The Parish Magazine
of Saint Faith's Church, Great Crosby
Saint Faith’s Prayer for
God of unchanging power, your Holy Spirit enables us to
proclaim your love in challenging times and places:
give us fresh understanding and a clear vision, that together we may respond to the call
to be your disciples and to rejoice in the blessings of your kingdom;
we ask this in the name of Him who gave His life that ours might flourish,
your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
If you would like
to receive a postal copy of Newslink each month, free of charge, email the Editor
From the Ministry Team
Christians are people who believe in the participation of everyone – every human being should have a share in the inheritance which God has given us in Jesus. This is what we mean when we talk about the Body of Christ. There is no one who should be outside. No one – no matter who they are or what they have done – should in the end be left out. All should be gathered in. So why do we have such a divided society?
The job which I do with Church Action on Poverty, as a director of various programmes around citizen participation, is about trying to do something about that in some pretty specific ways.
One half of my job is about helping people participate in how public money gets spent in local communities. For three years, colleagues and I developed some pilots to experiment with this. We took an idea that had started in Brazil, and then, funded by central government, we worked in Newcastle, Salford, Bradford, Sunderland and Wrexham in North Wales to see how it might work in this country. It’s called ‘participatory budgeting’ which is not a phrase likely to excite anyone. So when it gets started locally it is usually called something else like ‘U-Decide’ (Newcastle), and ‘The Peoples’ Fund’ (Sunderland).
The basic notion is very simple – that local people know best what needs doing in their community - rather than someone sitting in council offices. Further, that just consulting people and asking their opinions is not enough. There is a better way. Rather than the council brokering a whole load of personal preferences from individual citizens – and still making the final decision - the local authority should offer opportunities for people to come together, to share their stories and concerns about where they live, and then to vote on how money gets spent.
You can perhaps imagine some of the scepticism we faced. ‘Local people don’t know enough about public budgets to make those sorts of decisions’ ‘It’ll be the usual loud mouths who get their way’ ‘This will set people against each other’ ‘That’s what councillors are elected to do! – you’re taking away the role of politicians!’
Well none of this turned out to be true.
We discovered that ordinary local people could make complex decisions about how money should be spent. We did some preparation work by offering budget literacy workshops. And surprise, surprise not only were people able to do it, they enjoyed doing it. Most of the people we started working with were on low incomes in poor communities. So they already knew a lot about budgeting. It gave people a real sense of empowerment when they realized they could get their heads around public finances.
We helped local authorities organise the public meetings in ways which meant that everyone had an equal voice – and nobody dominated.
And rather than setting people against each other, the opposite happened. People came together and heard a whole range of peoples’ concerns about their area. They discovered that there were all sorts of projects going on for the good of community that they didn’t know existed. They met a whole load of people who thought like them about some of the issues in the area – and realized that they weren’t alone in what they thought. Most remarkably, we discovered that people would come to a meeting with a pretty clear idea of what they wanted money spent on – and then, once they had listened to each other, they would change their mind - and instead of voting for their personal preference would vote for something that was for the common good, for the good of all. It quite restored our faith in human nature – the government jargon for it is ‘social cohesion’ – or NIMBYISM defeated!
So what about the local councillors – didn’t they have their noses put out of joint? Well, some yes. ‘Over my dead body’ was quite a common reaction from elected members at first. But then the penny dropped, and most realised that this was a gift not a threat. That if they went along with this idea they could gain huge amount of kudos and political legitimacy – by being seen as the people who were allowing all this to happen! Just recently, a local councillor in Newcastle coming to one of these participatory budgeting events for the first time said, ‘I’ve been waiting all my political life for an event like this!’ So, some real transformation going on.
From little acorns, huge great oaks do grow! Last July the Communities Minister Hazel Blears (whose department had been following our progress) announced that the government wanted this form of citizen participation to be going on in every local authority within five years. So my project in Church Action on Poverty is now the lead
agency for developing this across England – and being given quite a lot more resources to do the job more effectively.
There are now 40 or 50 pilots going on, with literally millions of pounds being spent by local people for what they want to see happening in their neighbourhood. And participatory budgeting is coming to a place near you! Both Liverpool and Sefton Councils have signed up in our last round of new pilots and will be finding ways of engaging local people in budget decisions. If you want to find out more go to our website www.participatorybudgeting.org.uk
For me the idea of participation is very much linked to the central Christian mystery and hope of incarnation. Our God is the one who participates so much - so deeply - that his life becomes our life. And creating real, healthy, deep rooted participation in our organizations and in our communities and in our society is, I think, one of the most important ways in which you and I can live the incarnation, and can get close to God – and participate in him.
