The Parish Magazine of St Faith`s Church, Great Crosby
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Newslink November 2000
When the PCC spent a day together, way back in the dim and distant
(May, in fact), a significant part of that day was given to looking at
ministry of the laity in its various forms, and more particularly the way in which we understand and exercise lay ministry here at S. Faith`s
In September a good number of people (13, in fact) began a six-week
course training to be Bereavement Visitors. On All Souls Day that group
will be commissioned by the Area Dean to share the ministry to the bereaved with the Ministry Team. This is a significant step for our parish. Of course,
people have been visiting homes in the parish for many years, and some of the pastoral contacts made during that time will undoubtedly have involved
being with the bereaved and supporting them. The Bereavement Visitors Group will work in conjunction with the Ministry Team and will be accountable to them and will share in the ongoing ministry which we have to those in our care. None of us will be experts just as none of us can ever claim to know exactly how it feels. Those who have completed the course will have thought about the importance of listening to others (actually more difficult to do than we think!), will have looked at some of the common stages of bereavement (whilst acknowledging that no two situations are the same) and some of the issues surrounding death and dying. And in faith they are offering themselves to serve the needs of the community. Please remember them in your prayers. We are hoping to organise a similar training course in
the new year because there were others interested who could not make the sessions this time round. It is wonderful to think that we have so many people actively involved in the ministry of the Church, and such an important ministry at that.
The Ministry Team is hoping in the new year to re-think the preparation which is offered to married couples and the support which we can offer post-wedding service. This is yet another area of Ministry in which we hope the laity will play a full part. If you think this is something you could offer yourself for then please speak to me or to one of the Ministry Team.
The month of All Souls, All Saints and Christ the King challenges us in different ways:
Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
We are precious and unique in God's eyes. Yet we are fragile human beings. We need to be taken seriously and we need to take each other seriously. We
need to love and care for each other and I am confident that the beginning of the Bereavement Visitors' Group is one of the ways in which we will do this
With angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven.
We are not perfect, but we are called to try harder. The late Cardinal Hume in one of his books wrote Saints have a past, sinners have a future. Celebrating
the saints should be a reminder to each one of us that with God's strength and guidance we are able to lead lives pleasing to him. Without him our lives can be self-centred, greedy and ruthless. God can make a difference. The closer we come to him in prayer, the more we understand that we are placed on this earth to demonstrate his love, however daunting and difficult a task that might seem. We are here to love him by loving each other.
And he shall reign for ever and ever.
On the feast of Christ the King, when we shall hear the choir once again singing that marvellous `Hallelujah Chorus', we come to the end of another
liturgical year. The Feast of Christ the King reminds us that however much we plan and organise, however much we have projects and schemes, all our
work as a Christian Community counts for nothing unless it shows the values of God's kingdom: values which the world often despises and rejects love,
humility, mercy, justice, peace, tolerance and acceptance. These are the values of the Gospel: these are the values which we need to establish and live by in
order for God's Kingdom to come.
We sometimes feel that there is too much going on; the truth is we
blessed to be part of a vibrant Church. Long may that continue to be
my love and prayers.
You won't find it in the hymn-books yet, between Adeste Fideles and Adoro Te Devote, but you could try asking at your local, writes Briony Martin in the Church Times. The organist of Wells Cathedral has named a new hymn-tune after his favourite beer - Adnams.
Malcolm Archer composed the four-line, common-time tune earlier in the year. Adnams is one of my favourite beers, he said. I used to drink a lot of it. You could say it was a source of inspiration.
He wrote the tune to go with English Hymnal No. 49: Son of God, eternal Saviour - which contains the phrase Quench our fevered thirst in verse three. As soon as I heard Malcolm had composed a hymn called Adnams, said Dudley Clarke, the publicity-and-events manager at the Southwold Adnams brewery, I gave him three cases of it.
I think I'm the first person to name a hymn after a beer, Mr
A Sermon for the Centenary Myles Davies
The last of the long and excellent series of Centenary Sermons preached by various Old Boys of St Faith's was given on September 24th last by Fr Myles Davies. We reprint it as a final offering from these trips down memory lane and because he said lots of nice things about us! Those of us who were at his own celebration a few days later have fond memories of the music, the food, the worship - and the balloons! Ed.
I wonder whether you ever have embarrassing moments! I used to go on pilgrimage to Walsingham each year with St Columba's Anfield when Fr Peter Cavanagh was their Vicar. One year we went for a day out to Norwich and, never one to miss an opportunity to go shopping, I found myself wandering around Boots looking for some item of toiletry which I was unable to find. So I went up to an assistant and asked where I might find whatever it was. Imagine my embarrassment when I realised I was speaking to a shop dummy! This was a mistake I was not allowed to live down for some time.
