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The Parish Magazine
of Saint Faith's Church, Great Crosby

Saint Faith’s Prayer for Mission

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  

Dear friends,

 During the summer a number of people I know attended some different types of religious gathering, in particular the Greenbelt Festival held in Cheltenham and the Youth Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.  I have never attended either event but the people I know came back full of joy and excitement for what they had been a part of. Pictures in the Church Times showed upwards of 10,000 people enjoying themselves in alternative forms of worship. Speaking about last year’s Greenbelt Festival someone wrote:

 We come from ordinary Christian communities and from none, from being joined to worshipping families where the presence of God is regularly obscured, from places where artistic appreciation is confined to hymnody and flower arranging. We have a hunch there is more to it than this, that where two or three are gathered we can become more than the sum of our parts, maybe even a sign of another kingdom. For many of us, Greenbelt has been a kind of epiphany – an earthy sacrament, a rocking religion, an unruly faith in an untamed God, Spirit of wonder and compassion, celebrated with noise and passion, argument and laughter.

 Stories of the Youth Pilgrimage at Walsingham include a Mass of the Incarnation held for 1,000 youngsters in a tent with music provided by a nationally acclaimed worship band. A crib was built into the Altar in the tent and the presiding Bishop told the congregation that “we are celebrating Christmas without all the rubbish getting in the way!” What a great idea! Perhaps it is one we should adopt at S. Faith’s? Let’s have Christmas in the Autumn - without the decorations and vulgar amount of money spent on food and presents, to say nothing of the accompanying loneliness for those who live on their own.

 Both events, it seems to me, seek to engage people in what really matters and to find a way of expressing that which is real and relevant. Both events are about a search for truth and reality, a longing for God amidst a world which seems to want to point away from Him.

This month we celebrate our patron saint – S. Faith. The saints weren’t people who had an academic relationship with God, they had a living relationship with Him. Their lives were about a constant search for truth and reality, and in the case of the martyrs, ultimately sacrificing their own lives for the sake of truth rather than to be conformed to the selfishness, greed and power-crazy way of the world. Yes, in their own way the saints of centuries ago sought a way of life with God which was real and rooted completely in love of Him, just a people seek to do today in many different ways.

 One clear lesson to learn from a Patronal Festival is that we must have a relationship with God which is real. There is a difference between knowing about Jesus, and knowing Jesus. We can come very close to the story; we can perhaps know it off by heart; we can have all the pictures in our minds; we can even say the words of our prayers. But unless we know Him, then we are not connecting or connected to Him.

Exactly 1700 years ago a young girl accepted death rather than compromise her faith in her Lord. Her faith was so strong - faithfulness to the teachings of her Lord came first. It is unlikely we will ever be called to make the same sacrifice. But we have to ask, where does God come on our list of priorities? That young girl, whom we now know as Saint Faith was indeed worthy of that name, Faith. Faith was not just her name – it was her life. Could that be said of us? What impression will our Christian lives make on our generation? What, if anything at all, are we handing on to future generations by our witness? Saint Faith and indeed all the saints remind us of our ultimate destiny where one day, pray God, we will rejoice “with angels, and archangels and the whole company of heaven” in the ceaseless praise and worship of almighty God.

 Let us thank God for such events as the Walsingham Youth Pilgrimage and Greenbelt Festival and for all the many new fresh opportunities and expressions of the Christian Faith which are emerging today. Ultimately it doesn’t matter what route we take, the end of the journey is the same. What matters is that we have the courage to embark on the journey.

 With my love and prayers always

 Father Neil

God of holiness,
your glory is proclaimed afresh in every age:
as we rejoice in the faith of your saints,
inspire us to follow their example
with boldness and joy;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Saint Faith’s-tide Celebrations

 Wednesday 5th October        


 “Holy Hour in preparation for the Feast”

[Please come to all or part of this devotion as you wish]

 9pm                         Liturgy of Readings, prayers and meditation before the

                                Blessed Sacrament led by Fr. Derek Hyett

9.30pm                    Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament

9.45pm                    Compline

 Thursday 6th October            


 7.00am                    Office of Readings

7.30am                    Holy Eucharist (said)

9.00am                    Morning Prayer

5.00pm                    Evening Prayer

8.00pm   Solemn Concelebrated Mass

                                Preacher: Fr. Philip North, Administrator of the

                        Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham   followed by buffet supper

 Saturday 8th October: “A Night at the Opera” 


Sarah Helsby-Hughes - Mezzo Soprano

Neil Kelley – Piano

 Songs and arias from the world of Grand Opera and Operetta by

Bizet, Puccini, Gounod, Mozart, Lehar, Johann Strauss and Bernstein.

