I think I have mentioned once or twice recently how much I enjoy reading other people's parish magazines.
You may think it is rather a strange habit and I admit it verges on the eccentric! But often it can be
fascinating and illuminating.
For instance, while I was on holiday, I found a parish magazine in a French church which almost took my
breath away. As I read the message written to his congregation by the parish priest, I realised it was almost
word for word what I had written for our Prestbury magazine at the beginning of summer. Either he or I could
have charged the other with copyright! The only difference was I was looking forward to the summer and he was
looking back on it. He asked his parishioners if their holiday leisure time had been well spent and given them
a chance to renew their vision of God.
Then, as I thought about it, I realised that such similarities are neither coincidence nor copying.
Christians, when they are truly led by the Spirit, are very likely to reach similar conclusions and share the
same thoughts. Also I began to realise how much we are members one of another, regardless of language,
geography and culture. What is also striking is how many Christians nowadays are searching for much the same
thing: renewal of life, a stronger hold on prayer, a sense of fellowship within the Body of Christ and a sense
of unity among our Christian communities.
In the same magazine I found a beautiful set of words which are also well worth sharing together,
especially as they are intended to be turned into prayer. I have read them to some of you and several people
have asked me to print them in the magazine:
Seigneur, aide-moi à trouver
les mots qui apaisent,
les mots qui réconfortent,
les mots qui réjouissent les coeurs,
les mots qui ouvrent les portes,
les mots qui font vivre,
les mots qui sont comme un écho à ta voix,
les mots qui sont des prières.
If only whenever we speak to one another, either in church or beyond it, our words could be shaped and
informed with the same spirit. If only we could take the trouble to search for and discipline ourselves always
to use words which speak of peace and bring strengthening comfort; words which attempt to bring joy to the
other person's heart; words which open up opportunities rather than close them down; words which are
overflowing with life and vitality; above all words which are (as far as we can make them) an echo of God's
own voice rather than an expression of our own rather shabby and ill-considered opinions - if only we could
use words like that, how different would be all our conversations.
Fr Paul Iles
My God as I kneel here in silent prayer
No need to see your face to know you are there
I know you will give me time to listen and to care
The pace of life is all too fast
To change and alter are in vain
Bricks and mortar are not important
Time to listen and to care
Are the only issues there
As we journey through our lives
Please give us time to stop and think
To listen and to care
These are the only issues there
The Office of Reader is a very ancient one. Lectors used to read the epistle at the Eucharist in the early
church, but Reader ministry in the Church of England today is far wider than that of the Lector. The Reader
nowadays has what is sometimes called 'a teaching and preaching ministry within a pastoral context'. Reader
ministry as it is now known developed in 1866, and women were admitted in 1969.
There are now about the same number of active Readers in the Church of England as there are full-time
clergy. Readers have a unique place in the life of the church. They, with Church Army Officers, are the only
lay-people licensed under Canon to preach and lead worship. The Reader's licence sets out the areas of
ministry which they are permitted to do, in leading worship, preaching, teaching and a wide variety of
Readers come from every walk of life and men and women are represented more or less in equal numbers. Those
admitted as Readers have to be baptised and confirmed members of the Church of England and be regular
The Reader serves within the team of ministry both in the parish and in the deanery, and brings to the
ministry the insights of one who is actively involved as a Christian in the life of the world.
Reader ministry differs in practice from diocese to diocese and from parish to parish. In rural areas
Readers help to provide regular Sunday worship in small and scattered parishes. In the towns, they serve
mainly in their own parishes, and help elsewhere when there is need.
Equipped by their training, Readers can play a key role in running house groups and Bible study groups. As
a person with theological and liturgical training a Reader can be a resource to individuals both in the church
and the world outside.
Work with schools is among the many directions in which the ministry of an individual Reader may develop.
Others include work with young people outside schools, within the Synodical structures of the church, parish
worship committees, liturgical drama and much else. More and more Readers exercise a valuable ministry in
conducting funerals and caring for the bereaved.
Many Readers help with preparing those seeking baptism, confirmation and marriage. With special training,
some Readers work as lay chaplains in hospitals and others now assist with Chaplaincy work in the prison
service. Some are specially trained and licensed to work with parents and children.
In church, Readers can be distinguished from their ordained colleagues by the distinctive blue scarf that
licensed Readers wear.
This month Linda celebrates the tenth anniversary of her licensing as
a Reader. Ed.
Saturday 11 October 2003
Way back in June Joan, Josephine, Gwen and I decided to enrol for the above not knowing quite what to
expect. St Alban's Church Centre was the venue and the workshop was from 10.00am - 3.30pm. We set off early as
we were not quite sure exactly where St Alban's was situated. The autumnal tints were truly wonderful.
