Rather surprisingly in many ways, the regular programme Thought for the Day continues on Radio 4
each morning after many years; hopefully still broadcast to an appreciative audience. During that time,
though, there have been considerable developments in the content of the daily thoughts offered to listeners.
Nowadays, they have to take account of the variety of religions being practised in our country. Whether
such thoughts from within our multi faith society are always understood and valued, the present BBC policy of
inclusion is both sensible and unavoidable but it raises a significant question which hitherto seemed to pass
unnoticed. All of us now need to ask a fundamental question. When a member of one particular religion is
speaking in the broad context of so many other religions, what should be the speaker's aim? Should he or she
look for and stress the agreements between the various religions (which are of course considerable) or
should the listener be faced with the sometimes very profound disagreements between various religious
Naturally the answer has to be both. Religions contain coherent and incoherent aspects at the same time.
There are in all of them both good things and bad. Religious activities do not necessarily bring harmony but
nor do they always bring conflict. Usually they produce a subtle and complex mixture of both. So everyone who
still calls themselves religious must learn new critical skills and be more alert to what can distort and
mislead in any belief system. We must face the demanding problems of how to handle our differences with love
and mutual respect.
This has led some critics seriously to ask if the world would be better off without all religions. Yet
surely by now we realise such a thing is never going to happen. For better and for worse human beings cannot
but by nature be religious in some shape or form. Even those who claim to practise no religion actually
satisfy their religious instincts in disguised forms of idolatry and indulgence. Irreligious and casual
indifference do great damage but it remains true that the human heart is restless until somehow it comes to
rest in God.
In her novel Loitering with Intent Muriel Spark puts these words into the mouth of one of her
"although I was a believer, I felt strongly that Dottie's concept of religion was of necessity
different from mine, in the same way that, years later when she made the dramatic announcement that she
had lost her faith, I was rather relieved since I had always uneasily felt that if her faith was true
then mine was false."
A timely warning to committed Christians as much as those of other faiths.
So a thought for today could be that people need to be much more careful, critical and informed about every
religion. Whatever religious practices are accepted and used they must be disciplined with great sensitivity,
pursued with careful and detailed study and, above all, always with deep and growing humility.
Those of you who were present at the Annual Meeting in April heard the announcement of a possible new
service at St Mary's at 9.30am on Sunday mornings. This idea has come out of the consultation exercise held in
January and is now being actively considered as a major initiative for outreach in the Parish. The Clergy, the
Ministry Leadership Team, the Mission and Outreach Committee and a 'cross-committee' meeting of
representatives from the various committees of the PCC have all discussed the implications of starting a new
service. These have also been discussed at the consultation follow-up meetings and the proposal will be taken
to the PCC during this month.
At present, this is very much in the planning stage. Initial thoughts are for a non-eucharistic act of
worship which will be very flexible in its pattern and content. The worship will probably include music,
drama, prayer and teaching in various forms. The service will take place every week and initially will be
advertised through our Church schools. A team, which will include some members of the clergy, will need to be
formed to take on the regular planning and leading of the new service.
As discussions continue, please pass any comments you wish to make through the members of the Ministry
Leadership Team. Also, and most importantly, please pray regularly that God will bless and guide us in this
new initiative and that the necessary people and resources will be provided in order to take it forward.
I joined Saint Mary's Prestbury in September 2003 and was delighted to read early in the New Year of a
Prestbury and All Saints' pilgrimage to Walsingham in May. The reason I was delighted was threefold:
to revisit north Norfolk;
to realise a lifelong aim, a pilgrimage to Walsingham;
to begin building relationships with my 'church family'.
Leaving for Walsingham on the Friday evening I felt happy to be returning to north Norfolk, where for me
the sun shone, the flint-stone faced buildings nestled into a gentle countryside and the sea was never far
away. However, it wasn't until our first 'gathering together' on the Saturday morning that the real meaning of
a pilgrimage began to assume significance. Up until this time I had given minimal prayer and minimal thoughts
to the issue of a particular intention during the busy weeks leading up to May.
Waking up on May Day in my attic room in Mileham House overlooking orange slate rooves and crafted kitchen
gardens, I was aware that my neighbours were rising early to attend the first mass of the day. Upon their
return we met in Mileham kitchen and extolled the virtues of the first 'cuppa of the day'. As we drank our tea
and I began to absorb my surroundings I also wondered where these committed neighbours of mine hailed from. I
certainly did not recognise them from St Mary's . . . any guesses? From there I strolled through the Shrine
gardens to the dining-room and after a welcome and splendid breakfast walked to our first gathering. As the
morning progressed with a service in the Holy House, free time and Bible study I began to sense the beginnings
of a journey. By lunchtime the journey began to assume a structure with the Walsingham pilgrims' manual
becoming my route map, the Holy Shrine my base and the pilgrims my companions.
