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The Parish Magazine
of Saint Faith's Church, Great Crosby
Saint Faith’s Prayer for
Faithful God, in baptism you have adopted us as your children,
made us members of the body of Christ and chosen us as inheritors of your kingdom:
bless our plans for mission and outreach; guide us to seek and do your will;
empower us by your Spirit to share our faith in witness and to serve,
and send us out as disciples of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
From the Ministry Team
In July I had to go to London for a meeting of NICE. Preparing to travel by Tube, it was I suppose inevitable that I would mull over, yet again, the significance of the recent bombings. How should we react to these atrocities as a nation, and, in the face of a perceived threat from Islam, as a Christian church? The bombing of civilians in the second world war led to an understandable paranoia and fear of ‘aliens’, and to the internment of many thousands of innocent foreign nationals. In the fog of war it is tempting to see things in black and white, when the truth is so often a shade of grey; complex and difficult to understand. ‘Truth is the first casualty of war’ and may be an early victim of terrorism also. Where can we look for the truth? Do we as Christians have any store of wisdom which can help us to find it?
At the Diocesan Readers’ Summer School this year we were reminded that the scriptures can never be a source of absolute truth because they can often be contradictory and are always open to interpretation. Maybe this is true of the Koran as well as the Bible. Most of us are selective in what we take from the scriptures – for Christians each one of us has a ‘Bible within a Bible’ which we as individuals would recognise as ‘our faith’. For me the most important story in the whole Bible is the account of Our Lord’s trial, passion and crucifixion. Pilate asked Jesus the very question we want to ask: what is truth? And in reply Pilate was told that ‘truth’ is Jesus himself.
Certainly Jesus was uncompromising when it came to the truth about individuals, regardless of whether they were Jews, Romans or Samaritans. His concern for the truth sometimes caused people to feel uncomfortable. It made Jesus enemies and ultimately cost him his life. But so often in his teaching he would avoid dogma; he taught in parables which invited people to work out what the truth meant in their own lives. And so it is for us, confronted by the threat from suicide bombers. Were the recent atrocities politically motivated by the Arab-Israeli conflict or by the war in Iraq? Were they fermented by social isolation, either involuntary or self-imposed? Or can they be blamed on a perverted and rabidly fundamentalist form of Islam? Whatever the truth, it is painful to see the further truth that lies behind these questions: that we can be hated so much.
Jesus went to the Cross bearing a message of peace, reconciliation
salvation. His ideas were revolutionary, but he chose to be crucified
than start an earthly revolution. For
Jesus and his followers the worst form of tyranny is to try and impose the truth by force: that insight must inform our Christian response to the bombings – ‘this is the greatest treason, to do the wrong thing for the right reason’. At the summer school (held before the bombings) we were told that the only proper response for a Christian to have to Moslems was to try to convert them. Is that really right? Given that the revelation of God in the face of his Son is truly unique, does that truth necessarily imply that Christians now have to engage in an ideological battle for the hearts and minds of Moslems, and those of other faiths? Is it God’s will, in the twenty first century, that Christianity, and only Christianity, should prevail? Or is it his will that men and women, within the imperfections of their different faiths, should first learn to live peaceably together? Those who argue that Christians should not take the easy way out should consider which of these alternatives they consider to be the soft option.
The crucifixion and resurrection of Our Lord still stand as emblems of God’s love for mankind, and of the cost of that love. All Christians share in witnessing to the one great truth of our faith: that God’s love for the world is indestructible and ultimately more powerful than any tyranny or ideology. In the presence of terrorism it is a truth that the church should both cherish and proclaim.
Saint Faith’s Holiday Club
I must be getting old but it really doesn’t feel like S. Faith’s has now run three holiday clubs! We have. And before I say any more I must record grateful thanks to Joan Tudhope who for months has worked very hard behind the scenes with all the organization of it all. It is no easy task to take on. We had a large number of people offering helping during the week itself in so many ways. It is a great credit to the family of S. Faith’s that we are able to do this and I know from the many comments made by the parents just how much it is appreciated by the families who have brought children along.
So thank you Joan – and your team – for giving the young people of our community another week to remember. It would be marvellous if the scheme could be extended to more than one week in the future but I value my life too much to suggest it at the moment… Watch this space!
The Aftermath of Terror
By the time this gets into print the horrifying events of July 7th in London, and the equally frightening but mercifully less lethal events of July 21st, will have taken their place in history, alongside the bombings in Madrid and Bali and, of course, the ‘9/11’ holocaust in New York. Fr Mark’s powerful sermon (which can be read online at the church website for those who missed it) says all that needs to be said about the theological implications of that terrible event. My thoughts, or rather afterthoughts, were prompted by watching the television coverage of the Trafalgar Square vigil on the following Saturday night, when many thousands stood in respectful and appreciative homage to the dead and wounded and listened to a long succession of speakers.
