The Parish Magazine
of Saint Faith's Church, Great Crosby
Saint Faith’s Prayer for
Faithful God, in baptism you have adopted us as your children,
made us members of the body of Christ and chosen us as inheritors of your kingdom:
bless our plans for mission and outreach; guide us to seek and do your will;
empower us by your Spirit to share our faith in witness and to serve,
and send us out as disciples of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
From the Ministry Team
Retreat, or advance?
The recent United Benefice retreat at Parcevall Hall was memorable for many reasons: as it came to an end we were nearly snowed up, and there was a real chance that we would have to stay an extra night. There was some genuine disappointment when we learnt that the roads were passable after all!
Retreats can be a real means of spiritual growth. Far from being inward-looking, or backward-looking, they give us a wonderful opportunity to take a new step along the Way of faith. At Parcevall Hall we focussed on discipleship, looking at the examples of Peter, John, and our Lord’s mother. We were reminded that when Our Lord called Peter and the other disciples they had little knowledge of what lay ahead, and no control over where he might lead them or who else he might call to join them on the Way. Theirs was a journey into the unknown, a journey of faith.
Perhaps it was because of these uncertainties that the earliest followers of Christ wanted a degree of security, a guarantee that those closest to him would enjoy some sort of special privilege when all the uncertainties were over. James and John even asked Jesus if they could sit either side of him in his Kingdom! And we can trace this wish to be ‘special’, and therefore different from Christ’s other disciples, in the many divisions and factions in the early church which are recorded in Paul’s letters.
Those of us who have been members of St. Faith’s for many years will inevitably feel different, and in some sense ‘special’, compared with those outside the church. This sense of difference came up during one of our Lent discussion groups when we were talking about baptism families. Many families and visitors, particularly children, don’t know what to do in church or during a service. The differences between ‘them’ and ‘us’ are now so great that there can be little communication between us. The words of our services, and the ideas they struggle to express, are now largely unintelligible to newcomers. And could this be because we think we do ‘know what to do’? If our language of worship fails to deliver the gospel message to
so many people, how can we be so sure that we have got it entirely right? And could it be that those outside the church might even have something to say to us about Christ’s presence in the world he came to redeem?
It is against this background that the debate about our new all-age service should take place. Not everyone is happy with it, and it has had its teething problems (to which I know I’ve contributed!). But we hope that the new service may express something of Our Lord’s concern to welcome everyone into his Kingdom. We hope it may be a small sign of that all-embracing love that led Our Lord to a life of obedience and self giving, and to the saving events of the Cross and Resurrection. We need to learn how to proclaim the gospel in today’s language, without dumbing down either its mystery or its uncompromising message.
Of course, the plan to introduce a new form of service was a human decision, and therefore fallible. We will not get it all right. Like the early disciples we cannot be sure of the road ahead, and we do not know who might join us on the Way. But of one thing I am certain: that as an established member of St. Faith’s I am no more ‘special’ or even ‘right’ than the new family sitting next to me in the pew.
I’m on a Committee!
Oh give me your pity, I’m on a committee, which means that from morning to night,
We attend and amend, and contend and defend, without a conclusion in sight.
We compose and propose; we suppose and oppose, and the points of procedure are fun.
But though various notions are brought up as motions, there’s terribly little gets done.
We confer and concur, we defend and demur, we reiterate all of our thoughts;
We revive the agenda with frequent addenda, and consider a load of reports.
We resolve and absolve but we never dissolve since it’s out of the question for us;
What a chattering pity to end our Committee; where else could we make such a fuss?
From the Civil Service Pensioners’ Magazine; with thanks to St Peter’s, Formby. None of our committees, needless to say, in any way qualify for these comments…
Sunday 28th May - S. Mary’s Patronal Festival
The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth
10.30 am PATRONAL FESTIVAL EUCHARIST in S. Mary’s
Preacher: Fr. Paul Robinson
(S. Thomas Lydiate and S. Cuthbert Halsall)
followed by BBQ lunch, children’s games and bouncy castle (please note no 11am service in S. Faith’s)
…to our esteemed Organist and Choirmaster Gerard Callacher (can’t call him Ged now!), on his acceptance for training for the Roman Catholic priesthood. We are delighted of him, and we wish him every blessing as he gets ready for this momentous step in his life – but we shall of course miss him and all he does for our musical life very much indeed.
We are looking for his successor, and will be pleased to hear from anyone who is interested. For more details please contact Fr Neil or see the website advert.
Gordon Slater R.I.P.
