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 Newslink                 October 1999

From the Clergy

While many of us think of the Saints as examples of virtuous and godly living this hardly does justice to the Biblical insight, that in our pilgrimage through this world we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witness. Sanctity is not so much about hero-worship, as about accessibility. The Saints are the men and women of every age in whose lives we glimpse heaven in our midst. They are our partners in prayer.

That is an extract from the introduction to The Promise of His Glory, an excellent and authorized book of services for our Church of England, first published in 1991. It is followed by a short poem by Richard Baxter, the evangelical pastor (1615-91)

 Before the throne we daily meet
 As joint petitioners to thee;
 In spirit each the other greet,
 And shall again each other see.

These two passages well sum up what is meant in the Apostles` Creed, by the phrase The Communion of Saints. That clause, included in both the Creeds we use at Morning and Evening Prayer, is one which we can surely all say joyfully and whole-heartedly and fervently. The Communion of Saints consists of all the people down the ages, and including our own times, who have loved and served God, who have tried to follow and obey the commandments of God, and have tried to love and serve their neighbours, whoever those neighbours might be.

For some this has been at great cost, at the cost of life itself in many cases. These we call the martyrs such is our patron, St Faith, whose feast we honour on Wednesday 6 October. We are not all called to be martyrs, but we are all called to love and to serve. So it is indeed, that the Communion of Saints consists dare we say? of us also, of you and of me. We are all pilgrims, on our way to the Kingdom, we hope and pray and strive; a great company of people of all races and all types and all ages surrounded  by a great cloud of witnesses  (Hebrews 12:1)  that is,  the saints in heaven who look down and cheer us on, like a crowd in a great athletic contest, encouraging the competitors. We are surrounded by an unseen host of people on our pilgrimage; all are partners in prayer and supplication, anxiously supporting us by their callings at the Throne of Grace. Known or unknown, they are our helpers and inspirers in whatever trepidations come upon us.

Jesus, in his Sermon on the Mount, tells us that the people most greatly blessed are often those deprived of many of the things we enjoy. Those without resources, without money, without decent or plentiful food, in poor living conditions, slums, Cardboard Cities, unpopular because of race or religion, depressed and degraded. Jesus turns worldly values upside down; most of us find this a hard saying hard to understand and hard to live by. What Jesus is saying in these Beatitudes is not that it is right for people to be hungry or poor or persecuted  far from it  but rather that those in such kinds of situations are less cluttered than those who have plenty. He is saying that we all need to keep ourselves uncluttered by over-dependence on material things or on other people`s opinions of us; that we need to take a firm stand against wanting power for ourselves, and that tendency to think ourselves superior to the rest of creation.

The Saints, particularly all those who will be remembered on their special day next month, November 1st, are people who have been able to become uncluttered, to keep themselves unspotted by the world, so that in this way God`s love and grace have been able to reach them at a deep level; that God’s light is able to shine through them and enlighten those about them. They did not all start uncluttered  think of St Peter, who so often put his foot in it, and indeed even denied Our Lord in the hour of greatest need; think of St John and St James, over-ambitious for glory at the very moment Jesus tells them he is soon to die; St Mary Magdalen and her life of sin; St Francis, lover of animals and nature, who threw aside his very clothes so as to start life anew; and so one could go on.

A small child was asked to give a definition of a Saint in Sunday School. She looked up at a stained glass window  it was perhaps a window by Comper or Martin Travers, both artists who could use colour well, and avoid clutter and congestion  and the child said: A Saint is someone who lets the light through. That seems a very good definition, a very good way of putting it. A Saint is someone who is completely him  or her-self, with the gifts, or talents, or just the personality that God designed them to be; certainly an individual with all the character and the quirks that make an individual, yet at the same time transparent to God, letting the light of the Eternal One shine through.

As we give thanks for St Faith and celebrate our patronal festival, let us pray that we too may  become  transparent to God,  people who let  the light shine  through; beacons and witnesses for God’s Kingdom of love and truth, of hope and of righteousness. Let us remember too Jesus’ words, I am come that they might have life and have it more abundantly. The blessed saints are at this moment standing in the Presence of God, in the fullest possession of all their faculties, in the fullest exercise of their developed capacities, feeling in every fibre of their being that the life they are living now is not less real, but more real; not less great but more great; not less intense and full, but far more intense and far fuller than anything they experienced here on earth.

Now that they reign with Christ in glory, they are not forgetful of their kith and kin on earth; they are not unmindful of our trials, not unconscious of our struggle, nor powerless to aid us in our journey heavenward. We believe in the Communion of Saints. And by that Communion of Saints, we mean that all the members of the Church, whether on earth, in Paradise, or in Heaven, have fellowship with one another as being one Body in Christ Jesus.

Wherefore, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience that race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus ...±

We are knit together with our brothers and sisters in heaven; they pray for us, they stimulate us with cheers of encouragement, they urge us on. Shall we not answer that call? And shall we not also be encouraged to ask for their help, to place before them our needs and our hopes and our intentions, that they may aid us with their intercession?

With every blessing.   Fr Dennis


Thank you           Grace Jones

Many thanks to the clergy past and present for their care, and especially to Fr Dennis for the service to celebrate my 100th birthday, and to Douglas and Margaret Taylor for arranging the lovely celebration after the service.

Thanks also to the ladies for a beautiful cake, with the 100 in silver. And a sincere thanks to the congregation of St Faith’s for their cards and good wishes, and for making it a true celebration. All my love to you all.

Fun and Games   Jackie Parry

It was a warm and very sunny Sunday afternoon as I made my way to the church. As I neared the vicarage, and deep in thought as usual, I was suddenly jumped upon by a very excited little boy who, pointing to the vicarage garden, shouted, Miss, is it true that there is a bouncy castle in that garden? When I said that there was he immediately asked, Can I come to the party too? Not knowing who this little boy was I simply suggested that he should first ask his parents, and then go and see the vicar, as it was really only for Sunday School children, but that I thought it would probably be OK. He ran off like the speed of light and promptly appeared at the vicarage every five minutes until 3.00 pm, when he was finally allowed in with all the other children.

