St Mary's Church Hall is in relatively urgent need of massive
refurbishment and upgrading. But Church use of the Hall has been less and
This article is based on discussions which have been taken place for
over two years by our Parochial Church Council, by our Fabric and our
Finance Committees. The PCC has decided to bring this discussion into the
public arena. Prayerful and thoughtful consideration are needed.
Older parishioners will remember the previous Church Hall on the Kings
Arms Car Park which was replaced by the present hall.
The Present Hall has advantages & positive points
* provides photocopier room
* has adequate kitchen space
* has a stage and other potential
* gas heaters very effective
* has a meeting room
* is a service to the Community
* is relatively cheap to run
* is proximate to St Mary's end of the parish
* is free of charge for Church use
* is run by a willing, hardworking, supportive team
Disadvantages & Negative Points
too far from St Mary's for Sunday School 'interchange' on Sunday
too far for 'robing', etc., at large Services;
too far from church for after-Service refreshments, etc. - people are
'lost' en route;
circuitous route by car from church;
no use in poor weather: means a car journey for many;
has small parking area.
Meeting rooms are not really available (one full of play-group
materials, the other is used in conjunction with some hall bookings, so
often not available);
unattractive and unwelcoming;
wrong image for Church;
poor décor - looks run down;
tubular lighting unpleasant;
kitchen equipment insufficient;
heaters unattractive and difficult to operate;
floor needs replacing;
toilets not up to end of century standards;
chairs need replacing;
poor backstage facilities;
presently no room for Parish Office;
car park small & used by garages, visitors & parents at schools,
Present Use of Hall
by Church in 2000: approx. 12 times;
by others: playgroup; after school kids' club; badminton; karate; ballet;
private parties; charity events; Elections.
Other rooms & halls within the parish for church & community use
St Mary's Upper Room (adequate parking) free;
St Nicolas' Room (good parking) free;
Vicarage Room (poor parking) free;
St Nicolas' Hall (good parking) free;
St Mary's Infant School Hall (good parking) ?small payment;
St Mary's Junior School Hall (good parking) ?small payment;
U R C Church & Hall (poor parking) ?small payment;
Prestbury W I Hall (adequate/poor parking) payment;
Prestbury Pavilion (adequate parking) payment;
Pittville School (adequate parking) payment;
Pump Rooms (adequate parking) payment;
Race Course rooms (adequate parking) payment
1) we should use God's gifts - our resources - with the very best
2) to bring the Good News of Jesus to the people of Prestbury;
3) to support the people and children of God spiritually, educationally and
4) To help and to serve others within the community.
A To keep the Hall
1) the present Church Hall is adequate to our needs;
2) nothing should be done except normal maintenance;
3) we are currently providing an important (subsidised at our expense)
service to others in the community;
4) by intensive fundraising and the goodwill of present users it might be
possible to rebuild or refurbish.
B To reconstruct/refurbish the Hall
1) the present Church Hall is under-used for Church activities because
of the disadvantages listed above;
2) it needs a large injection of finance to bring it up to requirements for
the needs of the Church in the new century;
3) the Hall should be either a) rebuilt, or b) restored, and c)
4) meeting rooms and office accommodation should be incorporated into the
C To dispose of the Hall
1) although we are providing a service to others in the community, other
existing halls could provide these;
2) moves were afoot to look into the possibility of a better community
3) is the present hall the best Prestbury can expect?
4) can we continue to find voluntary help to maintain the Church Hall?
5) could the manpower used on the present hall be better deployed?
6) should consideration be given to selling the site and the proceeds be
invested in the short term? Could this sum be applied, in the longer term,
towards a more suitable replacement nearer to St Mary's church - perhaps an
extension to, or adaptation of, St Mary's, or put towards the purchase of a
property more proximate to the church?
Some other considerations
- Serious fundraising is also going to have to take place in the coming
year for St Mary's floor renewal and a new heating system.
- Is the Hall necessary in the plans for the foreseeable future life of St
Mary's Church and of the parish?
- If disposal were decided upon, then a restrictive covenant in the deed of
sale might retain it for community use.
- Should the church dispose of a valuable asset in a piece of land opposite
- Can the Church afford to keep and maintain it?
- Should tenants be expected to pay 'economic' repairing rents?
- Other parties have expressed interest in purchasing the hall.
Suggestions for immediate action:
1) that a debate be initiated within the church family concerning this;
2) that a decision be made before the situation becomes critical;
3) that costings be taken for a rebuild or a repair or refurbishment;
4) that valuations should be sought for the present church hall site.