It was with great sadness that the people of St Faith’s and St Mary’s heard that Gordon lost his long and brave battle against cancer on the Wednesday of Holy Week. He was much loved by all who met him for his unfailing commitment, courage and great good humour. A fuller appreciation will appear next month.
to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham
Monday 29th May 2006
12 noon Concelebrated Mass
(in the Abbey Grounds; Principal Celebrant: Lord Hope of Thornes)
2.30 pm Sermon, Procession & Benediction (Preacher: Brother Paschal SSF)
Pilgrimage Handbook & Admission: £3.00 (school-age children: admission free); activities for children: tickets £1.00 - in advance from Janet Marshall, The Education Department, The College, Walsingham NR22 6EF or e-mail: email@example.com
Sunday 7th May at 6pm
May Devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary
Choral Evensong, Procession and Benediction
Preacher: Bishop Rupert Hoare, Dean of Liverpool
Ascension Day – Thursday 25th May
6.30am Procession & High Mass followed by breakfast in the Vicarage
Preacher: Fr. Gerwyn Capon (S. Mary, West Derby)
10.30am Eucharist with hymns in S. Mary’s
7.30pm Eucharist with hymns in S. Faith’s
Big Breakfast 2
On Saturday 24th June there will be another Big Breakfast at Rosie and Rick’s house to raise money for the Waterloo Partnership Sierra Leone Appeal. Last year the event was a great success with over £300 being raised and this year the full English breakfast will include all your favourites, or if you insist, the low fat, zero cholesterol alternative.
Tickets will be on sale soon at just £5 so see Rosie and book your breakfast NOW!
Retreat to Parcevall Hall
One of the most helpful experiences organised during Lent this year for parishioners of both churches was the annual retreat to Parcevall Hall.
Parcevall Hall is the Diocese of Bradford Retreat and Conference Centre, housed in the former home of the late Sir William Milner, who donated the house and its beautiful gardens in 1973 to the Guardians of the Shrine of our Lady of Walsingham. It is situated in the heart of the Wharfedale valley and is close to Bolton Abbey. The house is centuries old but warm and comfortable, and the hospitality of the staff is exemplary
The gardens laid out by Sir William Milner from 1927 onwards lie on a steep hillside and are the only English Heritage registered gardens open to the public in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The sixteen acres of formal and woodland gardens rise up the hillside and command impressive views of Simons Seat and Wharfedale.
They are planted with many specimen trees and shrubs collected from Western China and the Himalayas. Formal terraces overlook several woodland trails. For the Christian pilgrim one of the most moving experiences is to follow the Stations of the Cross that have been erected in the gardens, breathing in the beauties of creation while recalling how our Creator took human flesh and followed a way of suffering to His death on the cross..
This year the retreat, whose theme was 'Take up your cross', was conducted unusually by a partnership, the Rev John Willard, recently retired from a busy parish in the Midlands and his wife Rachel who has long experience as a spiritual director. In turn they led the addresses, and invited us to study the ways in which three followers of our Lord took up their own crosses. The stories of St. Peter, Mary the Virgin and St John in the New Testament all provide a wealth of material for meditation, prayer and contemplation and a means of examining our own lives and commitment. Individuals will have found it easy to identify with one or other of these disciples as they struggled to understand the mysteries of the incarnation and were confronted with their own weaknesses.
The programme for the weekend included Eucharists, Compline, and other times of corporate worship but there was ample time for personal quiet prayer, study and reading, as well as exploring the wild landscape around. It was a time to get to know
each other too in the silence as much as the conversations at the beginning and end of the retreat. Saturday’s flurries of snow turned into a major blizzard overnight and the participants relied on a snow plough to free up the roads for their cars for the journey home on Sunday. The countless snowdrops in the garden reminded us however that Spring is not far behind and we were able to look forward to Easter, feeling spiritually renewed by the teaching and opportunities for
prayer that we had been given.
All of us feel very grateful for the privilege of being at the retreat and hope very much that another will be organised next year.
War – and Peace Joyce Green
We have just returned from a memorable city break in Berlin. It is a city in which one is constantly and poignantly reminded of its recent history, from the profusion of modern concrete buildings which have risen from the ruins, to the monolithic Jewish memorial; from Checkpoint Charlie, with its nearby “Museum of the Wall”, to the several white crosses opposite the Brandenburg Gate which are a heart-rending memorial to those who were killed whilst trying to escape an oppressive regime and return to their families and loved ones in the west.
Berlin is full of history but it is also a modern city with large department stores, where one may buy an excellent and cheap lunch from the amazing displays in the top floor restaurants and all of the people we met were friendly and helpful. There are also wide boulevards with cafes and designer shops: the most famous road being the Kurfürstendamm, or Kudamm as the Berliners love to call it. Standing midway down the Kudamm, is the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. This is a famous ruin which has become an icon of Berlin. The church was built as a memorial to Kaiser Wilhelm the first, and was consecrated in September 1895. It was a huge church with five towers of which only one is still standing.
On Sunday 22nd November 1943, the day on which the German church commemorates the departed, the preacher chose as his text, “All things shall pass.” His words were prophetic - a few hours later, the church was destroyed in a bombing raid, leaving only the west tower. This ruin became beloved of Berliners and was affectionately known as “The hollow tooth,” When it was proposed to demolish it in order to build a new church, there was a storm of protest and luckily, the powers that be took notice. The tower was made safe and was retained to stand as “an admonition,” we were told, “against war and destruction, and a call to reconciliation in Jesus Christ.” A new modern chapel and bell tower have been built either side of it. The new tower has six bells, the largest of which carries this inscription: “Your cities are burnt with fire. But my salvation remains forever and my justice shall know no end.” Words from Isaiah.
