The Parish Magazine of St Faith`s Church, Great Crosby
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Newslink September 2001
From the Vicar
From time to time people get in touch with S. Faith‘s in order to trace information regarding births, marriages and deaths. One such request recently lead us on to look in a Parish Magazine of 1923, stored at Crosby Library. (No trace of the Baptism entered in the Register of the time!). In that magazine were encouraging words from Fr. John Brierley, the then Vicar, whose daily services (described in the ”Parish Kalendar•) consisted of the Offices and a Daily Eucharist just as we do. In the 1920‘s Confessions were heard every Saturday at 6.15pm. Morning Prayer was said half an hour before the Parish Eucharist on Sundays (as we do now). Such reading is fascinating and of course tells us something of the heritage we have received and are seeking to carry on.
With three services daily, there is much opportunity for Prayer. It is a sad reflection of the society we live in that church buildings are closed for more of the week then they are open. However, we at S. Faith‘s don‘t do too badly; the daily offices and Eucharist are fairly well supported and, in any case, numbers are not as important as the fact that the liturgy is being celebrated. If you are able, please do come along to one of the weekday Eucharists; they last only about 25 minutes and are an opportunity to enjoy some peace and tranquillity.
I finish with words of Fr. Brierley to his parishioners in 1923 after their summer break!
A great many of our congregation are away at present, but there are signs of people commencing to return. I hope everybody has enjoyed himself, renewed health, and comes back like a giant refreshed.
May I put in once more a plea for the Eucharist? It is the service for Christians to mark off specially. It is the family service where Christ is present in a way which is all-important. You have a part to play at that service, and no one can do it for you. you have a place at that service and none can fill that place. It is empty if you are not there. The Lord‘s Own Service on the Lord‘s Own Day has been the rule from the beginning. In it the highest ideals of man are kept before our eyes. Our daily human life is linked up with the Life Divine. Our presence emphasises to the world what we regard as important and leads men to the Christ.
Will you come and take your part Sunday by Sunday during the year
is before us?‘
With my love and prayers
MANY THANKS to all those who have worked so hard to create the new
Vicarage Garden pulling down the old fence and building the new one,
and digging. My sincere and grateful thanks to all who have had any
Holy Days in September
Monday 3rd S. Gregory 10.30 am Eucharist
Saturday 8th Birth of the BVM 10.30 am Eucharist
Thursday 13th S. John Chrysostom 7.30 pm Eucharist
Friday 15th HOLY CROSS DAY 6.30 pm Eucharist
Friday 21st S. MATTHEW 6.30 pm Eucharist
Saturday 29th S. MICHAEL & ALL ANGELS 10.30 am Eucharist
The Church has never been particularly definite in her teaching about the angels, simply because neither is Holy Scripture itself. Although angels are mentioned in many parts of the Bible, these references are in very different circumstances and have very different meanings for us. Some occasions are not claimed to be real happenings. Frequently angels appear in visions and dreams: for instance in the Prophet Isaiah‘s great vision in the Temple (Is: 6).
I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple. Above him stood the Seraphim, each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: ?Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.‘
Twice Jesus introduced angels into his teaching (Matthew 13 v 39): `The harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burnt, so it will be at the close of the age‘ and (Matthew 18 v10): `Never despise one these little ones. I tell you, they have their guardian angels in heaven, who look continually on the face of my heavenly father.‘
Not surprisingly, angels occur in legends like the one connected with the pool of Bethesda (John 5 v 4). On the other hand, angels appear in several passages in the Gospels and Acts, including the stories of the Annunciation and the Birth of Christ, his temptations in the wilderness, his resurrection appearances, and Peter‘s escape from prison. Although these and other diverse references to them in the Scriptures do not enable us to draw definite conclusions about angels, they do suggest a number of reflections for use in our own lives and prayers.
ORDER AND UNITY
In the first place, we may say that the concept of angels stands for the unity and order of the whole of creation in the service of God; not merely at the level of cosmic process, but at the level of conscious and free co-operation, God has `ordained and constituted the service of angels and men in a wonderful order‘.
When we look out, as we can so easily nowadays, upon the vast
of the universe; when we see
of distant galaxies, the depths of
space, our earth seen from the moon or from space as just another little planet — we are easily afflicted with a sense of tremendous loneliness. Are we the only `existants‘ in the world; are we perhaps just an accident in the vast cosmos? What meaning can there be in our lives, our hopes, our existence?
But if the Christian doctrine of creation is true, then humanity is no accident, and hence presumably the human race is not alone.
Humanity must be one amongst countless races of beings on which the Creator has conferred existence and life; and some of these races must, like humanity itself, have risen to consciousness, and that freedom whereby they can gladly co-operate with God. Some must have moved higher in the hierarchy of existence, so that they contribute higher orders of creaturely beings.
The doctrine of the angels opens our eyes to this vast, unimaginable co-operative of working and service, as all creation strives to attain fullness of being, as ordered and encouraged by God. Something of this is reflected in the Revelations of St John, in which the author suggests the struggle, and indeed battle, in some form or other, of the developing complexity and diversity, as all things seek to be like God and to attain their fullness of being in him. We can see, too, the significance of the story of Elisha‘s servant (2 Kings 6), whose courage was renewed by a vision of supporting angels.
