The Parish Magazine of St Faith`s Church, Great Crosby
Return to St Faith`s Home Page
From the Vicar
Where did that quiet month of August go? We were promised it last year it didn’t happen! This summer felt somewhat quieter but nevertheless saw plenty of activity (Junior Church picnic and bouncy castle, Choir trip to sing the services in Liverpool Cathedral and Windsor Castle, the Feast of Our Lady at which we welcomed back Fr. Christopher, the parish BBQ and so on) Now we are gearing up to the season of Patronals, Concerts and Festivals. In September St. Mary’s celebrates its Patronal Festival and I do hope that many, if not all of you, will be able to support some of the events listed elsewhere in Newslink. There is a Sung Eucharist on the Friday evening, a return visit from the Crosby Clerics and a joint service on the Sunday morning. In order to share this together there will be no celebration at 11.00 am in St. Faith’s on September 10th. Please come to St. Mary’s that day at 9.30 am. (There will be a return match in October when St. Mary’s will shut up shop on October 8th to come and join the celebrations at St. Faith’s). St. Mary’s is also presenting a Flower Festival on the theme of the Millennium and it promises to be a good weekend. It is so encouraging to see even more people from St. Mary’s joining us for concerts and for services, as well as planning joint celebrations and socials And this is how it should be. Although we have two buildings we are one Church family.
Many of us took some time away during the Summer and that is important. We all need to re-charge the batteries, to have time away to reflect and review. Throughout his ministry, Our Lord did the same thing. He felt the need to withdraw, to go away to a place set apart to reflect and to pray and to be close to God.
We sometimes kid ourselves that our lives are too busy for prayer. Churches can be busy devising great and impressive schemes and plans, but perhaps neglect to offer people time and space to pray and reflect. It is one of the real sadnesses of life today that our Church is shut more than it is open. Is that right? Should we not be doing something about that? Apart from the pattern of regular services, what opportunities do we offer for quiet prayer and reflection? How many of you would value a group that met once a month for prayer and meditation? Someone asked about a monthly service of Compline and Benediction? Is anything lacking in your prayer life? Can St. Faith’s provide this?
All our planning, partying, scheming and devising is important. The church will not have a healthy and lively future without it. But we must never fall into the trap of thinking that we don’t have time to pray, to be still or to reflect. There are daily offices of Morning and Evening Prayer. The Eucharist is celebrated daily. Or perhaps you would rather make some time for quietness and prayer at home. If you need help with how to use silence, then speak to one of the Ministry Team. We are not experts at prayer; all of us keep trying and need to keep on trying harder. The Autumn programme gives us much to look forward to; much to celebrate. But in all of that celebration let us find time and space to ponder, to reflect and to pray.
With my love and prayers.
PARISH BEREAVEMENT VISITORS’ GROUP
Some weeks ago a good number of people met with Val Davies (Deanery Social Worker) to hear her talk about setting up a bereavement visitors group. Val outlined the training involved and the first training session for those who expressed an interest in becoming a bereavement visitor is TUESDAY 12th SEPTEMBER at 8 pm in the Vicarage. The course is six weeks long and those who wish to participate must attend all six sessions. Please let Fr. Neil if you were not at the earlier meeting but would nevertheless like to be part of this group .
Those who complete the course will be commissioned as Bereavement Visitors on ALL SOULS’ DAY (Thursday 2nd November at 8.00 pm) when, as last year, we shall invite all those who have been bereaved during the past year to come to the Solemn Mass by Candlelight. This is an important ministry which laity and clergy share together. Please remember in your prayers all who are offering themselves to serve the Church in this way.
Wednesday 22nd November 2000 at 8pm
Jacqueline Fugelle Soprano
Peter O’Connor Flute
Neil Kelley Piano
Jacqueline Fugelle has performed in opera, oratorio and recital throughout the world and has released a number of CDs. She has performed many times in the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as well as broadcasting on radio and television.
