From the moment of birth a body never ceases to develop.
Cells are constantly renewed. It alters in shape and in potential as the
years go by. We have to learn to live with changes, even when we don't want
The very universe, also, is continually changing and developing. Our
planet, Earth, is slowly evolving... we can't stop it. Families,
communities, nations - all are bodies of people. They, too, don't stand
still. History is constantly on the move. We all live in an ever-changing
world, and there is little we can do to stop it. So perhaps it is small
wonder that we look towards God as the only fixed, unchanging, stable,
rock-like point in our experience. So the hymn goes:
We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree
And wither and perish, but nought changeth Thee.
The Church of God is an ever-changing Body. It has been
since its creation by Jesus Christ.
For some, change within the life of the Church can come hard. Advent
Sunday, December 3rd, will see the latest change when Common Worship
2000 will replaces the Alternative Services Book of 1980. With the
advice of our Worship Committee it is the intention that changes in the
Eucharist at St Mary's and St Nicolas' will be gentle and gradual. To help
prepare for the introduction of Common Worship please come to our course of
teaching addresses on Sunday mornings (St Nicolas' 9.30 and St Mary's
||Setting the background
||What we do - and why
||Making the best use of our churches
||Worship within the context of the Community
||19 (6.30pm at St Mary's) Your questions
answered - a dialogue
Although we hope you will, we can't guarantee that you will like any or
all of the changes but at least you might understand why.
This year our harvest offering will once again go to asylum seekers:
there are about 100 living in Gloucestershire at present. They are given
less than the State Benefit to live on. The gifts we give will be stored
for handing out to asylum seekers in emergencies.
We are asked to give tins (soup, vegetables etc),
dry goods (tea, pasta, cereals etc) and toiletries
(toothpaste, washing powder etc). Please bring your offering to either
church on the morning of Saturday 30th September, or to one of the Harvest
Services on Sunday 1st October.
Parish Office Hours
As from this month, the parish Administrator will usually be in the
Office at the Vicarage on Monday (9am-12noon), Thursday (9-11am) and Friday
Communion before Confirmation
Another opportunity to join a group preparing to receive communion
before being confirmed. This applies to children who have been baptised and
who are now in Year 3 (aged 7) or above. The preparation will probably take
six weeks and we hope to admit the children to communion before Christmas.
Please give names to Fr Michael or speak to him if you would like to
We meet during the day in the first week of each month between 10am and
11am. At first we chat briefly about specific things to pray about, then we
all join in with informal prayers for the people, events, joys,
difficulties we are aware of in our church, parish and world. We know
people are busy with many demands on their time and no one is expected to
be at every meeting, some folk might come once a year and that's fine. We
generally finish by saying The Grace together before 11 o'clock and then
enjoy a coffee together. So now you know, and it's not too off- putting is
it? We'd be happy to see you...
The next few dates are Thursday 5th October, Tuesday 7th November and
Wednesday 6th December.
This month's musician is Sarah.
I signed up for 'cello lessons at junior school with my best friend,
Lizzie, when I was 8 years old. I liked the sound of the 'cello and thought
that it was a bit different. A year later I had successfully passed Grade
I. I kept playing through two changes of school and many changes of teacher
before, at the age of 17, I passed the Grade VIII exam with distinction.
Just in case you are finding it difficult to visualize a 'cello, it
looks like a big violin and you sit on a chair abreast of it to play.
Your reasons for playing change as you develop as a player. One thing
that has kept me going are the opportunities provided by the county music
service. I have worked my way up from the back desk of the 'cellos in Mr
Thomas's orchestra (then known as Cheltenham Schools Junior Orchestra) to
being leader of the 'cello section of the top county orchestra, the
Gloucestershire Youth Orchestra. I have also been on three of the county
summer courses; they are fantastic fun. Through all of these groups I have
made some brilliant friends who I hope will stay with me for the rest of my
I've also been lucky enough to play in some outstanding trios, string
quartets and quintets, in and out of school. This has proved quite
profitable as the quartets are now often asked to play at weddings and
other formal functions and can go out busking.
For me playing the 'cello has really taken off in the past two years
when I have begun to enjoy the social dimension to music and play with a
much wider variety of groups. One of the most memorable performances for me
has been playing the first movement of Elgar's 'Cello Concerto accompanied
by the school orchestra in the Pittville Pump Room. It was an amazing
There will always be times when you think 'I can't be bothered any
more'. I have often thought that when teachers have been telling me I need
to learn my scales (my least favourite part of 'cello playing!). All I can
say is stick at it. I thought that 'cello playing stopped at grade VIII,
but having got there I've found that this is where it starts.
