a new beginning. Let us all make Eastertide, with its repeated Alleluias, a season of sustained rejoicing in the risen Lord, of praise and thanksgiving for the new life that he continues to bring into the darkness of the world.

The Resurrection happened in the darkness, in the night. No-one was there to see what happened and indeed nobody could possibly see all that happened, for the Resurrection was an act of God — God raised Jesus from the dead — and the acts of God are not seen, only their effects. That is why in the greatest liturgical act of the Christian year, the Paschal or Easter Vigil, the celebration has to begin after sunset on Holy Saturday and end before sunrise on Easter Day. That celebration is rich in its symbolism of the new life, for the Resurrection is not a coming back to life on the part of Jesus but the beginning of a new creation. A fire is kindled in the night. From it the great pillar of light, the Easter Candle representing Christ our light, is carried into the darkened church and then the Easter proclamation announces the night of liberation, the night of salvation, prefigured in the Exodus deliverance of the Old Testament and fulfilled in the Resurrection of our Lord and our rising to new life in him in our baptism. Our baptismal vows are renewed and the liturgy concludes with the Christian Passover meal, the Mass of the Resurrection, the memorial of our Lord‘s death and Resurrection and our continuing union with Him crucified, risen and glorified, in the Blessed Sacrament of Holy Communion.

In our world to-day it seems more than ever significant that this great service takes place in the darkness. There can be no doubt that the powers of darkness are furiously at work today. We are conscious of darkness around us and darkness in the secret places of our own inner world. But light shines into the darkness, the light of the risen Lord, and nothing can ever overcome him who is the Light of the World — light of our world — and who has destroyed death on the life-giving Tree of his Cross and who has opened for us the door to everlasting life in him.

All that is visible now only to the eye of faith. To the world outside it is all a fairy tale without lasting meaning. Sometimes for us it is hard enough to believe the good news. We live in that peculiar in-between time, with Christ's resurrection a fact in the past and a reality in the present, but our own resurrection still to be looked forward to. Our celebration of Eastertide can revive our expectancy and quicken our hope. John Keble said that Holy Saturday was the Church‘s day, the day after the death of Jesus, the day of silence and expectancy, when ?the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.‘ (T. S. Eliot,  East Coker) It is the Church‘s day also in another sense, because we remember the Lord‘s descent into the kingdom of death and darkness. As he once ?descended into Hell‘ so it is the church‘s mission to let him be present in all the hells of our own time, the public and social hells, the personal and private hells. Wherever there is despair or desolation, bondage or addiction, loneliness or dread, Christ wills to be present with his salvation and new life.

It is up to all of us in the Church to realise that presence, for some of us by our active mission and caring in the midst of such appalling agonies and darknesses, for all of us by our prayer and intercession, ?taking a step‘ (as Anthony Bloom puts it) into these situations. By our faith and our prayer and by being present there with hope, Christ‘s risen life and power can be set free even today for us to share ourselves and then to share with others. May God bless you all this Eastertide and may it be a wonderfully hopeful, joyful season for you and may you by your prayer bring that hope and joy to others.

Charity Fun Day    The Vicar writes:

Last October the PCCs of our two churches met together for the first time to discuss the Diocesan Review. (The Diocesan Review was not the most exciting of subjects for discussion!) However, from that meeting two important things were decided, namely:

 1. We would have a joint PCC meeting once a year
 2. We would mount a joint fund-raising venture for charity.

In both churches we struggle to make ends meet and in doing so we can be in danger of forgetting the real poverty which exists in other parts of the world. What we decided to do was to have a fun-day, organised between the two parishes, and we would give all the proceeds away. If we split the proceeds in four then each church could nominate a charity at home and an overseas one.

I invite those of you who are interested in being part of the planning group to come to an open meeting in the Vicarage on TUESDAY 12th MARCH at 8pm.

