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

Saint Faith’s Prayer for Mission

God of unchanging power, your Holy Spirit enables us to proclaim your love in challenging times and places:
give us fresh understanding and a clear vision, that together we may respond to the call
to be your disciples and to rejoice in the blessings of your kingdom;
we ask this in the name of Him who gave His life that ours might flourish,
your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


If you would like to receive a postal copy of Newslink  each month, free of charge, email the Editor 


September 2007

From the  Ministry Team

From The Vicar: The Mission Statement of Fruit and Vegetables

Dear friends,

During Mrs Thatcher’s Premiership, the Cabinet went for dinner in a London restaurant.  Mrs Thatcher ordered her main course and the waiter asked “What about the vegetables?”  Mrs Thatcher replied, “They’ll have the same as me.”

During the over 65’s Holiday Club we had a visit from the staff of Waitrose, Formby,  talking amongst other things about where they source local produce. I was astounded to hear that they have a ‘Mission Statement’ regarding fruit and vegetables. Perhaps astounded is the wrong word but it amused me somewhat that here is a supermarket being absolutely certain what they believe (about fruit and veg) and so often churches have such difficulty producing mission statements! Is it that we aren’t sure what we believe, or there are certain interpretations some can agree to and others can’t? A mission statement in a business is almost de rigueur these days – they are rarer in Churches.

How good it would be for both our parishes to do some thinking about producing such a statement. After all, if we aren’t sure we know what we are about, how on earth are we going to persuade other people to come and be a part of us?

The bottom line for any successful mission-minded work is beginning with the basics. That is to say, you and I being clear and focused on and in our own spiritual lives. That is the basis for mission. If there are areas of our spiritual lives that have grown a bit dry then they need watering in some way in order for growth to occur. Perhaps coming to church for a weekday service might give a bit extra peace in our busy lives? Perhaps a commitment to reading the scriptures daily following the Gospel set in the lectionary? Perhaps a firm commitment to setting aside a time for prayer more than we perhaps do at the moment.

And we have to take seriously too the importance of our social life together: social events are not merely there to make money, welcome though that is, they are occasions for us to get to know each other better. And it has to be said with some social events being very poorly attended this year, a church without a healthy social life is a church with not a very long shelf-life (to use the supermarket parlance). Again, if we don’t like socializing with each other then we haven’t much to commend to others about our common life!

Some years ago Bishop Michael and I were persuading a church in West London to think about having a mission. The PCC came up with all wonderful excuses as to why we couldn’t, the best being “now is not the right time” to which someone else replied “now is the only time we will ever have!”

A great week for the senior members of our churches, two weeks of holiday club for the children, all of this has been so greatly valued by the community and people are truly grateful for the efforts on the part of so many to make these things possible. It shows what can be done when as a family we pull in the same direction and make exciting things happen.

But we need more commitment and we need more to be committed! All the Ministry Team and PCC can ever do is gently encourage and suggest those things that are there to help the Body of Christ to grow. We can’t force anyone though! You either want to be part of the growth of the Church or not. Unlike Mrs. Thatcher and her vegetables we are a greatly diverse group of people bringing together all sorts of gifts and skills and talents which, when used properly, are an enormous resource to the Church – far more valuable than any expensive items on the shelves of Waitrose!

With my love and prayers

Father Neil

Notice Board

Saturday 22nd September at 7.30pm in S. Mary’s

“THE LAST NIGHT OF THE PROMS… with a difference!”

With Neil Kelley (Organ Hardy (Trumpet) and members of the Liverpool Brass Ensemble. Tickets £5 to include a free glass of champagne during the interval.

HARVEST THANKSGIVING – Sunday 30th September

9.30am    Family Eucharist in S. Mary’s
11.00 am    Family Eucharist in S. Faith’s
6.00pm    Harvest “Songs of Praise” in S. Mary’s
                followed by buffet Harvest Supper


Friday October 5th
8.00pm    Pontifical High Mass
Preacher:    The Right Reverend Nicholas Reade
(Bishop of Blackburn) followed by buffet supper   

Sunday 7th October
10.30 am    Festival Eucharist (SF) (no service at SM)
Preacher:     The Reverend Denise MacDougall(Christ Church, Waterloo)
6.00pm    Festal Evensong, Procession and Te Deum

In and out of control

The final bulletin from our ‘Man for the Ministry’

This article may turn out to be a little strange!  I would like to try and share with you my state of mind (don’t laugh) from the beginning of the day to after the moment of ordination.

