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Prestbury Parish Magazine

December 2004 / January 2005

The star ... stopped over the place where the child was.
Matthew 2:9

Front Cover Pictures

The pictures on the front cover of the Parish Magazine this year were drawn during November 2003 by children at the Prestbury After School Club, which meets at St Mary's CE Junior School. This month's picture of baby Jesus looking up at the star was drawn by Natalie, who was aged eight years.

This brings to an end the project organised by Mrs Sue Green at the After School Club a year ago, and I should like to express my thanks once again to Sue and all the children for their interest and enthusiasm, and also to Mrs N Bennett, Headteacher of the Junior School, for passing on to them my request for pictures.

Frances Murton, Editor

 

December 2004 / January 2005

Contents

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Miss Anne Hawkins RIP

Journey with Jesus

Fr Grants studies

St Marys Christingle Service

Youth Work Dates

Sunday Club News

Carol Singing

Prestbury Passion Play

Snippets from the Tower

Epiphany - January 6th

Looking ahead to Lent

Rockers Half-Hour

The Special Service

St Nicolas Patronal Celebrations

Some articles from this month's magazine have been included elsewhere in the web site:

The Installation of The Reverend Canon Stephen Gregory
as Honorary Canon of Gloucester Cathedral

The Calendar for this month

The Diary for this month

The Parish Registers

 


Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Soon, again, we will be singing Charles Wesley's magnificent Christmas hymn and the unforgettable melody which goes with it. The tune is called Mendelssohn because, of course, it was written by him. A man to whom Mendelssohn's father had been a very good friend once said of him 'he's the best Christian I've ever met'. That lovely unself-conscious remark underlines how confused most people can be about religions unless they think things through. The Mendelssohn family were Jews! The man's mistake reminds us that Christianity celebrates the birth of a Jew. For Christians that is where Christmas starts.

No one knows with certainty the date of Jesus' birth and every year on the radio or the TV someone tells us (as if we didn't know) that Christmas is attached to the ancient midwinter celebrations which go deep into the human psyche and date back long before either Christianity or Judaism. Christians are never threatened by the facts. Actually it was a stroke of imaginative genius which led Christians, in the northern hemisphere, to celebrate the coming of light and life 'in the bleak midwinter'.

The Christian festival is surrounded by a variety of other festivities, some religious and some secular. Birmingham's WinterFest is not really new. However unaware many will be, it too points to the deep joy and hope for which all human beings are searching.

There is a but though as this festival gets under way in all its variety. Christians will want to explain and share with others what we are celebrating. Our celebrations may well be quieter and more contemplative than some others. They are also more firmly based in the real world of politics, art and social order. Jesus' coming offers the chance to find a definite and lasting purpose in life which can sustain and inspire not just for a month of merry-making but day after day, all year round.

On one occasion Jesus said of himself 'I am come from God and I go to God'. The story of his life is pictured as a journey from birth to beyond the grave. Remember though how Jesus also said, 'I go to prepare a place so that where I am you may be also.' Jesus took the journey not only on his own behalf but in order that he might take with him any who will follow.

As we sing our carols this year we must take hold of our lives once again and resolve to accept Jesus' invitation to stay with him. Being Christian cannot be without cost to self but it is to journey in trust and confidence that Jesus will bring us everyday to the presence and love of God. The famous William Temple once finished a Christmas Day sermon saying, 'Let us then rejoice and be merry. Not because tomorrow we die but because TODAY, CHRIST IS BORN!'.

Fr Paul

Contents


Miss Anne Hawkins RIP

It was with very great sadness that we heard of the death of Anne Hawkins on 1st November. Anne was Deputy Headteacher at St Mary's Infant School, a post she had held for nineteen years. Anne was an outstanding, much loved and greatly respected teacher; she was also a wonderfully supportive and encouraging Deputy Head and colleague. Anne always showed a very real sense of love and concern, not only for the children in her care, but also for their families and for all who had the privilege of working with her in our school.

Anne's funeral took place in Wotton-under-Edge, where she grew up. There will be a service of Celebration and Thanksgiving for Anne's life on Sunday 5th December at 3.30pm. Due to the on-going heating work at St Mary's, the service will be held in All Saints' Church. During the past nineteen years, Anne has touched the lives of so many in Prestbury and anyone who wishes to attend the service is very welcome to do so. We hope that many of Anne's former pupils will be present, as well as former colleagues. Some of the children currently at the Infant and Junior schools will be contributing to what we hope will be a very fitting way of showing how much Anne has meant to us all.