The old tower, now a memorial hall, gives a tantalising glimpse of the former church’s glory with its beautiful mosaics on both ceiling and floor. A display of photographs recall both the history of the church and of the suffering of the people as their church and city were destroyed by war. In front of a clear glass window stands a statue of Christ which was once part of the old altar. An inscribed plaque in front of it reads: “Forgive us our sins, for we forgive everyone who sins against us.” To the right of the statue stands a cross of nails, presented by the cathedral congregation of Coventry. The cross is formed from nails collected from that cathedral’s ashes after that church too, was bombed. This cross has today become a symbol of reconciliation and similar crosses are to be found in Dresden, East Berlin, and Wolograd (formerly Stalingrad). On the other side of the statue is an icon cross, given by the Russian Orthodox church, again as a sign of reconciliation.
They do say that travel broadens the mind, and I can certainly vouch for that. Our experiences in Berlin helped us to see the war from a different perspective. I would certainly go back as there was still so much that we hadn’t had time to see, museums, parks, and the surrounding areas of countryside which are apparently very beautiful. Here’s to the next time!
* A Mormon told me that they didn’t drink coffee. I said, ‘My friend, a cup of coffee every day gives you wonderful benefits.’ He said, ‘Like what?’ I said, ‘Well, it keeps you from being a Mormon.’
* There was this man, as they say, walking through a cemetery when he met a man with a dog on a lead.
‘Morning’ he said to the man.
‘No, just walking the dog,’ came the reply.
Would you believe it?
Yet more examples of the extremes of idiocy to which our 21st century society seems to be prone. The editor is yet again indebted to the Daily Telegraph for these choice items. They are reproduced without comment in the interests of keeping his blood pressure down.
A man has been issued with a £50 fine for ‘misusing’ a litter bin – by putting rubbish in it. On his way to work he bumped into the postman, looked at his mail and put two pieces of junk mail in a street bin. He was stunned when a letter arrived from his local council saying he had committed an offence by putting ‘domestic refuse’ in a public bin.
In vain he argued that potato peelings and bottles were domestic refuse, but junk mail wasn’t: Hinckley and Bosworth borough council were unrepentant and clobbered him for the £50. He intends, not surprisingly, to take the matter to court rather than pay up. Watch this space – and try and guess what the cost of pursuing the action will be…
over in Ely, 82-year-old grandmother Betty Wilbraham, a retired
teacher, popped in to her local for a half of Guinness and fish and
chips, and was ordered to remove her headgear – a black hat with maroon
ribbons – for ‘security reasons’. Apparently there was a risk that, if
this 5ft 3in stalwart of the Ely Women’s Institute started any trouble,
she wouldn’t be recognised on the CCTV cameras. She took off her hat
rather than be expelled, but considers the situation ludicrous. The
manager explained that until recently customers were only asked to
remove caps. ‘We put in the new signs because we were finding it
difficult classing what was a cap,’ said he. ‘In this day and age you
don’t know who are the troublemakers.’
And finally (for now at least), a senior surgeon at a Penzance hospital has made a public apology to patients whose operations are being postponed – because he has been too efficient. He and his colleagues have been told by the local health authorities to slow down, because they have surpassed their six month targets. Needless to say it’s all about money: the cash-strapped local Trust can’t pay for operations that are brought forward due to Peter Cox’s efficiency unless they have waited at least 18 weeks from the time they were put on the list – and Mr Cox had inexcusably reduced his waiting list to five or six weeks.
A Reflection for Ascensiontide
– from the writings of Dr Edward Norman, former Chancellor of York Minster.
Ascended and Glorified
Christianity is centred in trust. We are called to trust in God and in his providential arrangement, both of the circumstances of our lives and of the world in which we live 'and have our being'. But it is precisely this sort of trust that modern people find extremely difficult. We are beset with anxieties, and life for many becomes choked by preoccupation with security. Those who expect so much, and who believe themselves entitled to so much, are incapable of dealing with the normal hazards and uncertainties of life. No matter how hard we try to protect ourselves against fate we find ourselves subject to it: loved ones leave us or die, fearful disease or age itself reduces our independence, our children are ungrateful, jobs and homes are lost. Most of the things which afflict us, in fact, are not susceptible to human solution whatever we do. For the world as God has made it was not designed for our comfort and convenience: we are creatures placed in an environment whose providential purposes are not known to us. God in his mercy has regard for our fate, yet we in our ingratitude rail against him for not having given us immunity from the way the creation works. Even the environment itself is now a subject of human complaint: how can God have afflicted us with so much sorrow? Some - and it is an increasing
number - find themselves unable to believe in the reality of a God whose world so persistently interrupts our pursuit of a painless existence. They cannot see that it is we who have made demands beyond our place in the creation, who expect special treatment not available to the buzzing mass of living tissues that cover the face of the planet. God has raised us to consciousness and to a measure of creativity; we ignore the graciousness of the gift and claim the benefits of divinity for ourselves.
It is hardly surprising, therefore, that men and women have problems also with trusting in religious tradition, for it is something not within our immediate capacity to verify. Religious truth, to be known about, depends upon trusting others. This last week the Christian world celebrated the Ascension of Christ. It was an event that seems at variance with the expectations of the prevailing material culture, and scepticism about its historical reality will have been voiced in quite a number of pulpits: it is common these days to interpret the miracle in a non-literal sense. But Christians are dependent for a knowledge of the historical truth of the Ascension on the same body of preceding believers whose witness and testimony has authenticated all other aspects of Christianity. They know about the truth of the Resurrection from the same source. To interpret either event in symbolical or metaphorical style is at variance with the record of the Faith itself, and is anyway quite unnecessary. To trust in God is to trust in a miraculous presence - not, perhaps, in the everyday passage of events, but in the grand design which is expressed in the world and which provides the true environment of our lives rather than the shadows which pass.
