I am sure that many of you, like me, will still be ‘on a high’ following
the wonderful celebrations at Pentecost 2000. Admittedly I went home with
an aching back, sore feet and a slightly pink face, but it was all worth it
to be able to join so many other Christians on such a relaxed and happy
day. Any event which brings us into contact with other people who share our
faith cannot fail to inspire us. Pentecost 2000 reassured us that we are
not alone as followers of Jesus, but members of a Body which is actually
much larger than just those of us in Prestbury, and which is in a much
better shape than the media would have us believe!
Of course, events like Pentecost 2000 cannot happen every weekend and so
our focus is inevitably on our own Parish and on our life together.
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, whose coming we celebrated at Pentecost, there
is much for us to rejoice about in Prestbury, and there is also much for us
The Ministry Leadership Team has begun to look at the Pastoral area of our
Parish Life. They feel it is important to begin by considering how we show
our Christian love for one another. How do we welcome new members and help
them to feel part of our Christian family? How do we notice when any of our
members is missing? How do we build on some of the excellent pastoral care
which we are already showing to one another, so that everyone feels
noticed, cared for and valued?
In a Parish where, on an average Sunday, 250 people receive communion at
one of the three Eucharistic services, it might now be appropriate to have
a more defined Pastoral network. This is what the Ministry Leadership Team
will be giving much thought and prayer to during the next few months.
Please pass on your own ideas or comments to any member of the team. Do
remember that the Team members are always happy to hear what you have to
say, to feed it back to the Team and to discuss with you the Team’s work.
Filled with the Spirit of Pentecost, let us rejoice in our fellowship and
continue to minister God’s love to one another.
We decided in good faith in February 1999 to join the Diocesan
Pilgrimage this May to enhance our Christian lives.
Nazareth, a most appropriate place to begin, was calming for us
after the journey, and we began our day with Holy Communion in St.
Margaret’s Hospice, our base for two nights. It overlooked Nazareth, lying
in a bowl of surrounding hills, with the Basilica of the Annunciation
topped by its “Light of the World” lantern sitting centrally. Adjacent to
this building are the ancient rooms carved from the rock where a few
families lived when God chose Mary to bear his son. The well where Mary and
Jesus drew water was simply humbling.
On our way to Jerusalem we visited Mount Tabor, site of the
Transfiguration, and Megiddo, an ancient city strategically placed
to control the north/south passage across the Jezreel valley, and including
stables for 450 horses constructed by Ahab with an elaborate system for the
city’s water supply.
We visited Caesarea on the Mediterranean shore with its amphitheatre
and 20km viaduct, where Pontius Pilate preferred to live. Lunch was at a
kibbutz by the beach. We couldn’t resist a paddle in the sea!
Before entering Jerusalem we visited the ruins of a Byzantine/Crusader
church at the place where Jesus, after the resurrection, joined two
disciples who invited him to share their food. It was then that he revealed
his identity in the breaking of bread.
Taking communion in the Shepherds’ Fields was uplifting. Roger read
from the scriptures in the peaceful setting. All in turn read from the
Bible at the locations we visited. We saw shepherds with their flocks of
sheep and goats on the sparse hill pastures. We lunched with the staff of
Bethlehem Bible College, who are training young Palestinian Christians to
teach and minister.
Bethany - the home of Lazarus, Martha and Mary. Jesus was often here
to visit them. Lazarus’ tomb was down a flight of steps carved in the rock.
The incomplete Pater Noster church is at the place where Jesus taught his
disciples “Our Father, which art in heaven…”. We walked from here over the
Mount of Olives, descending to the Garden of Gethsemane
visiting the Chapel of Dominus Flevit on the way in pleasant gardens. Jesus
looked across from here to Jerusalem and wept, for he knew that 40 years
later the Romans would destroy the whole city.
Jerusalem - inside the walls. Starting at the mount where the Temple
stood, we mingled with the Jews at the Western Wall where they pray and
receive instruction in their faith. Once a Crusader church, El Aqsa
mosque can house 4,000 Muslims at prayer on Fridays. North of this is the
Dome of the Rock, so called because it covers the rock upon which Abraham
prepared to sacrifice his son, Isaac, but was stopped by God when he
accepted Abraham’s total devotion to him. The building is strikingly blue
with a huge golden dome.
Leaving the Temple Mount we were transported into the streets and souks of
the ancient city, the traders, the jostle of the crowd, the narrow
thoroughfares, a special place. The Pool of Bethesda is where Jesus
healed a paralysed man. The church nearby is a Crusader church dedicated to
St. Anne, the mother of St. Mary. We had a pleasant lunch at the “Ecce
Homo” convent, said to be the place where Pilate addressed the crowd -
“Behold the Man”.
