ANYONE who has ever been lucky enough to visit Africa will know how important African Catholics consider movement, vibrancy and colour in religious services. Mass is often a far more lively occasion over there than it is in Europe: many of us believe this is to the Africans' credit and our detriment, one of the many examples, in fact, of how much more advanced so-called "Third World" people are.
It was good to hear, therefore, of the Cedar Dance in Worship Group, a band of people who use their dancing skills to bring a new facet to religious services in churches of different Christian faiths in this country.
The group, led by Janet Randell, started in the parish of Notre Dame in Leicester Square, London, but is now based at St Martin-in-the-Fields. One of the members, Judi Herbert, is seen in this photograph. The group both runs classes, held at St Martin's, for people wanting to dance themselves, and also performs at churches to which it is invited.
"There are a lot of physical images in the Gospels, and we find that watching or taking part in dances helps deepen faith. It's beautiful, and it touches people," says Janet Randell.
Anyone wanting to hear more about the Cedar Dance Group can contact Janet at 42 Gunton Road, London E5 9JS.
From dancing to partying, and it was a very special party that was held at St Peter's in Seel Street, Liverpool. The party, preceded by a Mass, was to celebrate the 200th birthday of the church, and lifelong parishoner Nancy Flannery organised it.
Nancy, who was baptised, educated, and married at the church and adjoining school, says she wanted to organise a big reunion of "Old Petonians" because it was "such a wonderful church, with such a rich history", and is possibly the oldest standing Catholic church in the city.
More celebrations, this time on a national theme, took place earlier this week with the culmination of the events to mark the 400th anniversary of the translation of the Bible into Welsh.
The Queen joined hundreds of Welsh Christians and others for a special service of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey. The 1588 Bible was dedicated to Queen Elizabeth I, and at the service Queen Elizabeth II received copies of the original.
From Durham, meanwhile, comes news of a new Centre for Community Action launched by Francis Davis, a student at St John's College there. The college, says Francis, is unique in that it combines both a secular studies and theological training, and has a high involvement in the community of the area.
Intellectual reflection leading to community action is the aim of the centre, which kicked off with a lecture by MP David Alton, Future speakers will include Michael Campbell-Johnston SJ and John Gladwin of the Church of England Board of Social Responsibility.
Mother Mary Garson, who was recently honoured as one of the Women of the Year, is now appealing for funds to renovate her first home, St Mary's in Brighton. The cost is £800,000, of which only half has been collected, but it will be used to expand the home to provide all mod cons for 30 old people.
Anyone wanting to make a donation, or perhaps to run a fund-raising event for the appeal, should contact John Herrington at St Mary's House, 38 Preston Park Avenue, Brighton, Sussex.
Interesting events coming up include, on November 9 the Maisie Ward Sheed Memorial Lecture, held annually by the Catholic Housing Aid Society.
This year Archbishop Derek Worlock of Liverpool will deliver the lecture, entitled "If big things loom too large . . Christian witness in a complex world". The lecture, followed by buffet supper, begins at 7pm at Westminster Cathedral Conference Centre in London
A little further ahead, on November 28, top snooker professionals Steve Davis, Jimmy White and Rex Williams will challenge Dickie Davies, Ray MacAnnally and Bill Wiggins to a spot of pro-celebrity snooker in aid of the Down's Syndrome iekssociation. The celebs will be cheered on by Sir Clement Freud, Sarah Greene and Mike Smith among others, and the event takes place at the Park Lane Hotel.