On the very same day that I was thinking about what to write on this
page, I was told that some newborn lambs had been seen in one of the fields
off Swindon Lane. 'Has Spring arrived?' I wondered!
'Lent' is an old English word meaning 'spring'. This special time has
been used by Christians since the earliest days as a time for spiritual
'spring cleaning' and 'pruning' so that we may be ready to experience
afresh the new life of Easter working within us.
Joyce Huggett, who has written a number of Lent Books, writes, 'Just as
a bulb cannot be ready for spring unless it has lived through winter, so
Christians cannot be ready for Easter unless they have observed Lent: God's
So now that we have already entered 'God's Springtime', I hope that you
will all be taking advantage of at least one of the many different things
on offer to help us to use this season properly. To make time to be aware
of the presence, peace and power of God in our lives.
Lent is a traditional time for almsgiving and fasting. This year,
Gloucestershire Churches Together ask us to support their 'Fast 2001'. The
purpose of fasting is not to make us miserable but to help us recognise the
many good things God gives us so that we can be even more appreciative of
them. Any money saved, or any money you put aside during Lent, can be
placed in the envelopes provided. The money will be shared between
Christian Aid, CAFOD and the World Development Movement.
Worship is the most important thing we do together. I hope we will all
make an extra effort to be present at the Lord's service with the Lord's
people on the Lord's Day between now and Easter. But what about the weekday
Eucharists? Attendance at these is generally very poor apart from Tuesdays
and Thursdays (and even at these, numbers have reduced). This is very sad,
especially in a parish like Prestbury where we place such importance on the
Eucharist. Our weekday worship is a crucial part of our life as a Christian
community; it is the heartbeat of the church and is offered on behalf of
our own church family and the wider local community whom we are called to
serve. Why not try and attend one of the weekday Eucharists during Lent?
There's plenty of variety in the times of the services, and just half an
hour reminds us that our weekday lives are as much God's concern as
The Parish Plan came out of our parish conference in October 1998, and
since then we have been working - in and out of committees - to make it a
reality. New departures soon become accepted practice, and it's easy to
forget how much has been done. It's perhaps worth listing some highlights
of what has already been achieved.
Ministry of all church members
- We chose and appointed a Ministry Leadership Team, now well into its
period of training.
- The role of sidespersons has been enhanced through training and a
- The whole congregation is encouraged to share in welcoming and
- As a result of a questionnaire sent to all members we now have a
register of available talents and time, which has already proved valuable
in many areas of church life.
- The Sunday Eucharist now begins with a time of quiet.
- At St Mary's, refreshments after the service have quickly become a
- Working with the other churches in Prestbury, we marked the
millennium by distributing gospels to every house in the parish.
- Leaflets are distributed at the racecourse caravan park on a
- All our publicity material benefits from a consistent house style.
- We have appointed a parish press officer.
- Lay supporters meet and support parents bringing a child to baptism.
- Lay people participate in marriage preparation days.
- Lay people help to provide ongoing support to the bereaved.
- Annual Remembrance service for bereaved families.
- Decisions and changes explained, in sermons or special meetings.
- Regular parish meetings 3 times a year, for the exchange of views and
- Parish magazine improved, its format and content reviewed.
- Ongoing investigation of alternative ways of learning, (eg tapes).
- Information on learning opportunities outside the parish.
- Quiet days re-established.
Children and youth
- Activity days open to all children in the parish continue.
- Follow-up day for children recently confirmed.
- Weekends away for older children at St Stephen's House, Oxford.
- Full time Youth Worker appointed, strengthening the work of our youth
clubs and outreach to schools.
... and the list is still not complete. In particular, it does not deal
at all with Finance, where our representatives work hard to increase and
manage our resources for both everyday expenses and special projects, or
with Fabric - the guardianship and improvement of our buildings. It's not
time yet to rest on our laurels, but we can be assured that conferences and
committees are producing results!
This year, with churches throughout Gloucestershire, we shall be
following the course "From Seed to Harvest". Written on behalf of the
diocese of Gloucester, it is meant to be used by Christians of all
denominations, so do invite your friends from other churches to come along.
If you are doubtful about whether you would "fit in", ask around after
church on Sunday and see if someone you know who has been to a Lent
housegroup before can answer your questions.
