The Parish Magazine of St Faith`s Church, Great Crosby
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Newslink October 1998
From the Clergy: October 1998
October is always a very special month in the life of St Faith‘s. October 6th is the day of our Patronal Festival, at which we give thanks to God for the life of Saint Faith, our patron. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church tells us that Faith was martyred around 287 A.D. at Agen in Aquitaine, under Maximian Hercules and the procurator Dacian. Dulcidus, the 5th century bishop of Agen, translated her relics to a basilica which he built in honour of St Faith and St Capraius. Many miracles were believed to have taken place at her shrine. Her relics were eventually taken to the Abbey of Conques, which became a famous place of pilgrimage. Her cult was very popular in the Middle Ages, and many churches were dedicated to her — among them was the church of Farrington Ward Within, London, which was pulled down in 1240 to make room for the choir of St Paul‘s Cathedral, a chapel of which was dedicated to St Faith. There is now a St Faith‘s Chapel in the crypt of St Paul‘s.
We will be celebrating St Faith‘s day in the usual way, with a High Mass at 8.00 pm on October the 6th. The preacher will be Father Myles Davis, Vicar of St Anne‘s Stanley. Myles is well-known to many of us — he is one of the many St Faith‘s ?old boys‘ whose vocations to the priesthood were nurtured here — and several of whom will be preaching over the next 2 years. Then on the following Sunday (October 11th) we will continue our celebrations with the Feast of the Dedication. The preacher at the 10.30 am Eucharist will be the Revd Chris Jones our Area Dean. Then to complete our celebrations there will be a service of Festal Evensong at 6.00 pm.
At these special services we give thanks to God, not only for St
our patron, but also for the Christian community in which we are set: a
community full of richness and diversity, but
a common journey of
faith. The first thing Jesus did when he began his ministry was to create a community. He called people, not to isolation or individualism, but into a community. As members of St Faith we are part of that extraordinary mixture of saints and sinners who make up the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. At St Faith‘stide we give thanks to God for our membership of this church, mindful of the contribution and lasting influence of past worshippers who have shaped and sustained its traditions.
One distinctive theme of the Dedication Service is its celebration of the church building. Preachers sometimes play down the significance of the building, preferring to talk only of the church as the people. Of course, it is true that ?the church is the people‘, but if we appreciate fully the implications of the Incarnation, we must surely value places where God‘s presence is sought, and where he chooses to make himself known. Holy places have always been important to the pilgrim people of God. It is right, therefore, that we give thanks to God for the lovely building we have inherited and for the carefully thought-out liturgy performed within its walls.
We are indeed fortunate in enjoying a combination of a fine building and a liturgy which allows us to worship, not only with our mind, but with all of our senses. Light, colour, music, movement, incense — all these serve to focus our thoughts and heighten our awareness of the God who transcends time and space. Although there is a sense in which liturgy may rightly disturb and uproot, on the whole it needs to follow a sufficiently familiar pattern for people to be set free from thinking about what to say or do next, so that they can pray the liturgy and be absorbed by it. There needs to be a shape and structure to provide security. So let us thank God for St Faith our Patron, for this community of faith, past and present, and for our lovely building. And may our thankfulness lead us into deeper discipleship, to fuller and richer prayer and worship, to more effective witness and service among friends and neighbours, to being a more positive Christian presence in society.
HOLY BAPTISM — 30 August
Georgia Boughey, daughter of Gillian and Keith
Erin Taylor-Levey, daughter of Caroline and Dean
Laura Godfrey, daughter of Allison and Barry
Katie Winsor, daughter of Ruth and Mark
Readers may have been lucky enough to see a recent BBC2 documentary
in the `QED‘ series, in which Jean Price from our congregation featured
prominently (and most professionally!). She has been persuaded to tell
something of the story behind the programme over the coming months.
Had anyone asked me a couple of years ago what were my chances of appearing in a top-line BBC-TV series, the answer would undoubtedly have been, `Nil!‘ Why anyone so obscure and decidedly un-famous should find herself in this position may have been a matter of wonder to the many people who have spoken to me about the programme — even though they have been too polite to say so!
To follow the series of events which led to this surprising conclusion we need to travel back in time for more than seventy years.
First of all, let us look at an article which appeared in the `Sunday Telegraph Review‘ of September 1996. The headline, `The Mystery of Mr. Poe : solving the riddle 150 years later‘, attracted my attention and I read on. The article was about the possibility of solving the problem of mysterious deaths by examining the DNA of exhumed tissue, but what really caught my attention was a short paragraph near the end of the article.
`For decades scientists have been baffled by the cause of encophalitis lethargica, the bizarre coma-like condition into which thousands descended around the end of the First World War. ... Now attempts are being made to test samples taken from long-dead victims to see if the genetic fingerprint of any known virus can be found within them.‘
As it was clear that the writer (Science Editor Robert Matthews) believed that all the victims were dead, it occured to me that I would write to him about my brother, Philip, then seventy six years old, a survivor of the 1920`s epidemic, but suffering from extensive, irreversible brain-damage and having lived in mental hospitals since the age of twelve.