The Vicarage garden looked lovely  brightly coloured balloons hung from the fence and trees; tables were laden with lots of kiddie-favourite foods such as sausage rolls, star shaped sandwiches, jellies, chocolate biscuits, crisps and cakes, and dominating a large corner of the garden stood the famous bouncy castle.

By 3.30 pm the vicarage and garden was alive with the sound of squeals of delight and laughter of twenty (or were there more  it certainly sounded, and felt, like it!) excited Sunday School children from both St Faith’s and St Mary’s. They were having a great time eating, drinking, bouncing. Where do they get their energy from? Adults were there too, sitting around on garden rugs and at picnic tables with a cuppa and sampling the kiddie food, and lively music played along in the background.

By 6.00 pm the exhausted, but extremely happy, children were on their way home with their parents and the garden was back to normal; well, sort of, I think Father Neil will probably keep finding bits of crisps and biscuits amongst the flower beds for a long time to come, but he did manage to sell loads of tickets for the BBQ for the following week.

I can honestly say that a good time was had by all. It was good to see the two churches coming together, especially the children, for an afternoon of fun and games. It was hard work, but I look forward to the next Sunday School Fun Day, and you never know, maybe there will be even more children attending next time. So, don’t miss it, or you’ll miss out on all the fun.

Opening Matters     Chris Price

On Saturday 28th August, after the last refreshments had been served, the tables and chairs, catering odds-and-ends and assorted notices were put away for the last time, at the end of a very successful season of Saturday morning openings. During the course of the fourteen weeks that we were open, numbers had slowly increased: whereas last year we might have welcome twenty or so visitors, this year it was usually at least thirty and once or twice fifty and more. Although the intention was never to make money, a useful sum was raised for the kitchen fund  but more importantly, strangers were made welcome, casual visitors came and returned, and our own people got into the habit of dropping in for a coffee, a chat or just half an hour or so relaxing while listening to the music.

There is no doubt at all that what began as a tentative experiment thought up at the Centenary Committee nearly two years ago has become a valuable part of our mission as a church. We owe much to the teams who, Saturday by Saturday, made people welcome, showed them round, fed them and chatted to them: we know how much their efforts were appreciated from the many comments received, and we take this opportunity of thanking them for giving up their time for St Faith’s.

Next year  we have already decided to start a month earlier, so there will be 19 Saturdays to provide for! Fr Neil is in the process of arranging a programme of recitalists, with the organ alternating with various instrumental performers, and we are sure that the excellent standards achieved this year will be maintained next year; our thanks are of course also due to the intrepid organists  and cellists!  who diverted us over our coffee and filled rolls throughout the summer of ±99.

Several people helped out for the first time this year, and we are looking forward to their renewed help, and that of others who we hope will come forward, to help with next year`s extended season, so that the faithful few do not have to lose too many Saturdays! When next spring comes we will be asking for volunteers  watch this space!

All you wanted to know about the Sacraments but were afraid to ask!

SERMONS ON THE SACRAMENTS   at the 10.30am Sung Eucharist

As announced in last month’s magazine the Clergy and Readers, together with the PCC, have decided to run a series of Sunday morning sermons on the different Sacraments of the Church.

This will be an opportunity for learning, there will be a hand-out to accompany each sermon, and there will also be an opportunity for us to meet together informally and to discuss any issues that may arise from the sermons. This discussion will happen in the Upper Room straight after coffee, from about 11.50 am  12.50 pm, with sherry and nibbles provided to make the occasions even more attractive. You should still be back by 1 pm for lunch!

The dates and subjects are confirmed as being:

Sunday 10th October  BAPTISM   (Dedication)   Fr. Michael Raynor (Centenary Preacher)

Sunday 17th October  CONFIRMATION     Fred Nye

Sunday 24th October  MARRIAGE   Fr. Vivian Enever (Centenary Preacher)

Sunday 31st October  THE EUCHARIST  (All Saints Day)   Joyce Green

Sunday 7th November  HOLY ORDERS   Fr. Dennis

Sunday 14th November  SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION   (Remembrance Sunday)  Fr. Mark

Sunday 21st November  ANOINTING THE SICK AND DYING  (Christ the King)   Fr. Neil

Please do your very best to come along as often as you can.

Listening to God    Mike Homfray

Earlier this year, I started to attend services at St Faith’s, after some thirteen years of attending Meetings for Worship of the Religious Society of Friends (more colloquially known as the Quakers). This was not a decision reached lightly, and space precludes any detailed discussion of my reasons for seeking to worship elsewhere.

What has proved interesting is the immediate reactions of both Quakers and those within the Anglo-Catholic tradition, whose initial response is that I have jumped a Rubicon, moving from one extreme of worship tradition to the other. Some of this may be due to mutual misunderstanding. Contemporary Quakers do not wear black, or call one another thee or thou, not all are teetotal, and indeed, a significant minority maintain dual membership of the Society and other religious affiliation. I have had gently to disavow my Quaker Friends of some of their misapprehensions, as well as to the nature of worship at St Faith’s.

All the same, there are some clear differences. The church buildings, the liturgies, the role of the clergy, and, most notably, the centrality of the Mass are the most obvious ones. Quakerism holds no particular place for church buildings, worship is unstructured and non-liturgical, there are no paid clergy, and the Quaker tradition is non-sacramental, in the sense that there are no formal acts to represent the sacramental traditions of the Church, such as the taking of Holy Communion. At a cursory level, one can easily understand the reactions of those I have met who not only remark upon the differences, but are surprised when I urge caution, and express my own belief that these traditions, despite their seeming contradictions, have much to unite them. I do need to qualify this statement: my own spiritual journey has taken me to St Faith’s, and I recognise that I have been able to experience aspects of the glory of God and His Love which have not been, for me, readily available via the Quaker tradition in recent months. For myself, the experience of attending services at St Faith’s has been both uplifting and renewing of my somewhat wilted spirituality, and so I speak as someone who has made the decision to move from one tradition to another. But I can still recognise the parallels which exist between both traditions, which may explain why catholic faith, whether Anglican or Roman, appears to be a combination with dual membership frequently found.
For example, both traditions offer a space for us to listen to God, to allow His Spirit to touch our hearts and minds, and a peaceful and contemplative environment in which this can be a possibility. Whilst worship at St Faith’s is far more structured, there is the space for quiet reflection, where that still small voice can be heard  not always easy in a stressful and pressurised world. I have found that both have a profound and real sense of the mystery of faith; that there is the sense of spiritual journey which sometimes requires us to step forward without a sure knowledge of where our own path will take us, but with an assurance that the Truth and Love of God and his spirit will guide and inspire us. So much contemporary Christianity presents faith as not simple, but simplistic, avoiding issues of complexity by presenting them in an almost tabloid, sloganising fashion, causing hurt and appearing to be overly judgemental or harsh. Both my experience of St Faith’s, brief as it is, and of the Quakers, suggest to me that a more loving, considered approach is taken, avoiding the simplicities of fundamentalism, and instead recognising that the core of Christian faith is, indeed, simple.

