When Moses came down from the mountain his face shone. He had been close
to, and had spoken with, God. (Read Exodus 34:29-35.)
Elijah had a similar experience, again, on a mountain top. After a
raging storm he recognised God’s presence in the calm and peace, in the
‘still, small voice’. So we sing:
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire
Speak through the earthquake, wind and fire
O still, small voice of calm.
There is a sense in which our worship should be a ‘mountain top’
Part of our human situation, however, is that one person’s mountain top
seems to be another’s valley of dry bones.
The Orthodox Church regard each church as being at the very gate of
heaven. During their worship - the Divine Liturgy - from time to time the
doors open, the heavenly choir is heard singing a litany of praise to the
Creator, and the altar stands just inside the gate. Christ comes in
mystical form, and the priest brings out the Sacrament to the people who
queue at the gate.
Our Worship Committee are considering all the implications of Common
Worship - the book which will replace the Alternative Services Book on
Advent Sunday. It is an opportunity to look at our all of forms of worship
and to ask how we can create ‘mountain top’ situations, both in our own
Divine Liturgies and in the ‘Occasional’ Services, i.e. baptisms, weddings
A Service offering this for some is Benediction. In the Sacramental
presence of Jesus we sing praises, meditate using words, music and extended
silence, we make intercession, and finally receive God’s Blessing in a most
solemn and sacramental way. Sometimes at this Service we sing:
Jesus these eyes have never seen
That radiant form of thine
The veil of sense hangs dark between
Thy blessèd face and mine.
Yet, though I have not seen, and still,
must rest in faith alone,
I love thee, dearest Lord, and will,
Unseen, but not unknown.
Let’s pray to see shining faces emerging from our churches!
‘The Millennium Event’
Saturday 10th June 2000
10.00am - 10.30pm
- A whole day, or simply ‘pop in and out’
- Seminars and workshops - something for everyone and for all
ages - everything from ‘how the computer can help the isolated’ to
- All sorts of music. Mime, drama, dance (even line-dancing)
- Three main acts of worship (12.00 noon, 3.00pm and 6.00pm)
- Separate Youth Venues running throughout the day culminating
in a massive Youth Event in the evening and a final extravaganza of
light and power to end with.
With an event like this, (literally on our doorstep), it is hoped that many
of us will be able to attend. Ticket prices are:-
Whole day: £4 Adults - £2 Children
With these tickets you can come and go as often as you like!
Evening £3 Adults & children
An evening ticket can only be used in conjunction with a day ticket and
is needed only for those who wish to be close to the stage.
You can book your tickets direct from Cheltenham Town Hall Box Office, or
place an order with Kay Porter, or pay ‘at the gate’.
Look out for the
Prestbury Parish Hospitality
somewhere to ‘chill out’
For much more information, please look at one of the souvenir brochures
which are on display in both churches. There promises to be enough to keep
us all occupied and amused - this will be the biggest Millennium
celebration in the county - don’t miss it!
Meditations at P2K
In the Hattons Grace Room there will be a short guided meditation on
the hour, every hour, from 11am to 6pm.
On the weekend of
13-15 May 2000 several churches from around England sent a mixture of young
Christians to St. Stephen’s House in Oxford to celebrate their faith.
The enjoyable weekend was experienced by Anna Cooper, Jen Lyle, Christine
Chamberlain, Alastair Sweetman and Stephen Price. The weekend consisted of
a variety of workshops, art, drama, music and earth and each created a
piece which was presented to everyone else at the Sunday morning Eucharist.
The weekend started with the traditional ‘getting to know you’ where we
were put into 5 groups and played a variety of highly entertaining games to
‘break the ice!’.
After a very comfy night’s sleep on a nice hard floor, Saturday started
with 2 workshop sessions where everyone went to their desired choice of
activity. After lunch we went to Wadham chapel, after this uplifting
service there was a trip to ‘The Oxford Story’, an interactive museum about
the history of Oxford University. We then had free time where we could go
into town, down to the river or to play footie!
The most thought-provoking service was the service of reflection, this is a
very quiet and emotional service. After this some went and started the BBQ
and party whilst others found secluded spots where they could have chats
and get anything off their chest. As the evening progressed a more
light-hearted and social event got into full swing!
At Sunday morning Eucharist each group presented their work and the service
ended on a youthful note by playing Fatboy Slim’s ‘Praise You’ as the
As the departure time drew near, people said their goodbyes and thanked
everyone at final prayers in the church. Alleluia! 2000 was certainly a
weekend to remember, meeting new people, rekindling old friendships and
looking forward to Alleluia 2001!
By Anna and Jen!
So there we were.
Two lads from Prestbury stuck in the middle of Oxford’s St. Stephen’s
House. Fr. Paul had mentioned an Alleluia 2000! Weekend that had proved
popular last year. I thought to myself that this would be interesting so
decided to go. The weekend was made up of 14-19 year old people from all
over the country who had come together to expand, question and worship our
common Christian faith.