To my surprise, on 5th October I had a call from Robert Matthews, asking permission to give my name to someone who was researching encophalitis lethargica. In due course I had a call from Professor John Oxford of the Virology Department of the Royal London Hospital. I agreed to send him some material about Philip and to follow this up by a visit to London some time. (The `material‘ comprised childhood photographs, some more than seventy years old, and two little home-made books, one containing Philip‘s own stories and poems and the othr some musical notation.)
Eventually, Prof. Oxford contacted me again and it was arranged for me to visit him at the Virology Departtment on 18 December. He had been to Birmingham to see Philip on the 17th. My husband, John and I had a most interesting time, meeting Prof. Oxford and some of his research students. He talked to me alone for an hour or two, then allowed the students to ask their questions. They were all eager to know anything I could tell them about Philip. After that, we were taken to see the Pathology Museum, where they house their especial treasures: the skeletons of the Elephant Man and the Tallest Man in the World.
Prof. Oxford, a `flu expert, is interested in the possibility that EL epidemics, which have seemed to follow major ‘flu epidemics, may be connected in some way with ?flu. He explained that the virus which causes EL is unknown: its origin is a mystery and so it its disappearance. No recognised treatment exists.
While there, I was asked if I would be willing to take part in a TV programme about EL, probably with the BBC. I had no hesitation about agreeing, partly because I would like to help Prof. Oxford in any way I could — the publicity might bring more data to light and might produce cash for research — and also because of the interest of doing such a thing.
We corresponded a little and in March Prof. Oxford rang asking permission to give my name to ?a woman who wanted to do a series on ”Sleep".‘ This proved to be Kate O‘Driscoll of `Twenty Twenty‘. She arranged for me to go to Rochdale, where I was interviewed in the Mayor‘s Parlour, sitting on a kind of red velvet throne. Alas! this all ended on the cutting-room floor as the circumstances of Philip‘s illness didn‘t fit the requirements of their series.
As nothing had been heard of any BBC interest, I was surprised to have a call and visit in April from Andrew Cohen of ?Tomorrow‘s World‘. He talked about a possible programme, but no more was heard for some months. By that time I had decided (if I thought about it at all) that the idea had been dropped. Then suddenly, the whole thing came to life again. In December 1997 Dr Emma Walker, a `QED‘ producer, came to visit me. It was agreed that my part of the programme would be filmed early in the New Year.
In the meantime, so much interest had been generated by my brother‘s story, that the Birmingham press had become anxious to report it. On 9 December, I was asked by the Birmingham Evening Mail to give an interview. As photographs were required, the interview had to be done in the St Luke‘s Teachers‘ RE Centre, where I was on duty at the required time. The ?story‘ was taken up by most of the nationals and reported more or less inaccurately. On the day it appeared in the `Times‘, believe me, I really did feel I had arrived! As a result of this press interest, a number of long-lost friends and distant relatives contacted me.
Things were alo moving on the TV front. A visit from Dr Walker was followed by the arrival of the entire QED recording team the next day, Dr Walker and Samantha, her personal assistant, and the camera-crew, Clive, Ash and Steve. From 8.30 am to 7.15 pm they took over our house. Everything was moved — including my husband, who took refuge in the study upstairs most of the day — but all was returned to normal by evening, and apart from the mysterious disappearance of my blotter, it was as if they had never been.
The rest of my contribution to the programme took place in Birmingham on 28th January. From 9.00 am until 2.00 pm we were working on New Street Station. About ten times up and down the steps — never to be used! Ditto along the platform and in and out of trains — fortunately I was not transported to the north of Scotland against my will! The rest of the day was spent at the hospital with my brother, that being the most difficult part of the exercise.
If this gets past the editor, the next exciting instalment will
the making of the programme and the aftermath. (Can‘t wait! Ed.)
We recently announced the impending ordination of Russell Perry, a
friend of St Faith‘s. This will be taking place as this issue appears,
on Sunday 27th September 27th at 10.30 am in Carlisle Cathedral. Please
rmember Russell in your prayesr as he prepares to serve as a
assistant in Grasmere.
Last month we printed `Memories of Forty Years‘ by Margaret Dixon (née Goodwin), prompted by her return for the May 24th Celebrations. This month we feature her reminiscences of her father‘s years of service at St Faith‘s, as a timely tribute to a man whose memory is cherished amongst us and who set the standard that succeeding generations of the servants of the sanctuary at St Faith‘s have tried to emulate.
Dad became St Faith‘s Sacristan in 1966, taking over the role from Gerry Laybourne. He was responsible for the care of the sacristy, the preparation of the vestments, chalices and other vessels on the altar, candles and books and making sure everything was ready for the service.