Peter O’Connor is no stranger now to St. Faith’s. He moved many of us with his performance (unexpected and unseen) of Debussy’s Syrinx after Communion at the New Year’s Day High Mass. He returned in July to perform a solo recital with Fr. Neil as part of the Open Saturdays.
(Neil Kelley is our Vicar and plays a mean piano. Ed.)
Further details of the Concert will appear in the October and November editions of Newslink but tickets will be on sale towards the end of September. But book the date now and encourage others to come along.
Tickets for A Night at the Opera will soon be available. This
is given by singers who are members of the Royal Opera House, Covent
and forms part of the programme for the Patronal Festival celebrations.
I spent two of the most amazing and exciting weeks of my life in Akure, our Link Diocese last month. I cannot possibly describe just what it was like to be part of the team in such a great place, and I wish that everyone could have the chance to go and see it for themselves. I want to thank everyone who made it possible for me; I really am so grateful and can report that the visit was a tremendous success. One of the aims was to forge and further links, which was definitely fulfilled. Hopefully, when the return party comes in October, their experiences will be just as good, and, if this is possible, better!
The deep faith of the Christians we met in Akure was overwhelming; people of all ages praised God and shouted Alleluia while going about their daily business. At every service we attended, almost every pew in the church would be full and at one relatively small church, the Sunday school had at least 60 regular members! The worship in Akure is more evangelistic than I had expected it to be; singing, dancing and music making form a large part of any service. We attended an Ordination service, which lasted five and a half hours, and with most services lasting at least 3 or 4 hours, most vowed never to complain about long services again!
The hospitality we were shown was second to none, and the warmth and friendliness of the people we met was overwhelming. The Nigerian people we met see being hosts as an honour and went out of their way to ensure that we were always well looked-after and happy. One of the things I found difficult to accept was the faith and generosity of those who had so little, and had to cope with such harsh conditions and poverty. Even those who have what we would consider to be absolutely nothing thank God for what they do have.
Despite what we had been expecting, we were not staying in mud huts, but with professional people in comfortable houses. Our accommodation had bathrooms and running water, and we were provided with cutlery! I was in the fortunate position of staying in the house of Dr. Olujugba, who is a dentist presently working in Manchester and owns one of the largest houses in Akure. I lived with three other members of the group under the care of Festus, Funmbi and Sulliman, (Dr. Olujugba’s, chauffer, maid and gatekeeper). We didn’t have a host family as such but were visited each night by Oreofe, Bishop Emmanuel’s daughter, and various others, and we enjoyed evenings entertaining in our luxurious surroundings. Initially, I felt a little disappointed not to be living in more primitive ways, but this didn’t last long at all nothing beats a cold shower, coffee and a chat after a long, hot, but thoroughly enjoyable day!
I couldn’t possibly squash all of the experiences into this article and so will write a more detailed account in next month’s issue. I still have trouble finding words to describe the time we spent there, it certainly was a once in a lifetime opportunity. A huge thank you to everyone for the support, help, prayers and good wishes which were all greatly appreciated. I look forward to the return visit, when you will all have the chance to meet those from Akure for yourselves.
Another odd gleaning from the Daily Telegraph, which continues to explore the byways of church life, and, under the headline INTERVENTION FROM ABOVE PUTS LIMIT ON CHURCH-GOERS (by the splendidly-named reporter P.J.Bonthrone) gives details of an enviable growth situation in a Russian Orthodox congregation which worships in a garden shed.
Residents near St Werburgh’s, (or Barbara Worth’s shed in Hawthorne Close, Congleton) have complained that the 12ft x 18ft building, with arched windows and a golden dome, is a nuisance. Congleton Borough Council have ruled that larger services must be held in the nearby Eaton Church Hall.
It all started when the lady’s lodger asked if he could build a
shed: before long as many as 12 people were turning up for Sunday
in the shed, bought when Mrs Worth and her lodger found her kitchen too
small to pray in. The first dome, she says, was papier-mache and
didn’t survive the weather. This one is plywood and glass fibre sprayed
with gold car paint. No-one knows who blew the whistle on these
goings-on, but neighbour Norma Davies says: They had a service with
sort of priest in a tall black hat. You don’t really feel you can get
strimmer out when that is going on...
