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Prestbury Parish Magazine

September 2001

Mary said: 'My soul glorifies the Lord
 and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.'

Luke 2:46,47.

September 2001


Fr Stephen writes ...

Springboard 2001: Growing New Christians

Sunday School/Club News

From Albania into Kosova

News from the MLT, September 2001

Fr Paul

William Hazlewood's Ordination as Deacon

GHCT Sponsored Ride

Parish Sports

St Mary's Patronal Festival


St Nicolas' Renewal Appeal


Some articles from this month's magazine have been included elsewhere in the web site:

Church Architecture - Chests

Fr Stephen writes ...

Our Parish Plan - Into the Millennium

Many will remember the first Consultation Day we held in 1998. An opportunity for all our members to comment on and to make suggestions for the future pattern of our parish life, when over 100 people came. Suggestions were carefully recorded and from this a Development Committee worked out a Parish Plan. Adopted by the PCC, this was widely displayed. This blueprint has very much influenced all our various committees in their work and planning, not least the Fabric Committee.

Fabric Committee

This Committee has working extremely hard over the past two years. Its role is to oversee the maintenance of the church, church halls, churchyards, and the furnishings. The Committee examines in detail and then advises the PCC, which makes the decisions.

St Nicolas'

Renewal of the deteriorating ceiling and the badly leaking windows has meant working closely with our inspecting architect, Rod Robinson RIBA. We soon realised that we needed an overall plan to include lower and upper ventilation, the cupola, lighting, heating and floor covering, as various ones impinged on each other. Site and planning table meetings have taken place, and specifications carefully examined. We have kept abreast of negotiations done on our behalf by the architect.

Amongst other things, we have dealt with repairs to a leaking ambulatory roof, car park drainage, repair and security of stained glass windows, and various issues concerning the Hall referred to us by the Hall Committee.

We still have to tackle overall security lighting of church and car park, and wheelchair access to toilets.

A Report on the situation at St Nicolas as at 12 August 2001

It is some time since the fabric committee provided you all with an update on the status of this project and we have recently heard strange rumours, most of which are not based on fact! It is true to say that there have been some problems but things have been moving forward.

In attempting to finalise the detailed specification and price with the main contractors our architect has met with many obstacles. The point has been reached where this relationship has broken down completely and the original contractors are now no longer involved. However, most of the work is sub-contracted and the architect has prices and specifications for these aspects. He is now seeking a new contractor to co-ordinate the work and take prime responsibility.

The most difficult aspect is the ceiling, but we have just received a price for this work based on a slightly different design from the one shown to you some while ago (in fact the person who made the sample is now the one selected to do the work). The overall visual effect of the modified design is very similar to that originally proposed (a sort of inverted stepped design) but using a construction method which reduces the amount of on-site manpower required.

At this stage in the negotiations it can be difficult to provide regular updates which don't appear misleading or which seem to contradict earlier notes but we can assure you that members of the fabric committee are in weekly contact with the architect and we will let you know when we can say anything more definite.

Geoff Shaw

St Mary's

In the past two years there have been several 'housekeeping' matters to deal with. Among them, renewal of the paving outside the south porch; conservation of table tombs listed as historic monuments; repair of the steps at the north-east corner of the churchyard; improved lightning conduction; care of churchyard trees. All have involved site meetings at various times with architect, conservation officers, craftsmen, or WI representatives (donors towards steps repair).

We have also spent time sounding out attitudes and then considering the future of the Church Hall, obtaining advice on the various options and implications for us from repair on the one hand to sale on the other.

Two years ago we identified the renewal of the heating system in St Mary's church and repair of the floor to be our main tasks. With our architect, Toby Falconer RIBA, we have been looking towards finding solutions to these. By now we had hoped that we could have agreed on a plan to put forward to the PCC, but we are still some way off. As with St Nicolas' we have realised that before we engage in major work, we need an overview.


1. The total output from the present radiator system is 30 kW whereas to obtain the recommended ambient temperature we need to produce in the region of 120 kW. Parts of the floor will have to be taken up to remove some of the present piping. Therefore the best solution would seem to be a mixture of wall mounted blowers and underfloor heating.