We commenced from here to walk the length of the Via Dolorosa,
stopping at the Stations of the Cross to reflect. At some, a passage,
appropriate to that place, was read from the scriptures. The last five
stations are inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre built upon the
honoured site of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial. On finding this very
crowded we visited it next morning before breakfast.
We walked to nearby St. George’s Anglican Cathedral for Sunday Eucharist
where Dean Michael Sellars is a friend of Father Stephen’s. The service was
said in Aramaic and English which took time. Hymns were sung in English!
After lunch at Papa Andreas’ in the old city we left by the Zion Gate
to see St. Mark’s Syrian Church (Upper Room site) and Dormition Abbey
(possible site where Mary fell asleep). Re-entering the city we walked
through the Jewish quarter to the Damascus Gate near our hotel, the
Pilgrim’s Palace. That evening after prayers, Father Michael Sellars talked
to us about his role and the situation in Jerusalem, particularly about the
Travelling south we marvelled at the sudden appearance of the Judean
Wilderness. Our first call was at Qumran, where the Dead Sea
scrolls were found in a cave in 1947 by a young goatherd. The remains of
rooms where scribes laboured long hours writing them were very poignant.
Next came the awesome sight of Masada, a sheer mountain on which
Herod the Great built a city fortress. We saw his palace, food storage
rooms and water cisterns carved out of the solid rock. Here the Romans
besieged 960 Jews in AD73 and using Jewish slaves, built a ramp up to the
defensive walls, breached them and set up their equipment to beat the Jews
into submission. The Jews could not defend themselves and all died by their
own hand rather than be Roman slaves. Cable cars took us up to the top of
Experiencing floating on the Dead Sea (30% salt) will never be
forgotten. A luxury hotel, face towels, showers, swimming pool and an
The oldest city in the world is Jericho, an oasis by the River
Jordan valley, 1,300 feet below sea level. Here Jesus healed the blind
beggar and dined with the tax collector, Zaccheus, who climbed a tree to
Climbing towards Jerusalem through the Wadi Kelt desert we stopped
to see St. George’s monastery perching on a cliff in a steep gorge. Some
pilgrims were walking to it along a tortuous path and there were several
Bedouin encampments in this area, with their camels, goats and sheep.
Next morning on Mount Zion, we visited the church of St. Peter in
Gallicantu. This is on the site of the house of Caiaphas the high priest,
the ruins of which are adjacent to the church. The prison where Jesus spent
his last night before his crucifixion is underground. Standing on the very
path he took, up from Gethsemane, in the reflective quiet of early morning,
will be a lasting memory for us all.
The air-conditioned bus took us north to Nablus where we saw
Jacob’s Well (Shechem). It was deep, so it took a little time to draw
up a pail of pure water which we tasted. On to Sebastiya, a hill
with a Roman temple and arena remains, also a small Byzantine/Crusader
church. The Roman columns still stand along a row of shops where trading
took place. We were travelling through the Samarian hills and the Jezreel
valley and arrived at our hotel by the Sea of Galilee in time for a
swim in the sea and the swimming pool after the long journey.
Capernaum, where Jesus stayed after his exclusion from Nazareth.
Here we saw Peter’s house near the shore and some fine ruins excavated to
show the way people lived in those days. Next to these was a roofless fine
synagogue, where it is supposed that Jesus taught and worshipped. Nearby
there were some ancient olive oil and wine presses.
On the sea-shore lies Mensa Christe church where Jesus cooked
breakfast for the disciples after his resurrection. They had caught nothing
all night but came in with a large catch after Jesus told them to cast
their nets on the other side of the boat. This is also remembered as the
place of Peter’s commissioning by Jesus to “Feed my sheep”. Here we took
Holy Communion in the garden.
The church on the Mount of the Beatitudes commemorates the Sermon on
the Mount. This is a beautiful place of peace. In the adjoining convent we
were treated to a delicious lunch of St. Peter’s fish, caught the previous
Our last call was to the River Jordan, lovely, fast flowing,
bringing life to much of Israel. We filled a bottle with the pure water and
have it at home.
Taking a boat of the traditional type always used on Galilee we sailed from
Capernaum across to our hotel, a memorable journey.
Our Pilgrim party contained brother and sister John (8) and Anna (10) and
Peggy (80+). A unity was established amongst us enabling us to know God’s
Spirit was truly with us at all times. Unforgettable!