VASTNESS AND RICHNESS
This passage (2 Kings 6 v 8-17) is particularly relevant for our understanding the significance of the angels in a contemporary formulation of the doctrine of Creation. The doctrine of the angels directs our minds to the vastness and richness of creation, and every advance of science opens up still more distant horizons. Any humanistic creed that makes humanity the measure of all things, or regards us as the sole author of values, is narrow and parochial.
The panorama of Creation must be far more breathtaking than we can guess at in our tiny corner of the cosmos; our hope must be to begin to know and understand something of the many higher orders, whose service is joined with ours, under God.
Saturday 8th September at 8pm
CELEBRITY ORGAN RECITAL
Given by IAN TRACEY (Liverpool Cathedral)
Tickets: £5 (including cheese and wine)
Sunday 9th September at 9.30 am
Please note: no 11.00 am Eucharist at St Faith‘s
FESTIVAL SUNG EUCHARIST
Celebrant and Preacher: The Rt Revd David Jennings (Bishop of Warrington)
Friday 5th October: EVE OF SAINT FAITH‘S DAY
7.30 am Holy Eucharist (said)
8.00 pm PROCESSION AND HIGH MASS
Preacher: The Rt Reverend Michael Marshall (Assistant Bishop of London)
Music: Haydn‘s ”Nelson Mass• with the Crosby Symphony Orchestra
followed by Buffet Supper in the Hall
Saturday 6th October: SAINT FAITH‘S DAY
7.30 pm S. Faith‘s Day Gala Concert ™ ?A Night at the Opera‘
Carole Marnoch - Soprano
Dervla Ramsay - Mezzo Soprano
Allan Adams - Tenor
Paul Keohone - Baritone
Neil Kelley - Piano
Sunday 7th: DEDICATION FESTIVAL & HARVEST THANKSGIVING
11.00am HIGH MASS and Parade Service followed by wine
Preacher: Canon Paul Nener (S. John the Baptist, Tuebrook)
6.00pm Festal Evening Prayer, Procession, Benediction and Solemn Te Deum
Preacher: The Revd Michael Riley (S. Paul‘s, Grove Park, London)
A recent article in the Daily Mail shed interesting light on the late Lord Runcie‘s relationship with the Queen.
`There was one occasion when I felt the Church was being misrepresented, and I said to Bill Heseltine (the Queen‘s private secretary) that it would be nice to have a word with the Queen about these matters. He said: ”Well, you‘re Archbishop of Canterbury, you should have an audience.• So it was arranged and I went to see the Queen, who was very gracious and quite formal. This wasn‘t a social occasion but a business meeting brought about because of the Church‘s concern for the casualties of perfectly understandable but rather fierce Thatcherite policies.
`When we had finished our discussion, she asked me: ”Do you think Mrs Thatcher is a religious woman?• It was a very penetrating question asked in a very inconsequential manner. I replied: ”I think she has a very high moral sense and I know she reads the Bible, so she does qualify.• What was so typical of the Queen, though, was the fact that she could ask such a fundamental question but she never once revealed what she thought. It was absolutely characteristic of her to encourage you but seldom to let you know her own opinions.
`On occasions like the Falklands conflict one would preach a sermon and Prince Philip would say something like,”I don't know how you think of the right words — they're wonderful•, whereas the most the Queen would say was, ”I'm sure that will be an encouragement to a lot of people•. You still didn't know what she really thought.
`The queen is considered to be a traditionalist in most things: her attitude to family life, her dress, her manners and choice of companions. But the form of worship she prefers is not always the one most commonly associated with royalty. Where religion is concerned, she accepts the traditional simplicities of the Church rather than its more colourful ceremonies as a basis for her own devotion. I would think she was more comfortable with the simple rituals of the Church of Scotland than with more flamboyant Anglo-Catholic worship in London. But she has her own mind about what is appropriate.
`She is a devout Christian and a regular worshipper who is also very
private and reticent about the practice of personal religion. But I
sat alongside her when she is praying and you can feel her true sense
devotion. She also remembers sermons and can pick up a point after a
interval. No mean achievement, considering how many she must hear...‘
Fr LEO CHAMBERLAIN, head of Ampleforth College, takes critics of a religious education to task in a recent Sunday Times article.
The fluster caused in some circles by David Blunkett‘s recent support for church schools has been fascinating. In this newspaper one excited academic talked of brainwashing, conflict, war and persecution. `Repressive moralities,‘ he thundered, distorted `human nature‘. One wonders which particular aspect of human natures he feels most urgency to release from the restrictions of fuddy-duddy morality. The speculation is not entirely attractive.
Any debate involving religion can unearth depths of insecurity and prejudice, but clearly there are important issues to consider. First, is there a place for religions in the institutions of public life, or is it, as the same academic argued, `a matter of private conscience and as such not a proper object of public support‘? The answer is perhaps self-evident. Religious belief and the whole framework of accepted morality that flows from it have shaped and continue to shape the laws and governance of this country.
You may argue that this should not be the case; that a new framework should be established based on some codified consensus of acceptable behaviour. The monarchy, parliament, the courts, you may say, should all be set free of the stifling restraints of the Judaeo-Christian morality, and `human nature‘ be given free rein.