Love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbour as you love yourself.  (Luke 10:27)

Perhaps it is the universality and catholicism of both traditions, which enable me, having experienced both in recent times, to appreciate their commonalities as well as their differences.

From The Registers

Holy Baptism

August 15

Mikaela Hope Summer and Antonia Josephine Ruth Summer  daughters of Anthony and Samantha

August 29

Sian Hannah Davies daughter of William and Dawn

Georgia Sian Murray  daughter of Leanne and Kevin

Victoria Elizabeth Ryan daughter of Stuart and Sarah

Amelia Jane Wake daughter of Patricia and Alex

From the Vicar ...

We are the Body of Christ
Familiar words which often introduce the Peace at the Eucharist. They echo St. Paul’s words (1 Corinthians 12:4) where he reminds the Christian people in Corinth that they are all members of the same body even though each of them, according to their different gifts and abilities, perform different roles.

In recent years there has been a refreshing approach to how the ministry of the laity is perceived. 100 years ago any talk of ministry would automatically have meant what the Priest did. In recent years the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church (following Vatican II) and the Free Churches have all come to look at ministry in a new and broader light, based on the principles of the early church.  Some of the best pastoral work which takes place in parishes is as a result of some excellent lay ministry, especially in parishes not unlike St. Faith’s (which has only Á a full-time stipendiary clergyman, on paper!) where full-time Clergy are few and far between.

At the last meeting of the Ministry Team (the Clergy and Readers of Saint Faith’s and St. Mary’s) we felt it was important to look at ways in which the lay ministry of the Church can be more encouraged and affirmed, and can express our common life together. Three particular areas are reflected upon here:

Subdeacons at High Mass
Traditionally, at St. Faith’s, the role of Subdeacon has been performed by a priest, but there is no particular reason why this should have to be the case. Subdeacons were at one time part of the minor orders of the Roman Catholic Church (an order above acolyte) although such a role does not exist now except in a liturgical setting. In churches like ours, where there is a tradition of celebrating High Masses, the role of the Subdeacon is often assumed by a member of the laity.  The team of Clergy and Readers feel that it is now appropriate that the role of Subdeacon be undertaken by one of the Readers. Readers are licensed to assist in the pastoral and liturgical life of the parish, they are authorised by the Bishop to administer the Eucharist, and with the Clergy they play a vital role in the parish life. Here at St. Faith’s they now play a full part in funerals, as well as Baptisms and Weddings. Performing the liturgical role of Subdeacon seems a natural part of their work.

Even if we wished to continue the current practice of three priests performing the liturgical roles at High Mass, it would not now be possible. Why? Because we now have two churches to cover, and so for  major festivals the Clergy will never all be in the same place at the same time. In addition, with the growing number of vacant parishes in the Diocese, parishes like ours with four priests will inevitably be called upon for cover. There is no way we can justify keeping all the clergy together in one place when they are desperately needed elsewhere to celebrate the sacraments for other communities. This is a universal sign of the times.

And so, if we are to maintain the long-established St. Faith’s tradition of celebrating the major festivals with a High Mass, it is fitting that the role of Subdeacon be performed by one of the five Readers. It is only right that we place a proper emphasis on their eucharistic ministry by including them fully, not just in the spiritual and pastoral life of the Church, but also in the liturgical life of the Church  in roles which quite properly and rightly fall to them.

Lay Eucharistic Ministers
When St. Faith’s was consecrated in the year 1900 it would have been quite unheard of for a lay-person to assist in the distribution of Holy Communion. 100 years later it seems odd to most people when it doesn’t happen. In recent years we have begun to appreciate the real value of lay eucharistic ministers. No longer are they simply chalice assistants helping out in the absence of a Clergyman, but laypeople in their own right, licensed by the Bishop to perform a specific task. Many people who are housebound or sick are grateful for their ministry when they take Holy Communion to them in their homes or in hospital.

In order to affirm and encourage the importance of this lay role, the Clergy and Readers have decided that from Advent Sunday the lay eucharistic ministers will perform this role unrobed, as has been the custom for many years at weekday celebrations in St. Faith’s. Whilst some might be tempted to see this as a devaluing of the sacrament, we must be clear that that is not the case.  When we receive Holy Communion it is the Sacrament that is the important thing  the bread and wine consecrated by the words and actions of the priest, which become for us the Body and Blood of Christ  the presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament is not diminished by what a person administering may or may not wear, nor by their gender. The administration of Holy Communion will, from Advent Sunday, be performed by the Celebrant and five lay eucharistic ministers. We will not see their ministry as secondary or inferior to the ordained Clergy.

Seeing people come out from the body of the Church, as they do to read the Scriptures and lead intercessions (no less important parts of the liturgy) dressed in their ordinary clothes can be a powerful and moving symbol of the way God calls and chooses ordinary people to perform his special work. If we are truly serious about valuing the lay ministry then there is no better place to show that than at the heart of the liturgy itself. Our actions speak much louder than our words. Many dioceses in the Church of England actively encourage this practice.

The PCC at its next meeting will discuss ways in which we can open up this ministry to include more people. Maybe this is something you feel you may wish to share in? If so, please have a word with me.