On our recent cruise to Norway, David and myself found that the Sunday shopping regulations are not quite what they are here, and on our Sunday stop in Stavanger, decided to attend church. The centre of the town is graced by the medieval Cathedral, where Hoymesse was advertised for 11 am. Whilst our Norwegian is not exactly fluent, we thought that seemed a safe bet!
The Lutheran Church of Norway occupies the same established position as the Church of England, but we were nevertheless surprised that the service for which English translations were provided - bore remarkable similarities to our ASB 2. The Mass was based on a sung liturgy, albeit without some of the High Church adornments (and choir) we enjoy at St Faith’s, and the celebrant and sub-deacon (or equivalent) were both women the Church in Norway has had women priests for many years. We and the other English-speaking visitors were welcomed and an impromptu translation of the sermon (ten minutes in length) was provided by a theologian with Cambridge links! The Eucharist was familiar, except the Host is dipped into the chalice, rather than the chalice being presented to the communicant.
The cathedral was built in Anglo-Norman style, and is dedicated to
Holy Trinity with St. Swithin as patron. The building is somewhat
bar a rather embarrassingly ornate pulpit, in the Baroque style, which
dates from 1658. The nave remains the original, but the chancel was
rebuilt after a fire in 1272. We found the service an interesting
and would recommend it to others travelling overseas.
Last year St Faith’s raised over £500 for the Children’s Scoiety, much of it through home boxes that can be used to save all your odd coppers!
Rosie Walker will be happy to give you empty boxes for your family; and for those who already have boxes, please bring them in for emptying and replacing.
On 22nd September, we are arranging a Barn Dance for all at St
who have enough energy! Please book the date in your diary, and look
for news of ticket prices nearer the date.
Merry-go-Round Dinner 2000
Saturday 11 November
Enjoy a three-course meal with wine for only £11; each course at the house of a different host with different guests, meeting up for coffee with everyone at the last venue. Good food, good fun, good company, excellent value, and an opportunity to boost Church funds. Transport can be arranged for you.
If you haven’t tried it before, do give it a go this year, and join
us on 11 November you will be very welcome and have a great
Further details from LINDA NYE.
AT YOUR SERVICE
As from September 3rd the main Sunday Eucharist will move from 10.30
am to 11.00 am. PLEASE make a note of this and tell those who are
not as regular as others and may have forgotten! Also, with effect from
2nd September the Saturday Eucharist will move from 10.30 am to 12
When the concert season begins again in May 2001 it will revert to
During the summer half-term holiday, John and I spent several days touring around the Midlands. Year 5 were studying the Tudors and it was an opportunity to do some first-hand research. Our first stop was Warwick. We spent the afternoon looking around the Castle and then on to Stratford-upon-Avon, where we stayed overnight. After looking around the five houses associated with the Bard on the next day, we moved on to Oxford. We toured the colleges, admired the buildings, grounds and chapels and did the usual touristy things. Then we went on, to stay with friends who live just off the M25. Mike used to work with my husband and had often invited us to go down and stay. He now works for Teardrop, a Christian-based charity which sends practical help to people all over the world. Well, we got talking the way friends do and Mike gave us the following article to read, which he had downloaded from the Internet (presumably from America? Ed.). It certainly gave us something to think about: perhaps it will you too!
Where Did It All Begin?
Let’s see. I think that it all started when Madeline Murray O’Hare
she didn’t want any prayer in our schools,
· and we said OK.
Then someone said you’d better not read the Bible in school, the Bible that says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love thy neighbour as yourself
· and we said, OK.
Dr Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self esteem.
· and we said, an expert should know what he’s talking about so we won’t spank
them any more.
Then someone said teachers and principals better not discipline our children when they misbehave. And the school governors said no staff member in this school better touch a student when they misbehave because we don’t want any bad publicity, and we surely don’t want to be sued.
· And we accepted their reasoning.