These latter spoke (a few sang, played or chanted) for anything from two or three to ten or more minutes, and their contributions consisted of tributes or statements, followed by readings of poetry or memorable prose. Contributors came from the ranks of the good and the great, but also the ordinary people of London, who had helped or just been caught up in that unforgettable day.
Like, I guess, most people, I was caught up on the day by the unfolding drama of that Thursday, finding it hard to avoid the constant parade of tragic and dramatic images on the wall-to-wall TV coverage, not just because so many scheduled programmes were replaced, but also because of the human drama that was being shown to us. Throughout the day, much was very properly made of the dedication and professionalism of the emergency services and the resilience and compassion of the victims and those who gave them help. And it was these admirable qualities that were again rightly lauded in the Trafalgar Square vigil. Contributor after contributor paid tribute to the people of London and how well they coped with disaster. Their matter-of-fact, understated cheerful heroism and self-sacrifice brought at least some goodness out of an otherwise unmitigated evil. People of every type, creed, age and colour were unashamedly united in proclaiming their defiance of terrorism, their belief in freedom and tolerance and their deep concern for our common humanity. It is ironic that it seems to take the worst events (the Blitz, 9/11, and now 7/7) to bring out the best in humankind, but it is an irony rooted also in our Christian faith, from its foundation down through the long story of the martyrs of our creeds.
All the stranger, then, that the Christian faith played so
small a part in the vigil. The Bishop of London was there, as was the
of Westminster, and their words of course echoed with the messages of
beliefs. But they shared even this one slot with a Muslim, a Jew and a
Sikh, and they were sandwiched between policemen, trade unionists, the
Mayor, firemen, hospital workers and bus drivers, as well as (I guess)
anarchists and activists and (definitely) rap poets and singers. And as
such they represented, more than anything I can remember, the widely
society of urban Britain. To bring these disparate elements together
a skilful balancing act and,
of course, a unifying national disaster. But it was in no sense a Christian, or even a religious gathering.
A generation ago, any significant national gathering would surely have been framed in a religious context. It would have featured, as most state occasions still do, robed Anglican clergy and formal liturgy, with perhaps a token appearance by the Church of Rome and a Nonconformist minister. The event would have been presented in terms of the age-old certainties of Anglican Christianity. How things have changed. Following a tragic event which tested the faith to the limits and engaged the fears and sympathies of a nation, today’s suffering people took part in a vigil that simply celebrated humanity, with little or no reference to the spiritual dimension; it acted out a powerful folk ritual that owed little or nothing to the established church or even the notion of a Christian nation.
To record this is most certainly not to criticise or complain. The whole thing seemed to this life-long Christian a fine and moving tribute. What it did do was to show how far we have travelled in recent decades. We are a multi-faith society, in which Christianity can claim less and less automatic right to be heard. And equally sadly, for so many people now, religion, albeit in its extreme and distorted form, is seen as a cause of conflict and the dealing of terror rather than the bringer and agent of peace, wholeness and meaning to life. The people who came to that vigil did not seem to be coming to pray: if anything they would see those who pray as being those who, to some degree, had brought about the deaths these spectators had come to remember and mourn. For those of us who do believe, there is much here to think and pray about: not merely centred on the terrible events themselves, but on the reactions those events brought out and what that means for the faith and for the world Christ came to save.
Parish Retreat at Parceval
10-12 March 2006
If you haven’t already decided to come on our parish retreat next year, do please join us – there is a list to sign at the back of church. The peace and reflection we enjoy on retreat are enhanced by the wonderful location of Parceval Hall’ which is set in beautiful gardens, surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in the Yorkshire Dales. I should also add that the food is superb!
Our retreat will be lead by Rachael Willard, a very experienced spiritual director and retreat leader from the Gloucester diocese: she is also a friend of Tim Raphael. Rachael will be accompanied by her husband, the Reverend John Willard, who will also contribute to the retreat and celebrate the Eucharist for us. John is a trustee of St. Boniface’s, the former Warminster theological college. He is suggests that if necessary the St. Boniface Charitable Trust could be approached to provide funds for anyone who might otherwise find the cost of the retreat prohibitive. If anyone would like to apply for this funding please contact me as soon as possible. Happy retreating!
Giving in Grace
I hope that many of you are aware of the programme Giving in Grace which many churches in the Diocese have committed themselves to this year.
