The Parish Magazine of St Faith`s Church, Great Crosby
The Easter Anthems
Christ our passover has been sacrificed for us:
so let us celebrate the feast,
not with the old leaven of corruption and wickedness:
but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Christ once raised from the dead dies no more:
death has no more dominion over him.
In dying he died to sin once for all:
in living he lives to God.
See yourselves therefore as dead to sin:
and alive to God in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Christ has been raised from the dead:
the firstfruits of those who sleep.
For as by man came death:
by man has come also the resurrection of the dead;
for as in Adam all die:
even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
The Easter Preface from ‘Common Worship’
It is indeed right, our duty and our joy,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
almighty and eternal Father,
and in these days of Easter
to celebrate with joyful hearts
the memory of your wonderful works.
For by the mystery of his passion
Jesus Christ, your risen Son,
has conquered the powers of death and hell
and restored in men and women the image of your glory.
He has placed them once more in paradise
and opened to them the gate of life eternal.
And so, in the joy of this Passover,
earth and heaven resound with gladness,
while angels and archangels and the powers of all creation
sing for ever the hymn of your glory.
From the Ministry Team: May 2003
I am writing this in the middle of Lent, the day the clocks went forward. You will be reading it after Easter, looking forward to the feast of the Ascension. I write looking out on to the daffodils in my garden but by the time this is published they will be gone. With the daffodils also come the memories of my Dad, whose last words to me were: ‘Your daffs are beautiful love’. Three days later, he too was gone.
Time. What a strange thing it is. It marches relentlessly on but still somehow catches us by surprise so that we wonder what happened to yesterday, to last month, last year. We constantly worry about it; when we’re young we can’t wait to be older yet when we’re old we keep returning to those golden days of our youth when the world seemed to be a better place.
As Christians however, there are two days about which we should never worry. One of those days is Yesterday. With all its cares and anxieties, with all its pains and losses, with all its faults and mistakes, yesterday has passed forever. We cannot unsay anything we said or undo anything we did. All that yesterday holds of life, of wrongs, regret and sorrow is now in the hands of God.
The other day we should not worry about is Tomorrow, especially in these difficult days of war and tension. Tomorrow is as far beyond our mastery as was yesterday. We know that whether the sun will rise in a rosy dawn or hidden beyond dark and heavy clouds, it will nevertheless rise. Tomorrow, like yesterday is in God’s safe keeping.
That leaves just one day of the week ... today. We can fight the battles of today, we can make the most of its opportunities, we can find strength enough to carry today‘s burdens. The difficulty comes when we try to add to those, the burdens of yesterday and tomorrow. Today is the day when we can do the best we can, value each moment as it comes and try to live as God would have us live.
I have in my kitchen a small plaque which contains some words from an ancient Sanskrit poem. I reproduce the whole poem below as it sums up admirably what I am trying to say:
Look to this day, for it is life, the very life of life. In its brief course lie all the realities and truths of existence; The joy of growth, the splendour of action, the glory of power. For yesterday is but a memory, and tomorrow is only a vision, but today well-lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well therefore, to this day.
With my love and prayers,
You may have heard announced in church that at the end of May Joyce will officially retire from her Reader Ministry. She is not leaving the parish, we are glad to hear and will still be greatly involved in its life and ministry though in a different capacity. Although Joyce will finish her duties at the end of May, her last sermon will be on Sunday 13th July and after the service there will be an opportunity to thank her for her ministry here.
Saint Faith’s Holiday Club Fr. Neil
For many years now, S. Mary‘s Waterloo has run a holiday club for some 60+ children during the first week of the Summer holidays. It is great fun, so say the children! The helpers look forward to Friday night when it is all over! However we must enjoy it because we would like to run another one here at Saint Faith’s during the second week of the summer holidays. Many of the adults who help at S. Mary’s have agreed to help with one at Saint Faith’s but we do need other offers of help, please! It will be primarily for the young members of our Church, Sunday School, Uniformed Organisations and, we hope, those who live in the immediate area of the Church. If you wish to offer help please speak to me soon as all adults will need to be ‘police-checked’ in order to comply with the PCC’s ‘Protection for All’ policy. In all honesty, you will enjoy it.… Trust me, I‘m the Vicar!!
