It is now just over two years since I became Vicar in the newly-formed
Prestbury and All Saints’ Team Ministry. When I realised that the other day
(with a bit of a shock!) it led me to reflect on the journey we have all
shared in over those past two years. In some respects it feels as though
things are moving only very slowly. Our Churchwardens meet together, but
our two PCCs have still not met together formally, neither have our two
Ministry Teams. However, members of our Education Committees have ‘broken
the mould’ and now meet as a Team-wide group, planning Lent and other
education and nurture opportunities in which we can all share. We have
shared in some memorable joint services, a reminder of the encouragement
that can be gained by coming together to worship God in a full church.
Also, members of all our congregations participated in the Passion Play
and, most recently, during the Big Sky Festival at All Saints’ it was good
to see support from some of our brothers and sisters from the Prestbury
I am aware that some people still look wistfully back to the ‘old days’
when every church had its own priest and ‘did its own thing’, but the
reality is that those days are very definitely over. The Church, not just
in the parishes of Prestbury and All Saints’, but across the Church of
England, can no longer sustain that pattern of ministry. We are being
encouraged – even instructed – to look outwards to our neighbouring
parishes and to explore those things which we can do together. Many of you
will be aware of the huge review which is happening across the Cheltenham
Deanery as part of the process of forming a Deanery Mission Plan. Please
keep this process in your prayers as we all endeavour to discern the most
appropriate pattern for ministry across the Deanery.
As I reflect on our two years as a Team Ministry, I do feel encouraged
by the very positive signs of sharing, of encouraging and of supporting
which I see across our two parishes. Every one of us must strive to be open
to all that is positive about sharing in our faith journey with others,
even those beyond the congregation we regularly worship in. Across our Team
Ministry we have been blessed by a huge richness of gifts, of talents and
of experience; let us celebrate that richness and be bold in taking full
advantage of it, in order to further the work of God’s Kingdom.
Rectory Garden, Tatchley Lane
Thursday 7th July
Yes that’s right, it’s been 30 years
since Rockers began!
If you would like to come along and join
in the celebration please do.
(If raining it will be held in St
All are very welcome.
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. Look out for our summer
|Sunday 3rd July
||Celebrate! led by Prestbury youth.
|Sunday 10th July
||Celebrate! on the school field. Watch for details.
|Sundays 17th-31st July
||Celebrate! in St Mary’s as usual.
|Sundays in August
|Sunday 21st August
||2-5pm games and picnic in Pittville Park.
|Sunday 4th September
||Celebrate! restarts in St Mary’s as usual.
This summer we are running two lots of one-week projects for young
people aged 11-18. The weeks include: an outdoor activity day, community
action, team building, new challenges and activities. Participants get the
chance to achieve the Gloucestershire award as well as being part of a
great team doing something really worthwhile. The dates are: 25-29 July and
1-5 August. If you would like further information please contact Andy
Macauly on youthprestbury.net.
There is only a small charge for the end of project trip and everything
else is free! (The projects are funded by Local Network Fund.)
Please pray for these weeks that there is good team spirit in a safe
Elevate end of year party on Sunday 17 July. Restarts on 11
Synergy end of year party on Sunday 17 July. Restarts on 11
The Lounge finale on Tuesday 19 July. Restarts 13 September.
The Space end of year BBQ on Thursday 21 July. Restarts 15
Sunday Club and Sunday School
end on 17 July. Next term starts on 11 September, 9.30am at St Nicolas’
and 11.00am at St Mary’s.
We are looking forward to the Wedding Season now that summer is here (we
hope!). At the end of May we were joined at Sunday morning service ringing
by a group of ten ringers who were staying in the area for the weekend
visiting various towers. They came from the Olney area. In common with all
visiting ringers they had asked permission to join us and naturally we were
delighted to welcome them.
On most Sunday evenings when there is a service at St Mary’s we attempt
a quarter peal. A recent successful one was dedicated to the Revd Joan
Winterbottom of the United Reformed Church as she moved to pastures new.
Another was dedicated to the Silver Wedding Anniversary of Paul and Sarah
Collacott. Both have been ringers at Prestbury for many years and Sarah is
still a regular, especially at Tuesday evening practices.
Six of our ringers went to Dumbleton on Saturday June 11th to take part
in the six bell Striking Competition for the Banner Trophy. Nine teams took
part. Against quite stiff opposition our team came fifth. The experience
was enjoyable, as it usually is.
The ringers send their best wishes to Hazel Sweetman and David Young on
their engagement. Hazel is a regular Prestbury ringer; David, who lives in
Bury St Edmunds, has recently learned to ring and is a welcome addition to
our band when he visits Hazel in Prestbury.
July 10th is the date which marks the national commemoration of the 60th
anniversary of the end of the Second World War. It is planned that bells
throughout the country will be rung at 5pm on that day; every tower has
been asked to participate. At St Mary’s we are hoping to attempt a 1945
Date touch. This will consist of 1945 changes and will last for just over
an hour. A report will appear in the September magazine.
The fantastic Greenbelt Christian Arts Festival (at Cheltenham
racecourse!) is taking place again this year over the bank holiday weekend
26-29 August. About twenty people (young and young-ish) will be camping –
it is not too late for any young people interested to join us!