As the programme makes clear, the aim is not simply to boost church funds by asking people to put more on the plate. It is about realizing the spirit of generosity each one of us needs to have in thankfulness for the love of God made known in Jesus Christ. Our response might well be to increase our weekly giving so that the church is able to extend its mission and ministry (these things do cost). Our response might well be to increase our weekly giving so that our hall and church buildings can be insured and maintained and are therefore available for use by the wider community. Our response might well be to make an effort to be in church more often, it might be to offer some practical help to the church in terms of time and commitment. Whatever your response is, all of us are called to respond to God’s love.
During September the sermon will follow various themes and the readings are provided for those who may want to look up the Gospel reading prior to the Sunday Eucharist. Also provided are some prayers which you may wish to use each day. Please pray for the success of the Giving in Grace campaign, not just in our own United Benefice but throughout our Diocese. A generous response will enable us to embrace the opportunities and possibilities for mission which we all share. If you want to discuss how you might commit to Giving in Grace, please speak to me, one of the Churchwardens or the Treasurer.
Readings and Themes for Preaching
4th September Matthew 18.15-20 The Debt of Love
11th September Matthew 18:21-35 The Parable of the two debtors
18th September Matthew 20:1-16 The Parable of the Labourers in the vineyard
25th September Preacher: The Bishop of Warrington
Matthew 21: 23-32 By whose authority did John baptize?
2nd October HARVEST FESTIVAL
Matthew 21:33-46 Giving and Giving Away
9th October DEDICATION FESTIVAL
Matthew 22:1-14 The Parable of the Wedding Feast
Some prayers to use
Heavenly Father give grace to us,
the living stones who form your Church,
to reflect prayerfully at this special time
on our love for You and our neighbour.
Make us mindful of the many gifts You
bestow upon us and we ask that your
Holy Spirit will inspire and direct us
in our choice of giving;
remembering that we are only giving back
that which is truly yours.
Strengthen us Lord to meet this challenge
according to your will.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord who has given
all that we may live.
Lord, we know all things come from you,
And we thank you for the particular material resources
entrusted to us.
Make us wise stewards, we pray,
so we do not lavish our cash on passing glamour,
but rather invest earthly gifts
according to eternal values.
Reshape us, good Lord,
until in generosity, in faith, and in
expectation that the best is yet to come,
we are truly Christ-like.
Make us passionate followers of Jesus,
rather than passive supporters.
Make our churches places of radical discipleship
and signposts to heaven,
then, in us, through us, and - if need be -
despite us, let your kingdom come.
The Hunger Site
As more and more people are surrendering to the blandishments of the internet, this is a good time to advertise again the existence of an admirable website. The Hunger Site exists to relieve famine and hardship worldwide, and one of its principal weapons is the facility for anyone and everyone to fund food at the click of a mouse. The donations are paid for by sponsors, who naturally promote their wares on the site. But all you need to do is to add the site to your ‘favourites’, log on daily and with one click supply free help. The website address is supplied via the ‘LINKS’ page from our own site and the editor, who put it there and uses it daily, hopes you will visit it regularly.
Holiday Club Happenings
The centre pages of this issue (see the website feature! Ed.) give some glimpses of the events of the week of August 1st to 7th – a week with the focus definitely on youth. The third Saint Faith’s Holiday Club was a great success, and was blessed with good weather (unlike the previous week at Saint Mary’s, when the day out coincided with Hurricane Thursday!).
Over fifty children aged between five and eleven, divided into four age groups under the care of adult leaders and helpers, took part in a programme of activities, fun and games. The theme was the sea, and much paint and artistry went into creating maritime decorations, including an altar frontal. Outside on Merchant Taylors’ school field across the way, the children stretched their legs and let off steam. At a farm park near Oswestry they rode tractors and fed animals and dressed as soldiers. On the final weekday there was a service in church, with group presentations, and that evening the traditional deafening disco and the vicarage garden barbecue. Finally on the following Sunday, Fr Neil’s colourful and imaginative youth service attracted a good proportion of the children and several of their parents to take part in the Stations of the Saints, Seasons and Sacraments in chocolate!
Thanks are due to Joan Tudhope and all who organized and helped in the week’s activities and the Sunday service, not forgetting the Mission Group, one of whose initiatives provided some of the ideas for the worship. It was hard work, as all who chased children, brewed tea, swept floors, stacked chairs and bought balloons will readily testify, but the reward was great in catering so happily for so many young people in so many way. Suffer the little children? St Faith’s certainly did that in the first week in August…
Singing at the Met.
