The Parish Magazine
of Saint Faith's Church, Great
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
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.
the Ministry Team
When I was a student in the 60’s, the University church in London still
had a tradition of fasting before the Sunday morning communion service.
The custom led to a characteristic feature of University worship: the
regular lapse into temporary unconsciousness of young women who fainted
during the course of the Eucharist. A not unwilling first aid service
was gallantly provided by one of the churchwardens (who was later to be
best man at my wedding).
Nutritionists tell us that breakfast is the most important meal of the
day. Children who go to school sustained only by a bottled drink and a
packet of crisps have impaired concentration and perform poorly.
Grown-ups often don’t do much better; breakfast for many has
shrunk to a hurried cup of coffee. Sales of marmalade have fallen
significantly because people only have time to eat it at weekends!
Reading St. John’s account of Our Lord’s post-resurrection appearance
at the lakeside, I was struck again by his invitation ‘Come and have
breakfast’. Peter and the other disciples, grief stricken by their
Master’s death, return to the humble trade of fishing. This was the
familiar occupation which they had left behind when Jesus had first
called them to follow him. But even fishing provided no comfort: they
had been up all night without catching anything. In the cold of the
dawn they were hungry, depressed and disillusioned. And then Jesus
calls to them from the shore - ‘Come and have breakfast’. He once more
calls his followers away, he invites them to a life of refreshment,
renewal and hope. He literally restores their spirits with the
breakfast he has prepared, and in the meal eaten together he shares
again his love, his companionship, his values. There is more than mere
comfort in this encounter: Peter in recalling his three-fold denial of
his Lord declares afresh his love and commitment, and is then
commissioned to ‘feed the sheep’ – to be the shepherd of the new
community of faith.
Easter always offers us a fresh start. It is a time when, with Our
Lord’s grace, we can leave behind our disillusionment and gain new
inspiration and new strength. It is a time for turning our regrets for
the past into a springboard for action in the future. It is a time when
we gain new confidence for the task ahead: Our Lord renews and feeds us
that we may feed the world.
Every Sunday, every Eucharist, is another Easter where we share anew,
with the Christian community, in Christ’s companionship, Christ’s
values. It is ‘food for the journey’ which sustains us as we continue
on the next stage of our pilgrimage. But each Eucharist is also a
‘working breakfast’ where our Master invites us all to re-new our
commitment. In penitence and faith we have to work out for ourselves
how best to serve him. We are called to be a blessing to the world –
what a commission! And at the start of every day we are reminded of
this commission. In the little rituals of getting up, having breakfast
and greeting one another, we are re-born into a new world that has
endless God- given opportunities for us and for his Kingdom. ‘Christ is
Risen – He is risen indeed!’
Wishing you every blessing during the Easter and Ascension season,
(No-one has yet fainted at the 06.30 Ascension Day Eucharist at St
Faith’s – and breakfast follows promptly in the viciarage! Ed)
beats up Priest
Elderly congregation members a church in South Africa gave their priest
the beating of his life after he told them to hand over part of the
increase in their pension announced in a recent budget.
Piet Mnisi, the priest of the village of Mvangatini in northeastern
Mpumalanga province, said in his sermon that the money was ‘a blessing
from God’, the Daily Sun newspaper said.
The priest had said that the worshippers’ relatives would die if he did
not start receiving the money from the following month.
(Supplied by Ken Hollis. Perhaps we
should reconsider our Stewardship Campaign. Ed)
Fr. Neil would like to thank everyone for their kind cards, gifts and
good wishes over Easter. Also to say a huge thank you to everyone who
has helped – in any way at all – over the Holy Week and Easter
celebrations. Your dedication and hard work is much appreciated.
Ron and Maud Williams
3 £70 Dave
4 £50 Fr
from Fr. Geoffrey Hardman
Dear friends – just a few reflections on Holy Week. It was an enormous
privilege to be with you all at St. Mary’s and St. Faith’s last week.
Thank you for all the friendship and hospitality. You have a wonderful
parish, full of life and energy which I hope and pray will be sustained.