 Tickets: £7.50 (concessions £5) to include a glass of champagne

Sarah was born in Liverpool, England and studied at the Birmingham Conservatoire of Music with Pamela Cook MBE, Paul Farrington, and latterly with Barbara Roebotham of the RNCM. Since graduation, Sarah has appeared for many opera companies in the UK and beyond, including  Mid-Wales Opera,  Leicester Opera,  Carl Rosa Opera, Lyric Opera Dublin, the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, Opera Ireland,  Pavilion Opera, Midlands Arts Centre, City of Birmingham Touring Opera and Opera Minora (Amsterdam). Sarah is a founder member of Opera Bites, a small company presenting staged costumed opera excerpts, and Double Divas with soprano Andrea Ryder Smith, presenting operatic entertainment for corporate events and private parties. She made her Italian debut in July 2005, singing Wagner's Wesendonck Leider in Florence.

Sunday 9th October   


 11.00am          High Mass     

                                Preacher: Fr. Richard Knowling (S. Alphege, Edmonton &  S. Matthew, Ponders End, London)

6.00pm                    Festal Evensong, Procession and Solemn Te Deum

                                followed by a meeting in the Vicarage for Walsingham Pilgrims

 Friday 14th October

 7.30am Mass for pilgrims for the beginning of the United Benefice pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.


‘We’re doomed, I tell you…’

Chris Price

We are used to gloomy articles in the papers telling us how bad things are for the churches, followed by ecclesiastical spin doctors saying it’s really not so bad at all. Food for thought, then, in Jonathan Petre’s Daily Telegraph piece recently.  He reports the dire picture painted by a recent report, but then quotes Bishop Nigel McCulloch (St Faith’s and Manchester!) agreeing with the report and its implications.

It’s called The Future of the Church and it predicts that by 2040 (well beyond this writer’s lifespan!) ‘Britain’s Churches will be well on the way to extinction, with just 2% of the population attending services.’ Islam will flourish, there will be twice as many in the mosque on Friday as in church two days later, and ‘the average age of Christian congregations will have risen to 64 as the young abandon the church-going habits of older generations in the face of growing secularisation.’

The picture is a grim prediction of a disestablished and demoralised C of E struggling against the rising tide of secularism. Faith schools will be become ‘multi-faith’ schools, Songs of Praise will be gone, Alpha courses abandoned (no comment. Ed!) and Christmas will be rebranded as ‘Winterval’. The lifestyle of Christians will be no longer distinctly different from the rest of society ‘except in small sect-like groups that have retreated from society’, says the report.

Bishop Nigel weighs in here, ‘It is no good Church leaders acting like company managers trying to present the statistics in the most favourable light,’ he says. The truth is stark. What these statistics need to do is to galvanise the Church into realising that it must communicate the gospel where people are or we will not deserve to have a Church.’ We spend too much energy on trivial task such as reforming synodical government or the liturgy, he goes on to say.  And the executive director of Christian research, who are behind the report, agrees. ‘The story is of how few young people are being attracted to church,’ he maintains. He backs the prediction that by 2040 only 35% in our nation will call themselves Christian, as against 72% in the 2001 census, while non-Christian religions will claim 15%, up from 6% of active worshippers.

All the mainstream denominations: C of E, R.C. and nonconformist alike, are suffering steady long-term decline, with only the non-white ethnic churches bucking the trend. So it’s not just us – but we knew that: and it’s cold comfort being in the same sinking ship with our assorted brethren in Christ.

This writer has read – and printed – many gloomy predictions of the church’s imminent demise: and of course historically the same thing happens regularly. It does not do to become too depressed – after all the church in general and the Anglican church in particular, have bounced back time after time in the past. What we must do, though, is to pick the bones out of such reports and chew them over. Congregations are shrinking. They are ageing. They are failing to attract young people. They have trouble maintaining their plant, let alone fulfilling their mission. We can certainly tick the first three boxes, although we do better on the last two. In the light of this, it is good that, partly due to the initiatives of the mission group and the liturgical talent of the clergy, we are becoming more proactive in the fields of family worship and youth activities. If the wind of the Spirit is blowing through the church, then probably many of the cobwebs have to be blown away with God’s new fresh air.

To cheer us up, the verses that follow offer much truth about how God’s people all too often behave – and also how they can, when all seems lost, transform and be transformed and start all over again.

