Fr Michael's Ministry
March 2002 is a special month for the Cozens family as they move into
their new home. We wish them every happiness - and a long stay! No doubt
they will be looking over their shoulders with tinges of sadness and
The good news, of course, is that we are in no way losing them.
Fr Michael, Gill, Anna and Simon are still part of our parish family - an
enlarged church family as St Mary's, St Nicolas' and All Saints' move into
this new era of working and sharing together. Fr Michael's ministry will
continue here as before but on the wider basis which is gradually being put
The 'GP' pattern of ministry will be maintained across all three
churches as even-handedly as possible. Like a good GP practice, if one of
us becomes involved in individual pastoral care, the same one will try to
see it through with you. Across the parishes, each will take particular
areas of responsibility and be involved in appropriate committee work, eg
education and nurture, mission and outreach. NB Already Fr Michael is no
longer 'curate' but co-parish priest within the two parishes. When the new
scheme is finally signed, he will be designated Team Vicar.
Our Team will continue to grow ...
The Bishop has agreed to our recruiting a priest coming up to retirement
age but wishing to continue ministry on a half-time basis for up to five
years. We hope to make an announcement very soon.
The Bishops have decided that we must wait until June 2003 to train a
replacement for Fr Paul. We should have two ordinations to the diaconate in
2003, as our own Peter Brown, a member of our Ministry Leadership Team, is
preparing to be ordained deacon as a non-stipendiary 'local minister' with
Experienced retired priests
We are blessed, too, with the ministry of Fr John Mead and Fr Tim
Raphael who are so very supportive and willing to be involved in every way.
Their ministry of leading worship, preaching and pastoral care is so much
Andy Macauly is an important member of our Parish Team. Andy has built
up three youth groups staffed by a dedicated team of volunteers, forged
close links with Pittville School, and has helped initiate various
town-wide Christian initiatives for youth.
We are also fortunate to have the leadership of our own Linda Biggs who
is licensed particularly for work with children. Ron Williams, Reader at
All Saints', has led Evensong at St Mary's several times.
Our Ministry Leadership Team
There is also the exciting new dimension of our Ministry Leadership
Team, which continues to encourage and develop new initiatives and have an
overview of pastoral care. The MLT share duties at the parish surgery and
soon will recruit and coordinate hospital and nursing-home visiting.
All Saints Connexions
are also a team running a bi-weekly parish surgery and are developing
Making the Prestbury and All Saints' Team Ministry official
We understand that at last the Diocese have begun to draw up the Scheme
for the new Team Ministry. This will need final discussion by the parishes
and then no doubt adjustments made.
Clearly there is much to ask God's blessing upon - please.
After forty years' service as Churchwarden, Bob has decided that the
time has come to relinquish his duties.
It is very difficult to describe the enormous debt of gratitude which we
owe to Bob. We give thanks for all the faith, devotion, care, work, time
and love which he has given as Churchwarden for over forty years.
Bob became Vicar's Warden when he was still a very young doctor and
comparatively new to Prestbury. Throughout this time he has been lovingly
and loyally supported by Barbara. They have accommodated visiting
dignitaries and potential parish priests and their spouses - including this
one. Bob and Barbara are always the very first to volunteer. They have
generously hosted countless parish parties in house and garden, and
hundreds of meetings over the years. Bob's support has been fundamental in
the production and performance of the parish Passion Plays, and more
recently of the Cheltenham Millennium Passion Play.
To succeeding parish clergy Bob has been a generous, practical friend
and a wise counsellor. It is good to know that he and Barbara will still be
The April edition of the Parish Magazine will contain appreciations of
Bob's contribution to the Church in Prestbury. The editor would be glad to
receive reminiscences from readers.
A fund has been opened in order to show our appreciation to Bob.
Donations will be gladly received by his fellow wardens, Ken Bradbury,
Eileen Jones and Peter Attwood. Please make out any cheques to Prestbury
PCC and mark envelopes 'Bob Lyle Fund'.
It is going to be impossible to find anyone able to exactly replace Bob,
and I think we shall all shed a few tears in March when he officially
This election takes place at the Vestry Meeting immediately before the
start of the Annual Meeting on 17th March. As one who is over 60 and
white-headed, I dare suggest that we should strongly consider having the
same bold vision that the Church in Prestbury had 40 years ago in jumping a
generation or so and we should think of appointing a comparatively young
person. Recently I asked Bob to write a job-description of being a
Prestbury Churchwarden. Currently, it has developed into almost a full time
job. We need to redefine the role to make it manageable and acceptable.
I know that you will consider all this prayerfully.
With love to you all,
Tuesday 12th February saw the hall of the Infant School packed with
people. Only 10 days before, the worry was that we had provided too many
leaders, but on the day every one was needed. In all, 87 people signed up
to take part in some or all of the six evenings, including representatives
from our sister churches as well as St Mary's, St Nicolas' and All Saints'.
We began by watching an extract from the video of the Cheltenham Passion
Play 2000, starting this first evening with the section titled
'Friendship'. Then, in small groups spread out all over the school, we
talked over our reactions to the video, and how it might fit in with our
own life experience. After a break for coffee and a chat with friends from
other groups, the evening closed with a short meditation from the video,
and our own prayers.