The Holy Week liturgies were, perhaps, the best I’ve ever experienced –
all carried out with imagination and great feeling. It was so good to
see so many people helping to prepare for Easter, armies of cleaners
and flower-ladies, coupled with the wonderful performance by the choir
Most memorable – for me – were: the unaccompanied singing on Good
Friday; that moment at the Easter Vigil when Fr. Neil invited us all to
trace the sign of the cross on our foreheads after dipping our
fingers in the newly-blessed water of the font: and Easter Sunday
morning defies words. There was a tremendous atmosphere in a packed St.
Faith’s for the Eucharist and Baptisms; even the mistakes added to the
occasion! Once again thank you all very much and I look forward to
seeing you all again soon.
And there’s more…
The editor could not let this truly memorable week go without adding a
few further words of appreciation and thanksgiving.
Holy Week is always memorable at Saint Faith’s, and to be a pilgrim
through from Palm Sunday to Easter Day was, once again this year,
something very special. The unfolding drama of the whole week was
brought vividly to the church’s stage by a sequence of moving and
dramatic services, a few impressions from which must suffice.
The sun shone once more upon the righteous as we walked the A565 from
Merchant Taylors’ to church: it is always good to stop the traffic for
a while and, just possibly, remind the impatient backed-up traffic that
life holds more than Sainsbury’s, the cinema and the attractions of
Bootle or Southport. In church, both then and at other services of the
week, the involvement of members of the congregation in the dramatised
scripture readings gives a real sense of a community at worship. This
was especially evident at Monday’s Stations of the Cross, when it was a
privilege to be one of the fourteen reading the words of a bystander in
the Everyman’s Stations, used for the first time at St Faith’s.
Maundy Thursday, with the intensely powerful focus of the consecration
at the Nave Altar, closely ringed by choir, servers and, for this
special night, the gathered congregation, never fails to work its
mysterious magic – as do the rituals that follow, with the
overpowering presence of candles in the
greenery-decked Gethsemane Garden, the heart-stopping
slamming of the book and the subsequent bustle of the stripping bare of
the church’s decorations and adornments. Good Friday’s worship takes
place in this strangely empty theatre, with solemn liturgy, black
vestments and quiet veneration – and Fr Geoffrey has mentioned the
impact of the unaccompanied singing: culminating in Fr Neil’s singing
of ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’ as the slow procession
wound out round the church at the Third Hour.
I can only echo Fr Geoffrey’s words about the self-renewal of baptismal
vows at the Vigil service: a fitting accompaniment to the usual
cacophony of bells, whistles and assorted clamour as the lights came
on, and the champagne, easter biscuits and neck-craning fireworks (yes,
outside the church) that followed. And Easter morning was amazing.
Baptism visitors helped swell the numbers to the best part of 300, and
the joy, colour, movement and drama (yes, and those mistakes!) made a
magnificent ending to an unforgettable week. Thanks indeed to Fr Neil,
Fr Geoffrey for leading us through the week and all who were part of
something even more special than usual.
from the Archdeacon of Liverpool
Archbishop William Temple is famous for describing the church as the
only society which exists for the benefit of its non-members. Your
Away-day programme will give you an opportunity to look beyond the
church family to those who, for one reason or another, may find it
difficult to engage with the church as an institution, or with the God
who should be the focus and centre of everything we are about.
I have experienced a warm welcome at both St Mary’s and St Faith’s
- especially when I come to support my wife at Crosby Symphony
Orchestra concerts. I hope if I came incognito, that the welcome would
be just as warm, and that I’d be able to ask any questions I wanted and
get a thoughtful answer. I might just try that after you get back?
Thank you for giving up the time to tackle issues which are vital for
every church in every place. Have a really blessed and enjoyable day
The Away-day is on Saturday 12th May,
at Saint Luke’s, Formby. Everyone welcome!
Rosie and Rick Walker are planning their third Big Breakfast on June
23rd, with all proceeds to the Waterloo Partnership. Please put the
date in your diary now!
A Service of Penitence at Liverpool
Cathedral, 24th March.