 Ten Little Churchmen

Ten little churchmen went to church when fine;

Then it started raining, then there were nine.

Nine little churchmen stayed up late;

One overslept himself, then there were eight.

Eight little churchmen on the road to heaven;

One joined a rambling club, then there were seven.

Seven little churchmen heard of Sunday ‘flicks’;

One thought he’d like to go, then there were six.

Six little churchmen kept the place alive;

One bought a television, then there were five.

Five little churchmen seemed loyal to the core;

The vicar upset one of them, then there were four.

Four little churchmen argued heatedly

Over all the changes; then there were three.

Three little churchmen sang the service through;

Got a hymn they didn’t know, then there were two.

Two little churchmen disputed who should run

The next social evening; then there was one.


One faithful churchmen, knowing what to do,

Got a friend to go to church; then there were two.

Two sincere churchmen each brought in one more;

So their number doubled, then there were four.

Four sturdy churchmen simply couldn’t wait

Till they found four others; then there were eight.

Eight eager churchmen, at Communion every week,

Soon encouraged others, troubled souls to seek.

All the seats in church are filled: not a vacant pew;

O God, supply this grace and zeal in our own parish, too!

 Canadian, displayed outside St Pancras Church, London


 100 Club Winners for the summer!

                July                             August                        September

 1st           John Knight                          P & M Goodrich                   Pat Mackay

2nd         World of Flowers                 Mike Powell                          Leo Appleton

3rd          Rita Hedgecock                    Muriel Harrison                    Rosie Walker

4th          Pat Powell                              Joan Jones                            Iain Harvey

Congratulations! Remember – you’ve got to be in it to win it!


Happy 5th Birthday to the 100 Club!    

Miriam Jones

 Yes, in November it will be five years since the launch of the 100 Club here at St Faith’s. At a Finance Committee meeting in July of 2000, the idea was put forward and approved. I ‘volunteered’ to set it up with a bit of help, then run it – the rest, as they say, is history! It was hoped that it would give people a chance to win a little ‘sensible’ money (unlike the National Lottery), whilst making a bit of money for the church. In that time, there have been 240 winners, at a rate of four each month, who between them have won a total of almost £22,000, with the equivalent being raised for church funds!

 At first, it looked like I might not get the full 100 members required, but after several months, I had a waiting list! The numbers soon increased to over 170, and the prize fund grew, as did the church’s profits. More recently, numbers have dwindled a little, due to personal circumstances, and for the last few months the number of entries has settled at around 145. This still means winnings and profits totalling £725 per month!

 However, I am sure there are some of you reading this article who are not yet members! Why not join us? If you are a current member, why not take another number and increase your chances of winning? Are there any members of your family who would like to receive a cheque from the church? Now is a good time to join…

 Why?  To celebrate the 100 club’s fifth birthday draw taking place on November 6th, there will be a little non-cash extra for the four winners.

 How?  Just contact me for a Standing Order form (details below). This will be for just £5 per month for each entry, and will be debited to your account on the 20th of each month for the following month’s draw, ie. payment made on 20th October will be for the 6th November draw. Remember, more than one entry per person is allowed and I can provide you with a Standing Order form for any multiple of £5! If you prefer, you can pay for 6 or 12 months in advance.

 When? Straightaway, if you want a chance to win that little extra something in November, otherwise – anytime!

 I would like to ask any previous winners to send me any (printable) stories of how their prize money has been spent! Has it enabled you to go for a meal in that expensive restaurant you wouldn’t usually splash out on? Have you been able to buy something for a loved one? Have you spent a proportion of it and Gift Aided the remainder back to church? Let me know your story, and it can be printed in this magazine to inspire those who are thinking about joining! For example, when my brother won, he used his winnings to pay for his fare to Tresco in the Scilly Isles to take part in a marathon in which he, in turn, raised money for Cystic Fibrosis. So, St Faith’s 100 Club can have far reaching benefits!

 You can contact me as follows:

Telephone:  01744 889938


Address:     7 Longwood Close, Rainford, St Helens, WA11 7QJ

 Don’t forget, you’ve got to be in it to win it! (I coined that phrase before Dale Winton started using it for the national lottery!)

‘Chaplaincy Role Joy for Reverend’!

This choice headline (papers never know how to refer to priests!) in a recent ‘Crosby Herald’ reports the good news that Denise McDougall, ordinand from St Faith’s and NSM at Christ Church, Waterloo, has been appointed chaplain at the Academy of St Francis of Assisi in Liverpool.

