to St Faith`s Home Page
The Parish Magazine
of Saint Faith's Church, Great Crosby
Saint Faith’s Prayer for
Faithful God, in baptism you have adopted us as your children,
made us members of the body of Christ and chosen us as inheritors of your kingdom:
bless our plans for mission and outreach; guide us to seek and do your will;
empower us by your Spirit to share our faith in witness and to serve,
and send us out as disciples of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
From the Ministry Team
One night a man had a dream.
He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand;
one belonging to him, and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of his life flashed by,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of life,
there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest
and saddest times in his life.
This really bothered the man and he questioned the Lord about it.
‘Lord, You said that once I decided to follow You,
You would walk with me all the way.
But, I have noticed that during the most troublesome times
in my life, there is only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why when I needed you most,
You would leave me.’
The Lord replied, ‘My precious, precious child,
I love you, and I would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you.’
This piece, which I’m sure is known by many, has always been one of my favourites, and still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I get such a comfortable, warm feeling of reassurance and love – the realisation that no matter what happens in my life, whatever highs and lows there are, have been, and still to come - no matter what - God is right there with me.
‘There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under heaven. A time for giving birth, a time for dying; a time for killing, a time for healing; a time for tears, a time for laughter; a time for throwing stones away, a time for gathering them up; a time for embracing, a time for searching, a time for losing; a time for keeping; a time for loving.’ (Ecclesiastes 3)
We, as Christians, are very lucky to have a faith. It gives us hope for the future. When we are low, when we struggle, when we have troubles; whatever the outcome, we have faith and knowledge that God is there for us, loving us, guiding us, forgiving us. The faith that God has given us is an exceptional grace, a hope, strength, and a promise of a better future in the coming of His Kingdom. A faith we are indeed lucky to have been blessed with.
This month we remember and celebrate the lives of all those who have gone before us, not only the Saints, but all those whom we have loved and see no more. We pray for the souls of all people, of all those who have travelled through life’s changing scenes, with the knowledge that God walked with them, and now, with the angels and archangels and all the company of heaven, we pray that they may rest in peace.
With my love and prayers,
I would also just like to say thank you to all who sent cards and expressed their love and support to my sons and I, after the sad loss of my mum and over what has been a very difficult time. Your kind thoughtfulness and prayers were very much appreciated. Thank you.
With our love and prayers,
Jackie, Edd, Jonnie and Jay (Parry)
From the Registers
2 October Isabel Estelle June O’Brien
daughter of Michael and Heather
A Heartfelt Appeal
Be Part of Walsingham’s Future Today
The date is October 15th, 1931. A procession is wending its way down the medieval High Street in the small Norfolk village of Little Walsingham. There are priests and a Bishop in beautiful robes, smartly dressed children and crowds of laypeople all singing God’s praises as they walk. And at the centre of the procession there is a beautiful image: Mary pointing to her Son, the Christ child. The procession arrives at its destination and the image is placed into a humble little house, a replica of Mary’s own home in Nazareth. An ancient place of pilgrimage has been restored.
75 years later, and Walsingham is one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in the country. People of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities come and pray in that little house. They are inspired by Mary’s example and prayers, and as always she points them to her Son, he who is the source of healing, life and salvation.
As 2006 approaches, parishes across the country will be celebrating the anniversary of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, and there is a great deal for which to give thanks. Perhaps you’ve got your own story about how that special place has touched your own life. But an anniversary is also an opportunity to look ahead. What kind of Shrine is Walsingham going to be in the next 75 years?
There are a number of priorities. The accommodation at Walsingham is comfortable, but there needs to be more provision for families, people with disabilities and those who require en-suite or ground floor rooms. The main reception needs to be re-located to a more central site and one that complies with the disability discrimination act. And did you know that 345,000 people visit Walsingham each year, many of them just passing through? The Shrine needs a place where visitors can learn about the Shrine and be prepared for their visit to the Holy House.
To meet these needs, the Shrine has announced a big development plan which will entail the restoration of an accommodation building (Stella Maris) and its extension with the new Milner Wing. These are really exciting and imaginative plans which will provide a Visitor Centre, beautiful new accommodation with wonderful views of the garden and a new reception area. All the new rooms will be en suite and will be accessible at ground floor level or by lift. The entrances to the Shrine will be redesigned to make them safer and more attractive. With the new development complete, the Shrine really will be ready for the future.