Margaret Davies reports…
“Were you there when...?” So the question is put in the words of the
old Spiritual. Well, you should have been, for this was an occasion to
hold in one’s memory, a service superbly orchestrated by our very own
stage director (and vicar), but, oh so much more than that. This was a
powerful and moving experience - several hundred people gathered
together in Liverpool Cathedral to mark the 200th Anniversary of the
Abolition of the Slave Trade Act and to recall in penitence the
terrible cruelties inflicted upon the slaves of West Africa, men and
Before the service proper began we listened to African Drummers and to
the singing of the Philharmonic Gospel Choir, music which admirably set
the mood. Readings followed, one from the writings of Olaudah Equiano,
taken as a boy-slave from his native Nigeria (as it is now known) and
another from William Wilberforce, the driving force of the
abolitionists. These helped us to reflect for a while before the
leaders of the representative churches entered, each bearing a large
lit candle. They took their seats behind the altar within a triangle of
black ribbon suspended above them which symbolised the geographical
triangle of the slave trade between Africa, America and Britain.
During the hymns, prayers and readings which followed - the readings
taken from a variety of sources, including, for example, the Jewish
Haggadah for the Feast of the Passover as well as from the Bible - we
were called upon to remember and reflect upon the oppression, terror
and pain suffered by our black brothers and sisters and to give thanks
for the efforts of the abolitionists, both black and white, who fought
tirelessly and courageously for so long to bring about the Act of
Abolition. Later in the service came the dedication of a special cloth,
designed by Stephen Broadbent. Called “I am not for Sale” it has been
specially commissioned and will remain in the cathedral as a memorial
of this communal Act of Penitence. Each of the church leaders came
forward in turn to imprint their hand upon it.
For me, the highlights of the service were, first, the music of the
Gospel Choir (and in particular the touching words of the song
“Hold On”). Their music contrasted magically with the quite different
mode of the Cathedral Choir. Second, Bishop James’ sermon: this was
indeed hard-hitting throughout, even uncomfortable. In closing Bishop
James reminded us that every single act of cruelty inflicted upon a
slave was a cruelty inflicted upon the Son of God Himself - the
ultimate, the real blasphemy, as he described it, and recalled the
words of the Gospel: “Inasmuch as you have done it to one of these my
brothers you did it to me.”
We were sent out, however, on a hopeful note of resolution,
thankfulness and dedication. Unlike John Newton, a sea-captain and
slave dealer who converted to Christianity yet whose conscience was for
a long time (to use the Bishop’s word) “cauterized” and dulled so that
he could not or would not see the cruelty on his own ship, our
consciences are to be constantly pricked. We remembered and repented
for the miseries of 200 years ago: our challenge and response now is to
remember the worldwide slavery and misery of today and to act
always for justice and for human dignity.
and Notes from the Lent Quiet Day “Just a Minute”
led by Father Aidan Mayoss C.R.
It is a myth that holy people are good at and/or enjoy praying.
A lady on her first retreat confessed to the leader that she found it
very difficult to pray. Right on cue, a nun glided into chapel, dropped
to her knees, made the sign of the cross and seemed to fall
effortlessly into deep and meaningful prayer. Later, the priest
confronted the sister: “I want to ask you a question and I want the
truth now. When you were praying earlier so beautifully, what were you
thinking about?” The answer was immediate. “About having baked
beans for supper again.”
J.C. Ryle, the first Anglican bishop of Liverpool suggested that “Truly
we have learned a great lesson when we have learned that ‘saying
prayers’ is not praying!” The idea is not to take a shopping list of
petitions to God and think we have finished praying when we have
completed presenting the list to the Almighty.
A beautiful young nun helping Fr. Aidan on a mission began her talk on
prayer thus: “When you are snogging with a bloke you just let yourself
go!” How do we move on? How do we pray? Ignatius of Loyola suggests we
offer our entire will and freedom so that God may make us of us and our
possessions according to his most holy will.
Prayer demands more than just a minute. The closing lines of our
favourite hymns summon us and demand great things that are not
consistent with the little effort we give to prayer.
…Lost in wonder, love, and praise.
…Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my
…gladly for ay we adore him.
…for love in creation, for heaven restored, For grace in
salvation, O praise ye the Lord!
Prayer demands we use all five senses and not just the brain process.
Have a candle or incense or whatever to help. Do not become frustrated
by wandering thoughts – distraction in prayer, like temptation, will
only cease when you are dead.
You can pray at any time of the day and in any place. You risk life and
limb (and points and fines) if you do it while driving but many find it
convenient to do it on the bus or train travelling to or from work.