The Answer

If you wake up in the morning
And your path seems dark and drear,
You feel you won‘t get through the day
Without a sigh or tear.
You think your nerves are going to snap
And everything goes wrong,
You‘ve quite forgotten how to smile
Or praise the Lord in song —
Just pause for one brief moment
And bow your head in prayer,
Then ask the Lord to undertake
And banish every care.
No problem is too great for Him,
There‘s nothing he can‘t do,
For Jesus specialises
In understanding you.

Nell Hawkins

Crosby Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Robert Sells

Sunday 17th March 2002 at 7.30 pm
in St Faith‘s

Smetana: `Bartered Bride‘ Overture
Dvorak: Cello Concerto
Soloist: Jonathan Aasgard
(Principal Cellist, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra)
Mozart `Jupiter‘ Symphony

Admission £6 (£4 concessions) from Pritchard‘s Bookshops or at the door

Walsingham Pilgrimage 2002    8th - 11th August

This year the majortiy of participants has asked for a three-day visit, so the above dates have been booked. It is hoped to include a visit to St Botolph‘s, Boston (`the Boston Stump‘) on the journey to Walsingham. The church is one of England‘s largest parish churches, at th heart of an historic port and market town. For those who have been on previous pilgrimages, this will be instead of a stop at Kings Lynn. A visit to the city of Norwich at the weekend is also planned.

Please pay a £25 non-returnable deposit by Sunday 7th April. Cheques should be made payable to ?St Faith‘s PCC‘ and should be handed to Hilary Pennington or forwarded to the Vicarage. Some places are available if there is anyobe else who would like to go.

Don't Forget your Easter Bells!

Please remember to bring a bell (or something loud) with you for the Easter Vigil Service. Last year I think Frances Luft‘s claxon won the prize for the loudest sound. There will be an extra glass of champagne for anyone who can do better than that this year!

Parish Pilgrimage 2004 to Conques

By the time you read this you may have seen the display in church of the French village CONQUES where S. Faith‘s relics lie. If you are interested in being part of a pilgrimage please indicate on the list in church. Once we have an idea of numbers we can make some detailed enquiries regarding how much it might cost. But with two years notice we can start saving!

It would be marvellous to go there on pilgrimage, so please give it some thought.

Electoral Roll

Every six years the Electoral Roll has to be completely revised. We forget the current one and start again from scratch. Please take a form to complete and pass one on to anyone who wishes to be included on the Electoral Roll. If you wish to be on the PCC or to exercise a vote at a PCC meeting or AGM you need to be on the roll. At the moment we have a large number of people on the roll who do not attend church. The roll needs to be as accurate as possible because the amount of money we have to pay to the Diocese is dependant (to some extent) on the number of people on the roll. Those on the roll who do not contribute financially place somewhat of a burden on those who do contribute financially. Forms are available at the back of Church. Please complete them and place them in the appropriate box as soon as possible.

Please call me if you have any questions regarding the Electoral Roll.

Many thanks
Joan Tudhope
(Electoral Roll Officer)

Services for Holy Week and Easter

Sunday 24th March
7.30am Morning Prayer
8.00am Holy Eucharist
10.30am Blessing of Palms in Merchant Taylors‘ School
 and Procession to Church for
11.00am  SOLEMN EUCHARIST and Dramatic Reading
 of the Passion
7.00pm Sung Compline and Benediction

Monday 25th March
10.00am Morning Prayer
10.30am Holy Eucharist
6.00pm Evening Prayer
8.00pm Stations of the Cross and Holy Eucharist

Tuesday 26th March
9.00am Morning Prayer
9.30am Holy Eucharist
6.00pm Evening Prayer
8.00pm Holy Eucharist

Wednesday 27th March
9.00am Morning Prayer
9.30am Holy Eucharist
6.00pm Evening Prayer
8.00pm Holy Eucharist and Liturgy of Reconciliation
 (Preacher: Denise McDougall)

Following the Eucharist there will be an opportunity for those who wish to make an individual confession and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Thursday 28th March
9.00am Morning Prayer
10.30am Diocesan Eucharist with Blessing of the Oils
 in the Cathedral
6.00pm Evening Prayer

Friday 29th March
9.00am Morning Prayer and Litany
 (especially for children and families)
11.00am Ecumenical Act of Witness at Crosby Civic Hall
12.001.30pm Prayer and Reflection before the Cross

Saturday 30th March
 followed by Champagne, Easter biscuits & fireworks!