2. Large sections of the floor are in need of repair or replacement, so it seems sensible to deal with both heating and flooring at the same time.

3. Our archdeacons have also recently asked that PCCs be mindful of the European Community requirement that from 2004 all public places, including churches, should provide toilet accommodation and non-discriminatory access for wheelchair users. To get to the present toilets requires an outside journey in a wheelchair or two ramps to be installed, one in church and one in the kitchen, but on arrival, they are totally inaccessible to wheelchair users. Some reordering is inevitable.

4. Recommendations from the Consultation Day, the Parish Plan and the Sunday School teachers include providing better meeting rooms at the church. We have been considering how we can improve the present rooms.

5. Also recommended: better arrangements for baptism parties; better lighting; ways of using the space more flexibly. (All of these suggestions came from lay members.)

6. Questions of the visibility of those taking the service, both in front of the chancel arch and at the altar, and the needs of visitors who may not be familiar with the Service. Suggestions have included the re-introduction of the platform in front of the chancel arch, and making it possible to use a nave altar at least from time to time.

Producing a Plan

Given the above considerations as a brief, the Committee is working with the architect to try to provide solutions to as many of the needs as possible. It is not proving to be an easy task.

No attempt has been made to keep these Fabric Committee discussions secret, and the PCC has been kept informed throughout. All sorts of ideas from ultra-conservative to very radical have been discussed but in a very preliminary way. Some informal discussions have taken place with some church groups and committees to discover attitudes and needs. Nothing at all has been decided and no final plan has yet been arrived at. The congregation will be informed when recommendations are reached.

We are mindful that St Mary's is a historic building and that any work effected must be in keeping. It ought also to be of the highest possible quality. We also recognise that fund-raising in the present economic climate is becoming more difficult.

When the PCC finally comes to a decision on work they hope to undertake, a Faculty has to be sought. An application has to go to the Diocesan Advisory Committee for the careful scrutiny of architectural, conservation, archaeological and engineering experts. English Heritage approval has to be sought. Notices have to be duly posted in the church, with access to plans displayed for local comment. Nothing can be done quickly or underhand.

A personal footnote

Throughout its history, like every parish church, St Mary's has been modified to meet the spiritual and physical needs and theological understanding of the people of each age. Originally the church would have had no seats apart from around the walls. The pillars and arcades on the south side are of a different century from those on the north. In the middle ages there would have been many altars dotted around the walls, which were in all probability covered in paintings. During the reign of Edward VI the church would have been stripped bare of all decoration. Box pews were put in during the 16th century, and galleries in the 17C and 18C. During the 19th century under Oxford Movement influence, the church was totally refitted by the architect Street: galleries came down, the great east window was exchanged with that in the north aisle, pews were installed, a great high altar erected, the organ moved, and choir stalls put in the chancel. In the 20th century the great high altar was partially dismantled, various new windows installed, and the organ moved once more.

It would be interesting to have a time trip to the end of this 21st century - I guess that there will be more changes than most of us will ever witness. If it is to be a living building belonging to a living Church, then St Mary's will continue to be modified to meet the spiritual and physical needs and theological understanding of the people of the coming ages. Otherwise it becomes a museum.

Fr Stephen


Springboard 2001: Growing New Christians

What is 'Springboard'?

'Springboard' is a mission initiative comprising a team of people originally established by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to encourage mission during the Decade of Evangelism. Members of the team have been invited to come to our diocese in October to help us all 'to receive refreshment, rekindled vision and practical know-how for mission we can manage through our local churches' (to quote the Bishop of Gloucester). Those of you who attended the Lent course, 'From Seed to Harvest' have already had some preparation for the Springboard fortnight, which will include the following:-

Sunday 30th September

The Springboard fortnight begins with a Commissioning Service in Tewkesbury Abbey at 6.00pm

Saturday 6th October

A training day for members of the Ministry Leadership Team.
An evening Youth Event - Psalmistry Concert & Dance Gig in Stroud.

