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May 1998
Sonnet for the Centenary

They built in trust before the houses came —
Foursquare uncompromising brick and stone
And gave their church a fearful martyr‘s name
To mark its witness where it stood alone.

Thus Douglas Horsfall‘s bounty came to be:
Founded in faith, sailing against the tide —
People and priests one in adversity
With prayer and sacrament their daily guide.

So through a century this temple grew:
Succeeding generations gave their best
To pass this blessing to the steadfast few
Who loved this place and found in Faith their rest.

Ours is that trust: to guard in latter days,
For all who come, a house of prayer and praise.

Chris Price
March, 1998

Confirmation 1998

This year‘s Confirmation will differ in two ways from that of previous years. First and foremost, of course, is the fact that the candidates will have the privilege of being confirmed by a former Archbishop. The other difference will be that the course will be led predominantly by the Readers, with input also from Fr George and Fr Dennis.

The course we will be using is grounded in the scriptures, having been devised by the Bible Reading Fellowship, and is called `Connections‘. It will commence on 21st April, lasting for ten weeks, so the Confirmation will fall exactly in the middle. The meetings will take place at the home of Joyce Green, on Tuesday evenings until the end of May, with the final three meetings on the following three Mondays in June. It would be good for the leaders and candidates to know that you are holding us in your prayers at these times, as we apply ourselves to this very important task.

From the Clergy                     May 1998

In our day of thanksgiving one psalm let us offer
For the saints who before us have found their reward.
When the shadow of death fell upon them, we sorrowed,
But now we rejoice that they rest in the Lord.

For many worshippers at St Faith‘s, both past and present, ?In our Day of Thanksgiving‘ has been a very special hymn, expressing profoundly moving sentiments of joy, remembrance and gratitude. I first came to St Faith‘s in 1960, as a boy of ten, the year the church was celebrating its Diamond Jubliee. In a special Jubilee brochure the then Vicar, Father William Hassall, who showed me much love and encouragement, and to whom I was later devoted, wrote these words:

As thoughts centre on the Diamond Jubilee of our church we must necessarily consider both the building itself and all who have worshipped within its walls throughout the past sixty years. For the magnificent building, cathedral-like in its dimensions and beauty, we shall always remember to be eternally grateful to our founder and benefactor, Douglas Horsfall. Throughout its history five devoted parish priests, ably supported by some twenty curates and countless numbers of devout Christian men, women and children, have worked together in happy unity for the greater Glory of God and the benefit of all those whom this parish has been privileged to serve, both at home and abroad.

It seems fitting, therefore, that your present parish priests, while gratefully remembering what has gone before, should now call upon all of you to re-dedicate yourselves afresh to God‘s work being done within and through the efforts of this parish, in order that we may hand on to those who follow after a yet more glorious heritage.‘

Thirty eight years on, the number of `devoted parish priests‘ has risen from five to eight, and the `twenty‘ curates now number thirty two. Much that was good and for which we need to be grateful has happened in the years since 1960, and we now stand at the threshold of our Centenary celebrations. For most  human  institutions  a centenary  is an occasion  of  significance,  a  time both for looking back and for looking forward. Our Centenary Committee has been meeting over several months, planning a programme of events and extravaganzas that will help us celebrate, in a memorable and appropriate way, the `glorious heritage‘ in which we are privileged to share. To this end, all the surviving clergy who have served St Faith‘s in the past, and all whose vocations to the priesthood were cradled and nurtured here (more than forty in all) have been invited to join us at one of the 10.30 am Sunday Eucharists over the two and a half year period of our extended celebrations.

On Sunday, 24th May, the centenary commemoration of the laying of the Foundation Stone in 1898, we greatly look forward to welcoming Lord Runcie of Cuddesdon to celebrate, preach and confirm at the 10.30 am Festival Eucharist. This should be a very special occasion for us all, and we hope that as many as possible will be present in church and then go on to Merchant Taylors‘ School to share in a celebratory lunch at 1 pm.

