FACT Mission Statement

We are :
From various churches
Assisting and serving our communities
Christians working together
To make a difference

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Hugh O'Flarhety and Jim Elliot

Hugh O'Flaherty - Roman Catholic - Priest (28 February, 1898 – 30 October, 1963)

Hugh O'Flaherty was born in Lisrobin, Kiskeam, County Cork, Ireland and studied theology at the Killarney seminary. He was posted to Rome in 1922 to finish his studies and was ordained on 20 December, 1925. He stayed to work for the Holy See, serving as a Vatican diplomat in Egypt, Haiti, Santo Domingo and Czechoslovakia. In 1934, O'Flaherty received the title of Monsignor. In addition to his priestly duties, he was an amateur golfing champion. He was also a champion boxer and a good handball player and hurler.
In the early years of World War II, O'Flaherty toured prisoner of war camps in Italy and tried to find out about prisoners who had been reported missing in action. If he found them alive, he tried to reassure their families through Vatican Radio. When Italy changed sides in 1943, thousands of British POWs were released. Some of them, remembering visits by O'Flaherty, reached Rome and asked him for help. Others went to the Irish legation, the only English-speaking one to remain open in Rome during the war. Delia Murphy, who was the wife of the ambassador and in her day a well-known ballad singer, was one of those who helped O'Flaherty. O'Flaherty did not wait for permission from his superiors. He recruited the help of other priests, two agents working for Free French and even Communists and a Swiss count. One of his aides was British Colonel Sam Derry. He also kept contact with Sir D'Arcy Osborne, British Ambassador to the Vatican. O'Flaherty and his allies concealed 4000 escapees - Allied soldiers and Jews - in flats, farms and convents. One of the hideouts was beside the local SS headquarters. O'Flaherty coordinated all this and when he was visiting outside the Vatican, he wore various disguises. The German occupiers of Rome tried to stop him and eventually they found out that the leader of the network was a priest. SS attempts to assassinate him failed. They found out his identity, but could not arrest him inside the Vatican. When the German ambassador revealed this to O'Flaherty, he began to meet his contacts on the stairs of the St. Peter's Basilica. Several others, including priests, nuns and lay people, worked in secret with Msgr. O'Flaherty, and even hid refugees in their own private homes around Rome. Among these were Augustinian Maltese Fathers, Egidio Galea, Aurelio Borg, Ugolino Gatt and Brother Robert. Another person who contributed significantly to this operation was the Malta-born widow Chetta Chevalier, who hid some refugees in her house with her children, and was lucky to escape detection. Jewish religious services were conducted in the Basilica di San Clemente under a painting of Tobias - the Basilica was under Irish diplomatic protection. When the Allies arrived in Rome in June 1944, 3925 of the escapees were still alive. O'Flaherty demanded that German prisoners be treated properly as well. He took a plane to South Africa to meet Italian POWs and to Jerusalem to visit Jewish refugees. Of the 9,700 Jews in Rome, 1,007 had been shipped to Auschwitz. The rest were hidden, 5,000 of them by the official Church - 3,000 in Castel Gandolfo, 200 or 400 (estimates vary) as "members" of the Palatine Guard and some 1,500 in monasteries, convents and colleges. The remaining 3,700 were hidden in private homes.
After the war, O'Flaherty received a number of awards, including the CBE and the US Medal of Freedom with Silver Palm. He refused to use the lifetime pension Italy gave him. He visited his old nemesis, the once SS chief of Rome, Colonel Herbert Kappler, in prison, month after month (he was said to have been his only visitor). In 1959, Kappler converted to Catholicism.

Jim Elliot - Baptist - Layman and Missionary (October 8, 1927 – January 8, 1956)

Jim Elliot was born in Oregon to parents Fred and Clara Elliot - known as the "dynamic duo". Fred was of Scottish heritage; his grandparents were the first of his family to settle in North America. Clara's parents moved near the turn of the 20th century from Switzerland to eastern Washington, where they operated a large and successful ranch. They met in Portland, where Clara was studying to be a chiropractor and Fred, having devoted himself to Christian ministry, was working as a traveling preacher in a small Baptist church. After two years of correspondence, they were married in 1918. Robert, their first child, was born in 1921 while they were living in Seattle, and he was followed by Herbert, Jim, and Jane, all three of whom were born after the family moved to Portland.[1] Jim Elliot's parents firmly subscribed to Christian beliefs, and they raised their children accordingly, taking them to church and reading the Bible regularly. Elliot professed faith in Jesus at the age of six and grew up in a home where obedience and honesty were strictly enforced. The Elliot parents encouraged their children to be adventurous.

In Autumn of 1945, Elliot entered Wheaton College, a private Christian college in Illinois, believing that God had led him there. He saw his time there as an opportunity to grow spiritually, develop discipline, and prepare for future missions work.