Sunday 7th October

Cheltenham Deanery Springboard event in the Princess Theatre, Cheltenham Ladies College, at 6.30pm. This will be a big Deanery celebration including music from 'Rockfish' (featuring our own Kathy Beacham) and a Springboard speaker. Please book the date now. (No evening service in St Mary's.)

Friday 12th October

Springboard training day for Cheltenham clergy at Glenfall House.
Evening meeting for all Cheltenham PCCs at Dean Close School.

Saturday 13th October

'Dare to Share' - a teaching day for all at King's School, Gloucester; 10.00am to 3.00pm. At the same time, there will be a Cathedral Festival for children and young teens. Pick up a leaflet with a booking form - available in both churches.

Sunday 14th October

Celebration Service in Gloucester Cathedral at 6.30pm.

And it doesn't end there! All parishes are being encouraged to organise a follow-up to Springboard. In Prestbury, representatives from both the Mission & Outreach and Education & Nurture Committees are preparing a programme which they have called 'Springboard for Outreach'. Watch out for more details of this exciting development and find out how YOU can be involved.

Fr Michael


Sunday School/Club News

The new term starts at both St Nicolas' and St Mary's on Sunday September 9th.

At St Nicolas', Sunday Club starts promptly at 9.20 am for a short time of worship before the children begin their activities.

At St Mary's, Sunday School begins at 11.00 am and also commences with a short act of worship.

The children will be spending the first few weeks of the term looking at a variety of topics that are also being explored by the wider congregation.

Week 1 (9 Sept) What does it mean to belong to Christ? How are we recognised as Christians?
Week 2 (16 Sept) Parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin - What does it feel like when we lose something very special to us? How do we search for it? How do we feel when we find it?
Week 3 (23 Sept) Children/Youth Day. Celebrating the work of children and young people in the parish and those who work with them.
Week 4 (30 Sept) St Michael and All Angels. The children will be exploring the theme of Saints and Angels during their time together.

We look forward to the new term and hope that as many children as possible will join us for our activities. If anyone requires further details or information about our Sunday School/Club then please contact Linda Biggs.

Children & Youth Sunday - 23 September

We celebrate and affirm the work of children and young people of the parish, and all those who offer their time and gifts for this important ministry. During the course of the morning the children and young people of the parish will be exhibiting some of the work they have done.

Linda Biggs

Sunday Assistants

St Mary's Sunday School & St Nicolas' Sunday Club urgently require Sunday Assistants to help the Children's Leaders. If you are willing to help with a bit of sticking, painting or gluing and are generally happy to get involved with the practical side of our work then please get in touch with Linda Biggs or the Clergy. No previous experience necessary and no lesson planning required.


From Albania into Kosova

In the last magazine I wrote about the work I had been doing since February in a church in Paskuqan on the edge of Tirana in Albania.

In June, we took a group of fifty children from Paskuqan to the summer camps in the NW of Albania. I stayed with the children in tents donated by a large camping organisation. Most of the children had never been further than Tirana, so assorted gasps and exclamations of 'How beautiful!' went up as we arrived via a nature reserve at the beach. The camps are run for 8-14-year-olds from poor communities such as Paskuqan. A group of English volunteers helps the Albanian leaders to care for the physical and spiritual welfare of the children. Although my Albanian is not outstanding, the fact that I arrived with the children and was talking to them caused several of the volunteers to assume I was Albanian! The mornings were spent at the beach, swimming and playing. After lunch the children were free to play on the new adventure playground, brought out from England, or the bouncy castle to burn off some energy before the evening meeting. During this hour-long slot we played, sang and shared the message of Jesus Christ with them.

I worked one-and-a-half weeks of camp with the Paskuqan children before going up into Kosova. A team of five of us plus our translator lived in a two-room flat above a bakery. We spent five weeks running Christian programs in local schools. This involved teaching the children Albanian songs and games and learning enough of the language to communicate with them. We met some resistance, especially in one village which was entirely Muslim. This, however, was countered by the number of kids reached with the Gospel message.

