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St Mary and St Nicolas

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Prestbury Parish Magazine

July / August 1999

… the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God … Romans 15:16



Going on vacation this Summer or Fall?

Coffee at St. Mary’s

The Ecclesiastical Parish of Prestbury

Carrying the Standard

Churches Together in Cheltenham

Have you heard of Credit Unions?

Parish Pet Profile

Poetry Corner

This month’s question

Some articles from this month's magazine have been included elsewhere in the web site:

Church Achitecture - The Siting of the Church


Going on vacation this Summer or Fall?

As Prestbury Parish News is now on the World Wide Web, this question is phrased so that our American readers will also understand.

‘God doesn’t go on holiday…’

Working through a desk groaning with paper on a glorious sunny June morning, I just happened to wish out loud that the holidays were upon us. Kay, our Parish Administrator, reminded me of the wonderful truth that God doesn’t have holidays. I recalled part of the psalm we had read earlier at Morning Prayer:

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

If I climb into heaven you are there;
if I make the grave my bed, you are there also.

If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

Even there your hand will lead me,
and your right hand hold me fast.

So wherever you are – at home or away on holiday, be assured that our loving Heavenly Father is always with you. And please don’t miss the opportunity to worship whilst you are away: give thanks to God for the gift of a break and for the wonderful world of which he has given us stewardship.

Make the most of the opportunity, too, to meet with other Christians in their worship. Take a copy of our Parish news, exchange it for one of theirs, and leave it in church for us to read. Send us a postcard – we’ll display it in church.

In one sense God does go on holiday – with you! May you be refreshed, renewed in body, mind and spirit.

And God doesn’t sleep…

Recently, I mentioned in a sermon that I get very little sleep, and that I have found two texts great comfort. Since then I’ve been asked over and again what they were.

The first is from Psalm 139:

If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will cover me,
and the light around me turn to night,’
Darkness is not dark to you;

the night is as bright as the day;
darkness and light to you are both alike.

The second is from Psalm 121:

My help comes from the Lord
The maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved
And he who watches over you will not sleep.

The Lord himself watches over you
The Lord is your shade at your right hand,

The Lord shall preserve you from all evil,
It is he who shall keep you safe.

If you have a verse which has helped you, others would be glad to know of it.

With every blessing to everyone.

Fr. Stephen.


News from Pastoral Care & Common-Life

Coffee at St. Mary’s

Coffee after the 11 o'clock Eucharist at St. Mary's was launched on Sunday 6th June, with sherry! The sherry was in honour of the Archdeacon of Cheltenham's visit, but proved to be so popular that it will be available every Sunday. Coffee and soft drinks will also be available; donations towards costs will be appreciated. Many thanks to Margaret Holman for co-ordinating this and to all who have agreed to go on the rota!

Fr. Michael.


The Ecclesiastical Parish of Prestbury

is bounded by two streams which flow west off the Cotswold Hills. The northerly stream, Hyde Brook, passes under the Southam Road, encompassing the Race Course, Hyde Farm and Hyde Lane; the southerly one flows through the Cemetery, Pittville Lake and continues as Wyman’s Brook. The westerly boundary of the parish stops short of the railway line and follows the edge of ancient meadows; to the east the boundary continues over the brow of the hill to encompass Drypool Farm. St. Mary’s church is, logically, in the geographical centre of this region, which was a rural area of farmsteads in a rich estate of the Bishop of Hereford, with Prestbury a market town when it was founded.

The ecclesiastical parish (not to be confused with the present-day civil parish) covers an area of approximately four square miles, being roughly four miles long east to west and just over a mile wide north to south. This month’s Centre Page features a map of the parish. Some parts of the boundary are inaccessible on private land, but quite long stretches are on public footpaths or can be seen from common land.

Why not take a day off during the summer and see how much of the boundary you can identify?

Bob Lyle.

Parish map


Carrying the Standard

Sunday the 9th May was a big day for myself and Jackie Smith. As Rainbow Guiders we had been asked to escort the Divisional Commissioner into and out of the Divisional Church Service at Christchurch by carrying the Gloucestershire Standard.