In practice, that is increasingly the case. The abandonment of once universally- accepted standards of morality within society has gone further than most of the liberals of 40 years ago could have anticipated. yet there are still more people, sometimes quiet and devout, sometimes exuberant, sometimes in pain, sometimes in joy, in church on a Sunday that there are at football matches on Saturday. And there are other believers, Jews, Hindus and Muslims.
In fact, there is much in Christian teaching that finds resonance in other religions. While the horrors of sectarianism are beamed into our homes in the news bulletins, it can be easy to believe that jealousy and hostility are the currency of inter-faith communication. That, of course, is simply not the case, particularly in this country, and the response across all faiths when Cardinal Hume died showed a degree of respect, accord and friendship which gave the lie to that view.
Of course religious belief has provided the justification for many — too many — wars and conflicts. So too have other passionately held beliefs — patriotism, freedom, the right to vote or to self-defence. These may all be subverted to provide false validation of a unjust conflict, but this does not mean that the beliefs in themselves are wrong. In fact, for almost every major creed the concept of peace is a central and precious article of faith.
If the role of religion in our society is far more secure than some would have us believe, what of church schools? Are they the hotbeds of indoctrination, brainwashing even, that the same academic has suggested? I can see now the wry smiles of teachers in church schools. The image of their children as brainwashed, zombie-like zealots is so wonderfully, absurdly ridiculous that it really is impossible to take offence. I can also hear Christian parents asserting that Christian faith is about the whole of life, and that as taxpayers they have every right to expect that state to provide a fitting education for their young.
I may be thought biased. I am headmaster of a Catholic school; not just a headmaster but a monk; not just a monk but a priest. Yet the facts speak for themselves. At Ampleforth 20% of our pupils are non-Catholic. Parents would never send them here if they thought brainwashing was on the syllabus. There is a clear and growing fear that something important is in danger of being lost, in both education and society as a whole, and that Catholic schools offer a better way. Non-Catholics are actually in the majority in many Catholic schools around the world, an overwhelming majority in a country like Thailand. They stand for humanity and truthful teaching.
An earlier age looked for something better than Christianity. The writers of the 18th century greeted a new age of reason, getting rid of superstition. They found themselves, those who lived long enough, overtaken by the uprecedented passions of the French revolution. They looked for a God of reason, and finally worshipped reason itself before all was dethroned in chaotic terror in 1794. They searched for a reasonable basis for morality and ended up with utilitarian calculus of value. The mistake has been the descent into what Michael Novak has called a `vulgar relativism‘, which has undermined virtue, and undermined the value to be placed on humanity itself. As Cardinal Hume wrote on his last Ash Wednesday: `All is not well. A society without a common understanding of what is to be human and without a shared morality is in danger of gradual disintegration.‘
Church schools and religious schools offer a goal for humanity beyond the utilitarian. We teach above all the language of faith against the desolate wasteland of the present in which those deprived of sacrament turn instead to the superstition of the new age. If David Blunkett is, ever able to bottle the secret of church schools, he'll find a potent brew.
A father was reading Bible stories to his young son. He read:
`The man named Lot was warned to take his wife and flee out of the city, but his wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt.`
His son, waiting expectantly, asked: `And what happened to the flea?‘
A hardened atheist, out for a walk in the woods, was attacked by a savage bear. In fear for his life, he yelled: `God, help me!‘
The bear paused, claws raised, and a great voice from above spoke. `You deny me: why should I help you now?‘ `True,‘ said the man thoughtfully `I have no right to expect you to accept me as a Christian just to save my skin. Perhaps you might make the bear a Christian instead.‘
The bear bowed his head, and put his paws together. `For what we are about to receive,‘ he growled, `may the Lord make us truly thankful...‘
(Thanks to the magazine of St Mary the Virgin, Davyhulme, for both these terrible jokes. Ed.)
During the Sunday morning service all the children were invited to come forward. One little girl was wearing a particularly pretty dress, and as she sat down, the pastor leaned over and said `That is a very pretty dress. Is it your Easter dress?‘ The little girl replied, directly into the pastors clip-on microphone, `Yes, and my mommy says it‘s a bitch to iron.‘
(and thanks to Fr Neil for that one!)
This is a very belated way of communicating my very sincere thanks to all those who were so kind and understanding and, of course, those who wrote to me from both parishes (too numerous to mention) following my resignation from St. Faith‘s and St. Mary‘s. I was only sorry that I didn‘t see more of you to say a personal thank you and `good-bye‘ at my last service at St. Mary‘s on Christian Aid Sunday. Your letters were very much appreciated and very encouraging.
I am, at present, worshipping with Derek at Our Lady & St. Nicholas at the Pier Head. In some ways it‘s a bit like going home as I worshipped there before I came to St. Faith‘s almost 13 years ago. But, as yet, I don‘t know if I will be Licensed to St. Nick‘s or to another parish in the Diocese that may need some help for a period of time. It‘s still all very much in the melting pot. I hope, soon, to be able to be of service to a parish where I can feel as much a part of the family as I have done both at St. Faith‘s and St. Mary‘s. I miss you all!
I was stunned at the very, very generous gift I received following, and have used it to buy some lovely things for my kitchen that will always come with me no matter where I am in the future - a permanent reminder of my very happy years as a member of the Choir at St. Faith‘s and, of course, a Reader in both parishes.