There was another moment which I now look back on as embarrassing, and there is at least one person here in church today, and he a churchwarden, no less, (yes, me! Ed.) who may recall the moment. I was at school across the road at Merchant Taylors', and in the mid-sixties, the tradition began that boys at the school could conduct assembly if they wished to do so. I would have been no more than 14 at the time, and I gave them a straight-down-the-line, Billy Graham-style, come-to-Jesus address, with O Jesus I have promised at the end, thrown in for good measure.
In doing this, I was simply reflecting what I had been taught in the parish where I grew up. During preparation for Confirmation, I remember clearly the curate's words to us: the Bible says it; I believe it; that settles it. End of discussion. I owe it to what I learned in two red brick buildings, across the road from one another, to Merchant Taylors' and to St Faith's, that there is so much more to Christian faith, to Christian discipleship and to Christian worship than I had ever before been led to believe. To those who taught religious education at school I owe a tremendous debt for opening my eyes to the truth that it is right and proper to dig deeply into the scriptures, to have an enquiring mind about them, and to put them into their context. I did not repay those who taught me with staggeringly good exam results, but rather they opened a new way of looking at the scriptures which changed my preaching for ever from that first faltering attempt. We need never be afraid of the truth, wherever truth may be found. If something is true, it must always find its origin in God, and draw us closer to God.
And in this house of prayer, I discovered some of the possibilities of the beauty of worship, of drama and colour, of movement and music, of the power of words and of silence to lift our lives, our minds and our hearts to God. I found here that there was no set formula which decided who was saved and who was not, but rather a community of people who cared for one another, who ate and drank together, (the latter being a particularly important revelation), who laughed together and wept together when that was needed.
It must be two years or more since Fr Dennis wrote to invite all the old boys back to mark your Centenary. I asked if I might return on this Sunday, just before I have 25 years of priestly ministry on the clock, and a mere fortnight before your centenary programme reaches its goal on St Faith's Day. We three priests standing at the altar today can beat St Faith's hollow for age and venerability. If we put our ages all together: between the three of us, a hundred and fifty years is standing there. My only consolation is that the other two have slightly more than 50 to contribute, and I have just slightly less!
So many have found a vocation to priesthood in this holy place. Some were members of the community since they were children: some like myself discovered St Faith's as they were growing up. In my work as Director of Ordinands alongside those who are exploring this call, I am delighted to know that there are still those here within St Faith's who are experiencing God's sense of call on their lives. Long may this apostolic succession contine!
I come here this day to say thank you. Thank you for the community you were, and no doubt still are, which formed and fostered our sense of calling. Thank you for being the kind of parish in the catholic tradition of our church which encouraged openness and which allowed questions, not replacing one set of rigid certainties with another: a place which has welcomed those with doubts as well as those with unshakeable faith.
An anniversary such as a hundred years of worship and witness or 25
years of priestly ministry gives a chance to look back, not merely with
nostalgia, but with deep thankfulness. Looking back we may see the hand
of God present in our journey in ways which seemed far from clear at
time. God calls us to rise up and follow his Son, and for those who
in that way, the best is always yet to be. That I can say with
and with no sense of embarrassment whatever. Thank you, St Faith's, for
helping me to know God's love to be both real and true.
I sometimes wish that I could be
An octopus from the deep blue sea.
It would be fine with tentacles eight
To deal with food upon my plate.
Tentacle One could be bag-holder,
Thus taking the strain from off my shoulder.
Number Two could hold my brolly
(To come without would be a folly).
Number Three could hold my glass,
Keeping it firmly in its grasp.
Number Four would now be able
To hold my plate from the loaded table.
Numbers Five and Six would wield the cutlery
(Aren't I coping beautifully?).
Number Seven's for the serviette,
But wait, I haven't finished yet.
Number Eight, the one I have free,
I could use to shake hands merrily
And hug old friends, not seen for years,
When hearing tales of hopes and fears.
But, with tentacles eight I'd still need more
To use as feet standing on the floor!