Every Friday night or Saturday morning he and I went round to the Church for about an hour to get everything ready for the Sunday services. The candles were trimmed and changed, and as nearly every candle-stick is a different size, this required melting or packing out candles to make them fit. The silver was polished, wafers counted into the ciborium and wafer box so that the number of communicants could accurately be recorded, and the flagons filled with wine. The vestments were prepared ready for the service and copes or other special garments made ready. This was his weekly ritual for nearly 20 years, but was never a chore for him as he loved the ?work‘ and the small contribution he could make to St Faith‘s and to the Glory of God.
For the first ten years he was also in charge of the servers, and prepared the rotas and trained all the servers for their special roles. Although women were not allowed to be servers unil the late 1970s/early ?80s, I was in the privileged position of attending the training sessions for all new servers. I know that he looked forward to the day when I would be able to serve alongside him but unfortunately as I was away at college soon after women servers were officially allowed this did not happen on too many occasions. In the training of each person he stressed the importance of the individual and their role within the ritual but he also instilled into everyone the need for precision and the importance of watching your partners and if they made a mistake doing the same thing so that it did not look wrong. It is probably similar to the ball boys and girls at Wimbledon: they are doing their job well if no one notices them or any mistakes, and Dad prided himself on being able to spot fainting servers, get them out and replace them without anyone noticing!
Every Sunday he was there to help the servers and give them a word of encouragement or a wink or nod as a signal to move. He always carried extra books, purificators and matches in case anything went wrong and this earned him the title of ?belt and braces‘, from the late Canon Owen Yandell, of Sefton Church for whom he used to serve at 8 am on the second Sunday each month.
At the main Sunday services, he had an uncanny knack of being able to look at the congregation and gauge the number of communicnts just by looking at them. Quite often he was spot on and was quite upset if he was more than five out. On the few occasions that he tried to count the expected number who would receive communion he was usually more than 20 out. He never really knew how he did it himself, but always said that he ?counted the legs and divided by two‘.
I know that he is remembered by very many members of the present congregation with affection, and from the few times that I have been able to attend the church I know that the work that he did with the servers is still in evidence in the present generation. And he would have been very touched by the sentiments expressed by Bishop Runcie on his recent visit to St Faith‘s with whom he had served as a youngster. Dad was very proud to be asked to serve for Lord Runcie when he was Archbishop of Canterbury when he visited the church in March 1982.
During his last illness, Dad received a `Get Well‘ card drawn by Eric Salisbury, which I still keep close to my desk, and in this it depicts the clergy, and servers being unsure of what to do next, without Dad being there to remind them (see this month‘s front page! Ed.). Well I know that did not happen but I do know that his memory for what happened at special services was missed after he died; but I hope his philosophy of every server having an important part to play within the ritual still continues today and will still be evident in future generations.
My father was passionate in his love for St Faith‘s, the people and
the traditions and it was always his wish to be laid to rest within the
church itself and I know that he would love to know that this was
and that his ashes were placed in the south aisle in August 1986, from
where he can still keep an eye on the servers and clergy on high masses
and the special occasions that he loved so much.
The latest news and notices from the Centenary front ...
THE TALENTS SCHEME
It is very good to be able to report that we have reached our long-term target of £14,000 ahead of expectations. This has been due to boosts from the Open Churches Trust, who have funded our Open Days and the associated literature, from the Inland Revenue, who have paid back tax on a number of individual donations of £250 and over, and not least from all those who have made things, bought things, put on entertainments and supported events. With the target achieved, we shall be considering winding the scheme up before too long, while we plan our financial strategy for the coming months.
The eagerly awaited publication of this splendid compendium of recipes provided by members and friends of St Faith‘s is almost upon us, and may be happening when this issue of Newslink appears. Edited by Mary Crooke, produced by Chris Price and Lillie Wilmot and illustrated by Eric Salisbury, it contains no fewer than 100 recipes and sells for just £2.50. Postal readers may get their copy by writing to the editor, and thus becoming vicarious members of the St Faith‘s Gastronomical Society; `locals‘ will of course be queueing to buy one at St Faith‘s!
VOTIVE CANDLE STAND and STAINED GLASS WINDOW
The appearance of the first and equally long-awaited artefact has been delayed by the unfortunate illness of the man making it: but we have been promised it in the near future and look forward to lighting a candle (or twenty) at the Patronal Festival. Prolonged and tortuous investigations have brought the prospect of one or more `new‘ windows for St Faith‘s a bit nearer, and we await an imminent report and ideas from the Diocesan Expert.
THAT VIDEO ...
... is also more or less ready. Denis Griffiths and the writer have been having an absorbing time at Merchant Taylors‘ putting together various parts of the footage both by the BBC and by the two aforementioned amateurs on May 24th. The full original footage came to more than five hours, and we have trimmed it down to an hour and three quarters. The result still has some of the rough-and-ready features of the BBC‘s filming (which was intended for excerpting not continuous showing, and is full of wanderings around and ?hosepiping‘ of cameras) but we think it makes an interesting and worthwhile record of events before, during and after the May 24th service, together with the scene and the speeches at the Merchant Taylors‘ lunch — and if you were there there‘s a fair chance you will spot yourself at some stage, and not only if you were in vestments! More details pretty soon.