Roger and Gill Ashman
Every July when my children were small, they were enraged by the shop
window displays of school uniforms, “For the New Term!” well before the
school holidays had started. So apologies if I seem to be wishing away your
summer, but turn your mind for a moment to September. The autumn term could
be a chance to start something new and enjoyable, - perhaps our course on
We ran a similar course in January for parents of Under-12s. That was
much enjoyed, and if your children are older, it’s your turn now! The
course will be on Wednesday evenings, in St. Nicolas’ Church Room, starting
on 27th September. There will be 4 sessions, starting at 7.30, with coffee
available from 7 o’clock. The material is devised and led by ACCORD, the
Diocesan training group.
These evenings are meant for all parents, whatever their family
circumstances, and there is no specifically religious content. It provides
a great opportunity for getting together with others, learning together,
supporting each other and generally increasing confidence in coping.
(Incidentally, “Parenting Teens” is the updated title for what used to be
called “Living with Teenagers”; it’s the same course.)
If you wish you can buy the course book, price £5, or you can borrow a
copy at no charge.
So come along, and bring your friends. Sign up now on the list in the
church porch, so we can make plans and order the right number of books.
P.S. To be fair, perhaps there should be a course for teenagers called
“Living with Parents”. Now there’s an idea …
This month’s musician is Hannah.
I have been playing the side drum in the CCF band for just over a year.
There are three types of drum, the bass, tenor and side drums. I play the
side drum, it is the smallest one and has two snares.
I like the side drum because you can play along with the music, but it
only has ‘one’ note unlike other instruments. I enjoy playing, especially
when the whole band is all together. We play several events including a
remembrance parade in November, and a Christmas concert. We also play a
part in the annual inspection of the CCF contingent.
Hannah Compton, age 14
Many of you will recall the visit last year of the Boys’ Choir from
Charlotte, North Carolina, when they sang at the 11am Eucharist at St
Mary’s. The organist on that occasion, Dr David Lowry, is bringing an adult
choir to Britain this year on a tour which involves them singing in the
cathedrals at St David’s, Durham and Lincoln. Dr Lowry was so impressed by
the warmth of the reception given to the Boys’ Choir in Prestbury that he
asked if he could bring his adult choir here this year. Accordingly, they
are giving a concert on Tuesday 25 July at St Mary’s at 7.30pm. Admission
is free; there will be a retiring collection. Refreshments will be served
during the interval. Do come and meet our visitors, and enjoy their music.
It was lovely to see so many people at Rockers for our 25th Birthday at
the beginning of June. Our celebrations continue on Thursday 6th July with
our Garden Party at the Vicarage. We shall start at 2pm and continue
through until about 4.30, enabling the older children from both primary and
secondary schools to come after school. If you have ever been to Rockers do
come along and join in. We should also like to invite members of the former
branch of the Mothers’ Union in Prestbury to join us. Until about ten years
ago it was the MU who invited us to their Garden Party, and we only started
our own when theirs became an evening event.
Ex-Rockers go to Peru
During July and August three of our former Rockers children will spend a
month trekking in Peru. Two teams of 16-18-year-olds from Pate’s Grammar
School will visit the jungle region and the Andes, including the Inca
Trail, and will spend some time working in a local community. Among the 24
pupils are Elizabeth Murton (my daughter) and Stephen Price, who both came
to Rockers regularly in the mid-1980s. Now aged eighteen, they have just
finished their ‘A’-level exams.
The two team leaders from school are Kate Kidger, herself a former pupil
of Pate’s, and Nigel Woodall, who together run the Outdoor Pursuits
department. Kate was one of our very first Rockers children in the 1970s,
and Nigel is the father of one of our newest babies.
We wish them all a happy summer, and look forward to hearing about it.
Joyce and Jim Moore would like to thank everyone who sent them
messages of congratulation for their Diamond Wedding Anniversary. Thank you
to everyone who attended the wonderful Eucharist service celebrated by Fr.
Michael and Fr. Stephen. A buffet lunch was served at the WI hall which
rounded off a perfect day.
Thank you all for your generous donations toward the clergy vestments.
The total stands at approximately £400 at present.
Christian Aid Week
This year we reached a record total of £4,760.80, thanks to a great
effort by everyone in the parish. Special thanks must go to the sponsored
swimmers and the children, whose house-building and shoe-shining efforts
helped to swell the total, but thanks are mainly due to all who gave so
generously and so often! We’d like to mention our magazine editor too,
whose ingenious reminders are clearly very effective.
Gill Ashman & Paddy Spurgeon
Feed on the Spirit
For three Thursday evenings in May roughly twenty people met in St.
