It seems strange writing this sitting in familiar surroundings in early
August, with the sun shining through my window. By the time you read this,
much that is familiar will begin to change. September is a month of
changes. For many it means a new school or university, or new class. For
some it signifies the end of summer, and thoughts turning to autumn, and on
to winter. But September is also an unpredictable month. By the time you
read this Cheltenham could be basking in an Indian Summer, or we could have
the central heating on, and be looking out our winter coats. And as
September traditionally heralds change, it also heralds uncertainty.
For me, the change and uncertainty involves selling my flat, giving up
my career, and moving to Oxford to begin formation and training as a priest
at St Stephen’s House. For me these changes bring a great deal of
excitement, but also, if I am honest, a significant amount of anxiety. For
change is scary. I frequently ask myself ‘will I like it?’, and ‘can I do
it?’, and most often ‘why am I doing this at all?’. And I am sure that many
of us ask the same questions when faced with change. God is often calling
us all to change, to move forward. For the Christian calling of each one of
us is to spread the Good News of the Gospel by living out our lives with
Christ in us. And in order to do that we need to respond to God, so that
his will may be fulfilled through us.
Responding to change is not just something we are called to do
individually. Our parishes are undergoing a great deal of change as well.
We have been called to explore new initiatives, such as Celebrate! or Local
Ministry, and of course now Pastoral Re-organisation is a significant
process in Cheltenham, and is likely to bring some changes to us all. The
key to accepting change is not to be frightened by it, or fight against it,
but to pray about it, involve ourselves in the process prayerfully, and
then accept that God will work through it to bring about His Kingdom, in
His own time.
So as I make my final preparations to leave, as I pack up my present
life and put it into storage boxes, I would ask for your prayers, that God
may use this scary but exciting time to His Glory. Each day at St Stephen’s
House the staff and students meet together to pray twice a day. So each and
every day I will be remembering our Parishes of All Saints’ and Prestbury
in my prayers. And my prayer shall be that there will be change; and with
that change there will come growth, and from that growth the Good news of
Christ will be spread out into our town, and our world.
Find out what really happened – an open weekend at St Mary’s church,
Prestbury. Exhibition of previously unshown documents and old photos.
Quizzes and games for younger visitors. Entrance free. 8th-11th
We need volunteers to be in the church during the four afternoons.
Please contact Lynda Hodges if you can help.
On July 10th, in common with most Churches with bells, we rang at St
Mary’s at 5pm to commemorate the ending of the Second World War. The band
gathered at just before five and planned to ring 1945 changes of Grandsire
Triples. The ringing went on for quite a while but sadly they did not
achieve the 1945 changes; however they managed to ring about 1600 changes,
which was very creditable and is considerably longer than a normal quarter
peal which normally consists of 1260 changes.
We have managed to ring for Morning and Evening services each Sunday
throughout the summer despite many of our ringers having well deserved
holidays. Several of the ringers enjoyed a week away in the Devon area on
an organised bellringing holiday where ringing took place each day at
different towers. To ringers every set of bells is different and provides
new and interesting challenges.
We have welcomed a number of visitors from other parts of the country
for service ringing and Tuesday practice.
Many wish for a small oasis of silence in their busy lives, time set
aside to sit quietly, time to ‘be’, time to listen, to listen for and to be
with God, to ‘let go and let God’.
Some years ago one woman felt just this, and together with some friends
put aside time for quiet meditation and, because they lived in Norfolk, the
home of the Lady Julian of Norwich, a saintly anchoress, they called
themselves the Julian Group. The aim, which remains the same today, is to
foster the practice and teaching of contemplative and meditative prayer.
News spread quickly, and it was not long before the ‘movement’ became known
throughout the country, and today for ‘the country’ read ‘countries’ and
continents, and still the meetings retain their simple formula, and still
the administration is minimal, done on a purely voluntary basis, for
sharing information and the publication of an excellent magazine and
newsletter three times a year, as well as some leaflets on various prayer
topics. Quiet days and retreats are arranged as well as an occasional
The membership is ecumenical.
Silence can be oppressive, some find it uncomfortable, even threatening,
and of course it is not everybody’s path to God, and no one way is better
or more valuable than another, as long as God is the centre. However,
silent, meditative prayer can be richly rewarding, and may be worth a try.
