That’s the derivation, of course, of the word we use to describe those
times when we pack up the tent and pitch it somewhere sunny like Jonah
(Jonah 4:5), or crawl off in a caravan towards the sand like Joseph after
his brothers sold him into slavery (Genesis 37:25), or perhaps even go
sailing round the Med’ like St. Paul (Acts 27:14ff), though hopefully
without being shipwrecked.
Holidays as we know them are quite a recent innovation. Indeed the
very idea of having paid time off work to go away somewhere else for a few
weeks in the year seems a little ridiculous in itself. The only time
off that many people used to have was when there was a Holy Day or a
religious celebration like Christmas or Easter which still survive in the
popular imagination as times of rest from work so as to celebrate the
feast. Though these great feasts have doubtless survived through
their bizarre cultural accretions, other lesser holy days have lost their
popular significance and with it the time off - for instance Ascension Day
and as last month, the feast of the Transfiguration. No holiday on
the holy day.
But we don’t take our holidays on holy days any more anyway, we tend to
pick the slack Summer months to disappear for a break when work is slow,
schools are out and the sun is shining. Should we stop calling them
holidays now and refer instead to a vacation, an emptying as in academic
institutions, a space, a void, to be filled with nothing in particular?
What is holy about them now?
Even though we no longer take time off to celebrate all the red letter
days in the book, we still make it a communal habit to take a decent chunk
of rest at least once a year, and this I believe is holy. Rest is
good for you, the more the better, a genuinely holy opportunity to be
yourself rather than to have to do what others expect of you - after all,
God himself rested on the seventh day (Genesis 2:3). But all rest is
holy, not just the Sabbath day, it is the chance to discover what God made
you to be, free from the pressures and distractions of life. Rest is
time to think and time to meet God in your prayers. For goodness
sake, don’t squander such a valuable and precious commodity on work!
Holidays are far more important.
That’s what the Tour Company called it - and we thought ‘What a good
title!’ Little did we know what we were in for. It was an
adventure, an experience, more than a holiday. It all started when
the taxi called at 4.00am to take us to the airport, something like 20
hours later we arrived at Lima airport to an enthusiastic crowd, but
they were not looking for us but for some exile who was returning because
of the elections. The next day we were taken on a tour of Lima where
it never rains and, consequently, we were able to see the ruins of a
mud-brick fortress, over 500 years old. Many of Lima’s buildings date
back to the Spanish period and are quite beautiful but we were not
encouraged to wander.
2.30am the following morning we received an early call for the plane to
Cuzco where we reached the hotel at about 9.00am. Our rooms,
understandably, were not ready. The previous occupants had barely
departed! We were advised to relax for the rest of the morning and to
drink coca tea. This was to help us adjust to the altitude.
Oxygen cylinders were readily available in the hotels and on the trains for
anyone overcome by the altitude.
In the afternoon we visited the Dominican monastery which incorporated
an Inca temple. The Incas appear to have been an amazing
people who flourished for about 500 years and constructed the most
astounding buildings. Most of them had stone walls, without mortar,
but so carefully slotted together that earthquakes have not affected them.
Some of the bigger ones incorporate stones up to 100 tonnes in weight,
coming from quarries at least 4 miles away. The Incas, it is said,
did not know about writing or the wheel! But some of their
constructions are colossal.
A further oddity about the Incas and the Nazcas - another early
Peruvian civilization - was their ability to envisage constructions on the
ground as if they were viewing them from several hundred feet in the air.
Just outside Cuzco is a vast construction, temple or fortress or both,
which was designed as the head of the Puma of which Cuzco was the body!
Later on in the holiday we flew over the Nazca lines where lines or paths
have been carved on mountains and in the desert, and vast drawings of birds
and animals, such as dog, heron, humming bird, spider, monkey, condor, up
to 200 metres in length, and believed, by some, to represent the Nazca
zodiac. Others believe that they were tribal/family crests.
