Just as Nature's seasons each have their own characteristics, so the
seasons of the Church's year have their own 'feel'. This month - November -
begins with All Saints' Tide and will end with Advent Sunday. Yes, Advent
is less than a month away!
All Saints' Tide encourages us to an awareness of the lives of others.
We remember those men and women whom the Church has specifically declared
to be 'saints'. We celebrate the lives of these people in whom the Holy
Spirit was at work in so many different ways. People who can inspire and
encourage us on our Christian journey. Real men and women in whose lives,
it is said, 'we can glimpse heaven in our midst'. We rejoice to be
surrounded by 'so great a cloud of witnesses', spurring us on as we join
our worship with theirs.
On All Souls' Day (November 2nd) we remember our own dear loved ones who
have died. The long list of names which is read in our churches reminds us
of those who have gone before us; not only from our own families, but also
from the family of the church. Past worshippers who have been faithful
members, contributing so richly to the life and worship of our Christian
community. People perhaps whose lives have inspired us. It is not only
those officially designated 'saints' who can inspire and encourage. Each of
us, I am sure, can call to mind ordinary men and women we have known
personally, who have had a real impact on our own faith. I think of the
housebound elderly lady in my first parish whose life, although full of
physical pain, was a life of prayer. That woman was an inspiration to me as
I became aware of her tremendous ministry of prayer, interceding for the
life of the parish and for so many individuals for whom she prayed on a
During this All Saints' Tide, and as we journey towards Advent, recall
those people who have been a real inspiration and encouragement to you.
Give thanks for them as you join your worship with theirs and with the
great cloud of witnesses that surrounds us.
Our new service at 9.30am in St Mary's,
Celebrate!, was launched on 10 October 2004. A lively
mixture of songs, drama, reflection and prayers, the new service has been
very well received by the large number of people who have attended. On
behalf of us all we must thank those who have committed themselves to
planning and leading Celebrate!
and to those who have volunteered to join the teams of welcomers and
coffee-makers - there is always room for more volunteers! Also, please
continue to keep this major outreach initiative in your prayers and pray
for the new congregation which is being formed at 9.30am in St Mary's.
The churchwardens were delighted to receive a letter recently from the
Bishop of Gloucester announcing that he had invited Father Stephen to
become an Honorary Canon of Gloucester Cathedral, and that Fr Stephen had
Bishop Michael went on to say that Fr Stephen's appointment as an
Honorary Canon is a recognition of both his outstanding ministry in
Prestbury and his service as Rural Dean. It also says something about his
relationship with Bishop Michael's own ministry, and about the place of
Prestbury in the life of the diocese.
Fr Stephen's Collation and Installation as a Canon of Gloucester
Cathedral has been set for Evensong on Sunday 7 November at 3.00 pm. We
hope that a large group of supporters from across the Team Ministry will be
able to attend.
Congratulations to Fr Stephen and continuing thanks for all that he
does, both seen and unseen, through his ministry here.
Marion Beagley and Jerry Porter, Churchwardens
Editor's note: The other new Canon being installed on the same occasion
is the Revd Mark Bailey, Team Vicar of Holy Trinity, Cheltenham.
14 November 2004
Please join us at the War Memorial at 10.45 am
for a short service in honour of those who gave their lives
Cross by Bethan (age 10);
Poppies by Isabel (age 11);
drawn in November 2003 at
Prestbury After School Club
The churchyard cleanup gang was gathered around the table tomb halfway
through the morning imbibing Rosie's coffee and biscuits (yes, its quite a
convivial occasion) when suddenly Noel said, 'What's that in the yew tree?'
It was six feet up and someone said, 'it's a rucksack'. Someone else said,
'No it's not - it's a folding stool.'
Noel pulled it out and it was both - in fact a folding fishing stool
with a bag attached and shoulder straps. What was it doing nowhere near a
river and halfway up a tree? Roger put his hand inside and out came a
bird's nest! So it had been there some time. Next came out a screwdriver -
was it a burglar's kit? Then our question was answered - it was a home -
because out popped a mouse! The mouse leapt down, ran round Rhiannon's feet
and crept into a crack in the table tomb. It had found its new home.
Thank you to those who managed to turn up. We filled the skip, which was
the main object; however it would be great to be joined by a few more of
the younger generation next time ......