We owe an enormous debt to Cyril Beer for his hard work in maintaining
and doing running repairs to the Church Hall, and for managing the
accounts. Also to Henry Morris for continued support for Cyril, and to
Susan Banks for acting as Bookings Secretary. With their constant help and
support, the Hall has continued to operate.
We are committed as a parish
"to encourage and help all members of the church community
to grow in understanding of the Good News and the riches of the Christian
to share and value one another's experience;
to be more confident in living their faith."
(Mission statement for Education & Nurture)
Our children and young people have regular opportunities to grow in
their faith through listening and discussion. As adults, we listen to a
weekly sermon, but could benefit from something extra occasionally, and we
hope there is something in our plans for the coming year that you will find
useful in your own Christian journey. If we ought to be doing something
different, or at different times, please tell any of us on the Education &
Nurture committee (Kathy Beacham, Linda Biggs, Peter Brown, Fr Michael,
Beryl Elliott, Sue Read, Jackie Smith, or Claire Wyatt).
Tuesday February 6th. 'Who were the HERODS?' A shared meal
followed by some stimulating teaching. The evening will start with supper
at 6.45, (£3.50) and then John Elliott will help us sort out which Herod
was which (and how many there were). At St Nicolas'.
LENT Housegroups this year will be following the course 'From
Seed to Harvest'; this is part of the Springboard initiative supported by
the diocese, and many other churches will be using it throughout
Gloucestershire. We can provide leaders for three or four groups, but we
need somewhere for them to meet. Could you offer to host a group of 6 or 8
people in your home? Or perhaps you could get together with just two or
For your Lent reading at home, the bookstall will be open again
in both churches after the eucharist on Sundays before Lent.
Looking ahead: there will be QUIET DAY at the Marist Centre at
Nympsfield, where we enjoyed the hospitality of the sisters last autumn. We
hope to book an earlier date this year, in September, to take advantage of
In ADVENT there will be a series of three or four evenings to
help us prepare together for Christmas.
And the ongoing Bible Study group welcomes new members at any
time. They meet approximately fortnightly throughout the year. More details
elsewhere in this magazine.
The following list of charities received donations from the Parish in
2000. The list was drawn up by the Outreach and Mission Committee,
following presentations in both churches last autumn.
- Additional Curates Society
- Association for Promoting Retreats
- Church Army Gloucester
- Church of England Children's Society
- Church of England Pensions Board
- Church Union
- Clergy Orphans
- Corporation of the Sons of Clergy
- Helen House
- Martin House
- Poor Clares
- Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham
- Society of Mary and Martha
- St Luke's Hospital
- The 'Porch' Oxford
- Youth for Christ
- Gloucestershire Macmillan Nurses
- Langley House
- Richmond Fellowship
- Sue Ryder Leckhampton
- Terence Higgins Trust
- Winston's Wish
- James Hopkins Trust
- Victim Support
- SOS Children's Villages
- Gloucestershire Diocesan Association for the Deaf
- Let the Children Live!
If anybody has any comments concerning this list, or would like to make
suggestions for future donations please, contact the Committee through the
We were very busy ringing over the Christmas and New Year period. A band
rang for Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and more ringers gathered on
Christmas Morning to ring for the 11.00 Eucharist. A peal attempt on 27th
December was unsuccessful although many people enjoyed the two hours of
pleasant Grandsire Triples which rang out over the village. Of course we
rang for all of the usual Sunday services during the festive season as well
as having time to entertain family and friends at home and to eat lots of
The dawning of the New Year saw a band ringing a quarter peal for the
11.00 service. A specially composed "date touch" of 2001 changes of
Grandsire Triples was attempted on the afternoon of 1st January but
regrettably was not successful. We hope to try again later in the year for
On a sadder note we rang all eight bells on 4th January after the
funeral of Lois Cleaver who had for many years been a Prestbury ringer,
having learned here. Several of the ringers on this occasion had come quite
a distance to join in the ringing as they had known Lois in the past.
Events in 2001
Saturday 10th February - Coffee Evening 6pm onwards at Marion Godden's.
Raffle, bring & buy including cakes. Everyone very welcome. £1 entry.
Thursday 15th March - Mad March Draw 3pm in Church Room. Tickets on sale
Saturday 17th March - Talent Contest and Murder Mystery organised by
Wednesday 28th March - Fashion Show with "Elvi" and "Wedding Days"
Sat 5th - Mon 7th May - A Celebration of Marriage. Flower festival,
craft displays and demonstrations, wedding dresses, lunches, teas, and a
service for renewal of marriage vows.