Under 18`s Co-ordinator
What we wear and who wears it might seem an important issue, but there is a far more important task ahead of us  the building up of our congregation, especially our work with young people and families. One frightening and worrying statistic  is that over the last ten years, during the Decade of Evangelism, attendance in Churches by children has gone down 30%. We (the Church) have lost touch with nearly a third of our children. We have already said that here at St. Faith’s we reflect the national trend  attendance has slowly declined here over the past four years. We need to do something about this and urgently. And so to help with our ongoing commitment to working with children and families we are going to appoint someone as Under 18s Co-ordinator. This person (and the Under 18±s Co-ordinator at St. Mary’s) will meet each month with me, will write a regular article for Newslink, (Hooray! Ed.) will provide a report for each PCC meeting and l help to plan the liturgy for Parade Service Sundays. He or she will also come to the Ministry Team meetings from time to time and, with me, will visit the Youth Organisations. They may also be involved with regular visits to local schools.

We are shortly to produce a leaflet advertising our Sunday School. This will be distributed widely, and children in families with which we have contact through Baptisms will be actively encouraged to come along and join us. But  and this is a big but  before we do that we need more Sunday School teachers. Our current team do a sterling job and are very faithful, but more help is desperately needed. Without more teachers we can expect to close our Sunday School in the next few years. Is that what we really want? Please, please consider carefully and prayerfully whether you could consider becoming a Sunday School Teacher. So many  people  said  when  I  first  arrived  that  they  hoped  I  would  build up the Sunday  School.
I cannot  do this on my own!  Can you help?  We cannot begin to build up our Sunday School without more people volunteering to help. Please don’t see it as someone else`s job  it may be your job!

The Centenary Celebration gives us a marvellous opportunity to thank God for so many blessings in the past. But it must also be a springboard from which we look with confidence and enthusiasm to our future ministry. As the Old Testament prophet wisely perceived Where there is no vision the people perish. Our vision for St. Faith’s must surely include:

· more contact with the local community  we keep saying this but at the time of writing we still have no concrete proposals for working more closely with the community in which we are set
· more young people and families coming to St. Faith’s
· a desire to see as wide a cross-section as possible of the local community represented in our worshipping life
· more variety in our worship so that we are offering something that people can more easily identify with and feel able to share in.

Our vision for the Church in the next Millennium, our desire to grow, to include and involve the whole People of God  all of this must be reflected in the way we share and celebrate the liturgy together Sunday by Sunday. This must be our primary task: if we neglect it, then  God forgive us.

Fr. Neil

Thank you!  Audrey Dawson

Have you all seen our lovely new kitchen?

On behalf of the Social Committee and all users of the kitchen I would like to thank Geoff Moss, Ron Rankin and Denis Griffiths for painting and decorating the kitchen, Chris Dawson for doing the woodwork and Jenny Moss for making the curtains, and everyone who donated money towards the cost of this most important task. The kitchen is near completion and looking really good. All we have to do now is keep it in the pristine condition it is at the moment, so if anyone would like to volunteer to join the rota for cleaning the kitchen once a month please contact me.

What`s on at St Mary’s

Beginning this month, we will be featuring a regular page or so of news and notices from St Mary’s. As our two churches grow closer, it is good to have a better idea of how the other half lives, and to support their worship and events as they do ours.

Fellowship at St Mary’s Church Hall - Waterloo Park
The year for the fellowship starts on Tuesday 7 September at 2 pm. and the meetings are held every two weeks on Tuesdays in the church hall. We have a variety of speakers, demonstrations and film shows as well as tea-and-chat meetings. Visitors are very welcome at a charge of 50p, including tea and biscuits, per meeting. Everybody is welcome, whatever denomination. There are coach trips in the summer months organised by Dora and Bert Whitehead. Hope you will be able to join us; we shall look forward to meeting you.
Frances Jowett, Secretary (0151-924 5245)

Fellowship Dates For Your Diary
October          5            Mr Len Heaton talking on Gardening
                     19           Bingo for Fun
November      2           Tea and Chat
                     16          Michael Smerden    Chocolate Demonstration
                     30         Bill Gough  -  Electric Organ
December      Christmas Dinner
January         11     2000        Tea and Chat
                     25        Raffle. Bring unwanted gifts or something worth  not less than £1
February       8         Speaker  Rev. Neil Kelley
                     22        Sing-a-long with Syd Marshall
March           7         Alan Telfer          Little Crosby Village Film Show
                     21        Tea and Chat with Quiz
April               4         John Jowett          Talk on Church and the Funeral Service
                     18         AGM

Macmillan Coffee Morning
There will be a Coffee Morning held at St Mary’s on Friday 1 October in aid of Macmillan Cancer Relief. We will have a bring-and-buy sale and a raffle, so if anybody has any items we could sell would you get in touch with Frances Jowett on 924 5245, or bring items to church any Sunday. The coffee morning will be from 10 am until 12 noon. Everybody welcome.

The Warm Heart of Africa      Margaret Houghton

Sadly my long awaited trip to Malawi is now over, but it was an experience I will never forget. Not a good traveller, I was amazed at the speed and ease of the journey: leaving Gatwick at 9.20 pm we landed at Lilongwe airport at 9.40 am the next day. Not to temperatures in the lower 80s as expected, but English spring cool, albeit cold conditions. Thank goodness for the fleece packed purely for early morning safaris, as advised.

However, the weather may have been cooler than expected, but not the welcome. Malawi smiles have a warmth never experienced before and greatly missed since our return to UK.

The journey from Lilongwe to Mtunthama, the village in which we were to make our base, took almost two hours along the M.1. Not a super tarmac road one would expect with such a classification, but a dusty potholed length of road bordered by dry grass. No pavements, no gardens, no walls, just mud huts, wandering goats and cows and the people. Colourful, shabby, happy people, who smile a lot. They have no possessions, frequently not enough to eat, the children have no toys, so why are they so happy? When the question was put to a worker at the Academy vegetable garden, the answer was that perhaps as Malawi had never experienced any sort of war, civil or international, there had never been a need for aggression.