It is strange the way things happen to us. I thought I would always be at St. Faith‘s, and then I couldn‘t think of a place I needed to be more than St. Mary‘s, but that‘s obviously not what the good Lord had in mind at all. I still don‘t know what the future holds in terms of my ministry, but hope and pray that it will be made clear in the near future. I must confess it is very nice to worship with my husband, and I will be able to celebrate with him, and the people of St. Nick‘s, when he celebrates his 30th anniversary as organist of that church in September.
I hear that both parishes go from strength to strength and please believe that my thoughts and prayers are constantly with you all.
The Church of England is selling its silverware and depriving bishops of their chauffeurs to help to pay its pensioned-off parsons. RICHARD MORRISON, in The Times examines a financial nightmare. His report: full, fair and fact-filled, makes sobering reading, and puts our local problems once more into a national perspective.
The Church of England is in financial turmoil. Tales of woe waft round the parishes like incense at a high-church mass. The Church is flogging its paintings, its silverware, its parsonages. It is merging parishes, chopping jobs and relying increasingly on `weekend priests‘ who are happy to work for nothing (as opposed to working for a pittance.) It is squeezing the faithful for donations till the pews squeak, and now — the final indignity! — thinking of depriving bishops of their chauffeurs. And still the dioceses totter towards insolvency. Last autumn the Diocese of London admitted that it was raiding its reserves at the rate of £1 million a year. A recent report suggested that the Church of England‘'s 44 dioceses will be £11 million in the red within two years.
Taken as a whole, it‘s a grim financial picture. But it isn‘t a new one. Christianity, after all, was founded in poverty. When Mary was forced to give birth in a stable, that was the Church‘s first cash-flow problem. When the disciples were faced with feeding 5,000 people with five loaves and two fishes, that was its first struggle to deal with `finite resources‘. Indeed, a great paradox about the Church is that although it embraces the principle that believers should `consider the lilies of the field‘ and trust in God to supply their needs — it managed to accumulate immense wealth during the Middle Ages. We can still see this legacy all around today: in the glorious cathedrals, abbeys and ancient parish churches (13,000 of the Church of England's 16,000 churches are listed buildings), and in the superlative heritage of art and music that owes its origins to Church patronage.
The trouble is that this very visible inheritance only makes things worse for the Church of England. Those old buildings need to be conserved, at the crippling cost of £100,000,000 a year. `We are paupers trying to run palaces,‘ one weary vicar told me. `The Church can‘t dispense with all these wonderful buildings, but equally it can‘t afford their upkeep, if we are going to do our real work: preaching the Gospel. Worse still, they make us look affluent, which we certainly aren‘t.‘
The `wealthy Church‘ illusion isn‘t easily dispelled. The Church of England is still a vast landowner. In fact, the 33 Church Commissioners now control a fund of nearly £4.5 billion — double what it was eight years ago. And since their infamous property speculations of the late Eighties, which lost them an estimated £600 million, they have played the markets rather cannily. Last year they generated an income of £152 million. Add that to the money put on the plate each Sunday and other assorted revenue, and you begin to see how the Church of England can enjoy an annual income approaching £750 million. So why the crisis? The answer is contained in one word that now strikes terror in the heart of the Anglican Church. Pensions. After the war there was a large influx of young men wanting to become clergymen. This boom generation has now retired and is entitled to a pension equivalent to two-thirds of a stipend. And priests are living much longer, doubtless because of their spotless abstinence, constant prayer and kind souls. In one way this longevity is useful. Many rural parishes — forced to share one full-time priest with seven or eight other villages — would collapse without these elderly clergy helping out. Indeed, the Church now uses almost as many `active retired clergy‘ as working vicars.
But this vast army of superannuated dog collars means that the Church‘s pension bill is huge: £85 million a year. The upshot is that the Church Commissioners have effectively had to turn themselves into a pension fund, leaving dioceses to pay for clergy stipends, housing and running costs — and the dioceses can't really cope.
What will be the repercussions? Some take a sanguine view. `The pensions problem has pushed the Church of England towards depending less on its inherited wealth and more on the generosity of present worshippers,‘ a senior canon admits. `But that puts us in exactly the same position as 95 per cent of the churches around the world.‘ Others, however, harbour more radical notions. `Within a few years the Church of England could boil down to a much smaller number of well-supported parishes,‘ says one London vicar. `Of course it would be difficult for the national church to withdraw from specified areas of the country. But what is the best use of limited resources? Is it to prop up buildings that are virtually empty on Sundays? There are huge numbers of churches in the East End with almost no congregation now because their parishes have become 95 per cent Muslim and Hindu. Why keep up the pretence?‘
That view isn‘t shared by everyone. `The majority of Church of England people would say that we are committed to the whole nation and don‘t want to leave one square inch that isn‘t in someone‘s parish,‘ says a senior canon. Many others feel that the Church‘s healing presence is needed more than ever in the increasingly uncommunal communities of England. In some rural areas, for instance — shorn of their post office, schools, pubs, shops, bus routes and doctor‘s surgeries — the village church is the last thread holding the social fabric together. Similarly, in many inner cities the Church Urban Fund has played a key part in countering chronic urban deprivation by channelling more than £40 million of church money into 3,000 youth, community and social projects.