A Feast of Music in Honour of St Cecilia
with Jacqueline Fugelle (Soprano) and Neil Kelley (Piano) programme to include music by:
Handel Purcell Richard Strauss - Poulenc - Gershwin Cole Porter
Tickets: £5 (all proceeds to the Piano
Advent is not far away (which means Christmas isn't too far behind
Please note the Quiet Day that will be held the day before Advent
and led by Sister Elizabeth, whom we were delighted to welcome back for
the St Mary's Patronal Festival weekend. The Advent Services of Light,
led in previous years by Fr. Mark, will not now take place. Instead
will be an informal Taiz-style service of meditation and Benediction.
note the details of special Advent Services in addition to the normal
Sunday 3rd December
6.00 pm Advent Carol Service: From darkness to light
Saturday 16th December
6.00 pm Taiz service of meditation and Benediction
Saturday 23rd December
6.00 pm Liturgy of reconciliation in preparation for Christmas\par
The word Advent means a coming, an arrival; and the theme of our
Season of Advent is the coming of Christ into the world. All through
weeks we are in a mood of expectancy; one which has two different
First we think of the coming of Jesus as a babe at Christmas; then, on
the other hand, we think of that mysterious event, a quite different
which we call the Second Advent. So it is that all through the weeks of
Advent we are in this special mood of expectancy. On one side of it, our expectations will be fulfilled when Christmas comes, and we are able to sing:
Christians awake! salute the happy morn
Whereon the Saviour of the world was born
But what can we say about that other expectation, that other Coming?
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his Kingdom will have no end.
In the Nicene Creed the whole Christian world confesses its faith. These words stir our imaginations, and speak to what is very deep within us. God's victory was won upon the Cross; yet God's enemies are still strongly entrenched in their positions, and there are many battles still to fight. Our ancestors' expectation of the Lord's early return proved an illusion; from time to time events occurred which gave rise to hopes that the great day was at hand, but those hopes were always disappointed, as such hopes have been disappointed many times since.
The promise of his coming was, for the early Christian teachers, a matter of profound conviction; but they speak variously, and sometimes obscurely, about the manner of that coming, in time and place, and of what is to follow. At first they had looked for it almost any day; but they were always disappointed. Yet, they did not give up the hope of another coming of Christ; God's victory was won, but it was yet to win. Both ideas are true thus our Christian life becomes a tension between realization and expectation. After all, in our daily prayer we say, Thy Kingdom come .... For thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. The Kingdom is still to come and yet it is present, always; and so we have confidence in praying for its coming.
This may indeed be a paradox, but this tension has been, and is, a
strength to the Christian religion. For the early Church the coming of
Christ was both present and future, both at once. That could not be
of any ordinary event in history; for the coming of Christ is an event
that lies outside our system of time reckoning; it has no date. And so
for the whole season of Advent, we can speak of the Coming of Christ,
birth as a child into the world a long time ago, the Millennium in fact, and also the unimaginable fullness of his coming again, in power and glory, in the future.
There is a very simple prayer that has come down to us from the earliest days. It is in the Aramaic language, which was the native tongue of Jesus and his first disciples, and consists of two words only: Marana-tha! Lord, come! These words go back to Aramaic-speaking Jewish Christians, probably of the mother church at Jerusalem, the historians tell us, and are quoted by St. Paul (in his first letter to the Corinthians, 16:22).
The first Christians met together regularly, and shared a meal together; they made their memory vivid by repeating what he had said and done at that never-to-be-forgotten last supper. So it was that the facts of his life and death were more than a memory: they were a present experience. Marana-tha! bears witness to the spirit of tense expectancy that brought them together; they knew that a Presence was there, unseen and unheard, but real: the Lord had come to them. He was known to them in the breaking of bread.
And the more deeply they, and we, appreciate what is received, the
clearly they and we know that nothing on earth is complete:
there is always more to hope for. It is here then, in our act of
the Holy Eucharist, the central and most important act of worship in
Christian religion, that we look for a key to the paradox of a coming
Christ which is past, present and future all in one; and for which we
be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour we do not expect.
therefore, and be ready.
At the end of the marvellous and colourful St Faith's night High Mass, Bishop Emmanuel Gbonigi of Akure, Nigeria, dedicated the two splendid Centenary Banners designed and made by Audrey Dawson and her dedicated team of tapestry creators. Everyone who has seen them has been impressed by the achievement, and fascinated by the wealth of detail and the amazing standard of care and craftsmanship (craftswomanship for the politically correct) that has gone into their realisation.
As you will see, if you haven't already, each banner is a collage of
motifs and text, marking significant people and events, church and
from the 20th century. There is so much to see and enjoy and it
all recorded in the accompanying booklet explaining the ideas behind
banners, the main events and people on them, and the colours used. They
hang at present on the aisle walls next to the entrances to the Chapel
of the Cross and the Lady Chapel, and, while not intended as permanent
fixtures (who mentioned the F-word*?) will in future be put in place on
appropriate occasions (e.g. Patronal Festivals, major events, open days
etc) for visitors to admire. They have indeed created something of
and beauty to add to the inheritance of St Faith's, and we record with
real gratitude our thanks to all those who made their appearance
their names rightly listed in the booklet. (* No! Not that word.