So, that’s what I do for half of my job – the other half will have to wait for another time!
Coming up soon….
May Devotions to The Blessed Virgin Mary
Sunday 4th May at 6pm
Choral Evensong, Procession and Solemn Te Deum
Preacher: Fr. Philip Barnes
(Shrine Priest, Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham)
Followed by a glass of wine! All welcome.
Anyone (adults or children) wishing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation later in the year should speak to Fr. Neil. Confirmation classes will begin after Pentecost.
Fr. Martin Jones
Many from St. Faith’s will, I am sure, want to attend Fr. Martin’s ordination in Liverpool Cathedral on Sunday 8th June at 10.30am. (There will be an 11am Eucharist in S. Faith’s for those not attending the Ordination.) Later that same day Fr. Martin will preside at the Eucharist for the first time in his own parish at 6pm. A coach will be arranged to take those who wish to go to St. Oswald’s, Winwick, for the evening celebration.
It has been a great joy and privilege for us at St. Faith’s to welcome back two former members in past months (who are now priests) to preside at the Eucharist, namely Denise McDougall and Liz Halbert. We look forward to welcoming back Martin, at an appropriate time, to preside as well.
Thursday 1st May
6.30am PROCESSION AND SOLEMN EUCHARIST
Preacher: The Reverend Emma Calderwood (St. Anne’s, Stanley)
…followed by breakfast in the Parish Hall
(smoked salmon, scrambled egg and Bucks Fizz!)
If you wish to stay for breakfast please sign the list at the back of church.
10.30am Holy Eucharist with hymns in S. Mary’s
7.30pm Holy Eucharist with hymns in S. Faith’s
Calling all PCC members…
On Saturday 10th May there will be the annual Joint PCCs’ Away Day in St. Luke’s, Formby. Please make sure you have the date in your diary! Information will be sent to PCC members nearer the time.
Sunday 11th May
Pentecost Sunday – THE BIRTHDAY OF THE CHURCH
11.00 am Solemn Eucharist, followed by coffee and birthday cake
Preacher: Canon Dr Rod Garner
(Holy Trinity, Southport and Diocesan Theological Consultant)
6.00 pm “Pentecost Praise” Service in St. Mary’s
Thursday 22nd May
The Feast of Corpus Christi
8.00 pm Solemn Eucharist, with blessing of those who serve as Eucharistic Ministers in the United Benefice. Preacher: Canon Paul Nener (S. John Tuebrook), followed by party in the Vicarage Garden.
At this service we welcome clergy and people from a number of other parishes; please be there to offer a warm welcome!
Sunday June 1st at 10.30am
St. Mary’s Patronal Festival
THE VISITATION OF THE BVM TO ELIZABETH
(transferred from May 31st)
PATRONAL FESTIVAL EUCHARIST (No service at SF)
Preacher: The Venerable David Woodhouse (former Archdeacon of Warrington) followed by barbecue lunch
Scouse is spreading south
“It will, no doubt, gladden the hearts of Paul McCartney, Cilla Black and Paul O'Grady. The Scouse accent, one of Britain’s most distinctive regional tones, is spreading across the country.
Language experts, who 10 years ago predicted the demise of the Liverpool twang, now say Scouse is engulfing other accents and evolving as a new form of speech.
A study has shown that the unique mix of Irish, Welsh and Lancashire tones, with its guttural and nasal delivery, is creeping along the west coast, with the Liverpudlian tongue adopted in parts of Lancashire and Cheshire. However, traditional Liverpudlians may not be so pleased to know that the new generation speaks an updated version containing elements of Estuary English from the South-East. Researchers found that pronunciations such as ‘fick’ (thick) and ‘Smiff’ (Smith) — once ‘tick’ and ‘Smit’ in Scouse — are being incorporated into the Liverpudlian accent. Andrew Harmer, an English language specialist from Liverpool University, said: ‘I have tapes of elderly Scousers who pronounce the words ‘fair’ and ‘hair’ as ‘fur’ and ‘hur’, but youngsters’ accents sound nothing like their parents’.”