Then someone said, let’s let our daughters have abortions if they want and they won’t have to tell their parents
· and we said, that’s a grand idea.
Then some wise board member said, since boys will be boys and they’re going to do it anyway, let’s give our sons all the condoms they want, so they can have all the fun they desire, and we won’t have to tell their parents that they get them at school.
. and we said that’s another great idea.
Then some of our top elected officials said it doesn’t matter what we do in private, as long as we do our jobs.
· and agreeing with them, we said it doesn’t matter to me what anyone including
the Prime Minister or the President does in private as long as I have a job and
the economy is good.
And then someone said let’s print mags with pictures of nude women and call it wholesome down-to-earth appreciation for the beauty of the female body.
· and we said we have no problem with that.
And someone took that appreciation a step further and published pictures of nude children and then stepped further still by making them available on the internet.
· and we said they’re entitled to free speech.
And the entertainment industry said, let’s make TV shows and movies that promotes profanity, violence, and illicit sex. And let’s record music that encourages rape, drugs, murder, suicide and satanic themes.
· and we said it’s just entertainment, it has no adverse effect, and nobody takes it
seriously anyway, so go right ahead.
Therefore, now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with...
Why didn’t you save the school children in Dunblane?
Dear Concerned Student
I’m not allowed in schools.
Copy to: Tony Blair!
PARISH PANTO 2001?
Following the fun of the Easter Party, many have expressed a wish to be part of a Parish Pantomime. There is no shortage of talent in our two congregations and I am sure that if there were enough enthusiasm we could put on something really good. If you are interested, please come along to a meeting in St Mary’s Church Hall on SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 24 AT 8 pm.
The meeting will last for no more than an hour and at this stage we simply need to know who is willing to participate. There is something for everyone to do in a pantomime: singing, acting, dancing, musicians, stage-hands, lighting, front-of-house, refreshments, ticket sales, make-up and costumes. If you are keen we will find you something to do! So come along, don’t be bashful, and let’s see if we can’t put on a good show. (And by the way, there is absolutely no truth in the rumour that Fr George and Fr Dennis are going to be the ugly sisters!)
See you on 24 September at 8 pm in St Mary’s Hall with your thoughts
Regular members of St Faith’s will know that on Easter Day the announcement was made that Denise had been accepted by selection conference to train for ordained ministry in the Church of England. For anyone in this position it is both a daunting and an exciting prospect. She will be training on the Northern Ordination Course (as did Fr Dennis and Fr George) and so not only will she be training but also holding down a teaching job and running a home!
We wish her well as she begins this exciting stage in her Christian journey. Please remember Denise, Bruce and the family in your prayers. I know she will receive the very warm support and encouragement that so many have experienced from the family of St Faith’s along their journey to ordination day and beyond.
The Choir at Windsor
Lasting image of my university years: a poster of Turner’s radiant watercolour Windsor Castle, the sun splendid over mist-distant grey towers, the river’s serene sparkle below. Lasting image of August 5th, 2000: in a coach, juddering up the incline through a cosmopolitan tourist throng, to see those same majestic towers rising above, shimmering and glittering beneath their heat-mantle. It was quite a moment.
I’ve always felt privileged to be a choral participant in the rich worship of St Faith’s. To visit St George’s Chapel, where history is almost a physical entity, and to add a voice to those which have risen heavenward there, was simply wonderful, and all of those who went have been profoundly moved by the experience.
Deadline pressure is preventing me from becoming purple in my prose! (shame! Ed.) There will be other accounts from different viewpoints and group photos to follow, but here is a taster of the weekend.
As six-hour coach trip finally ended at Ascot Priory, an architectural gem set in its own extensive grounds a few miles outside Windsor. Its religious community has all but died out I believe one nun remains and, apart from rest home accommodation, the priory provides rooms for visitors and retreats. It must be an amazing venue for a retreat. Its peace envelops and refreshes you, even after a night endlessly interrupted by the bells, which chime every hour, on the hour, with a special performance of the Angelus at 6.00 am! Its chapel is unassuming, but acoustically excellent, so we even had an on-site rehearsal room.