July 1st ‘O’ day!  After our pre-ordination retreat the day had finally arrived, the climax of the last three academic and formational years, together with the many years of spiritual searching and discernment, the ordination of eleven individuals into the diaconate. To say that the atmosphere at breakfast was expectant would be an understatement; this day saw the beginnings of many ‘first of things.’ 

Our breakfast table, which comfortably seated our entire party, had been thoughtfully decorated with printed sheets of A4 that declared ‘O Happy Day’ by the catering staff of St. Deiniol’s library, the location of our retreat in Hawarden, North Wales.  This small gesture prompted a mental determination that nerves would not get the better of me and that today would be a celebration and affirmation of calling, a day that would change me forever and be forever remembered.

An outbreak of slight paranoia amongst the ordinands threatened to upset the calm confidence enjoyed at breakfast, ‘What if somebody breaks down [their car] we should all go in convoy,’ and ‘I don’t know the way to the Cathedral from the tunnel exit!’  We immediately formed a discussion group and an order of departure determined, the trumpet sounded and we departed in convoy Cathedral bound, arriving unsurprisingly early.
It’s funny isn’t it, how calm you can sometimes feel when travelling, because we have control, the motorway is empty, our speed unhurried, its only when we drive through the streets of Liverpool and the tower of the Cathedral is visible in the roads ahead, that you become aware that the journey is ending and that control is going to be given over to others.

I am thankful that we arrived in good time, the Cathedral was quiet with few people around, I had chance to walk around and collect my thoughts, a fellow ordinand and I walked purposely and quietly to the Lady Chapel for a few moments of prayer.

From then on time seemed to be meaningless, we went from one ‘happening’ to another, as we were robing Bishop James arrived and prayed with us and wished us well, before we knew it we were formed up ready to process in.

As I have commented to many of you, the next two hours passed without noticing the time.  The liturgy delivered on the expectations of the day, the service oozed celebration, awe and mystery.

Then came my big moment, all the years of server training came into play, I processed slowly and deliberately, almost but not quite a slow march (this is of course my perceptions of my behaviour you may have seen something completely different) hands held together in a gesture of prayer, taking the corners at right angles to bring me kneeling in front of the Bishop.  As hands were laid upon me I opened my arms in prayerful submission to the office about to be bestowed and my hands shook uncontrollably.  I did not close my arms I let them be.

The next few moments I was dominated by a changing awareness of being.  It seemed that my mind was dealing with sensations that my body was struggling to catch up with.  Hearing the rite of ordination, feeling the weight of hands, seeing my hands shake but not feeling them do so, all that I am and what I will be, given to this instant in time, abandoning control.  Then the moment had passed, control returns, no more words, I bow to the Bishop and look at a fixed point in space processing back to my place, I no longer shake, my body relaxes and my mind races with the enormity of the future, that things will never be same; everything has a new and different perspective not only for myself but also for my family.

Every person in the Cathedral that day experienced something different, they saw and felt something that their neighbour did not and vice-versa, I had experienced an alternating feeling of being controlled and being in control, experiencing those emotions in a mix of liturgical and relational situations.  It was indeed a happy and unforgettable day.
So why am I going on about being in and under control?  It’s the only way I can find to express to you what it felt like, in fact that is exactly the question Fr. Neil posed to me in the well of the Cathedral after the service, and explains the expression on my face, he asks, ‘What did it feel like?’

With love and best wishes to you all,


Martin and Mim’s expressions of thanks are printed later in this issue. Below we pr9nt two poems which focus on special occasions at Liverpool Cathedral. My offering was written to mark another ordination there a good few years ago.

 Liverpool Cathedral

When medieval man rejoiced in stone
Heaven was near enough to touch, but now
God is galactic
And we sing his song
In a towering space
Which we ourselves have made to honour him,
And find ourselves diminished.

Art and engineering need the natural
Constrained in stone and glass,
And light flows down
Through tinted animals, translucent leaves,
To glow on walls that grow like pillared oaks
Into great curtains dizzy with verticals
That hang in front of the sun.

The whole is a manmade wonder,
Now rejoice, look up
And see if God is here
Or if he speaks.
Light streams in many colours in this universe
And the organ stirs
A hurricane of sound.