COMING EVENTS and ASSORTED ITEMS
Last month‘s events diary highlighted future Centenary happenings. One that has now been ?firmed up‘ is the service and concert in aid of Woodlands Hospice, to take place in church on November 15th, and will probably feature Choral Evensong accompanied by the St Luke‘s Ensemble, followed by a concert and refreshment. More details next month, but keep the date clear.
We are also considering replacing the decayed and damaged outside
board with a new and smarter one. The PCC will consider ideas for such
a scheme soon: we are conscious of the poor impression made by the lack
of a board at present. Meanwhile the Centenary Mugs remain on sale, as
does this writer‘s book of St Faith‘s poems, and completed kneelers are
beginning to appear scattered around the pews! By the time this issue
the Centenary Committee will have taken up the reins again and begun to
make plans for the next phase of activities, services and events.
of every kind: ideas, committee membership (and even money!) remain
Thanks to all at St Faith‘s for your prayers for my sister, Yvonne Bower, who died in July after a short illness. This poem was written by her eighteen-year-old daughter, Jessica, who read it at her mother‘s funeral.
My mother is a beautiful passion flower
She lets the sun shine on every inch of paetl.
She is fragile yet strong:
She is magical yet real,
And every part of her is love.
She will always be here, never gone.
She will always laugh and cry with us all.
Even though we might feel lost
Or feel that something is missing,
She is here to cut away the harsh edges of our tears.
For she will always be forever
Living and breathing in our hearts.
Parry‘s Pastoral Contact!
Jackie Parry, as readers will know, is busy training to be a Reader and is about to begin her final year. She writes to say that, as part of her preparations, she will not be around at St Faith‘s as much over the next few months. However, she will be keeping in touch with church in her role as Pastoral Contact, and asks people not to hesitate to contact her at home (on 920 0726) if they have any queries or concerns, and she will do her best to help.
Brownie & Rainbow
Sue Walsh (Snowyowl)
St Faith‘s Brownies have had a very busy year so far. We would like
to start by thanking those who have given up their time to attend some
of our meetings and asissted in badge work, enabling our Brownies to
several new badges.
JANUARY. We had our annual visit to the Civic Hall to see `Snow White‘ wonderfully performed by the Dorians. We all had a great evening.
FEBRUARY. With the help and expertise of Fr Christopher we spent some weks on a Faith Awareness badge. This included a visit to church and behind the scenes, a quiz/questionnaire and regular church parade attendance.
MARCH. Grace Walsh and Catherine Hockney were invited to the pine-woods with the Rangers, together with Brownies from throughout the area. They were shown how to obtain seeds from fallen cones and plant them. Catherine Hockney‘s nan has successfully grown 30 fir trees which will be returned to the pinewoods. The idea is for each of the Brownies and Rainbows to plant a tree towards the target of 1 million for the millenium.
APRIL. We visited Crosby Fire Station, which our Brownies found really exciting and interesting: this was part of our `Safety in the Home‘ badge.
MAY. We held a quiz night in the church hall to help pay for Christmas presents for each Brownie plus tickets for next January‘s pantomime.
JUNE. Thanks to Mrs Owen and Mr R.Moore for their valuable asistance. Some older Brownies gained their First Aid badge and we had a lot of fun when Mr Moore brought his First Aid dummy into the hall to show the girls.
JULY. We took part in a sponsored assault course at the Blundellsands Key Park, which raised £199.20 and earned Venture badges. Brownies and Rainbows have each purchased a kneeler for church. Mrs McCardle attended some meetings and helped Brownies cross-stitch their kneeler. This will be included as part of the Needlework badge. Mrs McFadean will help with the Rainbows kneeler. The Brownies also raffled a food hamper with donated food items. Thanks to all who bought tickets — we raised £50 for the St Faith‘s Talents Scheme. The hamper was won by Mrs Duggan of Lawton Road (one of our Brownie mums).
On Monday September 7th we recommenced Brownies and Rainbows after the long summer break. We welcomed eight new Brownies who have moved up from Rainbows. Good luck to you all.
A Modern Benedicite
O ye badgers and hedge-hogs, bless the Lord,
O ye badgers and squirrels and ferrets and foxes and hedge-hogs,
bless the Lord,
O ye parakeets and pelicans and porcupines and penguins,
guillemots and guinea pigs and gallinules and godwits
and badgers and hedge-hogs,
bless the Lord,
O ye weasels and warthogs and wallabies and wombats,
chip munks and chuckawallas and kook-a-burras and caterpillars
and badgers and hedge-hogs,
bless the Lord.
O you fathers and mothers and grannies and grandads,
now bless the Lord,
brothers and sisters, nephew and nieces,
uncles and aunts and all kith and kin,
bless the Lord.