Our Rainbow group takes place at St. Nicolas’ Church Hall and we had also been asked to select two Rainbows who would be prepared to stand in front of approximately 300 people to re-iterate their Rainbow promise as part of Pittville District’s contribution to the Service. We selected two of our older Rainbows, my daughter Katie Lennon and one of her friends Anna Cozens.

We all attended the rehearsal the Friday before and, to be honest, the two girls were splendid, but I was so nervous I thought I would never be able to carry out my duty. As usual (those of you who know her will I’m sure agree), Jackie was her confident self.

Sunday arrived and although warm and sunny it was extremely windy - not the weather to be carrying flags. But my nerves had settled and I was ready to do my bit. To my amazement, Jackie was so nervous, I thought she was going to let the side down, but then the waiting is always the worst part.

The other flag carriers proceeded into church and we took our place at the back to escort the Commissioner. The procession went off without a hitch and the Service proceeded, of which the content was very good, and all the Brownies, Guides and Rainbows did well, especially of course our own two little gems, Anna and Katie.

At the end of the service we escorted the Commissioner back out of church and as we stood to allow people to depart we were congratulated by many people for doing a good job. I think Jackie and I were quite relieved when it was all over although we have said that we would be prepare to do it again (maybe we’re mad!).

Sue Hewitt, Rainbow Guider, St. Nicolas’ Rainbows.


St. Nicolas' Rainbows

have vacancies for Autumn/Winter 1999. If your daughter is 5 years old and would like to join us contact Jackie Smith

The Bat

At Rainbows on Wednesday in the church hall we saw a bat. It came down from a small hole in the ceiling. Some of the children were frightened. I went to have a look with my sister and some others. The bat was moving on the floor and my sister screamed and ran to Jackie our leader.

Jackie went in to the church to get Father Michael and luckily he was with a lady from the Bat Society. She told Jackie not to touch the bat and to put a box over it.

After their meeting was over Father Michael and the lady came to look at the bat and the lady took the bat away because they are a protected species.

Katie Lennon aged 6 years.


Baden Powell Award

I have been a Guide for four years now and I have recently gained my Baden Powell Award, which is the highest award in Guides. My friend Stephanie and I have been working towards the award for the past two years. We have taken part in many activities to gain this award, including camps, service to the community, learning new skills and even decorating the church with flowers. We have both really enjoyed our time as Guides and we would like to thank the leaders for all the help they have given us.

Steph and I were very lucky to have our awards presented to us at Cheltenham Town’s final match by the captain, Chris Banks. We had our match programmes signed by the players and were given free tickets to the match. This was a great treat as we are both Cheltenham Town fans.

Good luck to the Robins next season!!!

Claire Radburn, age 14.


Churches Together in Cheltenham

The AGM was held recently in the Salvation Army Citadel in Bath Road. Many exciting events are being planned in Cheltenham in the next few months:

  • In July the Festival of Christian Music will run alongside the International Festival. There will be a varied programme of choral, organ and rock music, Songs of Praise, Prom Praise, workshops, including one in African Drumming, a musical, Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band at the Town Hall. Leaflets are available in both our churches.
  • In November the popular Advent Meditations will resume in St. Matthew’s Church on Friday lunchtimes.

The Millennium will be marked in style in Gloucestershire:

  • On the night of December 31st there will be Christian celebrations on the Promenade before midnight;
  • In January there will be a great concert in the Town Hall, with massed choirs from as many churches as possible;
  • On Good Friday 2000 it is hoped that a Passion Play will be performed, using different venues in Cheltenham;
  • In June there will be a festival on the Racecourse, Pentecost 2000, with a wide variety of Christian activities.

The outgoing Chairman, Canon David Williams, spoke of the variety of worship which he had seen in Cheltenham churches during his year of office, while the Archdeacon, Ven Hedley Ringrose, stressed the importance of working together. The Treasurer, Geoff Shaw from our parish, asked churches to pay next year’s subscription with this year’s, if possible, in order to cover the cost of booking the Town Hall for January’s event. The incoming Chairman, Mr. Jim Stevenson from Sacred Hearts Church, Charlton Kings, promised his enthusiastic support in a year in which we all have a special opportunity for Christian witness.