But a building like this doesn’t come cheap! The Shrine has launched an appeal for £2 million and every pilgrimage parish is being asked to lend its support. What can we do here in our parish to play a role in these exciting plans?
You might like to make a donation to the appeal or even take out a banker’s order pledging a certain amount each month until the Appeal has reached its target. There might be fundraising ideas that we can see through in our own parish. Let’s see who can come up with the most imaginative idea! We could play host to one of the staff from Walsingham or one of the Guardians and hear about the new plans at first hand. If you have any ideas or questions, please have a word with Fr. Neil.
Walsingham is a wonderful gift from God, a special place where God’s presence is almost tangible, where prayer seems to fall easily from the lips, where we catch a glimpse of the life of heaven. Let’s think about how we can play our part in passing this remarkable place on to future generations.
From the Postbag
A letter received from Fr. David Woodhouse, former Archdeacon of Warrington and long-standing friend of St. Faith’s.
Dear Father Neil,
Thank you very much for the invitation to St. Faith’s Day. The Mass was quite wonderful and as you said a lot of people had clearly put in a lot of work in preparation. The Church was looking especially beautiful and we were in for a musical treat. Fr North’s homily was just right and certainly kept one’s attention. The choreography was very efficient as always, all contributing to an atmosphere of celebration and devotion. I hope you were pleased too with such a happy occasion and hope very much that the other special events go equally well.
With thanks again and every good wish,
Fr. David Woodhouse
Singing at the Met
Having a birthday at the end of July is a mixed blessing. Often the weather is lovely for barbecues and parties, but equally often one’s nearest and dearest have headed off on their annual holidays. This year’s was an exception: I got to spend my big day with great friends, singing some wonderful music, in the spectacular and beautiful setting of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King.
For many years, St Faith’s Choir have sung the Sunday services of the last Sunday in July at the Anglican Cathedral, but we felt that it might be time to ring the changes. Certainly, many aspects of our day at the ‘Met’ were different to what we’ve experienced before, but certainly no less enjoyable or moving. As those of you who have visited the cathedral will know, it is a big space to fill, and we had a lot of music, some very new to us, with which to do the job.
The cathedral staff and clergy were exceptionally welcoming, with morning tea and coffee and a glass of wine after mass in the song school. The 11 o’clock mass was well attended, with a lovely ‘family’ atmosphere - people of all ages and from many countries. We will be on the holiday snaps of quite a few tourists! It was a special day for the celebrant too - he had been ordained at the cathedral 28 years ago to the day. His vote of thanks to our choir included the compliment that we sang Latin better than the cathedral choir! The Vierne mass setting sounded fantastic in that enormous space, beautifully accompanied by Stephen Hargreaves on the cathedral organ. He thoroughly enjoyed his day too, getting some fantastic (and some unusual!) sounds from a class instrument. The highlight for me was the plainsong singing of the Agnus Dei, which echoed around that beautiful space perfectly. The procession out, around the whole circumference of the cathedral, was suitably triumphant!
A party atmosphere prevailed at lunch in the cathedral bistro, including being the embarrassed recipient of a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday”. Rehearsal for Evening Prayer followed, and then the service itself, to a small but highly appreciative congregation, including supporters from St Faith’s. Choral evening prayer is almost an entirely sung service - introit, psalmody, magnificat, anthem, responses - ending with a little procession to the Lady Chapel for the singing of the Ave Maria. It was an understated and beautiful end to a fantastic day. Many thanks to all who supported us, both in the build-up and on the day, to Stephen for his great playing and, of course, to Ged, for his patience, hard work, and talent, without which we would never have made it. Many of us will now delight in telling our friends that we’ve sung at the Met. I won’t tell them it wasn’t New York if you won’t!
A Footnote from Ged
Thank you to all who supported me at me recent recital at the Metropolitan Cathedral, Liverpool. I felt honoured to be asked to play in this new series of Saturday recitals. Those of you Who have visited this cathedral will know that the building presents particular problems for musicians – the acoustics are quite a challenge. However, the four-manual organ is a magnificent instrument and I thoroughly enjoyed playing it.
Red Letter Day!
