It’s never easy to work to a deadline, such as that imposed
by the publication of this magazine, but what makes it especially hard this
month is that I am writing this even before we have celebrated the great
festival of the Resurrection.
I find that my vision of the future is somewhat clouded by my needing to
focus all my energies and emotions on Holy Week and Easter. It is as if I
cannot see in to the distance with any clarity, as if there is no future
until Easter is past.
It is rather like the situation of the wedding couples who come and sit in
my study with no real concept of returning from their honeymoon and getting
on with their new life together as man and wife. Everything is concentrated
into that one great day.
Yet, we are taking bookings now for weddings in 2001, our parish planning
extends well into the Autumn, and I am trying to arrange to meet a friend
for dinner one night, and we are looking at July.
It all seems very far removed from Jesus’ teaching about the future,
telling us in particular not to worry about tomorrow, a reading which we
chose to have at our own wedding as a guide for our life together (Matthew
The superiority of Easter kicks other lesser celebrations off their day, or
even off the calendar altogether, like St. George, who will be celebrated
sometime in May this year, if at all, (depending on which lectionary you
consult) since not only Easter but every Sunday deserves as its primary
focus the memorial of the Resurrection.
Perhaps if we took more seriously our Sunday calling to remember the
Resurrection, we should not be too concerned about next week, and we might
put a little more enthusiasm into the concerns of today.
How can we possibly see beyond Sunday with any clarity? Ought we not to
live our lives much more in the now, and leave to God what might be?
In fact, now I’m quite glad I’m writing this in advance, it has given me a
much clearer perspective on the future.
On Sunday 14th May, Andrew Carley-Macauly begins his
employment in Prestbury as a full-time Youth Worker. We will welcome Andy
during both the 9.30am service at St. Nicolas’ and the 11.00am service at
St. Mary’s. Andy will be using the Upper Room in St. Mary’s as his base in
Andy will obviously be spending some time getting to know us and also the
local area. He lives with his wife Sharon, near Witney and comes to us with
some impressive Youth Ministry qualifications as well as some excellent
experience of working with Young People. We look forward to Andy being able
to build on the good work which is already going on in our Parish. We must
of course remember that just because we now have a ‘full-timer’, that does
not mean that he will be doing all the work on his own! Our Youth Work is
as much a shared ministry as all the other kinds of ministry that happen in
the Parish and we thank God for all those who have worked with our children
and young people and will continue to do so in the future!
Our efforts to secure this full-time post have been supported by the
prayers of so many and we are very grateful for those. Many of you also
offered to underwrite any short-fall in funding. Thank you for your offers,
but we have been promised nearly £44,000 over 3 years from various
charitable trusts, so we should not have to call in any pledges at the
moment! Thanks are especially due to Tricia Wilson, who researched the
availability of funding and prepared at least 42 ‘begging’ letters along
with supporting documentation.
I am sure that you will make Andy feel welcome as he begins work with us.
Please pray for him as you continue to pray for all our efforts to nurture
our young people in their faith and to bring other youngsters to a real and
lasting relationship with God.
Sincere thanks are expressed by Bob and Barbara Lyle
for all the support they have received over the last four months.
Prayers and good wishes were comforting during the frustrations of
Barbara’s delayed operation, the operation itself and during her
convalescence. Thankfully she is now almost 100%.
The love and appreciation that was expressed on 12th April for their Golden
Wedding Anniversary was overwhelming, they feel very blessed with family,
friends and colleagues.
Blessings to you all as well and a very sincere Thank You.
We are still collecting names of those interested in
preparing for Confirmation. We hope to run two Confirmation groups; one for
adults and one for young people (Year 8 and above). These will lead to
Confirmation in November 2000. Please speak to Fr. Michael if you are
Children and Communion
Any children in our congregations who are in Year 3 of the
Junior School (or above) are eligible to receive communion before
confirmation, after an appropriate course of preparation. Please speak to
Fr. Michael if your child would like to take part.
Forty-eight people attended the Annual Meeting and Vestry
Meeting on 9th April. Ken Bradbury and Bob Lyle were elected
as Churchwardens, Peter Attwood and Eileen Jones as Assistant
Wardens and Hazel Langley and Karen Whiten as representatives
to the PCC.
On 11th June we will be celebrating the Feast of Pentecost
and remembering Christ’s gift to us of the Holy Spirit. This year we plan
to literally “make a meal” of this. On 11th, 18th and 25th May our three
clergy will take it in turn to give a talk on different aspects of the Holy
Spirit. Each evening will begin at 6.45 pm with a hot meal so there will be
plenty of time for food and a good natter before the half hour talk begins
at 7.45 pm. The talks, which we hope all will find both interesting and
informative, will be followed by the opportunity to discuss some of the
ideas raised in groups of probably 8 - 10 people. The evening will end at
about 9 pm.