Saturday 19th May - Plant Sale
Saturday 6th October - Elizabethan (Harvest) Banquet
A Saturday in summer or autumn - Abertillery Orpheus Male Voice Choir
November - Cheese and Wine.
Tea-towels, notelets and mounted pictures featuring St Nicolas', St
Mary's and "The Three Vicars". Ideal birthday presents, thank you gifts
etc. Available from Simon Cooper.
A Huge Thank-You!
Thank you to everyone who promised, helped, supported and bid at the
Auction of Promises on 13th January. The fantastic sum of just over £2000
was raised that evening.
The grand total of money raised so far for the Renewal Appeal now stands
at approximately £85,000.
- to all those who have already successfully 'grown their fivers' -
Gill Woodcock, Ruth Shaw, Mollie Campbell, Kath Dymock, Cath Thorne and
- to Enid Cowley for the profit from Sunday coffee at St Nicolas';
- to Jan Cooper and Lorna Dymock for the profit from the monthly cake
stall at St Nicolas';
- to Linda Matthews and Margaret Waker for the contribution from St
Mary's Christmas Bake stall;
- to Gwen Grindel, President of Marle Hill WI, who is donating her
next six months' profit from the sale of her beautiful foxes;
- to Alan Jackson, who will continue to check electric appliances and
donate the profit to the Renewal Appeal.
Question 1. Which is the holy book of the Christians?
A) Koran B) Pentateuch
C) Bible D) Great Expectations
Question 2. What do Christians do on Sunday?
A) Wash the car B) Watch a football match
C) Visit the supermarket D) Worship at church
Question 3. How do Christians grow?
A) by correspondence courses B) by fellowship
C) in ignorance D) by being good
I'm sorry to say that I can't offer you any money for the correct
answers - and certainly not the £1,000,000 offered by the TV show of a
But what is on offer is the opportunity to share fellowship with other
church members in Bible study. Now please don't throw up your defences and
"Problem: I've never done that and wouldn't know what to do."
The simple answer is that everyone has to start anything that's new at some
point since no-one is born (or even born again) knowing everything.
"Problem: These things are always in the wrong part of the parish."
Answer: This isn't the case since this takes place in a number of different
"Problem: I'm shy."
Answer: You may think you are, but you would only be discussing your faith
with likeminded people.
"Problem: I'm ignorant."
Answer: No one knows everything, most of us don't know much, but we do
"Problem: I don't have time."
Answer: Most people are busy, but why not give it a try and see if you find
it becomes one of those precious things you end up making time for?
Nuts and bolts
We plan to meet fortnightly (and no you don't have to come every time)
on the following dates. Do bring a Bible and join us.
Thursday 15th Feb
Thursday 1st Mar
Wednesday 21st Mar
The study will begin at 8 p.m. and end by 9.30 p.m. We will initially be
looking at Romans, after this we shall decide together what to look at
next. For those able to stay for a coffee further informal fellowship is
P.S. For those who like to know these things the answers are Q1. C, Q2.
D, Q3. B.
Have you ever wondered why people's e-mail addresses are so complicated
to remember? This is because of the many millions with Internet access few
of us have been fortunate to obtain e-mail accounts with addresses that
comprise just our names. Help is at hand.
In the previous edition of the magazine was an announcement about e-mail
addresses for the Ministry Leadership Team, the Parish Administrator and
the magazine editor. These all use the parish domain name. What happens is
that e-mails using those addresses are automatically forwarded to the
e-mail accounts of the recipients. Senders no longer have to remember long
strings of gobbledegook. I have set up on the server holding our domain
name a reference table of the simplified addresses that points to the
complicated but 'real' e-mail addresses.
[ out of date information removed ]
These e-mail addresses all have a common format; before the @ is the
name of a person and after the @ is the parish domain name. If the name
before the @ is mis-spelt the e-mail will come to me. If you mis-spell the
domain name the e-mail should be returned to you (unless you stumble upon a
live address!). You don't need to use capital letters; these just make the
names easier to read. Spaces are not allowed!
If you would like to be included in the scheme just send your name and
e-mail address to me. A full list will be published at a future date.
Many of our Church members undertake a great deal of visiting, perhaps
to people in hospital, in nursing homes, or to those who are confined to
their own home for some reason. Much of this visiting is done quietly,
without fuss, but is greatly appreciated by those who receive a visit.
We already have a group of people who visit those who have recently been
bereaved. They do so on our behalf - on behalf of the whole of the Church
family. Their visit is an expression of Christ's love and concern for those
people at a particular time of need.
