Nowadays the custom of 'giving the peace' during the Eucharist is central to most Christian worship. Yet
although it is among the most ancient of all Christian customs, it has been rescued only comparatively
recently and, when it was reintroduced into contemporary Anglican liturgy, many folk had some misgivings and
We need to remember how it is referred to in the New Testament. Clearly, it was one of the most powerful
and formative signs of fellowship among Christians in the early Church. From the number of times the phrase
appears in the letters of both St Paul and St Peter, we know that 'Greet one another with an holy kiss' was
almost certainly a liturgical formula which was used regularly in worship. Some scholars think this
instruction helped to give rise to the accusation of scandal and immorality among Christians at the time. It
may even have been the origin of the custom in some places of segregating the congregation and arranging
church seating to keep the sexes apart on either side of the building!
By now, surely, we see things very differently. Most of us would feel deprived if the custom of exchanging
the Peace were discontinued. Occasionally there is still hesitancy at this point in the service but most
people now appreciate the privilege of giving the Peace to one another. The sign gives real and physical
expression to our recognition and acceptance of each person within the Christian family.
The position in the service is significant. Our Anglican custom follows the Eastern Church where it comes
after the intercession and is the first act of the Sacrament itself. But if on television you watched the
requiem for Pope John Paul II or the installation mass of his successor you may have noticed that in the Roman
liturgy the Peace comes later in the service. There, it takes place immediately before the communion reminding
us forcefully that exchanging the Peace is a sign of reconciliation and forgiveness. 'If, when you bring your
gift to the altar, you suddenly remember that your brother has a grievance against you, leave your gift where
it is. First go and make your peace with your brother and only then come back and offer your gift.' (Matthew
These thoughts came to mind after Trinity Sunday when we said one of the signs of the trinitarian nature of
God is 'the fellowship of the Holy Spirit'. God the Holy Spirit can only draw us closer to the Father by
drawing us closer to one another and if we make this a stumbling block between ourselves it cannot help but
obscure our vision of God: a rather solemn yet joyful thought when we give it full consideration. Giving one
another the sign of Peace is as demanding and as creative as that.
Happy and relaxed worship continues each Sunday at Celebrate! in St Mary's church at 9.30am. Do come, we
would love to see you - lots of people who have come have returned for more.
Some extra or special dates are -
- Thursday 16th June 7.45 for 8pm at All Saints Vicarage.
Where do we go from here? Open meeting for any adults interested to chat about having the chance to meet
to grow their own Christian faith and voice dilemmas and questions. Come to air your hopes or feelings
about what would be most useful for you.
- Sunday 3rd July Celebrate! led by Prestbury youth.
- Sunday 10th July Celebrate! outside on the school field. Watch for details.
- Sundays in August No Celebrate!
- Sunday 21st August 2-5pm games and picnic in Pittville Park.
In the summer of 2004 a data projector was purchased mainly for the youth groups in the team. It is also
regularly used at Celebrate! to display the words of the songs for everyone to follow. In an attempt to allow
more people to use it a special IT awareness morning was held at St Nicolas' Hall on Saturday 7 May 2005. Andy
Macauly showed those attending how to set up the projector and connect a computer and a video player to it.
Brian Wood explained how to prepare a simple PowerPoint presentation and some of the pitfalls to avoid. Ten
people attended. Please contact us if you want to find out more.
Have you ever sent anyone a computer file and been told it came out all wrong or 'I can't open the file'?