However, it cannot be done at the end of the day – that never has and
never will work. You cannot pray on an electric blanket!
Despite the fact that Christians have written more about prayer than
any other topic, most of us find it hard to pray. Fr. Aidan suggested
the mnemonic ACTS that follows the Lord’s Prayer:
Adoration – Letting yourself kneel and with the whole company of heaven
“Be still and know that I am God.”
Confession – acknowledge all the things we have done; how we have
fallen short; our omissions.
Thanks – for all that we have – nature, friends and family.
Supplication – remembering the oppressed, the sick, the bereaved and
those facing death.
Some people find it a great help to choose one short thought to carry
with them throughout the day. Examples of Arrow Prayers are –
I know He loveth
And to Him my soul shall live.
Create a clean heart in
me. Fill me with joy and gladness.
But God is rich in
silence be your wisdom.
O come, let us adore
Him. In you I place all my trust
Think upon all His wonders.
In the ‘Introduction to the Saints’ Prayer Book, Anthony F.Chiffolo
reckons that after a lifetime of rote prayer, most of his praying now
“is strictly conversational – telling God what’s happening in my life
and how I feel about it all.” St. Alphonsus de Liguori, some-
times called the Great Doctor of Prayer, summarised the essence of
prayer in this way:
Acquire the habit of speaking to God as if you were
alone with him.
Speak with familiarity and confidence as to your dearest and most
loving friend. Speak of your life, your plans, your troubles, your joys
your fears. In return, God will speak to you – not that you will hear
audible words in your ears, but words that you will clearly understand
in your heart. These may be feelings of peace, hope, interior joy, or
sorrow for sin... gentle knockings at the door of your heart.
Chiffolo continues, “God speaks to us constantly, in ways both subtle
and obvious … but we will not be tuned in to God’s message unless and
until we begin to converse with him. Real prayer is an ongoing dialogue
with God, but this spontaneous two-way conversation does not come
naturally to most people. Just as we might stumble in our first
attempts to communicate with new friends or colleagues, we might also
need to practise talking with God. We might feel or awkward or foolish
at first in speaking aloud to God, in telling God how afraid we are.
The company you keep shows in your life, for good or bad. Didn’t Mum
always know instantly when you had been playing with naughty children?
It was said of the disciples that there was something in their
attitude, something in their reactions that said they had been with
Jesus and people noticed. Similarly, there is no doubt that if we spend
time with God it shows, and if we do not spend time with God that shows
also. Prayer should be a daily “good habit”. If we do not pray daily
throughout the week, we should not expect to find prayer easy or
fulfilling on Sundays. What we do in Church must be a reflection of our
Fr. Aidan suggested that the following three titles might be of
The Habit of Holiness: Martin Warner
Prayers for Church of England People: Harry Ogden
… and rather different because it provides a simple daily office
A Book of Little Offices:
published by the Community of the Resurrection
And finally, when meaningful prayer is just too difficult, the words of
St. Alphonsus de Liguori may help:
O holy Spirit, grant me the gift of prayer.
Come into my heart, and teach me the strength not to
abandon it because I sometimes
grow weary of it;
And give me the spirit of prayer, the grace to pray
- or, more simply
I want to want to love God. I want to pray.
Thanks to Fr. Aidan, Anthony F. Chiffolo, David Adam – ‘Traces of
Glory’ and ‘The Times – Prayers & Readings for all Occasions’
compiled by Owen Collins. All titles available from The United Benefice
Cristina Odone, outspoken Roman Catholic journalist, has featured
before now in these pages as a forthright debunker of prejudice and an
enlightened exposer of various religious absurdities of our time. This
tongue-in-cheek extract from her Daily Telegraph Notebook won’t please
‘I am second to none in my admiration for Dr Rowan Williams, the
Archbishop of Canterbury. But how can he suggest that the Church of
England pay reparation for its historic role in the slave trade?
The Church’s coffers are near-empty, its vicars so badly paid that many
claim income support and a third are in crippling debt. So how does the
Primate plan to raise funds for this reparation – flog a cathedral or
two? The one in Wells would make a perfect central site for a new
Tesco: frozen foods near the original nave, clothing under the famed
inverted arch, and the meat counter by the transept. York Minster would
be fabulous as an indoor leisure centre – with an ice-skating rink in
the Lady Chapel and wall-climbing ropes dangling from the Gothic roofs.