To mark the fiftieth anniversary of St Faith‘s, the then Lay Reader, George Houldin of blessed memory, wrote a history of Saint Faith‘s. In his foreword to this book, the then Bishop of Liverpool, Clifford Martin, wrote:

?For fifty years this Church has witnessed to the Faith, and has gathered around it many people for whom it enshrines their most sacred memories. It is fitting that on such an occasion there should be heartfelt thanksgiving for God‘s blessing during the years that are past. It is even more important that the members of the Church should look forward to the years that lie ahead, and be prepared to dedicate themselves anew as members of the Church and that their membership in Christ in the Church should be the central fact of their lives.‘

In this long and testing interregnum, as we continue to wait for news of a new Vicar for St Faith‘s, it is perhaps appropriate to reflect on the words spoken by Canon John Brierley (Vicar, 1918-1936) just before the Induction and Institution of Fr Hassall in 1948: ?There is no reason to doubt that your new Vicar will make the glories of the past seem but a pale light compared with the glories which are yet to come.‘ Let us hope and pray that history may repeat itself. In the poignant and timely words quoted by Lord Runcie on a previous occasion of celebration at St Faith‘s:

With every blessing
Fr Dennis

On May 24th we celebrate the centenary of the laying of our foundation stone. It was only later that the first Parish Leaflet appeared. Fortunately, there is a complete  archive of the `Crosby Herald‘ in Crosby Library, and an index of reference 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! On the reproduction of the  faded photograph of the event above the choir of St Agnes‘s are clearly visible, as is the stone-laying child, although not his bottle!

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 (sic) School, 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, ”We 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 May 1898.• 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.‘

How to Know if You are Growing Old

Everything hurts, and what doesn‘t hurt, doesn‘t work.

You feel like the day after the night before, and you haven‘t been anywhere.
Your address book contains lots of crossings out and names ending in M.D.
You get out of breath playing cards.
Your children begin to look middle aged.
You join a health club — and don‘t go.

You know all the answers but no one asks you the questions.
You look forward to a dull evening.
You need glasses to find your glasses.
You turn out the lights for economy, not for romantic reasons.
You sit in a rocking chair and can‘t get it going.

Your knees buckle but your belt wont.
If you manage to bend down you find yourself wondering what else to pick
up now you‘ve got there.
Your back goes out more than you do.

You have too much room in the house and not enough in the medicine chest.
You sink your teeth in a slice of meat and they stay there.

You can remember 1940 but not yesterday, or even this morning.

And finally

You wonder why more people aren‘t using this size print.

With thanks to Sister Charity, C.H.N., late of the Chester Diocesan Retreat House, and now at the C.H.N. Convent in Derby, for supplying this entertainment!

Centenary Bulletin

Sunday, May 24th promises, if all goes well, to be a red-letter day in the first century of our church‘s history. It marks, of course, the beginning of our 30-month programme of worship and events, reaching forward to October 2000, and will, it is hoped, prove an effective and memorable curtain-raiser to our prolonged celebrations.

Members of the Centenary Committee are working on the details: here are the likely outlines of what will happen. The service pattern is of course largely dictated by the format of a Confirmation service within the framework of our usual Sunday morning Sung Eucharist. This means service as usual to a large extent — but with appropriate extra trimmings!

There will, we hope, be visiting clergy to swell the processions.
The Merchant Taylors‘ Brass Group will accompany the hymns.
We will sing several splendid and appropriate hymns, including, of course, `In our Day of Thanksgiving‘ — this time with two extra verses!
There will be a special souvenir Order of Service.
Lord Runcie will preside, confirm and preach.
New eucharistic vestments will be dedicated and worn.
There will be a special emphasis on re-dedication and thanksgiving.
There will be a Celebration Lunch at Merchant Taylors‘ for all who wish to come.

We had wondered whether to feature some form of celebration round the Foundation Stone, but decided against it at this time. It would lengthen an already long service, and would present logistical problems — notably congestion and the weather! What we do hope to do is  mark the anniversary of the consecration with the burying of a new time capsule and the putting in place of a new stone. Watch this space, and let us know what you think.