We would like to compile a list of people who would be willing to
undertake some visiting on behalf of the Church. People who could be given
the name of someone to visit on behalf of us all. These people might be in
hospital, in a nursing home, or in their own home. They might not
necessarily be unwell, but could perhaps be housebound or lonely.
If you would be interested in taking part, or would like to know more,
please speak to a member of the Pastoral Care & Common-Life Committee. They
- John Elliott
- Eileen Jones
- Liz Greenhow
- Kay Porter
- Margaret Holman
- Fr Michael
Do you need a lift?
If you would find it helpful to have a lift to church on a Sunday,
please do not be embarrassed about asking. We would like to know so that we
could then organise some drivers, if it is necessary. This is all part of
our pastoral care of one another and many people already transport people
to and from church, so you would not be alone!
Please contact one of the above.
Beginning in March, the Pastoral Care & Common-Life Committee intend to
produce a monthly Parish Prayer Diary. This will be available in both
churches, at the beginning of each month. It will contain some items which
require on-going prayer throughout the month. It will carry the list of the
sick which also appears on the weekly service sheets. It will also have an
intention for prayer for every day of the month, many of which will be
specifically related to things which are happening in the life of our
Material from the Prayer Diary will be used at Morning and Evening
Prayer and during the intercessions at the Eucharists. It is also hoped
that you will make use of the Diary in your personal prayer time at home,
which is why it will be available for you to take away.
As part of the Prayer Diary, we would like to encourage prayer for one
another. To help us do this, we would like to include the names of as many
of our Church family as wish to be prayed for. If you would like your name
to be included, please pick up one of the slips in church, complete it and
return it to the appropriate box.
You will be prayed for by name on the date you give. Please give either the
date of your baptism or the date of your confirmation and state which it
is. Please do not give birthdays!
Once-regular worshippers, now sick or housebound, would love to be able
to hear last Sunday's sermon. So would our Sunday School and Sunday Club
leaders. From time to time any of us may miss a speaker we would have liked
to hear, or a subject of personal interest.
We would like to be able to offer audio recordings of the Sunday sermon,
perhaps even the whole service on special occasions, but we need technical
help and expertise. Would it be easiest to record direct from the sound
system at St Mary's? Then we'd need to make one or more copies, and get the
tapes to those who want them.
Can you advise on equipment and methods, or offer practical help as a
recording engineer, copier or distributor? Have a word with Kathy Beacham,
Beryl Elliott, Sue Read, Fr Michael or anyone in the Ministry team.
The rain came down and the floods
came up ...
Did you think last year was wet? Wetter than the previous few? According
to Martin Kannreuther they were. For the past 12 years Martin has been
keeping a record of rainfall in Prestbury. The average rainfall over that
period has been 29 inches a year; last year there were 40 inches! And half
of that fell in September to December. The wettest month in the whole 12
years was April 2000 with 6.97 inches. The driest month last year was March
(1.01 in); the driest month overall was August 1995 with only 0.14 in. If
you would like to see the complete list of readings, please contact Martin.
[Check out Matthew 7:24-27 or Luke 6:46-49 to see what happens to houses
when it rains, or come to Rockers and sing the song. Ed.]
[The following article is condensed from the address given at Lois'
My mother was certainly a character, if slightly eccentric, and during
the 30 years she lived in Prestbury she became a well-known local figure.
She was born in Engelwood New Jersey on May 9th 1919, the youngest of three
daughters, and died on December 19th aged 81, after a long and very full
life. She went peacefully, without suffering, having declined rapidly after
my father's death in September. She was married for 51 years and is
survived by three of her four children, George, Charlotte and me, and eight
grandchildren. Sadly, she lost her second son, Andrew, in a cycling
accident in 1996.
My mother grew up in Engelwood New Jersey, learning to play the trumpet
at an early age, which became a lifelong passion. She was never afraid to
speak her mind and was never concerned with appearances or what people
thought, but was true to herself, her family and her own goals and
aspirations. After graduating from High School she went on to Bergen County
Junior College where she developed a keen interest in chemistry and
medicine, as well as playing trumpet in the marching band and enjoying
games of baseball with the young men. During the Second World War she
worked in the lab at a chemical plant in Elizabeth New Jersey, and
continued her education at night at Colombia University in New York City.
She then went on to the University of Minnesota, and in 1948 earned a
bachelor's degree in Science and became a registered nurse.
