News from Holy Trinity Church Formby

Liverpool Cathedral

Letter from the Minister............

Reverend Mark Stanford

Photo of Mark Stanford

As Jesus tell the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (or tax collector), he paints a dichotomy between the two which has inspired artists over centuries. We can see clearly the Pharisee, a confident epitome of self-promotion and self-righteousness, thanking God that he is so much better in every way than everyone else. In stark contrast we make out the Publican, standing far off, in the shadows. He knows he needs grace, beating his breast, head bowed down, he cries, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner’ (You can read the story in In Luke 18: 9- 14).
Jesus is clear, only one of them goes home justified – in a right relationship with God – the publican.
It’s ironic therefore that leading Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, whilst courting ‘christian vote’, was asked if he had ever sought God’s forgiveness. His response: “I am not sure I have. I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I don't think so," he said. "I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture. I don't.’
Sin above all is a rejection of our ‘intrinsic relatedness to God and his creation’ . This is why King David’s cry (after his disastrous relationship with Bathsheba) is, ‘Against you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight’ (Psalm 51: 4).
We can try to relativise our sin – it’s not as bad or as big as our neighbours; we can try to hide our sin, but the mask will finally slip; we can ignore our sin, but God can’t and won’t, that’s the reason for the cross, for it’s there that God, in Jesus deals with our sin. God is always in the picture, and try as we might, we can’t make things right without him. We all need grace. As we continue through Lent why not pray this prayer of St John
Chrsysostom (c. 347- 407): ‘
I am not worthy, Master and Lord, that you should come beneath the roof of my soul: but I am glad that you have come to me because in your loving kindness you desire to dwell in me. You ask me to open the door of my soul, which you alone have created, so that you may enter into it with your loving kindness and dispel the darkness of my mind. I believe you will do this because you did not send away the harlot that came to you with tears; nor cast out the repentant publican; nor reject the thief who acknowledged your kingdom, nor forsake the repentant persecutor, a yet greater act, but all those who came to you in repentance were counted in the band of your friends, who alone abide blessed forever, now, and unto endless ages. Amen’
Have a blessed Holy Week and Easter

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Liverpool Cathedral


‘Palms to Go’ in Holy Week (Mon 21 to Thurs 24 March)
Following the success of the Holy Week experience “Palms to Go” in previous years the Cathedral is offering the same way to mark Holy Week in 2016. Palms to Go’ will enable visitors to receive a Palm Sunday cross from one of the Cathedral clergy. Palm Sunday is where Christians remember Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry to Jerusalem. They receive a cross made from a palm leaf. It also marks the start of Holy Week when we follow Jesus’ journey to death and resurrection.
As with last year, those who miss the main service alongside regular visitors to the Cathedral can take part by receiving a palm cross. From Monday to Thursday between 2pm and 3pm crosses will be distributed by a member of clergy in the main space of the Cathedral.
Canon Paul Rattigan who organises Palms to Go said “This is a great opportunity for visitors to enter into the spiritual journey of Easter. The Palm Cross echoes the contrasting themes of Holy Week. The palm leaf reminds us how Jesus was welcomed as a king. The cross reminds us that five days later they rejected him as he was nailed to a cross.”
Admission to the Cathedral and receipt of crosses are free. Car parking is pay on exit.
Lent Lectures
The cathedral will be hosting its annual series of four lectures delivered over the Lent period. This year's series will be presented by Rt. Revd Dr Pete Wilcox, Dean of Liverpool. Taking as its theme will be ‘The Passion of Jesus in the Gospels’. There have been two sessions in February but still to come are: - Mon 7 March Luke and Mon 14 March John. Admission to the Cathedral, lecture and car park are free.
'Whom do you seek?' - Liverpool Passion Plays
Returning for their fourth year Liverpool Cathedral’s Passion Plays have attracted a growing following and a reputation for using the cathedral’s great space to fantastic effect in retelling the familiar story of Christ’s Passion.
Performed over five nights during Holy Week and after Easter, the Passion Plays combine drama, liturgy and music, guiding audience members around the great space of the cathedral building to watch - and at points even become part of - the re-enactment of Christ’s Passion. The spaces of Liverpool Cathedral will be used to dramatise Christ’s last supper, trial and crucifixion.
The all-important dates are as follows and the times of the plays are from 6.30pm to 8 15pm(approx.)
Act 1 - Monday 21st March
Act 2 - Tuesday 22nd March
Act 3 - Wednesday 23rd March
Act 4 - Holy Saturday 26th March (performance starts at 4 15pm)
Act 5 - Saturday 7th May (performance starts at 4 15pm)
Choral Evensong takes place at 5.30pm Monday to Friday. All are welcome to attend before the performances begin.
The play’s co-author and Director, Dan Bishop, gives a sense of how the plays have grown and developed. “We have learnt and refined the plays each year, as we see how scenes work, as we get a sense of audience
reaction and as the cast grows and develops their confidence and understanding of the text. This keeps it fresh and exciting for the cast and a new experience for visitors.The crucifixion is the emotional heart of the story.
To see the crucifixion on the Dulverton Bridge creates a powerful, poignant moment for the drama. It never fails to move people”.
Overall, it’s a performance that can create many spine tingling moments as the audience is immersed in an action that happens all round them. Roles move around between the cast enabling different members to experience new challenges and each brings their own perspective on the role they inhabit, a perspective which is often informed by their own faith.
Admission to the Cathedral, Car Park and Passion Plays are free.

Richard Woodward