We first went to the Castle early Saturday afternoon to leave robes and music in one of the vestries. In the three hours or so before rehearsal, we were free to eat and explore. Some of us picnicked, others repaired to pub or restaurant. Some did the bus or boat trip, toured the State apartments, walked up to Eton or simply revelled in the antique shops. I must confess to overspending on fur fabric in the famous Asquith’s teddy bear emporium. Although we didn’t have long enough there, the town had already enchanted us.
Evensong at 5.15 was, naturally, a nervy affair, but also a resounding success. The St George’s choirstalls are strange; of awesome presence and beauty, they can still induce claustrophobia by encasing you in wood and stone and depriving you of cool air and natural light! Now, though, we felt settled. The dip of the toe had readied us for the remaining services.
Sunday’s schedule was unrelenting. Mattins melted straight into the sung Eucharist, then we hurtled off to eat and pack, only to rush back in again for evensong. Though we were now weary, the music continued to stir us. Stanford and Howells gave the morning and evening services a very English feel, but the Eucharist was grandly French, with its thrilling Vierne. At first the clergy had seemed reserved and somewhat remote, but we were reassured by the warm reference to Lord Runcie in the sermon and a heartfelt compliment afterwards (that was stunning stuff!)
Like an Oscar nominee, I ask you to bear with my long list of acknowledgements. The many friends, without whom we could not have had this exhilarating (and, it must be said, bonding) experience, all have our deep and sincere gratitude.
First and foremost, Father Neil, the PCC and friends and members of
the family of St Faith’s for their fantastic and immediate practical
financial support. Ged and Steve Hargreaves for their superb musical
Linda Nye for her frighteningly accurate itinerary, many phone calls
hard work in respect of accommodation and meal arrangements. The
families for their co-operation in the face of a much-disrupted
The congregation members who generously turned out to support us (not
here, of course, but the previous weekend during our highly successful
but sadly-eclipsed contributions to the liturgy at Liverpool
Mari Macoy for the fabulous meal-for-twenty she cooked up in the Priory
kitchen on Saturday night and so it goes on. If I’ve neglected to
mention you, I’m profoundly sorry. Let’s just say you all make me feel
extremely humble and, again, thank you.
Thursday 5 October
7.30 pm Vigil Service: So let us Celebrate the Feast:
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, silent prayer and
meditation, concluding with Benediction in preparation
for St. Faith’s Day. Preacher: The Reverend Michael
St. John-Channell (Vicar of Cirencester)
Friday 6 SAINT FAITH’S DAY
7.30 am Holy Eucharist
7.30 pm PROCESSION, PONTIFICAL HIGH
MASS AND SOLEMN TE DEUM
Preacher: The Right Reverend James Jones
(Lord Bishop of Liverpool)
Music: Mozart’s Coronation Mass with the
Crosby Symphony Orchestra; followed by Buffet Supper
in the Hall. At this service we also welcome Bishop
Emmanuel Gbonigi from Akure, Nigeria who is visiting
the Diocese as part of the Diocesan exchange programme.
Saturday 7 FESTIVAL FOR YOUTH
7.30 pm GALA CONCERT A Night at the Opera
Sunday 8 PATRONAL FESTIVAL SUNDAY (Dedication Festival)
11.00 am HIGH MASS followed by Parish Lunch at
Merchant Taylors’ School. Celebrant and Preacher: The
Right Reverend Nigel McCulloch, Bishop of Wakefield
6.00 pm Festal Evensong, Procession and Solemn Te Deum
Preacher: The Right Reverend Rupert Hoare
(Dean of Liverpool Cathedral)
St. Faith’s is to acquire a Grand Piano. This has come about as
Taylors’ Girls’ School is purchasing a new Grand Piano. They are
to find a home for their old piano and, thanks to a legacy in memory of
the late Audrey Jones, St. Faith’s is able to give a home to it. It is
100 years old (just like St. Faith’s!) and needs some work doing to it.