This, and the continued excellence of the Church of England‘s schools, is what constitutes the `hidden success story‘ that the Church of England hierarchy believes the media ignores. And it is undeniably a success story. But unfortunately — and despite what the Gospel tells us about the lilies of the field — money still has to underpin every initiative. How can the Church generate enough income to sustain that vital social work, continue its nationwide ministry, pay all those pensions, and preserve that fabric of 16,000 buildings?
One obvious option is for its loyal members to stump up even more dosh. Recently, some gentle emotional blackmail succeeded in lifting the average weekly donation from £4 to £6. But that is peanuts compared with what other churches extract from their members, especially in America. How else could the Church make money? Well, it could sell more of its picturesque parsonages, but 8,000 have already been disposed of since the war and there are signs of a backlash. People don‘t like to see their vicar living in a tiny council house where there's no room to swing a cat, let alone an awkward PCC meeting. Many parishes are doing deals with mobile-phone companies keen to conceal their masts in suitably lofty towers and spires. This, it is rumoured, can bring in £6,000 a year. Others are selling what they consider to be surplus treasures. But such treasures can only be sold once.
For cathedrals, another vital source of revenue is merchandising. Unlike parishes, cathedrals have to be self-supporting. The sums needed are vast. Westminster Abbey, needs to raise £9 million a year to cover its costs. But while merchandising and admission fees can be lucrative for places such as the Abbey, Canterbury Cathedral and York Minster, they aren't much help to cathedrals off the tourist trail.
What, then, of the idea that the Church of England might apply for state funding? After all, it is (nominally at least) still the national church, and it does have to take care of nearly half the country's Grade 1 listed buildings. In France, Germany and Scandinavia the churches all receive state support. `There is always talk of the state being asked to help,‘ one former cathedral dean says. `The feeling is that if we asked the state for more general help, politicians would be soon telling us what to do in our own churches.‘
But perhaps the reluctance to appeal for state help is rooted in a deeper unease: a feeling that the Church of England, far from being at the centre of the `British Establishment‘ (whatever that now is), is increasingly marginalised in a society that seems to get more secular by the day. `To me,‘ a London vicar says, ?our situation is summed up by the psalm text that asks: How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? For the Church of England in the 21st Century, England is an alien land — even a hostile land. The challenge is to find a way of singing the Lord‘s song in it.‘
And, of course, to make ends meet. Still, the Church has always trusted in divine providence. At present, one suspects, an awful lot of parish treasurers are giving those lilies of the field some pretty serious consideration.
In 1846, Dr Ludwig Krapf, a German missionary of CMS (Church Missionary Society of England), arrived in Rabai, 12 miles from Mombasa on the East African coast. He was 36 years old and already had attended the Basel Missionary College in Switzerland, studied medicine, joined the CMS of England, and with his wife, failed to establish a Christian mission in Ethiopia, being expelled from the country.
Soon after, he arrived in Mombasa, where his wife and newly-born infant died from malaria just days later. Undaunted, he travelled along the coast searching for a place to establish a mission, until he found Rabai, 1,000 feet above sea level, away from the sultry heat and the worst of the mosquitoes. There he founded the first Christian mission in Kenya. The church, St Paul‘s, is still in use today.
A fellow German, Johann Rebman, who had also trained at Basel and was later ordained at the CMS College in Islington soon joined him. In 1848, Rebman became the first European to see Mount Kilimanjaro and in 1849, Krapf saw the snow-capped Mount Kenya for the first time. Four years later, Krapf became ill and returned to Europe, but not before he had written a Swahili Grammar, published in 1850, and translated parts of the Bible into Swahili and the Kamba language.
In 1862, Ludwig Krapf returned to Kenya with Thomas Wakefield, my great-grandfather, and together they established the first Methodist mission in Kenya at Ribe, about 8 miles from Rabai. Today, in the village of Ribe, there is still a strong Methodist presence. The present church building is soon to be replaced by a larger one, to accommodate the growing congregation. The Methodist Boys‘ and Girls‘ Boarding Schools are well-regarded, as is the small Methodist Primary School. A dispensary in the mission compound caters for the needs of the villagers. Wakefield survived for 27 years in East Africa, although his first wife, Rebecca, my great-grandmother, and her infant son died and are buried in Ribe, in the graveyard just down the hill from the village.
On our third visit to Ribe in 18 years, in June this year, my husband Eric and I visited Rabai for the first time. We were welcomed by Charity, Anne and Susan, members of the Mothers' Union of the Church of the Province of Kenya (CPK), who were preparing for a Diocesan event in St Paul‘s Church on the following day. Soon, the curator of the small museum, opened in 1998, arrived. He proudly showed ur round the village. Krapf‘s house is now the museum and Rebman‘s cottage a nursery school. Nearby is the Krapf Memorial Secondary School. The Rabai museum is the first community-run museum in Kenya and is a fitting tribute to the work of the early missionaries, who not only spread the good news of the Christian gospel but founded schools and tended the sick, work which still continues today.
Next to St Paul's Church, the gate leading into the small Christian graveyard, shaded by palm trees bears the inscription:
Weird Words from the World Wide Web Chris Price
One of the strange pleasures of having your email address on a public website is the assortment of `junk mail‘ that drops on your electronic mat. A lot of it is as harmless as your average ?snail mail‘ unsolicited stuff; occasionally there are adverts for the sort of personal services that would bring tears to your eyes — and then there are the occasional earnest fringe religious missives, such as the rather perplexing item recently received and reproduced below.