October 6th, the Feast Day of Saint Faith, Virgin and Martyr and, of course, the patroness of our church, has been marked at Saint Faith’s for many decades by a special act of worship. Many of us with long memories will recall splendid past Patronal events – but every year we look forward to a night to remember – and 2005 most certainly gave us that.
Almost certainly the most striking innovations this year made their impact visually. The placing of red filters (‘jellies’ in the theatrical trade) over some of the chancel floodlights gave a warm red glow which suffused the ‘holy end’ and quite literally made us see Saint Faith’s in a new light. The High Altar in particular looked marvellous.
innovation was the banners: two splendid (borrowed) hangings
in red, gold and white, one with the Holy Spirit as a dove; the other
as tongues of fire. Hung on the screen they provided a powerful,
colourful and moving frame for the glowing sanctuary beyond. The
website pictures should give you an impression.
As ever, the church was beautifully decorated with flowers and candles, and, as the body of the nave filled with worshippers from near and far, we were ready for a seemingly endless procession to wend its way to nave altar chancel and choir stalls. The ranks were swollen by a positive plethora of visiting priests (Anglican, Methodist and Roman Catholic): they brought the total to (I think) some 60 robed participants.
The music was magnificent: especially the sonorous strains of Louis Vierne’s Messe Solonelle. The sermon was memorably delivered by Fr Philip North, Priest Administrator of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, and the Prayers of the People were led by Fr High of the Manchester House of the Premonstratensian monks – which order staffs the Abbey of Conques.
After the High Mass came at last to an end, wine and hot and cold food to the usual sumptuous standard was served in the Parish Hall, punctuated by an appeal to someone (clearly not a poorly-paid cleric) to move their BMW, which was presenting lesser motors from leaving. All that remained was to give thanks for a quite splendid celebration. And to reflect on the variety of worship, ritual and music we enjoy at Saint Faith’s – from the great celebrations like that one, via the week-by-week gatherings of our family of Faith, to the developing series of lively services for young people. All have in common the desire to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness, and for that we can only offer thanks and praise.
Struggling . . .
to find the perfect present this Christmas?
Here are some novel ideas from Christian Aid
A can of worms……
A life saving net….
Seeds of hope…….
A latrine for life……..
Which of your family and friends could possibly want these? No, perhaps not, but someone in the developing world would benefit greatly from a gift such as one of these. PRESENT AID is an idea that is catching on fast: you choose a present for a loved one, they get a card and the actual gift goes to someone who needs help in the developing world.
A can of worms is a godsend for poor farmers in Bolivia, for the worms produce nutrient rich compost that rejuvenates the soil.
A life saving net would protect one of the million children affected by malaria each year. Malaria kills 1.5 million people each year.
Seeds of hope bring the chance to farmers in Cambodia to grow enough to feed their families with extra to sell.
Popular poultry - a loan of guinea fowl soon breeds, producing protein packed eggs for hungry families in Mozambique. Each family can sell or barter the eggs , buy paper or pens for their children's education , and return the original loan to help a new family all over again.
A latrine for life can drastically reduce life-threatening diseases like diarrhoea in Nicaragua.
If you want the perfect present, pick up a Christian Aid catalogue from the back of church. You’ll be able to find gifts today that last beyond tomorrow - for those who really need them.
P.S. Many thanks to all who helped to raise a combined total from the United Benefice of £432 for the Christian Aid Harvest Appeal for Bangladesh.
For the Diary…
Sunday October 30th - ALL SAINTS SUNDAY
11.00 am SOLEMN EUCHARIST
Preacher: The Rev. Alan Brooks (S. John’s, Waterloo)
Tuesday November 2nd - ALL SOULS DAY
9.30 am Requiem Mass
8.00 pm SUNG EUCHARIST OF REQUIEM
by candlelight, to which all those who have been bereaved are invited. Please make a special effort to be present to show our care and concern for those in our community who have lost loved ones in the past year.
Sunday 13th November - Remembrance Sunday
11.00 am Sung Requiem Mass with Act of Remembrance
Sunday 20th November – THE FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING
11.00 am SOLEMN EUCHARIST
Saturday 26th November 10.00 am – 12 noon
Young People’s Activity and Craft Day in the Church Hall
Sunday 27th November - ADVENT SUNDAY
6.00 pm Churches Together Advent Carol Service in S. Faith’s
BRING ALONG A TOY PLEASE!