We hope you can find a time and a place to suit you; there will be a
daytime group and one in the evening, at each end of the parish:
Monday 11 am; Monday 2.30 pm; Wednesday 7.30 pm; Thursday 7.30 pm
Add your name to the list on the notice board, or have a word with Fr
Michael, Kathy Beacham or Beryl Elliott.
Here are a few things that have been brought to the attention of the
Education and Nurture Committee that may be of interest to you. Further
details can be had from the leaflets on the church notice boards or from
Lent: Thursdays 1st March, 8th March, 22nd March and 29th March all
at 6.15pm for supper at the Deanery then 7.30pm at the Chapter House,
Gloucester Cathedral, for Lent reflections on The Stations of the Cross.
Wed 14th March 11am at Prinknash Abbey - the Stations of the
Sat 31st March 7.30pm in the Barn at Harnhill Manor, Cirencester:
the Arthur Dodds lecture to be given by Martin Cavender, Director of
Springboard. "The Word Made Flesh".
Sat 31st March 10am - 3.30pm at Gloucester Cathedral: Annual Day
of Prayer led by Rev Jim Cotter.
Sat 31st March 10am - 4pm at Harnhill Manor, Cirencester:
"Healing and Evangelism" led by a Springboard team.
Wed 4th April 2pm at Fairford parish church: Reflection on the
Passion of Christ (using the mediaeval stained glass windows) by Rev John
Willard. (Coach leaves the cathedral at 11.30am, if required.)
Sun 8th April at 5.30pm: performance of Les Corps Glorieux at the
The March Prayer Diary should be available at the same time as this
edition of the Parish Magazine. Please take one and use it as part of your
daily prayer - perhaps keep it tucked into your Bible, or the book that
you've chosen to read during Lent. The Diary will be used each day in
church at Morning and Evening Prayer and during the Intercessions in the
Please consider returning the slip giving a date on which we can pray
for you. It will be interesting to see how many of us can find the actual
date of our baptism or confirmation!
On Sunday 25th February, in both our churches, we welcomed six children
who have been prepared to receive communion before they are confirmed. They
have taken part in a short course of preparation and will continue to be
nurtured in their faith through their attendance at Sunday School/Sunday
Club. We hope that they will then come to be confirmed after a more
intensive course of preparation, when they are in their early teens.
Please remember these children in your prayers as they come to share
fully in the Eucharist. They are:-
Anna Cozens Constance Craddock Sarah
Hannah Smith Stuart Smith Kathryn
Fortnightly Bible Study
This will meet on Thursday 1st March at 8pm. There will be a few spare
seats should anyone wish to swell our number, the more the merrier. During
Lent we are looking forward to joining one of the several Lent study groups
(the publicity for these groups will be widespread), but watch for details
in the April magazine or the pewsheets of when we'll be restarting after
to Fr John Lewis, who was ordained priest at St Mary's 40 years ago. Fr
John will preside at the 11 o'clock Eucharist on Sunday 4th March.
Monthly Prayer Meeting
This will take place on Wednesday 7th March starting at 10am. All are
welcome to join in the important work of prayer for our parish, clergy and
our world, no experience necessary. See Beryl Elliott.
Pastoral Care - visitors!
We did not have an overwhelming response to the request in last month's
magazine for volunteers who would be willing to be called on to visit
people either at home, in hospital or in nursing homes. We are very
concerned to establish a visiting group, rather like our group of
bereavement supporters. Please consider offering yourself (and your time)
to this vital work of Christian pastoral care. Speak to Fr Michael, or any
member of the Ministry Leadership Team.
Last month the magazine gave advance details of an evening entitled "Who
were the HERODS?". I haven't spoken to everyone who was there for the whole
evening (I was only able to sneak in for the talk itself), but I do get the
distinct impression that a brilliant time was had by all the participants,
some 30 people. The meal was delicious (and not simply because someone else
cooked it), the ambience was warm and friendly and the actual talk,
illustrated by a map and other aids, by John Elliott was pitched just right
with a masterly balance of scholarship and humour.
THANK YOU JOHN AND ALL WHO COOKED THE GREAT MEAL.