The Man for the Ministry
Martin Jones reports….
on a scale of 1 – 9 I’m on 6. Since I last wrote to you I have
completed a placement as a student Hospital Chaplain. The
placement was very demanding and I’m pleased to say that not only did I
learn about this extremely rewarding ministry but I also learnt
something about myself too. I thought that the best way to share my
experiences of this time of learning was to share with you part of my
journal of my time on the wards.
Date: Sunday 25/12/05. What happened today, duration 4.5 hours.
Today’s task is to carry out bedside communions and distribute Christmas cards to all the patients on the wards. Time included having breakfast with the Chaplaincy team. The Chaplaincy team divides in order to complete all the communions in two hospitals by midday.
My feelings and thoughts, what I tended to do.
It’s early, it’s Christmas morning and many of the Chaplains have been to midnight Mass and are tired. Yet there is an atmosphere of quiet dedication coming from the multi-denominational team (C of E/RC/Free Church). For myself I am achieving a
personal goal of actually doing something for somebody in a less fortunate position than myself on Christmas day. My supervisor tells me that in the case of a patient who is either too confused or too ill to receive communion then bedside prayers are said. She (my supervisor) tells me about the miracle of the Lord’s Prayer. Sometimes a patient even in what seems to be an unreachable condition will respond to the Lord’s Prayer and may even mouth the words.
I visit an old lady who is very frail, skin and bone and heavily bruised. She is confused and drifting in and out of a half sleep. I do not sit but stand by her bed and lightly touch her hand and say the Lord’s Prayer. She turns her head toward me, fixes her large blue eyes straight into mine, her toothless mouth contorts into that which is about to sob deeply, there is no sound. My eyes water and my throat tightens, I say a blessing and leave. I feel deeply touched and believe that I have experienced the miracle of the Lord’s Prayer.
I am beginning to discern the enormity of this type of ministry. I feel the privilege of it, the importance of it and the sheer intimacy of being with people under such circumstances.
I am unsettled by my experience with the old lady, she is forever in my mind; questions keep coming to me. Did I do all I could? Did I give her cause for concern? Did she think she was dying and I was giving her final prayers? Did I frighten her? Did I witness what I thought I witnessed or what I wanted to witness?
I turn to my supervisor and share the step-by-step account of my behaviour during bedside communions and bedside prayers.
I’m doing just about everything wrong, but at last I know what I’m doing wrong and I know what I need to do both initially (which is easily corrected) and that which I need to develop.
I need to bring Martin to the visit, not a person with an order of service.
By standing over the old lady instead of sitting quietly beside her, I probably did frighten her, God forgive me.
My supervisor explains to me her tried and tested visiting technique.
1. On approaching the ward assess its atmosphere and the conduct of the staff. Are they rushed, tense, relaxed, am I going to make their situation worse. Have there been any recent deaths on the ward? This will have a significant effect on the state of mind of all on the ward; I need to be aware of any such condition so that I can minister, through relevant prayer, in that environment.
2. Assess the patient physically, emotionally and spiritually. Physically - are they in pain, is there a catheter that I could trip over? Emotionally - are they stable, upset, angry, worried? Spiritually - what degree of spirituality can be perceived, eg, are they likely to want time to confess during communion or rather be happy to proceed to the next part of the liturgy without pause?
3. Assess the patients’ surroundings. Is there any evidence of cards, flowers etc from past visits from family and friends. Is there a drink nearby for elderly patients who may struggle with a dry communion wafer?
4. How do I introduce myself initially - and where am I during that introduction-particularly important to be non-threatening to sleepy or confused patients - crouch down briefly before leaving to get a chair. LISTEN to what the patient is saying, take it in, remember names and situations that are relevant to the patient and can be used later in extemporary prayer.
Try to sit alongside and only slightly ahead of the patient, not facing them or over them. This allows a non-threatening situation, a mutual vista and the ability to vary the amount of touch during the visit.
5. Assess the visit as it progresses and adjust accordingly on emotional, physical and spiritual grounds.
6. Did I pray with the patient and include things that needed to be said, things that are relevant and helpful, things picked up upon during the introduction and throughout the visit?
7. How to end the visit, if the patient has been distressed during the visit I must brighten the mood before leaving. Is a prolonged period of companionship required before leaving, is a follow up visit required in the week from another Chaplain?
8. After leaving the patient what is my assessment of them physically, emotionally and spiritually as compared with their pre-visit state?
9. How has the visit left me feeling?
Our local hospitals always need ward visitors and patient escorts. If you think you can learn from my experience and offer 1-2 hours per week, then give the Chaplaincy a ring. Escort training at Whiston Hospital: Part One 26/4/2006 7.30-9.00; 3/5/2006 7.30-9.00. Part Two 17/520/6 7.30-9.00. If these dates are incon-
venient then please still contact the Spiritual Care Department on 0151 430 1657 as there will be further training over the summer.
My best wishes to you all.