 The academy is a new school and a joint foundation of the Anglican and Roman Catholic Dioceses: it is the first secondary school in the UK to have the environment and its sustainability as its specialism.

 ‘The Rev McDougall (there they go again!) will provide spiritual and personal support to the academy’s staff and pupils.

 As we go to press, Denise reports that she is finding her new role exciting and challenging – she promises to tell us more about it in due course. Meanwhile, all at St Faith’s who remember her with affection send their loving congratulations for her new work and witness.

 Holiday Churches

 Whilst on holiday in Anglesey this summer we visited four churches, three of which we had not seen before.

 The first was the church of St Maelog in the village of Llanfaelog, where there was a Flower Festival and Craft Fair. On Friday 8th July we visited the Flower Festival and Craft Fair when the church was full of colour. This is a church that was recently reordered to a design by architect Adam Voelcker.  It is carpeted throughout and has the most comfortable chairs that we have ever found in a church, but more important than that is the warmth with which we have been greeted every time that we have attended Sunday Eucharist there. There is a stained glass window by art student Tiffany Tate, a previous member of the church choir, and nave altar and other woodwork with its “Tree of Life” theme made by local craftsman Colin Pearce.

 We were able to join the congregation on Sunday for their VE/VJ Day celebration and thanksgiving service of readings, hymns and songs at which a wreath was laid on the war memorial by a member of the British Legion.  It is the only time that we have ever joined in the singing of  “There’ll be blue birds over the white cliffs of Dover” and “We’ll meet again” in church.

 After lunch we went to find St Cwyfan, “The Church in the Sea”. This 12th century church once stood on a cliff of clay overlooking the sea but attached to the mainland.  Eventually the sea eroded the cliff and a sea wall had to be built around the church to save it. Now the church is at times surrounded by the sea and can only be reached at low tide along a causeway.  Services are held in the church two or three times in the summer especially on Sea Sunday. To reach the church there is a walk of about a mile from a locked gateway.

 Later in the holiday we went to visit St Gwenllwyfo’s Church at Llysdulas, which is open on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons during July and August and is well worth a visit.   There was an ancient church dedicated to St Gwen near Llysdulas, but when William Lewis Hughes, who had inherited the Parys Mountain copper fortune from his parents, retired from Parliament, he was made Lord Dinorben. He set about improving his mansion and estate of Llysdulas and hoped to build a new church of St Gwen’s.

 He died and his young wife Lady Dinorben made a donation of nearly £1,000 so that the church could be built. Their daughter, Miss Gwen Gertrude Hughes, laid the foundation stone in 1854 and the church was opened in 1856. Miss Hughes married Sir Arundel Neave, an ancestor of Airey Neave MP and it was another ancestor Sir Thomas Neave who was a collector of artwork, who originally owned the stained glass that can be seen in the church today.

 When Protestants took over Roman Catholic churches on the continent they removed and sold glass which they considered theologically unsound. One buyer was a German cloth merchant named Hampp who settled in Norwich and traded with Flanders. The source of many of the glass panels in St Gwenllwyfo’s church  was a Carthusian Monastery in Louvain in Belgium.  Sir Thomas left a quantity of glass to his great grandson Sir Arundel and it was some of this glass that was donated to the church in 1877 to be mounted inside the existing windows to preserve it from the weather

 There are examples of this glass in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Burrell collection in Glasgow, in Washington U.S.A and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the U.S.A.  The curator of the Metropolitan Museum commented “The best two places in the world to see Neave Flemish glass are the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and Llanwellwyfo church in Europe.”

The “Adoration of the Magi” is depicted in the bottom left hand corner of the East window. By the Middle Ages these had become the three kings. The Virgin Mary has the typical oval face and downcast eyes to show her modesty, that can be seen in Flemish Art of the 15th and 16th centuries.

 The top panel of this window depicts the raising of Lazarus and to emphasise that he had been buried for four days a man on the right is holding a kerchief to his nose. This is very common in Flemish paintings of this scene.

 The bottom panel shows the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law

 The top panel of this window shows Mary suckling the infant Jesus. She is a symbol of the Mother Church which feeds the growing Christ in our souls. She stands on the moon which represents the Old Testament, behind her is an aura of sunlight representing the New Testament. It is by the light of the New Testament that the Old Testament can be understood.

 In the bottom panel there is a very rare depiction of Jesus wearing a straw hat.   He was mistaken for a gardener by Mary Magdalen. The priests of the Vatican in the early 16th century felt that to be believable to simple people in a hot country Jesus needed to be depicted with a straw hat. This glass was made in Malines about 1522 like many of the other panels. There are 27 of these ancient glass panels displayed in the church.