Another early call saw us off by train to Machu Picchu (9000 ft
but 1000 ft lower than Cuzco), the most famous of the Inca cities, to which
most of the Inca trails lead. It had been lost in the forest until it
was stumbled upon by an American explorer in 1911. Photos of it are
the most usual advertisements for travel to Peru but, to see it in reality,
it is just breathtaking - it seems to go on and on, and up and up.
The Inca trail to its main gateway comes over the mountain and down to the
A second train journey, about 10½ hours, took us to Juliaca, on
the way to Puno, even higher. Apart from the interesting
countryside it became apparent that there were no level crossings with
gates in Peru - the train driver sounded his klaxon and pressed on.
Of course the same conditions apply in town, where the klaxon goes
continuously until you reach the station where, surprisingly, there is a
platform. I suspect that, in many cases, the towns have grown up, or
enlarged around the tracks, so that the mud-brick, adobe, houses are about
2-3 metres from the rails and, in the space between the houses and the
rails, the washing is hung out, furniture made, cars and bikes repaired and
goods sold in open air markets.
From our hotel in Puno, on Lake Titicaca, we boated out to the
floating islands of the Uros Indians. Apparently, many years ago they
were being persecuted and decided that the only way to escape was to create
islands from the reeds which grow in the lake and to settle on them.
The islands consist of layer upon layer of reeds on which they build their
reed houses, keep their livestock (certainly sheep) and also tethered
cormorants which they use for fishing. They also make the most
beautiful reed boats. Recently the government has started some island
schools. One of the most unexpected sights was that they even have
Peru is a wonderful country. It has a bit of everything - sea
coast, mountains, some with perpetual snow, jungle, rivers, pasture and
arable land, forest and desert and even an oasis with people sand-boarding
down the dunes. I mustn’t forget the llama and alpaca, nor the guinea
pig, which is said to be a staple food. The one house we visited - it
had been an Inca house which had fallen upon bad times and now housed about
4 families round the courtyard - also housed a small tribe of guinea pigs
scrabbling on the earth floor on which, we were assured, the family put
down their bedding and slept at night, with granny and granddad watching
over them from the shelf, or, at least, their skulls.
As a consequence of the Spanish conquest, the people of Peru were
converted to Catholicism, but the impression we gained from some of the
local guides we met was that this conversion has not gone very deep and
that there is still a strong persistence of the earlier beliefs.
Ex-Rockers in Peru
Stephen and Nigel in Pate’s Team A, and Elizabeth and Kate in Team B,
have all returned home safely
Earlier on this year the Mothers’ Union appealed for used spectacles for
their Diocesan Overseas Project and the parish was most helpful in
supplying a large quantity.
More recently, the Rwandan people were delighted when the consignment of
700 pairs sent earlier this year arrived. Freda Kolini, the
Archbishop’s, wife was in London recently and related how they shared them
between the dioceses.
The result of our labours throughout the diocese was that nearly 2000
pairs were cleaned, checked, boxed and packed and are en route to Burundi.
Burundi was chosen because it is one of three countries (Malawi and Sudan
being the others) where the MU have started pilot schemes for a major
literacy project in order to reduce the very high illiteracy rate (on
average between 60% and 70%). Since many of the women need specs but
cannot afford them, hopefully our work will ensure that they can at least
see what is being taught! By educating the mothers it is hoped that
future generations of children will be literate as in many countries
education has to be paid for and often families cannot afford to send their
children to school.
Many people and firms have willingly helped with this project. All
supplies have been given: specs (all washed and checked), empty
cases, bubble wrap and shoe boxes. At the moment we are not
collecting any more pairs. However I would like to thank everybody
for their help and assure you that our members in Burundi will certainly
appreciate what otherwise might be collecting dust or cluttering up
Ruth Shaw, Diocesan MU Trustee
On the 15th of July around sixty children turned up for a day of craft
and activities orientated around the story of Jonah and the Whale,
culminating in a short service.
To start the day all the children gathered with their group leaders for
an introductory session. We heard the story, and learned a new song.
The children found the song, ‘Go Down Jonah’ from Jonah Man Jazz by
Michael Hurd, enjoyable to learn even though it was quite difficult.
I thought this song was very fitting.
The different groups then began various activities, five in all.