Sunday 31st March
8.00am Holy Eucharist
10.30am Morning Prayer
 followed by wine
 followed by Parish Easter Party:
 An Olde Tyme Music Hall‘

Vicars Fiddle Congregation Figures to Avoid Church `Tax‘
From an article by Jonathan Petrie in the Sunday Telegraph‘.

Anglican vicars have been deliberately underestimating attendance at services to minimise the amount of ?tax‘ they have to pay to central funds, officials have revealed. Figures just published show that average Church attendance is almost 1,400,000, significantly higher than had been thought and well above the most recent figure of 995,700.

The Church was deeply embarrassed two years ago when its official annual statistics revealed that Sunday attendance had dropped below one million for the first time. Officials insisted at the time that the statistics were inherently flawed because they masked changing patterns of churchgoing, and they have now revised the way that they are collected.

They have revealed, however, that parts of the problem with the previous figures was that they were used by many dioceses to calculate the `parish share‘ or annual tax (he means the quota. Ed.) levied on each church. Some vicars did not take a proper count, or used services when there were few people present to keep their parish share as low as possible.

Under the new system, all clergy make the count over a four-week period in October, and include weekly services and the growing number of elderly and housebound people receiving Communion at home. The new figures show that, at high points, attendance figures approach three million, and the research will be hailed by Church leaders as evidence that the Church is far from the moribund institution depicted by its critics.

The research has established that there have been dramatic changes in the way people attend church in recent years. Sunday services have declined in popularity with growth of alternative attractions. Many more people are going in the middle of the week or just once a month, and using the other Sundays for shoppng or visiting families.

Soon the Church will also produce new figures to show that attendance at the country‘s 42 cathedrals during 2001 was higher than in the previous year. Cathedrals reported a `significant rise‘ of up to 20% in Christmas worshippers, an increase which many clerics ascribe to the the September 11th terrorist attacks. Peter Brierley, a former Goverment statistician who produces independent statistics often criticised as negative by the Church, welcomed the new research. He added: `I am sure the Church will make a song and dance about them, but we will have to wait and see what the long-term trends turn out to be...?

Talk R.I.P.
18 June 1992 - 28 January 2002

A number of people who came to the Civic Hall for the Hall Redevelopment meeting expressed an understandable anxiety that things may be moving too fast if we are to submit a bid to the Community Fund by April. If we don‘t, however, it may be another year before we can do so. We are already having to spend money we don‘t have on improving facilities which should have been replaced some 15 years ago (£10,000 for a new boiler). The storage for the playgroup‘s toys is in a most disgusting state. None of us would put up with such an dreadful state in our own homes. We cannot afford to talk and talk and talk. The talking has been going on for ten years. On 18th June 1992 at the PCC meeting ?discussion was invited around the subject of refurbishment of the Church Hall. It was felt that major refurbishment was needed, that advice would need to be sought and funding raised‘. And so the talking began!

Ten years on (almost) saw the first `public meeting‘ to take plans forward. Who says that things are moving too quickly?

Fr. Neil

Maundy Thursday Cathedral Eucharist

On page 30 you will see a copy of a letter I received from Bishop David regarding the Diocesan Eucharist in the Cathedral on Maundy Thursday. It would be good if people were able to support the service, especially those who are Eucharistic Ministers, as well as those who assist with Baptism Visiting, Marriage Preparation, Sunday School Teachers, intercessors, lesson-readers and those who are sides-people. The Blessing of the Oils is an important part of the service and helps us to realise that what we do in the parishes is part of the wider apostolic ministry not just within our Diocese, but as part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church throughout the world. The service begins at 1030 and lasts about an hour. Please come along if you can.