Having a birthday at the end of July is a mixed blessing. Often the weather is lovely for barbecues and parties, but equally often one’s nearest and dearest have headed off on their annual holidays. This year’s was an exception. I got to spend my big day with great friends, singing some wonderful music, in the spectacular and beautiful setting of the Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King.
For many years, St Faith’s Choir have sung the Sunday services of the last Sunday in July at the Anglican Cathedral, but we felt that it might be time to ring the changes. Certainly, many aspects of our day at the ‘Met’ were different to what we’ve experienced before, but certainly no less enjoyable or moving. As those of you who have visited the cathedral will know, it is a big space to fill, and we had a lot of music, some very new to us, with which to do the job.
The cathedral staff and clergy were exceptionally welcoming, with morning tea and coffee and a glass of wine after mass in the song school. The 11 o’clock mass was well attended, with a lovely ‘family’ atmosphere - people of all ages and from many countries. We will be on the holiday snaps of quite a few tourists! It was a special day for the celebrant too - he had been ordained at the cathedral 28 years ago to the day. His vote of thanks to our choir included the compliment that we sang Latin better than the cathedral choir! The Vierne mass setting sounded fantastic in that enormous space, beautifully accompanied by Stephen Hargreaves on the cathedral organ. He thoroughly enjoyed his day too, getting some fantastic (and some unusual!) sounds from a class instrument. The highlight for me was the plainsong singing of the Agnus Dei, which echoed around that beautiful space perfectly. The procession out, around the whole circumference of the cathedral, was suitably triumphant!
A party atmosphere prevailed at lunch in the cathedral bistro, including being the embarrassed recipient of a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday”. Rehearsal for Evening Prayer followed, and then the service itself, to a small but highly appreciative congregation, including supporters from St Faith’s. Choral evening prayer is almost an entirely sung service - introit, psalmody, magnificat, anthem, responses - which ends with a little procession to the Lady Chapel for the singing of the Ave Maria. It was an understated and beautiful end to a fantastic day. Many thanks to all who supported us, both in the build-up and on the day, to Stephen for his great playing and, of course, to Ged, for his patience, hard work, and talent, without which we would never have made it.
Many of us will now delight in telling our friends that we’ve sung at the Met. I won’t tell them it wasn’t New York if you won’t!
Saint Faith’s-tide Celebrations 2005
Wednesday 5th October THE EVE OF SAINT FAITH
“Holy Hour in preparation for the Feast”
(Please come to all or part of this devotion as you wish)
9pm Liturgy of Readings, prayers and meditation before the Blessed
led by Fr. Derek Hyett
9.30pm Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
Thursday 6th October : SAINT FAITH’S DAY
7.00am Office of Readings
7.30am Holy Eucharist (said)
9.00am Morning Prayer
5.00pm Evening Prayer
8.00pm Solemn Concelebrated Mass
Preacher: Fr. Philip North, Administrator of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham followed by buffet supper
Saturday 8th October
7.30pm PATRONAL FESTIVAL CONCERT –
“A Night at the Opera”
Tickets: £5 to include a glass of champagne
Sunday 9th October DEDICATION FESTIVAL
11.00am High Mass
Preacher: Fr. Richard Knowling
(S. Alphege, Edmonton & S. Matthew, Ponder’s End, London)
6.00pm Festal Evensong, Procession and Solemn Te Deum
Friday 14th October
7.30 am Mass for pilgrims for the beginning of the 2005 United Benefice pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham
We are Survivors
(for those born before 1940)
We were born before television, penicillin and polio shots. Before frozen food, Xerox, plastic, contact lenses, videos, frisbees and ‘The Pill’. We were before radar, credit cards, split atoms, laser beams, and ball point pens. Before dishwashers, tumble dryers, electric blankets and drip dry clothes.
We were born before man walked on the moon. In our day, we got married first then lived together (how quaint can you be). We thought fast food was what you ate at Lent. A ‘big mac’ was an oversized raincoat, and crumpet ... that was something you had with tea.
We existed before ‘house-husbands’, computer dating, job sharing, and when you had a meaningful relationship, it meant getting along with your cousins. Sheltered accommodation was where you waited for the bus. We were before Day Centres, Group Homes and disposable nappies.
We had never heard of FM radio, tape decks, electric typewriters, artificial hearts, word processors, yoghurt, and young men wearing earrings were never seen. For us, ‘time share’ was quality time spent together, a chip was a piece of wood or fried potato, hardware was nuts and bolts, software just wasn’t a word.
Before 1940, ‘Made in Japan’ meant junk. The term ‘making out’ referred to how well you did in your exams. A stud was something to fasten a collar to a shirt. Going ‘all the way’ meant staying on the bus to the depot.