Daughters and sons, and cousins and in-laws,
Aunt Aggie‘s twins, and all kith and kin, bless the Lord.
O you fathers and mothers and grannies and grandads -
grannies and grandads - grannies and grandads,
BLESS THE LORD.
Odds and Ends
BIT OF A BIND
One Sunday recently at the Methodist and United Reformed Church, Buckingham, the preacher took ?the Love of God‘ as his theme. After an oblique introduction, he asked the children: ?What is it that holds us together?‘ Young voice from the front row: ?Skin‘.
OUT OF THE MOUTHS...
At another church, a Sunday School teacher was telling her kindergarten children about the Golden Rule. ?Remember,‘ she said ?we are here to help others.‘
Then what are the others here for?‘ a little girl asked.
CHURCH BULLETIN BLOOMER
Low Self-Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday from 6 to 8.30 pm.
Please use the back door.
THE EURO-BIRTHDAY CARD
Under new regulations, the Imperial Standard Birthday Card has been replaced with a Simplified Euro-Greeting:
Merry enjoymenting of a non-specific ongoing sequential annual event or events which relate specifically to that event known hereafter as ?the event‘ of birth, inasmuch as a specific time or instant of time shall be attributed to the event in question, being wholly or in part the event under discussion, to wit and pertaining to the non-specific event to which it has alrady been certified, that contains a time reference appropriate to the yearly period which it is desirous to refer to as the event as specified above in all its exactitude and finite detail apropos the intended date reference and celebrating time.‘
(The editor thanks all those who supply occasional snippets for this feature, and would warmly welcome a continuing supply)
Few who visit the great Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool probably
the connection between the mother church of our diocese and the founder
of St Faith‘s. This extract from Peter Kennerley‘s
The Building of Liverpool Cathedral? tells something of the story of
tensions surrounding the planning of the reredos at the cathedral.
visitors for cathedral worship, used to its power and dignity, and its
proper emphasis on the centrality of the Eucharist, may not be aware of
the suspicion and hostility directed in the early years of the century
towards the Anglo-Catholic movement and those who, like Horsfall,
and supported it. The reference below to ?diocesan politics‘ refers to
the bitter churchmanship battles in Liverpool (and elsewhere): the
starts in 1906 ...
?Several years earlier, diocesan politics almost caused a major upset in the plans for the Chancel. The actual planning of many of the main features was years ahead of the building process, and the negotiations surrounding one feature provoked the most unfortunate violent hostilities within the diocese. Mr H Douglas Horsfall (spelled incorrectly as ?Horsefall‘ in the book!) was a member of the original Cathedral Committee. Autocratic in manner, and a very rich man, he was generous in his gifts to the Church — he had been personally responsible for the building of St Agnes Church in Ullet Road, one of the foremost Anglo-Catholic churches in the diocese. He was a man used to having his own way.
His giving was always specific:”`that money must be used to further the interests and extend the teaching of what we may term the Catholic party in the Church of England•. Mr Horsfall did not make any donation to the general building fund, but was anxious to donate £5,000 for the provision of the reredos. His letter to the Bishop reveals something of his character and mode of operation.
”Had there been no one to consider but myself, I should have liked to have put a great crucifix with the simple legend Sic Deus dilexit mundum. But this I recognised as impossible, and should be content with a pictorial representation of the scene of the crucifixion and if this is declined, I am quite content to believe that the money which I had destined for the glory of God `in a holy and beautiful house‘ is required by him for another purpose, and that good will come out of what I could not but regard as a serious evil. For it will indeed be a serious matter and have far-reaching effects if such an offering is declined.•
The threatening tone of these words is unmistakable. Sir William Forwood, for one, felt considerable animosity towards both Horsfall and his plans: ”I think he must have known that the Reredos he wished would not be acceptable and the new offer would place us in a difficulty and therefore I cannot feel kindly disposed towards him•.