Fr. Neil

Church Hall Developments

Report of the first Public Consultation Meeting to consider the redevelopment of S. Faith‘s Church Hall held on 28th January, 2002 in Crosby Civic Hall.

Fr. Neil Kelley chaired the meeting and 30 people were present, representing the congregation and hall user groups. Fr. Neil welcomed those present and thanked them for attending.

He explained that this meeting was the first of two public consultation meetings to be held with regard to plans to redevelop S. Faith‘s Church Hall by submitting a bid to the Community Fund (formerly known as the Lottery Fund). During his presentation to the meeting he outlined the history of the hall, in that it had been built in 1906, some six years after the completion of the Church. The upper room and kitchen were added later.

The current hall is in use for most parts of the day, there being some 500/600 people using the facilities during any one week. Most of the groups and people using the hall are not church based and are drawn from the surrounding community.

The hall is in urgent need of upgrading and redevelopment.  A new boiler had to be installed a few weeks ago, replacing one which should have gone out of service some 15 years ago. This has cost £10,000 and we have had to take out a loan to pay for it. Two weeks ago opportunist thieves entered the hall, stole a handbag with hall keys inside, necessitating a replacement lock to be fitted and new sets of keys to be made and distributed. On Friday 25th January the hall had been broken into and the curtains in the kitchen set alight. A major fire was averted by someone telephoning the fire brigade.  A large padlock had now been fitted and keys distributed. Security will feature highly on any redevelopment of the premises.

To begin the consultation process all hall user groups had been invited to complete a questionnaire to say what their needs and aspirations would be in any development of the premises. en organisations had responded with very varying needs. Storage, toilets, heating, safety and security featured highly on all respondents‘ replies.

Questions and comments were then invited from those present, including:

? How much money are we likely to get?
We anticipate that we will need to ask for a substantial sum, possibly £300,000+ and will try to ensure that any bid submitted covers everything required.
? Have we tried fundraising from other sources?
Not yet, we have had to raise money for other items, such as the new boiler, but will look at possible funding trusts for possible match-funding purposes.

? Do we have to prove to the Community Fund that any redevelopment will benefit the community as a whole?
The Community Fund will want to be certain that it will be a useful and necessary building which reaches a wide and varied clientele. The hall is already open to any user groups if there is a slot that is not already taken. There is no doubt it is already widely used.

? Is April too soon to put in a well worked up bid?
As it will take six to eight months until we hear whether or not the bid is successful, if the bid is delayed to the next round the implications are that we would have to maintain the hall for at least another 12 months with more money being needlessly spent. If the April bid is unsuccessful we will put in a bid to the following round; however the amount of money the Fund give out may well be reduced.

? Will there be a paid worker?
There are no plans to have a paid worker and the bid is not dependent on having a development worker in post. This doesn‘t mean we can‘t make such an appointment in the future if we felt that was the right thing to do.

? Do we have the support of the local councillors?
Claire Curtis Thomas has expressed her support. Fr. Neil has written to invite the local councillors to the next meeting on February 11th.

Other points made were to look at:
 ? acoustics
 ? lowering of the ceiling
 ? installation of a multi purpose floor
 ? loop system to assist the hard of hearing

Denis Whalley had spoken with an adviser from the Community Fund, who said they were very interested in the proposal and that the fact that they had given £3,500 for the consultation process was an indication of their support. Their advice is to proceed with the application. Consideration of the next round of bids is in April and it is therefore imperative that we move quickly on the application. We will use some of the remaining money from this small grant to purchase a ?Funder-finder‘ software package to identify potential grant making trusts.