 We then went to see St Eilian’s Church Llaneilian. This is one of the most ancient churches on the Island of Anglesey.   The present building dates from the 12th and 15th centuries. It has an unusual square tower with a pyramidal-shaped spire.   

 The interior of the church is noted for its rood screen featuring a skeleton and wood carvings of saints and musicians. The motto written on the blade of the scythe held by the skeleton is “The sting of death is sin.”

Audrey & Chris Dawson


From the Registers

 Holy Baptism

7 August               Scarlett Ilse Sperling, daughter of Roland and Sandra

Callum Edward Smith, son of Paul and Leanne

David Samuel Trodden-Harrison,  son of Sean and Susan

25 August             Eleanor Elizabeth Roberts,  daughter of Simon and Jane

Holy Matrimony

13 August             Robert Radford and Tracey King


23 August             Ina Corkhill

25 August             John Goodwin


The Walsingham Children’s Pilgrimage

Fr. Neil

 This has been running for a few years now and caters for children aged 7 – 11. I am delighted to say that those who work with our young people in St. Mary’s Waterloo are keen to take some people on this Children’s Pilgrimage next year and will be organising a coach for this event which is the first weekend in April, 2006. If you have children or grandchildren this age, and you think they may be interested in going, please speak to me. It is my hope that interested families may have the opportunity to come to the Vicarage on S. Faith’s Day [when we will have the Administrator of Walsingham here as our guest preacher] and learn a little from Fr. Philip about what is involved. Why should it just be the older people who have the opportunity to go to these places and enjoy themselves? Funding is available for any who would like their children to go but would find the cost prohibitive. Watch this space!!

The Jospice Donkey Derby

Saturday 24 September on the playing fields of Great Crosby RC Primary School

The Northern Road, Crosby. From 1 p.m.

Donkey rides . Bouncy Castle . Barbecue . Teddy Tombola . Children’s Games

To sponsor a race or own a donkey in a race contact Jospice on 932 6026/5

John Goodwin R.I.P.

Fr Dennis

 On Thursday 25th August a large congregation of family, friends, neighbours, colleagues, local tradesmen, Rotarians, Round Table members and other mourners gathered in St Faith’s to share in the funeral service of thanksgiving for John’s life.

 In his earlier years John had been much involved in the life and worship of St Faith’s and, with his brother Michael and uncle George, formed part of the large band of servers, the ranks of whom, as a callow youth, I was privileged to join in the summer of 1963.

 John’s greatest and most valuable contribution to the church came in the enormous amount of time, commitment, energy and enthusiasm he poured into the uniformed organisations – initially the scout troop and, later, as Akela and leader of a very popular and thriving wolf cub pack.

 His professional expertise as a competent and reliable local electrician of high repute was also put to good effect in St Faith’s over many years. Not least was the very efficient microphone system he installed in the 1960s, which was still being used into the new millennium. 

 In the face of the very serious kidney disorder sustained in his later years, John showed exemplary fortitude, good humour and patience. He was a devoted son to his mother, ‘Queenie’, especially in her widowed years, and will be greatly missed by many, particularly his beloved wife Dianne, and their sons Daniel and Benjamin. To all the Goodwin family who, over the years, have given so much to St Faith’s, we offer our thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences. May John rest in God’s peace and be raised in His glory.

More news from the Counting House

The Treasurer, David Jones, writes …


 A big “thank you” is due to all those of you who returned your amended standing orders.  The old bank accounts closed at the end of July and our new bankers, Lloyds TSB, worked very hard to ensure a smooth changeover.  We are particularly grateful to those who felt able to increase their giving; so far, this has realised an additional £100+ per month.

 If anyone would like to take out a monthly standing order (it’s a much easier way to give to the church!), please ask me for a form.  Gift Aid forms, too, are available.


 The new blue Gift Aid envelopes are proving to be increasingly popular and were widely used at the Saturday Recitals.  Over £600 has been given in that way in only two months – that means that the Inland Revenue will give the church an extra £168.  That must be good news! Some people, however, have kindly put money in the envelope but not completed their details on the front.  We can only claim the tax back if your name, address and signature are filled in.  Thank you.


We are delighted to report that income from this season’s Saturday Recitals netted £1,746.  Although this is extremely welcome, we must not lose sight of the principal benefits, namely listening to some wonderful music and enjoying good fellowship. Again, a big “thank you” must go to the team of performers, planners, organisers and caterers for a thoroughly enjoyable series.

