Every year, an enormous amount of time and effort goes into our Parish
celebrations of Easter. After the sombre weeks of Lent, our churches are
transformed with flowers, new candles, and even (at St. Mary's) a walk-in
tomb! The Easter Services - the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday itself - are
stuffed full of 'alleluias', as our joyful praises ring out.
Returning from my post-Easter break, I have the feeling that everything
has fallen slightly flat. Perhaps that is inevitable when so many have put
in so much effort and when our congregations have been so temporarily
enlarged. Perhaps also, the (at present) unresolved situation in Kosovo has
something to do with this sense of anti-climax. However, we must not lose
the sense of joy, of hope, of confidence, which Jesus' resurrection brings
us and in which all of us share.
'We are the Easter people.' That is as true now as it was on Easter Day.
We are still in Eastertide, so let our worship continue to ring out with
those joyful 'alleluias'.
Let us be positive and confident. By the time you read this we will have
had the Parish Annual Meeting and you will have seen the Parish Plan. That
requires support and response from us all. Be positive! Be confident!
And let us remain full of hope. Hope for ourselves as cherished children
of God, and hope for His world, which He loves despite its conflicts, its
hatred and its appalling inhumanity. Let us hope and pray that the love of
the risen Christ will continue to be at work in us and in the world.
When we look up words in a dictionary we can usually turn to roughly the
right place and then move forwards or backwards from that point, eg we know
that H is nearer the front, while T is nearer the back. We can do that with
the Bible too, if we know the order of the books. Last month we looked at
the groups of books in the New Testament. This month we turn to the Old
Testament, which comes first and is much larger. This means that if you
open your Bible in the middle you will probably be somewhere in the Psalms,
or possibly Proverbs in sonic modern translations. (N.B. This does not work
if your Bible has the Apocrypha sandwiched between the Old and New
The books of the Old Testament can be divided into three main groups:-
Group 1: History
- a) Pentateuch or the Five Books of Moses (Israel was ruled by God or
b) Joshua, Judges, Ruth (Israel was ruled by judges)
c) Samuel, Kings, Chronicles (Israel was ruled by kings)
d) Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther (Israel was in exile)
Group 2: Poetry & Wisdom
- a) Job
b) Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes
c) Song of Solomon (also called Song of Songs)
Group 3: Prophecy
- a) Major prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah & Lamentations of Jeremiah)
b) Ezekiel &Daniel
c) Minor prophets (12 in all)
Some hints for remembering the order of the history sub-groups:
Pentateuch means 'five books'.
- Moses led them out of Egypt, Joshua led them
in to the Promised Land.
Then they rebelled and God appointed judges to rule them.
Then they rebelled again and Samuel anointed a king for
Then they were conquered and exiled.
As last month, the names of the books in these groups are printed along
the bottom of the pages in this magazine. Happy learning! I'll think about
Genesis Exodus Leviticus
If you can, cast your mind back 46 years - Canon Norman Kent and Ena had
newly arrived in the Parish, Syd and Grace Shaw into The Priory, and the
Lyles into Tatchley House. Don Sumption's father was Post Master and Lawson
Bennett with his brothers rode ponies around the jumps in a paddock (the
site of the present Vicarage) opposite the Weighbridge Cottage which
narrowed the entrance to Bouncers Lane. Mrs. Winsome Cumming was Patron of
the church and Dorothy Dymock the doyen of the High Altar flowers, assisted
week by week by George Smith, who fetched and carried for her. Other people
were only very occasionally invited to help!
A change came about in 1968 for the Centenary of the Rededication of the
church following the Victorian restoration. For that occasion windowsill
ledges were made and fixed, Mrs. Cumming's four iron pedestals took up
residence in the church and wooden ones were created for decorating the
pillars. Ena Kent and Grace Shaw rallied helpers and the resulting festival
stimulated many of us to continue helping regularly. Thelma Nichols took on
the organisation when Ena Kent retired with her husband and since then the
interest and number of willing hands has grown.