Joan Tudhope

A  Poet on Prayer       Chris Price

In this occasional series, I present famous religious poems of the ages, and try to explain something of what makes them special. This one is a favourite of mine, and one which I have recently been teaching: reading and explaining poetry of this quality is one of the pleasures I shall miss when I hang up my gown this summer...


Prayer the Churches banquet, Angels age,
God‘s breath in man returning to his birth,
The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,
The Christian plummet sounding heav‘n and earth.

Engine against th‘Almightie, sinners towre,
Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
The six-daies-world transposing in an houre,
A kind of tune, which all things heare and fear;

Softness, and peace, and joy, and love, and blisse,
Exalted Manna, gladnesse of the best,
Heaven in ordinarie, man well drest,
The milkie way, the bird of Paradise,

Church-bels beyond the stares heard, the souls bloud,
The land of spices; something understood.

George Herbert, early 17th century Anglican priest and poet — and arguably the greatest of the many marvellous poets and writers of whom the Anglican Church may justly be proud and grateful — is perhaps less well-known than his famous contemporary John Donne (?Ask not for whom the bell tolls: it tolls for thee‘) but probably deserves to be better known. Seemingly destined for a life of academic and courtly fame, he took instead the life of a humble parish priest, as Vicar of Bemerton, near Salisbury, where in a  few devoted years he wrote a wonderful collection of religious poems called ?The Temple‘ before dying sadly young, aged only 40. He is known to church people as a hymn writer (?Teach me, my God and king...), but far more of his poems, including this sonnet, richly repay study.

Within the straight-jacket of the sonnet‘s prescribed 14 lines and its prescribed rhyme and rhythm scheme, Herbert produces what is really little more than a catalogue of phrases describing prayer: but they are wonderfully vivid, varied and striking, and packed with ?metaphysical‘ images: word-pictures which present apt, but unlikely and sometimes daring ideas.

He begins with the familiar idea of prayer as something which feeds the church, then proceeds to link it with the timelessness of the immortal spirits we call angels. Then he speaks of it as a returning to God of the spirit which created man, an explanation of the soul of man and an expression of man‘s continuing journey to God. Finally in the first verse (quatrain) comes the bold idea of a depth-sounding measuring the distance between earth and heaven.

The images become increasingly bold, even warlike. Prayer is a siege engine attacking God; a tower from which man may hurl missiles at the Almighty; a returning of God‘s thunder to its creator and an emblem of the spear which pierced Christ‘s side at Golgotha. It can in one brief spell turn upside down the traditional six days of creation in its direct approach to God, and it is a divine melody heard and held in awe by all.

The next line is a sublimely simple list, cataloguing the gentler aspects of prayer, before the poet turns to more exalted metaphors. It is man‘s version of the heavenly food of Manna, it is the highest experience of good men. It brings heaven into man‘s level of comprehension, and presents him to God as in his Sunday best. Next Herbert moves out into the celestial dimension of the stars and the exotic picture of the fabled bird of Paradise.

The final couplet begins with the beautiful image of bells heard in heaven (and equally from heaven), and continues with the concept of prayer as that which gives life to the soul. It is the legendary eastern land of spices: and finally it is something which gives man at least a partial understanding of God himself.

Just a list, then, but a sublime one, and one which, in fourteen compact lines possibly says more about prayer than the more prosaic utterances of a shelf-full of theologians. At its best, poetry can be an arrow penetrating spiritual truth and experience; and this is poetry at its best.

A Malawi Update ... or, The Humbling of an Hostess        Margaret Haughton

Oh surely not, they could not mean the weekend before Christmas ... why change it, there is so much still to be done ... ‘When can we buy the Christmas tree ... I haven‘t finished the shopping ... the freezer will be emptied again ... it was only to have been for three days, now it‘s for nearly a week!

These, I have to admit, were the inhospitable first thoughts I had on hearing the news that our visitors from Malawi were asking to change the dates of the their visit, plus lengthening it because another venue was not available and we were ?family‘. How wrong could I have been. Entirely. Once the Dzantenges walked through our front door all that mattered was to make them feel at home and experience as much of our surroundings as possible. Christmas and its hectic whirl was a mile away.

