The Consecration of St Nicolas
30 September 2007
The Service of Consecration
SEPTEMBER 30TH 2007 was a fine, sunny day and a memorable one for the parish, as the Bishop of Gloucester came to consecrate St Nicolas’ church as a parish church within the Prestbury and All Saints’ Team Ministry. Preparations had been under way for weeks: invitations sent, hymns and anthems practised, flowers arranged, displays set up, teas and cakes organized. Extra chairs would be needed, but would there be enough when the procession, led by the Bishop and clergy, returned into the church for the service? In fact all went well – there was just one empty chair!
The first hymn, All people that on earth do dwell, accompanied by organ and trumpets and led by our three combined choirs, was truly and gloriously uplifting, setting the mood for the whole service. Bishop Michael, Father Michael and the servers processed round the church so that the Bishop could bless the consecration crosses and the font.
In his sermon the Bishop explained the significance of the consecration: the new building of St Nicolas’ had been dedicated on its completion in 1970 but now the church had come of age. We must be ‘like living stones – to go in peace to proclaim the mighty acts of God’.
After the Communion the Registrar of the Diocese read the Deed of Consecration and Bishop Michael admitted our wardens, Sue and Margaret. Then came the Blessing and Dismissal and we all moved to the hall where tea and delicious cakes awaited us. It was a time to greet previous clergy who had served at St Nicolas’; and the Mayor of Cheltenham, representatives of our sister churches in the soon-to-be-formed North Cheltenham group and friends from the uniformed and non-uniformed organizations. The Mayor was invited to cut the cake and Father Michael thanked everyone for coming and helping in every way.
A friend said how much Eileen (Jones) would have loved this great occasion and I was reminded of the many other people, clergy and laity, who have worked so faithfully to build up this church as a group of worshippers, from 1930 when the wooden Mission Hut was built, to 1964 when it was extended and dedicated to St Nicolas, to 1970 when our present church was completed and on until 2007. We owe a great debt to all of them, but we can be confident that our present congregation and young people and children, under the guidance of our wonderful clergy, youth leaders and ministry team, will carry on their work.
Pictures by Geoff Shaw
Parish Church of Saint Nicolas
I RECEIVED a note from Bishop Michael to say that it had been a real privilege for him to be part of the Consecration Service. He wrote: ‘I thought we had created a fine and entirely appropriate piece of liturgy to mark the occasion and your people breathed life, spirituality and joy into it.’ He concluded: ‘I hope people will always remember it as one of those significant moments that stay with you and that the Parish Church of St Nicolas’ will go from strength to strength.’
The Parochial Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish of St Mary and St Nicolas Prestbury Cheltenham - Registered Charity No 1130933
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