Saturday afternoon enabled pilgrims to discover the local area such as visiting seals off Blakeney Point,
walking the beaches at Wells and Holkham and exploring Walsingham. I chose the last (with two members of St
Nicolas') and we concentrated our time in the Priory of the Blessed Virgin May. Before entering the grounds we
'genned up' on the history in the Priory museum and enjoyed local artefacts of 'life through the centuries' in
Walsingham. We found peace, beauty and history during our two hours of discovery within the Priory walls. The
original site of the Holy House, the pack-horse bridge and the twin wells were just three of the many areas of
interest which we enjoyed, talked about and were keen to know more about.
For me, Sunday was the highlight of the journey. We attended mass at St Mary and All Saints', the sun shone
through the clear glass windows, the church was full and the love for God and the joy of everlasting life
through Christ our Lord inspiring, sincere and at times overwhelming. Later in the day we walked around the
Stations of the Cross in the Shrine garden singing, praying and reflecting upon the colourful stations and
life-size crosses. The services when everyone 'had a part' held special meaning for me.
Throughout the pilgrimage we had our meals together and enjoyed a drink or two at the Black Lion. As a
newcomer I was made welcome, given choices and included in services and activities. Father Grant and Father
Stephen, together with Colin and Margaret Holman, were our shepherds. They cared for us all and in turn I felt
cared for by all our pilgrims. As they followed in the footsteps of Jesus, showing their love, care and
acceptance by smiling, fetching chairs and coffees, lending rosaries and service sheets, our attendance at
intercessions in the holy house grew in depth and meaning. On Sunday night I felt enveloped by the Fellowship
of the pilgrims and the spirit of God.
My lifelong aim achieved . . . a Pilgrimage to Walsingham. Interestingly, as I write, I feel that I am at
the beginning of a very special journey. Not surprisingly my love for Norfolk continues to grow, so too does
the relationship and fellowship with my church family. And for the future ... before embarking upon another
such journey I need to find time for quiet prayer and thought so as to focus upon a particular intention.
Thinking about Walsingham ......
Why do we go? A holiday for the soul?
To relax us, release us, restore us, refresh us, renew us, recharge us.
(I think I must have read this somewhere, sometime.)
Born in Hanwell, Ealing, where his father was curate, Raymund was educated at St John's Leatherhead, a
school founded to educate the sons of the clergy. In 1945 the 18-year old Raymund joined the Army and was sent
on a Russian course at Cambridge before being despatched to Germany as a translator working on the 'death
trains' recovering bodies. The language appealed to him, and, after demob, he went to read Slavonic languages
at Nottingham University, graduating in 1952. By then his father had become the parish priest of St John the
Baptist, Stockton-on-Tees, where Raymund, still a student, met and married Margaret. Job hunting was a
problem. He tried his hand at teaching, but the C stream at Jarrow Grammar School polished him off - he was
not cut out for it! An SPG Mission boat, the Centurion, docked in Teeside bringing the Bishop of Accra, John
Daly, to the Vicarage to stay with the family. Bishop John pointed him in the direction of the Foreign Office
in London, and the post led him to GCHQ in Cheltenham, where he worked until retirement. Here Raymund and
Margaret joined St Mary's, and brought up Christopher and Catherine.
Raymund's real vocation was in serving - 'to the glory of God and the edification of his people'.
Church liturgy and ritual were his forte. A series of curates, on becoming incumbents, have expressed
gratitude for the rather rigorous 'training' received at his hand. He was Sacristan and 'Head Server' at St
Mary's for many years. He was also a Churchwarden, and a one time member of the choir.
Raymund was a long-serving member of the Guild of Servants of the Sanctuary. He was the local Chapter
Secretary, a Group Councillor, editor of The Server, the national magazine for Servers, and a member of the
GSS annual Glastonbury Pilgrimage planning committee.
Within this Diocese he served for many years on the Bishop's Council, the Deanery and Diocesan Synods, the
Diocesan Board of Patronage, and the Redundant Churches Committee.