Whilst Mac and Frank visited schools to take assemblies and talk to pupils about life in Malawi and the history of the building of the ?Clinic‘, Eunice spent here time most productively studying the rules and skills of snooker; an important championship was being battled out on BBC 2. A great luxury for a busy Vicar‘s wife, full time teacher, member of the Mothers‘ Union and mother. Television is almost non-existent in Malawi and anyway, far too expensive for most households. It was all good therapy for a lady who had left hospital two days before making her epic flight to England, having had quite serious surgery. Needless to say, Frank having packed what little they had, Eunice arrived in England with a short-sleeved blouse, cotton skirt and open sandals, Emmanuel was without shoes and wearing cotton trousers. All was easily rectified as visits to charity shops and many gifts of cast-offs from friendly parishioners in Plymouth, their first port of call and main centre. Experiencing some of the coldest weather we have had for some time, whilst the Dzantenges were with us the central heating worked overtime, and we boiled, but our visitors felt the need for extra layers. Indeed, Eunice sat for two days watching snooker wrapped in a large, woolly scarf, a gift on arrival, and Frank wore two sweaters and a fleece, again a gift.

Our itinerary included the two cathedrals, which were an absolute wonder. Also the waterfront was a marvel. Eunice was a keen participant in a Christmas workshop at the Embroiderers‘ Guild to which I belong. Learning how to make colourful items from scraps and card was quite exciting because 24
she could take these ideas back to the village for the ladies to try. Needless to say, all spare bits were packed up for future use.
Emmanuel fascinated me. He was too good to be true. Never did he argue, be awkward, have a tantrum, or any of the many delights western children can dream up to irritate parents. He always smiled and battled with English in a most admirable way. He is too young to be taught English in school so was really thrown in at the deep end. Never daunted, he managed to take part in all activities, even Merchant Taylors‘ Junior School and St. Faith‘s Sunday School! Before each meal Emmanuel would say grace. He would look around the diners with his huge, dark eyes to make sure everyone was attending, put his hands together and say ?Let us pray‘, in excellent English, then proceed to offer a spontaneous prayer in English, albeit a few words. I could have kept him for ever. On Saturday, our grandson Charlie came to keep Emmanuel company, when we all visited the Squirrel Woods in Formby. What a delight to see two small boys, one very fair one, very dark, racing, rolling down hills and building stores of food as winter feed for the squirrels; there were no barriers there, not even language. At the end of the afternoon, as we arrived back at our cars, we were too many to fit into one, Charlie came to me saying ?My friend would like to come home in our car with me?. How much we can learn from the young.

I would say the highlight of the Crosby visit, both for the Dzentenges and the Houghtons, was the Sunday service at St. Faith‘s. I know Frank was very nervous about his role, but excited about assisting in a high church, the same as All Saints, Mtunthama. Many of the congregation at that service have spoken since about the atmosphere there was. Father Neil was exceptional in his hospitality and I know Frank will treasure his memory of that morning. It was also wonderful that the congregation had the opportunity to meet the Dzentenges and experience the charismatic personalities of this dear family.

When asked what things impressed him most during his visit, Frank said, ?We thought our cathedral was grand, yours is magnificent; we thought our church was lovely, yours is beautiful; we thought our people were kind, yours are overwhelming‘. Also when asked how he would feel returning to his village and poverty, he said, ?This has been a miracle beyond my dreams. I have experienced so much, but I will never speak of these things on my return.‘

On the day of their departure thoughts of Christmas preparations had vanished, and I longed for them to be able to extend their visit so that we could celebrate the true meaning of Christmas with our very special friends.