For all this time Grace Shaw has delighted us with her arrangements in
church. Although still willing to help, she is finding the fetching and
carrying increasingly difficult. She was with us on Holy Saturday enjoying
the church's transformation. How can we thank her enough for all the
inspiration she has given over the years with her very special charm? -
Thank you, Grace!
Joshua Judges Ruth
I was nervous at first but after I had done it I felt I would do it a
I had to go to Church in plenty of time to get changed into my servers
clothes. I had to wear a black cassock and a white cotta. I wore my black
shoes. It was very cold by the stone stairway and I should have worn
another jumper. My job was to carry the brass incense boat. I thought it
would be heavy but it was so light I could hold it with one hand, I had to
stand with the Thurifer all the time. She (Julia) told me what to do and
when to do it.
I thought everybody was looking at me so I looked at the floor instead.
After the Service some people congratulated me for doing it so well.
by Anna Cozens Age 6.
Samuel (1 & 2) Kings (1 & 2)
Chronicles (1 & 2)
As we have already reported, almost £18,000 is available to the parish
through the Deanery, towards the cost of employing a full-time Youth
Worker. This is 50% of the estimated cost over at 1~ 2 years. The PCC has
agreed to underwrite the other 50%. This means that we can go ahead now
with advertising the post and hopefully recruiting. We will continue to
pursue all other sources of funding so that we can keep the PCC's
contribution to a minimum. Please continue to support this initiative with
Ezra Nehemiah Esther Job
May our hands be your hands,
gathering in the harvest.
May our feet be your feet,
bringing good news for the poor.
May our hearts be full of your compassion,
inviting all whom we meet to open their heart too,
in the name of Jesus Christ.
Psalms Proverbs Ecclesiastes
Fling wide the gates for the Saviour waits to
tread His Royal way
I started to write this article whilst listening to the choir singing
Stainer's "Crucifixion", from which I have taken the three quotations. We
have now celebrated Easter and you are reading this on a spring May day. I
believe that encapsulates the work of the Parish Development Team, in that
we have been part of a move to transform Parish work and enable new
spiritual growth to occur. That does not avoid testing and suffering, but
is a challenge and asks for a response from you and me.
Over the three years of our discussions we have been inspired by the
number of people already active in Church life, but also appreciate how
many jobs there are still to do. These can be shared by the congregation
and need not be done exclusively by the Clergy. Our buildings also need
regular upkeep and major repairs in order that we and future Christians can
worship in comfort. The spaces, lighting and heating could be more
welcoming to the tentative visitor. We ask you to consider prayerfully how
you can give of your time, talent and finance.
Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?
Jesus sang these words, but it could also be a member of our
congregation now, a visitor, work colleague, neighbour - who knows?
Having been an adult in the Parish for almost as long as I was a child I
believe the friendliness and enthusiasm of 40 years ago is as strong as
ever. However, we are all busier and the local community is more
sophisticated and physically comfortable. Nevertheless, we all still need
to share laughter and sadness during the trials of life or at weddings and
funerals. Our own faith needs support and nurture regularly.
We hope to put on more social events and prayer groups, as well as
expanding the work with children in the Sunday schools and local community.
Serving, reading, visiting the sick, or supporting those preparing for
baptism or marriage are all wonderfully fulfilling gifts of service for
God. I pray that people will come forward to receive training and expand
these teams. Committees also need to Coordinate the efforts with people to
guide the work. The overall plan is displayed in the churches and Jerry
Porter is serving as the PCC compiler keeping track of the implementation
of the ideas and feeding in successful tasks as well as new ones.
All for Jesus! Thou wilt give us strength to
serve Thee hour by hour
The logo shows a caring mother holding a child, with practical needs
represented by the sign of a pawnbroker - St Nicolas is their patron saint.
