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Prestbury Parish Magazine

March 2000

The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth . . .
Song of Songs  2:11,12.

March 2000


Fr Stephen writes ...

Lent 2000

Those away from home

Mission & Outreach


Ministry Leadership Team Brought to its Knees

Thank you Peter!

The Mothers' Union

Parenting the under-12s

Letters to the Editor

Cheltenham Passion Play 2000


Making Music

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

Church Architecture - Towers

Fr Stephen writes ...

Recently we were sent a book detailing the very many orthodox churches which have been destroyed in Kosovo. It is a sorry state of affairs. Many beautiful, historic churches have been destroyed. Many modern ones, built with much love and prayer, have suffered a similar fate. Another side of a tragic war. It made me stop to think about our own churches, and what value we place upon them.

I wonder to what extent we value our Christian heritage? How much do we take our church buildings for granted? How faithful might we be if we had no church in which to focus our prayer and worship?

At St Mary's, immediately, we need to tackle the questions of repairing the church floor and a new heating system. More long term, we need to decide to tackle the questions of lack of Sunday school and meeting rooms, office space, and what we should do about a Church hall which is a fair way from the church and which needs an enormous programme of improvements.

At St Nicolas' we hope to have some accurate figures from the architect with regard to the replacement of the ceiling, large windows, ventilation scheme, and lighting. Only then will we know the sort of sum to raise.

But these are only material things. In Kosovo, it has certainly made the Church think out priorities. God is still being worshipped, despite the enormous bereavement which the people have felt with regard to their destroyed churches. 

I wonder how we would feel, and how we would fare, if the churches which we love were to suffer a similar fate? 

We pray for all who have had the churches which they loved destroyed, that they might remain steadfast.

In Spiritual terms, I hope that you will bear our Ministry Leadership Team in your prayers. Recently they had a training weekend at Glenfall House, along with teams in training from Thornbury and Coney Hill. On Sunday 5th March the Bishop of Tewkesbury will be present at 9.30am at St Nicolas' and 11.00am at St Mary's to commission our parish for Local Ministry. 

The members of our team have such varied gifts and talents between them - they are going to be a great asset in the leadership of our parish.

Fr Stephen


Lent 2000

In the Parish:-

Ash Wednesday (Wednesday 8th March)

Begin Lent well by attending a Eucharist and receiving the Imposition of Ashes:-

10.30am  Said Eucharist with Imposition of Ashes  St.Nicolas'
10.30am Said Eucharist with Imposition of Ashes  St.Mary's
7.30pm Sung Parish Eucharist with Imposition of Ashes St.Nicolas'

Sunday evenings in Lent

On the first four Sundays of Lent beginning at 6.30pm in St.Mary's Church, we shall run a Lent Course. The format will be to have some input, followed by discussion and ending with Compline. 

Weekdays in Lent

The Ecumenical Lent Course this year is called, 'All Together Now'. It explores the journey of faith in words and music and, with its accompanying CD, looks like a very different type of course. Details of dates and venues have still to be finalised.

Weekday study group(s) in the Parish. The focus will be the Sunday readings during Lent, using material from Christian Aid. This will be a good way of preparing ourselves for each Sunday, we hope allowing us time to consider the readings in some depth.

Mothering Sunday  (Sunday 2nd April) 

On the day when we celebrate Motherhood - our own Mothers, Mother Church and Mary, the Mother of God - we will be inviting those who have been baptised in our churches recently to join us for our celebratory Eucharists at 9.30am and 11.00am.

The wider scene:-

Lent Course 2000 at Gloucester Cathedral

Thursday evenings in Lent, 7.30pm in the Chapter House. Six different 'prophetic voices' speak to the Christian Church at the beginning of the Third Christian Millennium. The title of the course is, 'What can we do for Christ's sake?'. The proposal is to serve a simple supper of bread, cheese and fruit in the Deanery at 6.30pm before each talk begins with any proceeds being given to Christian Aid. The Cathedral would need to know in advance if you wished to have supper. 

The Chaplaincy Lecture, Cheltenham & Gloucester College of Higher Education

'The Environmental Crisis & the Bible', Professor Gordon Wenham. Thursday 6th April, 7.45pm in Lecture Room TC014, of the Elwes Building on The Park Campus. All are welcome!

Fr. Michael


Those away from home

Many of us have members of our family who are no longer living at home - we are especially thinking of young people who have gone away to college. How do we keep them in touch with the Church in Prestbury? One way would be to make sure that they have details of the Parish Website. All students have access to the Internet, so encourage those you know to visit the Website: (new address since October 2002)

If you have any other suggestions about keeping those away from home in touch with us, please speak to Fr. Michael or to one of the members of the Pastoral Care & Common-Life Committee. They are: Beryl Elliott, John Elliott, Liz Greenhow, Margaret Holman, Eileen Jones, Kay Porter.