Fr Michael

Contents


Journey with Jesus

At St Nicolas' during Advent we are proposing to send out some small crib figures on pilgrimage to the homes of our congregation - Journey with Jesus.

The idea is that this small set of crib figures will spend two or three nights with a family who will then deliver them to the next 'hosts'. The figures will start their journey on Advent Sunday and be returned to Church on Christmas Eve. We are not expecting them to just stay with families with children, this is open to all members of the congregation at St Nicolas'. Anyone is welcome to take part. If you are interested in participating in this act of pilgrimage then please speak to Fr Grant or Linda Biggs.

Contents


Fr Grant's studies

Many of you will be aware that Fr Grant has been working on academic research in order to complete his D.Phil from Oxford University. This work has been ongoing for several years and is now almost finished. In order that Fr Grant may complete his writing and submit it to the University, we have agreed some time when he will be on 'study leave'. This means that he will only be on duty on Sundays during the study periods, allowing him time to give his academic work his full attention! The study leave is as follows:-

Monday 6th - Friday 10th December

Tuesday 4th January - Saturday 12th February 2005

Monday 28th February - Saturday 12th March 2005

Bishop Michael has approved this study leave, recognising the importance for the wider Church of having priests of Fr Grant's academic ability. We too should feel privileged to be able to support him in this way as he completes this academic work. Please respect these study periods and also hold Fr Grant in your prayers as he continues the difficult task of balancing parish life and his academic work.

Fr Stephen & Fr Michael

Contents


St Mary's Christingle Service

Please come and enjoy this special service on Sunday 12th December at 4.00 pm in St Mary's church. Help us raise money for the work of The Children's Society by collecting a donation in a Christingle candle collecting box and bringing it to the service. If you would like a collecting box or have any queries about the service please contact Caroline Sexton or Sarah Woodall. We look forward to seeing you there!

Contents


Youth Work Dates

Youth Team Social Saturday 11 December from 7pm

Elevate - Christmas Party Sunday 12 December

(next term starts Sunday 9 January)

Synergy - Christmas Party Sunday 12 December

(next term starts Sunday 9 January)

The Lounge - Christmas Special Tuesday 14 December

(next term starts Tuesday 11 January)

The Space - Christmas Party Thursday 16 December

(next term starts Thursday 13 January)

Y11+ Social and Support

Christmas Special Friday 17th December

For more info: Andy Macauly youthprestbury.net

Contents


Sunday Club News

There will be a Christingle service at St Mary's on Sunday 12th December at 4pm.

On Christmas Eve (Friday 24th December) we have the following services:

4pm in St Mary's: the Crib service, with carols and re-telling of nativity story.

6pm in St Nicolas': a Candlelit service of carols with re-telling of nativity story.

Term will end on 19th December and will resume on 9th January 2005. There will be a post-Christmas party for all church children on 15th January from 3pm to 5pm. Further details after Christmas.

Linda Biggs

Contents


Christian Aid Carol Singing

Carol singing at Cheltenham supermarkets to raise funds for Christian Aid will take place on Saturday 18th December. St Nicolas' group will sing at Tesco stores, Colletts Drive, 10-11am. St Mary's group will sing at Sainsbury stores, off Tewkesbury Road, 11am-12noon, with accompaniment on a keyboard. All Saints' congregation members and all others are most welcome to join in - do come!

In addition to money raised by the Darfur and hurricane relief appeal in October, a further 20.00 was raised at St Nicolas', making a total of 160.00. Thank you, all contributors.

Gill Ashman

Parish Carol Singing

Last year we had a fantastic carol singing evening in the village. It was really well received and was an important act of outreach for us. We hope to arrange a similar evening this Christmas. Watch the pewsheets for details.

Music for Advent and Christmas

Musica Vera will be singing a Concert of Advent and Christmas Music in St Nicolas' church on Saturday 11th December at 7.30pm. The programme will include The Nativity, a lovely sequence for Christmas by Elizabeth Poston, and a number of other Advent carols. The audience will be invited to join in with the singing of some of the more familiar items.

After the concert there will be an opportunity for the audience and choir to relax together over a glass of mulled wine and spiced cake. Tickets 7.00, to include refreshments, can be purchased from Peter Attwood (St Nicolas') or Jill Yates (St Mary's) or at the door. All proceeds will go to the Cheltenham Special Care Baby Unit (see below).