Yes, we all have. Brian is considering holding another IT awareness day soon on avoiding problems associated
with passing information to each other. If you might be interested please contact him on 515941 or mail to
Andy Macauly and Brian Wood
The latest craze to hit the internet is the 'Blog', and Bloggers are on the increase, even in a seemingly
respectable area like Prestbury - there may even be some amongst you! A Blog is a bit like an online diary (a
weblog if we're being all posh and formal about it) and allows people to post little write-ups and pictures
about what they've been up to straight onto the web for the amusement and delectation of the internet-surfing
public at large. So when Elevate decided to revamp their bit of the parish website (still worth a look at in
the new location www.ppy.org.uk/elevate ), our resident online guru, Brian Wood, suggested that we
Blogs are a lot easier to maintain than traditional websites and ours allows the whole group to put up more
or less what they like (Fr Grant still gets the final say) in a pretty informal way and anyone who checks us
out is able to see what we've been up to most recently first and then trawl back through the archives as far
as they like. The setup is pretty good for keeping in touch with one another and supporting one another in
prayer (a really important part of being a truly Christian community and one the adult congregations might
like to think a bit more about!) but it's also good for outreach - new people from Year 6 who might want to
join us after half-term can find out a bit about us before coming along for the first time and also people
just surfing the web and curious about Christianity in general might come across us. Although still getting
going, we're pretty proud of our Blog so far and would like to say a big thank you to Brian for all his expert
advice and coming to help us set it up.
If you'd like to find out more about what we get up to and read what our 11-14 year olds think about life,
faith, the universe and everything, why not check out
www.elevate-stnics.blogspot.com? But be warned, anyone who mentions anything to Fr Grant about the
Gandalf get-up he had to wear will be in line for a long penance of countless Hail Marys!
Fr Grant pp Elevate
For many years we have approached our stewardship campaign in the same way, with a letter and response
slip. This year we decided we would like to be far more 'social' in trying to raise our planned giving, which
is essential to keep our churches running. So we are planning a series of 'fun events' and hope that each of
you will be able to attend at least one of them, if not more. The plan is for four events, at a reasonable
cost, which will raise awareness of our duty to make regular giving to God. The events differ considerably and
will, we hope, attract different people to different events. They are:
- Parish Sunday Lunch at the Royal Oak on 21st August at 1.00pm.
Cost £11 per head for a 2-course meal.
- Cheese and Wine Evening at St Mary's Infant School on 10th September, with entertainment.
- Pudding Evening at St Nicolas' church on 22nd October.
- Quiz at St Mary's church hall on 12th November.
We do hope that you will make a real effort to come to at least one of these events, not only to enjoy
yourselves but also to share in fellowship with others from our church family.
For any further details please contact Marion Beagley.
In his opening sermon Fr Philip North, the administrator of the shrine of our Lady of Walsingham, spoke of
the 'long journey many of us had made to be at shrine'. That weekend there were groups from Essex, Yorkshire,
Solihull, London, County Durham along with our group from Gloucestershire. We were pilgrims, some visiting for
the first time others re-acquainting themselves with England's Nazareth.
It was back in 1931 that Fr Hope Patten, the then vicar of Walsingham, set about restoring the shrine of
Our Lady of Walsingham, which had been destroyed by Henry VIII in 1538. Fr Patten faced a lot of opposition
and persecution in those early years, but his vision and pertinacious belief kept him going. And the shrine is
his lasting memorial.
The thing that strikes you about Walsingham is the peacefulness; in the early morning one is woken by the
birds' chorus, but the stillness and peacefulness makes you feel that you are in a holy place. After breakfast
we would meet as a group in the orangery to pray and discuss the items planned for that day. This was followed
by our first visit to the Holy House where Fr Stephen celebrated Mass; in the afternoon after lunch Linda
Biggs, the Reader from Prestbury, led us in a bible study based on Job. In the afternoon we had some free time
so Brenda Lawson, Julia Hook and myself walked the Holy Mile to the Slipper Chapel, which is the Roman
Catholic shrine. Unlike pilgrims of old we didn't remove our shoes to walk the mile back to the to the
Anglican shrine. For me the most moving service of the weekend was the procession of Our Lady and Benediction,
which was taken by Fr Stephen. About 350 pilgrims with lighted candles and singing 'Ye who own the faith of
Jesus' processed from the shrine church around the newly laid out gardens following the Blessed Sacrament,
which was carried under a gold umbrellina. We returned to the shrine for the blessing, after which we left the
church in silence. A very moving service indeed.