Mission & Outreach

There are quite a few of us at St Nicolas who have fond memories of Infant Church, where we spent many a happy afternoon with our children before doing the school run down to Swindon Village. At our recent Mission and Outreach Committee meeting we explored the possibility of trying to run this again in order to reach out to the community on Wymans Brook. However, before we progress we need to explore whether there is any mileage in getting this off the ground and would love to hear from anybody who would be interested in this project. Please get in touch with Sue Watkins.

At Pentecost we plan to make a special gesture for the Millennium, in partnership with the other churches in Prestbury, by delivering a Gospel to every house in the parish. If you would like to play a part in organising this important ecumenical outreach, please get in touch with Fr Paul.

We are always delighted to receive ideas - please don't hesitate to get in touch with any of us. And we'd love to have some new faces on the committee - do let us know if you're interested.

Hannah Edwards, Fr Paul Kish, Daphne Philpot, Jerry Porter, Sue Watkins, Karen Whiten.



Having decided to change the name of the Youth Club from the 'Twilight Zone', the leaders met at Pizza Express towards the end of last year to suggest various acronyms, but we completely failed to come up with anything that we all liked or that we thought would get past the vicar. We had a lot of fun trying, though, and the food was good, but it was rather expensive and the portions were a little on the small side, which doubtless served to hinder our creativity. So no change there.

With a bigger and cheaper night out on the horizon, we hope to put Parish Youthwork to rights one evening soon, when we shall doubtless have to discuss the latest predicament to be faced, namely the limitations of the St. Nicolas' site and the numbers of volunteers than can be guaranteed on any one evening.

It is true to say that we have been fortunate of late in securing the occasional services of a few more helpers, but this has been more than matched by an increase in the number of children who want to join us on Friday evenings. I counted how many different children we had had through the doors in the last 18 months and was surprised to discover that it was over 80. Since we can only really cope with about 30 on any one evening, with a minimum of 5 leaders, it is easy to see that we are struggling to maintain our commitment to the community.

Sadly, we shall have to re-introduce and restrict our membership from half-term as the demand for something for young people to do on a Friday far outstrips our facilities, but even this will itself be limited and determined by how many volunteers can be depended upon to give of their time to help make a difference in the lives of those children with whom we are privileged to work. Frequency is not so important as commitment over a period of time, thus providing a level of consistency which lends stability to the environment where we work and play on Friday night.

The availability of a couple of minibuses from Northlands Youth centre and from the Prestbury Memorial Trust (thank you Rita) ought greatly to increase our flexibility with regard to numbers and the taking of a relatively small group off site for more adventurous activities. Perhaps even another trip to Alton Towers might be in the pipeline soon, or more regular excursions to as far away as Oxford, Bristol, or Swindon, where it's really at, or so I hear. Still, minibuses need to be driven, and the county demands certain standards ... are you up to it?

Youthwork in Cheltenham is slowly starting to exist at an effective œcumenical level with the continuing growth and efficacy of the Cheltenham Christian Youth Leaders' Forum (CCYLF). We are pleased to count ourselves amongst their membership and continue to make a valuable and informed contribution as one of the larger clubs in the area. The great project on the horizon is the establishment of a drop-in centre in town to ease the pressure on the satellite clubs such as our own and to cater for those who have outgrown the usual church hall set-up, all with a specific Christian influence and foundation. Such a centre will require a great deal of planning and forethought (and volunteers in the long run), not to mention prayer and goodwill from all the Christian organisations involved, but could be a significant force for good in the life of our wider community if we take proper advice from those who know, and listen to the concerns and opinions of those who care.

Please keep in your prayers our young people and the future of youthwork in our parish, deanery, and diocese. Ask God for his blessing on all that we try to do, and ask Fr. Paul how you can help.


Ministry Leadership Team Brought to its Knees

February found all twelve members of the Ministry Leadership Team tackling our first residential training weekend at Glenfall. As well as unleashing our creativity to make a poster celebrating the achievements of our parish in the past year, we took a welcome break out of doors to scour the garden for material to make a seasonal decoration to enhance the Sunday worship. These tasks were part of a very full programme designed to give us practical experience of working together effectively as a team. And we also spent time on our knees - in an impromptu version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, to illustrate to the other teams what we had learned about good teamwork. After an inspiring final act of worship, we returned from Glenfall full of enthusiasm and better equipped for the tasks ahead.

We recognise the importance of regular communication - in both directions - between the Team and our church family, and we'll be looking for some effective and creative ways of making sure this happens. Meanwhile if there's anything you'd like to tell us or ask us, please get in touch with any of us. As a reminder, we are (in alphabetical order): 
Linda Biggs, Peter Brown, Margaret Compton, Fr Michael Cozens, Beryl Elliott, John Elliott, Fr Stephen Gregory, Margaret Holman, Fr Paul Kish, Sylvia McKenzie, Jerry Porter, Sue Read.