At the 11am All-age Family Eucharist on Sunday 4th December there will be the usual offering of toys. Please bring along a new toy (unwrapped). These are given to Sefton CHOICES to distribute to needy families at Christmas. All toys given will be taken to St. Nicholas’s, Blundellsands on Monday 12th December to be distributed.
A Matter of Fundamentals
Fr Dennis has passed on an interesting piece from The Times headlined ‘Catholic Church no longer swears by truth of the Bible’. It reports that the R.C. hierarchy has published a teaching document instructing the faithful that some parts of the Bible are not actually true. The bishops ‘are warning their five million worshippers, as well as any others drawn to the study of the scriptures (could mean us?) that they should not expect “total accuracy” from the Bible.’
The reporter, Ruth Gledhill, sees this in the context of the rise of the Religious Right, especially in the USA. The report makes it clear that the Genesis creation story cannot be regarded as historical, and emphasises that in this, and in many other areas of scripture, the Church must offer the gospel in ways ‘appropriate to changing times, intelligible and attractive to our contemporaries.’
As Gledhill says, Rome has come a long way since the 17th century, when it condemned Galileo as a heretic for trying to introduce the Copernican view of the solar system. ‘Only a century ago,’ she reminds us, Pope Pius X condemned Modernist Catholic scholars who adapted historical-critical methods to biblical study.’
The bishops condemn fundamentalism for its ‘intransigent intolerance’ and warn of ‘significant dangers’ in a fundamentalist approach. ‘Such an approach is dangerous,’
they declare, ‘when people of one nation or group see in the Bible a mandate for their own superiority, and even consider themselves permitted by the Bible to use violence against others.’
They condemn the use of biblical texts as a justification for anti-Semitism, and have problems with the apocalyptical prophecies of the Book of Revelation. ‘We should not expect to discover in this book details about the end of the world, about how many will be saved and about when the end will come,’ they say.
The new teaching marks the 40th anniversary of ‘Dei Verbum’, the Second Vatican Council document explaining the place of Scripture in revelation. ‘We have rediscovered the Bible as a precious treasure, both ancient and ever new.’
Those inclined to regard the Church of Rome as monolithic and incapable of change will welcome this report. Its condemnation of fundamentalism and its relatively flexible approach to biblical study will strike a sympathetic chord with many main-stream Anglicans, even if to some it may seem a case of ‘better late than never…’
Thanks and Praise
St. Faith’s Day is always a very special day in the life of this parish and this year’s celebration was no exception. A tremendous amount of work went on behind the scenes in preparation: in the church and in the hall, in Image Press, with cleaning, flower arranging, serving, singing, cooking (in church hall, and in people’s kitchens at home too!), and from the comments and letters received the festival was undoubtedly enjoyed by many – near and far. It was the best-attended St. Faith’s Day for several years. In these times when morale can be low because of falling attendances nationally it was certainly heartening to see a full church. Running out of orders of service when 200 have been printed is a nice problem! Such a joyous celebration wouldn’t have been possible without the team-work and loyal dedication of so many. That is something to thank and praise God for.
Coo! Fancy that!
An occasional non-religious item from the PC Watch Monitor
‘A hospital has banned visitors from ‘cooing’ over new-born babies to protect their dignity and parents’ right to confidentiality.’
Thus The Daily Telegraph recently. Apparently a Halifax hospital issues visitors with cards, purporting to come from a baby, asking visitors to treat his or her personal space with consideration. ‘I deserve to be left undisturbed and protected against unwanted public view’, it states.
One mother understandably brands the idea as ludicrous. ‘If people did not ask me about my baby I would be offended. I imagine all new mums feel that way.’
But the hospital’s neo-natal manager has the last, politically correct word. ‘Cooing should be a thing of the past because these are little people with the same rights as you or me.’
Hidden Treasures in Maghull
Hidden away in a leafy corner of the churchyard of St Andrew’s Parish Church in Maghull, yet only a few yards from the traffic roaring along Northway, are two very different places to treasure.
The Ancient Chapel of Maghull is the oldest place of worship still in use anywhere n Merseyside and West Lancashire. It is usually open to visitors just three times a year, and worshipped in scarcely more often. It dates from the time of the Domesday Book, when Maghull was a small and impoverished marshland settlement.