On September 12th St Mary's ringers rang a quarter peal for evening
service which was dedicated to the 97th birthday of a parishioner, whose
daughter Mavis rang the treble to the quarter of Plain Bob Doubles, which
took forty-two minutes.
On Saturday October 9th several of our members attended the Gloucester
and Bristol Diocesan Association of Church Bellringers' advanced ringing
course, which was based around Wotten-under-Edge. Some went as learners,
some as helpers and teachers. As with all such occasions, a happy time was
had, new friends made and new skills either learned or imparted.
All webmasters are interested in how many people visit their website. I
have arranged for an e-mail to be sent to me each week giving a summary
from the hit counter.
A new record was made on 29 September: 107 visitors to the site in one
day. That is exciting! The daily average is about 60 or 70 at the moment.
On 10 October the visitors read 415 pages. The previous record for a day
was 379 on 17 March 2003. On 4 November 2003 133 pages were read in one
hour! These high figures are not so exciting; I suspect they are visits to
the site by robots such as Google or Yahoo! for their search engines.
Most visitors arrive at the parish website having been directed by a
search engine. Most must be disappointed as they tend to read just one
page. The average visitor reads nearly three pages. Recently there were
several people looking for information about Harvest Festival. Other
regular favourites have been Elizabethan banquets (we had one of those);
animal masks (Jonah the Groaner); all sorts of topics about church
architecture (the acclaimed series by Edward Wyatt); and Jerry Porter!
The hit counter gathers more information than I have mentioned here.
What it doesn't tell me is who the visitors are. You can see all this
information for yourselves by clicking on the little purple and green
square at the foot of any of the pages on www.prestbury.net
Brian Wood, webmaster
About sixty people gathered in St Mary's Church Hall for a
Harvest Ploughman's and
Skittles evening. The meal comprised of all local produce including
homemade pickles and desserts and even the bar was stocked with locally
brewed beer and wine from the Three Choirs Vineyards. The skittles
competition was closely fought and finally won by Terry Biggs. Thank you to
everybody who set up the skittles alley, arranged the music and helped to
grow, prepare and serve the food. We made a profit of £140 for Church
Harvest Supper and Skittles
Many people enquired about the suppliers of the food we ate at the
Harvest Supper. With the exception of flour, brown sugar, spices and
vinegar, it was all grown on Gloucestershire soil. All fruit, vegetables
and flowers were grown within a mile of St Mary's church. I was asked
repeatedly about the gammon and the cheese. The gammon was from Long Hills
Farm, Daglingworth, 01285 885169, and the cheeses from Birdwood Farm,
Birdwood, 01452 750248. The butter was produced in Lydney and is available
from various local shops and dairies. The other request was for the mustard
pickle recipe. It is an old family one, so here it is:
4 lb raw finely chopped mixed vegetables:
cauliflower, cucumber, marrow or courgette, onions (large or small),
French or runner beans if available
1 oz flour
1 quart vinegar
1 oz turmeric
1 oz English mustard powder
2 oz sugar
Day 1: Spread the washed and finely chopped
vegetables on a large meat dish or tray and sprinkle with salt. Leave
Day 2: Bring the vinegar to boil in a very large
saucepan. Drain excess salt water from vegetables. Add drained
vegetables to vinegar. Bring back to the boil. Mix all the rest of the
ingredients into a paste with some more vinegar. Stir the paste into
the boiling vegetables and vinegar. Boil for another 5 minutes. Pot the
pickle into hot glass jars and seal, preferably with plastic lids or
plastic coated lids, because the vinegar does corrode after a while.
Store for 3 weeks or so before eating with cold meats or cheeses.
It had been intended to use the Scouts skittles for the Harvest Supper.
Bev Barber, our local farmer, had offered to bring straw bales up to the
Church Hall for the alley, but Henry Morris and Cyril Beer, being highly
experienced Fabric Committee Members pointed out the lack of a return ball
shoot, a vital error. Some outsized plastic guttering stored in our garage
was produced and inspected in our dining room at the end of our planning
meeting, but it was felt to be 'not quite wide enough'.
HOWEVER, as in all the best stories, another option cropped up. The Beer
household was on the point of replacing their garden shed. Sheila's
deepfreeze moved out in the garden and took refuge under a large chunk of
kitchen working top and Cyril dismantled the old shed. On the front drive,
two sturdy 12' lengths of return ball shoot were assembled from the planks.