The editor was entertained by this recent snippet from, of course, the Daily Telegraph. I well remember our bafflement when our first (elderly Scouser!) Waterloo landlord agreed rental terms and said he wanted everything to be ‘fur and squr’. I have always hoped to find a real Scouser and ask him to say ‘A fair for fur products…’ He would sound like Ronnie Barker in ‘Open All Hours’ I guess.
Alan Bennett on the ‘Crem’
I have always loved the writings of Alan Bennett, despite his irrational dislike of Liverpoo, the Daily Telegraph and Classic F.M. His dry wit and unerring eye for the oddities of life never cease to entertain. Recently re-reading his ‘Untold Stories’ I came across this discourse on the identikit nature of ‘the crem’ in this country. In this autobiographical series of reminiscences, he mentions his frequent attendance for funerals of friends and family.
‘Of the four or five funerals in this book,’ he writes, ‘only my father’s is held in a proper church; the rest, though scattered across England, might all have been in the same place, so uniform is the setting of the municipal crematorium.
The building will be long and low, put up in the sixties, probably, when death begins to go secular. Set in country that is not quite country it looks like the reception area of a tasteful factory or the departure lounge of a small provincial airport confined to domestic flights. The style is contemporary but not eye-catchingly so; this is decorum-led architecture which does not draw attention even to its own merits. The long windows have a stylistic hint of tracery, denomination here a matter of hints, the plain statement of any sort of conviction very much to be avoided.
Related settings might be the waiting area of a motor showroom, the foyer of a small private hospital or a section of a department store selling modern furniture of inoffensive design: dead places. This is the architecture of reluctance, the furnishings of the functionally ill at ease, decor for a place you do not want to be.
It is neat with the neatness ill-omened; clutter means hope and there is none here, no children's drawings, no silly notices. There are flowers, yes, but never a Christmas tree and nothing that seems untidy. The whole function of the place, after all, is to do with tidying something away.
In the long low table a shallow well holds pot plants, African violets predominating, tended weekly by a firm that numbers among its clients a design consultancy, an Aids hospice, the boardroom of the local football club and a museum of industrial archaeology.
In the unechoing interior of the chapel soft music plays and grief too is muted, kept modest by the blond wood and oatmeal walls, the setting soft enough to make something so raw as grief seem out of place. It's harder to weep when there's a fitted carpet; at the altar (or furnace) end more blond wood, a table flanked by fins of some tawny-coloured hardwood set in a curved wall covered in blueish-greenish material, softly lit from below. No one lingers in these wings or makes an entrance through them, the priest presiding from a lectern or reading desk on the front of which is a (detachable) cross. A little more spectacular and it could be the setting for a TV game show. Above it all is a chandelier with many sprays of shaded lights which will dim when the coffin begins its journey.
Before that, though, there will be the faint dribble of a hymn, which is for the most part unsung by the men and only falteringly by the women. The deceased is unknown to the vicar, who in turn is a stranger to the mourners, the only participant on intimate terms with all concerned, the corpse included, being the undertaker. Unsolemn, hygienic and somehow retail, the service is so scant as to be scarcely a ceremony at all, and is not so much simple as inadequate. These clipboard send-offs have no swell to them, no tide, there is no launching for the soul, flung like Excalibur over the dark waters. How few lives now end full-throated to hymns soaring or bells pealing from the tower. How few escape a pinched suburban send off, the last of a life, some half-known relatives strolling thankfully back to the car. Behind the boundary of dead rattling beech careful flower beds shelter from the wind, the pruned stumps of roses protruding from a bed of wood-chips.’
What a superb piece of writing! We’ve all been there, I guess, and as Bennett might say, if we haven’t then we will. Thank God for the funerals at St Faith’s…
(that reminds me: I really must choose some hymns…)
‘TIME FOR ACTION’
Christian Aid Week: 11 – 18 May 2008
During this week a team of volunteers from S. Faith’s will visit every home in the parish twice to collect donations for the national Christian Aid fundraising week. It is a task our church shares with all other churches in Crosby and Waterloo. Last year we collected at S Faith’s just under £1000. Will you help us to beat this total this year by your prayers and support?
TEN THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT CHRISTIAN AID
1 We believe in life before death – we are passionate about rooting out poverty.
2 We fund long-term development work, respond to emergencies, and challenge the
unjust systems that make and keep people poor.