Elesewhere, the Centenary plans are rolling on and gathering momentum. The first bulletin has appeared, summarising what we are doing, and various groups continue to be active. You can see some new display boards at the back of church. Displays are being prepared (a preliminary taster has gone up already), and the Votive Candle Stand is being made, with the hope that it will appear in church at least by the summer.

Plans are advanced for our Summer Saturday openings, and we are looking for volunteers to give up a few hours making people welcome. They will help by serving refreshments and giving away free guidebooks, and selling the Centenary Mugs, which are on order and promised for May 24th. Various local organists have agreed to entertain during these opening times, and other concerts are fixed or pencilled in. St Margaret‘s School are giving a concert on June 17th, the Sefton Youth Orchestra is playing on June 30th, and a distinguished visiting choir from Hungary, the Kodaly Choir, are performing on July 12th.

All these dates and other planned events now feature on a Parish Diary displayed at the back of church. External publicity is also going ahead: there will be a Church Times advert and as much free coverage as our P.R. group can wangle! Our world-famous website (!) carries up-to-date information, and Webmaster Denis Griffiths is designing a site for the open Churches Trust (whose generosity is sponsoring our printed efforts) and possibly another for a local church. The St Faith‘s Guidebook (sponsored by the Open Churches Trust) is finalised and in production, and ?Poems from the Back Pew‘ is (or are) approaching the same stage.

We continue to meet regularly (see the weekly news-sheet for details) and stress again that new faces are still very welcome, as are new ideas and suggestions. Please ask Chris Price if there is anything you want to know. We remain heartened by the enthusiasm and commitment being shown by so many people. And this seems to be reflected in church attendance: the slow decline in numbers has, we think ?bottomed out‘ and numbers are rising again. See you on May 24th (and every other week?)

Funny you should say that
Supplied by Joyce Green

One of the fringe benefits of being an English or History teacher (not this English teacher! Ed.) is receiving the occasional jewel of a student blooper in an essay. I have pasted together the following ?history‘ of the world from certifiably genuine student bloopers, collected by teachers throughout the USA, from 8th grade to college level. Read carefully, and you will learn a lot.

 The inhabitants of ancient Egypt were called mummies. They lived in the Sarah Dessert and traveled by Camelot. The climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere, so certain areas of the dessert are cultivated by irritation. The Egyptians built the Pyramids in shape of a huge triangular cube. The Pyramids are a range of mountains between France and Spain.

The Bible is full of interesting caricatures. In the first book of the Bible, Guinesses, Adam and Eve were created from a apple tree. One of their children, Cain, once asked, ?Am I my brother‘s son?‘ God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Montezuma. Jacob was a patriarch who brought up his twelve sons to be patriarchs, but they did not take to it. One of Jacob‘s sons, Joseph, gave refuse to the Israelites. Pharaoh forced the Hebrew slaves to make bread without straw. Moses led them to the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread, which is bread made without any ingredients. Afterwards, Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten commandments. David was a Hebrew king skilled at playing the liar. He fought with the Philatelists, a race of people who lived in Biblicaltimes. Solomon, one of David‘s sons, had 500 wives and 500 porcupines.

Without the Greeks we wouldn‘t have history. The Greeks invented three kinds of columns — Corinthian, Doric and Ironic. They also had myths. A myth is a female moth. One myth says that the mother of Achilles dipped him in the River Stynx until he became intolerable. Achilles appears in the Illiad, by Homer. Homer also wrote the Oddity, in which Penelope was the last hardship that Ulysses endured on his journey. Actually, Homer was not written by Homer, but by another man of that name. Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock. In the Olympic Games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled the biscuits, and threw the java.  The  reward  to the victor was a coral wreath. The government of Athens was democratic because people took the law into their own hands. There were no wars in Greece, as the mountains were so high that they couldn‘t climb over to see what their neighbours were doing.

When they fought with the Persians, the Greeks were outnumbered because the Persians had more men. Eventually, the Romans conquered the Greeks. History call people Romans because they never stayed in one place for very long. At Roman banquets, the guests wore garlics in their hair. Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields of Gaul. The ides of March murdered him because they thought he was going to be made king. Nero was a cruel tyranny who would torture his poor subjects by playing the fiddle to them.

Next month ... the Middle Ages!