A neighbour enquired after these strange contraptions and then suggested
that the Parish should adopt the set of skittles and balls cluttering her
THEREFORE we are delighted to state that, straw bales permitting, St
Mary's Hall makes a marvellous flat and true skittles alley
(pictures) - how about a
Parish league? The scope is fantastic - we have all our own kit for use at
Prestbury and All Saints' Parish Weekend at
Our trip to Sidmouth was really great!
We got to make lots of mates.
Families, singles, all joined in,
Putting, water polo, it didn't matter if we didn't win!
Comfy rooms, friends next door,
In the morning we didn't hear a snore!
At the beach, adults skimming stones or just sitting down,
Children climbing rocks and gazing at the sand.
Poems, drama and music galore!
As the audience sat and watched in awe.
Worshipping together such an important thing.
Our weekend was fantastic, it made us all think!
by Kathryn, aged 11
My impression of the Parish Weekend was of lots of happy and friendly
people all enjoying themselves. It was all so well organized with so much
to be involved in if one so wished.
I particularly enjoyed the session on 'Images of God' overseen by Father
Grant. Much food for thought there. Then there was a magic conjuring
performance by 'Uncle Michael', which was enjoyed by young and old alike.
The DIY entertainment finished with a depiction of the 'Prodigal Son' story
by the drama group. With little or no rehearsal they performed
spectacularly amid great hilarity.
We ended our time at Sidholme with Eucharist on Sunday, which I found
very uplifting. I spoke to many people over the weekend, some I already
knew, some I had only seen from afar; what a wonderful way to get people
One final note: the Children, so many of them, I know they were well
catered for to keep them happy and occupied, but they were so well behaved
and I don't think I heard one baby cry!
Congratulations to all involved with the planning and preparation, it
must have been a lot of hard work.
I sat for a moment in a pew in the well-lit nave of St Mary's church,
surrounded by the sounds of drilling and hammering, a radio on somewhere in
the background, workmen busy all around me sorting out our new heating
A shattering of the peace and stillness I might normally expect to find
on a weekday afternoon? Not at all! The stillness, and the peace, were
there in the Presence of Christ, as the little flame shone out from the
darkened sanctuary. I think He was smiling at all the activity, pleased
that His building was filled with the sounds of ordinary work.
And I left, every bit as refreshed as if the church had been dark or
Thursday 11 November at 7.45pm in the John Wood Room
A one-off evening on Celtic Spirituality, presented by
Father Paul and followed by informal chat and discussion over refreshments.
It is hoped that a selection of books on the subject will be available on a
sale-or-return basis. This is the first of what may become a bi-monthly or
Daily Readings for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany -
Come, Lord Jesus by Geoffrey Rowell and Julien Chilcott-Child. Copies
can be ordered in advance (price £5.99) by contacting Jennifer Swinbank
or talk to Jennifer after Sunday Mass at All Saints' or to Fr Michael.
Discussion groups to consider the readings may then be arranged to take
place during Advent, according to demand.
Prestbury Mothers' Union
Our next meeting is on Tuesday 23 November at the United
Reformed Church, Deep Street. Fr Paul Iles will talk about the Annunciation
in Music and Art. The meeting starts at 7.30 pm and all are welcome.
Christian Aid Appeal
The Bucket Appeal in St Mary's Church on Sundays 10th and
17th October raised £100. Together with the proceeds of the Bakestall on
October 17th a total of £140 has been sent to Christian Aid to help relieve
the crisis in Darfur, Sudan, and the hurricane damage in the Caribbean.
Thank you to all who contributed to the Appeal.
Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust Cycle Ride 2004
Frank Merrett and Nigel Woodcock wish to record their
grateful thanks to all those who gave so generously to the above sponsored
event held on 11 September. They are very pleased to announce that the
contributions, sponsorship money etc amounted to approx £300.
St Mary's Bakestall
Our next Bakestall will be on Sunday 21 November with
contributions from those with surnames G-M.
Thank you to all those who baked for and bought from the
stall in October - we made £40, which we have given to the Christian Aid
Appeal for the Sudan crisis.
Linda Matthews & Margaret Waker