Many thanks to those who have so far responded positively to this year's Stewardship Campaign. New people have joined the parish purse scheme or indicated that S. Faith's can claim back the tax on what they give. Some have made one-off donations, for which we are grateful. Some have indicated that they are unable to increase their giving at the present time and some have offered their services for the first time in a practical way.
Those who have responded have given a clear sign of the dedication
devotion which so many have to our parish. Many, however, have yet to
that commitment in practical terms; as a result the gap in our finances
will be slower to close. Such a review as this must clearly become at
an annual part of our life together. If you have yet to respond, it is
not too late to do so!
At the time of writing, 48 people had turned up for the
initial planning meeting with a further 20 indicating their willingness
to be part of the pantomime. By the time you readthis the auditions
have taken place further details will appear next month and in the
sheets. So it looks like it's definitely going to happen (... Oh no
Avoid the Christmas rush.
Come to church this Sunday.
The end of over two years of events marking the Centenary of St
was celebrated in style at the Patronal Weekend of October 6th
As some may remember, the actual centenary of the consecration of our
fell, of all days, on Good Friday last, so it seemed a natural move to
focus on St Faith's Day and go out with a bang. All who attended (and
over a thousand total attendances were recorded at the various services
and events) will surely agree that we did just that. It would take half
a Newslink to do full
justice to all that happened, so a few impressions must take the place of many happy memories.
A quiet, solemn service of Benediction, with words from our first visiting preacher, Fr Channell of Cirencester, set the scene on October 5th. Then, of course, on the Patronal day itself, we filled St Faith's with people (320 of them), wonderful music and a matching pair of bishops. Bishop James of Liverpool preached memorably and movingly, recalling Lord Runcie and his place in our hearts, and making the traditional singing of In our Day of Thanksgiving even more poignant than usual. He was joined by Bishop Emmanuel Gbonigi of Akure together with some of his visiting Nigerian party (those that could get visas, that is). Bishop Emmanuel addressed us briefly, then, at the end of the service, blessed the fine new Centenary Banners. The liturgy was colourful, reverent and deeply affecting, and the wonderful music (Mozart's Coronation Mass; anthems, and an inspiring range of hymns including the first airing of the Centenary Hymn) was provided from the back of church by the Crosby Symphony Orchestra, four excellent soloists and our own choir. The whole service, at heavenly length but never seeming long, was utterly unforgettable, even after the lavish food and wine for which we crowded into the Hall after the service was over. Its success bears further witness to Fr Neil's talents in the fields of liturgy and the planning and execution of music and worship.
Saturday saw A Night at the Opera, a concert of vocal items performed by four of Fr Neil's seemingly inexhaustible supply of imported musical talent. Paul Keohone fondly remembered from the Easter offerings), Allan Adams, Carole Marnoch and Dervla Ransom (from Covent Garden and English National Opera) ably accompanied as always by one Neil Kelley, gave us a first half of operatic extracts, singly and in various combinations. Then, after more interval lubrication, they per-formed a range of lighter music, of which no-one present will forget Allan Adams' hilarious Have Some Madeira, M' Dear, complete with moustache and evil leering. But the whole evening was quite magical, and the audience (over 200) were carried away on a wave of lovely melody from four wonderful voices. There was tenderness and power, poignancy and comedy, and even, at the end, a chance for us to belt out You'll Never Walk Alone. The rapturous applause throughout the evening, which passed by all too quickly, marked a truly unforgettable occasion. Crosby will rarely have enjoyed such a standard of singing we must have it again soon!
Sunday's Dedication High Mass was a fitting conclusion to a
weekend, as another full house worshipped with lively devotion,
were all sad to hear, a few days earlier, that Bishop Nigel McCulloch,
so long a friend of St Faith's, had been laid low on his return from
and had been ordered to rest. As a result, Fr Dennis celebrated the
while, at short notice, our very own Fr Charles Billington,
oldest surviving Vicar of St Faith's, bravely preached in his own
and long-remembered style. This splendid and wonderfully worshipful
ended, as our Sunday mornings do these days, with the entertainment of
the Notices: this time
featuring the Junior Church's holding aloft of their portraits of the Vicar. These entirely recognisable images, currently on show in church, sadly cannot be reproduced in these pages.
Following this, over 150 folk descended on Merchant Taylors' for a fine Celebration Lunch (school catering, to give the hardworked church catering team a break). Here, our many guests and friends had time to share memories and compare notes in a convivial and relaxed hour or two. And here, as throughout the weekend, it was good to welcome, among other friends, Basil Horswill from Canada, a (very!) old member of our choir making a pilgrimage, with his wife and friends, to join us eighty years on. He had contacted me through the internet: truly an example of Ancient and Modern at one! And then it was almost time for Festal Evensong and Solemn Te Deum. Bishop Rupert Hoare, Dean of Liverpool Cathedral, preached to us, and yet another colourful procession, wreathed in holy smoke, did the rounds of the church in a fitting finale to three days of pomp, circumstance and fun.