A special invitation for people in the Diocese of Liverpool.
Celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem
20-28 December 2006
Celebrating Christmas in Bethlehem is once again possible, and will be one of the highlights during a special pilgrimage to the Holy Land led by BBC Radio4’s Thought for the Day presenter Revd Rob Marshall.
Departing from London Heathrow on Wednesday 20th December, this memorable journey will include visits to important sites associated with the New Testament including Nazareth, Jerusalem and Bethlehem, where they will join fellow Christians for Christmas services.
The group will attend Midnight Mass in Bethlehem and a Carol service at Shepherd’s Fields, one of the most sacred sites to Anglican Christians.
£1195 includes return flights from Heathrow to Tel Aviv, half board accommodation for 8 nights, transfers, guides and entrance fees.
Full colour brochures are available on 0845 610 6447 or by visiting
Summer Saturday Concerts 2006
Programme for May and June
6 May Robin Panter (viola) and Vourneen Ryan (flute)
13 May Merchant Taylors’ School music students
20 May Stephen Hargreaves (organ)
27 May St. Faith’s Choir – Director: Gerard Callacher
3 June Ian Dunning (baritone)
10 June James Firth (piano)
17 June Michael Broom (baritone) and James Firth (piano)
24 June Michael Wynne (organ)
Church will be open on concert days between 11.00am and 1.00pm and light refreshments will be on sale. The recitals begin at 12 noon, last about half an hour and are free (but donations gratefully accepted).
Mums Take Action
‘We suffer from drought and landslides as well as emergencies from everyday poverty.’ So says Maritza Sevilla, a young mother who, through Christian Aid partner Community Movement of Matagalpa (MCM), has taken on a vital role in her community in Nicaragua.
Maritza lives in Nuevo Amanecer, an hour’s drive from Matagalpa. Her community is in a mountainous region, with a river winding through it. The single hillside road wends its way through a harsh landscape. Deforestation and drought have devastated what was once lush, dense forest.
When the river breaks its banks, as it often does, the community here at Nuevo Amanecer can find themselves stranded for weeks, as happened during Hurricane Mitch in 1998.
In response to this vulnerability MCM, with help from the local people, built a community centre where people could meet and learn how to protect themselves better from the vagaries of unpredictable weather. In the absence of emergency services it’s vital that local communities take action themselves.
And so the community elected Maritza, along with Lilian Mercado and Lucila Castro to the Emergency Committee, who have been responsible for devising and implementing the community contingency plan. The women drew up maps of Nuevo Amanecer illustrating the danger zones. These carefully hand-painted maps, with evacuation routes clearly marked, hang in the busy community centre.
‘…we feel safe’ says Lilian, whose house was almost washed away in last year’s flood. ‘Before we weren’t prepared but now we’re ready for rains.’
Christian Aid has been supporting MCM, a grassroots organisation working with rural and urban poor people to improve living conditions in 150 communities, since 1992. A partnership of more than a decade has meant that Christian Aid has been able to give crucial support at some very difficult times. For example, in 1998 Hurricane Mitch hit the country, killing 3000 people, making even more homeless, and devastating the economy. Like Maritza, Lilian and Lucila most Nicaraguans were unprepared for it. Then a drought in 2002 dealt a further cruel blow, halting
much of the progress made in the years after the hurricane. MCM works hard to make sure communities have the best chance of protecting themselves and rebuilding after floods, landslides, droughts and hurricanes.
Christian Aid Week begins this year on 14 May, involving more than 300,000 Christian Aid collectors who will encourage their friends, colleagues and neighbours – almost two thirds of UK households – to put some of their hard- earned cash into the famous red envelope. What each person adds Christian Aid will multiply, and so will help more people to live life to the full.
It is unlikely that those of us in the UK and Ireland will experience the extreme devastation caused by droughts, floods, landslides and hurricanes that many Nicaraguans face. But through Christian Aid Week we can support MCM and stand in solidarity with those whose lives are characterised by upheaval and struggle, contingency plans and evacuations.
By supporting Christian Aid Week, you are among millions of people who think poverty is a scandal we do not have to accept. Your actions, commitment and contributions will bring about a better life for people in poor communities all over the world.
On Sunday 14th May, Christian Aid Sunday, we will welcome Fr. Mark Coleman to preach at the 11am Sung Eucharist.
Christian Aid Prayer
Lord Jesus, it is better to light one candle
than to give up hope
and curse the darkness.
It is better to save one stranger from deportation
and reunite one separated family,
than it is to say it is not our problem
and we can’t do much to help.
It is better to join hands in one work of love
than to sit on our hands and feel powerless.
Lord, help us to love you in the stranger and the refugee.
Help us to love ourselves enough to believe
that we can change things for the better.
Help us to love as you have loved us.
First, we survived being born to our mothers, who smoked and/or drank while they carried us. They took Aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can and didn’t get tested for diabetes. After that trauma, our cribs were painted in the bright colours of lead based paints.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, child locks on cupboard doors or cabinets and, when we rode our bicycles, we wore no helmets and we hitchhiked!
As children we would ride in cars with out seatbelts or airbags. Riding in the back of a pick-up or tractor on a warm day was always a special treat.