3 We are the official development agency of 41 church denominations in the UK and
4 We help people of all faiths and none.
5 We believe in helping people to find their own lasting solutions to poverty.
6 We work through more than 600 partners – local organisations – in nearly 50
7 We challenge those with power to change things that have an adverse effect on poor
communities, such as international trade rules and climate change.
8 We don’t give money to governments – we work directly with local organisations on
9 We spend money where it’s needed most. For each £1 given in 2006/7, 83p was used
for direct charitable expenditure. The remaining 17p was used to raise the next £1.
10 You can find out more at
www.caweek.org or www.christianaid.ie or by calling 0845 7000 300.
How your money helps transform poor communities
Emergencies – 30%
Long-term development – 40%
Campaigning, advocacy and education – 13%
Fundraising – 16%
Governance – 1%
A Partner in Bangladesh
Rekha Biswas from Bangladesh provides the most humbling and inspirational example for Christian Aid Week. This courageous lady goes from house to house, talking to families about the problems they face getting water. And vitally, she challenges gender roles. She encourages women to come to meetings of the local ‘pani parishad’, the village water council. One such woman, Minu Basa,r had to cross a wide and sometimes dangerous river and travel up to 10km to buy drinking water for her family. Since joining the village pani parishad, she has learned how to safely gather and store rainwater. The pani parishads are supported by Christian Aid partner, Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS).
Rekha tells people that if they come together, they can achieve things that they couldn’t if they were alone. By giving up a couple of hours during Christian Aid Week, you are collecting so much more than money. Your gifts can mean water, rights and courage. By coming together, we can achieve amazing things.
A gift of just £0.50 to Christian Aid would pay for one day’s gender training per person with BCAS to improve relationships in families and lessen the burden on women. £50 would pay for the monthly salary of a community pani parishad coordinator, who helps women and the poor to discover their voice, understand their right to water, learn about health and hygiene, and begin to instigate change. Your gifts can help to give voice to a single woman or to a whole community.
What you can do during Christian Aid week this year
Everyone in the congregation can do one or more of the following
(1) If you are able, become a collector. The larger the team the lighter the load for
(2) Support the collectors by prayer or even sponsoring them. They are acting on
behalf of the whole congregation.
(3) Become a campaigner. Join the movement for change in world trade rules and
stricter controls over the world’s climate. Christian Aid can tell you how.
(4) Give generously.
(5) Pray for a more equitable world……..and the courage to act.
A Prayer for Christian Aid Week
Lord Jesus, you were anointed to bring good news to those who felt no good news,
to proclaim freedom to those imprisoned by injustice,
and recover health and wholeness to all the world.
You took up the cause of the oppressed.
You proclaimed the year of the Lord’s favour.
At the heart of your ministry was action.
Remind us of the unlikely group of people you gathered around you to perform your work of love,
and empower us to bring your good news so your kingdom will come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
(For further information on Christian Aid week please contact…
Impressions of Holy Week and Easter
We have been attending St Faith’s Church for just one year and have witnessed the church year unfold before us - Pentecost, Harvest Festival and Christmas, which we were astounded to learn lasted until February (all that party time we've missed out on for years).
Ash Wednesday saw us showing the world an outward sign of our faith and we felt proud to tell we had embraced Christanity. Painfully we tried hard to resist some pleasures of the flesh during Lent but Brenda couldn't leave the booze alone. The Stations of the Cross, which was new to us, brought home not only the harsh realisation of the awful brutality but also the profound and unconditional love of Jesus. Brother Tom helped us to understand more of the background and historical facts surrounding the crucifixion and the early Christian church.
On Maundy Thursday, we signed up to have our feet washed; how humbling and a reminder of the power of the symbolism of Our Lord’s humility.
Good Friday was deeply saddening and bleak. The austerity, dignity and majesty with which this service was executed was so beautiful it moved us to tears. Normally we leave church happy and we chat about the sermon, the music etc. Today we walked home in silence, neither of us spoke for sometime, we were stunned.
Easter Saturday and the church was a hive of activity. The atmosphere was electric, full of expectancy. The altar was being uncovered to reveal its glory, Mary and her team busily arranging flowers, Angie made refreshments for all, Margaret ironing altar cloths in the Lady Chapel, the chatting, the laughter the smell of fresh flowers mingled with polish gave a feeling of a grand mansion being readied for a great day.