I will be happy to host an exploratory meeting on Monday 19th September at
7.30pm for anyone who would like to come and discuss the possibility of
forming a group – now known as a ‘meeting’.
From Thursday 28th to 31st July Gloucester Cathedral held a Flower
Festival entitled ‘Glorious Gloucestershire’. Molly Campbell and Lindsey
McGowan from St Nicolas’ represented the Parish of Prestbury with their
display depicting ‘Prestbury Park Racecourse’.
Funds were raised through well-attended coffee morning, cream tea and a
number of generous donations. Preparations for the festival took several
weeks of meetings and hard work and included creating a full size saddle
from papier mache and leaves, and a jockey’s cap and racing silks made of
flower heads in the green and gold colours of Limber Hill, who won the
Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1956. He is one of the horses who has a road in
Wyman’s Brook named after him. We also built a hurdle and camera to
complement the display.
Husbands were enlisted to help with transport and staging as well as
dismantling on Monday 1st August. The actual arranging took place on the
Wednesday and though it was hard work it was also great fun to be part of
such an enthusiastic crowd of arrangers from various Parishes throughout
Gloucestershire. All of the displays were absolutely stunning and enjoyed
by a huge number of visitors.
In the Cozens household Friday nights throughout the winter months are
often spent watching gardening programmes of some description, so it was
with a great deal of excitement that we all set off, like The Flying
Gardener, to view some of the hidden delights in the gardens of Prestbury,
albeit on foot rather than by helicopter! Fr Michael and Anna formed the
advance party on Saturday doing an initial reconnoitre of some of the
gardens. They came back, oozing with superlatives of the sights and smells
that awaited Simon and me on the Sunday. Promptly at 2pm we all set off,
armed with map and sun cream, determined to ‘do’ as many gardens as
possible. What I was not prepared for was the absolutely staggeringly
beautiful, creative, colourful, dramatic and aromatic gardens tucked away
behind unassuming gates, walls and fences. Each garden with its own special
character, reflecting perhaps that of its owner. Artistic sculptures,
gently trickling water features, lush lawns, rich planting, and peaceful
havens to play in, entertain and relax. A really big thank you to all those
who opened their gardens for us to enjoy and ‘drool’ over – and also to the
cream tea ladies who, according to my children, gave the Prestbury Open
Gardens a real ‘National Trust’ feel! Simon wonders whether we should
‘open’ the vicarage garden for viewings but after the wonders of the
Prestbury gardens, ours definitely needs more TLC (tender loving care) and
a lot less football!
Open Gardens Weekend
A most enjoyable time was had by very many people, looking around the
thirteen open gardens. We are most grateful to all the garden owners who
worked so hard and enabled us to use their gardens for this event. Cream
teas in St Mary’s church was also a great success and an amazing amount of
£1500 was raised over the weekend. Our thanks to you all.
It was with some trepidation that a small committee set to work in
January this year to organise The Big Sky Festival of Music and Arts at All
Saints’ in June. We had to fundraise a substantial amount and persuade as
many people as possible to come and do things for free. A very successful
coffee morning in May raised over £1,000 and we were on our way.
Last year’s festival focused mainly on local church schools and they
were all keen to come back again for the free workshops but we also wanted
to involve more adults this time. The biggest draw proved to be the ‘Dance
at 6’ events which saw all generations dancing together to Scottish, Balkan
and English country music on several evenings.
The Gospel Singing Workshops were also very popular and we plan to ask
Jo Sercombe, Head of Music Development at Bath University, to come back and
get us all swaying again. There were Kids Funky Street Dancing sessions,
Harry Potter workshops, drama, art and poetry. We also had work by local
artists on display, as well as beautiful quilts and woodcraft. A ‘Music
from Scratch’ day was extremely successful, as was our Barn Dance (the
first ever in All Saints’!) with live traditional English music.
It was particularly pleasing to see so many of our friends from St
Mary’s and St Nicolas’ joining in with us and supporting our community
For me the highlight of the Festival was the Strawberry Tea when we
launched the Friends of All Saints’ to help raise funds for the fabric of
the building. Our new MP, Martin Horwood, became Patron and plans to also
attend our first Friends’ event, which is a Memory Morning. It will be held
at All Saints’ on Saturday, September 3rd, 10am-12noon, (the ‘day war broke
out’) and we want people to bring their memories/mementos/photographs along
to share with others. The archivist from the Gloucestershire Echo will be
there informally and hopes to get some material copied for her library.