For further information about the festival (for adults and children as
well as young people) please contact Andy Macauly. The Greenbelt
website is www.greenbelt.org.uk
from which it is also possible to purchase weekend tickets. Reduced price
day tickets for local residents are available on the gate; take proof of
address with GL postcode. See the website for full details.
On Saturday 24th September we are once again holding one of our
successful activity days for children at St Nicolas’ Church Hall, Swindon
Lane. The theme for this day is based around the well known, well loved
story of Joseph. The day will begin at 9.45am and close with an act of
worship mid afternoon. Invitations will be issued through our schools with
places reserved on a ‘first come first served’ basis. There will only be
100 spaces available so a quick response is to be recommended.
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. Bookings now being taken by Marion
- Cheese and Wine Evening at St Mary’s Infant School on 10th September,
with entertainment. (Part of St Mary’s Patronal celebrations.)
- 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.
Parish Sunday Lunch
The Royal Oak, The Burgage
Sunday 21 August
£11 per head for a 2-course meal
To make your booking contact Marion
Annual Sponsored Ride/Walk
Once again we are asked to help raise money for the Gloucestershire
Historic Churches Trust. This year the sponsored ride/walk will be on
Saturday 10th September between 9.00am and 5.00pm.
The GHCT give grants to help repair the fabric of churches in our
county. In Gloucestershire there are many fine churches which need our
help. I have heard them say that they might prefer to help those churches
which have helped the Trust in the past. So, how can you help?
* Arrange to ride or walk to as many of the churches as you can on the
day and raise as much sponsorship money as you can. You could go by
yourself, or as a family or group of friends. You don’t have to stay in
Cheltenham; put your boots or bike in the back of the car and explore the
rural parts of the county, places you don’t normally visit. You can charge
by the mile or the number of churches visited! For further details and
sponsorship forms please see Bob Lyle at St Mary’s or Nigel Woodcock at St
* Be a generous sponsor of those who will be riding or walking. Without
you there is no purpose in the day. Half of the money raised is given to
the Trust to further their work, and half is given to the churches chosen
by the participants.
* Take a turn at manning one of our churches throughout the day to
welcome the riders and walkers who may visit. After what might be a lengthy
journey it is rewarding to look around a church while taking a breather. It
makes a tremendous difference to those visiting the churches when they come
to one that is open and a welcoming party is there to greet them, possibly
with the offer of a drink and a biscuit, and to explain about something of
our church (even where to find the toilet). Many of you will be in church
during the week to carry out a job, such as cleaning, arranging flowers,
cutting the grass in the churchyard etc etc. Why not save these jobs until
Saturday 10th September?
The Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust is awarding a grant to All
Saints’ of £10,000 towards Stage One of the roof renovation plans. This
coincides with the award of £1 million in grants to the churches of
Gloucestershire since the GHCT Fund was founded, and All Saints’ has been
given the honour of receiving the millionth pound. This is in recognition
of the importance of the church in terms of our spiritual and cultural
heritage within Gloucestershire.
Fr Stephen will receive the cheque for £10,000 on behalf of All Saints’
on 1st July at the Trust’s Celebratory Dinner to mark the £1M milestone.
He would like to pay tribute and thanks to all those, from whichever
church, not least from St Mary’s and St Nicolas’, who have taken part in
the annual bike ride each September, and to all who have sponsored them.
Perhaps this will encourage many more members of all three of our churches
to participate in some way.
On June 12th I decided, partly out of curiosity, to go to the Eucharist
with a Difference at St Nicolas’ and see what would happen at a service
about justice and community entitled ‘Let the little children come to me’.
And I was glad I did. The service was both informal, sitting in the round
with the altar and activity in the centre, people slipping in and out of
the doorway, children free to roam; and yet formal too: although the words
were different, everything happened in the same order that I am used to
week by week in St Mary’s. The children were very involved in the
presentation, but so were the adults. The whole thing was chillingly
thought-provoking, uncomfortably chiding for people like me who rarely
think about poverty or injustice. The hymn When I needed a neighbour,
were you there? briefly brought tears to my eyes: no, I am never the
first to volunteer to be anywhere with anyone.
‘Mr G8’ was humorously yet tragically real in the Gospel Drama (Mark
10:13-16) as he told each ‘family’ of deprived children from all over the
world that he really hoped to be able to help them, but would have to think
about it first and then talk about it with other people at his meeting in
July. He reinforced this need to ‘talk’ so many times, repeatedly telling
the children they would have to wait, that it was very moving when his
assistant finally led them away round to the other side of the altar to a
person who really could help them: ‘Jesus’ (in priestly vestments) quietly
stepped down off the platform and without saying a word opened his arms to
the children, gathered them closer, and laid his hands on their heads in
The long paper chain we made as our combined confession and intercession
was draped over the altar to represent the part we play in oppressing God’s
world and his people, and was then symbolically torn to pieces as we were
We had a session on statistics. Numbers mean very little if you just say
them, but visualising that round room as the whole world, and all of us
standing as the whole population, was very effective. Then the ‘rich’ half
sat down leaving the others standing to represent those who only have £1.20
($2) or less per day to live on. And so on, as we thought about access to
clean water, sanitation, doctors, education. Throughout that talk someone
was beating a drum, slowly but continuously. It was slightly distracting at
first as we tried to concentrate on the speaker, but we soon got used to
it. Finally the speaker drew our attention to the fact that it had sounded
every three seconds, and that somewhere, every three seconds, a child dies
as a result of poverty. And that was the shock: realising that we had heard
it and ignored it.