Easter Day. Great indeed! Full of joy and hope. Fine music and singing. Colourful vestments, statues uncovered and gleaming, the best silver censer and our very own Easter garden. We had a christening and Father Neil vigorously showered us with holy water. Fred and Liz reaffirmed their wedding vows and kindly provided a glass of wine to celebrate.
These are just a few of our thoughts and some of the high points for us, others will have different ones, and we would love to hear them.
We feel very privileged to be part of such a warm and friendly group of people and would sincerely like to thank the clergy and congregation of St Faith’s for making us so welcome and giving us such a wonderful year. We didn't know church could be so much fun.
Brenda Cotteral and Gareth Griffiths
Last of the Winter Whine?
Well done Maureen, you took the bait, hook, line and sinker. Admittedly you were not amongst the favourites, in fact your weren’t even an expected runner, so you can take pride in being a bit of a dark horse.
The article about the Men’s Group retreat was written by invitation of the editor and I drew the short straw; after all, who wants to spend precious minutes writing when one can eat, drink and be merry? But that, again, is a feature of members of the Men’s Group, we respond, we help and we don’t moan about what other people do, or don’t do. I am glad that you enjoyed the article enough to make a response; sadly much of what appears in print these days fails to even merit a second glance.
From your comment about a “closed shop” you appear to be under the misconception that we do not allow other people to join; that is not and has never been the case. Admittedly only some 50% of the population are eligible; we are the Men’s Group – the clue is in the name! However, if you wish to have the operation then afterwards you can come to our meetings and join in the fun at our retreats (and incidentally then find out what really happens rather than have to use your imagination). Each month there is mention of Men’s Group meetings in the Bulletin with the appendage “All are welcome”. That is strictly not true as we are the Men’s Group and so only members of the male sex can be members. However, our wives and other members of our families generally deal with the catering for our monthly meetings; so we are not such lonely introverted “saddos” after all and we do have friends outside of the group. A consequence of this is that our wives and families also get on very well together; maybe there is a wider lesson there.
We are not exclusive, apart from the sex bit, and from time-to-time new potential members do come to our meetings. There is no compulsion, some decide that the Men`s Group is not for them and others become committed members, without the need for an initiation ceremony. Although Maureen, your idea will be discussed at the next meeting and we will keep you informed of the outcome; you might even be invited to become an honorary “Man” if your initiation ceremony is taken up. We are certainly not a secret society; even products of our current education system could sort out who are members of the Men`s Group from the photographs in the March edition of Newslink.
I am certainly not going to make any comment about the tasteless remarks regarding what we discussed in Yorkshire, no more than I would comment on any report of discussions at the Ministry Team, Mission Group or other organisation associated with St Faith’s. It is just not done.
I know that there are misanthropes around and maybe this is at the heart of the matter, but the dislike of the Men’s Group probably goes deeper that that. After all we are not misogynists and people seem to get on well with us on an individual basis. As a group we do a great deal for St Faith’s and the church would be the poorer without the efforts of members of the Men’s Group. But then, we believe that being a member of St Faith’s is more than just attending an occasional Sunday service.
Finally, we don’t actually care what people think or write about us. This reply enables Chris to fill another Newslink page during a late winter slow news time. We members of the Men’s Group are secure in ourselves, our church and our group: who needs more? We are not the “saddos”.
Saint Faith's for the Future
Under the headline ‘Makeovers breathe new life into village churches’, the Daily Telegraph for March 22nd, 2008, featured rural churches which, faced with dwindling populations and congregations, are finding ways of surviving and diversifying.
Among them is our namesake church in the little village of Hexton, in Hertfordshire, about which the article simply says that they have ‘built a kitchen and laid a new wooden floor, allowing the nave area to be used by playgroups, youth clubs and the local primary school. It has also hosted fashion shows, concerts and a ‘farmers’ market.’ Google search reveals that they also have a website, which explains more about the perilous state from which the building has been recued and its imaginative use. Part of its home page reads:
“St Faith’s building has a fine East Window by Harry Stammers, two Georgian pulpits, and an 1820 organ. In 1947 two sides of the tower collapsed. In 1961 thieves stripped the lead off the roof. The nave deteriorated into a damp and seldom used space, though regular worship continued in the chancel. A restoration project began in 1994. In 2000 the whole village decided to refurbish the nave as both a church and a community centre. This was completed in 2006. Now the nave, known as St. Faith’s Community Centre, is in daily use by groups, the playgroup, the school (which has no hall) youth club and WI. St. Faith’s was among the twelve national prize winners for ‘The Best Church Building for the Future, 2005’.”