Both are enclosed by the symbol of the Church of England. We plan to evolve
this design, but it serves to remind us that spiritual and practical help
are still needed both locally and nationally and Jesus is the source of our
The image has run through the last three years of the work of Parish
Development Team, but we are now handing the task to us all. The leaflet
which you received in church or can collect from there, picks out a few key
items of our present work, and highlights areas that the Clergy and Parish
Development Team members feel are most important for the growth of the
church here in Prestbury. I hope you will read through the leaflet "Into
the Next Millennium" and find it a source of inspiration.
Please respond to some part of it.
The Song of Solomon (or Song of
Parish Annual Meeting, 1999
The parish Annual Meeeting was held on Sunday 18th April 1999 in St
Mary's Church at 6.30pm. Approximately 68 members of the parish were
At the Annual Vestry Meeeting, which preceded the main meeting,
Ken Bradbury and Bob Lyle were elected Churchwardens;
Eileen Jones and Peter Attwood were elected Assistant Wardens with
responsibility for St Nicolas'.
Members of the Parochial Church Council 1999-2000 are:-
- Fr Stephen
- Fr Michael
- Fr Paul
- the four Churchwardens
- Linda Biggs (Reader)
- Beryl Elliott
- Margaret Holman
- Martin Kannreuther*
- David Lyle
- John Moles
- Daphne Philpot*
- Jerry Porter
- Geoff Shaw*
- Jackie Smith, and
- Bill Riley*.
(Treasurers and Secretary will be appointed at the first meeting of the
* Deanery Synod member
The Parish Development Plan was outlined by David Lyle, Chairman of the
Parish Development Team. Copies will be available to all church members on
25th April 1999.
Isaiah Jeremiah Lamentations
Woodley Baptist Church,
Hurricane Way, Woodley, Reading, Berks RG5 4UX
Tel: 0118 969 9956 Fax: 0118 927 2070 Email: email@example.com
I thought it was about time I wrote and gave an update on progress here
in Woodley, and to thank you for your support and prayers. I can't believe
I've now been here for six months - it seems to have flown by! I'm still
living in a rnanse owned by another local Baptist Church, and will probably
be there for the foreseeable future. It's the first time I'll have had a
garden to enjoy, but it does mean I will need to look after it as well
(which I don't mind at the moment!).
I am joining a party of 50 from the church here going to Spring Harvest
over Easter. This will be a good opportunity to get to know more people
from the church as we share together in acclimatising to the 'arctic
conditions' of Skegness!
At the moment there seem to be more and more projects which we could be
involved in and we have therefore recently agreed a Mission Statement and
Aims to help us in this:-
Mission Statement: "To encourage and equip every Christian to
demonstrate God's love in our local community."
Aims. "To enable and empower those in the community to respond
to each other's needs through mutual support and care."
We are in the process of formally agreeing these within the church, and
I am pleased that we now have a clear focus to all of our future work.
Schools, As part of my getting to know the area, I am 'touring'
the schools at the moment, speaking with Head Teachers, and finding out
from them how they perceive local issues in Woodley, and whether there are
opportunities to work within schools. The initial response has been
positive, and I will be regularly going in to one local school after
Parenting Programmes, We had a very encouraging response to a
meeting held at the beginning of February about Parenting Programmes. It
was 'billed' as a Taster Evening and was an opportunity for parents to find
out more about courses available, and to ask any questions they may have.
We had a total of fifty parents and/or other interested professionals
attending. This has led to three parenting groups being set up, which
started at the beginning of March. These focus on parents with children of
different age ranges: 0-6, 5-15, & Teenagers. Each group has around 12
members, and courses last for between six and eight weeks. Anyone can
facilitate (as opposed to 'lead') a group, provided they have done the
course themselves in the past. These courses have attracted interest from
several local organisations including Social Services and Health Visitors.