(Just like St Faith’s. Ed.) In order to pay for this work we are having
a concert to raise funds. What more appropriate day than the Feast of
Cecilia, the Patron of Musicians. Book the date now for what promises
be an enjoyable evening.
Christian Unity? E.E. Selman
The Pope will go walking the streets of Rome,
A-banging a big bass drum;
With his Cardinals playing guitars and things,
All singing of Kingdom Come.
Salvationists will be crossing themselves
And swinging the censers high,
While the Methodists ring the Sanctus bell,
Though really, they don’t know why.
Oh, what a wonderful day it will be
When the Protestant people go
Pushing their way to make sure of their turn
For a kiss of St Peter’s toe.
Already a Free Church Leader has
A nice Prebendary stall
In a Church of England Cathedral
Which he doesn’t support at all.
The Congregational Pastor then
Will flutter with tremulous hopes,
Seeing herself in a few years’ time
One of the first women Popes.
But what on earth will the Baptists do
If they can’t do just as they want?
Imagine immersions taking place
In something as small as a font!
And how shall we compromise on
A thing like transubstantiation?
Just think what you like when Unity comes,
And join the Celebration.
When Rome and the Chapels and C of E
All kiss and be friends at last,
Declaring that ALL their differences
Are follies buried in the past.
Harvest Festival 2000 Mary Crooke
This year the arrangements for Harvest Festival will change slightly. Please bring your offerings of FRESH FRUIT AND VEGETABLES as usual to Church on Saturday morning 30th September, so that we can decorate.
Instead of tins of food as in previous years, please bring donations of money in an envelope. Tesco’s and Sainsbury’s vouchers are also welcome. These will be used to make up emergency packs to be distributed as necessary.
Fresh produce will be sold at a Coffee Morning at the Vicarage on Monday 2nd October at 11 am proceeds to charity.
So, please, no tins this year. Many thanks.
Festival Flowers Mary Crooke
Calling all flower arrangers a date for your diary.
Please keep Thursday 5th October free, and come and arrange flowers ready for our big Patronal Festival Weekend.
We need men as well as ladies: as many as possible. Even if you have
never put a flower in oasis before, do come along, bringing with you a
pair of scissors or secateurs, and have a go. It can be great fun!
In order for us to prepare for the Parish Pilgrimage to Walsingham
October there will be a talk, followed by Compline and Benediction, on
Tuesday 26th September at 8 pm in Church. Afterwards, there will be a
of wine in the Vicarage where timetables, accommodation lists and other
information will be distributed. There will also be an opportunity to
any questions about the Pilgrimage.
The members of the Waterloo PROBUS club extend a welcome to new
We meet in Christ Church hall, Waterloo on Tuesday mornings from 10.45
am to 11.45 am. PROBUS was inaugurated by the Rotary Clubs for
and Business men to meet together on social occasions. Membership fees
are þ5 per year. 70 pence is collected every Tuesday to pay for
or tea and biscuits and to help pay the annual rent for the hall. Any
wishing more information please speak to Vic Winsor (931 5887) or at
When, in our music, God is glorified
And adoration leaves no room for pride
It is as though the whole creation cried
How often, making music, we have found
A new dimension in the world of sound
As worship moved us to a more profound
So has the Church, in liturgy and song
In faith and love, through centuries of wrong
Borne witness to the truth in every tongue
Let every instrument be tuned for praise
Let all rejoice who have a voice to raise
And may God give us faith to sing always
First heard on, and transcribed from, a recent BBC TV ‘Songs
China Challenge 2000 Caroline Vitty
On September 30th I will be departing for what, to me, is the adventure of a lifetime. Leaving Fred at home with Sam, Harriet and Nell (Jessica will be back at university) I am flying to Beijing for an 8-day sponsored trek in aid of The Foundation for the Study of Infant Death (FSID). FSID is Europe’s leading Cot Death organisation and aimed to prevent Sudden Infant Death and promote infant health. Some of that work is happening here at Liverpool University.