From: Tony Sharpe
Subject: Re: New Evangelistic Website
Dear Sharon (yes, ?Sharon‘ ! Ed.)
Thank you for sending us your website, (I didn‘t! Ed,) but I
don‘t think you would really want to be part of our links. If you
have read our website) (no again! Ed.) you will realise that we
teach Universal Salvation, that is the salvation of all including
Satan. If we can help in any other way, please feel free to ask.
Not having the Satanic Website in my `favourites‘, I am at a loss to know how Mr Sharpe can be of further help to me or, indeed, to St Faith‘s — but watch this space ...
Thoughts Joan Jones
Spirit and Soul
They are holy to us
But the mind holds
The secrets to your memories.
Is a gift of thought and feeling
So easy to distinguish
Our hearts are aglow and
We feel elevated to the most.
Perhaps its only for a moment
But have you experienced that wonderful feeling?
It is a few months now, since I was given the daunting news that I would need a course of chemotherapy. I don‘t suppose anyone would actually welcome such news but, in my case, I felt very frightened. Before me seemed to lie a long ordeal. The treatment cannot begin until the procedures, the possible side-effects and the likely result are explained clearly to the patient. It all seemed doom and gloom at that time, but, in reality, it has turned out rather differently.
The Oncology Department at Clatterbridge Hospital serves a wide area. I met people from Blundellsands, Crosby, Freshfield, Warrington, Northwich, Grassendale and Llangollen. One day Bishop David and Grace were there. He said he had received good wishes from St Faith‘s during his illness. Before my treatment began, I went for a pre-visit. A lady from Speke must have realised how nervous I felt. `Don‘t worry‘, she said, `they give you tablets to prevent the sickness. I‘m here for a booster. I asked for this myself.‘ Such kind, reassuring people are the `salt of the earth‘ and I met many of them during the months of my therapy.
Recently, I have done a tour of the hospitals on Merseyside — Fazakerley, Clatterbridge, the Royal and Arrowe Park. I must say that the care I have received in all of them has been excellent. I owe many thanks to the staff. One hears complaints, of course, and I am sure that for those who work in the system there are numerous frustrations. Nevertheless, we should not underestimate the N.H.S. It may be imperfect but it is great to have around when we need it.
After the treatment was given I did have some days when I was very tired. A few of these were spent simply lying on the settee. How times change! When I was working, particularly in the early summer, the idea of spending a day lying on the settee would have been heaven-sent. Now I am retired and time is my own, I don‘t see it in quite the same way. I have lost my hair, although this does not happen to everyone on chemotherapy. The N.H.S. has provided me with a wig. It is very much like my own hair: that is, when I have been to the hairdresser! The wigs are temperamental and have minds of their own. One afternoon, I was trying on sun hats in Broadbent‘s. As I removed one hat, the wig decided to lift off with it instead of staying on my poor head. Oh, dear! Strangely enough, the friend who was with me is still on speaking terms! I am more careful now that I know what an impish sense of humour the wig has. I don‘t want to be running around on a windy day chasing my hair...
So, for me, this summer there has been no weekends away and no holiday. I had to return the Wimbledon tickets and the trip to the Eisteddfod had to be cancelled. I am not actively involved at church and I can‘t go to Speke Hall. My life has been very limited but not entirely negative. I have had the opportunity to step back and view life from another perspective. I am more aware of the difference between essentials and the `excess baggage‘. I also appreciate the local area more. Trips to Hall Road to watch the river, the supermarket at Formby and the view from Parbold Hill have been the highlights of my calendar. So, what threatened to be a nasty episode in my life has in many ways been a positive one. I have learned a lot, enjoyed a lot and, hopefully, there will be some benefit too.
Enjoy an evening dining out at four different houses, meet new
see the inside of four different houses and help make money for the
at the same time! More details next month — see Linda Nye if you
would like to be involved.
Fr Myles Davies‘ many friends at St Faith‘s will have been delighted to hear of his recent preferment to the ranks of Canon Diocesan of Liverpool Cathedral.
Last year we took great pleasure and joy sharing in Myles‘ Silver Jubilee celebrations both at St faith‘s and at St Anne‘s, Stanley, and we assure him, and Doreen, of our warmest felicitations, prayers and good wishes on the good news of his appointment.
It doesn‘t do to believe everything you read on the internet, but
according to a message doing the rounds, are `actual clippings from
newspapers‘. The Editor has his doubts ... but then these are American
Our youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8 pm in the recreation hall. Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.
Miss Charlene Mason sang, `I will not pass this way again,‘ giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
Barbara remains in hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions. She is also having trouble with sleeping and requests tapes of pastor Jack‘s sermons.
Eight new choir robes are currently needed, due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
The Scouts are saving aluminium cans, bottles, and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
Low Self-Esteem Support Group will meet next Thursday. Please use the back door.
Weight Watchers will meet at 7 pm at the First Presybyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.
Only two fifths of people think Jesus would go to church if he were alive today and more than 40% say the institution of the church puts more people off Christianity than it attracts, according to an NOP poll.
A good name for it, as I see it:
Though doubtless no conscious irony
Framed its phrasing, and those who glance at it
(If indeed any in this holding area
Are, like me, scanning the walls for enlightenment)
May well not read beween the lines.