We started with coffee which gave us a chance to intermingle. We then met in the Chapel for introductions
and Bible Readings and prayers along with Psalm 90 verses 12-17. The theme for the whole day was centred
around the readings from Amos, Hebrews Mark and the Psalm. The latter I found particularly helpful. Do read
these few verses sometime soon.
Teach us to make the most of our time,
So that we might grow in wisdom.
We then moved to the Hall for practical work with paint. What fun! A lot of us sat outside to eat our lunch
and lots of subjects were discussed, including the theme of the day, Ministry Leadership Teams, Sunday School
teaching, teaching and special needs and PCC. Then some quiet time before the afternoon session. On with our
painting to introduce pastels to make the whole day's theme real to us personally and to share this with each
other if we wished to do so. A final prayer and then home.
A very spiritual and uplifting day away from the bustle of everyday life.
On Friday 3rd October eighty three people from the Parish left Cheltenham for our first 'Parish Weekend',
which we held at Sidmouth in Devon. It was the first time we had tried this kind of fellowship so none of us
had any idea how it would work.
Our youngest member was Benjamin at eight weeks old and we varied in age from him up to the late eighties -
a real cross section of the church. It was great to have fellowship with members of our churches to whom we
would normally only say hello - as we either entered or left church on a Sunday. The hotel was great with good
food, a lovely swimming pool, beautiful gardens and very comfortable accommodation. We had invited Father
Martin Warner (the ex-administrator from Walsingham) to lead our spiritual programme and he struck just the
right note, enabling everyone to join in in a relaxed and friendly way. There was no pressure to attend
sessions and people were free to do as they pleased. We had fantastic weather and the sun shone throughout the
entire weekend. We celebrated Compline, early morning prayers and a Eucharist every day and many different
people helped with drama, music and art. The children learned about St Francis of Assisi, whose feast we
celebrated on the Saturday, and they made a theatre with figures telling his story. On Saturday evening we
were entertained in many varied and amusing ways, which included magic, songs, poems, a pantomime and several
It was lovely to have this kind of informal fellowship together and hopefully we will arrange another
weekend for next year. Watch this space to reserve your places.
See some pictures from the weekend
Sidmouth 2003 (ii)
I went to a meeting last year in the spring,
The question was asked 'are we doing anything
For the people of the parish, to make them belong
To the church, as a family, to make us feel strong?'
The answer came clear, 'what about a weekend
Away at the seaside - our fences to mend?'
So I got the job of arranging the event
And we came and we conquered - whatever was sent -
In the way of an obstacle - little or large,
And I took the money - though Bill was in charge.
To find beds for all was quite hard to achieve
And I hoped that we'd be tempted to really believe
That our partners would turn out to be the right ones
Be it husbands and wives or daughters and sons.
Then the coach to travel down on
Should it be large or small?
Or should we all drive there
Or not go at all?
But in the event it turned out all right
And we all settled in to sample our first night.
We met Father Martin, from Walsingham fair
He was wonderful and amusing, though he hadn't much hair.
He got us all doing things, we never would
Do normally - grouping us - just as we should.
And we talked to each other even if we didn't know
Our new partners' names, as we went to and fro.
Our sessions were attended by many each time
And we learnt about ourselves, doing drama and mime.
We had music workshops and worshipped in style,
We even had a birthday cake for dear Barbara Lyle.
The children were busy with paper and glue
And created a theatre - you know how you do!
They coloured and crayoned and learned of St Francis,
But we didn't have time to do any dances.
We had entertainment, with talent galore,
Which left all the audience calling for more.
Magic tricks and poems and even some singing,
Some funny, some serious, the music hall was ringing.
The clergy dressed up for a panto - quite light
And Cinderella's catch phrase was...... 'all right'.
She sported a beard and a wig made of curls
And each of the clergy became panto girls.
Monologues and teamwork and juggling of balls
And King John's Christmas provoked some cat calls.
But we laughed and we chatted - just as we had hoped
And the youngest to the oldest magnificently coped.
The services were special - quite different from home:
We had Compline and the Eucharist, to which many did come.
We even got up for 7.30 prayers,
You've heard the expression that he who dares
Will shift mountains or was it molehills? - my memory impairs
Oh, of course, I remember - we all shifted chairs.
And we ate so much food, but we didn't drink wine;
It was nice to stay sober for such a long time.
We swam and we walked, or we sat in the garden
And enjoyed each other's company - or begged each other's pardon.