Its early history is obscure, as are its origins, the name of Maghull itself, and the reason for its lack of any known dedication. Possibly a chapel of ease for Halsall Church, and originally part of the Diocese of Litchfield, before Chester Diocese was created, and later still our own Liverpool Diocese, it contains a mixture of ancient features, which pose more questions than they answer.
Various additions and alterations were made down the centuries, until the coming of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, which runs nearby, opened up the area and brought about an extension, in 1830, more or less doubling the size of the Chapel. By 1869 Maghull had become a Parish in its own right, the Chapel was too small and inconvenient, and in 1880 Bishop Ryle consecrated the new church nearby – actually the first Church to be consecrated in the newly-formed Liverpool Diocese.
In due course the various extensions to the old building were demolished, and it reverted to its mediaeval size and form, although with a new porch. Apart from a temporary use as a mortuary during a virulent flu epidemic, little use was made of the building in the next century, until some 30 or so years ago, when it was rescued from the attention of local vandals, cleaned up and made secure.
Following a talk on the chequered and still uncertain history of the Chapel, we were lucky enough to be able to attend said Evensong in the Chapel. The cadences of the Book of Common Prayer were entirely appropriate to this lovely, ancient and peaceful building, and sent us on our way rejoicing.
And the other treasure? A few feet from the door is the grave of Frank Hornby, M.P and resident of Maghull. Those old enough to remember Binns Road, Liverpool 13,
Meccano, Dinky Toys and, of course, Hornby trains, will, as this writer, see this grave also as a shrine in its own right. Cleaned up and renovated by the Hornby Collectors Society, it stands as a memorial to a man whose marvellous toys, models and kits enthralled generations of both young and old and whose grave, like the Chapel in whose ancient shadow it lies, is part of the hidden history of Lancashire.
Can You Believe It…?
A Christian charity is sending a film about the Christmas story to every primary school in Britain after hearing of a young boy who asked his teacher why Mary and Joseph named their baby after a swear word. The head of the charity said: ‘There are over 12 million children in the UK and only 756,000 of them go to church regularly. That leaves a staggering number who are probably not receiving basic Christian teaching.’
From the writings of Dr Edward Norman, former Chancellor of York Minster, a reflection for …
The Feast of All Saints
Who is a saint? The complexity of our natures makes none of us simply good or simply bad: we are the consequences of too many conditions over which we have no control. Each person is formed by genetic determination, infant experience, and acquired ideas. The definition of goodness or badness attached to particular modes of behaviour shows a high degree of relative judgement through time and culture. In one age a man is accounted good, for example, because he seeks the punishment of those who spread opinions regarded as erroneous or vicious by the prevailing culture; in another he is condemned for lack of liberalism or tolerance. We are determined in so many ways, and our minds are opened to alternatives in such an arbitrary and piecemeal fashion, that it must sometimes seem hopeless to try to isolate definitions of authentic goodness. Modern knowledge has exposed the nuts and bolts of the human psyche; the decay of an agreed basis for ethic value has robbed us of certainties about the estimates we should make of our own conduct.
But sanctity is not actually about goodness - at least in the ordinary sense society now understands. The saint is the one who tries to transcend his nature. Thus sanctity begins with self-awareness and, in a universally fallen creation, that means awareness of sin. That is why the teaching of Jesus began with a call to repentance. No one can be recognized as a Christian, least of all a saint, who does not regularly confess sin and ask forgiveness. While in the world, however, we continue to be conditioned by our natures, and the attempts at sanctity will be partial. Saints may be people who are not capable of overall goodness, but whose lives in one or more dimensions of spirituality achieve insight and a expression. To the eyes of the world they may seem unpromising candidates for holiness. Jesus was censured in his day for consorting with sinners, some of whom, in responding to his call, became truly saints.
Doubtless in many things their lives remained unreconstructed, and to the conventional their spiritual aspirations must have seemed negligible. But not to God. It still shocks people today to be told that Jesus loves child molesters and murderers; and criminals may even achieve sanctity if in other dimensions of their nature they seek submission to the will of God and amend their lives. Those whom the Lord calls to spiritual awareness are not transformed in the whole of their humanity: The corruption in their natures endures; it is their attempts at personal transcendence which furnish the materials of the spiritual life. Who is a saint? Saints are people like us, people who try to see God. Any simple goodness we acquire in the process is merely a by-product.
to St Faith`s Home Page