Elliot  arrived in Ecuador on February 21, 1952, with the purpose of evangelizing Ecuador's Aucas Indians. They first stayed in Quito studying Spanish, and then moved to the jungle. They took up permanent residence at the Shandia mission station. On October 8, 1953, he married fellow Wheaton alumna and missionary Elisabeth Howard. The wedding was a simple civil ceremony held in Quito. Ed and Marilou McCully were the witnesses. The couple then took a brief honeymoon to Panama and Costa Rica, then returned to Ecuador. Their only child, Valerie, was born February 27, 1955. While working with the Quichua Indians, Elliot began preparing to reach the violent Huaorani Indian tribe which were known at the time as the Aucas.

He and four other missionaries, Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, Pete Fleming, and their pilot, Nate Saint, made contact from their airplane with the Huaorani Indians using a loudspeaker and a basket to pass down gifts. After several months, the men decided to build a base a short distance from the Indian village, along the Curaray River. There they were approached one time by a small group of Huaorani Indians and even gave an airplane ride to one curious Huaorani whom they called "George" (his real name was Naenkiwi). Encouraged by these friendly encounters, they began plans to visit the Huaorani, without knowing that George had lied to the others about the missionaries' intentions. Their plans were preempted by the arrival of a larger group of 10 Huaorani warriors, who killed Elliot and his four companions in a sudden and brutal attack on January 8, 1956. Elliot's mutilated body was found downstream, along with those of the other men, except that of Ed McCully

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Is anyone reading the blog????

Just wondered if anyone is reading the blog and whether people find it useful. Would be good if you could leave a comment and tell me if you are reading it and if you're a FACT person or someone who has picked it up on the WWW
Just a thought !!!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

St Mary Magdelan's Anglican Church, Great Elm

The church at Great Elm originates from the 12th Century with some later additions. It has an unusual tower with a sloping roof which matches those of the nave and chancel. There is an Elizabeathan gallery and some box pews of Jacobean origin. The stained glass is also worth noting in this church. Next to the rather hight pulpit is a little depicted story from Acts "The raising of Tabitha". Those of you who know me will know why that caught my attention !
©Exterior Photograph Copyright Phil Williams and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Frome Spectacular and FACT

For many years, FACT has led the carol singing at the Spectacular Shopping Evening. Starting last year this moved from the last Friday night in November to the last Sunday afternoon. I know that this caused people some concern when it was first announced, for there is always going to be the dillema of whether we as Churches should be being involved with Sunday trading. I've got to say though, that actually this is another time when we have got to say "if they are not in church, we've got to go to where they are " Last year at this time we were preparing for the Advent Light Relay and decided to launch it at the Spectacular with a procession to the carols. It worked wonderfully and the sight of 250 Christians marching with the Light of Christ down our town main street and across the bridge into the Market Yard, really did make and impact.

We have been asked to repeat this act this year. Here are the arrangements -

5pm Service of Light at St John's

5.15pm Move off in procession ( Advent Light at head ) Carol singing down footpaths to Westway precinct and then acroos bridge to Market Yard

5.30pm Muster in front of the main stage to sing with the Town Youth Band

PLEASE PLEASE join us, the more people who do, the bigger the impression and the more clearly the message of Christmas is got across. Lets try for 300 this year and a procession which stretches from the Wheatsheaf to WHSmiths.

If you are coming please carry a lantern, glowstick or light so that it is a real procession of light.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Exec Papers emailed

For the first time this month, all exec papers have been sent by email ( by that I mean that we now have an email address for every exec member or at least a way of getting papers to them by email e.g via someone else )

Please check that you have received them ( there should be 1 x 20 page report which includes all the reports you need to read beforehand and the previous minutes, 1x agenda for the meeting on 23rd and 2 x reports from me whose formatting wouldn't allow them to be included in the main report )

Anything missing or anyone not receiving them please let me know.

Please pray for your Exec team as they read and consider the items they need to discuss.

St Katharine's Anglican, East Woodlands

St Katherine's is a separate parish, although it shares a vicar with St John's Frome. It's church was orignially built in 1714 ( by Lord Bath of the nearby Longleat estate, as many of his workers were villlagers ) and was conscreated nearly a hundred years later in 1811. In 1872 it became a separate parish, rather than a chapel of ease for St John's Frome. It was about this time that it underwent restoration under architect John Loughborough Pearson, who also designed Truro Cathedral. Despite its rural location, the church's links with St John's means that it has a closer link with the town of Frome
The church's tile pavement includes an enlarged version of the Bishop Ken monogram tile usually found as a single four-inch or six-inch tile, but here designed for multiple tile settings.
The church has some fine stained glass and metalwork, aswell as choir stalls and an organ in their traditional place in the Chancel.
Photos © Copyright Trish Steel and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence.

Bible Reading Marathon Update

About £1700 has come in so far for the Archbishop's Fund for Zimbabwe. With Gift Aid that should top the £2000 which is double what we set out to raise !!!!