But hang on: if we are talking about historic reparation, surely the
Established Church should hand back all the churches it stole from us
for the Diary
Sunday 6th May at 6pm
11am: FAMILY EUCHARIST
SCOUTS’ CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
6pm: May Devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary
Choral Evensong, Procession and Solemn Te Deum, followed by wine
Preacher: The Most Reverend Patrick Kelly, Archbishop of Liverpool
Ascension Day – Thursday 17th May
6.30 am Procession & High Mass followed by
breakfast in the Vicarage
Preacher: Fr. Nicholas
Davis, Rector of Tarleton
10.30am Eucharist with hymns in S. Mary’s
7.30 pm Eucharist with hymns in S. Faith’s
National Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham
Monday 28th May 2007
12 noon Concelebrated Mass
(in the Abbey Grounds; Principal Celebrant: The Rt Revd David Thomas,
Provincial Assistant Bishop of Wales)
2.30 pm Sermon, Procession & Benediction (Preacher: The Revd Andrew
Sloane, Rector of S. Paul’s, K Street, Washington DC, USA)
Pilgrimage Handbook & Admission: £3.00 (school-age children:
admission free) -Activities for children, young people and their
families in the Education tent. (£2 per head to cover costs of
materials) - in advance from Janet Marshall, The Education Department,
The College, Walsingham NR22 6EF or e-mail: email@example.com
How the National Pilgrimage to
Walsingham came about…
In 1938 the Whitsun weekend saw a huge influx of pilgrims to Walsingham
to witness the blessing of the much enlarged Shrine Church. As
had become customary, there was a great procession from the Parish
Church to the Shrine. It was estimated that the procession took ‘one
hour less three minutes’ to pass the Common Place and that 6,000
pilgrims passed through the Holy House. In the report of the weekend in
the 1938 Our Lady's Mirror (the forerunner of the present Walsingham
Review) the intention was announced to hold a similar day pilgrimage
‘as an annual event every Whit Monday.’ This indeed happened in 1939
and 1940, but then, for the remainder of World War II, the pilgrimage
went into abeyance. 1946 saw its highly successful revival - but
pouring rain 12
meant the procession had to be cancelled! The Whit Monday great
pilgrimage became known as the ‘National’ in 1959 - after one of the
guardians, the present Earl of Lauderdale, had written to The Church
Times urging people to join the Whit Monday pilgrimage, describing it
as ‘the first National Pilgrimage in the history of the Church of
England to the Shrine of the Incarnation at Walsingham.’
In 1971 the Whit Monday bank holiday was moved to the last Monday in
May and the National Pilgrimage moved from Whitsuntide to this date.
The only cancellation since 1946 was in 2001 because of the Foot and
Funny you should say that
Further gleanings from ‘The Week’ one of whose specialities is the
recording of assorted contemporary absurdities.
A fireman is facing disciplinary action after plunging into a river to
rescue a drowning woman. Tam Brown, 42, dragged the unconscious woman
out of the River Tay in Perth, thereby breaching a safety rule stating
that ‘personnel should not enter the water’.
A 102-year-old man has been granted a 25-year, £200,000 mortgage.
The unnamed pensioner from East Sussex will have to repay £958 a
month until he is 127.
Lap dancers are to be forced to pay VAT on the money thrust into their
garters and elsewhere. The High Court in London has ruled that they,
not the clubs they dance in, are personally liable to pay the tax.
(Church open 11.am -1 pm; refreshments on sale, concerts at 12 noon)
21 April Amadeus – The Chamber Choir – Director:
28 April Merchant Taylors’ School Music Students
5 May Birkdale High School Jazz Band
5 May Valerie Watts (soprano) and Roger Stephens
12 May Liverpool Youth Ensemble – Director: Louise
26 May Cantilena (pupils of Ranee Seneviratne)
2 June St Faith’s Choir – Director: Paul Burnett
9 June Julia Platt (soprano) and Richard Lea
Ministry of Silly Names…?
The clear winner in a poll carried out by a video recruitment website,
seeking to establish the most stupid job title of all time, was the job
of Vision Clearance Executive – otherwise known as a window cleaner.