On Monday morning we hit the metropolis of Kasungu. Apart from the capital Lilongwe and Blantyre, another major town, Kasungu is considered a town of consequence. The noise and colour of the market was at first overwhelming and I had some difficulty with exchange rate and bargaining - no purchase is made without the latter. However, before long I was purchasing chitenge, 2 metre lengths of colourful material, at the stall with great confidence, or, at least, that is the image I hoped I was portraying. The PTC supermarket proved less of a challenge, as long as one wished to purchase out of date cornflakes, hair shampoo and any commodity in stock at the time. Supply is hit and miss – anything comes  anything goes. The general appearance of the town is reminiscent of a Wild West film set: dusty road and colourful, flat-fronted shops, with the addition of drainage ditches edging both sides of the road, a necessity in the rainy season. One thing I determined not to see in use was the butcher`s block: a wide tree stump set beneath a large, leafy tree to which would be tethered the selected beast. The means of slaughter I know not, nor did I question, but the result hung in large, unprotected joints along the lowest branches of the tree, a treat for many flying insects, while waiting to be purchased. Needless to say our meat was from a more hygienic supplier.

Tuesday`s trip was anticipated with mixed feelings  the visit to the Mchinji  orphanage. would it be sad, shabby, poor?  We knew not what to expect. The journey took 3 hours, the last one over a potholed dust tract at a speed of 0 miles per hour, to avoid a sheared chassis and the inevitable goats wandering the byway. We were also heavily laden  not just with well fed occupants, but crates of clothes, toiletries and some medical supplies, all donated by the congregation of St Faith’s. We did indeed find poverty, ill-clad children and dust conditions, but the atmosphere was of great happiness and joy. Children appeared from everywhere. The first house we entered was for small babies. Each baby has its own foster mother, solely responsible for that baby. At the time of our visit 8 babies under 12 months were sorely stretching resources. It was not the initial plan to take any child under 3 at the orphanage, but who can turn away a starving infant? The latest arrival, then two weeks old, came when 4 days old, her mother having died in childbirth. Nobody in the village knew what to do with the orphan, one cannot just go and buy baby milk here, either because there are no shops, or, more likely,  no money.  So  she was left  for four days four days before being brought to the Revd Chapata. In that time she had received no food whatsoever, yet she survived. Now she has her own foster mother, who already has a special bond with her new baby. The mothers are usually older, widowed ladies who have little, or no means of support and are given shelter and food in return for the care they give the little ones. Each of the seven houses now built, all by volunteers from various Christian groups, have dormitory bedrooms sleeping up to 10 children, a flush toilet and cold water shower, far more than any village mud hut. I was told the children have to be pressed into taking showers, just as in the UK, but imagine always cold water, even in winter, which can be cold, as we were experiencing.

Having toured the area and houses, we were ushered into the biggest house of all where the children had gathered. Here they sang songs for us, then the Revd Chapata told the children the reason for our visit and the goodies were produced. The only noise whilst the Revd was talking were the coughs of  TB sufferers. The children were told that whoever the clothes fitted would receive them, but not to be sad if they were not fortunate this time, there would always be another time.

I was to learn here, that one is frequently expected to make a speech and so it was my turn. How easy it was to talk to these lovely people, who have no expectation of great words, just an acknowledgement of the occasion. Then the fun started. We had taken packets of balloons for the children, these being no weight in transport, and oh what fun! The quiet, well-behaved children were suddenly as noisy and boisterous as any. My first lesson in Malawi generosity was when a small girl who had not managed to catch a balloon of her own, stood silently sobbing and I nothing left to give. To my amazement, a little chap, not much bigger, handed over one he had caught and they went off happily together to play. What`s yours is mine, what`s mine’s my own, is not a Malawi philosophy, as was to become more and more apparent during our stay.

As we bade farewell to our host and his flock, I was aware of small hands being slipped into mine and I was accompanied to the car by 4-year-old Patricia and 5-year-old Ivy. My sister-in-law Dot also had gained two little friends in similar fashion, Princess and Juliet. This was a day I never wish to forget.                             To be continued

The Time I Discovered Myself  To Be A Poet

William McGonagall (c. 1825 to 1902), known in the trade as The Great McGonagall is probably one of the worst poets Britain, or at least Scotland, has ever produced. This autobiographical extract and brief sample of his skills is offered as a diversion from Poems from the Back Pew.

The most startling incident in my life was the time I discovered myself to be a poet, which was in the year 1877. During the Dundee holiday week, in the bright and balmy months of June, when trees and flowers were in full bloom, when lonely and sad in my room, I sat thinking about the thousands of people who were away by rail and steamboat ... While pondering so I seemed to feel as it were a strange kind of feeling stealing over me, and remained so for about five minutes. A flame seemed to kindle up my entire frame, along with a strong desire to write poetry; and I felt so happy, so happy, that I was inclined to dance, then I began to  pace backwards and forwards, trying to shake off all thought of writing poetry; but the more I tried, the more strong the sensation became. So I said to myself, ruminating, let me see; what shall I write? Then all at once a bright idea struck me to write about my best friend, the late Reverend George Gilfillan. I immediately found paper, pen and ink, and sat myself down to immortalise the great preacher, poet and orator. These are the lines I penned.

Rev. George Gilfillan of Dundee,
 There is none can you excel;
You have boldly rejected the Confession of Faith.
 And defended your cause right well.
The first time I heard him speak
 Twas in the Kinnaird Hall,
Lecturing on the Garibaldi movement,
 As loud as he could bawl.
He is a liberal gentleman
 To the poor while in distress,
And for his kindness unto them
 The Lord will surely bless.
My blessing on his noble form,
 And on his lofty head,
May all good angels guard him while living,
 And hereafter when he`s dead.

PS    This is the first poem that I composed while under the divine inspiration, and is true, as I have to give an account to God at the day of Judgement for all the sins I have committed.