And on the ground a dot of red,
A moving speck of blood,
A ladybird
Meandering over the stone.
The organ drowns her footsteps
But her presence signifies
That God is in his temple, he has come.

Susan Williams
(in 100 Contemporary Christian Poets, Lion Publishing, 1983)

Chris Price

On the floor of this consecrated and cavernous cathedral space
An intricate pattern of worship is laid down.
At eye-level, one of a thousand witnesses,
I peer past hats and hairdos to perceive
A two-dimensional and partial perspective.
Bishops and deacons and servants of the sanctuary
Progress ponderously into and past the eye’s immediate focus
To squat on distant squares of this vast chess-board.
In due course, remote hands are laid on heads
As the blurred word bounces off the unyielding walls,
Arriving sooner, or later, acoustically distorted,
Twice blessed (at least) in my uncomprehending ear.
The choir’s fragmented polyphonic praisings
Skitter around this vast and echoing nave
Until, to the organ’s thunderous proclamations,
The priestly protagonists process again
Back into my view and on and out of sight.
This has all happened to someone else, not me.
Desirous of a decent view for once,
In fantasy now I float free into the third dimension,
Rising slowly above the serried ranks
To hover, bird’s-eyed in the middle air.
No longer depressed by the gravity of the situation,
Powered by my inflated personality,
I swoop weightless over pulpit and organ-pipes,
Pigeon-like, drop in on episcopally mitred heads,
Dispassionately noting receding priestly hairlines.
So that’s what happens. I see it all at last.
Drifting higher, I perceive all this pomp and clerical circumstance
As merely a shifting multi-coloured carpet on a distant floor
From which thin sounds waver up towards the over-arching vault.
Now even the foursquare tower dissolves;
The organ’s utterance diminishes to a murmur,
As my gondola soars past the tower’s topmost pinnacle,
Out and up into the bright, still upper air,
To where cathedral, city, river and shining estuary
Are part of a coloured counterpane laid on the flat earth;
And all things: my empty seat far below,
The songs of praise, the solid statement of the sandstone tower,
Are one with birdsong and the sighing wind.
Is this God’s vision of his diocese?
So minute, so lacking in significance?
Quickly, I pull in the string of my imagination’s balloon
And perch once more, deflated, safely small, anonymous and earthbound.
Time to greet friends and find the lavatories.
Now where did I park the car?

Some time ago we published a poem `A Crabbit Old Woman' – a plea for nursing staff, volunteers and all who come into contact with the elderly to have more sympathy and understanding. The magazine of St Mary’s, Davyhulme, Manchester, recently printed this response.

A Nurse's Reply to the ‘Crabbit Old Woman’

What do we see, you ask, what do we see?
Yes, we are thinking when looking at thee!
We may seem to be hard when we hurry and fuss,
But there's many of you and too few of us.
We would like more time to sit by you and talk,
To bath you and feed you and help you to walk.
To hear of your life and name things you have done;
Your childhood, your husband, your daughter, your son.
But time is against us, there's too much to do,
Patients are many, and nurses too few.
We grieve when we see you so sad and alone,
With nobody near you, no friends of your own.
We feel all your pain, and know of your fear
That nobody cares now your end is so near.
But nurses are people with feelings as well,
And when we're together you'll often hear tell
Of the dearest old Gran in the very end bed
And the lovely old Dad and the things that he said.
We speak with compassion and love and feel sad
When we think of your life and the joy that you've had.
When the time has arrived for you to depart
You leave us behind with an ache in our heart.
When you sleep the long sleep, no more worry or care
There are other old people and we must be there.
So please understand if we hurry and fuss
There are many of you and so few of us!

‘Jesus to battle Barbie on Wal-Mart shelves’

So reads the challenging headline in a recent edition of the ‘Daily Telegraph’ Los Angeles reporter Catherine Elsworth brings news that ‘A foot-high Jesus that quotes Scripture and a three-inch Daniel in the lion’s den are about to do battle with Barbie and Bratz in toy aisles across America. ‘

Wal-Mart is carrying a trial range of faith-based toys to see if ‘Spirit Warrior Samson’ can rival superhero Spiderman. What they call ‘faith-enriching toys,’ made by Californian company One2believe will go on sale in America’s religious heartlands. The latter’s chief executive believes that in the ‘battle for the toybox,’ these figures offer parents an alternative to dolls and figures with violent or sexual overtones.. ‘If you walk down the toy aisles,’ he says, ‘you see a lot of reproductions of Satan, or dolls that promote promiscuity.’