Sunday 4th May at 6pm
May Devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary
Festal Evensong, Procession and Benediction
Preacher: Fr. Gregor Cuff
(Vicar, S. John’s & Christ Church, Waterloo)
followed by refreshment
Sunday 11th May
Preacher at the 11am Sung Eucharist:
The Reverend Madalaine Brady (S. Maelog’s, Llanfaelog)
We shall pray on this day for more Vocations to the priesthood
as well as for those in training and preparing for Ordination,
including Denise MacDougall.
Thursday 29th May
6.30am HIGH MASS
followed by breakfast in the Vicarage
7.30pm Holy Eucharist (said) with hymns
Joint PCC Away Day
Saturday 24th May at Saint Luke’s, Formby
Fr. Neil writes:
As you will have seen in the Diary of Events there is an Away-Day for the PCC. This is nothing new, we have one each year. This year, however, we are joining with S. Mary’s. The idea came for this came from an evening in October, a PCC meal with informal discussion, and the subject of ‘the Church in the future’ was discussed. There are many important issues to be covered and it was felt that as most churches are addressing these questions we should join forces with S. Mary’s and have a joint venture. So that all members of the congregation are put in the picture, the format for the day is as follows:
9.15am Holy Communion and Homily:
‘Decisions, Debates and the Deanery Setting’
Preacher: Canon David Parry (Area Dean of Bootle)
10.15am First Session: ‘Mission, Maintenance and Money Matters’
with presentation by Ian Leadbetter,
Liverpool Diocesan Resources Department
11.30am Second Session: ‘Where Have All the Younger People Gone?’
led by Fr. Paul Robinson, Vicar of S. Thomas‘s Lydiate
(who runs workshops for the Diocese on youth work)
12.45pm Lunch (we bring our own - drinks provided)
1.30pm Final session: ‘Where do we go now…?’
led by Fr. Mark Waters
We are starting slightly earlier than usual and hope to finish earlier than usual (previously 4pm!). However, as I‘m sure those elected to the PCC will appreciate, these are important areas of church life that we are discussing - they are not trivial matters or matters that we can address in half an hour. I do ask you all to pray for the success of this day, and for those who are coming to assist with it. On your behalf there is a lot of hard work to be done, not just on this day, but in the months and years ahead. You have elected your PCC to serve the parish - please pray for them as they seek to fulfil this important task.
The Saint Faith’s Connection
Further to our publishing some details about the church of St Faith and St Laurence, Harborne, last month, George Smith adds a footnote.
There was, he reminds us, briefly a closer link between the two churches. Dennis Bury, a former curate here at St Faith’s, left us in Autumn 1972 to go on a course at Aston University, Birmingham. He and his family lived in Harborne and attended the church of St Faith and St Laurence, where Dennis helped out. It is indeed a small world.…
Table Sale Joyce Green
This year‘s sale will be on Saturday 14th June at 12-30 p.m. Once again we are appealing to you for items to sell in aid of church funds.
Almost any (small) items will be acceptable, but not items of furniture. Toys, bric-a-brac, china, glassware, video tapes, etc are all items which will sell. Please keep hold of them until the week of the sale and then we can arrange to pick them up if necessary.
Thank you for your help, let‘s hope we can make a few hundred pounds again this year.
Sunday 1st June
Saint Mary’s Patronal Festival
10.30am FESTIVAL EUCHARIST followed by BBQ lunch
Celebrant and Preacher: The Right Reverend Ian Stuart
At S. Mary’s we took the decision last year to move our Patronal Festival from 8th September (The Birthday of the BVM) to 31st May (The Feast of the Visitation of the BVM to Elizabeth). This means there is some space between the two Patronals in the United Benefice rather than having both within a month of each other! As usual there will be no service at S. Faith’s on this day and we shall celebrate jointly at S. Mary‘s. What is the Feast of the Visitation, some may ask?