It came ahead of Education Centre Nourishment Production Assistant, or
dinner lady and Waste Removal Engineer – bin man. Fourth in the poll
was Domestic Engineer – or housewife to most people, followed by
Knowledge Navigator… or teacher!
Reflection for the Feast of the Ascension
from a Saturday article of the 1920’s in “The Times”supplied by Fr
To emphasize the details in the narratives of the Ascension is to miss
the true significance of the event itself. The symbolism of the New
Testament can never be given a literalistic interpretation without
obscuring the realities to which it witnesses, and this is especially
true of the account of Christ’s Ascension into Heaven.
An attentive reader of the New Testament will find that the dominant
representation of Christ throughout the Apostolic writings is one of
mastery, of power, of lordship over men. In the Gospels we see how He
confronts friends and foes alike with complete self-possession, as if
by right laying upon them His commands and expecting perfect obedience
to His injunctions. Those who came into closest contact with Him
acknowledged His lordship over their souls. The dominance of Christ’s
influence was evident throughout His ministry, and the Ascension
testifies that His sovereignty is to continue until all things shall be
made subject to His will.
The final authority in heaven and earth rests with the Ascended Lord.
All other sovereignties are subject to Him. His will is the supreme law
both for the individual and the community, to be observed in the
intimacies of a man’s soul, and not less in the policies which
determine national and international relations. Even if the state
cannot always submit itself to the same application of the moral law as
is incumbent on the individual, and there are occasions when in
self-defence, or to prevent greater wrong, it must act with a violence
which can never be justified in any private citizen, the fact remains
that in the final tests of national as of individual life the law of
Christ, the law which is obeyed by the acknowledgment of His
sovereignty in the world, is final.
It must be confessed that Christ’s lordship is only faintly apparent in
the world as we know it. When we try to distinguish the results of the
natural evolution of morals guided by human experience from the special
contribution to modern civilization which has its origin in man’s
response to Christian faith and morals, we may be conscious of real
disappointment at the comparatively small influence of the latter.
There is much that is beautiful and delightful in modern civilization
which is not derived from Christian sources. Let this be gratefully
acknowledged as a witness to the instinctive love of goodness in
men, but we must be aware that to these qualities of life
Christianity must 14
add its own special gifts and create or inspire virtues which come from
no other source. We require its readiness for sacrifice on behalf of
truth, its zeal in the service of the poor and distressed, its response
to the claims of man’s brotherhood, its endeavour to make righteousness
and love the master motive of our corporate life, its desire to
acknowledge the redemptive sovereignty of the Christian faith. These
qualities of character and ideals of life cannot be secured or
maintained merely by an enlightened political outlook, nor by a natural
desire to make the best of the conditions in which we have to live.
They have their origin in the recognition of the verities of the
spiritual realm and express the law of that life over which Christ
rules as supreme King.
The Ascension announces the equal subjection of things in heaven and
things on earth to Him who is Sovereign over all. Christianity has from
the first declared its faith in the existence of spiritual beings “in
the heavenly places,” and the New Testament represents them as
belonging to different orders and varying in their ministrations. No
doubt we must here be specially careful not to abuse the symbolism of
faith, but we may at least think ourselves justified in believing that
all hierarchies of spiritual beings are subject entirely to the
sovereign rule of the Ascended Lord. All supernatural powers, no less
than all races of men, must serve Him. In this recognition of His
universal lordship over things in heaven and things in earth men are
relieved from that fear of the unknown which has been the cause of
infinite misery to mankind. Let anyone reflect on the miserable
perversions of human life and the grim terrors which have ruled over
millions through dread of the power of evil spirits. Let him think of
those pictures of the Doom common in medieval churches, and what they
really represented in men’s hearts, and then reflect how, if only they
had understood and accepted the assurance of the Ascension that the
sovereignty over all things in heaven and earth lies with Him Who is
the Son of god and Son of Man, and it will be plain that the worst
fears of men would have vanished into nothingness if the witness to the
Divine Sovereignty had been accepted.