The second 'phase' of our Springboard programme will take place on Palm
Sunday and Good Friday. This phase will take us out on the streets of the
Palm Sunday: We will meet at St Mary's Junior School, ready to
begin, at 9.45am, an informal procession (hopefully led by a donkey) which
will take us up the lane, into Fawley Drive, Studland Drive, Purbeck Way,
South View Way, Finchcroft Lane, Noverton Lane, High Street, stopping at
the War Memorial before moving into Mill Street and then to St Mary's for
the Parish Eucharist. We hope lots of people will join in - there will be
banners, bells, drums and other noises, as well as some children and adults
Good Friday: At 11.00am, outside Capel Court (off the Burgage) we
will begin a Processional Act of Worship which will take us along the
Burgage, into Mill Street and into St Mary's; literally taking the story of
Christ's passion on to the streets. We will be basing our presentation on
an abridged version of the Stations of the Cross, using symbols, Gospel
readings and a reflection which may be stimulated by, for example,
pictures, music, thought or current issues. When we arrive at St Mary's,
everyone will be invited to share hot cross buns and coffee and to look at
the Jesus Today, Tomorrow and Forever? video and Springboard
A springboard serves to give lift-off, to launch you up or out further
than you would go without it. And our Springboard project too is a start
point, helping us to do a bit better in conveying our faith to people who
live around us. That can be simply a matter of being just a little less
nervous when someone catches us off guard with an unexpected question.
Another way of reaching out as churches to the community around us comes
after Easter, with Springboard Phase 3. Here people of all ages will have
an important part to play, including those who weren't able to come to the
evening meetings. Still making use of the Passion Play video, we want to
invite some of our neighbours who are not regular churchgoers to one of a
number of small home groups, (day time or evening) to explore everyday
issues in friendly surroundings much as we have been doing among ourselves
Think about it over Easter.
You are warmly invited
to attend the
Mandating of the Ministry
by the Bishop of Gloucester
in Gloucester Cathedral
on Saturday 2nd March 2002
This special service will be a
celebration of God's call to all his people to ministry and mission. The
Mandate is the Bishop's licence, giving his authority to the whole team,
lay and ordained members together, to serve as a Local Ministry Team.
This will be a great occasion -
please do try to attend!
As the initial training period comes to an end, and as they prepare for
mandating, please keep all the members of our Ministry Leadership Team in
The Parish Annual Meeting and Vestry Meeting take place on Sunday 17
March at 6.30pm in St Mary's Church. Do come and hear reports on all
aspects of our Parish life in the past year. We shall be electing
Churchwardens, Assistant Wardens, 2 new members of the PCC and 4
representatives to the Deanery Synod. Nomination forms will go up on the
notice boards shortly. Please consider if the time has come for YOU to get
Also this year, we are required to draw up a new Electoral Roll.
Membership of the Roll entitles you to attend and vote at the Annual
Meeting and to raise any question of parochial or general church interest
(prior notice would be appreciated). As this is a complete revision of the
Roll, no names will be carried over. If you wish to be included on the new
Roll, you must complete one of the forms available in both churches.
Hon Secretary, Prestbury PCC
It seems a while since I wrote to report how things are going in the
We were pleased to ring for all Christmas Services as well as ringing at
midnight on New Year's Eve to usher in the year 2002.
We have 14 adult ringers at St Mary's as well as three juniors, two of
whom ring regularly for Sunday Services.
We have recently paid our œ10 Tower Affiliation fee to continue our
membership of the Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Association of Church
Bell Ringers. Within the Association we are of course part of the
Cheltenham Branch, which has 21 towers, not all of which are as blessed
with experienced ringers (or even ringers!), as we are here in Prestbury.
On Wednesday 6th February 2002 we rang a successful quarter peal to
commemorate the 50th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II. It
consisted of 1260 changes of Plain Bob Doubles and was conducted by Adam
Vellender, aged 14. Adam then went to another tower in the branch on the
same night and called another similar quarter peal with different ringers.
This was his 50th quarter peal.
We are helping out with an Association Training Day in March when
various learners will be practising on our bells during the morning, with
experienced helpers. Lots of skills are usually learned on such occasions.
What could be a better challenge for Holy Week 2002 than praying round
the clock? This is the challenge which young people and youth workers in
Cheltenham are taking on. Groups of young people will be praying in relays
at a Cheltenham prayer venue around the clock from 22-29 March.
One focus of the prayer will be creativity - that there are so many ways
of expressing ourselves to God and hearing from him. Another exciting part
is the unity between churches that the initiative is already building. 24-7
prayer has been springing up in places all around the world - with amazing
effects as people and their communities connect with the living God.
To build up to the week, Synergy will be looking in practical ways at
prayer and meeting with other groups. Please pray for us and young people
in other churches in Cheltenham as we focus on God and prayer. If you are
interested in being a part of the team that supervises the week or would
like any more details please contact Andy Macauly.
It promises to be a challenging, exciting and transforming adventure!