And at last it was all over. Reviewing in retrospect the years of
and execution of our celebration, it is hard to believe it is at an
We owe so much to so many people: Vicar, priests, readers, servers,
wardens, sidespeople, flower people, caterers, embroiderers, cleaners,
printers, shifters and builders, publicists, centenary committee
and of course, worshippers. All the fine family of St Faith's (and not
from St Mary's!) have done so much over the years to make it all possible. Looking back to the great service that marked the centenary of the Foundation, then fast forward to the great services that have just marked the ending of it all, it seems like a great arch spanning those years, as well as spanning the century before it. Surely that arch has touched heaven.
But neither time, nor our creator God, stands still nor will let us
stand still. Time and again from the pulpit recently, and again in the
context of the subsequent marvellous Walsingham Parish Pilgrimage(see
month`s thrilling instalment!) we have heard our proper thanksgiving
the past put into its rightful context of hope and endeavour for the
Without that looking forward, our looking back would be merely
a luxury we certainly cannot afford. And so we give thanks once more,
words of the Centenary Hymn, and pray for the years ahead. And once more Dag Hammarskjoeld's words may be written on the last page of our centenary book:
For the past, thanks: to the future, YES!
Lord, for a century of praise
Here on this holy ground;
For Faith in whose strong sacrifice
Our watchword still is found,
We give you thanks, and ask your grace
For holiness like hers:
To serve your world and keep the faith
Throughout the turning years.
We were delighted by Fr Neil's invitation to visit Great Crosby for the Flower Festival and Patronal Celebrations at St Mary's, and thank everyone in both parishes for their very warm welcome. It was also a great pleasure to be in the company of Sister Elizabeth during her stay at the Vicarage.
We congratulate all concerned in the planning and organisation which resulted in the wonderful Festival of Flowers, the Patronal Eucharist and the Musical Evening by the Crosby Clerics and friends.
Once again our proposed visit to the Lake District was fraught with difficulty, not due to adverse weather on this occasion but to the fuel crisis. However, the change to our plans enabled us to explore the local shopping areas, and in consequence our purses were somewhat lighter for the experience!
Our prolonged stay at the Vicarage was punctuated with much fun and laughter and we acquired a new job title, if only temporary: Housekeepers to the Vicar. We were more than pleased to make life a little easier in the culinary department by providing Fr Neil with some of his favourite dishes.
Finally, with some regret, we departed on Monday morning with an
well-laden car and fingers crossed that we would be able to refuel
the journey, which proved to be the case. We look forward to our next
and were only sorry that, due to other commitments, we were unable to
Fr Neil's invitation to join in St Faith's Centenary Celebrations.
The Internet can be a source of some interesting information, and
Hartley's discovery (printed in the August/September Newslink
me think although on the whole, it is probably fair to say that I
had some reservations about its content. Given the problems we have
experienced with vandalism in the church, I have no problems in
that there may be a lack of respect for people and property amongst
certainly not all young people.
But is lack of prayer in schools really to blame? Of course, the British situation is very different to that of America, given that we have a requirement by law for some sort of daily act of worship, and in the days before the national curriculum, Religious Education was the only compulsory topic in state schools. From my own experience, I hardly found it an inspiration, given that a local vicar managed to turn me from a believer to an atheist within a year, such was the strangeness of his views ...
Perhaps we need to consider the American situation in context. The
fathers of the American republic were keen for America to be a nation
a pluralist outlook, where there would be no one dominant ascribed form
of religion; hence religion and the state have always been
separated. This is not to say that the US is an irreligious
far from it. Church-going is far higher than in Britain, as is level of
belief. But it would be a mistake to think that all denominations share
the concerns of the writers of this Internet article about school
Mainline denominations, such as our
sister Episcopal church, are happy with the status quo, given that the dominant form of religiosity in some states is fundamentalist literalism, which has led to teachers having to teach only literal Genesis to the exclusion of evolutionary theories, for example. If prayer were allowed in school, it would mean that such groups might be able to gain a stranglehold in American state schools, and I would question whether this would be beneficial.