Do put the dates in your diary and get your tickets as soon as possible, if
you are only able to make one of the three Thursdays that’s fine and the
cost will be £3.50. If you can make two Thursdays the cost is £7. If you
are able to come to all three dates you can buy three tickets at the
discount rate of £10! Pete Brown has a supply at St Mary’s and Beryl
Elliott at St Nicolas’.
The venue is St Nicolas’ and we really do look forward to seeing you.
||FOOD AND FELLOWSHIP
||St NICOLAS’ CHURCH
||11th MAY, 18th MAY, 25th MAY
||6.45pm MEAL, 7.45pm TALK,
8.15pm DISCUSSION, 9pm END
The first talk will be about “The Holy Spirit within the
Trinity”. The second will consider “Getting to know the Holy Spirit”. The
last talk will unwrap “The Holy Spirit in action”. We trust that each and
every person who is able to come will go home with some fresh insights into
the person of the Holy Spirit in addition to having experienced an
enjoyable and relaxed evening.
This month we’ll meet on Thursday 4th at 10am to pray for
our church and our world, do come if you are able, or note that the date
for June will be Tuesday 6th. Details from Beryl.
The summer term starts on Thursday 4th May. If there are
any pianists who would like to join the rota, please ring me.
Rockers began in June 1975. Here in the magazine last year I mentioned the
possibility of organising a Silver Jubilee Reunion this summer, and asked
people to contact me. There was some response but not a lot - a few local
ex-Rockers expressed an interest; two others wrote to me. I have therefore
decided not to try and organise a big event.
However, we shall celebrate our 25th birthday on the appropriate Thursday
afternoon in church, and we shall hold our annual Garden Party (weather
permitting) near the end of term. Former Rockers, both children and
parents, are very welcome to attend both these events, details of which
will be available nearer the time.
This month’s musician is Alastair.
The violin is a stringed instrument with 4 strings called G
D A and E. I have been playing the violin for one and a half years. I have
lessons once a week at school in a group with 3 others. I practise five
times a week and I play in the school orchestra. My favourite piece of
music is the theme tune for Match of the Day. E is my favourite note, which
is played by putting one finger on the D string. I am currently preparing
for my Grade I exam. I also play the recorder at school, which I enjoy just
as much as my violin.
Alastair Smith, aged 9
David Smith, one of the young choristers at St. Mary’s, has
achieved his ambition and gained the Bishop’s Award, one of the highest
awards of the Royal School of Church Music. David joined the choir at the
age of 7½ and over the past 5½ years has steadily worked his way up via the
light blue ribbon, dark blue ribbon and Dean’s Award.
The syllabus for the Bishop’s Award is very challenging for members of
village choirs, since the anthems and settings of the canticles listed are
more appropriate to churches with larger choirs. However, time spent with
headphones listening to recordings was well rewarded when he was examined
by David Briggs at Gloucester Cathedral. Aural tests, sight-reading and a
knowledge of church festivals, services and hymns were also part of the
Finally, thanks must go to Malcolm, whose help and encouragement have
played a vital part in David’s achievement.
Congratulations to another of
our Parish Musicians …
Fr Paul has been brushing up on his Singing by having
lessons with Allan Gillespie and has now passed Grade 8. Well done!
On Palm Sunday we were greeted with some beautiful sunshine
after all the rain of the day before. Sadly this was not enough to
encourage people to join the Palm Sunday Walk from St. Nicolas’ to St.
Mary’s. Does no one walk in Prestbury any more? Are we so dependent on our
cars that a 45 minute walk is something we can no longer cope with? Or do
we actually feel uncomfortable about taking part in such a public act of
witness? Of course, for some of our members such a walk is out of the
question, but where were those more ‘fit and able’ to walk on behalf of the
others? How sad that such a God-given opportunity to make a statement to
our community should have been left to just a few. The service in St.
Mary’s at 11.00am was superb and the church was packed; it was just a shame
that more had not taken part in the whole service, which actually began
with the blessing of palms at 9.45am!
Cheltenham Rainbows, Brownies and Guides
We need more adult helpers and leaders - come and share the
fun and the friendship; find great rewards in helping young people, whilst
enjoying opportunities to meet new people and experience new activities.