Sarah Lyle (age 18)
For a week during August eight Young People and eight Adults took on the
challenge of transforming gardens of the elderly and disabled. Here are
some comments from those involved:
- 'I enjoyed helping on the Community Action project; it was good
helping other people and it was fun.' (Young Person)
- 'Children seem to get a very bad press these days but this bunch
deserve nothing but praise.' (Owner of Garden)
- 'I am pleased that we can help the elderly and disabled in
Prestbury.' (Young Person)
- 'It turned out to be a three way venture in getting to know each
other - young people, older helpers and the owners of gardens that needed
attention. I think we all benefited.' (Adult Helper)
- 'There's nothing like working alongside people to get to know them:
a fantastic bunch, dedicated and with a great sense of fun. (Youth
- 'It was very much appreciated!' (Warden)
The week also included a BBQ, with some 'well cooked' items, and a trip
to the fantastic Greenbelt. Both events continued to build a strong sense
of togetherness among the young people and leaders. Thanks to all who were
involved. Watch this space as we see how we can continue the project.
Two members of
the parish, Stephen Price and myself, took part in the Pate's Grammar
School Team A expedition to Peru this summer. A fantastic and eventful time
was had by all. River journeys by local boats, overloaded truck journeys
through high mountain passes and desperate taxi journeys across cities made
for an adventure of a life time. As we all struggled to grapple with the
language, locals went out of their way to help us... despite the fact that
it was often not the help we wanted. From the tourist dives of Cusco, the
Pongo de Manique and the jungle, the Inca Trail, Cotahausi Canyon, the
festival in Arequipa and the delights of sleeping on the floor of Lima
airport, despite one member of the team trying to throw himself off a cliff
on the Inca trail in the dark (not intentionally), the most dangerous
moments were taxi rides in the cities. The taxi drivers are probably the
most religious people I have ever seen. One driver crossed himself every
time he went past a church... he crossed himself even more furiously each
time we approached a busy junction or roundabout, this made us somewhat
A Month in Peru
Mountains, rainforests, llamas and roasted guinea pigs go a long way to
summing up our trip yet I'm sure you're keen to know more. We started off
wide eyed and bushy tailed eager to be off with our sparkling new kit well
packed and our stomachs filled with the slap up send off meal our parents
had provided. I know my Mum had fed me up as if I was going to be away for
a decade rather than a month. However surviving off crackers, porridge and
gorgeous McDougals (a slightly dodgy dehydrated meat substitute) whilst
hiking up 4000 metre high mountains led most of us to daydream of our
mothers cooking and torture ourselves by describing the feasts we were
going to prepare when we got home.
Despite this though and some uncomfortable truck rides crammed in like
sardines with the locals there were some amazing moments. Swimming in the
Pongo with sheer rock faces on either bank, spectacular waterfalls
streaming down them and in sparkling sunshine was one of the best moments
of the trip especially climbing up behind the waterfalls and diving off
into the river. Arriving at the ruins of the Inca hilltop fort Machu Picchu
was incredible as they appeared through the mist and made the four day trek
through the mountains with full packs well worth it.
Our last phase of the trip was in the world's deepest canyon where we
painted a local school as our community project. One of the highlights of
this was the natural hot springs where we washed the grime and paint off
each day in boiling hot water. Mr Woodall enjoyed the springs so much he
compared them in significance to the birth of his daughter!
When we arrived home we were no longer the clean faced young youths we
had been when we left. We were smelly, covered in dirt, starving hungry and
glad to be back in green and pleasant England where hot showers and Roast
Beef were plentiful. However it had been an amazing trip and I think all of
us have wished we were back there at least once since we got back.
Expedition to Peru - Pate's Team 'B'
I have a
collection of memories from this summer that words can barely sum up. I
spent a month in Peru with World Challenge Expeditions. Their brochure
offers 'the experience of a lifetime' and Peru did not fail to deliver. Our
team crammed a huge range of activities into the time out there; everything
from the spectacular beauty of the Inca Trail to the tropical paradise of a
boat trip down the Urubamba River, stopping at a farm to pick oranges.