In a letter to Mr Bodley, who had been approached by Horsfall, Bishop Chavasse described the potential donor as ”a good and devout man•, but as Bishop he was clear in his mind that the acceptance of such a gift would be deeply offensive to some members of the Church:
”The Diocese has put a trust in me of which I am unworthy. Men of all schools of thought have subscribed to the Cathedral on the definite understanding that, as Bishop, I should allow nothing to be introduced into the building which can offend reasonable churchmen. If, when they enter the Choir, the prominent object upon which their eyes rest is a large Crucifix, if when they come to Holy Communion the prominent figure before which they kneel is that of our Lord upon the Cross, they will think not unnaturally that they have been betrayed. From the very first I have publicly stated that the new Cathedral will not be used as a Propaganda for any one particular set of Church views: and when it was known that a good and devout man like Mr Douglas Horsfall declined to give any subscription to the fabric of the Cathedral and desired only to present the Reredos, a certain amount of feeling was created in the Diocese and outside it. Mr Horsfall is a most munificent churchman, but ... he declines to subscribe to any Diocesan object in order that he may concentrate his generous gifts on promoting in the Diocese what he calls ?the Catholic Revival‘.•
All the correspondence from the Bishop, Bodley and Forwood indicates
their wish for compromise. The Bishop was anxious that, among other
the Reredos would feature the risen
Christ more strongly than the dead
Christ. He felt able to accept a crucified Christ along with other scenes from his earthly ministry, but the letters from Douglas Horsfall indicate that he was not looking for compromise. He was demanding a simple answer — positive or negative — to his offer, and was unwilling to enter into any negotiation. When no simple response was given, he threatened to put the whole matter in the hands of the press: and this he proceeded to do. The ensuing article in the Church Times of the 23rd March 1906, under the heading ”A Generous Offer Refused•, becomes an open attack on the Bishop by a highly partisan correspondent:
”Such discourtesy and bungling would appear to be incredible. Unhappily, they are significant of much which has happened recently in the Diocese ... . A prominent member of the Evangelical section said the other week in my hearing, ?Law is not administered in the Liverpool Diocese; it is manufactured‘.•
The Church Times correspondent seemed determined to present the idea that the Church in Liverpool, High and Low, was suffering at the hands of an intolerant autocrat. The writer reveals his scorn not only for the Bishop, but for the Evangelicals:
”The Protestant party which the Bishop emphatically calls ?some of our best churchpeople‘ are not likely to be appeased by the suggested change from Crucifixion to Ascension. They detest the idea of a Reredos. That they should be considered in this way, puny minority as they are, to the extent of slighting a Churchman who has shown his devotedness repeatedly and munificently is symptomatic of much which has happened recently.•
The whole affair reveals something of the bitterness which existed
within the Church of England, to say nothing of the strength of
between Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches. Friendly working
did exist at the top between such men as Canon Major Lester and
James Nugent, but at the grassroots in general there was little love
between Catholic and Protestant in Liverpool during the first decades
the century. As in other dealings in the diocese, the Bishop was able
steer a middle course. The Horsfall Reredos was never carved, but
work on the chancel went ahead.•
On holiday in August, when visiting a friend in Devon who retired as
a parish priest some years ago, I was given by him a copy of a poem by
Rudyard Kipling which I had never come across before. My friend was
taken by the poem and I can see why. It provides a most unusual and
perspective on the challenges, responsibilities and opportunities
to Christ‘s followers both in this and in every generation.
He that hath a Gospel
To loose upon Mankind,
Though he serve it utterly —
Body, soul and mind —
Though he go to Calvary
Daily for its pain —
It is His Disciple
Shall make his labour vain
He that hath a Gospel
For all earth to own—-
Though he etch it on the steel,
Or carve it on the stone—-
Not to be misdoubted
Through the after-days —
It is His Disciple
Shall read it many ways.
It is His Disciple
(Ere those bones are dust)
Who shall change the Charter,
Who shall split the Trust —
Rationalise the Claim;
Preaching that the Master
Would have done the same.
It is His Disciple
Who shall tell us how
Much the Master would have scrapped
Had he lived till now—-
What he would have modified
Of what he said before
It is His Disciple
Shall do this — and more ....
He that hath a Gospel
Whereby Heaven is won
(Carpenter or cameleer
Or Maya‘s dreaming son),
Many swords shall pierce Him,
Mingling blood with gall;
But His Own Disciple
Shall wound Him worst of all!
God on Strike?
It‘s just a good thing God above
Has never gone on strike,
Because he wasn‘t treated fair,
For things he didn‘t like.
If he had ever once sat down
And say ?That‘s it — I‘m through!
I‘ve had enough of those on earth,
So this is what I‘ll do:
I‘ll give my orders to the sun,
Cut off your heat supply,
And to the moon — no more light,
And run the oceans dry;
The just to make it really tough,
I‘ll put the pressure on,
I‘ll turn off air and oxygen,
Till every breath is gone.?
Tai Chi Denis Whalley
Each dawn in China you will see people in parks and other public open spaces performing curious exercises similar to those illustrated below. Read on to learn more about what is becoming one of the most popular forms of fitness training in the world today.
Tai chi is many things to different people. The beautiful, controlled and yet freely flowing movements have for centuries inspired folk from all walks of life, of all ages and levels of fitness. Vitality, relaxation, tranquility, enhanced personal creativity and a sense of purpose — these are just some of tai chi‘s enduring gifts to the world. Many people believe that they are relaxed and yet they have never known what it feels like to be relaxed in their body, let alone their mind. This interference through tension and stress with the body‘s natural healing process is one of the great misfortunes of our times.