At the instruments workshop you could make a variety of instruments, drums,
shakers, and tambourines. These would be used to represent the wind
and the rain during the storm in the play performed the next day in both
churches. This workshop was good as it was very well suited to all
age groups. The tambourines were quite easy for younger children,
whereas the drums were a bit harder and better for the older ones.
Making the two boats was an activity thoroughly enjoyed by all the
children. The first group had to design the boats using shoeboxes,
which I thought was a very good idea, and the other groups then made them
from the bigger boxes. The boat was very effective during the story
the next day; it stood out in the church and it was something that everyone
had taken part in.
Similarly the whale painting was very good. The children could
sponge on a variety of different colours to represent the whale and the
water, and everyone enjoyed the painting and getting that little bit messy.
Everyone also enjoyed the decorating of the whale-shaped biscuits, and they
had something to take home.
The wiggly worms were made from two strips of card
with a face. All the children found these good fun to make, and
enjoyed using them the next day to eat the tree which was also made in this
group. The tree was made from a children’s climbing tube, so that it
could grow. I thought this was a very good idea.
The children found it great fun to make the masks; they could make one
of a number of different animals, including lions, horses and pigs.
These looked very effective and the children enjoyed wearing them the next
day in the play.
At the end of the day there was a short service, to which the parents
were invited. We sang the song ‘Go Down Jonah’, had some short
prayers and listened to the story of Jonah and the Whale.
I think the day was very well organised and was a great success, and all
the children enjoyed themselves thoroughly.
A big ‘Thank You’ from me to everyone who helped with ‘Jonah the
See lots more
pictures of the day in 'Our Events'.
About three years ago Fr Stephen invited Lillian Brockman to become our
Parish Archivist to deal with register enquiries, which come in from all
over the world. For a long time Lillian has been interested in family
history, and now she had a mission. One thing that family historians
like to do if they can’t trace relatives in the usual births, marriages and
deaths registers is to look at the grave stones in the churchyard of the
place where the family lived. However it can be a long journey to get
there and when there, the grave stone may be unreadable! Lillian’s
mission was to record all the inscriptions in our churchyard - it has taken
her all this time, but she has done it.
Many inscriptions were hard to read. One trick was to look down a
cardboard tube held close to the stone. Any cleaning had to be very
gently done with a toothbrush. All her work had to be checked by
members of the Gloucestershire Family History Society. Then it all
had to be checked again by a member of the Society of Genealogists.
Poor Fred Brockman had rather random meal times for a while!
Now it is all finished and recorded in a file three inches thick.
However, it is also on computer and Lillian can print out any part that is
We do have to thank Lillian very much for recording what will otherwise
be lost for ever as the tombstones gradually deteriorate. In one or
two cases this has already happened. There will be an index kept in
church for on-the-spot reference and Lillian will I am sure be ready to
help with more detailed queries.
Ken tells me that he was horrified to read his own name in Lillian’s
book along with those of his deceased mother and uncle. He assures me
he is alive and well, and has now recalled why he is included. Can
you spot the plaque with Ken’s name on it?
A clue: it is in the church, not the churchyard.
In late May we, members of St Nicolas’ choir and partners,
set out for a singing visit to the Norske Kirke, Oslo, where our former
organist and choir master, Colin Smith, is now the resident organist.
We set out to join the Norwegian church choir and to sing at the Sunday
service. Over the past weeks we had practised Schubert’s Mass (to be
sung in German), two motets (one in Norwegian, one in English) and the
eight hymns all in Norwegian. It was a linguistic as well as a
musical challenge! On the day, careful placement of the English
singers between the Norwegian singers helped the pronunciation.
A rigorous rehearsal on the Saturday night put us in good stead for the
Sunday. The liturgy of the service is very similar to the Anglican.
There are however some confusing differences, e.g. the congregation sits to
sing and stands to pray; the congregation surges to receive communion,
which is offered in individual chalices. There was a relaxed attitude
to children, who coped well with the hour and three-quarter service.