Night journeys by flat-bed truck, horse riding and numerous Inca ruins, not
to mention clubbing in Cuzco, were to follow. Cuzco is the second largest
city in Peru (after Lima) but seems much smaller than Arequipa because the
outskirts go up the valley sides instead of sprawling flat. The cathedral
is very ornamental, a strange mixture of western influence and Inca
At Chivay we loaded kit for our community project on to donkeys and
walked down and down (and down and down...) into the Colca Canyon. The
views were fantastic and we saw condors - average wing span 6 feet. The
path disintegrated briefly into scree and tree roots, then a rickety
suspension bridge over the river, and then all uphill to San Juan Chuccho.
Here we had a three-day rest from walking - the lads put up corrugated iron
walls around the 'toilet' (hole in the ground) while we girls washed and
repainted the inside and outside walls of the school building, helped by
some of the local children. An interesting challenge was communicating in
Spanish with a six-year-old. The most common phrase of the expedition had
to be a plaintive 'Liz, what did he just say?' (I was the only
Spanish-speaker in the group.)
Then on to the Inca Trail where temperatures were freezing at night. We
climbed to Dead Woman's Pass (4200 metres above sea-level). I twisted my
knee on the second day, so spent the next two days using walking poles as
crutches. The final section of the Inca Trail has narrow paths, bridges and
steep stairs. We reached the Sun Temple and a magnificent view of ... fog,
which cleared as we went on down to Machu Picchu.
As well as condors, we saw several herds of llamas with red tassels on
their ears, a large family of guinea pigs running loose in a kitchen, and
cicadas and luminous butterflies in the jungle. We showered under a
waterfall (powerful but cold), bathed in hot springs, and slept everywhere
from tents to buses to the best hotel in town.
My personal favourite was the jungle town of Quillabamba, with banana
trees and tropical scenery, delightfully warm in both its climate and the
welcome we received - it was here that I had my first taste of salsa
dancing. Overall the expedition was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Dear Revd Canon Stephen & Vicky,
I hope by the grace of God our Father you are all fine. I am very well
and ready to go home. I will be going on 20/7/2000. I have passed my exams
and my dissertation as well.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to you and your clergies, all
your parishioners, for your LOVE and friendship and
more than that for your support and prayers. I will always remember you
during my prayers to God.
I thank you so much for your Administrative Skills which I gained during
my stay on Christmas vacation. I enjoyed visiting your parishioners, and
staying with them, and I would like to say THANKS to
them all. For their LOVE and
GENEROSITY they offered to me will not be forgotten in my mind for
I will be in touch with you, when I get at home and inform you my new
May the blessings of God be with you all,
Rev Fr Stewart Kasembe
Earlier this year Fr Stewart's wife was seriously ill and money was
collected in this parish to help pay for her medication. The amount
collected was more than enough, and we have sent the balance (about £1700)
to the Bishop of Masasi to set up a diocesan fund to help in cases of
similar need in the future.
Sunday 10th September was a beautiful, late summer day (proving that God
does hear our prayers!) and the Infant School grounds were a perfect
setting for the Parish Barbecue. Lots of good food, expertly cooked; a
chance to sit and chat in the welcome shade of the trees, or for the more
energetic, a game of rounders and then a treasure hunt. Very many thanks to
those who organised such an enjoyable social occasion. Also, thanks to
those who helped on the day; to Andy (for the entertainment!) and to all
those who came. Not to be missed next year!!
A Taste of Paradise -
Classical Music in the Seychelles
After responding to a letter displayed at a Cheltenham Choral Society
rehearsal in January asking for experienced singers to take part in the
Seychelles International Festival of Classical Music, we left Heathrow on
Thursday 8th June, bound for Nairobi, where we enjoyed a mini safari in the
National Park before flying on to the Seychelles for our first concert on
First impressions of Mahé were of a paradise island. After a few hours
rest we travelled over very mountainous roads to the capital, Victoria, and
a rehearsal for the concert that evening. We were a choir of 80 and
orchestra of 40 and our guest conductor was Sir David Willcocks. Among
other things that evening the choir sang the Seychelles National Anthem
in Creole, Handel's Coronation Anthems 1, 2 & 3 and a piece arranged
by Sir David "Rejoice to-day with one accord"; he was most surprised
to find everyone sight-reading the piece, having been handed it as we
entered the Conference Centre.