As well as the program we had the chance to visit quite a lot of the southwest of Kosova, including Prishtina, where I was able to send some emails, and another town where we led some church services. We also did some house visits, my favourite being to a gypsy family. They were so welcoming, despite the fact that gypsies suffer massive discrimination from much of the population. There is an interesting mix of cultural groups in Kosova - mostly Albanian as the Serbs have largely fled. One begins to understand why when one sees a Serb village destroyed in revenge by Albanian soldiers. We also passed a Serb community near Prishtina which is protected by razor wire and KFOR troops.

Despite delights such as no water, no power and the downstairs bakery generator being on all night, we completed six weeks in Kosova. The team got on very well together, trusting in God for even the most mundane and simple things, such as water and transport. I look forward to returning one day.

Elizabeth Murton


News from the MLT, September 2001

If you were at the 9.30 or 11 o'clock Eucharist on 8th July you have already had a taster of the recent study day on Worship, attended by the Ministry Leadership Team. Afterwards, it was fascinating to hear other people's ideas of which colour best represents God for them. All colours of the spectrum make light; all our understandings enlighten.

The study day was well-timed for us, as our current training sessions also focus on worship. We enjoyed having Canon Neil Heavisides with us for three weeks, and after the August break we shall go on with the same topic, under the leadership of our own clergy.

Training is important, but we are also finding out where we can be of practical use. Over the summer we have been busy with arrangements for the Quiet Day at Nympsfield on 22nd September. It is planned to be a 'day off' for anyone, both those who look forward to the simple luxury of time and quiet, and those who would prefer some lightly-structured activity for at least part of the time.

On some Saturdays, members of the team run the morning Surgery for enquiries about baptisms and weddings. Couples to be married, and parents seeking baptism for their children will then receive a home visit from one of the clergy (as they always have), but by acting as the initial contact we are able to help Fr Stephen and Fr Michael when their diaries are overfilled.

Most of all, we want to be there to listen to your concerns for the parish, to hear what is worrying you, what is going well and what you would like to happen. Whether you usually worship at 8, 9.30 or 11 on Sunday or at one of the weekday services, please talk to us, in person or by phone if that is easier.

It comes as a surprise that the end of our formal training period is in sight, and if all goes well we shall be mandated by Bishop David in Gloucester cathedral on March 2nd next year. We hope very much that many of you will come to support us, and to celebrate your own ministry in the parish and the world.

Beryl Elliott


Fr Paul

The total collection for the Kish family farewell came to the splendid figure of Six Hundred and Two Pounds. From this we mounted and framed three prints as a reminder of Prestbury, two of the churches and one of a disreputable bunch of clergy. (Remember the tea towels?) We also presented Anna with a bouquet and Madeleine and Alice with a trampoline! By parental request the trampoline remained temporarily in its box. Madeleine and Alice probably don't yet realise how big a trampoline can spring out of such a very small (but heavy) box!

There was of course also a substantial cheque, which Fr Paul may well spend in part on some clerical attire. We have asked for (in the fullness of time) a photo of the FIVE of them showing off the new arrival and the clerical attire.

K J Bradbury


William Hazlewood's Ordination as Deacon

Monday the second of July was one of those scorching hot days when the temperature was in the 'eighties' and the sun blazed down. The group of parishioners on their way to Bristol were grateful for the cool air streaming through the open windows of the coach. On arrival, mid-afternoon, there was free time, and some strolled along by the newly-developed quayside. It was a relief to get inside the cool of the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity and to sit quietly under the magnificent lierne vaulting of the nave. Other parishioners had made their way by car to swell the numbers of the coach group.

The service of ordination began, suitably, with St Patrick's stirring hymn: 'I bind unto myself today the strong name of the Trinity'. The preacher began his address on a humorous note by saying that William was already renowned for service, since he had obligingly 'serviced' everyone's car at college! Then he went on to outline the more serious call to serve, which is a priest's vocation.

Andrew, Bishop of Ebbsfleet, was there to conduct the ordination of William as a Deacon, in a simple but moving ceremony. After the service there was just time for the Prestbury group to join in the reception in the magnificent Norman Chapter House.

All William's family was there, and William paid tribute to their support, without which he felt he could not have succeeded.