As part of my job as a Health Visitor I help co-ordinate a scheme known as CONI (Care of the Next Infant) which supports parents who have had a baby die of Cot Death and are having another child. Every week in the UK nine babies die of Cot Death and currently in South Sefton we have 10 families on the CONI scheme. CONI is funded by FSID and we are always trying to raise money to buy equipment like breathing monitors.
The trek involves walking on average of 6-7 hours a day over tough terrain. I’m hoping to explore the Forbidden City, follow the fortified ramparts of the Great Wall and trek through wooded valleys and rocky river gorges.
I have to raise þ2,300 and make sure I’m fit enough to complete the course.
The people of St Faith’s are deeply impressed by Caroline’s amazing
enterprise and wish her every success on her dramatic expedition. The
has sponsor forms (and Gift Aid declarations) for those who would like
to support this excellent cause in more practical ways. In return,
has promised (or will promise!) to send us at least a postcard from the
Great Wall, if not a magazine article. Ed.
Not Enough Space! Chris Price
One of the problems of taking a month off editing in August is that material mounts up for September. This means, despite another 32-page issue, the postponement of a number of items, including a report on the Great Hall Crisis (see page 26!) and another on the Saturday Open Days and Concerts. Also held over are an archive message from Fr Schofield (worth waiting for) and one or two bouncy castle pictures (but not the one with Fr George having a go). Apologies for all this but it is marvellous to have so much to print, and this seems a good moment to thank all those who contribute to Newslink and make my job so much easier (or harder, depending on how you look at it).
15 July Paul McCluskie and Lynne Price
5 August David Anthony Paul and Jacqueline Corris
2 July Ellie Louise Webster
daughter of Alan and Julie
Pastoral Concerns Joyce Green
Each week we pray for the sick by name. As you may see, the list is usually quite long. It is possible that there are some on the list who have now recovered, and if this is so, it would good if we could give thanks for their recovery. If there is anyone you know on the list to whom this applies, would you please let Hilary Pennington or Father Neil know.
Names are usually kept on the list for four weeks, unless we are asked for the name to be kept on for a further period. Any new names for the list should be given to Hilary or Father Neil. Names can of course also be placed on the prayer board in the Chapel of the Cross. In this chapel there is also a book in which you may enter names of anyone who is in hospital or needs a visit. This can then be arranged by the members of the Ministry Team. Please make sure you also enter your own name and the date so that we can follow up the request.
A Reflection for Michaelmas Fr Dennis
In his excellent, illuminating and splendidly helpful book All the Company of Heaven Dr Kenneth Stevenson, Bishop of Portsmouth, writes:
Whatever people may or may not believe about life after death, there is much more half-articulated and fearful folk religion under the surface of many people’s lives than is ever publicly expressed. In the later Middle Ages, many of our churches had masses repeatedly offered for the dead, so that they could be delivered from the everlasting torments of hell. Much of the horrendous mythology of the Last Judgement lives on today under the surface, and it finds expression in music, whether in the liturgical settings of the mass, as in Faure’s Requiem, or in the selection of biblical material and poetry that provided the libretto for Brahms’ non-liturgical Requiem.
When we look at Michael the Archangel’s appearances in the Bible, it is not hard to see why his role became so developed. In the second part of the Book of Daniel, he is the helper of the chosen people (Dan. 10:13f; 12:10). In the New Testament, he disputes with the devil (Jude 5:9), and in the Book of Revelation, he fights and slays the dragon (Rev.12: 7-9). Michael is seen as prince of hosts and a fighter.
But the Bible also has two other prominent named angels. The angel Gabriel takes the Annunciation message to Mary (Luke 1:26ff). Raphael emerges from the Book of Tobit as a healer (Tobit 3:17). these roles are slightly adjusted in the ninth-century hymn ‘Christe sanctorum decus angelorum,’ where Michael is the peacemaker who banishes strife and hatred, Gabriel is the herald of heaven who helps us to spurn evil, and Raphael is the restorer who brings strength and healing. (This hymn was translated by Athelstan Riley as ‘Christ the fair glory of the holy angels’ - New English Hymnal 190.)