Rev Richard Cleaves of Highbury mentioned the plight of refugees from Kosovo and asked what practical responses Gloucestershire churches were making to offer hospitality. Rev Hazel Day said Rev Adrian Slade of the Diocesan Board of Social Responsibility would be able to answer queries on this subject. Richard Cleaves also announced that Sea Sunday this year, 11th July, will probably be celebrated by an open air service in Pittville Park, to commemorate 175 years from the founding of the Royal Lifeboat Institution. He told us that in 1866 the people of Cheltenham had subscribed for a life boat which was "launched" that October on the Boating Lake before being sent by road to Burnham-on-Sea!

Paddy Spurgeon.


Have you heard of Credit Unions?

Credit Union - What's that?

A locally based savings and loan scheme providing a convenient place to save and offering low cost loans to members. It can give local people the chance to create and be part of a financial co-operative that is based on the needs of the local community.

What's good about Credit Unions?

Membership costs £1, which opens an account. When members have saved regularly for a minimum period set by their Credit Union they can apply for a loan.


You can save as much as you can afford, from as little as 50p per week. Children can have their own savings accounts.


Loans are at very low rates of interest. Borrowing and repayment are based on what people can afford. Loans don’t need security - and are available to all members.

Who runs it?

A team of volunteers carry out the jobs necessary to make the Credit Union work. Training is provided: informal, free and in easy stages, arranged at a convenient time and place. Help with child care is possible.

Who can join?

There has to be a common bond between members, for example an area that you live or work in, or based on a club or society. A common bond is essential as all the money in the Credit Union belongs to all the members. The common bond makes people feel responsible to each other and helps prevent bad debt.

Where do we fit in?

Fr. Michael recently met with Jo White, the Credit Union Development Worker for Cheltenham. The first Credit Union has already been launched (you might have read about it in the local press). This is the Spa Credit Union Limited, which covers an area including all of the St. Nicolas' side of the Parish, from the Evesham Road to the railway line and also the town centre as far as Montpellier.

Jo is now working towards a Credit Union which will cover the rest of the Parish of Prestbury as well as Whaddon, Fairview and an area including the General Hospital. This will, of course, require volunteers to run it, as well as people to become members. For some, a Credit Union might be considered as an ethical way of investing - a way of putting money into a common pool which will be accessible to those who would otherwise find it difficult to borrow money and so be forced to turn to loan schemes with exorbitant interest rates. Others might be interested in using the Credit Union as a way of saving towards a particular purchase or event!

If you would like to know more, or to become involved, contact Jo White or speak to Fr Michael


Parish Pet Profile

This month’s pet belongs to James.

My Pet

My cat is called Rupert. He is 17 and he is black and white. He is very cuddly and purrs a lot. He likes to sit on my lap and dribble on my knee. Rupert likes gravy on his dinner and tries to eat my sister’s cheese Pringles. He sleeps a lot in his bed and likes to lie in the sun. I love Rupert a lot.

James R. Age 7.


Poetry Corner

Psalm 150

Praise the Lord

Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.

Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Praise him with the sound of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.


attr. King David.


This month’s question:

In his first letter to the Corinthians St. Paul mentions three qualities.

What are they and where are they illustrated in our parish?

Send your answers in writing to the Editor.



Church of England Children’s Society

Will all box holders please bring their boxes to the 11am service at St. Mary’s any Sunday during the month of July, or take them to the Rockers’ garden party (details elsewhere in this magazine), where they will be collected by myself or a representative, as it is time for the annual opening. If anybody would like to become a box holder would they please contact me. Thank you.

Margaret Holman


the group for young Christians of secondary school age, ends the term with a barbecue on Saturday 10th July at 7.30 pm, venue yet to be confirmed. Do come and join us.

Fr. Michael.

¡Vivan los Niños!

The open plate collection for ‘Let The Children Live!’ at the Pentecost Praise ecumenical service amounted to £253.52.

Bob Lyle.

Rockers’ Half-Hour

Last month Rockers celebrated its 24th birthday. If any former Rockers (parents, ‘children’, pianists, helpers, clergy etc.) would be interested in a Silver Jubilee Reunion in June or July 2000, please contact me as soon as possible, and preferably by the end of August, so that I can start organising it. I suggest a social gathering of some sort, with food, and a short service in St. Mary’s church. I should also like to start compiling a ‘Where are they now?’ list.

Frances Murton.