The book ‘Exciting Holiness’ (collects and readings for Church of England festivals) says:
‘The church today recalls the visit of Elizabeth to her cousin Mary, as recorded in Luke’s gospel. The celebration of the feast first occurred at a Franciscan Order General Chapter in 1263 but quickly spread throughout Europe. Since it is a celebration clearly described in the gospel, the churches of the Reformation were less inclined to proscribe it as they were other Marian feasts, particularly as it was the occasion for Mary to sing her great hymn of praise in honour of her Lord and God. Just as Luke sees John the Baptist as the last of the prophets of the old covenant, he uses John‘s leaping in Elizabeth‘s womb as the first time John bears witness to Christ as the promised Messiah. Thereby he links the old covenant with the new. He seems to be saying that just as the old covenant clearly points to Jesus, so does its last prophet, yet to be born.’
Retreating to Yorkshire
A Parish Weekend away at an isolated country estate in Yorkshire sounds very attractive - but in silence? There is very little silence in our modern life so perhaps we need to make the most of it.
So it was that a group of us headed for Parcevall Hall at the delightfully named Appletreewick near Skipton for a two night stay at the Diocese of Bradford‘s Retreat Centre. To quote the Centre’s booklet, the Hall ‘offers the comfort of an old house, the peace of a rural situation and the scenic beauty of Wharfedale’.
The theme for the weekend was ‘Escape to Captivity: Religion and the Christian Way’ and was led by Fr. Michael Channell from Cirencester. After dinner on Friday, we started the silent period which lasted until lunch on Sunday. No television, no mobile phones. Bliss!
The retreat focused on a series of addresses, the first of which was based on Luke 15, vv 11 to the end. We had five addresses in all and the others were based on:
Philippians 3, vv 7-14
Mark 4, vv 35-41
Ephesians 6, vv 10-18 and
John 21, vv 15-19.
We had a Eucharist on Saturday morning and Compline in the evening, concluding with the Eucharist on Sunday morning. The services took place in the Hall’s chapel.
Saturday afternoon was free and most of us took the opportunity to explore the countryside, go walking or go into Skipton itself (only a few miles away). Half a dozen of us went off to Bolton Abbey (the Duke of Devonshire’s estate) alongside the River Wharfe where we enjoyed a brisk walk in the spring sunshine and explored the Priory Parish Church. We have the photographs to prove it!
We were very well looked after with good food and comfortable accommodation and the weather was glorious. But the weekend was much more than that. It was a time of reflection, of prayer and of being in communion with our fellow Christians. Not everyone found the silence comfortable but, for me, it worked and gave me time to pause.
Last year, our retreat leader told us that he tries to hang pictures round the walls of our mind‘. It‘s a lovely idea and it works very well. I‘m already looking forward to next year‘s Retreat. Come and join us.
October Flower Festival
There will be a meeting on Thursday 22nd May at 8pm in the Upper Room to plan our forthcoming Flower Festival. It is a long way off, but things need to be set in motion.
We will need, as well as lots of flower arrangers, people to help with publicity, fetching & carrying, some cleaning and minor carpentry. During the festival itself stewards will be needed, and also refreshment providers.
Do please come along and bring your ideas and suggestions.
POEMS FOR EASTERTIDE
A selection of less familiar poems to mark the Queen of Festivals
Oh Death where is thy Sting?
The tomb, the tomb, that
Was her core and care, her one sore.
The light had hardly scarleted the dark
Or the first bird sung when Mary came in sight
With eager feet. Grief, like last night's frost,
Whitened her face and tightened all her tears.
It was there, then, there at the blinding turn
Of the bare future that she met her past.
She only heard his Angel tell her how
The holding stone broke open and gave birth
To her dear Lord, and how his shadow ran
To meet him like a dog.
And as the sun
Burns through the simmering muslins of the mist
Slowly his darkened voice, that seemed like doubt,
Morninged into noon; the summering bees
Mounted and boiled over in the bell-flowers.
‘Come out of your jail, Mary,’ he said, ‘the doors are open
And joy has its ear cocked for your coming.
Earth now is no place to mope in. So throw away
Your doubt, cast every clout of care,
Hang all your hallelujahs out
This airy day.’