 The Table Sales have also provided a new and much needed source of income - £1400 so far.  Our thanks again go to the team of helpers for all their hard work.

All-Year-Round Recitals

We have had many requests for more concerts to continue  St Faith’s musical tradition and so we are currently planning a new series of four or five Saturday Recitals to run through the winter months before our 2006 Summer Series begin again on Saturday, 22 April.  Details will be announced in time for the Patronal Festival but they will follow a similar format to the Summer Series, beginning at 12 noon and lasting for about 40 minutes.

 As always, there are likely to be some new performers next season and any suggestions for new names would be welcome.  The season will continue every Saturday until the grand finale on Saturday, 26 August (the Bank Holiday weekend) when we will be treated to the now traditional Kelley/Callacher piano duet.

 e have a small, but incredibly hard-working team who set up and dismantle tables and chairs, provide catering and help with administration each week but we could do with some more helpers.  The more people on the rota, the easier it becomes.

 If you would like to help, please contact Fr Neil, Margaret Davies, Miriam Jones, Chris Price or David Jones.


 As an ‘outsider’, so to speak, I made a request to Fr Neil to include in his prayers my grand-nephew Thomas Craven, aged 14 who, together with his family are members of Leyland Road Methodist Church in Southport.

 Tom was to undergo heart surgery in connection with an ongoing condition from when he was only a few months old. I was, as were his parents and older brother, naturally very concerned. I understand that prayers were offered both at St Faith’s and St Mary’s, a gesture which we as a family very much appreciate.

 Tom, I’m very pleased to report, has made a remarkably speedy recovery. Even the hospital were amazed, discharging him only a week after the operation, on the understanding that he eases up on his beloved sports, at least for the time being. In the meantime, he’s looking forward to returning to school in September – apparently he would only agree to hospitalisation as long as it didn’t interfere with his school term!

 Our sincere thanks to all at both Churches for including Tom in your prayers and thoughts.

Brian Williams and the Craven family in Southport


Fresh Thinking

Fr. Damian Feeney explores the report, ‘Mission-Shaped Church.’

 The role of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the Mission of the Church is a vital one.  Why should that be?  Mary is, quite simply, our model of mission.  Hers is a life lived in the intimate presence of Jesus; and, as the image of Our Lady of Walsingham shows, she draws her children to Christ as she presents Him to the world.  Like many pilgrims I am struck by the fact that Mary stopped at nothing to co-operate in God’s plan.  Our Mother placed her life at God’s disposal, and so he is able to meet us in Christ.  As the Church seeks new ways of enabling people to encounter Christ, so she mirrors more and more the response of Mary.

 Last year the Church received the report entitled Mission-Shaped Church.  As a member of the report’s Working Party it has been my privilege to travel around the country talking to Synods and other groups.  It’s been an enjoyable and thought-provoking process, as we seek to understand where God is leading us.

 Mission-Shaped Church has had a big impact.  It has been taken to heart by those who formulate mission strategy.  It has created an environment for discussion that would have been unthinkable a few years ago.  That is unsettling in a context dominated by discussions over the consecration of women, and others such debates.  The picture becomes confusing, and our response becomes less than enthusiastic.

 Such moments are capable of more than one interpretation.  They are either signs of decline, or they are a wake-up call, a Kairos moment in the life of the Church, where there is a need for reform if the Church is to reach out to new generations.  Anglican Catholicism is at such a crossroads.  This is a massive moment of opportunity for us in the Church of England – if we choose to take it, if we wait to see how the Church of England shapes in the next few years we stand to lose our voice completely.  So much effort is occupied by debates of women bishops and human sexuality that we are preoccupied, deflected from the call to evangelism which the local Church continues to have as its most pressing priority.

 Catholics have found much to praise – and criticise – in the report.  Language implying the kind of church we are is certainly present, and stimulates debate.  My anxiety is that we allow this to colour our view and lose sight of a great deal of important material. There is nothing wrong with a report that makes us re-visit our understanding of the Church.  If understanding is enriched, then we are better for it, regardless of our feelings about particular theological stances.  Church reports are incomplete and imperfect – part of a process whereby the Church seeks to discern God’s will.  They are never the last word, but stimulate debate as the church tests them in the light of scripture, tradition and reason.  That is good, especially when criticism is constructive rather than merely destructive.