Holy Days in October

M           4             St. Francis of Assisi, Friar, Deacon, 1226, Eucharist 10.30am


W         6             St. Faith of Aquitaine, Virgin and Martyr, c. 304, Patron of our Parish
                           7.30am Eucharist (said)
                            8pm Procession and Solemn High Mass followed by refreshments
                          Preacher: The Rt. Revd Michael Henshall, former Bishop of Warrington

Su     10             DEDICATION FESTIVAL
                          8am Eucharist
                          10.30am HIGH MASS Preacher: Fr. Michael Raynor
                           6.00pm Festal Evensong,
                          Dedication of the new Centenary Window and Solemn Te Deum
                          Preacher: The Ven David Woodhouse, Archdeacon of Warrington

Th     15             St. Teresa of Avila, Teacher of the Faith, 1582, Eucharist 7.30pm

M     18             St. Luke, Evangelist, Eucharist 10.30am

Th     28             SS. Simon and Jude, Apostles, Eucharist 7.30pm

Su     31             ALL SAINTS` DAY (transferred from Nov. 1st)
                          8am Eucharist
                          10.30am HIGH MASS followed by wine

Tu      2             ALL SOULS DAY  Commemoration of all the faithful departed
                          7.30am    Eucharist (said)
                          10.30am  Eucharist (said) at St. Mary’s, Waterloo
                          8.00pm    SOLEMN MASS by Candlelight

The usual All Souls list will be placed at the back of the Church on 17th October, on which people may place the names of their departed loved ones. Invitations for this service will also be sent to the families of those whose funerals have been conducted by the Readers and Clergy of Saint Faith’s over the past year. Please be there to welcome them.

Note From The Choir Stalls  Miriam Jones

What an exciting few months it’s been for the choir! Apart from our usual weekly duties and High Masses there have been quite a few extras! Late Spring saw the arrival of Fr Neil, with an Induction Service to be celebrated in good musical tradition, ably assisted by our colleagues from St Mary’s and other assorted friends. Parry’s I was glad could be heard outside the building, the sweet notes floating into the evening air, although I have it on good authority that it didn’t sound too bad indoors! Fr Neil’s first Solemn Evensong also inspired some wonderful music to be sung, namely Stanford’s Te Deum.

Our next feat was the High Mass of the Ascension  no major effort you may think, as Ascension is always attended by the choir, but not usually at 6.30 am! Of course, the loyalty of St Faith’s choristers is renowned, but I must say the good attendance by the school-going age group was possibly enhanced by the promise that any cereal you want would be available for breakfast in the Vicarage afterwards.

There have also been a few musical changes during this time, affecting both choir and congregation. A new hymn book New Hymns  Worship Songs, has been introduced. Having used it several times, we find a lot of our favourites alongside those enjoyed by a lot of our young people at school. Our short memories sometimes allow us to forget that the other book we use, Hymns Ancient  Modern New Standard includes items from 100 Hymns for Today and other modern collections, themselves once considered new when introduced to us at St Faith’s more than three decades ago. St Faith’s has long been an innovator in using different styles of music, from Patrick Appleford to melodies inspired by Bach, whilst always upholding the celebration of worshipping God in a fitting manner. This has to continue if we wish to see the Church as a whole flourish well into the next century.

We have also started to alternate Anglican chant with a responsorial psalm. (Modesty forbids from saying any more, but between you and me I rather enjoy it!) The Gospel Alleluias seem to lift the spirit into the appropriate mood to listen to our Lord’s Word, with the singing of the Eucharistic Prayer also adding to the rich Catholic tradition of our church. Next saw the serious rehearsing for our annual visit to the Cathedral, singing the music for both the morning service and evensong. The setting for the morning was by Jean Langlais, not a hugely popular choice amongst all the choir, but it went very well, with David Houlder from the Cathedral fulfilling an ambition to play this particular piece. (For those of you who have never heard of Langlais, Handel it ain’t). Evensong was a celebration of music by Stanford, his setting of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in B flat complementing the anthem, his Te Deum in the same key. As usual, it was a wonderful experience and hopefully the honour will be bestowed upon us again in 2000. This year it was even more special than usual, our very own Ged being organ scholar at the Cathedral. After all that, time to let our hair down  all back to the Vicarage for a BBQ for choir and servers from St Faith’s and St Mary’s. It’s amazing how many glasses of wine/beer/lemonade etc one needs to lubricate one’s vocal chords after a hard day’s singing! I don’t know what excuse the servers and the Vicar have...

Now is the summer rest time, no practices during the school break. Sunday still sees us turning up, albeit in fewer numbers, as we are allowed holidays too! By the time you read this, we will have sung with St Mary’s choir for their Patronal Festival, and will be preparing for our own on October 6th. A recruitment drive for new members will also take place in the autumn, with a lot of hard work ahead of us for the coming year. Centenary celebrations will no doubt keep us busy!

With Ged at the helm, Stephen Hargreaves second in command and John Knight to assist when required, the choir and congregation of St Faith’s can indeed give thanks for the wealth of musical talent amongst us. At the time of going to print, the choir are hoping to sing at St George`s Chapel, Windsor next summer, dates to be confirmed, so watch this space ....

RIP Louise Bates

We were saddened to hear of the death of Louise Bates. She had struggled for nearly three years after a severe debilitating stroke. She had kept mentally alert, and would call to mind events in the Church, which she attended faithfully for over 60 years.

She drove her car when she was well into her eighties, and was a keen supporter of Hightown Cricket Club and Everton Football Club. She was a loving mother, grandmother and friend and will be sadly missed.

Mothers` Union    Fr. Neil

On Sunday 15th August, the festival of Our Lady, the St. Faith’s Mothers` Union banner was carried in procession at the High Mass. It was appropriate, whilst honouring the Mother of our Saviour, to remember the important work done in the sphere of family life by the Mothers` Union.

Sadly, there is no longer a Mothers` Union at St. Faith’s, and has not been for nearly 30 years. And yet the Mothers` Union plays a vital role in the life and work of the Church of England. Rather than being stuck in the past, as some wrongly think, it seeks to adapt to the pressures of family life today, whilst keeping its commitment to upholding and preserving sanctity of marriage and family life. In a recent revision of the M.U. prayer, members pray for family life, in all its joys and sorrows. Those of you with families will know the reality of those words!