There will also be a concert of ‘Songs that Won the War’ at 11.30am by
our in house talented trio. Coffee and cake will be served. The event is
free for Friends and £2.50 for others. If you would like to join the
Friends, please contact me (details below) or turn up on the morning. The
subscription is £10 per year and will include social events and talks.
I hope to make many more new Friends among the readers of this magazine!
Saturday 16th July was a brilliantly sunny day and I popped down to the
scouts field very early and found a small band of people erecting the tents
and awnings. I was shown the area for the Toy Stall – and Noel, Michael and
my car were crammed full of toys and we wondered where we would put them
What fun Mavis, Noel and I had – it was a very busy stall. The crowds
turned out in the afternoon and what a wonderful array of stalls they
found, plus a bouncy castle, and the Brownie Group did a wonderful job
helping on the tea stall. It was a wonderful Prestbury Village scene. My
memory of the afternoon is of the small children picking through the goodie
baskets full of little treasures that we had placed at the front of the toy
stall. What happened to the huge yellow Teddy?
The evening Barn Dance was such a happy, family occasion and
Simon and Kate’s Royal Oak garden turned up trumps for the band and
dancing. It was lovely to see so many dancing and they were all ages. John
and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole day, but especially the
Blue Diamonds Band – they
sounded lovely and looked very professional; and again it was great to see
all the young people dancing the evening away.
Well done Marion and the great band of helpers – what a magic success!
On Saturday the 16th of July there was a fête at the Scout hut. All the
Brownies who wanted their hostess badge had to make cakes and bring them to
the fête. The Brownies also brought teas to your table and carried the
cakes you wanted. After an hour and a half me and my mum went to look
around the stalls. At the toy stall I got a Sylvanian pram for my Sylvanian
families. I also paid ten pence to stroke a ferret, it was very soft and
smooth. After, mum went to buy some cards and books and then we went home.
At home I realised that mum had got some Brownie annuals and outside I did
all the mazes, someone had already written in them but I don’t mind because
I can rub it out.
Lydia, age 7
Church Fete & Barn Dance
On behalf of the organisers, we would like to thank everyone concerned
for the hard work and effort put into making these two events so
successful. It was a wonderful day and has raised well over £3,100. Well
done and thanks to you all.
The Church Barn Dance
The church barn dance was on a very sunny, hot day in the garden of the
Royal Oak pub in the Burgage. Loads of people were there so there weren’t
many places to sit. There was a very good barn dance band where the
talented people played the violin and the accordion. I didn’t think that my
friends would be there but some of them were. We played skittles in the
skittle alley and I lost. After that I danced the ‘Patacake Polka’ and ‘I
want to be near you’ with my sister and my friends. I am very glad that I
went to the barn dance and I shall remember it all my life.
Chloe, age 10
Church Fete and Barbecue
On Saturday 16th July we held our Church Fete on the Scout Field in the
Burgage. There were lots of different stalls selling all sorts of things
and some good games as well. I especially liked the skittles – I won the
My Grandma was in charge of the
Bouncy Castle and I spent
some of the time helping her – collecting money and timing the ‘turns’.
There were loads of people at the fete of all different ages and everyone
seemed to be really enjoying themselves. All the people helped worked
really hard and at the end me and my sister, Sophie, and some other
children helped to clear away by taking the folding tables back into the
In the evening there was a Barn Dance and Barbecue in the grounds of the
Royal Oak Pub. Many people who had been at the fete were here as well. It
was a really good evening with the chance to talk to lots of people, listen
to some great music, have a good dance, eat lovely food and even have
another game of skittles (indoors this time). We (my sister, Mum and
Grandma) stayed to the very end. Sophie and me were a bit tired the next
day, but we still made it to Church.
We were very lucky with the weather both during the afternoon and the
evening – it was a great day.
Matthew (aged 11)
Do you like dancing? We do. In fact that is how our paths first crossed
– but that’s another story…
So we were glad when we heard about the June dance events to be held in
All Saints’ church. Then a barn dance to bring the day of the Prestbury
fete to a climactic finish. We couldn’t believe it.
