In the Prestbury churches on the first Sunday of Lent, Fr Paul spoke of
the importance of giving space to God. That seemed entirely appropriate for
me as the next day I set off for my annual retreat! This year I have been
staying at the Francsican Friary at Alnmouth, on the Northumbrian coast. The
five brothers who make up the community exercise a tremendous ministry of
welcome and hospitality, welcoming up to 6,000 day visitors in a year as
well as hosting 1,000 guests who stay at the Friary.
The Friary stands on a hill overlooking the sea and has a Blessed
Sacrament Chapel which has windows on three sides. The Tabernacle containing
the Blessed Sacrament (the consecrated host which has become the Body of Our
Lord Jesus Christ) is placed against the backdrop of the waves silently
breaking onto the beach below.
On Thursday the Blessed Sacrament is exposed; brought out and placed on
the altar. Sitting or kneeling in the real presence of God is a powerfully
humbling experience. The bread which has become the Body of Our Lord Jesus
Christ is perfectly whole. And yet, as we move into the events of Holy Week,
we will be powerfully reminded of how that body was broken on the cross. Not
just for me and for you, but for the whole created world.
Then we will joyfully celebrate how that Body was made new in the
glorious resurrection of Our Lord which assures us of our share in His risen
life. The Easter life which we celebrate every time we share together in the
Do make some space for God during what remains of this season of Lent. Do
also take the opportunity to accompany Jesus through the events of the last
days of his earthly life. Join Him and us in the very moving services of the
Triduum - Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday - the completion of
our Lenten journey and the climax of our Christian year.
Services will include a 9.30am Eucharist with a Difference at St
Nicolas', 9.30am Celebrate! and 11am Sung Eucharist both at St Mary's.
Please join us at one of these services to celebrate this special day.
With more than seventy players clocking up weeks of intensive rehearsal,
the Good Friday Passion Play is, without question, the focal point of Easter
in Prestbury this year! So a cross-committee Easter Planning meeting in
early February concentrated on how we could support this important event in
the days leading up to, and after, Good Friday.
This support is deliberately 'low key' to ensure that the Passion Play
maintains its intensity - both among its players and its audiences.
Palm Sunday (20th March), for instance, will not see a repeat of
last year's procession, which ended with breakfast at the Junior School.
Instead, Palm Sunday services will include a symbolic act of procession at
each of our Churches.
The rest of Holy Week, too, will be less busy than last year:
Monday 21st March will see Stations of the Cross at St
Mary's, while on Wednesday 23rd March there will be an evening
Eucharist at St Nicolas'.
Maundy Thursday 24th March
Please join us at 7.30pm at St Nicolas' as we gather around a simple
table, witness the washing of feet and celebrate the gift of the Eucharist
in this most moving service. This will be followed by a watch before the
Altar of Repose until midnight in both churches.
As you will see from other pages in this edition, the Passion Play itself
will be held at 11am and 3pm at the Scout Field, the Burgage (if the weather
is bad, signs will direct people to St Mary's Church). There will also be a
Devotional Service at St Nicolas' at 9am, and a liturgy at St Mary's at
By Saturday afternoon, the flowers will be in place at St Mary's, and we
hope that people will call into Church to see them, and take a few moments
for reflection. The Easter Vigil will be held at 9pm, again at St Mary's,
followed by refreshments.
Easter Sunday - fellowship and refreshments
On Easter Sunday we invite our congregations to enjoy fellowship and
sustenance (courtesy of the Parish Events Committee)! Refreshments will be
served after the 9.30am service at St Nicolas', and at about 10.15am at St
Mary's - after the Celebrate! service, and before the 11am service. Our hope
is that this will be a wonderful shared time of fellowship for these two
Sunday morning congregations at St Mary's.
Letting people know...
Posters for the Passion Play will abound throughout Prestbury and beyond.
The Mission & Outreach team will also be producing an Easter Card (with
details of all Church services in the Parish over Easter) for distribution
throughout the village. We aim to have the cards bundled and ready for
distribution by Sunday 6th March. Please take a bundle and deliver them if
you possibly can. Thank you.
for Mission & Outreach Committee
At the beginning of February MSN launched their new Search Engine:
http://search.msn.co.uk . I typed in
'St Nicolas' and our church came 24th among a long list of 1,511,791 St Nicolases.
Pretty good, I thought. 'St Mary's' didn't do so well.
There are at least 101,705 results for web pages found throughout the
world which contain the word 'Prestbury'. Our parish website was proudly
listed at the head of those 101,705. Yes, prestbury.net has arrived!
And don't forget the Lent Prayers ...
... on Tuesdays at 12 noon in St Mary's. Only fifteen minutes!
These meetings will take place on Sunday 13 March at 6:30pm in
The Vestry Meeting starts at 6.30pm followed by the Annual Meeting at
There will be notices in the churches giving details of vacancies and
The Annual Meeting of the Prestbury & Pittville Youth
Charity will follow immediately after the Parish Annual Meeting
St Mary's Bakestall 2005
Since this falls on Sunday 20th March, the week before
Easter, we are suggesting an Easter theme. Perhaps Easter biscuits or even a
Whatever the A-F Team can come up with will be most
Margaret Waker & Linda Matthews
Prestbury Mothers' Union
Our next meeting on Tuesday 22nd March at St Nicolas'
starts at 7.30 pm and features Andy Macauly talking about Youth Work in the
Parish. All are welcome.
Saturday 19 March 2005 from 10am
Please support this project if you can, even if it is only
for one hour. Why not come to the Church Service first at 9.30am?
More hands make light work. It was great fun last year and
we all like to take a pride in the upkeep of our Churchyard and beautiful
old Church. Let's see you there, particularly the younger people. Bring
necessary equipment if you can.
Doreen & Henry Morris
There will be an Annual General Meeting for St Mary's
Flower Arrangers on Thursday March 31st at 7.30pm.
We would be delighted to welcome any newcomers who would
like to assist in arranging the flowers in St Mary's church during the year.
As in all things we do need more help. Whether you are a 'skilled arranger'
or merely a 'novice', please, please come along and be part of a team who
enjoy beautifying our lovely church with flowers.