Raymund devoted well over ten years to caring, most lovingly, for both his parents, who lived next door,
and Margaret's mother, who all lived to a great age with increasing frailty. Five grandchildren provided light
Raymund had a deep personal spirituality. His chosen rule of life involved personal prayer, spiritual
reading, saying the daily offices, and attendance and serving at Mass on several weekdays. Very quietly and
generously, he supported many Christian charities. When St George's Home for ladies with learning
difficulties, run by the Community of St Peter, moved to Cheltenham in 1985, Raymund worked behind the scenes
to support the Sisters, taking on more responsibilities as the Sisters died and there were no others to
His connections with the Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham stretched back to before the war, and he had a
strong devotion to Our Lady. This led to his active membership of our own Walsingham Cell, and of the local
branch of the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was a member of Church Union.
His Requiem Mass seemed so appropriate. Twelve concelebrating priests, and some thirty robed servers
processed into a church packed with people who gave praise for the Resurrection and thanks for Raymund's
unswerving faith and service.
May he rest in peace and rise in glory.
It was a shock when I heard of the sudden death of Dave Browning, who lived for many years in Prestbury. On
the Saturday he had been to his regular 9.30am Eucharist at St Mary's and then on to the coffee morning at the
Prestbury United Reformed Church.
Dave loved to have a chat in spite of his speech problem, caused by the car accident in which he nearly
lost his life. I met him when he came to the first meeting of Prestbury Writers' Workshop fourteen years ago.
He enjoyed the company of the members and he was soon writing the story of his early years, when he lived in
Cheltenham Lower High Street.
I was amazed when he wrote about his later years when he had become the British motorcycle 1968 250cc
champion and of his exploits at the TT Races on the Isle of Man. He went on to race in America and on the
Continent until his retirement. He had printed Seven Springs, a collection of these stories, and we performed
it in a number of places, much to his enjoyment.
His disability never stopped him from getting around. He was in the cast of the Prestbury Passion Play, he
visited his family in America several times, and recently went with Richard Mason to do a Sky dive from 10,000
At his funeral service in Bethesda Methodist Church (which he attended regularly) the Minister had his many
friends from the village smiling at the different ups and downs which made up his life - with a special
message from Fr Stephen.
I shall miss that full smile and the gleam in his eyes, which meant yet another story was on its way. Sleep
Was it different? No, of course not: Fr Michael, wearing the same robes as usual, welcomed us with the
familiar words; we confessed our sins and had them forgiven; we prayed the collecting prayer and listened to a
Bible reading; we interceded on behalf of others and ourselves; and we shook hands all round to share God's
peace. The great prayers of offering and thanksgiving were verbatim from the book, with the congregation
joining in at the usual places; we said the Lord's Prayer, received communion, were blessed and the Mass
But yes, it was very different, and I enjoyed being part of it. Everything which did not need a priest (ie
most of the service) was conducted by children, the nine who had received their first communion at Easter:
William, Sophie, Simon, Sam, Peter, Matthew, Martin, Luke and Ebony. One group asked us to confess our sins in
writing on pieces of pink paper, which we then sprinkled with incense and dropped into a large pot, where they
burned away to nothing but a cloud of sweet smoke while Fr Michael pronounced us absolved of them. Two
children read the lesson, and then another invited us to stand in a semicircle round the platform holding
hands (we were in St Nicolas') while two more read some prayers. The preparation for the Eucharist saw all
nine clustered round Fr Michael at the altar, washing and drying his fingers, counting and breaking wafers and
pouring wine and water.
After the service the children called for three cheers and a round of applause for their instructors,
Marion, Linda and Fr Grant. Then out came the party bag and each child received a small gift: a Communion Cube
(ask one of them to show you!).
In February I invited readers to write a metric version of a Bible passage. The following poem is not one
of the passages I suggested, but is based on the Old Testament book of Ruth, all four chapters of it. (Where
is Ruth? Mutter to yourself 'joshua-judges-ruth', and then recall that Moses led the people out of Egypt,
handed over to Joshua, who took them in to the Promised Land, and that the Israelites were ruled by Judges
before Samuel chose some Kings for them, and you should find her.)
Two young women lost their spouses:
With mother-in-law, went to find new houses.
One was homesick, and went back home;
The other pressed on, preferring to roam.
Naomi said: 'Don't linger with me',
But Ruth begged: 'Let me stay with thee'.
Then Naomi found a place which she knew,
Where there were relatives, just a few.
So said to Ruth, 'Here, we'll remain,
And you can go out and glean the grain'.
So off went Ruth to work in fields,
And found she could get some very good yields.
Now Boaz, who was a cousin of sorts,
Found Ruth was constantly in his thoughts,
Decided she was the love of his life,
And persuaded her to become his wife.
So they were married happily,
And thus began a dynasty.