Thank you Peter!

For many years Peter Brown, with his team of helpers, has looked after St. Mary's churchyard. It is 'many years' since I believe he took over from Cyril Smith; fifteen years is possibly a conservative estimate! It has not been easy for Peter since, unlike some of us, he still has a very demanding full-time job, yet he is often there in the churchyard throughout the summer months. Now, however, as many will know, Peter is taking on a more central role in the mission of our church, firstly as a lay member of the new Local Ministry Team and before too long we hope as an ordained member. It is quite understandable therefore that Peter has asked to be relieved of his churchyard duties and it only remains to thank him and to hope that there will be someone else willing to take his place!

Ken Bradbury



The Aims and Objects of the Mothers' Union can best be summed up in one sentence, 'Christian Concern for Families Worldwide'. The MU was founded in 1876 by Mary Sumner, wife of the Rev. George Sumner, Archdeacon of Winchester. The organisation grew rapidly and the first overseas links were formed when women who had been members of a branch at Aldershot Barracks moved with the regiment to India. The initial foundation was based on prayer and that aspect is still the most important one, although we have adapted and still are adapting to meet modern demands.

Although at the moment there is not an MU branch in Prestbury, the society is still very much part of life within the Diocese as hopefully the brief outlines of some of our work will indicate.

AFIA - This stands for 'Away from it All' and provides holidays for needy families or carers, usually referred by their Clergy or through the Money Advice Service. (19 children, 13 adults and 1 dog benefited last year!)

THE HAVEN - This is a Day Centre in Gloucester for families in bed and breakfast accommodation and through AFIA we provide days out for the mums and children. Bristol Zoo is a favourite venue, as is Clearwell Caves to see Santa just before Christmas. Branches also help by providing non- perishable goods for the centre.

PRISON HELP - Members in the south of the diocese regularly help run the crèche at Leyhill Prison, a service much appreciated by the inmates and their visitors.

MONEY ADVICE SERVICE (MAS) - This was set up in 1992 in thanksgiving for 100 years of MU in Gloucestershire.  The service, financed ny the MU and provided by trained counsellors, is free to people who find themselves in severe financial difficulties.  Incidentally, especially in these days of early retirement, if there is anybody with the relevant social or banking knowledge who would consider becoming a counsellor, please contact me.  Such is the demand on the service that we desperately need more helpers.

WORLDWIDE - Every diocese in the country is linked with several areas overseas; many of you will remember Debbie from Papua New Guinea in 1998.  We have helped in endless ways by providing items needed by our less fortunate members.  The present 'Specs Project' is an example.  Over the past 2 years, nearly 3000 pairs have been sent to the Third World, far better than having them gathering dust in a drawer.

Throughout the diocese there are over 2000 members.  The greater number by far are members of a local branch; a number, especially where branches have closed, are Diocesan members.  Incidentally, despite the title, anyone may join, provided that they uphold the Aims and Objects of the society.  We've bishops, priests and husbands.  What about you?

Ruth Shaw
MU Trustee Gloucester Diocese

For more details visit the website of  The Mothers' Union


Parenting the under-12s

Twelve people took part in this excellent 4-week course which finished at the beginning of February. It was run by Ann Parrack and Lucy Smith from Accord, which is part of the Diocese of Gloucester's Ministry & Mission resources. The course really did make us look again at how we relate to our children and encouraged us to consider using some different skills to help us find our way (less stressfully) through the parenting minefield!

We laughed together, commiserated with one another and found that much of what we were advised to do really does seem to work! If there is enough interest, we hope to run the course again. We also intend to invite Accord back to run 'Coping with Teenagers', so if this applies to you, look out for further details.

These courses are run by Christians, on Church property, but are very appropriate for any parent - Christian or non-Christian. These are the sort of courses we should be bringing our non-church friends to as part of our Christian witness. Parenting is a serious and vital issue for our modern society and the Church should be giving the lead in supporting all parents.

Fr. Michael


Letters to the Editor

The Daily Eucharist

From Mr Anthony Lawrence

I thought it was about time I put pen to paper, since it is now a year since I moved away from St Mary's to the still island!  I am very grateful for the parish mag as I do like to know what is going on back "home".  However, I feel I must put over a word about the daily Eucharist.  When I attended mass at St Mary's almost every day in the morning, I was always upset to find very little attendance.  In fact I was nearly always one of three, and now I read Fr Leslie Irving has died so sadly the numbers now are probably less.  However, my point is, when I moved to the I-o-W I found most, if not all, churches only have a Eucharist once every four Sundays and the priests are so thin on the ground most churches are not even open from one month to the next, so I have now to travel into Ryde from Newport (5-6 miles one way) to Quark Abbey, a large but very tranquil place (ask Fr Stephen) which holds mass every day, mostly in Latin chants (which is out of this world).  I have become a "regular" now and I am getting to know the Brothers well, including having coffee after mass and staying for lunch.  I am now in the process of learning Latin!!  But back to my point!!  I never realised until the daily mass was not there how much I missed it and needed it.  I feel for the St Mary clergy, when they arrive at church to celebrate in our Lord's gift to us, and there is no-one there to give it to.  Please don't let St Mary's turn into an I-of-W church and only open once a month.  God is giving us a daily gift of his Son, turn up and take it!