The term `tai chi‘ refers not merely to a system of physical exercise. It is also a very effective martial art and in recent times there has been a huge resurgence of interest in the original principles of energy flow which underlie tai chi and exploring once again its healing qualities. The term comes from the ancient Chinese philosophy of Taoism. `Tai‘ means ?the way‘, ?the path‘ — a universal concept, implying conscious thought and participation. `Chi‘ can be translated as ?vital energy‘ or as the word `ultimate‘ — a powerful life-force - while ?tai‘ simply means ?great‘. In classical Chinese literature such as I Ching, sections of which date back to the twelfth century BC, we are told of the state of harmony that exists in all nature — and this is called The Tai Chi and is often pictured as a symbol called T‘u. This is sometimes also called the `double-fish‘ diagram. What we have here is a circle, divided equally into a light and a dark sector. These are called the `Yang‘ and the `Yin‘ respectively. The division is a graceful curve suggesting movement and the interplay of opposites. Light (Yang) changes into darkness (Yin) and then back into light again. The eye, or seed, or each opposite located deep within each sector, indicates still further the possibilities of change and transformation.
You can probably think of other examples of Yang and Yin in the world around you: day and night; summer and winter; the positive and negative forces of electricity; advancing and retreating by a boxer. All of this is tai chi in action and the interplay of opposites. When this is reflected in physical movement, the result is the exercise system known as Tai Chi Chuan.
The special arrangement of movements is collectively called a ?form‘. The form is made up of lots of separate movements which are eventually strung together to produce one continuous sequence lasting several minutes. The movements are always done in the same order, like the components of a specially choreographed dance. The wonderful thing about tai chi is that most of the separate movements have a Yang and Yin aspect.
There have been, and still are, many different kinds of tai chi, the origins going back very far indeed and, inevitably, cloaked in share of mystery and legend. huang Ti, the Yellow Emperor of China, was said to have practised special exercises for maintaining health, based on the observations of animals, as long ago as 2700 BC. Around the 13th century, these exercises joined forces with the martial arts and were practised by the Zen Buddhist monks.
One story of the development of tai chi tells of the ?founder‘ of the art, Chang San-feng, a Taoist priest. Legend has it that he had a vivid dream in which he saw a crane and a snake engaged in combat over a morsel of food. Neither creature could overcome the other. Each time the snake attempted to sink his fangs into the crane, the bird would gracefully side-step and enfold his opponent in its powerful wing and sweep it away. As the crane tried to crush the snake or pierce it with its sharp beak, the reptile would recoil and twist, launching a counter-attack of its own. The beauty and grace of this contest impressed Chang greatly. The Yang and Yin imagery here is very powerful.
A student in a tai chi class once asked his teacher `How long does it take to learn?‘. The reply was, `Well, how long have you got?‘, implying that, in a sense, you never really reach the end of the learning process. There are no short cuts or fast results with tai chi. It takes around six months to learn the form adequately and then a lifetime to master it. As you learn, it is essential to practise every day for around ten minutes, adding newly learned movements each time. Then, once you have learned the form, you still keep on working at it every day. Ultimately, you will be spending at least 15-20 minutes daily on your tai chi studies, since these might eventually also include some reading, meditation and breathing exercises.
What are the benefits? Numerous independent studies have proved the enormous benefits that tai chi can bring in terms of good health, recovery from illness and the strengthening of the immune system. Of course, we all know that exercise helps us to keep fit and therefore to stay well, because exercise helps to maintain the heart and lungs and so improve the circulation. Tai chi, however, goes far beyond this, since it enhances the health and performance of all the organs and systems of the body. It also works on a deep emotional level as well and helps us to cope with stress.
All this takes time to cultivate. But here are some of the benefits that should come to you fairly soon, providing you really do practise every day. You will start to notice an overall improvement in balance after just a few weeks, so that you will feel stronger and firmer on your feet. You will become more relaxed, especially after doing the form; more aware and content. Your circulation will improve, your joints become more mobile and, as long as you take care of yourself, your overall state of health will strengthen.
Where, when and how? The following will help you to gain maximum benefit from your practise. Mornings and evenings are best. Fresh air is preferable to indoors and if you can be amongst trees and/or close to water then all the better. Never practise when tired or too soon after eating. Always warm up first. Practise in loose, comfortable, clean clothing.
You will need a good teacher: someone who can demonstrate movements,
correct your form and perhaps even impart to you some of the spirit of
tai chi itself. Where will you find such a person? In many cultures
wisdom and faith still prevail, there is a saying to the effect that
the pupil is ready the teacher will appear. Be open to that idea. It is
a very profound one, and you will soon find that it is not without
I am grateful to the following:
* Teach Yourself Tai Chi by Robert Parry, Hodder &
* The Tai Chi Manual also by Robert Parry, Piatkus.
* The Complete Book of Tai Chi Chuan, Wong Kiew Kit, Element.
* My instructor, Kam Lau, who each week patiently teaches and corrects me.
God‘s Love transcends all space,
Outshines the brightest star
Embraces all the Human Race,
Guides planets near and far.
God‘s love extends through time,
Years pass and still they come,
His patience illuminates mine,
Ever present, all forgiving: Divine.
God‘s love, we can all reach,
His way, to us, is shown,
Jesus, his son, did preach
Of love, greater than we‘ve known.