We continue to have regular training meetings, though we
shall be having a break over Easter. We are now being guided in our
training by Peter Kevern who after each of our evening sessions has a long
drive back to Birmingham, perhaps you could support him in your prayers. We
thank you for your faithful and prayerful support of the team as we find
our feet and begin our work together.
On 13 May we will have a joint study day at Church House in
Gloucester with the teams from Coney Hill, Gloucester and Thornbury. We
will be looking at “Change” which, like it or loathe it, is a relevant
topic in so many aspects of our lives.
Handy Hint … in the garden:
To help save time cleaning your hands after gardening, rub
soap around and under your fingernails before you begin.
As a child I was very impressed by Michel Quoist’s book
“Prayers of Life”. More recently I bought his “Pathways of Prayer”. I’ve
not yet completed it but thought that others might find it an easy, helpful
and enjoyable read. Hence this brief review
There are 36 sections each of which is a prayer or
meditation set in the context of some thoughts of Abbé Quoist at the
beginning and some short Bible passages at the end. He deals with issues
ranging from the arcane to the humdrum as represented by a couple of titles
drawn from the early part of the book, “My friend died last night, Lord”
and “The Monday wash”. I am reading my copy in an English translation, but
doubtless some of our congregation might be able to enjoy it in the
original French. I paid £4.50 for my paperback copy published by Gill and
Macmillan. The ISBN number is 0-7171-1716-2.
When I arrived towards the end of the afternoon to play the
piano, St. Mary’s church seemed full of children, about 28 in fact, and
quite a few adults too.
I asked the children what they had enjoyed doing; here are
Madeleine Kish: decorating biscuits;
Luke Walter: decorating biscuits;
Hamish Scobie: eating decorated biscuits;
Kathryn Thomas: making surprise tombs.
Simon Langley explained that the surprise tombs were cut
out of card to make a tomb with a moving stone. But why ‘surprise’? I never
did find out.
Anna Cozens enjoyed collecting stones for the Easter
Garden, which the children had assembled under the high altar. They had
also made flowers from card, coloured tissue paper, paint and glue. Kathryn
Porter, a helper, explained that the flowers were going on the ‘Easter
Christmas tree cross’. Another helper, Kirsty Walter, had enjoyed cutting
out the flowers and looking after Luke (her brother) and Sam. I then
watched as Kirsty and Gill Ashman washed the tiled floor in the free area
after the painting and gluing!
Margaret Compton enjoyed helping to get the Easter message
across ‘with gluey fingers’. Helen Mann said ‘We’ve only done the making
side of things …’ and was impressed with the way Fr. Michael fitted all the
workshop activities into the Easter message in his service at the end of
The service was short and appropriate. All children (and
adults) started off sitting in pews (where else?), but during the first
hymn processed Palm Sunday-fashion to the high altar where they then sat
scattered around on the floor of the sanctuary and chancel. Fr. Michael
talked them through the events of the first Maundy Thursday, involving a
large jug of water and a bowl, a loaf of bread and a chalice of
blackcurrant drink, and of course the Garden which the children had created
under the altar. After some prayers the fourth hymn saw them
walking/running round the aisles until, as if by magic, all children (and
adults) were back in their pews.
As Karen Whiten put it, the afternoon was ‘very
The tradition of honouring Our Lady and invoking her mercy
during May extends back to the sixteenth century. (Something to do with the
Reformation?). If you are yet to be touched by this beautiful aspect of our
Faith, perhaps you might like to make this the month to find out more.
You could start by scanning the weekly news sheet for
details of the activities of the Cell of Our Lady of Walsingham, and, if
you are missing all that Lent reading, there are plenty of books about Mary
to help you prepare for the Great National Pilgrimage to Walsingham at the
end of the month on bank holiday Monday, May 29th, quite the most amazing
experience. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all travel together …
A Missionary Evening will be held in St.
Nicolas’ Church on Wednesday 10th May. At 7.30pm, Fr. Michael will preside
at a Eucharist according to the South African Rite. The Eucharist will be
followed by a talk, illustrated with slides, on mission work in South
Africa. The talk will be given by a USPG representative. We support USPG
with our missionary giving - come and find out what that money is used for!
Mothers’ Union -
Diocesan Members’ Day
Thursday May 11th 11.30am - 4pm, St George’s
Church Centre, Brockworth. Come and meet Reg Bailey (MU Chief Executive),
Diocesan Trustees & Fellow Diocesan Members. It is an opportunity to share
information, ideas, and concerns. Lunch is included. There is a map
available if required.
Coffee Evening for Christian Aid
There will be a coffee evening at 6.30pm on
Saturday 13 May, in the St. Nicolas’ Room. All are welcome.