Nicolas’ Church Room to be welcomed with a glass of wine, followed by a
delicious communal meal, and then to learn about the different ways the
Holy Spirit is manifested in our daily lives.
Father Stephen, Father Michael and Father Paul each gave a talk about
this, and we were then separated into groups to discuss what they had
talked about. These discussions revealed very interesting opinions.
Mid-Morning Music at St. Mary’s (MMMSM)
The next performance, featuring two senior Music Scholars
of Dean Close School, will be on Wednesday 5th July. Coffee and biscuits
are available at 10.30am and the concert starts at 11 o’clock. Admission is
free. There will be a retiring collection in aid of church funds.
Our last two meetings this term are on Saturday July
8th at The Barn, and Saturday July 22nd, which will be our End
of term Bash. Contact me for more details.
Jonah the Groaner
A day of crafts and activities for primary school
children is to be held at St. Nicolas’ Church on Saturday 15th July.
Invitations have been sent out throughout the Parish and we hope to
entertain around 100 children. The day will begin at 10.00am and close with
an act of worship at 3.00pm. For further information contact Linda Biggs.
A picnic is planned for Sunday 16th July with fun
and frolics for all the church family. The fun will start following the
usual Sunday services at around 1.00pm, at St. Nicolas Church hall and
field. Everyone is invited. Bring your own picnic but tea and squash will
A Celebration of Marriage
Due to other commitments on 8th July, this event has been
postponed until Saturday 9th September at 3.00pm. Further details
nearer the time.
Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust
Sponsored Ride or Walk
The 18th annual Sponsored Ride or Walk is due to take
place on Saturday 9th September. If you can cycle, ride a horse or
walk, we hope you will be willing to participate and, if none of these is
applicable, your support in sponsoring participants will be most welcome.
Last year’s event was a great success. With 156
churches/chapels entering participants (523 cyclists, 4 horse riders and 60
walkers), the result was a record sum of £41,491. The total figure has
risen in each of the past three years and the Trust is hoping that this
trend will continue. We raised £506.50 in Prestbury last year.
Further information, together with sponsorship forms, is
available from our Local Organisers. Half the money which you raise is
given to our own two churches and the other half goes to the Trust for its
grant aid fund.
The cause is a good one and, although good weather cannot
be guaranteed, we can claim that all those who have taken part in past
years have experienced an enjoyable day. Please consider how you can best
support the event.
Our local organisers are: Bob Lyle and
Parish BBQ - Sunday 10th September
To celebrate the Patronal Festival, there will be a
barbecue in the grounds of St. Mary’s Infant School in Bouncers Lane,
beginning from 12.30pm. Bring your own garden chairs, picnic rugs and
something to drink. Food will be provided (and cooked for you!). Tickets
will be on sale from 2nd July, prices are:- adults £4, children £2, family
tickets £10. Don’t miss it!
Gloucester Cathedral Evening Pilgrimage
A rare opportunity to visit the Cathedral in the evening.
On Wednesday 13th September, beginning at 7.30pm and finishing by
9.00pm with Compline. We only have 20 places available, so it will be a
‘first come, first served’ basis. Lists will be placed in both Churches.
Walsingham Festival - Llandaff Cathedral
As part of the celebrations for the Millennium
anniversary of Our Lord’s birth, the image of Our Lady of Walsingham is
going on pilgrimage! On Saturday 16th September the image will be in
Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff. There will be a Festival Eucharist at 12
noon and there will also be activities for young pilgrims (aged 7 - 12
years). We hope to have a coach to Llandaff, which will stop off in
Chepstow on the way home for tea and a browse! We estimate seats on the
coach will be around £8. Please sign one of the lists in Church to indicate
that you would like to join us.
Advance Notice -
Diocesan Children’s Festival
The Diocesan Children’s Officer and her team are
organising a day of workshop activities based on the theme ‘Jesus the
Jewish Child’. To be held at the cathedral on 23 September 2000 this
is an ideal opportunity for children to gain an understanding of Jesus,
where he grew up, and how he lived as a Jewish boy. The day is being held
just prior to the start of the Jewish New Year, and is open to children
aged 4 to 12. I have provisionally booked 30 places. If a place is required
let me know soon. For further details contact Linda Biggs.
Harvest Barn Dance
This will be held in St. Nicolas’ Hall on Friday 29th
September at 7.30pm, following a Eucharist to celebrate the Feast of
St. Michael and All Angels commencing at 6.30pm. Tickets for the Barn Dance
will be on sale from 3rd September, prices are:- Adults £2.50, children
£1.50, family ticket £7. There will be a bar and a ‘bring and share’