Angels in general held and still hold a great fascination as messengers of God’s will and vehicles of his presence. Angels communicate the presence of God, or give a message from God, or fight for God’s purposes. In Eastern iconography, their hands are always veiled at sacred scenes, whereas humans’ are not. The angels worship God in heaven but they cannot worship in the same way as humans, who have minds that often struggle to discern God’s will. Angels, therefore, are ways of showing the personal presence of God in the world. And that is why angelic protection became a popular theme in medieval prayers, for example at marriage as well as at death. At those very points where we are tempted to forget God, and to become too self-reliant, angels can break into our perceptions as sudden and unexpected incursions of God’s healing and love. Angels, in fact, show us how our faith can be a struggle.
To celebrate Michael on 29 September is first known in Rome in the 7th century, probably replacing an older and more general commemoration of angels. His popular cult caused such extraordinary buildings as Mont St Michel off the coast of Brittany, and as if in answer to it on a smaller scale St Michael’s Mount off the coast of Cornwall. Cult and calendar walked hand in hand. Michael held sway on 29 September, whereas Gabriel was feasted on 24 March and Raphael on 24 November; and the Guardian Angels on 2 October.
At the Reformation, the Prayer Book brought all these together under the blanket title St Michael and All Angels. This is, in fact, suggested by the traditional Roman Collect for 29 September, which makes no mention of Michael at all, but refers generally to the order of angels, because this prayer was used on this day before it was exclusively Michael’s commemoration. This is the Collect used now: angels and human beings are constituted by God, and angels protect us on earth. Rightly, the war in heaven between Michael and his angels and the dragon should be read today (Rev 12: 712). This passage was first chosen for the Prayer Book, and suitably so in view of the feast now joined together in Michael and all Angels. If it is read as the second lesson, then we read of Jacob’s dream with the angels ascending and descending (Gen. 28: 1017). It is interesting to note that the angels ascend to heaven first, before they descend on that ladder! If the Revelation passage is read first and there is also an epistle, then the important passage at the start of the Letter to the Hebrews which distinguishes Jesus from the angels is to be read (Heb. 1: 5 14 a lection which makes up part of one of the epistles for Christmas Day). The Prayer Book followed medieval practice in choosing as the gospel Jesus teaching the disciples about becoming like children: ...their angels are always beholding the face of the heavenly father (Matt. 18: 111). The Post-Communion Prayer is of ancient provenance. It begins with a suitable reference to the company of angels and the spirits made perfect (Heb. 12:22) and prays that as in this food of our earthly pilgrimage we have shared their fellowship, so may we come to share their joy in heaven.
Today’s festival emerges from several different strands There is the anonymity of the angels which runs right through the Bible and the Christian devotional and artistic tradition, together with another tendency to name specific prominent angels, who therefore become archangels. Then we have the popular cult of Michael himself, which gave rise to church dedications, alongside the more general desire for angelic protection in a dangerous world. At the Reformation, the Anglican reformers focussed angels on one day and in so doing probably drew on an older tradition, as witness today’s Collect and its all-embracing Latin original. These carefully-crafted prayers and readings are intended for a world that may have different priorities, but still has time and use for unconscious doors to the presence of God, which are entirely legitimate, as they feed the religious imagination, with Christ himself at the centre.
The Summer Angels
They came so gently I was not afraid
Nor spent in dizzy or remote excess.
They came in every swimming of the light
Among the beech cathedrals, where each bell
Rings out its certain note. They came like bees
Seducing the enraptured peonies.
They came in silences as cool as lakes
Under a woodland moon, where wild duck make
Quick shafts across the sky or nightlong doze
In reedy pools that cup the rippling stars.
They came like buried childhoods in the hills,
The bird-tongued air, the land that walks away
To solitudes stronger than any gods.
They came in peace, to tell me what I know.
With thanks to Wakefield Cathedral Magazine (Editor Angela Capper!.