Jill Yates

Special Care Baby Unit

The Cheltenham Special Care Baby Unit is based at Cheltenham General Hospital and has the facilities to care for up to twelve babies at any one time. Examples of the kind of care it provides for premature babies are ventilation support, and establishing feeding and weight gain prior to going home. Parents are encouraged to care for their babies as mush as possible while they are in the unit and there is overnight accommodation for the use of parents with especially sick babies. Money is always needed for maintaining and updating equipment and Musica Vera has decided to give the proceeds of this concert to this very worthy cause.

Peter Attwood

Pianists needed for Bay Tree Court Evening Service

If you could play the piano once every four or five weeks for the hymns at the 5.00 pm Sunday service at Bay Tree Court, please contact Diana Mackie.

Contents


Prestbury Passion Play

Good Friday 25th March 2005

Although Easter seems a long way off Good Friday is only three calendar months after Christmas Day. However, the Passion Play Production Team has been working for some months since the Parochial Church Council decided to go ahead and all is beginning to roll. The script has been revised to emphasise the conflict with both the temporal power of Rome and the spiritual power of the Pharisees.

The Scout Headquarters and field are booked for the final rehearsals and the two presentations. Costumes are being checked, repaired, made and obtained - hiring some from the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford. New scenery is being prepared but some staging has yet to be ordered, props are to be checked.

Most important of all was a very encouraging meeting on 13th October when the Director, Daphne Philpot, set the scene and the script was read through.

Based on all this the Production Team have made a cast list of all the players for the characters, some have come forward to play leading roles, many are willing to support in the Crowd and some have been persuaded. Yet more would be helpful, particularly men for the Crowd.

This is one of our great outreach efforts when everybody can play a part - by prayer, by promoting the play or by acting a character, however minor.

Bob Lyle

Contents


Snippets from the Tower

Prestbury was well represented at the AGM of the Cheltenham branch of the Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Association of Church Bellringers which was held at St Peter's Winchcombe on Saturday November 6th. The meeting was preceded by ringing, a short service and an excellent tea. Janice Sweetman was elected Branch Secretary. She joins Janet Covey-Crump, who continues to serve as joint Branch Ringing Master.

The ringers were saddened to hear of the death of Cyril Wratten of Charlton Kings. Cyril's home tower was St Mary's parish church in Cheltenham. He was an internationally renowned ringing expert. Readers of the magazine who served at GCHQ will doubtless remember Cyril with affection, as did the ringing community.

On Remembrance Sunday we rang half-muffled in the morning, and then in the evening we rang a half-muffled quarter peal of two methods of doubles to congratulate Fr Stephen on his installation as a Canon of Gloucester Cathedral.

God willing, we shall be extra busy over the Christmas and New Year period. We all wish all readers a Happy Christmas and a healthy New Year.

Jenni Scruton

Contents


Epiphany - January 6th

We shall celebrate Epiphany on Thursday 6th January in St Mary's church with a Sung Eucharist at 6.30pm followed by supper and entertainment - by popular request a return visit by Vital Spark. See the pewsheets for further details.

Ruth Rudge

Contents


Looking ahead to Lent

Do not be caught out: Lent begins very early - on 9th February 2005! Bishop Michael has asked the Diocese to ensure that every church in the Diocese of Gloucester is prayed in every day of Lent next year. If we look at the pattern of services in the three churches of our Team Ministry - a pattern which includes the Eucharist and Morning and Evening Prayer - we see that we are fairly close to achieving this already. However there are gaps and this initiative would be a good opportunity for different groups of people to fill the gaps, perhaps using different forms of prayer and gathering at different times of the day. Watch out for more details, but do speak to a member of the clergy if you have any suggestions to make about this.

Contents


Rockers' Half-Hour

Term ends on 9th December and we hope many Rockers will be able to come to the Christingle, Crib and Christmas services during the holiday. Next term will start on Thursday 13th January 2005 at 2pm in St Mary's church. This short informal service is ideal for parents, grandparents and other carers to bring babies and pre-school children to, without worrying that they are disturbing anybody. We sing bible-based action songs, listen to a story from a children's bible and have a chat over a cup of tea, finishing in plenty of time to get to school to meet older children.