We drank water from the hose, not from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and, funnily, no one died from this. We ate cream cakes, white bread and real butter and drank fizzy drinks with sugar in them. But we weren’t over weight because we were always playing outside!!
We would leave home in the morning and play all day long, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. And we were OK. We would spend hours building our go-karts out of scraps; only to find out we had forgotten brakes. After a few brushes with the wall and the bottom of the hill, we learned to solve the problem.
We did not have Playstations, Nintendos, X-Boxes, or other video games. No multi channel TV, no video players or DVD’s, no surround sound, mobile phones, personal computers internet or internet chat rooms. We had real friends. How? Well, we just went outside and just found them.
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and didn’t go to court because of them. We ate worms, mud pies made up games with sticks and tennis balls and despite being told it would happen all the time, we didn’t put out many eyes.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house, knocked on the door, or just walked in and talked and played. Junior Football teams had try-outs and surprisingly, not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with the disappointment. Imagine that!
The idea of a parent bailing us out was unheard of. They actually sided with the law. The generation who went through has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem-solvers and inventors ever!
The past fifty years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.
You might want to share this with others who had the luck to grow up as children, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good! While you are at it, show this to your children so they will know how brave, in fact blooming brilliant, their parents really are.
Supplied by Fiona Whalley
Q. What do you do if you are an insomniac agnostic dyslexic?
A. Stay up all night wondering if there’s a dog.
The Vicar, a forgetful chap, went to London to buy a banner for the Mothers’ Union. He could not remember either the wording or the size, so he sent a telegram to his wife asking for the details.
When he returned to the Post Office for the reply, the girl, looking very shaken, silently handed him the reply:
'Unto us a son is born stop. Four feet by nine feet stop. Top half red, bottom black stop. Love Mary.’
100+ Club Winners
1st Martha Thompson Ken Bramwell
2nd Alan Morgan Judy Taylor
3rd Julie Voce-Pascoe Sheila Roberts
4th Jonathan Skeggs Chris Price
Fair Trade Fortnight 2006
As Vic Reeves the comedian says ‘It’s important that we keep forging ahead and keep on until it is no longer a conscious choice, but a habit for everyone.’ So it’s good that both S. Mary’s and S.Faith’s are now’ by resolution of their PCCs’ Fairtrade churches where the habit of serving Fairtrade refreshments has now been firmly established.
As you drink your Sunday cup of coffee don’t think we are alone! The British public drink 3 million cups of Fairtrade hot drinks every day. Sales of Fairtrade marked products are growing by an enormous 40% every year and there are more all the time because the supermarkets can see that people want to buy them. (One brand of coffee sold by a retailer I spoke to was highly commended by ‘Which’ magazine.)
People in 58 countries provide Fairtrade goods and an extra 100 million dollars goes to these producers. This money has gone into schools, education, community projects and projects that protect the environment, because Fairtrade insists on organic production. People are given real livelihoods instead of poverty. No overseas aid is more effective or more guaranteed to help those most in need.
There are now 150 Fairtrade towns and cities and several other towns and boroughs (including Sefton and London!) are working towards recognition. This entails identifying a specific number of schools, churches, cafes and retail outlets that market Fairtrade goods. Our local Fair trade action group is conducting a survey of all the churches in Crosby, Blundellsands and Waterloo to find out how many other Fairtrade churches there are. Watch this space!!
St Faith’s Holiday Club 2006
July 31st – August 6th
It’s getting near that time again. The Holiday Club will run this year from Monday 31st July to Friday, 4th August.
There will be a meeting the Upper Room of the Church Hall on Monday, 8th May at 8.00 pm for all who are able to help with the club in whatever capacity.
Please do come along and support the Holiday Club, we need leaders, assistants, to make up the juice and fruit for the children’s breaks, wash paint brushes and equipment and generally tidy up and clean up each day. However much/little time you can give will be so much appreciated.
Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it’s round the world we go!
Just as they should have been setting off to see the United Benefice Pantomime, Rosie and Rick set off to Manchester airport to see the world.
As a joint celebration of our retirements, and significant birthdays, we planned the holiday of a lifetime to see as much as we could of the world in just four weeks. And we surprised ourselves with what was undoubtedly the most successful holiday we’ve ever had.
It started off however at 7 o’clock on a cold February morning when we arrived at Manchester airport and Rick discovered he had ‘lost’ his driving licence. See further down . .
The next problem was our flight to Singapore which was delayed for a couple of hours and then cancelled. Surely things couldn’t get worse? We need not have worried from then on our Fairy Godmother intervened and everything worked out fine – just as it always does in Panto.
We were re-routed through London and arrived in Singapore a few hours late but with a compensation cheque from Singapore Airlines for the delay. We could use the compensation to reduce the cost of the holiday or buy a new camera and some made to measure clothes from one of the dozens of Singaporean Tailors who can make anything in 24 hours. We’ll leave it to you to guess what we did, but the decision suited us well, and you can borrow our photo album anytime you wish!
Singapore was all we expected - a busy, noisy hot metropolitan city that was well mannered and scrupulously tidy. No litter anywhere and courteous shopkeepers who seemed genuinely happy to serve their customers. The food market in Little India was an eye opener and I’ll spare you the details but two days flashed by leaving lots more to see if we ever return.