Pastoral Contacts

By the time this issue is being read St Faith‘s will, for the first time for many years, have no paid, full-time priest to serve its needs. We will, of course, continue to have the invaluable services of Fr Dennis and Fr George, both to take our services and to provide liturgical and musical advice and experience. But when it comes to the daily requirements of parish visiting, we obviously cannot expect them to fill the gap filled by Fr Richard and Fr Christopher.

The Wardens, clergy, readers and PCC are doing all that is possible to close the gap until such time as we are sent a new incumbent. People in the parish seeking clerical advice on such matters as weddings and funerals will, as always in an interregnum, be directed where needed to the Area Dean, the Revd Chris Jones, who has already helped out with providing celebrants for a few midweek Eucharists. In order to provide continuity in parish visiting and general pastoral care, Jackie Parry, our Reader-in-training, who is mostly available during the daytime, has kindly agreed to be an initial point of contact for pastoral matters arising within the congregation. She will act as a clearing house, and will pass on any reported needs to be dealt with by the appropriate lay or clergy visitor. Please feel free to phone her on 928 0726 if you know of anyone about whom you are concerned, or who might need a visit or some other form of pastoral care, and she will do her best to help.

`Lift High the Cross‘ - Please!

Can you help maintain the high standards of serving at the altars of St Faith‘s? This is the time of year when servers start to leave to study for exams or to go up to University, and they leave gaps in the rota. We would be delighted to welcome offers of help from would-be servers, male and female, youth or adult, to train as servers, acolytes and (especially) crucifers. If you are interested and willing, please speak to one of the Wardens or Head Servers.

Another Month

Another month ends:
All targets met;
All systems working;
All customers satisfied;
All staff eager and enthustiastic;
All pigs fed and ready to fly.

A Passing Thought

The Spirit of God is around you in the earth that you breathe and his glory in the light that you see and in the fruitfulness  of the earth and the joy of its creatures.  He has written for you day by day his revelation  as he has granted
you day by day your daily bread.‘
John Ruskin
Inscribed on a memorial column to the writer and critic John Ruskin at Friar‘s Crag, on the shores of Derwentwater, Keswick.

Beatitudes ...  for friends of handicapped people

Blessed are you who take time to listen to difficult speech, for you help us to know that if we persevere we can be understood.

Blessed are you who walk with us in public places and ignore the stares of strangers for in your companionship we find havens of relaxation.

Blessed are you who never bid us to `hurry up‘, and more blessed you who do not snatch our tasks from us, for often we need time rather than help.

Blessed are you who stand beside us when we enter new and untried adventures, for our failures will be outweighed by the times when we surprise ourselves and you.

Blessed are you who ask for our help, for our greatest need is to be needed.

Blessed are you who help us with the graciousness of Christ, who did not bruise the reed nor quench the flax, for often we need the help we cannot ask for.

Blessed are you when, by all these things, you assure us that the thing that makes us individuals is not in our peculiar muscles, nor in our wounded nervous system, but in the God-given self that no infirmity can confine.

Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, and know that you give us reassurance that could never be spoken in words, for you deal with us as God has dealt with all his children.

Still more from the Archives         Chris Price

We broke off our highlights from early St Faith‘s magazines with the Vicar moving to his new house in the ?pretentiously-named‘ Belvidere Park, at the end of 1904. In a `State of the Union‘ message at the beginning of 1905, he records the gift from Canon Armour of ?a handsomely illuminated and framed verse of poetry placed in the choir vestry.‘ This has long since disappeared and, judging by the recorded words, this is no great loss. Mr Baxter inveighs against the `miserably small‘ numbers receiving Holy Communon on ordinary weekday Sunday services `when compared with the large numbers of adults in the evening congregation‘.

A month later he lambasts the standards of financial giving. ?The Wardens have asked me to call serious attention to the numbers of coppers given in the collections by well-dressed people, who ought to be ashamed to give less than silver. On Sunday, June 19th,  130 silver coins were given including 64 threepences, and no less than 357 coppers including 80 half-pennies! The regular congregation give liberally, most of them at any rate, but there are numbers of people who come now and again, who give little or nothing. Is this religion? Is it even common decency?‘ This preoccupation with coin-counting perhaps throws light on the records in early service books of St Faith‘s, which have no column for numbers attending services, but do have one headed `No. of Coins‘!