 The history of Anglican Catholicism is a history of pioneers.  We revere the stories of priests such as Father Lowder, the founder of the Society of the Holy Cross.  Our Victoria forebears preached, taught, celebrated and lived the faith in a different context, and there is a need for us to re-visit our social context, as the Report seeks to do.   What of those who are prevented from going to Church because society seems to have lost sight of the need for Sabbath?  People work flexible hours, often on a Sunday: for some there is little choice.  We point to the daily Mass which is so very important in the lives of Catholic Christians – but can we be sure that this genuinely answers people’s needs? I’m not talking here about sacramental need, which is crucial, but the need for education and nurture. Nurture courses have begun to address this, but there is so much further to go.

 There remain those for whom the Church is an alienating experience.  Many cannot differentiate between Catholic, Liberal and Evangelical.  They are dimly aware of denominations, have seldom opened a Bible, and do not utter the name of Jesus Christ without blaspheming.  Moments of Church attendance are rare, and often uncomfortable.  Every Parish has experiences of visitors feeling bewildered in the context of liturgy.  I can recall visitors having to be asked not to smoke during Mass (when there was plenty of smoke at the other end of the Church!).  Culture and patterns of behaviour are still assumed when we can no longer afford to do so.

 Mission-Shaped Church raises important questions.  Catholic Christians need to ask these questions like anyone else.  How do we respond to those whose experience of church is alienating and negative?  How is Christ revealed to them?  These are not ‘fringe’ worshippers about whom we can make a few assumptions.  These souls are disconnected from the life of the Church.  Does the offering of a daily mass by itself enable us to be in touch with such people?

 The Eucharist is central to our lives.  Here, as nowhere else, we encounter the Lord Jesus and are transformed by him.  The Eucharist is also very much its own catechesis.  However, as we guide people towards the Eucharist we need a range of approaches to make that encounter real.  Persuading people to ‘come to Mass’ has a limited impact without the necessary preparation.  Perhaps this will be the true value of Mission-Shaped Church for Catholics – to help us question the approaches we offer for people to encounter Jesus, with the Sacraments at the very heart of the process.

 The sacramental life of the Church is as vital today as ever.  That is why it is essential that ‘Fresh Expressions’ of church see the sacraments as integral to the mission process, and not just as a bolt-on extra.  That will happen if Catholics are prepared to engage with Mission-Shaped Church.  There are examples of sacramental church planting in the Church of England – but they are few.

 Under God, we must raise up a new generation of pioneer priests and people who are prepared to be creative, to plant new churches and congregations, to respond to community need, to stop at nothing to convince people of the all-embracing love of God, who stopped at nothing to draw all people to him.  Neither should we.

Fr. Damian Feeney is Vicar of Woodplumpton St Anne and Assistant Diocesan Missioner in the Diocese of Blackburn

‘The Man for the Ministry’

Martin Jones’ fourth despatch from the front line

Hello everybody, on a scale of 1-9, I’m on 4!  The first academic year was completed in June and, as I write, things are starting to gear up to commence with the new term in September.

Although the term has finished, we have been left with plenty of assignments and tasks to keep us occupied over the summer months-I have made a mental note to book next year’s summer holiday after my assignments are completed and not before!  However, I have handed in my latest essay, ‘What is the ideology of Deuteronomy and what are its continuing effects on Judaism and Christianity.’ Yes, last term’s subject was the Old Testament and very interesting it was too.  I even managed to get Miriam and Mona sharing the experiences of Isaac and Rebecca by having them study my exegesis of Genesis 26:1-16, but I have spared them the Deuteronomy essay, although Miriam does proof-read all my work.

At the end of last term we witnessed the third year students being commended to their future parishes. This was an emotional experience for many, NOC life coming to an end, separation from fellow students and ordination only days away.  It was a simple service, with family and friends present but packed with a mixture of what lay ahead combined with what had been accomplished.

Looking back over the past year it has become clear that the process of formation has been and is taking place.  That in itself is quite incredible, I am not the person I was twelve months ago.  I think even reading my past end of term reports a difference can be perceived; I know that I can notice the change.  One such change - not so much a change but a development of something that was already present - is the flowering of my love for Christ.  It’s often said that when a human relationship ends, over a quarrel for instance, you didn’t realise what you had until it was no longer part of your life.  I had that same sort of feeling, not a loss of faith but a realisation of its intensity that had been previously unknown to me.  The feeling is difficult to describe, especially without appearing to be over sentimental, but I feel it, I carry it around with me and it makes me smile.

Looking ahead to next term, we will be studying alongside new members joining in September and also new members joining us as second year students who are only studying for two years instead of the standard three.  Along the way, some of our company are now following different paths, so things do change; in fact NOC is only the same for twelve months, as one year leaves, another joins.  