And is there really any link between the phenomena mentioned in the
article? Despite America\'B1s religiosity, it is the country in the
with the highest murder rate both in terms of homicide, and
killing via capital punishment. The rate of single parenthood is higher
than anywhere in Europe including the UK which has the highest
in Europe and the lowest rates are
Sweden and in the Netherlands,
where sex education is taught frankly and openly. The crime rate
is also relatively low in these countries, but physical punishment in
is not allowed, and has not been for many years. And I do wonder how
influence Dr. Spock had
on the mother I saw spank her child the other day, accompanied with words far from that of loving chastisement! Not to mention as a former HIV educator the established difficulty of persuading boys to carry condoms at all. To present a situation as if schools are awash with states ponsored latex is somewhat unrealistic!
I agree that society can appear violent, lacking in conscience, and materialistic but I have great doubts as to whether either the causes or the remedy are those suggested by this article. God is allowed\'B1 in British schools but that didn't stop Dunblane ... because allowing prayer, or enforcing a single religion in an institutional sense, is not the same as seeing Christian values of love, compassion and respect have a genuine impact on either society or individuals.
in St Faith's Sunday 26th November, 2000 at 7.30 pm\par
Le Tombeau de
Horn Concerto No 1 Strauss
Soloist: Chris Pople
Symphony No 3 Brahms
Tickets £5 (£4 concessions) inclusive of
available in advance from Pritchard's Bookshop, Crosby, or at the door on the night.
The Revd Derek Clawson} recently retired after 34 years in the Ordained Ministry. Derek grew up at St Faith's and was in the Cubs and Scouts and was an altar server.
He was Vicar of St Michael's, Wigan and celebrated a combined Patronal and farewell service there at the end of September. Derek and his wife Christine were overwhelmed by the tributes, presents and cards from all age groups of the congregation.
We at St Faith's join in wishing Derek and Christine a very happy retirement.
It has been good to have Brian Thorne and his wife Penny with us over the past few weeks. Brian is preparing for Reader Ministry and we are delighted that he has been placed with us for his parish placement. We offer him our sincere prayers and good wishes for his future ministry.
Burial of Ashes
24 September Nancy Stone
1 October Kieran Conor Doran son of Anthony and Lorna
4 October Doris Halsall
I can hardly believe that it's now over six weeks since 40 first-year ordinands gathered anxiously at Luther King College to meet for the first time. Our Northern Ordination Course (N.O.C.) training had begun with a residential weekend at the Manchester College. Men, women; Methodists, Anglicans; from various backgrounds and traditions. What a collection we made!
We have come a long way since then: a second residential and five Monday evenings of lectures, to say nothing of the reading, worship and building of new friendships. At present everything seems quite overwhelming but nevertheless exciting and challenging. So far we have had a Church and Society module, lectures on adult learning, lectures on spirituality, and have just begun a Biblical Studies programme.
The worship at N.O.C. has been tremendous. It takes place in a small chapel where you can't fail to be aware of God's presence. Student worship groups are responsible for much of the varied and inspirational worship settings.
It is a strange time. As we begin to relax with each other, it is interesting to hear about the worries, adjustments and vulnerability experienced by the students. However at the same time we are all steadfast in the belief that this stage in our journey of faith is very much God's will. Friendships are already beginning to grow and I\'B1m sure that the fellowship will be crucial for our development. Every student at N.O.C. needs all the support, help and encouragement they can get.
May I take this opportunity to thank so many of you for your phone calls, cards, prayers and thoughts; they have given me great strength. I would also like to thank everybody for the cheque which in received on St Faith's night. It is really appreciated: I can assure you that with all the books I need it will be spent wisely! I look forward to keeping you up to date with my progress at church and through Newslink.
With my love and prayers.
Caroline represented St Faith's and the Bootle Deanery on the exchange visit to Akure earlier this year. In this first of two more detailed accounts, she sets the scene for her journey of a lifetime and describes some of what she saw and experienced.
Sunrise, the long-awaited day had finally arrived, and I sat amongst piles of clothes, sun-cream, mosquito net, repellent and medical kit; months of excitement had turned to anticipation, and I regarded my empty suitcase with nothing short of despair! After somehow fitting (almost) everything in, I had an hour of broken sleep, and emerged dazed and confused from my bedroom at 5 am, only just remembering to take the all important Lariam tablet!
Meeting up with friends at the check-in desk lifted my spirits, and soon we were all sitting drinking coffee, becoming increasingly excited as we waited for flight to Gatwick! Our flight was delayed, and there was concern that we would not arrive in time to take the only flight that day to Lagos. On arrival at Gatwick we were assured that we would be on the connecting flight; however, our luggage would not! Fortunately, the flight was delayed, and we boarded with assurances that our luggage would also be coming with us.