And then it was over - the weekend was done,
And we said our goodbyes - in the wonderful sun,
Which had stayed with us all for the whole of our stay,
And we cried and we laughed as we all went our way.
Shall we do it again? - we all asked as we went,
So a form was sent out to see how people leant.
The outcome was - 'yes' - it had worked - we were one
In the name of the Father, the Spirit, the Son.
In fellowship and prayer, as a family should be,
A successful event for two thousand and three.
And if you missed out - we graciously implore
That you put your name down for two thousand and four.
Sidmouth 2003 (iii)
The Lion & Simon
There's a famous seaside town called Sidmouth,
That's noted for fresh-air and fun,
So Reverend and Mrs Mike Cozens
Went there with young Simon their son.
A fine little lad were young Simon
All dressed in his best quite a swell,
'E'd a wand which was black with white tips, like,
The finest that Woolworth's could sell.
They didn't think much of the ocean
The waves they was fiddling and small,
There was no wrecks and nobody drownded,
'Fact nowt to laff at, at all!
So seeking for further amusement,
They upped to Sidholme in E'field,
Where there's music, The Lab'rynth and magic,
Fine food but no ale with the meal.
Now Simon had heard about House Groups,
That they were all scary and wild,
To see people chatting quite bright like
It didn't seem right to the child.
There were one great big leader called Martin,
Whose smile were as wide as the sea,
He got all the folk mixing partners,
And talking 'bout 'What's neighbourly?'
Our Martin's first session were Friday
'E kicked off with 'Accustomed to Face.'
We listened to song, 'My Fair Lady',
Then spoke in our fours round the place.
We closed up the evening with Compline,
Went abed dreaming peace seeing sea,
Then woke to a glorious sunrise,
On the Feast of St Francis 'sissi.
The morning were three sets of prayer time,
You could go or need not as you pleased,
It all set us up for Doc' Martin,
Who were fun, an' were grave, an' who teased.
The song for the mid morn' were lovely,
'So why ain't a girl like a bloke?'
The thought was, 'We all are just God like'
Our friends an' our colleagues bespoke.
Some went for a paddle in ar'tnoon
Or out for a shop and a scout,
Or a swim, or a walk, or a slumber.
The rest sat about doing nowt!
The theme for the evening were 'Show me'
By drawing what makes up the Church.
We all thought of people an' feelings,
Receiving an' outreach an' search.
On Sunday we prayed and had breakfast
Then workshops on prayer or a chord.
All gathered in glorious praising,
To join in the Feast of Our Lord.
To Marion we all said 'Right grand, Lass'
And raised loud our claps and a cheer.
We all went away to try harder,
An' cum back again in a year.
David Lyle & family
Any bookings for events, including meetings, to be held in St Mary's (Church or Upper Room) or St Nicolas'
(Church or Coffee Room) should be first checked and then entered in the Team Ministry Diary. This is kept in
the Office at the Rectory in Prestbury. The availability of a date can be checked in the diary and a booking
made by 'phoning the parish office (office hours are Monday 0900-1300; Thursday 0900-1200; Friday 0900-1200)
or by emailing teamdiaryprestbury.net
Sunday 2nd November
Join us at All Saints' Church at 10.30am for a United Sung Mass to celebrate All
Saints' Patronal Festival. The service will be followed by a 'bring and share' lunch to which we hope many
will be able to stay.
No 9.30am or 11.00am services on that day, however there will be a Said Eucharist at 8.00am
in both St Nicolas' and St Mary's.
An Invitation to those who have been bereaved
Each year at All Saintstide we hold a simple Memorial Service for all of those for whom we
have conducted a funeral service during the past year. We send a personal invitation to their relatives and
invite them to bring other members of their family and also friends who might wish to come. The service
contains music, readings and prayers and we always read out a list of the names of those who have died. This
year the service will be held at St Mary's on Sunday 2nd November at 3.30pm. Anyone who wishes to is
very welcome to attend.
We will also be holding a Requiem Mass for All Souls on Monday 3rd November at 7.30pm
in St Mary's. During this service we read the names of our departed friends and loved ones. Please add names
to the lists in both churches.
Floating on Ice
On Saturday November 15th at 7pm at St Nicolas' Jackie Moles will be presenting a
talk on her experiences in Antarctica. Tickets are £3, available from Jackie or pay on the day. It is an
illustrated talk showing some of the wildlife and the kayaks. See also the posters in both churches.
November brings your final chance in 2003 to experience the friendship, fun and fellowship
on offer at this regular church activity. However spasmodically individuals have been inspired to come along I
get the impression most have found it to be a positive experience. Perhaps that sounds too highfalutin' for
you. If so, the problem is probably my inability to describe the group in words rather than the activity
itself. Over a period of time valid descriptions range from 'a good laugh' through 'thought provoking' to
'moving' and even 'helpful'. Why not try it and see if it is for you?