Well done everyone. Any outstanding monies to Geoff Jackson as soon as possible please.
USPG are most grateful and have said they are going to include some pictures in their next magazine.
By the way another local Churches Together group has been inspired to take up the challenge and are going to have a go next year. A rep from them came to see me to discuss it earlier in the month.

Apologies for the interruption!

It's been two weeks since I got chance to blog. Work has been coming thick and fast ( thankfully ! ) and any spare time has been put into getting the paperwork sorted for the next FACT Exec on 23rd. As well as sorting carol singing, Lent courses and of course doing stuff at St Catharine's such as starting the process of organising our First Holy Communion programme. Hopefully I can use some time today to get some more posts ready for regular updates, but keep checking daily to see what is going on in our town and surrounding area.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

John Mason Neale and Elizabeth Fry

John Mason Neale - Anglican - Priest 24th January 1818 -6th August 1866
John Mason Neale was born in London in 1818, studied at Cambridge, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1842. He was offered a parish, but chronic ill health, which was to continue throughout his life, prevented him from taking it. In 1846 he was made warden of Sackville College, a position he held for the rest of his life. Sackville College was not an educational institution, but an almshouse, a charitable residence for the poor.

In 1854 Neale co-founded the Sisterhood of St. Margaret, an order of women in the Anglican Church dedicated to nursing the sick. Many Anglicans in his day, however, were very suspicious of anything suggestive of Roman Catholicism. Only nine years earlier, John H. Newman had encouraged Romish practices in the Anglican Church, and had ended up joining the Romanists himself. This encouraged the suspicion that anyone like Neale was an agent of the Vatican, assigned to destroy the Anglican Church by subverting it from within. Once Neale was attacked and mauled at a funeral of one of the Sisters. From time to time unruly crowds threatened to stone him or to burn his house. He received no honor or preferment in England, and his doctorate was bestowed by an American college (Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut). However, his basic goodness eventually won the confidence of many who had fiercely opposed him, and the Sisterhood of St. Margaret survived and prospered.

Neale translated the Eastern liturgies into English, and wrote a mystical and devotional commentary on the Psalms. However, he is best known as a hymn writer and translator, having enriched English hymnody with many ancient and mediaeval hymns translated from Latin and Greek

Elizabeth Fry - Quaker - Laywoman 21 May 1780 – 12 October 1845
Elizabeth Gurney was born in Gurney Court, off Magdalen Street, Norwich, Norfolk, England to a Quaker family. Her family home as a child was Earlham Hall, which is now part of the University of East Anglia.Her father, John Gurney, was a partner in Gurney's bank. Her mother, Catherine, was a part of the Barclay family, who were among the founders of Barclays Bank. Her mother died when Elizabeth was only twelve years old. As one of the oldest girls in the family, Elizabeth was partly responsible for the care and training of the younger children, including her brother Joseph John Gurney.

Prompted by a family friend, Stephen Grellet, Fry visited Newgate prison. The conditions she saw there horrified her. The women's section was overcrowded with women and children, some of whom had not even received a trial. They did their own cooking and washing in the small cells in which they slept.

She returned the following day with food and clothes for some of the prisoners. She was unable to further her work for nearly 4 years because of difficulties within the Fry family, including financial difficulties in the Fry bank. Fry returned in 1816 and was eventually able to found a prison school for the children who were imprisoned with their parents. She began a system of supervision and required the women to sew and to read the Bible. In 1817 she helped found the Association for the Reformation of the Female Prisoners in Newgate. This led to the eventual creation of the British Ladies' Society for Promoting the Reformation of Female Prisoners, widely described by biographers and historians as constituting the first "nationwide" women's organization in Britain.

Thomas Fowell Buxton, Fry's brother-in-law, was elected to Parliament for Weymouth and began to promote her work among his fellow MPs. In 1818 Fry gave evidence to a House of Commons committee on the conditions prevalent in British prisons, becoming the first woman to present evidence in Parliament.

Fry and her brother, Joseph John Gurney, took up the cause of abolishing capital punishment. At that time, people in England could be executed for over 200 crimes. Early appeals to the Home Secretary were all rejected, until Sir Robert Peel became the Home Secretary, when they finally got a receptive audience. They persuaded Peel to introduce a series of prison reforms that included the Gaols Act 1823. Fry and Gurney went on a tour of the prisons in Great Britain. They published their findings of inhumane conditions in a book entitled Prisons in Scotland and the North of England.

Fry also helped the homeless, establishing a "nightly shelter" in London after seeing the body of a young boy in the winter of 1819/1820. In 1824, during a visit to Brighton, she instituted the Brighton District Visiting Society. The society arranged for volunteers to visit the homes of the poor and provide help and comfort to them. The plan was successful and was duplicated in other districts and towns across Britain.

After her husband went bankrupt in 1828, Fry's brother became her business manager and benefactor. Thanks to him her work went on and expanded.

In 1840 Fry opened a training school for nurses. Her programme inspired Florence Nightingale, who took a team of Fry's nurses to assist wounded soldiers in the Crimean War