It is great to hear of this success story, and we wish St Faith’s, Hexton, every blessing for the future. Their website has more words and pictures.
GOOD NEWS IN THE BUDGET?
It’s true! Tucked away in all the gloom about tax rises in the March Budget was some good news for all charities.
The Government recognizes that Gift Aid is a hugely successful tax relief which was worth £830 million to charities in 2006-07. They believe, however, that there is even greater scope for charities to claim additional funds through Gift Aid.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that payment of Gift Aid claims will be made at a transitional rate of 22% in 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11. This means that Gift Aid remains at 28p for every £1 donated.
The church accounts for 2007 show a healthy and welcome increase in our Gift Aid contributions but we could do more so, if you are a UK taxpayer and do not already Gift Aid your giving to the church, please ask me for a form.
Thank you for your support – and thank you Mr Chancellor! (Isn’t he a Darling! Ed.)
Revisiting the past: the Foundations of Faith
At Saint Faith’s we are probably all aware of the date of our Patronal Festival, October 6th. Less well known is another very significant date in our history - May 24th, which is carved in stone to remind us of its importance. I refer to the foundation stone, set in the wall outside the north porch, and which was cemented in place one hundred and ten years ago. It was only later that the first Parish Leaflet appeared, so there does not appear to be any ‘in house’ account of what happened.
Fortunately, there is a complete archive of the ‘Crosby Herald’ in Crosby Library, and an index of references to St Faith’s throughout most of its history. Below we print the full text (original spelling and punctuation) of an article on May 28th, 1898, giving fairly exhaustive details of what took place. The prose is somewhat turgid, and the tone
deferential, but it seems a solid piece of history: one wonders how today’s papers would have dealt with it! A faded black and white photograph of the event survives, showing the St Agnes choir, and the stone-laying child, although not his bottle!
S. FAITH’S CHURCH, CROSBY
Laying the Foundation Stone
“The laying of the foundation stone of S. Faith’s Church, to be erected on a site in the Waterloo Parochial District and in the Crosby Ecclesiastical District, opposite College Road, took place on Tuesday afternoon, and was characterised by grace and beauty. The afternoon was beautifully fine, and the ceremony was witnessed by a large crowd congregated both within and without the barrier. Mr. Douglas Horsfall, by whose generosity and liberality the edifice will be erected, desired the function to pass off as quietly and simply as was consistent with the occasion. He issued no invitations to the laity, and only the clergymen of the immediate neighbourhood and those of the churches with whom Mr. Horsfall is connected were present.
The clergy in attendance were the Rev. C.C. Elcum, vicar of St Agnes Church, Liverpool; the Rev. Canon Leigh, Walton; the Rev. C. de B. Winslow, vicar of St Nicholas Church, Blundellsands; the Rev. R.G.B. Smethwick, vicar of St Thomas’s Church; the Rev. F.F. Grensted (of Merchant Taylors’ School. Ed.); The Rev. W.A. Reeves; the Rev. A.J.Morris; the Rev. M.F. Bell, vicar of St Catherine’s Church, Liverpool; The Rev J.G. Love; the Rev. M. Longridge, the Rev. D.G.F. Smith, vicar of St Paul’s Church, Liverpool; and the Rev. Canon Armour, of the Merchant Taylor’s (they got the punctuation wrong as so often!), Crosby. A number of the pupils of the school accompanied Canon Armour and took part in the service.
The ceremony was opened by the singing of the favourite hymn, ‘The Church’s One Foundation’. The choir of St Agnes Church, Liverpool, were in attendance and led the praise. The Rev. C.C. Elcum, who officiated, offered a prayer, and after the singing of the 127th Psalm, Mr Horsfall conducted his sons, Masters Robert Elcum (7) and Ewart Douglas (6), to the platform that had been erected. While the stone was suspended over the spot where it was to be laid, Master Robert said, ‘I lay this stone in the faith of Jesus Christ, and in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen’. Master Ewart then placed a glass bottle of a light blue hue, containing a copy of the service in connection with that ceremony, the coins of the realm, and the Liverpool newspapers of the day, in the cavity, and amidst a solemn silence, broken only by the sound of the silver trowel passing over the mortar, the stone was lowered to the place which it will henceforth occupy in the building. Master Robert then gave three taps on the stone with the handle of the trowel, and said, ‘I declare this stone to be well and truly laid, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost’. The inscription on the stone was, ‘This stone was laid by Robert Elcum Horsfall, 24 May1898.’ Inscribed on the trowel, which was of beautifully chased silver with ivory handle, was, ‘Presented to Robert Elcum Horsfall on the occasion of the laying of the foundation stone of the Church of S. Faith, Crosby, near Liverpool, 24th May 1898.’