If you are now feeling upset that you weren't able to be there, don't
despair because it may be possible it will take place again. Watch out for
Are you able to help with the management and running of this valuable
We are looking for additional Committee Members. There are usually four
meetings each year, with an occasional meeting after Sunday Service to deal
with an urgent item.
In addition to a general domestic/business background, some working
knowledge of Health & Safety, Environmental Health or Legal Matters could
be useful in our discussions.
Even if you personally don't feel able to offer your help, please pass
the details to anyone you consider appropriate.
Alan Jackson (Secretary)
Saturday 9th September 2000 was another good day for the Trust. The
annual sponsored Ride/Walk held on that date yielded a grand total of
£44,072, a 6.4% increase on the 1999 total. Once again the top performance
of the day was that of St Edward's church Evenlode, with £4,318! The winner
of the under-16 category was Daniel Nevill from St Michael's Eastington,
who raised £202. Overall there were 459 cyclists, 78 walkers and 6
horse-riders who took part.
The number of participating churches/chapels was 156, so the average
amount raised per church was £283. In our parish
we raised £445 from St Mary's and £225 from St Nicolas'. Half
of this goes to the Trust and half goes directly to our own churches. The
Trust has also promised a grant of £2000 for the St Nicolas' ceiling.
This year's Ride/Walk is planned for Saturday 8th September 2001,
and further details of the event will be available in June.
In December readers were invited to compose a short piece of music for
one or more of the instruments which featured in last year's Making
Music series. There have been three responses.
Fr Paul sent a little piece called Birdies, scored for double
bass, organ and Little Bird (or flute/recorder). There are words as well,
suitable for singing at Rockers, where Fr Paul is one of our regular
pianists. The second piece, by David Smith (aged 13), is a Fantasia
for flute, clarinet, horn, trombone and 'cello. The third is a hymn tune
called Clady by Jill Smith. The SATB version (available in the
printed magazine) can be played on either piano or organ; the organ version
needs the pedals.
Thank you and well done, all three of you! Prizes are on their way.
Jill's tune was written to the words 'God is love: let heav'n adore
him;' by T Rees (NEH 364); maybe we shall sing it in church one day.
Birdies can be heard here if you
have Media Player installed. If anyone is interested in playing David's
quintet, please contact me.
Frances Murton, Editor
The question was:
I knew it was not a surprise because it was listed in the parish diary.
But I did not know what it was, or even if it might be a misprint in the
diary, so I checked with Jenni Scruton, the Tower secretary. Her reply is
printed below. Nobody else hazarded a guess, so no prizes.
What is a Surprise Practice?
A Surprise Practice is held for ringers to practise methods known as
'Surprise'. They need to be experienced ringers who can already master
methods such as Plain Bob, Grandsire and Stedman. At our surprise practice,
members of the branch are invited to attend.
In lots of methods, the treble plain hunts, but in surprise methods it
'treble-bobs'. (Instead of moving 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, it moves 1,
2, 1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 4, 5, 6, 5, 6, 6, 5, 6, 5... etc.) While the treble is
moving between dodging positions, another bell rings in the same position
twice. These methods are hard because they require a different mental
approach from methods that ringers normally start on.
In his book The Method Ringer's Companion, Steve Coleman of Huntley, a
well known authority on the subject of ringing at all levels, defines
"A treble dodging method with an internal place made every time the
Treble passes from one dodging position to another - although not including
the lead end or half lead. So in Minor, when the treble passes through 2-3,
fourths must be made, and when it passes through 4-5, thirds must be made.
In Major, there are more possibilities, but the place must always be
So, if you thought bells just went ding and dong with us happily pulling
ropes in the tower, think again!
13th February 2001
Hello! Greetings from New Zealand. I'm working as a GAP tutor at
a girls' school in Christchurch in the South Island for 12 months. I'm
approaching half way and have managed to pack in quite a lot so far.
I arrived on a beautiful day, blue sky, light breeze, Christchurch at
its best. I sat in the Arts Centre with the other South Island gappers
eating souvalaki feeling glad to be alive. Then they disappeared on their
buses and the panic about starting school set in. How was I going to learn
all the names? Would I ever be able to find my way round? Who was I going
to hang around with? I needn't have worried. The staff and students at
Rangi were friendly and helpful and I soon felt part of the Rangi
community. I have also met all the other English gappers in Christchurch so
am never short of company.