III - The Younghusbands' Train of Troubles
The Younghusbands' brushes with authority centred on a house which Catherine persuaded her husband to build
at Longwood. Tired of living in tents or rented cottages, and distressed by losing 'the greater part' of her
stored crockery, linen, clothes, saddles, boots and chairs in a fire, Catherine demanded a 'family home' of
her own. But its construction diverted scarce labour and materials from urgently needed public works,
provoking official displeasure, subsequently exacerbated when Younghusband, prompted by his wife, claimed
compensation from the authorities for providing his own accommodation, which the government refused, with a
reprimand for impertinence!
But it was the use of the house for Catherine's social activities that brought them their most serious
problems. One outstanding incident occurred at the maiden meeting of the St Helena Turf Club in April 1817
when she invited members of Napoleon's entourage to refreshments between the races, not only to meet officers
of the garrison, but the Allied Commissioners to whom they were officially persona non grata. To host a
mixed party in the relaxed social setting of a race meeting was the height of political indiscretion. When it
was reported to the Attorney-General that Madame Stürmer, wife of the Austrian Commissioner, had even been
seen chatting convivially with General Bertrand, he was furious, and advised Governor Hudson Lowe to 'turn her
off the island' forthwith. After all, this was not her first serious offence. When, in November 1816,
Napoleon's Secretary, Las Cases, had been arrested and later deported for maintaining forbidden correspondence
with Napoleonists overseas, a search of his rooms revealed that he had also been carrying on a clandestine
correspondence with Mrs Younghusband! That Hudson Lowe did not take his Attorney-General's advice and 'turn
her off the island' after the race-meeting is therefore all the more surprising, and may say something of the
strength of her personality. She was, as Napoleon observed, 'une femme d'ésprit'! But she was also an
inveterate gossip and it was this proclivity which now got her husband into hot water.
Catherine liked to shine at her house parties as a witty and well-informed hostess. Unfortunately
circumstances at St Helena provided nothing if not fertile ground for rumour and recrimination with the result
that her spicy speculations almost forced her husband into a duel with a fellow-officer of the 53rd, Capt
Charles Harrison, and led to an action at law, brought by the wife of another of his subordinate officers, Lt
Michael Nagle, against Catherine for having 'aspersed her character'. The brunt of the case had to be taken by
her husband, however, as it brought public humiliation on the Regiment, and he was held responsible for the
damages awarded Mrs Nagle - £250 no less! The Court seems to have taken into account that she was a
The Younghusbands left St Helena, no doubt with great relief, on the reduction of the 2nd Battalion of the
Regiment in July 1817, arriving in Cheltenham, with Emily, on 2nd October. Catherine's later career is so far
unrecorded, though War Office records show that her husband retired on half-pay, living first at Middleton
Hall, Belford, and then Clive Cottage, Alnwick, Northumberland, until his death in 1853.
A Younghusband pedigree appeared in The Genealogist, II (Old Series), p53, and six of Catherine's
lively letters from St Helena, including one to her sister Rachel at Cheltenham, were published in
Blackwood's Magazine (No 1582), August 1947, pp144-153. They provide a unique and colourful insight into
the early period of the Napoleonic exile on St Helena.
Trevor W Hearl
All Saints' Arts Festival
From 7th to 19th June All Saints' Church will host a variety of arts activities ranging from drama, arts
and craft, music, to exhibitions and a recital. Over 400 children from local schools and nurseries will visit
the church over the two weeks and there will be opportunities for adults to try out their own artistic skills
by joining an art class. From Friday 11th onwards we will be joined by Patrick Haughton, a member of the
Newlyn Society of Artists, who will act as our artist in residence. He has worked with many school children
and amateur artists and during his time with us will focus on the architecture of the church building and its
furnishings. On Saturday 19th June the church will be open all day for a display of all the work undertaken
during the Festival.
This is an opportunity for anyone with an interest in art and architecture to take part in activities that
will stimulate and bring the church to life. No artistic talent is required to join in, so have look at the
programme below and decide what you would like to do.
Monday 7th June
Drama workshops for schools and craft sessions for playgroup and local nurseries.
These will run throughout the two weeks.
Wednesday 9th June
10.00-1.00 General Art Class for adults with Marie Styles. All levels welcome.
To book a place call Tim Winder (234299) or Jill Bradley (238934). Cost £3.
Friday 11th June
7.30-9.30 Art class with Resident Artist, focussing on observational drawing, investigating the
building, its architecture and contents. All levels welcome.
To book a place call Tim Winder (234299) or Jill Bradley (238934). Cost £3.