So far the Jesus doll is the runaway best seller (how comforting. ed.) closely followed by Joseph and Mary (even more comforting). Also available are a Tales of Glory figure for younger children who comes with a lion and a den and costs around £4, there are 12-inch Peter and Paul Messenger of Faith dolls that recite scripture when you press the right button.

Wal-Mart’s move is ‘part of a growing trend as businesses try to tap into the multi-billion dollar market in religious and family-themed products popular with the segment of America that turned Mel Gibson’s ‘The Passion of the Christ’ into a £185million goldmine.’

Predictably, the woman president of American Atheists has reacted with scathing comment.  ‘Personally, I don’t think kids are going to go for it. Nobody’s really all that interested in Jesus. Kids aren’t.’

The editor, who has incidentally never set eyes on a Satan doll down the local toy aisles, is quite encouraged by this report, even if it is a case of Mammon at the service of God. He wishes Wal-Mart well, but has nagging doubts as to whether Jesus will fare as well in the battle against Barbie on Merseyside.    

Christian Aid Sunday 2007

Fred Nye’s sermon, delivered on the Sunday of Christian Aid Week

I guess the greatest barrier to faith is, and has always been, the problem of pain. How can a good God stand idly by when so many of his creatures suffer intolerable burdens of disease, destitution and misery? And for us Christians at Eastertide there is an even more poignant question: what has Our Lord’s death and resurrection actually achieved? Have human beings gained in love for each other as a result? Looking at our world, at Auschwitz and Cambodia and Rwanda and Iraq and Darfur there doesn’t seem to be much evidence, does there? ‘Two thousand years of saying Mass, and all we have is poisoned gas’.

During this Christian Aid week we have to try to come to terms with these questions. What is the point of trying to share the burdens of our neighbours in the developing world? Will sacrifices on our part really do anything for them? Can a few well meaning and soft-hearted Christians change the world, or human nature?

I would like to suggest that for Jesus’s first followers, and for the early Church, this sort of question would have been empty and meaningless. During Our Lord’s ministry, miracles happened: lepers were cleansed, the blind received their sight, sinners were forgiven, outcasts accepted and the hungry fed, – there wasn’t the slightest doubt that Jesus could change things. And the early Christians continued these great acts of God both within and outside the growing Church, acting (as they put it) in the name of Jesus. So what’s gone wrong? Were those early Christians a bunch of deluded, miracle-happy enthusiasts? Or have we got it wrong – are we the ones who are deluded and disillusioned?

Christianity should be a powerful, liberating and incarnational force for good in the world. That it so often falls short is glaringly obvious – but why should this be? There are I think three main reasons.

First, we have lost faith in ourselves. The world is indeed a complex and frightening place. It is a very tempting option to stay at home, and not to ‘go there’ -  both literally and metaphorically. It’s very tempting not to get involved in the mess and degradation of the world’s poverty and cruelty. I could easily both shock you and sicken you this morning by spelling out the full horrors of so-called ‘life’ in the slums of Freetown, or by cataloguing the unspeakable atrocities of the Civil War in Sierra Leone which led to such abject misery. But rather I want to tell you about the commitment and courage of a group of 11 schoolteachers from Sefton, who visited Sierra Leone recently under the auspices of the Waterloo Partnership. Some young, some not so young, they mostly had no previous experience of a poor country or its hardships – and they went out with not a little trepidation and foreboding. But despite all the degradation and the poverty:- once they had met, talked to, and understood the teachers and pupils of Waterloo Sierra Leone, they became totally inspired by the courage and good will they encountered there. Most of those teachers can’t wait to visit Sierra Leone again, and one or two have booked their flights already. If they were not so before, they have become effective ambassadors for the cause of World Development.

Of course it’s not possible for all of us to have the overseas experience  of those teachers But we can, all of us, find out more about how our poorer brothers and sisters are forced to live, we can share with them some of the good things we enjoy, and we can become ambassadors on their behalf. Made ‘a little lower than the angels’ we are called by God to be fully human and never less than human. We need more faith in ourselves.