As we walked through the door, not knowing what to expect, around 40 heads
turned and stared. Still trying to maintain an air of confidence we carried
on in and picked a couple of chairs. We had just arrived in time for the
initial ‘ground-breaker’ (chat and coffee). After everyone had arrived we
proceeded into the chapel for prayers. We then had the main icebreaker,
which involved games, pizza and quizzes to try and create the sociable
atmosphere. At 11:30 p.m it was time for bed on a lovely comfy(?) floor.
The next morning started with breakfast at 8:30. This was followed by our
workgroups (music, art, drama or the one I was participating in,
earth-science). I met our group leader, James, who proceeded to take the
group down to the park and start to marvel at nature. Having met some of
the other group members last night the atmosphere was already sociable. We
explored various things including resting on trees (you ought to try it, it
is very relaxing) and appreciating nature’s marvels. We then had to build a
tree out of whatever we could find. At midday we had lunch and then went on
a tour of Oxford including a visit to Wadham College where we participated
in a Eucharist. When we returned to the college it was time for more group
work, followed by a very emotional service of reflection. This service was
a very quiet service with lots of time for reflecting on the different
problems and happy thoughts that you were experiencing. You could also
light a candle to make that ‘extra special’ prayer. Although this was a
service with a simple feel to it, it was probably one of the most moving
services I have been to. As well as lighting a candle some of us took the
opportunity to have our feet washed which were especially sweaty from
football and walking in Oxford. After your feet were washed you said a
prayer for the person who washed your feet and then washed the feet of the
next person. It was quite a humbling experience and added to the spirit of
Stephen on the other hand took part in the music workshop playing the bass
in a small group with drums, two guitars, a flute, a violin and piano. We
practised with the choir of about 10 people and played some great, lively
songs. In the Sunday service the music went really well and everyone sang
enthusiastically, some even inspired to dance.
It was then time for the BBQ and Disco and the evening started to get into
full swing. For some reason I had the thought that no one was going to get
any sleep tonight!
Sunday morning was glorious. Too bad we were too tired to appreciate it
properly. Staggering to breakfast for some well-needed cups of coffee we
began to talk about what was going to be done today. After breakfast it was
a bit more group work in preparation for the final service to be held later
on that morning. The service was a combination of all the work that each of
the groups had prepared and produced an atmosphere the likes of which I
have never known in a Church service.
When that finished it was time for the good-byes and swapping of
addresses/e-mails and the final packing up.
All in all it was an amazing weekend, definitely worth going on. We are
definitely planning to go back next year. This last bit is just to thank
Fr. Paul for suggesting it and all the organisers who made it flow
Alastair Sweetman and Stephen Price
For Mothers with their under-5s
Tea and Toys
On Thursday afternoons during term-time
2:00 - 2:45 pm in St Mary's Church
1975 - 2000
“Amongst many other things the Parish Conference highlighted was the
concern felt by young mothers for their small children’s need of religious
guidance, and our concern that young parents should be encouraged to attend
Church with some provision made for the noisy toddler. It is with great joy
and humility that I have been able to watch the surge of growth of Rockers’
Half-Hour from its tiny beginnings round the piano to the full and happy
Church that we have on Thursday afternoons during term time.”
Thus wrote Mrs. Rosemary Bradbury, one of the founders of Rockers, in her
report to the Parish AGM in early 1976. She thanks her friend and
co-founder, Mrs. Jean Williams, “for all the hours of hard work she has put
into organising and running the Rockers”, and goes on to describe what they
do each week: “first we have 10 minutes of action songs and hymns and a
prayer in the nave of the Church. Coffee is made in the Tower and brought
to the Mothers who circulate and chat while the over 3s have a story and
project in the Choir Vestry, and the under 3s a box of toys in the Good
Shepherd Chapel, all supervised by volunteers. Then we get together for the
band finale, a selection of drums and shakers where even the babies can
shake their rattles - and a good noise is had by all.”
Has anything changed? Nothing has changed, and yet everything has changed.
The original songbooks have been replaced twice, the candles once and the
drums never! The church extension, finished in 1988, gave us the luxury of
toilet and kitchen facilities for the first time. We still hold the service
in the nave of the church, sitting either formally in the pews or
informally on the carpet at the front. The atmosphere is very relaxed:
babies sleep, feed, cry or just listen; toddlers toddle; and 3- &
4-year-olds sometimes take a turn at leading the service.
The biggest change is probably the numbers attending. By 1977 the weekly
headcount (adults and children) had risen to about 100. It dropped in the
80s, possibly because the children were starting school a year younger, and
then fluctuated, gradually dropping to present levels. Perhaps fewer babies
are being born, perhaps more mothers are returning to work sooner, though
to a certain extent that is counteracted by the fact that grandparents,
nannies and childminders bring children.
What has not changed is the opportunity for mothers and children to meet
each other and the clergy, to become familiar with the Church, and to take
part in a service which is child-friendly.