St. Mary’s Sunday Morning Refreshment Rota

Refreshments are served every Sunday after the 11am service thanks to a willing group of 26 volunteers. Rotas are to be found on the notice boards in the porch and the kitchen. Could those involved please let me have the dates between September and December when they are unavailable (if known)? If anybody else would like to join the refreshment rota please don’t hesitate to contact me. Another 10 volunteers would bring the total up to 36 people, one duty every 3 months. Serving refreshments is not only the ladies’ prerogative!!! Thank you.

Margaret Holman

Garden Open for Christian Aid

On Sunday July 25th the extensive gardens at Glenfall House, Charlton Kings will be open between 2.30 and 5.50 pm. Admission is £1.50 (under 12s free). Teas will be available for an extra charge, served on the terrace (or indoors if wet). All proceeds will go to Christian Aid.

Gill Ashman

[Glenfall House is the diocesan conference centre and is situated in Mill Lane, Charlton Kings, the next turning after Greenway Lane at the top of Harp Hill. See map on centre page of this magazine. Ed.]

New Pre-School Group

A new group for pre-school children aged rising 3 yrs & upwards will be opening in St. Nicolas’ Church Hall in September. There is a Fun Morning on Wednesday 14th July from 10am to 12 noon when you can come along and meet us, and see what activities are available for your child.

For more information contact Tracy Lawrence


"Snoops at the General Synod want dirt on our churchwardens - those pillars of village life for seven centuries. The Synod will today argue before the Commons Ecclesiastical Committee that bishops should be given the power to sack rebellious wardens. To bolster their case they combed the country for examples of parish sleaze: but out of 26,000 wardens, not a scrap of scandal could be unearthed."

The Times Monday May 24 1999.

[Didn’t realise Bob and Ken had been around that long. Ed.]

A little bird told me …

that Rachel Compton has been awarded a First in Natural Sciences at Cambridge …

that Mary Dodds has been awarded a First in Mathematics at Liverpool …

that James McKelvey has been awarded an Upper Second in Music at Durham …

and that from September James will be a bass Lay Clerk at Gloucester Cathedral.

Congratulations to all three!


Fr Paul’s Ordination Weekend

Saturday July 3rd

6.30 pm Ordination Service

at St Mary’s

by the Bishop of Gloucester

Sunday July 4th

8 am Eucharist in both Churches

10.30 am The United Parish

Family Eucharist

at St Mary’s

at which Fr Paul will preside

followed by

Parish Family Lunch*

at St Nicolas

* please obtain a ticket to ensure sufficient catering

and let us know if you have special dietary needs.



Dates for your diaries:-

Sunday 18th July

The annual Sunday School/Club prize-giving. The children will receive 'prizes' during the 9.30am and 11.00am Eucharists. Then there will be a 'bring-your-own' Parish Picnic, beginning at lunchtime, with games and a short outdoor service, at the home of Diana and Jim Mackie.

Sunday 25th July

A meeting for members of the congregation will be held at 6.30pm in St. Mary's. This will be an opportunity to exchange information, discuss aspects of Parish life and raise questions. The evening will end with a short service of Compline. It would be helpful to have advance notice of questions; please let Kay Porter have these by Friday 23rd July.

Saturday 4th September

An evening of entertainment to celebrate St. Mary's Patronal Festival. This will be held in St. Mary's Church Hall in Bouncers Lane. Book the date and watch out for more details!

Sunday 5th September

A lunchtime barbecue in the Vicarage garden as part of St. Mary's Patronal Festival celebrations. All are welcome! Bring something to sit on and something to drink, tickets will be on sale later in the summer.

Saturday 2nd October

Harvest Barn Dance in St. Nicolas' Hall.


From Education & Nurture

Very early notice of a Parish Quiet Day to be held on Saturday 20th November 1999. Please put the date in your diaries now!

Fr. Michael.


Prestbury Village Millennium Dance

This event will take place on Friday 31st December 1999 in St. Mary’s Hall, Bouncers Lane, 8pm till 1am. There will be live music by Dave Day & Friends. Please bring your own drink and food. Tickets are £25 each.

This is a locally run event for Prestbury residents and their friends. For further details and ticket reservations ring Dave Hawkins.



Prestbury Parish Magazine - July / August 1999

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