The hymn, ‘O Lord of Hosts’, was rendered, after which the Rev. Mr. Elcum said he thought the very eloquent service which had just been witnessed spoke for itself. He might ask why were they there? The first answer would be that everyone directly or indirectly had come to the greater glory of Almighty God. In every work, especially in religious work, the glory of God should come first. But they could not ignore the human. They also came to show their honest and hearty sympathy with the Christian principles which underlay the Christian liberality which was building that church. They were there because they wished to show by their presence that they recognised the nobility of dedicating a work like that to the honour and glory of God. They could not help diverging a little in one direction or the other, but surely in the unity of the church, in the unity of the faith, and in the unity of God, who was one though three, there must be limits to their divergence. They themselves were part of the great cornerstone, and the two portions of the corner stone fitted one into the other. He trusted that at last they may all lay the top stone of their own spiritual edification, and not in this world, but in another and better, where there would be no foundation stone, only the one great temple, for God himself was the temple.
The rendering of the hymn, ‘Faith of our fathers,’ and the pronouncing of the Benediction concluded the ceremony. Canon Armour and Mrs Armour afterwards hospitably entertained at the school the clergy, the choir, and several other ladies and gentlemen, including Mr. and Mrs. Horsfall.
The work thus so impressively and beautifully inaugurated marks the commencement of a building which should enhance the architectural features of a well-appointed district generally and immediate neighbourhood specially. Most residents in the district will be familiar with the location of the site. It is almost opposite the Crosby-road end of College-road. A more commanding site could scarcely have been selected in the district, and Mr Horsfall has been assured that it is also the most suitable. Before taking any steps Mr Horsfall consulted the Bishop of Liverpool (Ryle) as to the district in which he considered a church should be erected. The Bishop said there was a church needed between Waterloo and Crosby, and Mr F. Myers (Mr Horsfall’s cousin) having generously offered the site on which the building will stand, Mr Horsfall decided to build there. The land covers an acre. The building will be constructed to accommodate 800 persons. It will be of brick, faced with Accrington brick, with red Runcorn stone dressings. The floors will be covered by wood blocks. The roof, on the hammer beam principle, will be 52 feet to the top of the ridge and 32 feet to the wall plate, and will be covered by green Westmoreland slates. The west end of the church will face Crosby-road North. The nave will be 109 feet long and 39 feet wide, with narrow aisles 74 feet in length. The transepts will be 22 feet square, and the chancel 42 feet in length.
The church fittings and endowments will cost Mr Horsfall £20,000. Mr Horsfall’s efforts are not confined to the erection of this church. It was he who built St Agnes’ Church, Liverpool, in memory of his father, Mr Robert Horsfall: also St Pancras‘ Mission Church, Liverpool. He is moreover patron of St Paul’s Church, St Paul’s-Square, and St Catherine’s Church, Abercromby-Square, both in Liverpool.
Messrs Grayson and Ould, James-street, Liverpool, are the architects, and Messrs Roberts & Robinson Limited, Liverpool, are the contractors. Mr. Jarvis is representing Messrs Roberts & Robinson in the work. Mr. J.Kneale is clerk of works. The church is expected to be ready for consecration by next autumn.”
A few notes to amplify this report. Robert Elcum Horsfall (named after the vicar of St Agnes, Ullet Road) was killed in the Great War: his name is carved on the base of our chancel screen, which the founder later erected in his son’s memory.
The carved figures on that screen are of the patron saints of other Horsfall foundation churches. The younger brother went on to become a distinguished Olympic oarsman. The links with Merchant Taylors’ School, so evident in this account, continue to this day, and indeed we marked the Centenary, and the return of Archbishop Robert Runcie, with a fine meal and associated junkettings at the school in 2000.
The rate of expected construction of the church puts modern builders to shame: these days we would be lucky to get the first row of bricks in place by ‘next autumn’!
You can read more of the story of Douglas Horsfall, his other churches and our own early years, online on our website (now www.stfaithsgreatcrosby.org.uk).
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