Warming to his task, the vicar proceeds to bewail the low attendances at Advent and Lent. A recent weekday congregation numbered only 12.  ?This is the smallest number we have ever had; the weather was no excuse, for not a drop of rain fell. Fifty or a hundred will regularly attend an entertainment of the Literary Society ... but only 12 can be found to worship God! Truly we are ?lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.‘ Such low numbers are, he continues, a ?permanent disgrace‘.

Less controversially, in May 1905 Mr Eshelby reports on the new incandescent gas burners and comments on how much more elaborate the musical settings to the Magnificat and the Nunc Dimittis are `when compared with those used when the Church was first  opened‘.  This  was  at  the  Vestry Meeting which was  `throughout  characterised by that harmony and courtesy which becomes Christians at all times, and especially when met together to promote the welfare of Christ‘s Church. Would that this were the case‘, the Vicar tantalisingly concludes, `in all parishes!‘

Mr Baxter in following months commends the busy Sewing Party (`Music and tea are provided, 3d being charged for the latter; and the gatherings are very bright and cheerful‘), but regrets that ?there are some in every congregation who leave all the hard work to others, while quite ready to enjoy the results of that work. This is not Christian‘, he declares. He proceeds to report on the building of a wall round the church, courtesy of Douglas Horsfall, then asks people to fill Lent Boxes for the Parish Room Fund. `If the men would deny themselves a little tobacco, and, acting on Dr. Dickson‘s advice, go without alcohol one day a week, quite a nice little sum could be put by. Think, too, how much self control we should all be acquiring by this means.‘

Church Wardens at St Faith‘s have traditionally been dedicated, selfless workers for the Church, and Dr Gay is no exception. In December 1906 he is arranging an Entertainment, featuring two dramatic sketches, entitled ?Grandmother‘s Gown‘ and ?My Milliner‘s Bill‘. Mr Baxter, however, is more concerned with financing foreign mission. We pay for our Vicar, the choir and the coke we burn, but ?Jesus Christ longs to make Himself known to the heathen for whom He died; to our colonists, who in new countries will forget Him unless we help to provide them with the means of grace.‘

In January 1907, there is to be a sermon and collection in aid of the Church of England Temperance Society. The Bishop has appealed for help `to cope with this terrible curse of intemperance by personal example‘, as the Society seeks to `reach  the outcast and the criminal by the Police Court and the Prison Gate Mission. Its agents are found on the Racecourse and in the Fair. It has a special agency for women who are the slaves of strong drink,‘ he states.

Mr Baxter commends this good cause and suggests a novel way of supporting it. `One way of helping would be to patronise the C.E.T.S. Firewood factory, 78, Cedar Street, Bootle; the factory is in connection with the Prison Gate Mission, and excellent firewood is delivered.‘

There is plenty of good reading in these years, and the problem is knowing when to stop. In the following months, Mr Baxter is concerned with communicants and with crockery, and finds a preaching opportunity in some new alms bags, finally making one of his rare and laborious jokes about killing birds. All will be revealed in future months ...

Opting Out

There are 566 members in our Church,
But 100 are frail and elderly;
That leaves 466 to do all the work
But 80 are young people at college;
That leaves 386 to do all the work
But 150 are tired business men.
So that leaves 236 to do all the work.
And 150 are busy housewives with children,
So that leaves 86 to do all the work;
A further 46 have most important outside interests,
That leaves 40 to do all the work;
But 15 live too far away to come regularly,
So that leaves 25 to do all the work;
And 23 say they‘ve already done their bit for the church,
That leaves you and me,
And I‘m exhausted,
Good luck to you!

From a Bolton Church magazine

Wakefield visits Liverpool

On Saturday, 30 May, Wakefield Girls choir are to sing Evensong at Liverpool Cathedral, at 3.00 pm. Ruth Capper is a member of the choir and Richard and Angela will be with them.