An overnight flight to Sydney and we found ourselves booking into a wonderful hotel overlooking the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. The QE2 was there also to add to the feeling of unreality, and we had the most incredible seven days you can imagine: walking over the top of the Bridge, visiting the Blue Mountains, trips across the harbour by ferry, paddling at Bondi and Manley beaches, great food and great hospitality. The Rocks market is a must for any tourist, as is a visit to the Opera House and the zoo. There seems to be a local traffic rule about speeding high church priests but we didn’t spot any. The hotel had an Internet room so we were soon back in touch with home, and looking at the panto photographs on the church website.
So much for hotel life! After a flight to Christchurch New Zealand, several ‘phone calls and e-mails to the DVLC in Swansea, a fax copy of my driving licence arrived and we took command of a camper van for a week. About every fourth vehicle in New Zealand is a camper van and the whole island is geared up to making life for the itinerant tourist easy and enjoyable. Apart from the weather which was a bit patchy, the scenery was stunning, the people friendly and the food as good as it can be on a two-burner stove with a very poor grill and no oven. However, the restaurants were well up to par and the camaraderie on camp sites was as good as any we have found in the UK.
We drove nearly 2000 Kilometres during the week, over several mountain passes of more than 5000 feet and visited glass works, museums, a glow worm dell, several churches and black sand beaches. The highlight quite literally was a helicopter flight to the top of Mount Cook which, as it’s about 12,000 feet, saved a lot of hard climbing. We landed on a glacier near the summit and the silence combined with the clean air and clear light was breathtaking. Most of the camp sites had Internet access so we were able to keep in touch with home and family on an almost daily basis.
. . . and so ends the first part of this modern-day saga as the intrepid explorers leave their Antipodean mobile home and head for . . . ?
Don’t miss next month’s episode entitled “And on the eighth Day . . . ”
Address by the Bishop of Liverpool
to the Diocesan Synod, March 2006
As Christians we are people of dual citizenship. Citizens of the Kingdom of God who recognise that God is sovereign and that there is no area of public and private life that can be withdrawn from the sovereignty of God; we are also citizens of the State with all the rights and duties of those who by virtue of nationality vote, pay taxes and possess a passport. The relationship between these two citizenships has for two millennia exercised the conscience of the Christian church. To what extent should we engage in public life either as individuals or corporately and to what extent should we seek to influence public policy with Christian values are just two of the questions we wrestle with as we ask ourselves whether the values of the Kingdom of God are for the church or for the world or for both. It will not surprise you that I have a view on all these questions!
My purpose today is not to debate the pros and cons of these issues but to draw attention to an area of public life that is at the interface of our faith and public policy. I am referring to the Assisted Dying Bill. Should this Bill become law it will undoubtedly change the moral, legal, religious and cultural landscape of England and Wales.
Even though commentators such as Polly Toynbee resent the role of religion in public life it is religious leaders that have been most prominent in resisting moves to make legal assisted suicide or voluntary euthanasia. The arguments advanced for supporting the Assisted Dying Bill seem on the surface to be compassionate and persuasive for they are intent on minimising suffering in those for whom the quality and quantity of life are severely diminished. To be against such apparently well meaning intention makes the opponents of ‘assisted dying’ appear heartless and even bigoted on the grounds of religious principle.
But like the Religious Hatred Bill, which is stacked up with good intentions but paves the way to a scenario worse than the one it seeks to remedy, so the Assisted Dying Bill seems kindly but creates a new world in which the chronically sick and terminally ill will become even more vulnerable in their time of greatest need.
In dealing with this subject I know that today there will be many of us who have struggled personally with these issues. Indeed, some who at this very moment are carrying a burden of care for someone terminally ill.
If I were asked to discern patterns or common features deriving from my years in pastoral ministry undoubtedly one of these would be the plight of the chronically sick and elderly. In private and personal conversations the frequently-expressed
sentiment was that of being a burden to the family, relatives and friends. People travelling long distances to visit, people working full time to pay the bills who literally cannot afford to care for those in need are just two aspects of modern life that make the dependants feel that they are making impossible demands on those nearest and dearest to them. Furthermore, through a combination of the advances in medical science and the pressure to achieve Government targets to secure funding the sick and the old find themselves more the objects of medical procedures rather than patients to be nursed. All this and more contribute to a diminishing sense of personal worth and value, where a patient’s self-esteem, already undermined by sickness, physical and mental, is laid even lower by the sense of being a burden to others. It is at this stage in a person’s life that society would now be saying “Come on, take the pill; you know that’s what you said you wanted.” We would not countenance such a suicidal attitude towards a deeply depressed, beautiful, twenty year old woman in mental agony who wanted to end her life. Why should we encourage it towards a deeply depressed, elderly, eighty year old?
The reasons are manifold but here are just two. We differentiate between the young and the old on the grounds that length of life left to live determines the degree of worth. This is a moral principle not acceptable to people of faith. A person’s value is measured not by the length of years but by virtue of being created in the image of God.
The second reason is that we deem the mental anguish of the twenty year old to be of lesser weight than the physical distress of the eighty year old. But this would be comparing arbitrarily two personal conditions and seeking to calibrate and differentiate their suffering – an impossible task.