On the Sunday morning we attended the local Parish Church for Mass, the place was over full and people were
standing at the back. In the afternoon there was the sprinkling of the water from the Holy well. In the
evening following supper we followed the stations of the cross which are laid out in the garden, this was
followed by the rosary and intercessions in the Holy House. Following our last visit and Mass on Monday we
departed for Cheltenham. It had been a very moving weekend and quite a few said that they would return next
On a lighter note, I am sorry to have to report that the party from All Saints' let the side down so to
say! Julia, Roger, Brenda and I arrived at Walsingham too late to use the refectory for an evening meal so we
all trooped down to the Black Lion (one of five pubs in such a small village!). There we were able to get
something to eat and drink and met up with some of the others from Prestbury. The four of us left just before
11pm as it had been a long day. When the person I was sharing with arrived back from the pub, he broke the
horrifying news that we had walked out without paying for our meal!! Julia was round the pub at 7am the next
morning to pay up.
Many thousands of pilgrims come to Walsingham each year in search of the presence of God, bringing the
recognition of a need for healing. Walsingham is about vision; it began with the vision of Richeldis in 1061
in which she was shown Mary's house in Nazareth and was inspired to build a replica here in England. Destroyed
in the reformation and lovingly restored by Hope Patten, it focuses our attention on Mary's vision and her
perception of her vocation to be the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps the most profound and simple
vision of Walsingham is a vision of Jesus seen here as the child of Mary, the Word made flesh, in whom we find
healing, joy and, above all, peace.
Snippets from Walsingham
Since our last visit to Walsingham, in May 2004, the Shrine gardens have been sensitively re-designed;
paths have been widened and re-surfaced. The Processional Walk is edged with borders planted with clipped Box
and groups of 'Marian' flowers, the larger borders with roses, lavender and scented flowering shrubs.
The glorious weather enabled us to sit in the garden and enjoy the sunshine, the flowers and the bird-song
- including a noisy cock-pheasant which had dropped in for a few days.
All part of God's Gift and our Worship.
Arriving in the small village of Walsingham for the first time on a sunny, warm, spring afternoon I felt a
good deal of anxiety and trepidation about what the weekend had in store. Fellow pilgrims and clergy had tried
to re-assure me before I had left home but faced with the reality it all seemed quite daunting.
Were my fears justified? Well, in part yes because I found the weekend to be an emotional roller-coaster
where I found myself to be constantly challenged about my beliefs but equally there was peace and joy and much
laughter. I discovered on the first day in the company of Linda Biggs and Margaret Compton that a Holy Mile
bears no relation to an imperial mile when you are on foot so we returned to the Slipper Chapel by car the
next day. I also learned that when the technology of piped organ music fails, a priest can fill in any gaps
with a kazoo! Walsingham itself is a beautiful, Holy place too.
Would I go again? Well, probably yes because I felt that Walsingham gave me the opportunity to question
myself and my faith and I am still reaping the benefits of my pilgrimage but for anybody seeking a pleasant
weekend break then my advice would be 'don't go'! It really isn't a holiday.
Friends - old friends, new friends, life-long friends, friends for life.
Meals - wonderful food, eating together with friends and strangers, strangers no more, breaking
bread together, sharing in the Body of Christ.
Worship - quiet meditation, intense grace, songs of joy, Parish Church service, laying on of
hands, prayer, the love of God.
Peace - inner wholeness, serenity.
Home - back to normal but not normal, better, refreshed, renewed, excited about life.
Thank you Fr Stephen, thank you Colin, thank you Linda, thank you St Mary's, St Nicolas', All
Saints' friends. Thank you Father.
Catherine and Andrew Hemming
Julian of Norwich says it all for me (from In love Enclosed, Bound together in love)
'When I think of myself and my fellow Christians joined together by love, I have hope. From our shared love
lies the salvation of all who shall be saved.'