Ray Miller's many friends will have heard with sorrow of her death on
New Year's Day. A service of Thanksgiving for her life was taken by Fr
Michael Cozens in the Crematorium Chapel on the 10th of January. Ray's
niece read the 121st Psalm, and her nephew said a few words about his
Aunt's life. Instead of Flowers, donations to the 'S Nicolas' Church
Renewal' appeal were made. This was felt to be what she would have wished,
and the sum of œ180 went to the appeal. Ray had been a loyal supporter of S
Nicolas' Church for many years.
After the Service her friends were invited back to Abbeyfield House for
a cup of tea, this had been her home for over ten years. It was a sure sign
of the affection in which she was held, that so many of her friends, Old
and Young, came to the Service. In Abbeyfield we shall all miss her, she
was one of the first to come, and was with us until she moved to Bay Tree
Ray was a very caring person, always doing things for other people. For
a number of years she drove her car for the 'Voluntary Car Service'. She
had a wonderful sense of humour and fun and will be long remembered.
On the 2nd February at St Nicolas' Church Hall there was a quiz night. A
variety of age groups came and enjoyed themselves; the ages ranged from 5
to 80+. There were nine rounds, each with a different theme. The winning
team was called 'Titanics', with a colossal 74!!! The losers were called
'Clams Have Feelings Too'. And they scored a miniscule 29 (that's out of
100, yes, 100).
All of the teams showed great knowledge. The prize for the winners was a
box of chocolates. And the losers got a teddy bear lollypop. It was a very
enjoyable quiz and the ploughman's dinner was lovely.
Kathryn Scobie & Josie Payne (Clams Have Feelings Too)
The Diocese of Gloucester is forging links with the dioceses of
Karnataka Central and Dornakal of the Church of South India. This is the
logo of the Church of South India along with its motto. The motto comes
from John 17:21. The church includes Anglicans, Methodists, Presbyterians
and United Reformed congregations. There is more information on the
Look at the logo. The cross represents Jesus' death for us, bringing
freedom from sin. The other design is the lotus flower from India, which is
a traditional picture of God being near us. The lotus grows out of mud,
like the beauty and purity that can grow in our lives out of Jesus'
The cross is red (for life) and the lotus is saffron (for holiness).
St Mary's Churchyard
The churchyard has been looking beautiful with its crocus
and snowdrops in bloom and we would like it go on looking good through the
spring and summer. For this to happen we need help!
On Saturday March 16th starting at 10.00am
there will be a general churchyard tidy-up and we would like to see as many
people as possible (with tools and wheelbarrows if you have them) to make a
really good job of it. There will be a skip to fill and also our motor
mowers will be available for use. Coffee and soft drinks will be provided!
The grass then needs to be cut throughout the summer and
we are short of at least two helpers to take over areas of the churchyard.
With a total of fourteen helpers, each area is not that big, so please can
we have some volunteers?
Bob Lyle, Ken Bradbury
I have now received the application forms for our
pilgrimage to Walsingham in May - we have places reserved for 20 people.
The cost of accommodation and all meals (ie full board) from after supper
on the Friday until after breakfast on the Monday is £86.85 (children -
under 17: £52.11; under 5: free). Please contact me for an application form
which also gives details of accommodation available, meal times etc. I have
to submit a list of pilgrims and their accommodation requirements, together
with a non-returnable deposit of £10 per person, no later than Friday
22nd March. Transport arrangements will be sorted out in due course.
By the time you read this, we will be on the point of
moving into our newly re-decorated new home! We would like to say a very
big and very heartfelt 'thank you' to everyone who has helped us prepare
the house for its new inhabitants! In just a few weeks there has been a
great deal of cleaning, clearing, painting, gardening, coffee-making and
child-minding and we could not possibly have achieved so much without all
the help we received. We now look forward to settling in and then to
welcoming you to our new home!
With our love and prayers,
Fr Michael, Gill, Anna and Simon.
Spend a few moments in the weeks leading up to Easter
answering the questions on the Confectioners' Quiz. Win a 'sweet delight'.
Quiz sheets are available in the churches or from Jessie Strawson or Marion
Godden £1 a sheet. Closing date Sunday 17th March. Proceeds to St Nicolas'
Ten people entered the Christmas Numbers Quiz and we made
about œ20 profit for the St Nicolas' Renewal Appeal. The winners were
Marcus and Liz Steele. If you would like a copy of the answers, please
Date for the Diary - Plant Sale at St Nicolas'
On Saturday 18 May there will be a Plant Sale at
St Nicolas' in aid of the Renewal Appeal. Once again we shall be most
grateful if all gardeners can help us: perhaps by taking some extra
cuttings, growing some bedding plants, a few vegetable plants or herbs, and
potting up herbaceous perennials. Last year's sale proved that bedding
plants, geraniums and fuchsias sell like hot cakes.
I shall be glad to answer any queries. Happy gardening!
Term ends on Thursday 14th March and restarts after
Easter on 18th April. All people caring for pre-school children are welcome
to bring them to this informal service consisting of action songs, a bible
story, tea and toys on Thursday afternoons at 2pm in St Mary's church.