Recently in another church I celebrated the new C. of E. Baptism Liturgy within the context of the Eucharist. The following words are quite moving, a thanksgiving prayer used to introduce the service:

God our creator,
we thank you for the wonder of new life
and for the mystery of human love.
We give thanks for all whose support and skill
surround and sustain the beginning of life.
As Jesus knew love and discipline within a human family,
may this child grow in strength and wisdom.
As Mary knew the joys and pains of motherhood,
give these parents your sustaining grace and love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Celebrating family life and supporting those working to that end is one of the major tasks of the Church. The Mothers` Union needs support to maintain its vital work, both in this country and overseas. The M.U. at St. Mary’s Waterloo meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 2.15 pm. It would be good if people from St. Faith’s could come along and join the M.U. there. There seems little sense in trying to start up our own branch when we can join together. If you would like to know more about the work of the Mothers` Union, please speak to Joan Campbell at St. Mary’s on 924 0949. If you are keen to join, then have a word with me or her. Before  I left Kirkby,  one of the great joys  was to admit  five new members  to the M.U.  They were all younger than me with young children at School. If you think the M.U. only welcomes older members, then you are wrong!

Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son shared with Mary and Joseph the life of an earthly home at Nazareth: help your Church to live as one family, united in love and obedience, and bring us all at last to our home in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham

One of the suggestions at the last Centenary Committee meeting was to organise a pilgrimage next year, possibly to the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham in Norfolk.

It is a place of rich spiritual tradition, in a glorious setting with many other beautiful villages and churches nearby to visit. The number of pilgrims to Walsingham increases each year, and in recent years it has been encouraging to see the huge numbers of young people attending the National Ecumenical Youth Pilgrimage.

If you are interested in knowing more about Walsingham and about what the pilgrimage might entail, please come along to a meeting on Monday 4th October at 8 pm at the home of Chris and Angie Price. A video about the life and work of the shrine will be shown, and there will be an opportunity for discussion and questions  all with a civilised glass of wine!

Come along!

Recent appointments

Stephen Hargreaves as Deputy Organist and John Knight as Sub Organist of St Faith’s

All our Yesterdays

Some extracts from (much!) earlier issues of St Faith’s magazines

This parish leaflet is distributed gratis each month. Future copies will be more interesting and more instructive than this first edition.
September 1901: the first ever issue!

At the forthcoming Rummage sale we shall be glad of the presence of men who can help. The buyers on these occasions are so eager to secure bargains that a good deal of rough crowding and pushing goes on, which should be checked.
September 1903

The Wardens have asked the vicar to call serious attention to the number of coppers in the collection that are being given by well-dressed people. Viz: on Sunday 19th June there were 357 coppers including 80 half pennies. Is this religion? Is it even common decency?
 July 1904

In Our Day of Thanksgiving

Patronal Festivals are often, and rightly, a time for looking back, in gratitude for the past and its heritage. It is especially good, therefore, that this year we shall be combining a permanent looking back at our past by the installing of a new window at St Faith’s to adorn our church for the future.

At Festal Evensong at 6 pm on St Faith’s Sunday, October 10th, the Archdeacon of Liverpool will dedicate the Centenary Window in the North Aisle. Designed and made by Linda Walton of Design Lights, from an idea by Eric Salisbury, the window bears the legend In Remembrance of Past Worshippers and features well-loved lines from the hymn sung at every Patronal Festival: These stones that have echoed their praises are holy, And dear is the place where their feet have once trod. We look forward to this auspicious event in the life of St Faith and of our Centenary Celebrations, and record our thanks to those whose generosity, time and skill have made this memorial possible.

A Consequence of not having an Abortion     Judith Skinner

In response to the article You shall not Murder in the September magazine.

Whilst we should consider and respect other people’s opinions on such emotive issues as abortion, the issue can  however be turned around. Consider for example, women who continue with a pregnancy without a husband or partner and still find themselves for various reasons in emotional turmoil. If continuing with my pregnancy and loving and cherishing my child is a sin, then I am a sinner (see Psalm 127:3; Genesis 33:5; 48:9).

When the time came for my child’s baptism, I approached a local clergyman, who asked me if I repented of my sins. In my naivety I replied yes, but when he explained his question properly, I have to admit to being very angry and hurt. It amounted to It is a sin to have a child out of wedlock  full stop, which I interpreted to mean I had sinned by continuing the pregnancy, that being the only alternative to me since the pregnancy was a fact.

I has a far more understanding reception from Richard Capper, who reminded me that all children are God’s children, including myself, and should be accepted as such. He performed the baptism, and subsequently my child and I have been regular worshippers at St Faith’s.

In this modern age of `Women’s Lib` and choices for women, which I do not disagree with, eyebrows are still raised. I have often wondered what the clergyman’s reaction would have been if I had gone to him filled with remorse, I have had an abortion and killed my unborn child.

Unfortunately, single parents are to a large degree stereotyped, which in itself I see as a sin. You cannot generalise, all circumstances are different, it is not our right to attach labels, and it is only God’s right to sit in judgement. Each situation should be judged on its own personal circumstances. Before we presume to pass judgement should we not consider that most single parents are the sinners amongst us who have been caught out.

Have You Got Two Left Feet?
Do you want to learn to Dance Ballroom, have some fun and laugh?

Then why not come to St Mary’s Church hall on Friday nights at 8 pm. Cost is þ2.00  pay at the door. Tuition is by a qualified teacher. Tea and Coffee included, or bring your own tipple. Details from Frances Jowett 924 5245.

Community News Update     Jenny Kemp

On September 11th and 12th Christ Church in Waterloo Road will open its doors so that members of the public will be able to see the restoration work which has taken place over many months  and I hope you will take this opportunity to visit what was once known as Crosby’s Cathedral.

I have had a preview and have been amazed at how huge a building it is, how magnificent the soaring pillars and arches and how beautiful the unique sandstone with its streaks of rosy pink and deep coral. My memories go back to the time when one Sunday in Summer was designated Crosby Day and the Mayor, in full robes, and the Council members would walk in procession from Waterloo Town Hall to the church led by two members of Lancashire County Mounted Police with plumed helmets and the band and a platoon of the Cheshire Regiment.

Crosby’s Borough Architect, Ronnie Mason, was the organist and choirmaster at Christ Church so we knew the music would be quite splendid. It is thanks to Ken and Laura and their band of volunteers that we still have this treasure and I know members of the Merchant Navy will be delighted that the tower with a pointing finger has been retained, for on the eastbound voyage from New York or Montreal this was the first sign of home you saw after leaving the Mersey Bar.