Russian Orthodox Easter at Walsingham
Our recent pilgrimage to Walsingham coincided with Orthodox Easter. Within the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady
of Walsingham there is a tiny Orthodox chapel founded by Archimandrite Nicholas, who, as Charles Sydney Gibbes,
had been tutor to the children of the last Russian Tsar. Not far from the Shrine stands the Russian Orthodox
Church of St Seraphim of Sarov and in Great Walsingham the Church of the Holy Transfiguration. It was to this
church we went for the Easter Vigil service which lasted from 9.45 pm until well after midnight. During the
Divine Liturgy for Easter each person had a lighted candle and, after processing round the outside of the
church to symbolise the women coming to Jesus' tomb, everyone paused at the entrance. After prayers and chants
the doors were thrown open (as if the stone to the tomb had been rolled away), the bells pealed and we entered
the church. The icon of the buried Christ had now been placed upon the altar symbolising the Resurrection. The
Litany and Eucharist continued, all the time accompanied by the choir. During the fast Kulich (an Easter cake,
dome-shaped like heaven) and a sweet cheese are prepared and on Maundy Thursday eggs are painted. All the food
is then brought to the Easter Vigil to be blessed with Holy Water. These are then enjoyed during the Great
Feast of Pascha (Passover) until Pentecost. The church was full of all ages, including young well-behaved
children. The joy of Easter was reiterated many times with 'Christ is risen!' 'Risen indeed!' in Church
Slavonic, English and Greek. The whole experience was very powerful and spiritually moving. And on Easter Day
we were able to celebrate and share our Kulich with our fellow pilgrims. It was a privilege and a joy to have
celebrated Easter twice!
Masha and David Lees
The informal prayers in St Mary's at noon on Tuesdays are indeed very informal. If you are the only person
there, you do your own thing. If someone else comes too, you may decide to pray together, aloud or silently,
or you may each still decide to do your own thing. If more people come...
There are set prayers available if you prefer to use them, or bring something with you from home. The
fifteen minutes allotted time is easy - you start praying on the twelfth stroke of noon and stop when you hear
the quarter. Come and try it!
Christian Aid Week -
15-21 May 2005
Many thanks to all of you who gave, collected and counted contributions to Christian Aid
Week. The amounts collected so far are £4124.76 at St Mary's and £935.75 at St Nicolas', including £25 from
the sale of 'goat' biscuits by the Sunday Club. This brings the parish total so far to £5060.51. An additional
£166.50 was collected at the Ecumenical Service in Holy Name Hall on May 8th.
We hope that many of you will feel able to send off the red cards inviting you to vote for
trade justice. As the cards say, 'Half the world's population live on less than £1.50 a day. Justice in world
trade could change this.' Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could make poverty history?
Paddy Spurgeon & Gill Ashman
St Mary's Bakestall
The next bakestall will be on Sunday 19th June, when we shall be pleased to receive
contributions from members with surnames beginning A-F. If you would like to join any of our baking teams, do
please contact one of us.
Margaret Waker & Linda Matthews
Prestbury Mothers' Union
Our next meeting is on Tuesday 28th June at St Mary's, starting at 7.30pm. The talk by Pam
Staite is Around Mary Sumner House. All are welcome.
The Children's Society at St Nicolas'
Box-holders: I am earlier than usual this summer but would now like to collect your boxes
for opening. Please give them to me on a Sunday morning or I will be glad to collect.
If anyone else in the congregation would be willing to have a collecting box at home for
this worthwhile charity, I shall be glad to supply one.
There has been a really good response to this idea and some twelve gardens are taking part.
They will be open from 2-5pm on both days and a £5 ticket will cover entrance to all gardens on both days.
Cream teas will be available in St Mary's church on both days from 3-5pm and a competition will be arranged in
each garden for the children. There will also be plants for sale outside the church. Ice creams will be
available, with a children's play area and garden toys at one garden. Tickets are available from 1st June from
the parish office or from Marion Beagley. My thanks to all who have taken up the challenge to open their
gardens for the church.
Yes that's right, it's been 30 years since Rockers began! If you would like to come along and join in the
celebration on Thursday 7th July at 2 o'clock, please do. To be held at The Rectory, Tatchley Lane. If raining
it will be held in St Mary's church. All are very welcome.
Following on from last year we have organised another fete on the scout field from 2-5pm on
16th July. There will be a variety of stalls and sideshows, together with a grand raffle. Please give me your
name if you are willing to run a stall - a list is already being compiled but the more help we get, the better
the day will be! Last year we raised £3000, which was fantastic - can we do better?
In the evening there will be a barn dance - further details next month.
... to Tim Winder on being awarded his Ph D.