Christians hold themselves justified in finding in the Ascended Lord’s
universal lordship a final assurance of the attainment of the true goal
of humanity. All He has accomplished by His Spirit in the hearts of
men, all that now makes for faith in Him, all that seeks truth and
beauty, is a sign and a pledge that in the end He will be supreme. Here
is the answer of the Christian faith to the riddle of the universe.
There is enough to puzzle and distress us in the world. Pain and
sorrow, care and bereavement, shadow the lives of men until death ends
all. Beyond the mystery which bound life’s scene there is One Who lives
and reigns, and the end is with Him.
through the Ages in Verse
Now must I mend my manners
Now must I mend my manners
And lay my gruffness by.
The earth is making merry,
And so, I think, must I.
The flowers are out in thousands,
Each in a different dress.
The woods are green and like unto fruit,
The earth has donned her grassy fleece
And blackbirds, jackdaws, magpies, nighingales
Shouting each other down in equal praise.
So many lovely things, and if a man looks on them,
And his mood is not softened, nor a smile on his face,
An intractable clod is he, at odds with his heart is he,
For who can behold earth’s beauty without praising it
Has a grudge against earth’s Maker, whose honour all these serve,
Cold winter, summer, autumn, comely spring.
Marbod of Rennes (1035-1123),
Bishop and monk
Rendered into modern English by Helen Waddell; from St Peter’s, Formby,
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.
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 sound, 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.
At this season, more than any other,
They step forward from the darkness,
Thronging the margins of the mind.
Silently they rise up from the grave of memory:
Some who have left their mark on this place and on us
Long-past worshippers congregating again,
A parent mourned, a friend lost to the dark;
Others known only to their God:
Taken in their multitudes before their time
By man’s inhumanity to man.
Their faces haunt us, their presence as real
As the heavy clustered lilies given in their memory,
Before they slip away into the shadows,
Back to the borders of oblivion.
But their death is only a beginning
And our lamenting will have an end
In the certain hope of the resurrection,
The new fire, the fanfare of faith,
When the past and the present come once more together
And all things are made whole again in God.
St Faith's: Easter, 1995
Many readers will be aware that over the years I have accumulated a
list of other churches, in the U.K. and worldwide, dedicated to Saint
Faith. From time to time, correspondents, electronically or by good old
‘snailmail’ get in touch with information about yet more establishments
to add to the list. Two such additions – one in the USA and the other
in Norfolk, follow…
In March, I received an email, informing us of the existence of a St
Faith’s church in Havertown, Pennsylvania; as a result, the church was
added to the ‘foreign’ list.
‘I was rector of Saint Faith parish in the USA from 1998 to 2003.
Saint Faith Episcopal Church in Havertown (suburb of Philadelphia),
Pennsylvania is alive and well after being founded in 1932. We are
celebrating our 75th anniversary this year (January). It would be
greatly appreciated if you would add “our” Saint Faith to your
impressive list of Saint Faith churches all over the world.
Blessings and peace,
The Rev. Robert H. Brown’
And at the beginning of April a charming picture, from the same
correspondent, was emailed to me: it is reproduced on the website. Web
search reveals that the current Rector is the Reverend Patricia A.
Oglesby; interestingly all the references in Google refer to ‘Saint
Faith Church’ rather than sporting the usual apostrophe.
The second church is not so much a discovery as a follow-up. The
congregation at St Faith’s Church in Gaywood, Kings Lynn, Norfolk,
worship in an ancient and beautiful-looking building, which is shared
by the local Methodist congregation. My correspondent, Mrs Connie
Cleps, who originally contacted me a while back, has now sent me copies
of their guidebook and magazine, with lots of information about their
parish life and the work that went into renovating and enlarging their
centuries-old building. We have set up an exchange of magazines and
goodwill greetings, and before long I will add an illustrated feature
on the Gaywood Church to the website.
At the latest count, we have identified some 53 churches or other
establishments dedicated to our Patron, although a few of these are,
sadly, defunct or have changed their names. There is also a ferry
called Saint Faith - and there was once a consecrated garage! Most of
the churches are merely names on my list, but several have stories and
pictures, and the whole thing is growing into quite a respectable
archive. Readers of these pages are invited to join the list of those,
locally and elsewhere, who supply me with information: their reward is
an online credit and, doubtless, the prayers of Saint Faith.
follow the links from the website home page.
to St Faith`s Home Page