Stella Pendletonon a new catechetical resource for Anglican Catholics
‘Faith of our Fathers! Holy Faith!
We will be true to thee till death.’
hese stirring words of Faber’s hymn were the inspiration for the name of a new website – <www. holyfaith.org.uk> – which aims to help people on their Christian journey. Everything is free for downloading as PDFs, printing, or reading online and no registration is required. The materials are rooted in traditional Anglican Catholic teaching but it is hoped that all who visit this website will find something to help them on their spiritual pilgrimage.
Developing the website
The idea of developing this website came to me several years ago while I was still working. I trained and practised as a children’s nurse, a general nurse and a midwife, and much of my professional life was devoted to education. Over the years I have written a large amount of educational material and, as the administrator of a cancer charity website, I developed website management skills.
My father, grandfather and great grandfather were all priests in the Church of England. When my father, Mervyn Pendleton, died he left a great many resources which I felt needed to be shared. So it was that when I retired at the end of 2009, I had the skills, resources and time to start work on the new website.
On the technical side, I had to find a suitable design. I searched the Internet for some stained glass images and found Mike Dixon’s beautiful photograph of the east window of St Andrew’s Church, East Lexham, Norfolk. He kindly gave permission for me to use images from the lowest tier which depicts the Annunciation, the Epiphany and the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. You can see these images across the top of each webpage.
I also needed a logo and decided to incorporate the Christian fish symbol with the words ‘Holy Faith’. The letters of the Greek word for ‘fish’ form the initial letters of ‘Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour’ in Greek. It seems to me that these words capture in a nutshell our holy Faith – that Faith handed down to us from the Apostles and Early Church Fathers.
One of the sections in Holy Faith is called Introduction to the Christian Faith. It was written by my father as a three-year Catechism course for children and this is evident in the language and examples used. It includes sections on the Apostles’ Creed, prayer, the Ten Commandments, worship and the seven Sacraments.
Although prepared for children, the content is relevant to adults who teach others about the Faith or who simply wish to brush up their own knowledge.
Another section provides short talks for adults related to Advent, Lent and Holy Week, as well as feasts and festivals. There are currently two Lent courses, one entitled ‘Major Passion Characters’ and the other ‘Minor Passion Characters’.
There is also material for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. The section Devotional Resources includes meditations for individual or group use, and the Via Dolorosa (Stations of the Cross in verse). New content is regularly added to the website so it will continue to grow.
All the content in Holy Faith reflects my father’s commitment to helping people of all ages develop a loving and reverent personal relationship with God within the fold of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
He attached great importance to teaching about prayer and the Sacraments, including the Eucharist as the central act of Christian worship.
He wanted to give young people a good grounding so that they were knowledgeable about Christian faith and practice and acquired a degree of theological literacy.
I believe these aspirations are just as important now as they have ever been. It is obviously essential to try and involve young people (and indeed those of all ages) in the life of their local church. But unless they develop a loving and loyal personal relationship with God, church activities can be ends in themselves, mere hobbies to be abandoned if interest wanes.
In addition, there is a need to enable young people to see themselves, not only as part of their local church community, but as part of God’s wider family the Church. Then, when they leave home, they are more likely to stay with the Church, worshipping with another congregation in their new environment. This twin emphasis on individual spirituality and our corporate life within the Church is apparent throughout the Holy Faith website.
Many UK visitors come direct to the website because they know the address. However, an increasing number of visitors come from countries across the world, as a result of Internet searches. A few have used Internet facilities to translate material into their own languages!
Please join me in praying that the Holy Faith website may help many people from all nations to know Christ more clearly, love him more dearly and follow him more nearly in this life, and see him face to face in heaven.ND
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