After the service a hundred or more members of the church enjoyed coffee
and home made biscuits and cake as they sat chatting at tables (complete
with fresh flowers) in the superb social facilities.
weather did not match the warmth of the welcome of our hosts. (We all
stayed with church families.) Colin’s planned picnic on an island in
the fjord had to be abandoned. It rained and it rained. In true
British spirit we went around like drenched creatures but we saw a great
deal: the Viking and Kontiki museums; the Olympic ski jump (we hold
Eddie the Eagle in new esteem); the sights of Oslo. We jumped on and
off trams, underground trains, boats, buses - all for 80p unlimited travel
for 24 hours!
The stringent laws on alcohol were a source of surprise. One of
our members asked for a bottle of wine at a supermarket to receive a
surprised response at such a request. The one and only wine shop lies
hidden in the centre of Oslo and would have entailed a two-hour expedition
to make the purchase.
We felt sad at leaving Colin, who returned us to the airport in our Rent
a Wreck mini van. (Yes, that is the name of the company.) We
record our heartfelt thanks to our hosts and particularly to Colin for
enabling such a memorable visit. We look forward to our Norwegian
friends coming to Prestbury.
A strange season for all involved largely on account of those who
weren’t. When the Welsh dioceses failed to field teams, that left
Gloucs, Worcs, and Coventry to scrap it out in a sort of extended
triangular match. Our usual pathetic turn out and last minute ring
around guaranteed our safe passage to nowhere while Worcester were the
lucky winners of a quarter final place against the Diocese of London.
How fortunate we were to have played the gentlemen’s game against Worcester
since their meeting with the Big Boys saw them thrashed quite soundly with
an embarrassing report in the Church Times. I am sure we could
have done a lot worse, however.
So, having lost to the team from Ecclesiastical Insurance as well as to
our clerical opponents, we stuck it out to the end with a match against a
team of Old Boys from the King’s School where a late declaration saw the
match drawn much to everyone’s delight. This latter result means that
I can’t exactly claim that we lost the lot, but I can at least state that
we failed to win a single match.
Our best player has left and gone to the Diocese of Leicester, but this
has had the effect of making the rest of us take more responsibility for
our actions on the pitch. Added to this is the usual speculation
about who might be persuaded to join us next year from the new crop of
curates or new incumbents. I hear rumours that the soon to be
appointed new archdeacon of Gloucester can swing a bat a bit. Only
when it becomes compulsory, however, will anyone ever take diocesan cricket
as seriously as it deserves. Perhaps the odd supporter or two might
make the difference next year.
Did I forget to tell you how many runs I scored? How careless of
Each year, diocesan teams from all over the country compete for the
Church Times Clergy Cricket Cup. Fr Paul has recently completed
his second season in the Gloucester Diocese team, with slightly better
personal results than he implies above!
This month’s musician is Andrew.
The trombone has three different parts. The slide, the bell and
the mouthpiece. You play a trombone by blowing a raspberry into the
mouthpiece that makes the trombone vibrate creating sound waves.
Unlike most brass instruments the trombone does not have valves (buttons),
but has a slide that you move up and down to get different notes.
Most of them are low notes.
I have been playing the trombone for 2 years now and I have become quite
good. I now play for the school orchestra.
By Andrew Wood, aged 11
St Mary’s Junior School marked the end of the school year with two
concerts, one performed by Years 3 & 4, the other by Years 5 & 6.
Both concerts were thematically based, the younger children taking Zoo
Animals whilst the older children wrote and played a musical interpretation
of J K Rowling’s book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone as
part of theirs.
There were spirited performances all round with the pupils demonstrating
their skills with brass, string and wind instruments, collectively and
In the Years 3 & 4 concert the audience particularly enjoyed the songs
‘The Gnu’, ‘The Hippopotamus’ (you know … mud, mud, glorious mud!) and ‘The
Years 5 & 6 excelled with rousing renditions of songs from the musicals
such as the theme from The Lion King, Oliver’s food glorious
food, and McCavity from Cats.
Well done to everyone who made it happen, a splendid way to sign off the
year. A musical feast enjoyed by all.
Prestbury St Mary’s Bellringers have been quite active this year,
starting on 1st January with midnight ringing and then a “date touch” of
2000 changes of Grandsire Triples later in the day.