Can a Difference in a Eucharist lead to a Difference in the World? Why
not? Even if we cannot go far afield, there is plenty we can do here in
Cheltenham. The following list was printed at the end of the service sheet.
Let us think about it. And then let us do something.
What can we do next?
Our response to God’s love, our following of his example, should not and
cannot end here in our service. Over the coming weeks, think about what you
can do to help others. So often it seems impossible to turn the tide of
injustice and that one person cannot make a difference but if we trust God
and act in the strength of his Spirit, truly anything is possible.
Some practical possibilities you may like to consider include:
- Write to your MP or the Prime Minister, asking them to make global
poverty a priority, especially at the G8 summit:
The Prime Minister, 10 Downing Street, London SW1A 2AA
Martin Horwood MP (Cheltenham) or Lawrence Robertson MP (Tewkesbury), c/o
House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
- E-mail your views from
- Wear a MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY wrist-band
- Consider where the things you buy are made and if fairly-traded
alternatives are a possibility
- Become part of a team offering Fair-Trade goods at church. Speak to
Janet Waters and if enough people are interested we may be able to set
- Sponsor a child or offer practical support to a village community in
the developing world through World Vision (www.worldvision.org.uk)
- Volunteer as an Appropriate Adult helping young people being
interviewed by the police (228999)
- Support the work of the Open Door project in Grosvenor Street,
helping homeless people in Cheltenham (577418)
- Offer tinned/dried food and baby supplies to support the Cheltenham
Communities Projects (228999)
- Become a hospital visitor at Cheltenham General. Contact Fr Ray Swain
(Hospital Chaplain) on 222222 ask for the chaplain
- Volunteer to visit the sick, the lonely or the bereaved within our
own parishes. Speak to Beryl Elliott or one of the clergy
- Become a youth-work volunteer with one of the youth groups in our
team. Speak to Andy Macauly
- Pray regularly for a fairer distribution of the world’s resources and
for an end to global injustice
Often Christians fail to respond with love not through any lack of care
but simply through lack of knowledge and not being aware of the
possibilities they have (however limited their time and resources) to make
a real difference. If you have any suggestions or experience of particular
projects needing help, please do share them with us.
Gloucester Cathedral – Thursday 28th to Sunday 31st July
For four days in July 2005 Glorious Gloucestershire will fill the
Cathedral and its surroundings with a real celebration of summer and the
county’s natural bounty – there will be something for everyone! The main
part of the Festival is in the Cathedral and includes:
- wonderful floral displays and arrangements created by teams of
arrangers from all over the county;
- stalls and displays in the cloisters;
- an exhibition in the Chapter House by the Gloucestershire Society of
- Thursday-Saturday: 9.30am-5.15pm, Evensong at 5.30pm
- Sunday: 12 noon-3pm, Evensong at 3pm.
for the Festival will cost £5 per person (accompanied children under 12
are free). Tickets can be booked:
- in person at the Cathedral shop
- using the booking form on the golden Festival leaflet, available in
- on the door, but because space is limited priority will be given to
people who have booked in advance
Advance purchase tickets include the Festival programme (otherwise £1 on
the door). Groups (10 or more) must book in advance. For details of the
other events included in the Festival see the leaflets available in both
I will be collecting and opening your boxes during July
this year. Please give them to me at Celebrate! or before the 11 o’clock
service. Alternatively call me on 578665 and I will collect. Thank you.
St Mary’s Bakestall
The next bakestall will be on Sunday 17th July, when we
shall be pleased to receive contributions from members with surnames
beginning G-M. If you would like to join any of our baking teams, do please
contact one of us.
There will be no bakestall in August.
Margaret Waker & Linda Matthews
Our next meeting is on Tuesday 26th July at St Nicolas’,
starting at 7.30pm. James Turtle from the Gloucester Records Office will
give a talk on Records Held Relating to Prestbury. All are welcome.
There will be no meeting in August.
Come to the Church Fete on the Scout Field from 2-5pm on
Saturday 16th July. There will be a variety of stalls and sideshows,
together with a grand raffle. Last year we raised £3000, which was
fantastic – can we do better?
In the evening there will be a barn dance in the garden
of the Royal Oak from 7 11pm. There will be no charge but a BBQ will be
available should you wish to buy food. We have a band and a caller and
there will be a ‘Guest Appearance’ of The Blue Diamonds. We do hope you
will be able to join us, by way of thanking you all for all that you do in
Christian Aid Week
The final total was £5,422.48. Thank you all for helping
and giving so generously to make this a record total for the parish.
Paddy Spurgeon & Gill Ashman