And we need to have faith in those whom we serve overseas. I am always disheartened by the commonest excuse for not giving to the Christian Aid appeal ‘there’s so much corruption over there, you don’t know where the money is going’. Of course, crooked and unscrupulous political leaders in any country have always been able to misappropriate public funds  - and the poorer the country the easier this is. But more telling is the criticism that poor people themselves can misuse resources. And this is where we need to borrow some of Our Lord’s forgiveness, compassion and understanding of the human condition. We must understand that in conditions of abject poverty what motivates people is the need to survive. To a mother trying to feed her starving child, school paper and a pencil have more value when they are sold for the next meal than when they are used in education for a future which may never happen. The world is in a mess, and we and our poorer neighbours are caught up in that mess. We cannot always pretend that our sort of rules must apply to everybody, or that we can only give so long as we count every penny of the cost.  I do not remember Our Lord involving himself in that sort of calculation.

And there is perhaps one other matter on which our faith falls short. Those early Christians realised that without the human presence of their Master among them they were vulnerable to doubt, fear, prejudice and conflict. And so it is with us. Left solely to our own devices, we quickly become the victims of indecision, caution, misunderstanding and internal strife. Without Our Lord’s guidance, without his love and his values we will achieve little, either here or overseas. Could it be that we have lost that intimate relationship with the Spirit of God so richly enjoyed by the early church? Have we forgotten that God-given inspiration which reaches out to the best that lies within each one of us , and to which that godward inner self yearns to respond? We only have to love a very little in order to respond to the world’s needs, we only need to respond a very little to receive the reward and inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit:- who can and does do great things, very great things.

Faced with the tragedy and intractability of the world’s problems we need to be of good courage. To respond generously and effectively we need faith in ourselves, faith in those whom we try to serve, and faith in the Sprit of God who has the power to change everything. And as a prayer, and particularly as a prayer for Christian Aid week, we would do well to use those unforgettable words from Wesley’s hymn – ‘O thou who camest from above, the fire celestial to impart, kindle a flame of sacred love on the mean altar of my heart’.

Relics of the Wise Men
A unique pilgrimage to Cologne Cathedral, where relics of the three Wise Men are to be found, is at the heart of a weekend pilgrimage (November 30th-December 2nd) led by Revd Rob Marshall this November.
The pilgrimage leaves London (by Eurostar) on Friday November 30th and returns on the Sunday.
A number of festive markets fill the centre of Cologne with the special sights, sounds and smells of a German Christmas.
The market in Roncalliplatz hosts the biggest Christmas tree, a real 24-metre fir tree beneath the Gothic immensity of the Cologne Cathedral. Similarly sheltered by Great St Martin's church, the Alter Markt Christmas market, cosy and nostalgic, is also a favourite.
Revd Rob Marshall is an Anglican priest and experienced pilgrimage leader, having taken groups to the Holy Land, Turkey and Rome. He has over 20 years experience in public relations and he leads the LTG team. He is the author of several books and broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day and BBC Radio 2’s Pause for Thought.
“We will visit the Cathedral in Cologne and learn of the connection between the Magi and this magnificent building,” he said this week. Pilgrims will also be able to shop in the Christmas markets.
Brochures are available by telephoning 0845 601 9567. For further information please contact Louisa on 0845 601 9567.

Age of Innocence
Read through these Children's Science exam answers. These are real answers submitted by the children! (allegedly. Ed!)

Q: Name the four seasons.
A: Salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar.

Q: Explain one of the processes by which water can be made safe to drink.
A: Flirtation makes water safe to drink because it removes large pollutants like grit, sand, dead sheep and canoeists.

Q: How is dew formed?
A: The sun shines down on the leaves and makes them perspire.

Q: How can you delay milk turning sour?
A: Keep it in the cow.

Q: What causes the tides in the oceans?
A: The tides are a fight between the Earth and the Moon. All water tends to flow towards the moon, because there is no water on the moon, and nature hates a vacuum. I forget where the sun joins in this fight.

Q: What are steroids?
A: Things for keeping carpets still on the stairs.

Q: What happens to your body as you age?
A: When you get old, so do your bowels and you get intercontinental.

Q: What happens to a boy when he reaches puberty?
A: He says good-bye to his boyhood and looks forward to his adultery.

Q: Name a major disease associated with cigarettes.
A: Premature death.