The rest of the journey passed without incident, and we stepped off the plane to the immense heat in Lagos. Having been warned of the dangers at the infamous airport in Lagos, we stayed together, and followed the bishops who seemed to know where to go! Two men appeared and collected our passports having been warned never to take our eyes off them, this made me extremely nervous and we stood waiting in a corridor, getting hotter and hotter. Eventually, we were led through to collect our bags; I was exceedingly relieved to see my suitcase on the baggage carousel however, it soon became apparent that some suitcases had not made the connection to Lagos. We sat and waited while the unfortunate owners filled out the relevant forms. Fans and mosquito-repellent were passed around as we waited.
It was a relief to be led outside, where we stood in a huddle, not
to take our eyes off each other and our luggage, and unsure what, or
we were standing waiting for. Some time later, news began to filter
that we might not be travelling to Akure until the next day, but no-one
was sure. Sometime later, our cases were loaded into a minibus, then
bus arrived, and we wearily plodded on board and sat down. I became
of a man in uniform, sitting directly behind
his rifle muzzle was just inches from my head, and I didn't dare look
at him. (We later found out that
we had armed escorts, who were policemen who had travelled all the way from Akure; once we knew who they were, we were always grateful to have them nearby!)
Eventually, we pulled away from the airport, and after a half-hour
and a good sing-song we arrived at the Sisters of the Eucharistic Heart
of Jesus convent. We were shown to bedrooms, by which time, the
and heat were indescribable, and most were becoming a little subdued.
prayers thanking God for our safe arrival (which seemed very
we sat down to a very welcome traditional meal of chicken, rice and
and then some of the clergy, who had travelled from Akure to welcome
introduced themselves. I felt in safe hands!
Everyone seemed ready for bed, and so began to go in the direction of their respective rooms. There was a simple clean bathroom with a wonderful cold shower. I can honestly say that I have never enjoyed a shower as much as I did that night, nor have I ever been so grateful for a half share of a bed!
My room-mate and I attempted to hang a mosquito net, and in doing so, collapsed the bed frame. Before long, the girls next door heard the commotion and came to offer a helping hand. Soon, I was lying in bed, drenched in repellent (to be on the safe side!) with my water bottle and torch. As soon as my head hit the pillow, I was fast asleep, and awoke the next day thoroughly refreshed, to the sound of torrential rain.
After breakfast and worship in the chapel at the convent, we left
Akure. The journey lasted over five hours, but with taking in our
talking, joking and singing, there was never a dull moment, and the
flew. We seemed to have formed a close group, which filled me with
for the visit. Finally, the moment we had all been waiting for arrived,
and the bus pulled into St David's Cathedral, Akure. We were made
to feel exceedingly welcome and ate lunch almost immediately, served to us in a room in the grounds, before being introduced to our hosts.
It turned out that I didn't have a host family as such, but would be living with Revd. Joan Foster, Revd. John Duffield and Charlotte, a team member my own age, in the home of Dr. Olojugba. We were driven to the luxurious house by the Provost of St David's and his wife. After a short car journey, we arrived, and met Sulliman the gatekeeper, Festus, the chauffeur/caretaker and Funmbi, the maid.
I ought to explain about a typical car journey in Akure. The roads have large, open sewers at the sides, there seem to be no rules of the road whatsoever, and goats, street sellers, chickens and children (to name but a few) weave in amongst the traffic! Many spent the journeys in prayer, others closed their eyes anyway!
Dr Olojugba currently lives and works in England, but owns one of the most luxurious houses in Akure, which is well looked after in his absence by his employees. After a short guided tour, we were shown to our rooms: all were comfortable, spacious and air-conditioned! We had a little time to wash, unpack, and start the fun and games of putting up mosquito nets all over again, before being driven back to the cathedral for an informal welcome meeting. Our hosts certainly know how to make guests feel welcome, so many came to talk to us most dressed in splendid traditional outfits and wish us well for our stay, that I felt a little overwhelmed by it all! After speeches by Bishops Emmanuel and James, prayers, and a rendition of the Peruvian Gloria (as sung at our Commissioning Service) we tucked into a delicious traditional buffet, which contained local delicacies such as snail and bush meat that I was keen to try. Soon, we were picked up by Festus and taken home, where we talked together before gratefully falling into bed!
The whole group met for a full English breakfast in the cathedral hall, and we discovered that all meals would be taken together there as a group, cooked by caterers who had been hired specially at considerable expense. I thoroughly enjoyed the meals, especially trying traditional dishes such as yam (like a block of hard mashed potato) with a spicy sardine sauce, which was served for some breakfasts, and always followed a delicious porridge.