Sheila Riley


Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust

Sponsored Ride and Walk

On Saturday 8th September the Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust will be organising its nineteenth Annual Sponsored Ride and Walk. It is the Trust's major fund-raising event and if you can cycle, ride a horse or walk, it is hoped that you will be willing to participate in it. If none of these is applicable, your support by agreeing to sponsor participants will constitute a most acceptable alternative.

Last year's event was a great success and a record sum of £44,172 was raised - despite the fact that the total number of participants was a little lower than in recent past years. The total figure has risen over all of the past four years and it is hoped that this trend will continue in 2001 - thereby making a five years' total of over £200,000. To achieve this target, however, it is important that OUR churches play their part.

Further information about the event, together with the necessary sponsorship forms, is available from the Local Organisers. Half of the money which you raise is given to our own churches and the other half goes to the Trust for its grant aid fund, which exists solely to assist churches or chapels facing financial headaches in respect of repairs and restoration costs.

The cause is a good one and, although good weather cannot be guaranteed, we can claim that all those who have taking part in the past years have experienced an enjoyable day. Please consider how YOU can best support the event.

The Local Organisers for our churches are Bob Lyle and Nigel Woodcock.


Parish Sports

This month's sport participant is me, your editor. Normally I avoid active sport, much preferring to play my violin. Things were a bit different this summer!

First we went on holiday to the south of France, where there was the inevitable Swimming, in both the Mediterranean and the campsite pool. More energetic and highly amusing were the half-hour Aquagym sessions in the pool. We attended two sessions of Archery, the first time I have ever tried this sport. Click the end of the slender (and lethal) carbon arrow on to the string, pull the string back until your thumb touches the top of your ear, and let go. Quite a few of my arrows hit the target, even the bull's eye, and quite a few landed on the grass. I also discovered, painfully, why archers wear leather arm-guards! We had a lovely Cycle ride one day along the towpath of the Canal du Midi, but the hired bikes were not very comfortable. The evenings saw me playing quite a few games of Pool in the bar, and does Sunbathing count, I wonder?

Immediately on our return from France I accompanied the Pate's CCF Army section on their summer camp. My official rôle was to be a female adult counting twenty-eight female cadets into their billet at 10pm each evening. However, I also joined in several of their activities during the week. I tried Water-skiing for the first time ever. We used knee-boards: you kneel into the moulded indentations on a shortish surfboard, sit on your heels and fasten the quick-release strap across your lap. Then you grip the handle on the end of the rope tightly against your body and lean as far forward as you can. The rope is pulled by cable around a large square at one end of a lake. On my first attempt I came off almost immediately and swam ashore for another go. This time I sped along at an exhilarating speed and came off at the first corner, as did many others. Some cadets got all the way round; some went on to try the standing-up single board; and some managed two skis. After water-skiing we went Cycling (comfortable mountain bikes this time) round the lake, through the park and out along a disused railway track with years of coal dust embedded in it. It was raining on and off, and the large puddles interspersed with areas of thick mud were all black. We had to be hosed down on our return!

On another day we went Rafting. Four teams of cadets tied logs and plastic drums together to make rafts; then the teams raced (I joined in to make up numbers): five of us paddled the raft furiously up the lake and back, swapped in the water (only about waist deep) with the other five on our team, who paddled down and back, and then we swapped again, etc. Did the cadets make sure I fell in? We all fell in, more than once, especially when all ten of us had to stand on the raft at the end! Earlier that day we had been Climbing and Abseiling. I climbed halfway up a vertical wall, panicked and abseiled back down. No way was I then going to abseil off the 30ft tower! I also did a fair amount of Walking and Running around the camp, also pseudo-Marching, ie they marched properly and I trailed along behind trying to keep up and in step.

When I got home, I went to the 'Last Chance Dance' to Twist the night away with the Blue Diamonds! Now I can relax - where's my violin ...