Q: What is artificial insemination?
A: When the farmer does it to the bull in-stead of the cow.

Q: How are the main parts of the body categorized? (e.g., abdomen.)
A: The body is consisted into three parts-The brainium, the borax and the abdomi-nal cavity. The brainium contains the brain; the borax contains the heart and lungs, and the abdominal cavity contains the five bowels,
A, E, I, 0, and U.

Q: What is the fibula? A: A small lie.

Q: What does "varicose" mean? A: Nearby.

Q: Give the meaning of the term "Caesarean Section"
A: The Caesarean Section is a district in Rome.

Q: What does the word "benign" mean?
A: Benign is what you will be after you be eight.


Its usual to turn to your family when you’re in trouble or crisis, how lovely to have your family turn to you with and in a shared celebration.

A lot has already been said about the 1st July 2007, I’m sure if any more articles about it are published we could incur Martin and Miriam fatigue!  The day would not have been the day it was with out you.  By ‘you’ I mean a collective everybody those from both of our churches who shared the day in the Cathedral, those who came from afar and those who stayed behind to prepare for our mini reception.

And what a reception you gave me, I am still moved when I think of it, as I said in my speech it wasn’t just about ‘O’ day, it was about all that had gone before to get me there, your encouragement, love and support in times good and bad.

Thank you so much for your generous gifts, I have a shoe box full of cards that I will keep always, we have spent a few vouchers at John Lewis’ for our home and I have brought a couple of books and that ‘must have’ stole – remember I am Kelley trained!  The remainder of my book vouchers will go on books I need as my training progresses.

Bye for now, with my prayers and best wishes,


Not to be outdone….a massive THANK YOU!

As you know, I usually have the last word! (or in this case, several!) I just want to reiterate what Martin has said, but also to add my personal thanks for all the good wishes afforded to me upon our departure from regular worship at St Faith’s.

Many people have understood what a wrench it has been to leave my beloved home parish, but leave we must. St Faith’s, however, will never leave me. I don’t mean the building, I am talking about the family.  Recently, we have been fortunate that the family has been extended to include St Mary’s and they have also been a great support.

So, thank you for all your love, support and kindness over the years and we’ll see you soon…Patronal Festival, if not before!

With love,


Spelling it out again!

Aoccdrning to rsceearch at an Elingsh Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in what order the ltteers in a word are: the only iprmtoant thing is that thefrist and lsat ltteer are in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can still raed it wouthit a problem. This is bcuseae we dno’t raed ervey lteter by istlef but the word as a wlohe.

The etdior apoogsiels for pntirnig this aigan and rtegers any topys wichh may hvae cpert itno tihs iusse.

Funny You Should Say That

While motoring down the Dock Road recently, the editor’s eye was caught by an advert for a garage, accompanied by a picture of a well-known TV Irish priest. It read, to his great delight:

Farther Tread – sinfully low priced tyres

Mum – Job Description

Mother, Mum, Mumma, Mummy, Ma

Long term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an, often chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call. Some overnight travel required, including trips to
primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities. Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required.

The rest of your life. Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs £5. Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf.
Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers. Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects. Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks. Must be
willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next. Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices.. Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product. Rsponsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.

Virtually none. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you.

None required,unfortunately. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.

Get this! You pay them! Offering frequent raises and bonuses. A bonus pyment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent. When you die, you give them whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.

While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered; this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth and free hugs for life.

In a Country Church

To one kneeling down no word came,
Only the wind’s song, saddening the lips
Of the grave saints, rigid in glass,
Or the dry whisper of unseen wings,
Bats not angels, in the high roof.

Was he balked by silence? He kneeled long,
And saw love in a dark crown
Of thorns blazing, and a winter tree
Golden with fruits of a man’s body.


Christ in Woolworth’s

I did not think to find you there –
Crucifixes, large and small,
Sixpence and threepence, on a tray,
Among the artificial pearls,
Paste rings, tins watches, beads of glass.
It seemed so strange t find you there
Fingered by people coarse and crass,
Who had no reverence at all.
Yet – what is it you would say?
‘For these I hang upon the cross,
For these the agony and loss,
Though heedlessly they pass Me by.’
Dear Lord, forgive such fools as I
Who thought it strange to find you there
When you are with us everywhere.          

Teresa Hooley
(in ‘Let there be God,’ Pergamon Press, 1968)

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