Wednesday 5th November: Fr Grant on 'All Saints tide, All Souls tide and more...'
Thursday 20th November: Dr David and Diane Lyle on 'Being Christians in the field of
Turn up by 8pm and have your horizons broadened.
Sue Read MLT
A short course looking at the Lord's Prayer will take place on five consecutive Tuesdays at
All Saints' following the 8pm Mass:
4th Nov Our Father, Who art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name - Overview
11th Nov Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven
18th Nov Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us
25th Nov Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil
2nd Dec For the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory are Yours, now and for ever - Summing up
We would be delighted to welcome people from St Nicolas' and St Mary's who would like to
join us for any or all of these evenings. Mass begins at 8pm and we expect to finish no later than 9.30pm.
Jennifer Swinbank - All Saints'
Christmas is coming,
The goose is getting fat
If we don't prepare for it
The whole thing could fall flat!
A successful, stress-free Christmas means planning now!
So if you can help with this year's Parish Christmas celebrations
in any way at all
please come along to the Upper Room at St Mary's on
Wednesday 5th November at 8.10pm
Whether you organise an existing Christmas activity or event,
have a new idea to share, or just an hour to spare!
There are plenty of opportunities this autumn to learn something new in friendly company.
Come to just one evening if you are doubtful; you don't have to sign up for the series.
- The Home Bible Study Group has two evenings arranged before Christmas, both
from 8pm to 9.30: Wednesday 5th November and Thursday 20th November. For details see separate article.
- Join in celebrating the Kingdom Season at All Saints' with a course on the
Lord's Prayer. Every Tuesday from 4th November to 2nd December, starting at 8.30 after the Mass,
there will be a short talk, discussion and prayer, concluding by 9.30. Good parking! For details see
- 'Long ago, prophets knew...' so goes the Christmas hymn. At the start of Advent
we take a look at some of the Old Testament prophets whose words are such a familiar part of Christmas
services. Who were they, and how did they perceive their calling? Are they really relevant to us now?
Monday 1st December at 7.45, in the Upper Room at St Mary's. Throughout December, sermons at the Sunday
Eucharist will continue to touch on prophecies of the birth of Christ as we hear them week by week in the
Advent Bible readings.
And in the New Year...
- Monday 26th January: 'Why go to Egypt?' A talk by John Elliott, plus food and a
sociable evening in the dull time after Christmas. At St Nicolas'. Look out for further details nearer
Beryl Elliott, for Education & Nurture Committee
A date for the diary - not to be missed!
Saturday 6th December is St Nicolas' day. We will be
celebrating St Nicolas' Patronal Festival with a Sung Eucharist at 6.30pm. You are then invited to attend 'the
social event of the year' (!!). St Nicolas' Hall will be transformed to represent the period of the 1920s and
'30s: 'The Age of Elegance'. A jazz band will play, canapés and cocktails will be served and there will be a
cash bar. All those attending are encouraged to come dressed appropriately. Evening dress for both men and
women (and children!) can be worn to the service as well!
Start dusting down your most elegant attire and book the date now! Tickets will be on sale
during November: £4 for adults, £2 for children and £10 for a family.
The World Vision Alternative Christmas Card
will be available in church again this year for those who wish to send greetings to their
church friends this way instead of by individual cards. Last year, with 20 participants, we raised £117 for
Flower Arranging at St Nicolas'
Would you like to join the team of flower arrangers for St Nicolas' Church? You don't need
to be a Constance Spry, but just enjoy helping to make our church look beautiful, and help is at hand if you
If you are interested please contact Molly Campbell.
St Mary's Bakestall
The November stall falls on Sunday 16 November for contributors with surnames G-M. There
will be NO Bakestall in December but all members are invited to contribute to our January stall on Sunday 18
The September stall raised £30 which was sent to the Disasters Emergency Committee for the
Liberian Crisis Appeal.
Sunday Morning Refreshments at St Mary's
Many thanks to all those who continue to support this. Donations from recent profits have
been made to the St Mary's Heating Fund (£50) and 'Let the Children Live' (£50).
Diologue - and that is not a typing error!
Did you pick up your copy of the October issue of DIOLOGUE? This A4 size blue and yellow
publication is the new format newsletter from Gloucester Diocese and will be published bi-monthly. This first
issue contains a farewell letter to all of us from Bishop David on his retirement, along with other
interesting articles and photographs. The next issue will be available early in December. Collect your copy
from church or download it from the diocesan website