Talking Talents

Although the Centenary Celebrations are not designed to raise money, the Talents Scheme certainly is! At the Annual General Meeting recently the Treasurer‘s report made it clear that we need to raise as much this year as we did last year if the current satisfactory financial situation is to be maintained. The report was given by proxy, as John Rankin was recovering from losing an argument with his motor mower: he assures us that it hasn‘t affected his capacity to count money, and we wish him a speedy recovery.

The money is still coming in and, as ever, there is quite a lot more in the pipeline. Recent Gift Aided donations have helped to raise the total, as at early April, to the splendid current sum of over £9,100, raising hopes that the reaching of the five-figure target by the end of May is more than just a pious wish. But we won‘t stop there ...!

Recollections of Fifty Years             Dorothy Carter

Back in 1980, Dorothy Carter, a much-loved late member of St Faith‘s family, wrote in the magazine of some of her past memories, stretching over half a century back from then. She wrote of the imminent enthronement of `our own Robert Runcie‘ in the highest office in the Anglican Church, and told us that March 25th, Lady Day, 1980, was also the golden anniversary of her confirmation at St Matthias, Stoke Newington. Soon afterwards her family moved to Liverpool. `We were not allowed to become members of St Faith‘s at first because, said my father, a strict Methodist, ”Father Bunloaf rides round the church on a donkey every Palm Sunday, and anyway St Faith‘s is next door to Rome•.‘

Dorothy recalls sermons in the good old days which ?lasted at least 25 minutes, beginning with a Firstly then on through several headings until it was with a sense of relief that we heard the Finally my brethren. Canon Brierley (that preacher!) was replaced by Fr John Schofield: ?One of nature‘s gentle gentlemen — quiet, serene and a great believer in spiritual healing. He kept the church together through the difficult years of the war, a tower of strength in his quiet way. Fr Hassall, his successor, was a great contrast — a real extrovert, quick in every way. One of the parishioners used to say, ”He‘ll meet himself coming back from where he‘s been one of these days•.‘

Dorothy recalls how during all this time fasting communions were the rule of life. Canon Brierley and colleagues would ?fast until after the 10.45 mass, and if you went to see him after that service he would be seated in the priest‘s vestry nibbling a biscuit and drinking coffee. It was woe betide any young person or others who were well and strong making their communion at 10.45. Christmas Eve was the only midnight service and you were requested — no! ordered to fast from 6.00 pm.‘

Moving down the years to what was then the present day, Miss Carter recalls the steady stream of ordinands whose vocations have grown through St Faith‘s (a trend happily continuing in later years), and she ends her fascinating recollections with paragraphs which are worth quoting in full as we prepare for another landmark in the history of St Faith‘s and, with her, recall past worshippers in this our house of prayer. She begins with the roll of ordinands.

?We remember John Bebb, Lionel Gibbs, Joe Parker, Frank Wilson, Peter Ryan, Derek Clawson, Colin Oxenforth and more recently, Nicolas Alldritt, Myles Davies, Graham Atherton, Grant Holmes, Martin Freeman, Peter Roberts and Mike Finlay — and it is a great joy to have Fr Dennis as a curate, having watched him with great interest from a small boy growing into maturity.

‘Past curates too, are remembered with affection, a number of them reaching positions of great influence in the Church. Bishop Mark Way followed Herbert Cockett in the Mission Field, and there are Howard Foy, Canon Cowley Stewart, Maurice Godfrey, Eric Beard, Bob Honner, Gerald Howart, David Ford, Sidney Singer, Eric Parker, Laurence Milne and, more recently, David Emery, Dennis Bury, Peter Cavanagh and Derek Tinsley.‘

Dorothy proceeds to speak with affection of lay readers, sacristans and organists over the years, and ends her recollections thus:

I sometimes sit and people the now non-existent pews (several pews at the front and the back were removed during her days — see centre page photo feaure. Ed.) with those who once worshipped with us and are now at rest, and feel that they are indeed still with us, a great cloud of witnesses whenever we meet together. Is it any wonder that our hearts are filled with thankfulness and praise as we join in singing:
”These stones that have echoed their praises are holy
And dear is the ground where their feet have once trod•?