From the very outset Rockers has been self-supporting. A coffee morning
in May 1975 raised enough money to buy music books, storybooks, coffee,
sugar etc. and drum ribbons, ready for the first service on June 5th. The
voluntary collection each week and the small charge for tea/coffee more
than covers our running expenses, including further books, birthday cards,
flowers and Christmas chocolates. Between 1976 and 1997 we organised
regular sales of nearly-new clothes and toys, keeping a percentage of the
Altogether, in 25 years, we have donated over £3000 to the PCC.
According to the Birthday Book the numbers of children who came to
Rockers were born as follows:
representing approximately 330 families.
Some of these may have been only a few times; others attended almost
every week until they started full-time school. One or two children from
the early days have also come back to us as parents.
We relied very much on Ex-Rocker parents, whose children were at school, to
run the sales for us. And it is impossible to count how many people have
been involved over the years in storytelling, helping with the craft
activities, playing the piano or guitar, leading the singing, making the
tea, getting the church ready for us, and tidying it up after we have gone,
or just coming along to be there and get to know us.
Our Birthday is on June 5th, which is a Monday this year, so we shall
light the candles on Thursday June 8th. A bigger celebration will be two
weeks later, on June 22nd, with more candles, and even the story will be
about birthdays. Then in July we shall have our annual Garden Party,
weather permitting. (If it rains we shall go to the churchas usual.)
If you have ever been to Rockers, at any time in the past 25 years, do
please come to one or all of these special meetings. We would love to meet
Jean organised the story syllabus and group activities and stood
at the front of Rockers to lead the singing, while Rosemary preferred
the background role of getting to know people individually and
maintaining the Birthday Book and address list.
After nine years Jean decided to retire from Rockers in 1984,
which is when I took over the role of leading. Rosemary retired in
1995 after 20 years, handing over the paperwork and pastoral role to
Susan Banks, but has since returned to make tea.
We were very sad when Jean died last November. It was as if part
of Rockers had gone. I shall always remember her enthusiasm when she
led the action songs: no mother or child could fail to join in!
Some thoughts from Andy Macauly, the Parish Youth
Do you like meeting new people or does it fill you with fear? If you’re
like me, it can be a bit of a nerve-racking experience: desperately trying
to remember names and worrying about putting your foot in your mouth. So, a
big ‘thank you’ to all those who have welcomed me so warmly to Prestbury.
As a youth worker, I have found the biggest challenge when meeting people
in all sorts of settings: schools, youth clubs, sports projects and on the
streets, has been to think about the people I am meeting rather than
Recently, I was surprised to realise how Jesus seemed to spend much of his
time: chatting with people over meals. He was interested in people, their
hopes and concerns. How often do I stop to talk long enough to discover
where people are, without rather deciding where I think they should be?
This is risky of course: what happens if you chat to the wrong people, go
to the wrong places or get on to the wrong subjects? Risky if image and
reputation are your main concerns.
Over the next few weeks I will be trying to listen to people, young and
older, talking about Prestbury, about the Church and about young people in
the area. I will try to listen to as many different people as possible, so
that future youth work can be about moving on with young people from where
they are at the moment, building on the good work which is taking place
Please do say hello, share any thoughts you have and pray for us as a
church that our work may always relate to young people’s everyday lives. It
is an exciting journey together!
This month's musician is Catherine
At the moment I’m playing tunes from ‘Clarinet Basics’ by Paul Harris. I
have lessons every Tuesday and have to practise.
The parts of the clarinet are, from the top:
the reed and mouthpiece, then the barrel which is for tuning, the upper
joint and lower joint for the different notes and lastly the bell to
project the sound. It is handy to have a cleaner because when you play for
half an hour or more it gets a bit messy.
It’s really fun. I really like playing the
clarinet, A because it’s an instrument not often played and B because I
like the noise it makes. My favourite piece is ‘Haunted House’.
Catherine Mann, age 10 years
Music at St Mary’s (MMMSM)
This popular series returns on Wednesday 14 June.
Coffee and biscuits are available at 10.30am and the concert starts at 11
Keri Dexter, a former
chorister of St. Mary’s, will give an Organ Recital, including works
by Bach, Elgar and Tchaikovsky.
Admission is free. There will be a retiring collection in
aid of church funds.
Paddy and Gill thank everyone who collected for
The amount collected so far (4 June 2000) is
We’ll be meeting for an hour at 10 am on Tuesday 6th
June. Please join us to pray together for the Lord’s work in Prestbury and
Advance notice: We think the date for July is likely to
be Tuesday 4th July. Details from Beryl.
Dates for your Diary
‘Living with Teenagers’, a four-session course for
parents starting Wednesday 27 September.
Quiet Day, at the Marist Convent, Nympsfield on Saturday
Final call for anyone interested in preparing for
Confirmation - adults or young people (Year 8 and above). Preparation will
lead to Confirmation in November 2000. Please speak to Fr. Michael ASAP.