W. R. Rogers
To hear a far cock crowing
At midnight is not well:
When up and crew the black cock.
The demon plumed with hell,
The night before Good Friday
Great tears from Peter fell.
Its malice and its gloating
Went through him like a sword
Recalling how the third time
He had denied his Lord.
But the cock of Easter Sunday
Crowing at first light,
The white cock plumed with heaven,
Gold sheen among the white,
Sets every bell-throat singing
And heart’s bell with delight.
But none sang more than Peter’s,
Who knew so well, so well
His risen Lord forgave him
And the black cock down in hell.
Words for a Resurrection
Each pale Christ stirring underground
Splits the brown casket of its root,
Where from the rousing soil upthrusts
A narrow, pointed shoot.
And bones long quiet under frost
Rejoice as bells precipitate
The loud, ecstatic sundering,
The hour inviolate.
This Man of April walks again —
Such marvel does the time allow -
With laughter in His blessed bones,
And lilies on his brow.
I was the one who waited in the garden
Doubting the morning and the early light
I watched the mist lift off its own soft burden
Permitting not believing my own sight .
If there were sudden noises I dismissed
Them as a trick of light, a sleight of hand
Not by a natural joy could I be blessed
Or trust a thing I could not understand.
Maybe I was a shadow thrown by one
Who, weeping, came to lift away the stone
Or was I but the path on which the sun
Too heavy for itself, was loosed and thrown?
I heard the voices and the recognition
And love like kisses heard behind thin walls.
Were they my tears which fell, a real contrition?
Or simply April with its waterfalls?
It was by negatives I learned my place.
The garden went on growing and I sensed
A sudden breeze that blew across my face
Despair returned, but now it danced, it danced.
Most glorious Lord of life, that on this day
Didst make Thy triumph over death and sin
And having harrowed hell didst bring again
Captivity thence captive, us to win;
This joyous day, dear Lord, with joy begin,
And grant that we, for whom Thou diddest die,
Being with Thy dear blood clean washed from sin,
And that Thy love we weighing worthily,
May likewise love Thee for the same again;
And for Thy sake that all like dear didst buy,
With love may one another entertain.
So let us love, dear love, like as we ought;
Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught.
Rise, heart; thy Lord is risen. Sing His praise
Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise
With Him mayst rise:
That, as His death calcined thee to dust,
His life may make thee gold, and much more, just.
Awake, my lute, and struggle for thy part
With all thy art.
The crosse taught all wood to resound His name
Who bore the same.
His stretched sinews taught all strings, what key
Is best to celebrate this most high day.
Consort both heart and lute, and twist a song
Pleasant and long:
Or since all musick is but three parts vied
O let Thy blessed Spirit bear a part,
And make up our defects with His sweet art.
In Memory of a Small Boy
A few weeks ago I heard the devastating news that Emmanuel Dzantenge had been drowned in a flooded earthworks pit near to his school, following torrential rains. Never has a small boy touched the hearts of so many people in his short life.
We first met the Dzantenge family in Mtunthama, Malawi, in 2000, where Frank is the priest in charge of All Saint’s Church. During our visit Rachel, their twenty month old daughter, died of malaria. Now they have lost their remaining son, who indeed was an exceptional child. Not only was he outstandingly intelligent, at seven he had gained grade four in school, which meant his classmates were averaging an age of probably twelve upwards, but he was caring, loving and above all the happiest child I have ever met. We all looked forward to great things for Emmanuel and for Malawi, as we believed he had the ability and care to help improve the conditions in his country, as he grew older.
Emmanuel came to England in December 2001 with his parents Frank and Eunice, on a trip of a lifetime, and many in St Faith’s, where we of course support them through the Medic Malawi project, will remember his happy presence.
Now all we, and his devastated parents, have, are the treasured memories of Emmanuel; particularly when he and my small grandson ran, chased and laughed, playing in the energetic way natural to small boys and after just a short time of meeting Charlie referred to Emmanuel as ‘my friend’.