It has been and is a great privilege to belong to St Faith‘s, and we owe its people and priests a debt of gratitude which can only be repaid by loving service and a deepening of our devotion to our Lord, who is the head and source of all that sustains and helps us.

May God bless us and keep us all in His way till travelling days are done.‘

Having learnt on the grapevine that Ranee Seneviratne had distinguished herself in the musical field, we asked her tell us something of what she has been up to and achieved.

My Music                 Ranee Seneviratne

On taking early retirement in 1993 I pursued my interest in singing. I was fortunate in having the best of singing teachers (my first a Professor at the Academy in London). Soon after retiring I obtained the Performer‘s Certificate for Singing, and joined the international Singing Teachers‘ Association, gaining much from the experience of the high calibre teaching. The lectures were so informative, and the masterclasses with young singers most enjoyable.

I began to teach, and found that my pupils were gaining top places at music festivals and passing their exams with distinctions and merits. Early this year I entered for the Trinity College Performers‘ Diploma, and was given the date of March 31st last. Two days before, however, we suddenly lost Pippa, our beloved West Highland dog. She loved music and would sit without a sound in the room for hours while I practised or was teaching. Her death was a terrible blow and I decided at first not to sit the exam but, with my family‘s persuasion and my teacher‘s encouragement, I went ahead.

The exam comprised of various components. There were technical exercises, then a recital of four songs, two of which were set pieces. The first was an oratorio aria from Handel‘s `Jephtha‘ and the second, an Italian bel canto aria by Bellini. The third was a Mahler Lieder and the last an unaccompanied Hebridean folk song, the ?Eriskay Love Lilt‘. I had to introduce my recital and speak about each song.

After all this I had to sight read a piece of unaccompanied music ending in a remote key, then extemporise eight bars using the material given and bring the music back to the home key. There were aurals, too, clapping the rhythm and singing the melody and identifying errors deliberately made in piano music. I don‘t know how I got through all this. I had certainly prayed for added strength and I am sure Pippa was with me then as she always was before.

Three days later I heard that I had passed the Diploma — A.T.C.L., which entitles me to be an Associate of Trinity College, London. I am so grateful to have been guided by teachers of the highest calibre, of whom the most recent teaches at thr Royal Northern College of Music. My sincere thanks also to Fr George Gilford and Gerard Callacher for their unfailing support with my music. They have accompanied me at concerts, and Ged accompanies my pupils at their exams. I have a lot to be grateful and thankful for, and I thank God that he has made it all possible.

A Fond Farewell from the Wardens

By the time this issue reaches most of its readers, Fr Christopher Ketley will have left St Faith‘s for pastures new. As he explained last month, he will be in charge of the Manchester Diocese parish of St Augustine, Pendlebury, with the status of Team Vicar Designate. The post came up rather suddenly, and his departure has seemed to rush upon us in the last few weeks, so that we have hardly had time to adjust to the prospect of there being no occupant of the Curatage (it always sounds more like an operation than a residence) and, indeed, no stipendiary priest at St Faith‘s for the first time for many years.

Both at the Annual General Meeting in March and more fully on Low Sunday, proper tribute was paid to Fr Christopher and all he has done for St Faith‘s. We shall miss his very real pastoral care and genuine concern for many people, his thoughtful, thought-provoking sermons and challenging Newslink editorials, his sometimes unexpected liturgical innovations and his bone-crushing handshake. He has been a breath of fresh air to us and we have learnt much from each other. Having cut his teeth here, he moves on to sink them into a parish of his own, and we wish him and Clare every good wish and blessing in their future ministry. We will be in touch, and we expect him to come back and preach to (at?) us in due course before the Centenary Celebrations are over. To save him giving out some three hundred change of address cards we print one below: the editor particularly likes the ?@liverpool‘ part of the e-mail address: it should appeal to  ?Mancs‘!

From the Back Desk ...

Eccentrically Speaking          John Pugh

John Pugh is Head of Religious Education at Merchant Taylors‘, and his school assemblies are always worth listening to. As a talipiece to this special edition of Newslink we reproduce the text of a recent entertainment in which he sings the praises of eccentricity.