We now expect to have a 'rolling programme' of courses, and I would
expect to fill them partly through referrals through Social Services and
Health Visitors. We are all very excited about these early positive signs,
and it is a real privilege to be enabling the local chuch to support and
encourage local people in such key roles as parenting.
Badminton. Other projects currently on the 'boil' include
developing badminton facilities on the premises for use by local people.
This is proving to be a popular idea (having run it for a week) but not an
easy one to organise. We have several other groups using the church
regularly, and it is a complicated system to arrange. However, we hope to
get this up and running soon!
Other future events. I will be co-ordinating a Sunday morning
service here on 25th April, earmarked as 'Shaftesbury Sunday'. The national
theme is 'Good Neighbours', and we will be using this to explore the
subject biblically, and to share with the church something of the work so
far, and in the future.
I am grateful for your ongoing support and interest in our work. Please
do let me know if you would like to know more. Please also feel free to pop
in if you are ever in the area - having a large manse, I have no excuse for
not welcoming any less than fifty visitors at a time!!
God bless you, and I hope to see you soon,
Parish Pet Profile
|This month's pet belongs to
My Cat Suki.
Suki is a tabby cat. We got her free with the house because her
proper owners couldn't take her to London with them. She usually only
comes inside for food or to get out of the rain. She normally eats
tinned cat food, crunchies and scraps of the remaining meat after
dinner. When Martin comes into the room that Suki is in she usually
runs out of it. Dad is always the one that feeds Suki in the morning
and evening. Suki sleeps on my windowsill at night. She isn't around
the house for most of the day. She doesn't like being cuddled.
By Andrew W, aged 9.
Cat and Mouse
by Jennifer A, aged 9
Hosea Joel Amos Obadiah
While the Cat's away ... The Vicar was
away, the Organist was away, and both Curates were ill, and so Evening
Prayer was in the hands of the Lay Reader and the Magazine Editor. All went
well: Reg was there to unlock the church and oversee the proceedings, Linda
nodded at me whenever I had to play another hymn, and John and Fred
provided moral support from the front pew (and bought me a drink
afterwards). Maybe next time I shall be brave enough to play the pedals as
Jonah Micah Nahum Habakkuk
Walking beneath the leafy trees
With the sun sinking low at my back,
It is so hard to believe
That these are the killing-grounds.
My mind is in the past, and
I am stepping out into No-Man's Land.
This is the place where
So many died,
So many cried out
In the quiet of the evening,
Gentle breeze whispers through the
Still I cannot imagine
The fear and horror,
The rattle of machine-gun fire,
And the mud-caked death
Which men faced here.
And as I walk in the peace of the
I can almost hear
The echo of a thousand footsteps.
© Elizabeth Murton.
May is half-way between last Remembrance Day and next. In May
1997 Elizabeth, then aged 14, visited First World War battle sites in
Belgium and France as part of her GCSE History course. She wrote this
poem while sitting in one of the memorial parks.
Zephaniah Haggai Zechariah Malachi
St. Nicolas' Play Group Ending.
After about 20 years, the Play Group which meets in St.
Nicolas' Church Hall is closing It will finish at the end of the Summer
Term. The associated Mother and Toddler Group which meets on Monday
afternoons will probably continue. This means that the Hall will be
available for other activities on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
mornings. If anyone is interested in hiring it, please contact the Lettings
Secretary on 01242 244373.
Overheard in St. Mary's porch:
R: What do you think that big round thing on top of the
tomb is meant to be?
F: Oh, probably an angel.
St. Nicolas' Church Room
The refurbished room at St. Nicolas' is deliberately
being kept available for use by Church groups. During term-time it is used
on Friday evenings by the Twilight Zone, and an increasing number of parish
meetings are now being held in the room. The clergy have a Parish Diary in
which they put any bookings. Please speak to one of them if you would like
to book the room. (No charge, of course!)
Large print hymn books are available in both
churches. If you would like to use one, please ask a sidesman.
Large print copies of this magazine are also
available. If you would like one, please ask the Editor.