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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
The new term starts at both St Nicolas' and St Mary's on Sunday
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
K J Bradbury
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.
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
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
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 ...
Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary
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
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 with God
Whatever you want to be ...
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.
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.
THE PARISH OF PRESTBURY YOUTH
St Nicolas' Hall, Swindon Lane
SYNERGY: FAITH AND LIFE: Y7+
Sundays 7-9pm starting 16th September
THE SPACE: Y7- Y8 YOUTH CLUB
Thursdays 7.30-9pm starting 13th September
TWILIGHT ZONE: Y9+ YOUTH CLUB
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.
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
Fun for all the family - see you there!
Abertillery Orpheus Male Voice
Saturday 6th October
with soloist Gill Padfield at Christchurch.
Tickets £6 in advance, £7 on the door
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.
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.
'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.
This year's box collection totalled £379.67. Thank you to
all who contributed. Please collect new boxes from the back of the church.
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.