Shuffling hesitantly into this pen,
They proffer cards, letters, appointments,
Peer round, drift across and park
In ones and twos on the institutional chairs,
To sit in suspended animation,
Nurses bustle to and fro.
A distant infant wails intermittently.
Orderlies in confident loud tones
Banter incomprehensibly down phones.
We sit on in silence
Or converse nervously, sotto voce.
Outside, ambulances come and go.
Unreformed smokers pollute the open air.
Inside, perched on plastic, the patient await their call.
A few read books, or pretend to read books.
Time slows to an unseen crawl. From a doorway
Nurses intermittently summon somebody else.
Appointments, it is suddenly announced,
Are now running over an hour late.
It doesn‘t seem to matter
In this featureless container where time is relative.
No one asks questions, as watches are furtively scanned
And the noonday sun glares through the glass.
No urgency. No blood. No threatening or complaining.
Just a docile acceptance and a staring into space,
Waiting for a vision, or a spectacle,
Or perhaps to see through a glass darkly.
In this patient waiting area
Everyone takes the long view.
One of the Archbishop of Canterbury‘s favourite preachers (the Anglican Billy Graham-style evangelist J.JOHN) and a so-called ?prominent cleric? (Rev MARK STIBBE, vicar of one of the country‘s best-attended charismatic churches) have dismayed C of E traditionalists by publishing parodies of the Lord‘s Prayer. Defending them, J.John declared: ?These are excellent parodies. The point we were making is that most people say the Lord‘s Prayer from time to time but they don‘t live it. Most people don‘t go to church. Those are the people I am trying to reach out to.‘ We reproduce one of the parodies and invite comment from St Faith‘s C of E traditionalists (or anyone else).
The Lad‘s Prayer
Which art in barrels
Hallowed be thy drink
Thy will be drunk
I will be drunk
At home as it is in the local.
Forgive us this day our daily spillage
As we forgive those who spillest against us
And lead us not into the practice of poncey wine-tasting
But deliver us from alco-ops
For mine is the bitter, the ale and the lager
For ever and ever.
On July 3rd, Alan Brooks was ordained deacon at St John‘s Church, Waterloo, where he is a member of the congregation. The ordaining bishop was the Dean of Liverpool Cathedral, the Rt Revd Rupert Hoare.
It was a unique occasion, as it is the first ordination to be held in a church in the Bootle Deanery rather than in the Cathedral. Alan is an Ordained Local Minister, exercising his ministry at St John‘s. He has also become a member of the chaplaincy team at Fazakerley Hospital.
We pray for Alan as he continues his ministry, and the other deacons
serving in the Diocese who were ordained at the Cathedral on the
Farewell Fr Neil
We record our thanks and good wishes to Christopher Parker, who has recently left the choir after a number of year‘s service and is now pursuing his academic career in the south of England. Chris has been a faithful member of the choir (sometimes the only tenor!) and has contributed much to the life of the church in other areas. He was confirmed in Saint Faith‘s during the service conducted by the late Lord Runcie in May, 1988 and he was also on the rota for reading the scriptures during the Sunday Eucharist. His uniqe sense of humour brought a certain ?something‘ to last year‘s Walsingham Pilgrimage!
Thank you, Chris, for all you have given to Saint Faith‘s. Our prayers and best wishes go with you.
Rehearsals for the next Pantomime `BABES IN THE WOOD‘ begin on Sunday 9th September. More details will appear in the weekly news sheet.
You are so Blessed
If you woke up early this morning with more health than illness,
you are more blessed than the million who won‘t survive the week.
If you have never experienced the danger of battle,
the loneliness of imprisonment,
the agony of torture
or the pangs of starvation,
you are ahead of twenty million people around the world.
If you attend a church meeting without fear of harassment,
arrest, torture or death,
you are more blessed than almost three billion people in the world.
If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back,
a roof over your head
and a place to sleep,
you are richer than 75% of this world.
If you have money in the bank, in your wallet,
and spare change in a dish somewhere,
you are among the top 8% of the world‘s wealthy.
If your parents are still married and alive,
you are very rare, even in the United States.
If you hold your head up with a smile on your face
and are truly thankful,
you are blessed because you can offer God‘s healing touch.
If you can read this message, you are more blessed
than over two billion people in the world
who cannot read anything at all.
You are so blessed in ways you may never know.
Our Lady Fr Kevin Jordan
A sermon preached in S. Faith‘s on 6th May 2001
Those people who think that any form of devotion to Our Lady is idolatry would be horrified to know that Mary has her own `ology‘ — Mariology. But the whole point of Mariology is that it is not about Our Lady herself but about Christ. The original starting point of insisting that Mary is the Mother of God was not to glorify her per se. It was to clarify the fact that Jesus Christ is not two different people — one human and one divine — but that He is one person, and this person is God the Son.
In the Church for the past fifty years or so there has been a heated debate among Catholic theologians, Mariologists, about what is the first principle of Mariology — what is the root, the basic belief about Mary which unites and explains all the various things we believe about her? And broadly speaking there have been two main approaches to Mariology - the first is the Christological, and the second the ecclesiological approach. In the first, the first principle is that Mary is the Mother of Christ, of God, and then because she has this unique maternal relationship with Christ, you go on to see that she has correspondingly unique privileges — the fullness of grace and so on. Whereas in the second, ecclesiological, approach, the first principle is that Mary is the prototype of the Church, the most perfectly redeemed disciple of Christ, and because of that she is totally holy, free from sin, and already assumed into heaven.