A word of warning! Some weeks ago Parcel Force delivered to me a heavy box for which I had to sign. There was an envelope attached to the lid and when I opened it I found a letter saying Rodale Books were pleased to deliver the book I had ordered and that an invoice was enclosed showing I owed them þ23.97. If I could not pay this in one amount I could send instalments of þ7.99. They quoted my order number and it looked so official I began to wonder if I had had some sort of a memory loss, for I had no knowledge of Rodale Books or of sending an order.

Luckily I still have friends in Sefton`s Trading Standards Department so I telephoned and discovered that this is a new scam which is happening all over the country, targeted at people who may be stunned into thinking that they had ordered a book and might send a cheque in payment.

If this happens to you, send a letter saying that you have never ordered or entered into a contract with them for a book and that under the terms of the Goods and Services Act of 1970 the parcel will be available for them to collect within the next thirty days, and that if any further demands for payment are made this will be reported to Sefton`s Consumer Protection Department. Keep a copy and send the letter recorded delivery. I have done this and heard nothing further, so if anyone would like a large book entitled The Doctor’s Book of Home Remedies for Women they can have it!

Reading a business magazine the other day I was shocked to see a large advertisement where Sefton MBC were putting up for sale two acres of Crosby’s Marine Park  suitable for the building of (yet another!) public house and restaurant. Crosby won an international prize for the reclamation of land in Waterloo and it was their intention that for all time it would be a large open space for the enjoyment of all the population. If it is sold I understand Sefton intend to use the money to provide more amenities on the Park, so we shall have to wait and see.

As usual I will finish with  another comical but true comical Magistrates` Court story:

Chairman of the Enforcement Bench to enforcement officer:  Tell me Mr Lewis why this warrant hasn’t been served? Enforcement Officer: There were four reasons your worship  three Rotweilers and Alsatian!

Thoughts and Recollections on St Faith’s Day    Rita Woodley

In 1900, St Faith’s Church, Crosby, was consecrated as a thank offering for the revival of the Catholic faith in the Church of England during the reign of Queen Victoria.

At the age of 26, Douglas Horsfall, a wealthy young man, built St Agnes Church, Ullet Road. His family had built several churches in the Liverpool area, including St Margaret’s, Princes Road, which caused a riot when it was consecrated, being Liverpool’s first High Church. Douglas Horsfall devoted much of his time planning and building churches in Liverpool and the vicinity. He revived derelict churches (would he have saved Christ Church, I wonder?): St Catherine’s, Abercrombie Square, St Paul’s, Stoneycroft. In 1898 or about this time St Faith’s was being built and in 1900 was ready for use.

It is interesting to wonder why he chose to build a cathedral-like church in Crosby when his own home was in Ullet Road. How did he become aware that there was open land available to build on? Also, why was the Church named after an obscure young girl from France? It is interesting that both churches had women as their patron saints.

Little is known of Saint Faith. It is believed that she lived in the 3rd Century and died in Agen in France. Legend has it that subsequently her body was taken to Conques, where Crusaders and pilgrims on their way to the shrine of St James at Compostella invoked her intercession.

In France, there are many place names and churches dedicated to Ste Foy. Her fame spread to Italy and Spain and even Bogota in South America. In England fifteen Black Monk abbeys celebrated her feast. Chapels were dedicated to her in Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral, and 23 ancient churches were consecrated in her name. She was put to death by being roasted on a brazen bed and then beheaded.

If you want to see a representation of her, look at the beautiful banner in the church which was specially designed and the work carried out by a member and former member of St Faith’s. So on October 6th each year, the Feast Day of Saint Faith, we give thanks for her short life.

As long as I remember, St Faith’s Day has always been celebrated. Many years ago, in the thirties, We had a Sung Eucharist with full procession at the early hour of 6.15. This was not on a Sunday but on a Wednesday morning! The Sunday evening services in the Octave were always very well attended, and there were usually guest preachers. One St Faith’s Day, I noted in my diary that it was the last Sunday of our curate, the Rev Mark Way. (1934). In 1939 St Faith’s Day was on a Friday and there was still a Sung Eucharist, but at 6.45. In 1961, a Friday, there was a service at 7 am but not sung.

Over the past few years we have had various guest preachers, sometimes old boys of St Faith’s, the most famous of all being Robert Runcie, then Archbishop of Canterbury.

May St Faith’s long prosper in the future!

More Net Gains for St Faith’s   Chris Price

St Faith’s internet website continues to develop in various directions. From the home page (what you see when you first log on to the site) you can branch off in an increasing number of directions. The Visitor’s Book, which all who visit the site are invited to sign and comment, has attracted many complimentary remarks from all over the world, as well as requests for help and information. From more than one page it is possible to download music and sound, so that you can listen to the choir (and even, should you be so inclined, to some of the Back Pew Poems!) in the Australian outback.

We keep the news pages up to date, with news items and colour photos of happenings at St Faith’s. Fr Neil is there, both beaming from the writer’s sofa and abseiling down the inside of St Chad’s, and so is Bishop James and assorted St Faith’s clergy and laity at the recent Confirmation, and Grace Jones celebrating her Centenary.

The newest development is the archiving of past issues of Newslink. All this year’s issues are now available for reading on-line, and all future editions will appear on the site as (or even before) they can be read on paper. The net version does not feature the magazine’s standing material (directories and the like), nor does it carry illustrations and the distinctive type-styles of the printed magazine: but it will build up as a permanent stored record of Newslink and of the continuing life of St Faith’s

As time goes on, more avenues may be opened up. Electronic archiving is growing all the time, and provides an invaluable and relatively effortless means of access to the past to those who are in a position to use it  and the number of such people is increasing rapidly. The future for St Faith’s could well see more and more of our records (baptisms, confirmations, weddings and funerals) stored electronically for easy access.

If you have web access, and haven’t yet visited our site, it is well worth a look  if only for the quality of the photography and the armchair virtual tour of the church. Denis Griffiths (the man with the electronic know-how!) and I continue to welcome comments and suggestions from anyone interested.

It’s all happening down on ....