Someone took preventative measures over the floor vents to avoid human
injury and material damage and, even without a sprung floor, All Saints’
became a dance venue. Four roughly hour-long early evening sessions led by
specialists introduced Scottish, English court, Circle and English folk
dancing to a great mix of people of varying ages and experience. Some
people came to every session. Some came from as far abroad as Russia, the
USA and Japan. Between dances it was good to be able to look at the craft
Both the All Saints’ and the Prestbury barn dances benefited from
excellent live bands and
good callers. The grass dance surface at the Royal Oak provided its own
challenges but again all ages participated including lots of people from
the wider community.
All in all an uplifting experience – having fun together.
Chris and Sue Read
Celebrate! (all-age informal worship) Sunday 4th September 9.30am in
Rockers Half-Hour (for pre-school children and their
restarts on Thursday 8th September at 2pm in St Mary’s church.
Sunday Club (9.30am at St Nicolas’) and Sunday School (11am at St
Mary’s) both start again on Sunday 11th September.
Elevate (5pm) and Synergy (7pm) restart on Sunday 11th
The Lounge restarts on Tuesday 13th September at 7.30pm.
The Space restarts on Thursday 15th September at 7.30pm.
For information about Elevate, Synergy, The Lounge and The Space please
see their website www.ppy.org.uk
or contact Andy Macauly.
For all the others, just turn up.
We now have a group of people who will be attending a training session
on Tuesday 6th September to start Open the Book on a weekly basis at St
Mary’s Infant School. We will need all your prayers and support as we move
into this new mission. There are some small set-up costs for the group
including purchasing copies of the Lion Story Teller Bible and purchasing
the training materials. If you feel able to make a contribution to this
expense then please contact Marion Beagley.
On Monday June 6th, the ‘Prestbury Pensioners’, a team of six stalwarts
from St Mary’s congregation, pitted themselves against 53 other teams of
six, vying to be the highest scorers in a standard 10 hand session at the
Cotswold Bowl, Kingsditch. Although not exactly the highest scorers, their
total was a gallant effort for which they had amassed an impressive £180 in
sponsorship. £90 of this went into Church funds and £90 was paid to the
Rotary Club of Cheltenham.
This was the 10th Annual Rotary Club Charity Ten Pin Bowl and with this
year’s collected sponsorship, looking to exceed £7000, the event will have
raised over £72,000 for local charities in the last ten years. Every penny
of that money has been spent on LOCAL charities and good causes around our
town. For example the Rotary Club with its share of the sponsorship has
purchased beds for Delancey Hospital, an incubator for the Special Care
Baby Unit, specialised play equipment for handicapped children,
computerised brailing equipment for the local branch of the Association for
the Blind and many more similar projects. This year £3000 will be donated
to the Splash Appeal to refurbish the hydrotherapy pool at Bettridge School
and £1500 to the Gloucestershire County Association for the Blind.
Rotary International is celebrating its 100th Birthday this year as a
worldwide Service Organisation of professional and business people. From
its beginnings in Chicago in February 1905 when four business acquaintances
met in rotation in each other’s homes, Rotary now exists in 168 countries
of the world with 31,560 clubs and over 1.2 million members. Rotary’s motto
is ‘Service Before Self’ and every club works to serve its own local
community and to work for international projects. This includes many
opportunities for international exchanges, promoting understanding and
world peace. In its 100 years, Rotary has become the largest
non-Governmental giver of Aid in the world. One of Rotary’s crowning
successes has been its funding of a WHO project to immunize every child in
the world against polio. In 1988 when Rotary clubs started raising money to
support this ambitious programme 1000 children were contracting polio every
single day. In 2004 there were only 500 cases reported in the whole year,
in only five countries. Rotary is making a final effort to complete the
immunisation programmes in these five countries and it is highly likely
that in 2006 or at the latest 2007 the world will be declared POLIO FREE!
Although Rotary is a Secular organisation due to the diversity of its
membership, it embraces many Christian ideals, such as love of one’s
neighbours, service to others and high ethical standards in dealing with
others. Apart from the great personal satisfaction one can get from the
achievements of service, it offers a family network of friends and
acquaintances both locally and world wide, providing great opportunities
for social interaction and expanding horizons. If you are interested in
what Rotary involves please feel free to speak to me to find out more.
PRESTBURY PENSIONERS - Rotary Club Ten Pin Charity Bowl
We would like to thank everybody who sponsored us in the above event. We
raised £180, £90 for St Mary’s Church and £90 for the Rotary Club of
It was certainly a fun evening as the majority of us had not played for
at least fifteen years!