What we do in Church... and why!   Fr Neil


Last month‘s `Newslink‘ carried an excellent article from the ?Times‘ explaining the use or incense in the Judeo-Christian (and other) traditions. A couple of years ago we began a series of  articles explaining why we do some of the things we do in Church. Many have asked for further articles, so we hope to produce them in the coming months. These will hopefully explain some of the practices which form part of our catholic tradition within the world-wide Anglican Church.

Benediction literally means ?blessing‘. In the service of Benediction we are able to spend time in the presence of Christ who comes to us as the Living Bread. Christ promises to be with us until the end of time (Matthew 28:20) and the Holy Eucharist is one of the ways in which that promise is fulfilled. That is why the sacramental life of the Church is important. We are nourished and sustained by Christ‘s presence, which enables us to go into the world to be his ambassadors. We are fed by Christ Himself, who told his disciples that he was the ?living bread‘ (John 6:35). In giving the Eucharist to his disciples Christ gives a guarantee that he is truly present in the flesh (John 6:51). That is why the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in a tabernacle and a white candle burns to let people know that Christ is present in Sacramental form.

In the liturgy of Benediction we kneel in the presence of the Living Christ, as we do each Sunday morning, and we are given His blessing, His life and His love.

But Sunday mornings can be busy and not always the quietest of places. We need to find other times when we can be still in Christ‘s presence. Benediction gives us that opportunity. With music, silence and words upon which to meditate, we are brought into the presence of Christ and are enabled to worship Him in the beauty of holiness.

Benediction, like the Eucharist, can be celebrated elaborately or more simply. The hymns traditionally used at Benediction can be found in our hymn books: written by S. Thomas Aquinas and translated by the great Tractarian churchman John Mason Neale. In recent years, many churches have included more contemporary hymns and Taizé chants in the service of Benediction. There are no hard and fast rules!

The climax of the service is when the priest blesses the people with the consecrated Host. Following Benediction some acclamations can be used. The Anglican Office Book ?Celebrating Common Prayer‘ gives an order for Eucharistic Devotions (p. 241) which many Anglican parishes use for Benediction. The following prayer and acclamations come from that book. Benediction is on the first Sunday of the month in S. Faith‘s at 7pm and some 20 people normally attend. If you have never been before, why not come along? It is a service which offers valuable time for reflection and peace. The service lasts just under half and hour (and there is no sermon!).

Lord Jesus Christ,
we thank you that in a wonderful sacrament
you have given us the memorial of your passion.
Grant us so to reverence
the sacred mysteries of your body and blood
that we may know within ourselves
and show forth in our lives the fruits of your redemption;
who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Blessed be God.
Blessed be the holy and undivided Trinity.
Blessed be God the Father, maker of heaven and earth.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, truly divine and truly human.
Blessed be the name of Jesus.
Blessed be Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection.
Blessed be Jesus Christ on his throne of glory.
Blessed be Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of his body and blood.
Blessed be God the Holy Spirit, the giver and sustained of life.
Blessed be God in the Virgin Mary, Mother of our Lord and God.
Blessed be God in the angels and saints.
Blessed be God.

Next month‘s article: liturgical colours and liturgical seasons.

Confirmation 2002

Any children or adults wishing to be confirmed should give their names to Fr Neil. The Bishop of Liverpool (The Right Reverend Dr James Jones) will admisnister the sacrament of Confirmation on Sunday 8th September at St Mary‘s (their Patronal Festival).

Lent 5 or Passion Sunday?

In the Church of England‘s new Calendar, the fifth Sunday in Lent is called just that: LENT 5. Although the new calendar acknowledges that Lent 5 is the beginning of Passiontide it doesn‘t call it Passion Sunday! Don‘t ask me why! We at S. Faith‘s will follow the long-established pattern and call it PASSION SUNDAY. Traditionally, one of the features of Passiontide is that the statues and crosses in church are veiled in purple as a sign of mourning: mourning for the Passion of Our Lord. In Passiontide the Lenten season ?moves up a gear‘. I am grateful to Jenny Moss, who has been busy at the sewing machine and has produced some veils for our crosses and statues in church.