I know that Frank and Eunice take comfort in knowing that friends throughout this country join with them in their grief and welcome the support of our prayers.
Emmanuel’s laughter will ever ring in my head.
From his bed of pain, Fr Dennis, who now has time to read The Times from cover to cover, has sent us what he terms this unusual ‘Thought for Ascensiontide.’
Pope Endorses Saint’s Aerial Ecstasy
Richard Owen writes for ‘The Times‘ from Rome on an entertaining story, which was not datelined April 1st. (Ed.)
The Pope has endorsed the cult of a 17th century ‘flying monk’, declaring St Joseph of Copertino to be a ‘model for our times’.
In a message marking the 400th anniversary of the birth of St Joseph, the Pope said that the Franciscan friar, who was said to amaze congregations by levitating and flying through the air, was spiritually close to our times. He is the patron saint of aviators and students.
The son of a carpenter, St Joseph was born in 1603, allegedly in a stable, at Copertino, and was ordained in 1628 despite being so illiterate and simple-minded, according to contemporaries, that he walked around with his mouth open all the time, earning him the nickname ‘the Gaper’.
His reputation for flying brought Vatican disapproval and he was forbidden to say Mass. But he found refuge in monasteries and churches and became famous for his ‘flights’.
Witnesses record that after falling into an ecstatic trance, St Joseph would utter a loud cry and soar into the air, sometimes flying down the nave and sometimes flying out of the church and across the hills for several miles.
He was put on trial by the Inquisition, but when he flew over the heads of his inquisitors, the judges referred the case directly to Pope Urban VIII. The Pope dropped the case after apparently witnessing an ‘ecstatic flight’. Numerous important people, including Frederick, Duke of Brunswick, and Prince Casimir of Poland testified to having seen the flights.
After his death in 1663, he became the object of a popular cult, was beatified in 1753 and canonised in 1767. Fr Giuli Berrettoni, curator of St Joseph‘s sanctuary, called him one of the great enigmas of all time. He said the lesson for the modern world was ‘that we, too, must fly towards Heaven’.
Prayers of Thanksgiving
for the Resurrection
Lord of all life and power,
who through the mighty resurrection of your Son
overcame the old order of sin and death
to make all things new in him:
grant that we, being dead to sin
and alive to you in Jesus Christ,
may reign with him in glory;
to whom with you and the Holy Spirit
be praise and honour, glory and might,
now and in all eternity. Amen.
you have given your only Son to die for our sins
and to rise again for our justification:
grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness
that we may always serve you
in pureness of living and truth;
through the merits of your Son 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.
who in your great mercy gladdened the disciples
with the sight of the risen Lord:
give us such knowledge of his presence with us,
that we may be strengthened and sustained
by his risen life
and serve you continually in righteousness and truth;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
From the Registers
6 April Ashley-Jane Brownbill
daughters of Robert and Helen
Ethan John Trodden-Harrison
son of Sean and Susan
daughter of Calvin and Donna
Sean Alexander Trodden
son of John and Tina
A Poem of Light
O Light invisible we praise Thee!
Too bright for mortal vision.
O Greater Light we praise Thee for the less;
The eastern light our spires touch at morning,
The light that slants upon our western doors at evening,
The twilight over stagnant pools at batflight
Moon light and star light, owl and moth light,
Glow-worm glowlight on a grassblade.
O Light Invisible, we worship Thee!
We thank Thee for the lights that we have kindled,
The light of altar and of sanctuary;
Small lights of those who meditate at midnight
And lights directed through the coloured panes of windows
And light reflected from the polished stone,
The gilded carved wood, the coloured fresco.
Our gaze is submarine, our eyes look upward
And see the light that fractures through unquiet water.
We see the light but see not whence it comes.
O Light Invisible, we glorify Thee!
A Message from Fr Dennis
Recovery from hip surgery, and the inevitable restrictions and frustrations that ensue, has been a most humbling experience, and has provided a personal learning curve comparable to none I have known. Throughout this period I have been profoundly conscious of God’s grace, and of being surrounded by many thoughts, prayers and good wishes which have sustained me and for which I am enormously grateful.