The morning was spent in visiting local schools. At the first,
of children and their teachers danced and sang in a procession from the
gates: it really had to be seen to be believed. The entry in my journal
reads: Wow! What a welcome I'1ve never seen children who put
hearts and souls into singing, and do it so well ... I was completely
and beaming from ear to ear ... I never thought I'd find myself welling
up or speechless ... they sang You are Welcome in the name of the
and meant it!
Humbling to say the least. I've never met such joyful children, and the respect they have for their teachers and clergy! We were presented with caps made especially for the occasion, and the children put on a concert of dancing and singing, while we watched in amazement! When the time came, no-one wanted to leave and we took photographs of the children hanging out of the windows to wave goodbye.
To be concluded!
Merry-go-Round Dinner 2000
Saturday 11 November
Enjoy a three-course meal with wine for only £11 - each course at the house of a different host with different guests, meeting up for coffee with everyone at the last venue. Good food, good fun, good company, excellent value, and an opportunity to boost Church funds. Transport can be arranged for you.
If you haven't tried it before, do give it a go this year, and join us on 11 November you will be very welcome and have a great evening. Further details from LINDA NYE.
Saturday 16th December
An Evening of Seasonal Music and Readings with Mulled Wine and Buffet Supper at the home of Anne and Michael Holland, 11 Marine Crescent, Waterloo
Tickets £10.50: All proceeds to St Faith's
A big thank you to all who purchased Harvest produce following this
year's fine display. As a result, £16.00 has been sent to Medic
Those who contributed may like to know that Medic Malawi will be St
Lenten Project 2001.
Fred and Linda Nye
We are, as always, grateful to the gallant band of cleaners who
the dirt week by week in church. A special thank you, however, to those
who turned out for the Patronal Purge on the eve of St Faith's Day!
St Faith's at the Library Chris Price
As briefly mentioned in a recent magazine, Crosby Central Library is hosting an exhibition to mark the closing weeks of our Centenary Celebrations.
Following visits to the local history department while researching St Faith's history, I made the acquaintance of Mark Sargant, local history librarian, who proved an invaluable source of help and to be himself very interested in church history in general and ours in particular. As a result, the idea of the library putting on a major exhibition was born, and came to final fruition recently.\par
During the course of the research and preparation, Denis Griffiths and, latterly, Fr Dennis Smith, became involved: we supplemented the existing archives with our own records and photographs ancient and modern, and put names and dates to pictures of past events. The resulting exhibition does us proud, and has drawn much admiring comment. Our thanks are due to all who contributed in any way to this fine piece of witness to the community, and in particular to Mark Sargant for his excellent efforts.
By the time you read this, the display will have closed. It is
on later to theCollege Road Library, but will then be available for us
to put up at St Faith's at some suitable time. So, if you haven't seen
it watch this space!
Nantwich and a Farmers` Market Betty and Vic Winsor
For the last of the summer outings the members of St Mary's Fellowship chose Nantwich: one of the salt towns Nantwich, Middlewich and Northwich which indicates salt. We left Crosby at 9.15 am picking up more passengers on the way to arrive at Nantwich at 11.30 am. It is a tidy, attractive town centre with areas of grass and well-laid out colourful flower beds, especially around the parish church of St Mary. We delayed our visit to the church till after our pub lunch as there was a wedding party about to arrive. The bridegroom was a local British citizen but his bride was Chinese and was accompanied by six very attractive Chinese bridesmaids.
St Mary's church has been called the cathedral of south Cheshire. Built mostly in the 14th century of a warm, if crumbly red sandstone (probably quarried at Eddisbury near Delamere) it is one of the finest mediaeval town churches in England. The church was briefly used as a prison for Royalist prisoners. In 1682 a mob broke some windows when breaking in to ring the bells to celebrate the coming of the Duke of Monmouth. In 1789 the church was in a bad state so ruinous that the inhabitants cannot safely assemble. Between 1855 and 1879 Sir George Gilbert Scott carried out extensive repairs. The guide book gives details of many families associated with the church and we were very fortunate to be shown round by a guide aged 88 who loved the place. He is a member of the choir and illustrated the excellent accoustics by singing part of Faure's Requiem. There are two pulpits one an elegant 14th century stone pulpit designed like a chalice and an Elizabethan pulpit which was once part of a large three-decker pulpit with preacher above, the clerk's seat then the prayer desk. There are numerous stained-glass windows in memory of local benefactors.
By the time Betty and I had reached the Farmers' Market the bulk of
the produce had been sold, but we brought home lovely tomatoes.
boarded the coach for the homeward journey at a quarter to four and
back at the house before 6.30 pm, using an indirect route. The
programme is printed in the September issue of this magazine and a warm
welcome awaits anyone wishing to attend the Tuesday afternoon meetings
in St Mary's Church Hall.