God‘s love is hope re-born,
Old dreams again made new,
Heaven comes with each new dawn,
God‘s Love abides in you.
This poem, although written some twenty or so years ago by a relatively unknown poet named C John Taylor, still has obvious relevance today, as the author describes God‘s love simply, truthfully and with feeling.
There are many different ways to love and be loved. It is a strange emotion that can completely turn your world upside down. Romantic love can change a normally rational, human being, into a soppy daydreamer, with thoughts constantly occupied with the person of his or her desire; and yet it can also cause pain when that love is not returned.
Throughout the centuries people have been intrigued with love, and the idea of being ?in love‘. Thousands of writers world-wide have earned their living out of writing love stories; singers constantly sing of falling in and out of love. Even the Bible has a whole book, the Songs of Songs, dedicated to love. In fact, the word love is mentioned no fewer than 704 times in the Bible, and that doesn‘t include similar meaning words, such as affection and desire.
There are many ways to love — the romantic love referred to in novels, the deeper caring love of a husband and wife; the protective love we have for our children and families, and theirs in return; the caring love of a close friend. St Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians (1Cor.13:4-8) describes love beautifully. He writes Love is patient and kind, it is not jealous or conceited or proud, love is not illuminated or selfish or irritable, love does not keep a record of wrongs; love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up, and its faith, hope and patience never fail. Love is eternal.‘
But is love like this? Is if forgiving and eternal? Do we give our best to others in the name of love? Or do we turn our back and walk away? Love can cause problems, especially when love of oneself takes over everything else. One of the faults of today‘s fast-moving, hi-tech society is ?self importance‘. With freedom of choice comes freedom to indulge in our own self interest and seclusion. With computer technology we need never leave our homes and speak in person to another human being.
Are people today becoming so engrossed in their own little secluded world that they have forgotten that there is a living, breathing, beautiful world outside their door? People need to communicate and interact with one anothr, whether it is in the workplace, or by meeting friends. But are they becoming so busy and engrossed in their own self interest? Are they too busy to care about others? This is not really a new problem, even for our technological age. We need only be reminded of the parable of the Good Samaritan to realise that self-interest is simply a human failing, and has been for a long time! The answer, simply, is Love - God‘s love in particular.
In Mark 12:28-35 we hear about a lawyer asking Jesus what, in his opinion, was the most important Commandment. Jesus answers ?Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord, love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength,? and ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.?
The lawyer is impressed with this answer, which is not surprising as
this Commandment forms the first part of the Jewish prayer, the Shema,
which was, and still is, recited every morning and evening and is
to be of the utmost importance to the Jewish people. It is a reminder
them of the importance of wholehearted devotion to God, and of knowing,
obeying and teaching God‘s Commandments. When the lawyer agrees with
saying that this is far better than any burnt offerings or
Jesus tells him that
he is not far from the Kingdom of God — whether Jesus means that the Kingdom is already present, ie through Jesus himself, or that the lawyer recognises the sovereignty of God, can only be guessed at. Fortunately nowadays, Christians are not obliged to make burnt offerings. We realise that God is the focus of life. As Christians, we are living examples of God‘s love. Every good deed we do, every kind word we say, every time we forgive those who hurt us, are all evidence of the presence and love of God. God is love, so when we live in love, the Christian way, we live in God; and he lives in us.
The commandment `Love your neighbour as yourself‘ implies that it is alright to like yourself, that is, to have self-respect. Respect for oneself leads to respect for others, with no distinction between friend and enemy, rich and poor, old and young. Everyone should be served in Christ‘s name, following the example set by Jesus in his own ministry. The principle of self-giving love and service to others, whatever their race or religion, is also the service of God and of his love. We see evidence of God‘s love every day; in the beautiful countryside, the great expanse of the oceans, music, the laughter of children, kindness and thoughtfulness that is shown to another. Love is the one common element that is not racist, or prejudiced. It is the key element of joining people together. Love is a gift from God and shared by all.
A couple of months ago I attended an Agape mass with a few friends. Although it was primarily Roman Catholic, the congregation consisted of people from many different Christian denominations. Prayers were said throughout the service, both for individuals and problems the world over. Small groups of people prayed, hand in hand, in one corner of the church and hymns were sung, many of which I hadn‘t heard before. But what really touched me was when the whole congregation, over 400 people, all joined hands together and sang the Lord‘s Prayer. The feeling of love and unity was overwhelming. We then all shared the Lord‘s Supper. Again there was no segregation and no prejudice, just one common factor - that of the sharing of God‘s Love.
The Christian faith is at its best and most effective when we allow the simplicity of Jesus‘ words to `love God ... and your neighbour as yourself‘ to take over. it is not always as easy as it sounds. It takes commitment and discipline. But stand firm in the faith and the knowledge that, as long as we do everything in love, then God‘s love will always be with us.
`God‘s love abides in YOU‘. Amen.