During the following fortnight we rehearsed and sang a concert in the
Cathedral, including Fauré's Requiem, Locus iste (Bruckner),
Cantique de Jean Racine (Fauré), Laudate Dominum (Solemn
Vespers), all of which was being broadcast. On another occasion we sang
Mozart's Requiem, and gave a joint concert with the Seychelles Choral
Society including songs from the shows and an open air concert entitled 'A
Night at the Opera / Last Night of the Proms'. Sir David Willcocks
conducted a workshop during our stay and kindly autographed and gave us
each a copy of his arrangement of "Rejoice to-day with one accord".
The orchestra accompanied us for each performance and also played alone.
One memorable occasion was outside at Cap Lazare, playing Handel, Mozart
and Vivaldi with the sea and waves lapping in the background. Our
international soloists (both vocal and instrumental) gave recitals on
various evenings and we were all entertained to a reception by the British
High Commissioner and his wife at their lovely house high in the hills
overlooking the sea; also a very warm welcome and sing-along with the
Seychelles Choral Society.
We did manage to have some time for sunbathing and sightseeing of both
Mahé and two neighbouring islands Praslin & La Digue (where we travelled by
ox cart). One day en route back to our room at the hotel we met Shirley and
Peter Brown, who were on a tour of the island while staying at a hotel
further along the coast. All that way from home and you walk into someone
from Prestbury St. Mary's!
It was a holiday of a lifetime, a paradise island with a warm friendly
people, the joy of listening to and making music, the companionship of
people with the same interests and I know we have made many lifelong
Avril Keen accompanied by Bill Keightley
All Saints' Tide
Wednesday 1st November
A Sung Eucharist at All Saints' Church, Pittville
We are invited to join Fr Stephen and the congregation at All Saints' to
celebrate their Patronal Festival and enjoy some refreshments after the
Thursday 2nd November
A Sung Requiem for the Departed
St Mary's Church
Sunday 5th November
A Service for those who have recently been bereaved
St Mary's Church
We will invite those who have been bereaved during the past year
to attend this service
St Nicolas' Patronal Festival
Wednesday 6th December
Festival Eucharist at 7.30pm
Followed by some light refreshments
Come and celebrate our life together
All are very welcome
Webb Ivory Christmas 2000 Card and Gift catalogues are
available from Marion Godden. Profits to St Nicolas' Roof Appeal.
Parish Youth Clubs
Synergy: Sundays 7.30pm St Nicolas'
Exploring Faith and Life (Y7 and up)
Being: Living and Dying
'The Space' Youth Club (Y7&8)
Thursdays 7.30-9pm St Nicolas' Hall
TZ Youth Club:
Fridays 7.45-9.15pm St Nicolas' Hall
Chat, Challenge and Chill (Y9&up)
further information on any of the above please contact Andy Macauly
Mid-Morning Music at St Mary's (MMMSM)
The summer mid-morning concerts at St Mary's ended on
September 6th. Christine and Malcolm McKelvey have again delighted us with
a varied programme of recitals given by talented performers. We are most
grateful to them for arranging this series and look forward to the next one
in the Spring of 2001.
'A Thanksgiving for Marriage'
Sadly this service, due to be held on 9th September, had
to be cancelled. Invitations were sent to couples married in Prestbury
during the past five years, but only six said they were able to come! Lots
replied saying, 'what a good idea, but we have another engagement' and we
were not sure how many other people would join us.
One suggestion is to hold a similar service on Saturday
5th May 2001, including it as part of a weekend celebration of marriage.
Perhaps we could show wedding dresses if people still have them,
photographs and other wedding 'memorabilia', along with a display of
wedding flowers. These are only suggestions - let us know what you think!
Gloucester Cathedral Evening
20 disappointed people had to forego their evening visit
to the Cathedral due to the fuel crisis. We have been assured by the
Cathedral Visitors' Officer that we will be at the top of the list for the
next series of evening tours.
Parish Quiet Day
Advance notice of a Quiet Day to be held on Saturday
25th November 2000 at Our Lady's Homestead, Nympsfield, near Stonehouse.
Nympsfield is a quiet village in the Cotswold Hills, between Stroud and
Dursley. The Retreat House is owned and run by the Marist Sisters and our
Quiet Day will be led by an Anglican Monk, Br.Steven of the Community of
the Servants of the Will of God (CSWG). Transport can be arranged. More
details nearer the time - book the date now!