Also, Jenny has re-lined the drawers on which the vestments are laid in the sacristy vestment chest for which I am grateful too. (I was originally going to say she‘s re-lined the Vicar‘s drawers but thought that sounded too much like a line from the Pantomime!)

Fr. Neil

Saturday Open Days and Recitals

Mike Broom has put together a varied and exciting programme of recitals beginning after Easter. The support for these recitals grows year by year and it is good to see many new faces coming along ™ it‘s certainly the place to be on a Saturday lunchtime! Soon the list will be at the back of church asking for people to help with the catering. It would be good to include some new people on the list! Watch this space (or the board at the back of church!).

Every Penny Counts....

Some of you may use local stationers for laminating. They usually charge £1 for an A4 sheet and £2 for an A3. The Vicarage now has a laminating machine so if you want anything done ask the Vicar! He‘ll do it for free (and you could put your £1 or £2 into church funds). Every penny counts!

Nave Altar Communion Rails  Fr. Neil

One of the things which makes Maundy Thursday so special at S. Faith‘s is that the whole congregation gathers around the Altar for the Eucharistic Prayer. This clearly symbolises the unity of God‘s people and the intimacy of that first Holy Meal which Jesus shared with his disciples.

At the PCC meeting on 5th December 2001 it was decided after discussion introduced by Dr. Michael Holland to experiment by removing the Communion rails for the Parade Service Sundays (proposed by Chris Price, seconded by Jackie Parry and carried unanimously). This may help to create more of a feeling of `togetherness‘ and on those Sundays I will invite the young people present to gather around the altar for the Eucharistic Prayer where they can see clearly what is going on. I hope that this may enable them to understand what happens at the altar and also demonstrate our commitment, I hope, to our young people having a valued place at the very heart of our worshipping life. On such Sundays people will feel free to kneel at the altar platform or to stand to receive Holy Communion. Both ways are equally valid!

The PCC decided to review this after one year so do please let us have your thoughts and comments on this as the year progresses.

Pantomime 2002

By the time you read this the Parish Pantomime will have come and gone (and we hope it was successful!) Once again, many thanks to all those between our two churches who have given so much of their time in order to make this possible. We are getting quite a following and tickets once again were like gold dust! And as an added bonus (because this is not the reason for doing it) some money is made for church funds too!

[Next month we should be able to print the odd picture (deliberate phrasing) for those who missed the Grand Event, including one or two of the writer above in his full glory (there is nothing like a Dame!). And the video will soon be on sale — see Chris for details.]

Diocese of Liverpool

To: all Licensed Clergy,
Church Army Officers, LayWorkers
Retired Clergy, Readers.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Diocesan Eucharist - Maundy Thursday

You are warmly invited to attend the Diocesan Eucharist on Maundy Thursday, March 28th at 10.30 a.m. at the Cathedral.

It gives us the opportunity during Holy Week to worship together and to renew our commitment to the ministry which has been entrusted to us. I look forward to presiding and preaching on this occasion.

I hope that you will make this service widely known so that others can come and share with us - our spouses, those who are exercising ministry in a wide variety of different ways in our parishes - churchwardens, those in ministry teams, Eucharistic ministers, those preparing for being a Reader or Ordination.

It may be that you normally have a Eucharist in your church that morning and might care to think of bringing those people to the Cathedral on this occasion. The service is open to all so do encourage people to share in this occasion as we all contemplate together the wonder of God's love made known to us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

The service includes the blessing of the oils used throughout the diocese in Baptism, Confirmation and the ministry to the sick. Over the last couple of years there has been the opportunity at the end of the service for any who wish it for the laying on of hands and anointing. There will also be listeners available and a Cathedral Chaplain for any who wish to make an individual confession.

I hope that you and some of your community will be able to be present.

Yours sincerely,

+David Warrington