Frances Murton


Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary

St Mary's Patronal Festival

Saturday 8 September 2001
Festival Eucharist at 11.00am

followed by a
Fish & Chip Lunch
in St Mary's Church Hall

Join the celebration of this important festival in our Parish Calendar
then enjoy lunch together - ticket prices: £4 per person
tickets available in both churches


Bible Study

We've grown! Due to popular demand, from September there will be TWO fortnightly opportunities for you to join an informal group for Bible Study and fellowship. Dates are:

Wednesday 12th & Thursday 13th September
Wednesday 26th & Thursday 27th September

... but do check the weekly notice sheet for any last-minute changes. We start at 8pm and are continuing to work our way through the book of Acts. Please do join us and see what you're missing! For more information contact Sue Read or Andy & Kathy Beacham.


 Parish of Prestbury Quiet Day
Saturday 22 September 2001
10:00 to 17:00

exploring the theme of creation

Being quiet
Being creative
Being alone
Being together
Being prayerful
Being with God
Whatever you want to be ...
                          BE THERE

The day has been planned for adults and young people (11+)
with options of a range of styles of prayer and reflection

For more information including price details and lift arrangements and to book your place, please contact:
Margaret Compton or Sylvia McKenzie



If any adults or young people are thinking about being confirmed and would like to know more, please speak to Fr Michael. If there is sufficient interest, a group (or groups) could begin in the autumn.

Prayer Diary

Don't forget to pick up a copy of the monthly Parish Prayer Diary, which is normally available at the same time as the magazine. If you would like to be prayed for, please fill in the tear-off slip and put in one of the boxes which are in both churches. Also, if you feel you would like to contribute material for some of the daily intentions for prayer, do speak to Kay Porter or to Fr Michael.



St Nicolas' Hall, Swindon Lane

Sundays 7-9pm  starting 16th September

Thursdays 7.30-9pm starting 13th September

Fridays 8-10pm starting 14th September

Mother and Toddler Group at St Nicolas' Hall

We meet on Mondays in school term-times between 1.15 and 2.45pm, starting next term on 17th September. Anyone interested in coming along, please contact Mrs Mary Cheal.


September Spectacular Fayre

Saturday 15 September 2pm - 5pm

Opening by DANCING KEN

Lunches, teas, displays, stalls, games, competitions, raffle, lucky numbered programmes;

at St Nicolas', inside and outside (weather permitting).
Fun for all the family - see you there!


Abertillery Orpheus Male Voice Choir

Saturday 6th October
with soloist Gill Padfield at Christchurch.

Tickets £6 in advance, £7 on the door available from
St Nicolas' Renewal Events committee members



Since my first illustrated talk on the mixed age and ability trek to Everest Base camp in NEPAL I have had a number of smaller gatherings in the Church Room at St Nicolas'. They have been arranged to suit the convenience of the participants and the money raised is donated to the St Nicolas' Renewal Appeal.

If anybody or group is interested I would be only too pleased to put on a showing on any particular evening when the room is free. It takes just under one hour followed by light refreshments and has proved to be just as popular with non walkers and older people like me as it has with civil service, musicians and ramblers groups.

Edgar Davison


Mid-Morning Music at St Mary's (MMMSM)

This month's concert is on Wednesday 12th September and will be a 'cello recital by Warwick Cole to include works by Bach and Boccherini. Join us in St Mary's church for coffee at 10.30 am. The concert will start at 11 o'clock. Admission is free. There will be a retiring collection in aid of church funds.

Christine McKelvey

'Greetings from Prestbury'

When you are away for the weekend and manage to visit another church, perhaps attending a service there, you could sign the visitors' book with 'Greetings from the Parish of Prestbury in the Diocese of Gloucester' or, more specifically, 'from St Mary's, Prestbury' or 'from St Nicolas', Prestbury'. Add your own name or not, as you wish. You could even take them a copy of our parish magazine and bring back one of theirs to display in our churches.


Children's Society

This year's box collection totalled £379.67. Thank you to all who contributed. Please collect new boxes from the back of the church.

Margaret Holman

Sunday Refreshments at St Mary's

Thank you to all coffee ladies and gentlemen. The current rota is in the kitchen and on the church notice board. The half-yearly profit of £100 has been donated to the St Mary's Church Heating Fund.

Margaret Holman



Prestbury Parish Magazine - September 2001

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