If we do not accept the autonomy of the twenty year old woman to kill herself or let herself be killed then there are no moral grounds for accepting the autonomy of an eighty year old to do the same.
What is at stake is the character of society, and in particular the nature of that society as experienced by its weakest and most vulnerable members. Are we prepared to invest in palliative care and hospices? Are we willing to support and properly remunerate families that care for the sick and the dying? Are we willing to assure all our members that they are of equal worth regardless of their physical and mental condition?
None of this is to deny that end of life experiences can often be extremely difficult, physically painful and mentally distressing. The medical profession and society at large have long accepted the ‘double effect’ of relieving pain to the point of hastening death. In spite of criticism from supporters of Lord Joffe’s Bill that this is dishonest, hypocritical and lacking in transparency society has seen this as keeping faith with the primary vocation of the doctor and nurse to relieve pain.
This is the hallmark of a compassionate society that we do our utmost to relieve the pain of those who suffer, to treat people with dignity and to value their humanity however frail they may become. Doctors and nurses must be transparent to their patients and to their relatives in caring for them in this way. There must be no acting or hypocrisy in the medical profession who offer one thing yet deliver another. This is the honesty that patients seek (I’ve been one!)
Trust in the medical profession is at stake. Baroness Finlay, an expert in palliative care, who leads the opposition to the Bill in Parliament, has drawn attention to the poor palliative care services on offer in both Holland and Belgium where Assisted Suicide is offered. She tells the story of a young mother in Holland diagnosed with cervical cancer being depressed by being offered euthanasia in every ward round.
Furthermore, the National Group for Palliative Nurse Consultants has made the point that it is nurses rather than doctors who attend the dying and that ‘no suffering is unamenable to relief when a patient and family and expert practitioners work together to tackle its complexities’. The Group’s expert opinion is that the Bill is flawed. But there is no doubt that the mood of popular opinion is shifting in favour of assisted dying if not outright euthanasia. This is in line with the moral shift in favour of the supremacy of the individual and the cult of individualism that characterises our culture so that ‘everybody does what is right in their own eyes’.
Although we might warn of the social consequences the public is blinded by the elevation of individual rights. Some of you may remember that prior to the abortion Act of 1967 there were warnings of the scenarios that the Act might lead to. The popular imagination was blind to what might and did indeed occur – namely that abortion has become common-place with over 5 million foetuses now killed and 180,000 killed every year.
Supporters of the Assisted Dying Bill deny that such a slippery slope will follow but history is not on their side. The vulnerability of the chronically sick and elderly will be made worse by such a bill in a society that increasingly idolises youthfulness and despises ageing. The elderly and infirm will not be made more secure by these measures; rather they will feel more alienated from a society that is increasingly unable and unwilling to pay for the medical care that advances in medical science makes possible.
Jesus challenged the casuistry of his day by saying and questioning ‘Is it lawful to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?’ In a different context his word still rings true. I hope Christians will engage in the debate and bring to bear the values of the Kingdom on the politics of the world and on the pastoral care of the chronically sick and the terminally ill.
Two Waterloos – One Hope
When I offered to organise the logistics for the Waterloo Partnership I had little idea what it would entail. The learning curve has been not so much steep as vertical, and has included getting to know how to use a computer in order to communicate with our shipping agents and with the British High Commission in Freetown. The arcane details of Bills of Lading, demurrage and customs valuations have been a novelty, too, the object of the latter being to price the load as low as possible, in case customs charges are made. Fred and I have also managed the collection, sorting and packing of a bewildering variety of goods, mostly educational, for shipping to our partners in Waterloo, Sierra Leone. Luckily for us several primary schools in Sefton have closed recently because of falling rolls, and we have liaised with the Education Authority to obtain surplus books, educational resources and equipment, which will be invaluable in Sierra Leone. Other goods have come from public appeals, and from schools and churches; and local businesses have generously helped with gifts in kind, such as transport and storage.
Since November last year we have shipped out three 40 ft containers, and the list of contents is impressive: 125 crates of books, 34 crates of teaching resources, 18 of stationery; 1250 school chairs, 400 tables, 1100 paint brushes, 650 school slates, 120 reams of paper, filing cabinets and cupboards, gym and sports equipment, and 45 sewing machines with a huge quantity of fabric and thread. Not to mention a mound of blankets and bedding, children’s shoes and clothes, workshop tools and gardening implements! We are extremely grateful to friends from St. Faith’s who gave their time to help transport, pack and load: we could not have done it without you!
The Partnership is now entering a new phase of activity. Since the priority of our SL partners is young peoples’ education, we are now actively planning to help them build a library and educational resource centre, which will require ongoing funding for a salaried librarian. An initiative is also needed to support the hundreds of children made homeless by the civil war. In order to sustain these long term projects with predictable income, the charity is hoping to raise £12,000 a year from regular donations. With this in mind we are looking for a thousand people to join our new ‘One Thousand Hearts Project’, undertaking to give one pound a month to the Waterloo Partnership by standing order. (We hope that this small monthly contribution will not prejudice donations to Medic Malawi in any way). If you would like to help with our long term projects, Fred and our Treasurer Kathleen Zimak have standing order forms:- but please don’t be too surprised if we make the first approach! A regular contribution to the charity would cement the relationship between the two Waterloos and help the poorest country in the world.
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