For most of this term, during the work on the new heating system at St Mary's, we have been meeting in Prestbury United Reformed Church in Deep Street. Many of our Rockers were already familiar with the URC through Urchins, the mother-and-toddler group run by Mrs Fiona Hall on Monday mornings, and we have felt very much at home there on Thursdays. I am very grateful to the Revd Joan Winterbottom and the Elders of the URC for allowing us to use their warm, carpeted church throughout this period.

It is with very mixed feelings that I have decided to retire from Rockers at the end of this term after more than twenty years. It was through Rockers that I started coming to St Mary's on Sundays. I have enjoyed leading the service, playing the piano (occasionally both at the same time!) and just being with the mothers and children. I joined Rockers with my baby daughter and took over the leadership a year or so later, when expecting my son. They are now aged twenty-two and nineteen, and it is time to let someone else have a go!

If you would like to know more about Rockers please speak to Vicky Dunn, Hilary Brick or Susan Banks, or email rockersprestbury.net

Frances Murton

Contents


The Special Service

On Sunday 7th November we went to Gloucester Cathedral to see Fr Stephen be made a Canon. We thought that this was a rather strange name until our parents explained what it was!!! We saw the Bishop, Registrar and other important people. Although we were sitting in the front row, we still had to lean forward to see. We also heard the lovely singing of the choir! Two of the songs were written by Ian Higginson. We were scared that the roof would collapse because the roof looked so far away!!! Our visit was very interesting and we felt very important to be there.

by Sam B and Simon C, both aged eight

See pictures of The Installation of The Reverend Canon Stephen Gregory as Honorary Canon of Gloucester Cathedral

Contents

 

St Nicolas' Patronal Celebrations

St Nicolas's Patronal Festival will be celebrated on Saturday 4th December with a Family Eucharist at 4.30pm followed at 5.30pm by a birthday tea and beetle drive. Everyone is welcome. If you want to come to the tea please obtain an invitation from Ruth Rudge (St Mary's) or Gill Wood (St Nicolas'). There is no charge but we need to know how many are coming for catering purposes.

Ruth Rudge

Contents


Harvest Flowers

A very great Thankyou to all those who arranged and also to those who delivered the Harvest Flowers to the housebound. I have had so many messages of thanks and gratitude from our recipients.

Rosemary Bradbury

Contents


St Mary's Bakestall

There is no bakestall in December. The next one is on Sunday 16th January, when we welcome contributions from all three teams. If you would like to join one of the teams please speak to Margaret or Linda any Sunday morning.

Linda Matthews & Margaret Waker

Contents


Mothers' Union

Our December meeting will take place on Tuesday 14th December at 7.30pm in St Nicolas' Church. We invite all members, new and old, to join us for worship, followed by a social. Please bring a small plate of food to share and if you have a Christmas Craft idea, we should also be very pleased to share this with you.

My thanks to all who have made the re-opening of the Mothers' Union here in Prestbury this year a possibility.

Marion Beagley

Contents


Sunday Morning Refreshments at St Mary's

We will be sending 100 to Cheltenham Open Door for their Christmas shelter to be held in St Luke's Hall. If anybody is willing to help with this venture on the following dates: 22-24 December (preparation period), 24-27 December (when the shelter is functioning) or 27-29 December (clearing up period), please let me know.

Do continue to join us for coffee, sherry and fellowship after the Sunday morning Eucharist.

Margaret Holman

Contents


A Flock of Sheep for Christmas!

A flock of sheep, a tube well or a new Mum and Baby kit: these are just a few of the unique Christmas gifts which we can help provide to some of the world's poorest people by supporting the World Vision Alternative Christmas Card instead of exchanging individual Christmas cards. The card will be available at St Mary's from Advent Sunday. Just sign your greetings and put your donation in the World Vision money box.

Margaret Waker & Margaret Holman

Contents


Abertillery Orpheus Male Choir

Thanks to everyone who supported the recent concert given by the Abertillery Orpheus Male Choir. We had a superb evening and the amount raised for the Youth Work was 1,200.

Marion Beagley

Contents


Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust Cycle Ride 2004

This year the Cycle Ride coincided with the Church Fete in the Scout Headquarters. However, Jill and Martin Kannreuther braved the uncertain weather to visit twelve churches in Fairford, Quennington, Coln St Aldwyns and neighbouring parishes. They raised a total of 270, half of which goes to the Trust and half to St Mary's. We are very grateful to them and their sponsors.

Bob Lyle

Contents

 


 

Prestbury Parish Magazine - December 2004 / January 2005

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