I keep you all in my prayers daily when at mass.

Great news on the website, I can hook up at my local library and keep up with the news.

Take care, stay safe.

"Dominus vobiscum"


The Editor reserves the right to select and edit the letters for publication. 


Cheltenham Passion Play 2000

Organised by Churches Together in Cheltenham, this Passion Play will take place on Good Friday, April 21st. In addition to large numbers of crowd, the following specific help is still required:

14 women, each with one thing to say
5 men to play non-speaking disciples
20 guards and soldiers, who will also be stewards
2 soldiers with very small speaking parts
people to help with props and the technical side
people to join the technical team, and musicians
people to help make banners (Saturdays 10-12, in March, at Highbury church)
people to help with costumes
people from Prestbury churches to do the crucifixion scene
prayer support for all those involved

There is a Passion Play Prayer Diary:

Week beginning:    Prayer concern:
5th March   the person playing the part of Christ and the core cast
12th March   good publicity in the run up to the Play
19th March   those making banners
26th March   those behind the scenes


Rehearsals in Prestbury are in St. Mary's Church Hall on Wednesday evenings.
Please contact Bob Lyle if you want to know more.



Please encourage any young people now at secondary school to come along, especially those who have been confirmed recently. Synergy is a strategic part of our Parish Education & Nurture programme. It is seen as the 'next step' after Confirmation; a way of helping our young people to continue to explore what it means to be a Christian and to grow in their faith. We continue with our Spring Programme:-


The Millennium

Was all the ‘hype’ worth it?
What should we really feel about the ‘M-word’?
What about the future?

11th March 
Millennium Madness #5
It’ll only take a minute; my, is that the time?
Jesus’ time sheet; time of my life

25th March 
The Feast of the Annunciation 
Good News for Mary - Good News for us?
Mary’s part in it all

8th April 
End of term ‘bash’
Our pre-Easter celebrations

All Meetings are on Saturdays at The Barn. They begin at 7.30pm and end at 9.00pm. Cans of soft drinks, crisps & other goodies are always on sale!

For more information contact:-

Fr. Michael, Fr. Paul, Liz Bennett


The Millennium Resolution

Let there be:

respect for the earth;
peace for its people;
love in our lives;
delight in the good;
forgiveness for past wrongs;
and from now on a new start.



Making Music

This month's musician is Adam.

Military Flute

I play a military flute in the CCF band at Pate's Grammar School. It is like a small and high-pitched wooden flute, about 30cm long. In primary school I used to play a recorder which helped me to learn the military flute as the fingering is quite similar on both instruments. I enjoy playing it in the band, but when it is played on its own, it sounds very shrill and high-pitched. The music can sometimes be difficult to read as the higher notes are written on ledger lines.

By Adam Vellender, aged 12


Social Events for your diary

Saturday 4th March 7.30pm    Quiz Night    at St. Mary's Church Hall
with Bar & Ploughman's Supper

Saturday 25th March 11.00am    The Feast of the Annunciation
Sung Eucharist at St. Mary's Church
followed by fish & chip lunch - tickets from members of the Walsingham Cell

Saturday 6th May 7.30pm    60's Night    at St. Nicolas' Church Hall
re-live the 'swinging sixties'!!
Live band, bar & fish & chip supper

Advance Notice:-

Lambeth Palace is being opened to the public during this Millennium year and we hope to organise a coach trip to London on a Saturday in October. We intend to combine a tour of the Palace with time in London and possibly a service in a London church (or even an Abbey or Cathedral!) Watch out for booking details!


Prayer Group

This month we meet on Wednesday 1st March (not Tuesday). Do join us from 10am till 11am to pray for some of the needs of our parish and world. If you need directions, or would like more details, ring Beryl Fowler.


Annual Day of Prayer

Saturday 8th April 2000, Gloucester Cathedral, 10.00am - 3.30pm.

This will be a day led by Angela Ashwin (author of 'Heaven in Ordinary'), exploring links between our private prayer and worship in church.

The cost is £5 per head. For more information, see the posters on the notice boards or speak to Fr. Michael.



Prestbury Parish Magazine - March 2000

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