So the debate is about whether Mary should be understood as someone who stands with Christ on a level above the Church, or whether she stands with us, under Christ, in the Church, at the heart of the Church. And when that debate surfaced at the Second Vatican Council, the second approach won the day. The Mariology of the Council consists in chapter eight of the document Lumen Gentium. There we read, `the faithful must in the first place reverence the memory of the glorious ever-virgin Mary, Mother of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ... She is the beloved daughter of the Father and the temple of the Holy Spirit and because of this gift of grace she far surpasses all creatures, both in heaven and on earth. But being of the race of Adam, she is at the same time united to all those who are saved. She is the mother of the members of the Church because by her charity she has joined in bringing about the birth of believers in the Church‘.
Yet whichever approach you prefer, the starting point has to be that Mary is the Mother of God. After all, the only reason we believe that Mary is uniquely linked with Christ, and the only reason we believe Mary is the most perfectly redeemed Christian, the prototype of the Church, is precisely because she is the Mother of God. So it seems logical to take as our theme this doctrine that Mary is the Mother of God, the dogma of the Divine Motherhood of Mary.
To begin with, the New Testament tells us much about Mary. We don't even need to go to the infancy narratives in Matthew and Luke, for the earliest synoptic tradition calls Jesus the Son of Mary: Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary (Mk 6:3)? Later, in John‘s gospel we are told that Jesus was God (John 1:1 etc). Therefore, implicitly the New Testament teaches that Mary was the Mother of God.
Paul explicitly states that the Son of God sent was born of a woman: When the time had fully come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law (Gal 4:4). Now the scripture scholars say that Paul is using the word `Son‘ in its fullest sense — Jesus is strictly the Son of God, not just the Messiah. He existed with the Father before being sent into the world. And of course, there would be no point in explaining that He was born of a woman if He were only a man, because if He were only a man then nothing important would be being said! So Paul is saying that the pre-existent Son of God was born of a woman. Since that woman is known to be Mary from the synoptic tradition, then it follows that Mary gave birth to the pre-existent Son of God, and that Mary is the Mother of the Son of God.
They are Israelites, and to them belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the Law, the worship and the promises; to them belong the Patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God blessed forever (Rom 9:5). Here Paul establishes Christ, the Son of God, as an Israelite. What makes him so? The fact that He was born of an Israelite mother. A mother who was Mary, who is therefore the Mother of God. Of course we cannot overlook the infancy narratives. In Luke 1:35 Mary is told that the power of the Most High will overshadow her. In the Old Testament there was a cloud overshadowing God‘s presence (Ex 40:34; Num 9:18). The implication then is that just as God was in the tabernacle, now Mary is the dwelling place of God as the Mother of God.
In Luke 8:21; 11:27 there is a new angle. Faith, accepting God‘s word, makes one Christ‘s mother. This doesn‘t repudiate Mary, who for Luke is a disciple who does accept God‘s word (Lk 2:19, 51; Acts 1:14), but shows that faith is the core of her motherhood. Mary shows faithful and eager acceptance of God‘s word — the verb used by Mary expresses a joyful desire, an emotion that is lost in the translation to let it be done (Lk 1:38). She is blessed because of both her womb and her faith (Lk 1:41-45). Therefore she is the Mother of God not only physically, but in a perfect harmony of faith and biology, spirit and body. As such she is the Mother of Jesus because she is the first one who completely opened herself to him in faith — she is the first disciple.
What theological insights do we get from all this? First of all, Mary became the Mother of God by a perfectly integrated harmonious act of soul and body: she both received the Word of God in faith and conceived the Word of God in body. Now the Church is those who receive the Incarnate Word (Jn 1:12). But Mary received the Incarnate Word first and fullest. She is therefore the beginning, the model, the heart of the Church because its essence consisted in her. Hence the Church is feminine, receptive, the handmaid of the Lord, mirroring Christ only by total submission to him. Yet Mary‘s faith was not only our model, but conditioned the Incarnation and Redemption — without her faith there would have been no Jesus of Nazareth. We only believe, we only receive the Word, we are redeemed because she believed, she received the Word, she was redeemed. Mary actively co-operated in our Redemption and so she is rightly the mother of all believers (Jn 19:25-27).
As a model believer, Mary has eternal life (Jn 3:36), so she still, now, actively helps us to salvation. God wills to save us as a community: that is to say through each other and hence we pray for one another on earth. But here concupiscence, bad habits and so on allow us to pray only in a fragmented way. In heaven, however grace so penetrates the saints that they can pray wholeheartedly. As the model, Mary has the biggest heart and so prays for us most fully. Hence she is our Advocate, Helper, Intercessor, Mediatrix. Her faith is the gift of God‘s grace and the fruit of Christ‘s redemption. In praising her we therefore praise God‘s grace and Christ‘s redemption
To conclude then, in honouring Mary as the Mother of God we honour
for sanctifying her and us. We honour God for his grace, not destroying
but elevating human freedom to faith and love. We honour God for his
to save us not as isolated human beings but through each other. We
God for giving us that obedience to Christ which conforms us to him in
his obedience to the Father. We honour God for the eternal life He
to believers. There is no room here for accusations of idolatry.