The cards, gifts, telephone messages and visits have provided an immense and invaluable source of strength, cheer, encouragement and support. I look forward to being back in harness‘ at both church and school before long, and greatly appreciate the kindness, care and love showered upon me by so many, not least the dedicated nursing staff of Wrightington Hospital and the wonderful sisters and care staff of Ince Blundell Hall. Thanks be to God.
FOOTNOTE(!) Readers will be glad to hear of Fr Dennis‘s successful operation and good recovery. Since moving to Ince Blundell Convalescent Home he has been cossetted in the most opulent surroundings imaginable, and predictably well fed and watered. His drinks cupboard is legendary, as is the stock of sandwiches in a secret cupboard for those little between-meals snacks. As the irreverently-captioned photosn at the back of church show, he is being waited on hand and foot... We look forward to his return at Eastertide. Ed.
Is this the Word of the Lord? Fr Neil
On four Mondays in June we are having a series of Bible Studies relating the Scriptures to contemporary issues. Bible studies aren’t everyone’s cup of tea! How many of you read the scriptures regularly? How many of you understand what is read in Church each week? Are you bothered? The Scriptures together with the Sacramental life of the Church form an important part of our lives. And yet it is so easy to dismiss parts of the Bible because we feel they have no relevance to life as it is today.
I remember going to celebrate mass at a Church south of the river (Thames). One of the set readings in the ASB for that particular Sunday wasn’t very Politically Correct. I can’t remember what it was, possibly something S. Paul said about women in church - anyhow it doesn‘t matter. The PCC of that particular church had decided that S. Paul at best hadn’t really said whatever it was he allegedly said, or at least he meant something different! Aren’t some people clever! And so they decided not to say ‘This is the word of the Lord’ at the end. Let’s be honest - there are many parts of the scriptures we might like to avoid or ignore. But they are there. There is a difference in ‘not liking’ and ‘not understanding’. It is a dangerous thing just to lift words out of the scriptures and take them literally. That is why Bible studies are important. They try to help us understand the setting, the history of the people at the time and their culture, and of course the difficult task of applying that to our world today.
Sadly, the scriptures are used and abused. In any debate, both sides of the argument will seek to back up what they say with references to Holy Scriptures. The fact that both sides of any argument can find specific quotes from scripture to back up their claims - that in itself tells us what a complex business understanding the scriptures is.
In any major debate, the Church of England has not just taken words of Scripture alone in an argument; she has always approached debate from three directions. Scripture, Tradition and Reason. We have to approach the Scriptures with humility. Much as we hate to admit it (especially when we have a vested interest in a particular matter) we might have it wrong! It is alleged that the current Archbishop of York (who does not himself ordain women to the priesthood but does not deny others doing so) has said over the that matter, ‘I know where I stand, but the marvellous thing about the Christian faith is that I’m allowed to admit when I have got it wrong!’ Perhaps if we had a bit more humility when debating a particular issue the Church might be a more charitable place!
More details of these Bible Studies will be published in next month’s ‘Newslink’ but for the moment please put the dates in your diary and watch this space. Any offers of a venue most welcome.
Monday 2nd, 9th, 16th & 23rd June at 8pm.
Saturday Open Days and Recitals
The 2003 series of Open Days and Recitals at St Faith‘s begins on Saturday, April 26th and continues weekly throughout the summer. The church is open from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm (although only until the end of the recital on April 26th) and refreshments are on sale. The free recitals for the first few weeks are given by:
Stephen Hargreaves (organ) April 26th
Neil Preston (classical guitar) May 3rd
April Johnson (violin) & friends May 10th
Tayo Aluka (bass) May 17th
James Firth (piano) May 24th
Iain Harvey (organ) May 31st
There are still some gaps in the catering/welcoming rotas for these events: please sign up the list at the back of the church if you can help.
Autumn Fund Raising
There will be an open meeting on Monday 1st May at 8pm to make plans for the Autumn Bazaar and Auction. All are welcome. Come along with your suggestions and ideas. New people particularly welcome - please don’t leave it to the same people each year. We need fresh ideas and fresh offers of help, please!