I do not know if you have ever thought what an odd situation we‘re in now. Here are you still half asleep, having come from the organised chaos of your different homes. Most of us emerged from that deeply puzzling condition we call sleep an hour or so ago, pushed aside our Thomas the Tank Engine duvet, looked around for our clothing, tuned in our radio and while cleaning our teeth tried hard to focus on the day ahead. Your thoughts turned to your projects for the day: what you hoped, what you feared.

And here you sit now plonked in assembly next to other strange, in the proper sense, alien, beings whose point of view you can only guess at, whose experiences you can never have, whose history can never be yours, who you will only share a fraction of your life with. Of course exactly how alien and  strange they are may depend partly on who exactly you are sitting next to.

These ought to be very exciting thoughts. I am looking down in front of me at a range of assorted first years, none of whom have any experience of being twelve before. All round you stand staff, many of whom equally and implausibly claim to have never been thirty before. We are all travellers through time on a voyage as unpredictable as any made by Columbus, where even those old salts in the bows of the ship, who have to get off first, have only the vaguest notions. No-one can remember signing up for the voyage and no-one has any clear idea of where were going. In the immortal words of Alexei Sayle ?Its a funny old world‘.

This belief in the fundamental oddity of life, the utter weirdness of it all, is not shared by everyone. It afflicts me, and may at times afflict you, but some people are not afflicted by it at all. They zip confidently round life equipped with a definite plan they seemingly formulated in the cradle, working to some eerie timetable laid down for them. They progress through life from infancy on invisible tracks, unswerving, without pause for reflection or self-doubt.

You know the sort of thing:

Get born
Acquire bladder control
Learn to read
Get to Merchant‘s
Pass GCSEs
Do appropriate A-levels
Go to university
Acquire a good income
Get a house with a patio
Produce 2 children,  and call one Ben
Buy a very shiny car
Start jogging to prevent middle-age spread
Go grey
Lose bladder control

1 marvel at such well-organised, motivated people. It‘s as if someone unfairly has slipped them the rules and they‘re up and running in some strange competition which I don‘t understand but they seem to. They get on all right. If they were born molluscs they‘d have the best slime trails. If they were born dung beetles they‘d roll excellent dung balls, but some of us would wonder why they lived like that or even if they lived at all.

I want to condemn these people who know — because they don‘t. I want in contrast to praise people who admit they haven‘t got it all sussed out and are prepared to experiment to find out what‘s worthwhile in life — who are prepared to do the unconventional — who cheerfully and courageously leap into the unknown.

I was telling the second year the other day about St Simeon Stylites - a man who in the third century built himself a pillar in the Syrian desert about the size of the school clock tower and lived on it for an incredible 32 years until his death. He became a legend in his own lifetime and was visited by people from as far away as Britain. Now I can think of lots of reasons why you might not wish to imitate Simeon and head for a desert pillar: the loneliness, the possible boredom and the somewhat problematic arrangements for personal hygiene. But one obviously poor reason for not doing it is that one simply must get on, there is something obvious one ought to instead:

Go to university
Acquire a good income
Get a house with a patio
Buy a very shiny car
Produce 2 children and call one Ben...  etc

This is not necessarily or automatically a more sensible reaction to our very strange and exciting situation than becoming a hermit — and those who think it must be have lost a feeling for the sheer oddity of life and are sadly doomed to be dull. Why should one not consider the hermit option? The pay‘s rotten but the hours I‘m told are good. Why not as an alternative dedicate your life to saving the rain forest, or lovingly restoring beautiful old machinery, writing poetry or finding a cure for senility?

Shouldn‘t we all really celebrate eccentrics as the explorers of existence? Is the man who cycles up and down the bypass with a bicycle full of old newspapers and cardboard on a one-man campaign to stop smoking any madder than the man who drives down the bypass with burning leaves in his mouth? So let us be slow to judge those who do seemingly mad and futile things — who practice Yoga, buy season tickets for Burnley, take up Morris Dancing, enlist as school inspectors, join the Liberal Democrats or make their own soap. For the world is probably very much odder than we think.