My duties at the school vary from filing to science tutoring,
photocopying to student support, library duties to becoming a computer
geek. I also help with sport when I can and keep fit by swimming in their
outdoor pool every day. I am 'on duty' two nights and two mornings a week
in the boarding house. There are 60 boarders in my house and 130 overall.
In the morning I wake the girls at 7 am, check that the dorms are tidy and
look after the 'sickies'. At night I take prep and put the girls to bed,
trouble shooting in between. I live in the house so am forever filling out
taxi credits and looking after the girls. It can be quite wearying
I don't spend all my time at school. I have joined several orchestras
and get away at the weekends, water-skiing, sailing or just chilling out on
There have been two school holidays so far. In the first I drove round
the South Island in my car with two other gappers. It's very rugged scenery
and changes as you drive east to west, north to south. New Zealand is one
of the few places where you can snow ski in the day and have a beach
barbecue that night! One of my favourite days was on Doubtful Sound in
fiordland. It was stunning; Grannie and Grandpa Lyle could tell you all
about it as it was they that recommended it to me. It goes without saying
that while in Queenstown, adrenaline capital of the world, I bungee jumped
off a bridge 102m above a river!
In the long summer holidays just gone I headed north and spent 6 weeks
or so on the North Island. It was sunny and much greener than the South
Island. I spent Christmas with family friends near Auckland. It turned out
to be a good day, turkey and salad for lunch then sailing all afternoon!
During my trip I also sky dived, white water rafted, walked and worked on a
deer and goat farm.
Being here for a year you build up a life of friends, work and all the
other stuff that goes with living. I'm looking forward to coming home but
at the same time I don't want to leave. It's an amazing country, a must on
your 'to do' list.
This month's sport player is Elizabeth.
Ice hockey is a fast and exciting sport which originated in Canada,
played by British soldiers, at the end of the 19th century.
A 'line' of five players is on the ice at any one time, swapping every
few minutes with another 'line'. Only the netminder plays the entire game.
The object of the game is to hit the puck (made of vulcanised rubber) into
the opposition's goal. The most important rule is the offside rule: a
player is offside when she crosses into the offensive zone before the puck.
The puck may be hit with either side of the stick, and may be bounced off
the sides of the rink and played behind the net.
A game is divided into 3 periods of 20 minutes, but whenever the whistle
blows it stops the clock, so in reality games take much longer than 60
There are two groups of players within the team, forwards and defense
(D), but generally the team moves around the ice as a unit. This is my
third season in the Swindon Ladies' team, the Topcats, and I play right
Women's hockey is officially only semi-contact and therefore not as
rough as men's hockey. Penalties can be called for offences such as
slashing (hitting a player with your stick), cross-checking (skating into a
player from behind), high sticks and unsportsmanlike conduct. Two minutes
is the most common penalty length, which the player serves in the 'sin
bin'. During this time the team is down by one player.
Although many people query my small size when I tell them I play hockey,
I have found it to be a very enjoyable game involving much skill as well as
the ability to beat people up! Players wear full protective kit which
consists of helmet, neckguard, body armour, elbow pads, pelvic guard, shin
pads, socks & suspenders, padded shorts, skates and gloves. Over the top of
all this goes the shirt.
Elizabeth Murton, aged 18
I was so pleased to see the piece in the February Parish magazine
written by Katherine Lyle. I felt I must add some history to this and show
she is not the only Prestbury player to have International ambitions.
While Dr James Linderdale worked in the village his two daughters
Margaret and Kathleen both played for Gloucestershire, West and England at
the same time. Then in 1946 I followed my Mother and Aunt into the
International scene. Now both Katherine and I live in Shawgreen Lane. Thus
the daughter and granddaughter of a Prestbury doctor played many years ago,
now the granddaughter of Doctor Bob Lyle and daughter of Dr David Lyle
wants to do the same.
I hope perhaps that one day she will become an umpire as well - I
believe it is a record that three International Umpires all lived here at
the same time - Margaret and Mary Eyre and Shelagh Davson. So you see there
is something about Shawgreen Lane!
The next question: 'What is a Churchyard Tidy
There will be a small prize for anyone who goes along to find out and
then spends longer working there than anyone else!