We have 18 local members, ranging in age from 13 to 87 and with a wide
range of abilities - not necessarily correlating with age!
As well as normal ringing for services and weddings, we have achieved a
number of quarter peals. Harder to achieve is a full peal (3 hours’
continuous change ringing); the one we attempted for the Queen Mother’s
birthday unfortunately failed.
We urgently need sheets of tissue paper, preferably white, to wrap the
white linen altar cloths in at St Mary’s. If you have any spare,
please leave it in the marked envelope in the lost property box just inside
the door of the church. Thank you.
A swift look at what will be happening from
September in the Parish’s Youth Work.
TWILIGHT ZONE : (Y9+)
St Nicolas’ Hall
The Friday Night Youth Club: a relaxed
atmosphere with activities to challenge and stretch. We
will be looking to build on our good relationships with the regular
group and to welcome new faces too.
Sep: Leaders’ Meeting (TZ and Junior) 7.30 with food
15 Sep: Club Night
22 Sep: Club Night
29 Sep: Dry Slope Skiing (meet 6.30pm)
6 Oct: Club Night
13 Oct: Club Night
20 Oct: Club Night
27 Oct: ½ Term: no meeting
Thursdays 7.30 - 9.00pm
St Nicolas’ Hall
Following the success of TZ we will be starting
a club for 11-13s on Thursdays, particularly focusing on the Wyman’s
Brook area. An exciting and rewarding age to work with: if
you are interested in helping with this new venture contact Andy
Macauly … and we’ll need a name too …
5 Oct: Club Night
12 Oct: Trip (TBA) meet 7.00pm
19 Oct: Club Night
26 Oct: ½ Term: no meeting
Sundays 7.30 - 9.00pm
This group is about getting to grips with faith and
life: in a relevant and fun way. We’ll be looking at some
key issues around being human: the good and the tough …
Being a Team
17 Sep: Being Human
24 Sep: Being on Screen
1 Oct: Being Family
8 Oct: Being Social
15 Oct: Being & Dying
22 Oct: Being on Holiday (no meeting)
Please pray that we would always be able to be radically welcoming
communities: showing God’s transforming grace! (Check out some
of the invitations Jesus talked about: Luke 14:7-24; Matthew
September is the month for social events in the
- there must be something for everyone here!
Sunday 10th September
Join in with the fun and fellowship of the Parish
Barbecue in the grounds of St Mary’s Infant School in Bouncers Lane.
Bring your own garden chairs, picnic rugs and something to drink.
Arrive from 12.30pm onwards. Food will be provided (and cooked for
you!). Tickets are on sale in both Churches, prices are:- adults £4,
children £2, family tickets £10. Don’t miss it!
Gloucester Cathedral Evening
Wednesday 13th September
A rare opportunity to visit the Cathedral in the evening.
Beginning at 7.30pm and finishing by 9.00pm with Compline. Only 20
places are available - contact Fr. Michael if you are interested.
Lifts can be arranged!
Walsingham Festival - Llandaff
Saturday 16th September
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!
It is not too late to book a seat on our coach going to
Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff, on Saturday 16th September. The coach
will leave Prestbury at 9.30am to arrive in time for the Festival Eucharist
at 12 noon. There will also be activities for young pilgrims
(aged 7 - 12 years). After a picnic lunch, we will leave Cardiff to
return home via Chepstow, where we have booked a WI tea! Seats on the
coach can be booked by calling Liz Greenhow.
Harvest Barn Dance
Friday 29th September
In St Nicolas’ Hall on Friday 29th September at 7.30pm.
There will be a bar and a ‘bring and share’ buffet. Ticket prices (to
cover the cost of the live band) are:- adults £2.50, children £1.50, family
The Barn Dance will follow a Eucharist, in St Nicolas’
Church at 6.30pm, to celebrate the Feast of St Michael and All Angels.
Mid-Morning Music at St Mary’s (MMMSM)
The next concert, on Wednesday 6th September, will
be a ’Cello Recital by Warwick Cole, who is already well
known to us as a harpsichord player and organist.
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.