We start at Wakefield Police College; the immediate tasks for me will be to take part in a group presentation on Franciscan spirituality and to lead worship over the weekend, both of which I am preparing for now. For the year group as a whole we will be looking at the New Testament.  We begin with the Book of Revelation, a study that I will be sharing with Mona - well I did let her off with Deuteronomy.

Cheerio for now and God bless,


Waterloo Partnership News

Chris Price

By the time you read this, the busy autumn season for the Waterloo Partnership will be in full swing. First of all, on Tuesday September 20th, there was a special showing of the film of local writer Frank Cottrell Boyce’s book award-winning book ‘Millions’ at the Plaza cinema, which helped to raise funds for the project.

 By then also the plans and activity involved in getting together a sea-container full of goods large and small, ready to ship out to Sierra Leone in a month or two, will be further advanced. Fred and Linda Nye have been busy on the logistics front, gathering  in material and organising storage.  Various events and launchings are coming up fast!

 The Partnership website now has its own URL (Unique Resource Locator, or more simply easily identifiable address) – it is  On it you will find all you need to know about future plans – and a detailed ‘shopping list’ of the many and varied items we hope top gather in from friends and well-wishers in the weeks ahead, ready for shipping them out where the schools, churches and communities so desperately need them. You can offer itmes online, or alternatively speak to me, Kathy Zimak, Fred or Linda Nye.


St Faith in the Arctic….

A little book, published in 1950 (priced at two shillings!) by The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts,  supplied to me by Fr Dennis Smith,whose cover is reproduced above, tells a remarkable story. The St Faith’s of the title is in the Brandon Diocese of the Anglican Church in Canada, and it was there that Miss Marguerita Fowler came from England fairly early in the last century and founded the Canadian ‘Bishop’s Messengers’ to spread the gospel, and establish schools and missions over a very large area. Starting at Swan River Valley, then the northern limit of the main settled area, and a parish itself some 400 miles square, she and her workers extended their influence over the vast areas leading north to Hudson Bay.

The Mother House of this lay order (it seems never to have been monastic as such, although they wore distinctive clothing, created a Rule, recited daily offices and held retreats) became known as a true household of faith. "We called the house St. Faith's because we already had a vision of the work opening in many directions, and we realized we were out on "venture of faith",' Miss Fowler wrote in 1931. She and her helpers worked tirelessly in remote areas, both with white settlers and with the Siioux Indians, and established Sunday Schools and medical facilities.

She retired eventually to England where she died in 1970. An internet  search of the current Diocese shows no trace of St Faith’s name, the mother house having been renamed and its purpose changed, although the scattered mission outposts her team helped to set up exist today as staffed Anglican parishes. What also remains is a plaque in Brandon Cathedral, recorded on its website. It reads

To the Glory of God
and in memory of Margeurita (sic) D. Fowler O.B.E.
Founder of Bishop’s Messengers of St Faith’s 1928,
Born 1884 –Died 1970.

It was placed there, according to the Cathedral, ‘on Feb. 26, 1973 in honor of a great pioneer lady whose vision and fervent dedication to a calling has furnished the people of Swan River and surrounding areas with a unique experience in courage, Christian love and charity.’

The little book (apparently quite a rarity) tells the story of this indomitable Anglican lady. She chose our patron’s name for its meaning rather than its story, but her life and work add a very real lustre  to the long story of  Saint Faith and all those associated with her down the centuries.

…and down in the Jungle!

The ubiquitous Google internet search engine throws up some intriguing oddities. The St Faith’s Token, illustrated above, is a rare South African coin, whose origins seem to be obscure, but which is recorded on numismatic websites. Here is what one such site says:

‘Some rare South African tokens from the Umzimkulu region: St Faith's Token.
The first St Faith's token "discovered" by a numismatist (Scott Balson) – as recorded in Dr Theron's 1980 book on South African tokens. Not much is known about these tokens but there is a Roman Catholic Mission, if you dare cross a real scary old timber bridge over a deep gorge in the St Faith's, Umtentweni, district East of Ixopo. Up to date, three or four St Faith's tokens have been found - the value of this token being about R3750,000 and although this token is rare, it can still be purchased today.’

More than this I have been unable so far to discover, having drawn a blank on Umtentweni and its ‘real scary old timber bridge’. Another website reckons the St Faith’s 6d token to be actually unique, and values it at $3,000. It would be interesting to discover more about the Mission, its connection with our patron and the origin and use of these tokens.

 Chris Price



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