In 1949 my father spent a year traveling in the United States on a Harkness
Fellowship researching American mining methods. He spent some time in
Minneapolis while his car was being repaired after a minor accident, and
the rest is history: my father found his way to the Episcopal church where
mother sang in the choir. They were engaged after two weeks, father then
continued his tour of the States, mother went off on a bicycle camping tour
of Alaska, still a frontier territory at the time, and they were married
back in Minneapolis several months later. They traveled back to England on
the steamship Newfoundland for their honeymoon, settled in Hampton Hill
Middlesex, and started a family.
My parents moved to Prestbury in 1970 as my father approached retirement
and my mother quickly took advantage of the wide range of musical
opportunities here in Cheltenham, becoming a member of the Cheltenham
Philharmonic Orchestra for twenty years, and also the Cheltenham Silver
Band, and I well remember enjoying their concerts in Imperial Gardens
during occasional summer visits. She also became a member of the Tower
right here at St Mary's, learning to ring changes and perhaps more
importantly making new friends and enjoying the company of her fellow
ringers, many of whom are here today, and the family thanks you for that.
She lived frugally, was a practicing Christian and firmly believed in
helping those less fortunate than herself, and in putting something back
into the community. She was particularly delighted when her offer to fund a
challenge cup for young trumpeters at the annual Cheltenham Music Festival
And who in the village can forget the newspaper round? Certainly those
residents of the Burgage and Shaw Green Lane will long remember my mother's
many years of service: by foot, by bicycle, occasionally by car and when it
snowed and the roads were icy she loaded the papers onto a toboggan and
continued with delivery.
My mother loved to travel: visiting Andrew in Germany several times and
crossing into the East before the Berlin Wall came down. She was fiercely
proud of being an American, maintained her US citizenship all her life and
much enjoyed her numerous visits to me and my family, first in Texas and
later in Connecticut.
She had many and varied interests: her music, her stamp and coin
collection, her continued interest in the Sciences, her determination to
learn some German before visiting Andrew in 1988, and she had an infectious
vitality and great enthusiasm for life. She was a loyal wife, a devoted
mother and loving grandmother and will be much missed. The last few years
had been difficult for her: she found it hard to come to terms with
Andrew's loss, and I think she felt a deep sadness and a large gap in her
life after he was gone.
Synergy is hoping to hold a talent show on Saturday March 17th. Proceeds
will be shared between the St Nicolas' Renewal Appeal and another charity.
We are looking for anybody, of any age, willing to take part. If you are
interested, please sign up on the notices that are in both churches.
For more information call: Hannah Compton or Claire Radburn
This will meet for informal prayer in support of the work and life of
our churches and our clergy. Starting at 10am and ending by 11am on Tuesday
6th February and Wednesday 7th March. Please join us for either or both.
Andy has moved!
Andy Macauly, the Parish Youth Worker, is now based in St Nicolas' Room.
What is a Surprise Ringing Practice?
There will be a small prize for the first person (excluding Bellringers
and their families) to give me the correct answer in writing before the
next magazine deadline.
Last year we read about our Parish Musicians. This month we start a
new series written by our Parish Sport Enthusiasts. Our first player is
Hockey is a stick and ball game consisting of eleven players on each
team, all with hockey sticks. There is one ball and the aim is to pass the
ball between your players and get it in the opposite goal without giving it
to the other team. The pitch is 92m x 55m, initially on grass but now
usually on Astroturf, which is faster.
Goal-keeper - protects the goal, kitted up in full padding. Keeps ball
out of goal.
Defenders - protect the D and get the ball out to the wings.
Sweeper - only one sweeper. Blocks balls and gets ball out to wings.
Mid-fields - help forwards, and set up goals, also get back to defend. Lots
of running around.
Forwards - Pass the ball between them and score goals.
To score as many goals as possible and work as a team. I play Centre mid
because you run around a lot, you set up goals and score them. I also like
to play left wing or centre forward.
Five main rules
1. No feet must touch the ball except the Goal-keeper's.
2. The ball mustn't touch the back of the stick.
3. No flicking of the ball in the shin to waist area.
4. You mustn't flick the ball into the D (shooting area).
5. You can only shoot and score in the D.
I have played since I was 8 years old, so that is about five years. I
play for four teams, they are:
* County U14
* Cheltenham Junior U15
* Cheltenham Ladies 3rd 11 league
* Cleeve School Year 9
I practise three to four times a week. I have just had ten weeks West of
England Satellite training. I enjoy playing hockey because you run around a
lot, it keeps me fit, you work as a team and it gives you a good feeling
when you score goals and win.
I would like in the future to play for the West and for England and tour
Katherine Lyle, aged 13