Instant coffee, pizzas and MacDonalds were unheard of. Cigarette smoking was fashionable. Grass was mown. Coke was kept in the coal bunker. A joint was a piece of meat you cooked on a Sunday. Pot was the thing you cooked it in.
Rock music was your grandmother’s lullaby. Eldorado was an ice cream. A ‘gay’ person was the life and soul of a party. Aids were walking sticks or help for someone in trouble.
We, who were born before 1940, must be a hardy bunch, when you think of how the world has changed and the adjustments we have had to make; no wonder we are confused and there is a generation gap today.
But by the grace of God, we have survived.
Parish Purse Contributions
January – June 2005
2 125 33 27.05
3 100 36 271
4 260 38 165
5 135 40 73.50
6 120 42 33
7 175 43 67
8 48 44 19
9 44 45 138
10 52 46 700
11 100.70 47 299
12 115 49 125
13 125 51 646
14 218 53 54
15 24.70 54 81
16 130 55 545
17 195 57 63.50
18 109 58 16.20
19 181 59 252
20 120 71 180
21 140 72 107
22 60 75 170
23 76 76 135
24 168 78 128
25 170 79 250
27 208 Total
29 112 £8259.45
The Waterloo Partnership
In recent weeks the work of building the link between the two Waterloo communities has gathered momentum. In recent issues we have reported something of what is being planned: now the steering committee of the newly-named Waterloo Partnership is meeting weekly to make things happen.
The four expedition founder-members, our M.P. Claire Curtis-Thomas, Kathy Zimak, Sacred Heart’s Head of R.E. David Moorhead and Ofsted Inspector Terry McLoughlin. have been joined by several other helpers as the work expands. Fred and Linda Nye are in charge of the logistics of supply, and I have been asked to create and run the website for the Partnership.
As a result, I was pleased to be able to launch the site on August 1st last, and am engaged in building it up and adding to it, so that it can provide a record in words and pictures of the developing scheme, available to, and carrying news from, both communities. Those who regularly log on to our own Church website (whose address is on the last page of every issue of Newslink), will know that there is a direct link to the new site from our home page; they may already have seen the galleries of pictures and read reports from Kathy and Fred, as well as a growing resource of background information and regular highlights from the steering committee’s meetings.
As you will recall, the first links in the chain were forged when,
a 2003 Parliamentary visit to Africa, Claire Curtis-Thomas visited us
told us of the plight of Sierra Leone in general and of Waterloo in
As a result, we launched an appeal for school material, and, thanks to
the generosity of St Faith’s folk, were able to send out four boxes
the recent delegation, which Kathy Zimak delivered to the school for
that first collection was made. Things have moved on from there. The
has rightly decided that, as more local schools, churches and
get involved on our side, help must be channelled through a central
so that a fair distribution can be made to as many needy recipients
civic institutions, Christian churches of all denominations and also
establishments) as possible. As you may recall from Kathy’s earlier
we have now made contact with the Anglican church and schools in
S.L., and almost certainly they will be the focus of our future efforts
at St Faith’s. Canon Claudius Leighton Davies, Anglican Area Dean in
is now on the mailing list for Newslink, and we look forward to hearing
from him and making links with him and his people in the weeks and
The Waterloo Partnership started small, and we were in at the start
of it; now it’s growing bigger and we are strongly represented on it.
is a photographic display at the back of church, pages about the
in our own website and now there is the new site for the wider picture
– and of course there will be regular reports in these pages. I for one
am delighted that our overseas mission – already so well-established in
our continuing support for Medic Malawi (more news from them next
– is now being focused also on Sierra Leone. St Faith’s people have
their commitment and generosity over the years, and I have no doubt
when they are asked to help in the next wave of support for the
Partnership (there is a container going out in October!) they will be
generous. Once again, it’s a case of … watch this space!
I thought it didn’t happen to doctors! Friday 15th July was a beautiful sunny day and I was practising hitting golf balls. The onset of fairly severe chest pains put an end to this. By Saturday afternoon, still I pain, I was in Fazakerley Hospital: I had had a heart attack.
Transfer to the Cardio-Thoracic Unit at Broad Green Hospital for further investigation resulted in coronary artery bypass surgery and discharge home five days after the operation, feeling rather sore and shocked by the speed of events.
I had received wonderful treatment at both hospitals. Anne and I have been greatly supported by our children and by the prayers and best wishes of many friends. We are particularly grateful to Fr Neil and the whole family of St Faith’s for all their concern and encouragement towards a speedy recovery.
Michael and Anne Holland
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