Portrait Exhibition by Cheltenham Photographic Society (runs until 15th).
Saturday 12th June
9.30-11.30 Sunday Club Arts Activity with Resident Artist.
10.30-4.30 Displays of artwork by Playgroup and local nurseries.
Linen exhibition/Wednesday Art Club exhibition.
12.00-1.30 Refreshments and light snacks available.
7.30pm Voice & Verse, poetry and songs on the theme of the seasons, £5 to include a glass of wine/soft
drink. Tickets available on the door. Children free.
Saturday 19th June
10.00-4.00 Grand open day - all art from the two weeks displayed in the church.
Ploughman's lunches and refreshments available. Come and try the labyrinth.
Raffle drawn at 3.00pm
Sunday 20th June
12.00-4.00 Church open for viewing art displays.
For further details see leaflets available in church.
Ordinations and First Masses
Fr Grant and Fr Peter will be ordained priest in the Cathedral
on Saturday 3 July at 5pm. All are most welcome to come.
Fr Grant will preside for the first time at All Saints' on
Sunday 4 July at 10.30am (united service) followed by lunch (salmon, salad & strawberries) for all at St
(NB no 9.30 service at St Nicolas' and no 11.00 service at St Mary's)
Fr Peter will preside for the first time at St Mary's on
Sunday 11 July at 11.00am (united service) followed by a pig roast for all in the Rectory garden.
(NB no 9.30 service at St Nicolas' and no 10.30 service at All Saints')
There will be said Eucharist/Mass at 8.00am in all three churches on both Sundays
Please pray for Claire Lacey and Vicky Barnard who are preparing for confirmation. Claire
usually worships at St Nicolas' and Vicky at St Mary's. The confirmation service will take place in Gloucester
Cathedral on Friday 4th June at 7.30pm. All are very welcome to attend.
Corpus Christi -
Thursday 10th June
Once again congregations from all three churches in the Team Ministry will join together for
a United Sung Mass at All Saints' at 7.30pm. This will be followed by cheese and wine.
Parish Annual Meeting
Congratulations to Marion Beagley and Jerry Porter on their election as Churchwardens, to
Peter Attwood and Peter Horne on their election as Assistant Wardens, and to Sue Bolton, Anne Brooks, Michael
Cole and Linda Hodges on being elected members of the PCC.
Ringing Course at St Mary's
There will be an 'introduction to change ringing' course run
in the tower on Monday evenings from 7.30-9.00 pm, starting
on Monday 5th July and running for six weeks. Each week there will be a short theory session, followed by
The course is an opportunity to learn about bell
ringing without any long-term commitment, but any participants who want to continue will be invited to
join the local band.
Numbers are limited, so booking is essential. Please contact Mary Lynch on bellsprestbury.net
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
You are a marvellous lot! You rose to my challenge magnificently. Your generous donations helped
us reach our target of £3,400 in two weeks, so eight young people from Cheltenham Community Projects, together
with their two youth workers, set off to Outward Bound Aberdovey
for a week of challenges all round. The fact that they were still there on the last day was a great
achievement in itself.
Various comments have come back: 'had a brilliant time, instructors were really nice', 'good
fun but now I'm knackered', 'great time, can I go again?', 'nice views, shame about the weather'.
Thank you all.
Diane Lyle, Gloucestershire Outward Bound Association
Many thanks to all who collected, counted and contributed to the house-to-house collection
in Christian Aid Week. The total so far is well over £5,000. (The final figure will be available in next
month's magazine.) This includes £125 from the Ecumenical Service held at the URC, £77 from John Elliott's
very stimulating Gloucestershire quiz and £46.05 from the children's shoe-shine at St Mary's, as well as the
money in the envelopes. We are very grateful to you all for this great effort.
Gill Ashman & Paddy Spurgeon
Christian Aid Quiz
The winner of the Christian Aid Quiz was Mrs Kathleen Woodward with 49 correct answers out
of 50. She has received a well-deserved prize of Fair Trade goodies.
Thank you to everyone who took part in the Quiz. It raised £77 for Christian Aid.
St Mary's Bakestall on June 20th
The next Bakestall falls on Fathers' Day. Why not come and buy him a cake? Better still,
make one to bring for sale along with those from members with surnames A-F.
Margaret W & Linda M
The next issue of the Diocesan Newsletter Diologue should be available sometime in early
June. Maybe this one will contain the article from Prestbury! Do make sure you collect your copy from church -
we order a fair number, but they come at the wrong time to be distributed with your parish magazine.
Alternatively you can view it on the diocesan website