Listen very carefully, says Michelle of the Resistance, I
shall say this only once. Her catch phrase became well known while
’Allo! ’Allo! was a popular TV comedy series but I think the same
phrase applies to Christmas. The birth of Jesus happened only once and the
event has never been repeated. It is as though God is saying – listen
very carefully, I shall say this only once. Is it worth asking
ourselves whether we have yet concentrated sufficiently hard to hear what
God is saying to us through the coming of Jesus? Probably not. Some have
even become bored with Christmas because they have lost the capacity to
hear the Word of God which it proclaims.
Obviously we are very familiar with some of the Christmas message
– superficial and surface meanings and, to be fair, some of the
religious meaning. But so much about Christmas has been twisted by
familiarity, commercialism and the rest that if we are to hear what God is
saying we still need to listen very carefully. The Christmas message is not
easily or quickly grasped. Yes, it is party time and fun; yes, it is a time
of gifts and gratitude; yes, it is a time for the family; yes, it is a time
for wide-eyed wonder along with desires and hopes and expectations; yes, it
is a time for happiness together with some other rather mixed emotions. But
what is its secret? What is it that God is saying to us to which we must
listen very hard?
Sometimes we describe the coming of Jesus as the mystery of the
incarnation, by which we mean (at least) two things – presence and silence.
The inner truth of Christmas which God wants us to understand is that
always he is with us though often he acts silently and in such ways that
his creative and redemptive work go unnoticed and unacknowledged: YET STILL
This puzzles us because what we do when we try to act powerfully is
noisy, sensation-seeking, dramatic, calculated to make the headlines.
Usually we expect God to do the same. But the coming of Jesus reveals how
God acts in and through silence and hiddenness. This is how God’s power is
released into the world. It takes a lifetime to ponder such truth. Though
little by little we learn not to be disturbed when we find God working,
powerfully and with real purpose but quietly, unseen and unrecognised.
God’s ways are not our ways.
The other word – presence – is the name many of the carols and prayers
give to Jesus – Emmanuel – God with us. He is the source of both Christian
humility and confidence: two primary qualities which nourish each other and
which, in us, release the power of God within the world. Thus at Christmas
listening carefully to what God says and does in Christ produces a deep
response of wonder, adoration and thankfulness.
Let all mortal flesh keep silence, and
with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded, for with blessings in his hand,
Christ our God, to earth descendeth, our full homage to demand.
Prayers in every church every day during Advent
Bishop Michael has asked that, as during Lent, prayers be said in every
church of the diocese on every day of Advent. The Worship Committee are
aware that within the Parish, it is only on a Tuesday that prayers are not
always said in St Mary’s. It is proposed that prayers will be said in St
Mary’s at 12 noon on each Tuesday in Advent and that these prayers will be
led by a member of the laity. With this in mind a list will be displayed in
the porch at St Mary’s requesting people of the parish to sign up to lead
prayers on one of these Tuesdays. An outline of a suitable format will be
made available to each person or, as happened in Lent, each pair who
Please sign up to lead a session, to ensure that, in the Parish of
Prestbury, we fulfil Bishop Michael’s request.
John Moles, Worship Committee
On the Sundays during Advent (27 November & 4, 11 & 18 December) we
shall ‘Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Bethlehem’. Do come and join us at
St Mary’s church at 9.30am on these Sundays.
Crib services are mentioned elsewhere in this
On Christmas Day come and Celebrate! with us at the usual time of
9.30am, and on New Year’s Day we meet in St Mary’s at 9.30am for a Bring &
Welcome to Nick Kaleniuk
Nick is joining us on placement prior to beginning his training for
ordination. He will be in the Team most Sundays and for some weekday events
and services. We also welcome Alex and their baby son Nicholas.
… to Fr Stephen and Vicky on the birth of their first grandchild a few
weeks ago. Please pray for Chris, Nuria and Aleksander as they begin their
new life together.
Once again during Advent we are proposing to send our crib figures of
the Holy Family on pilgrimage throughout the Parish to the homes of our
congregations – Journey with Jesus. This year two sets of crib
figures will be journeying, leaving St Mary’s and St Nicolas’ on Advent
Sunday to spend two or three nights with a family before being delivered to
the next ‘hosts’. The figures will be returned to the Churches on Christmas
We are not expecting them to just stay with families with children; this
is open to all members of the congregations, and we hope the figures will
present an opportunity for the ‘hosts’ to offer hospitality to others at
this time. This was an extremely popular activity last year and 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.
The Crib Service will be at 4pm on Christmas Eve, Saturday 24 December,
in St Mary’s church, telling the traditional nativity story with carols.
Children are invited to bring gifts for those less fortunate than
Also on Christmas Eve, at 6pm in St Nicolas’ there will be a Candlelit
Nativity Service, the traditional nativity story with carols by
candlelight. Again, children are invited to bring gifts for those less
fortunate than themselves.
Elevate Christmas Party Sunday 11 December; restarts 8 January
Synergy Christmas Party Sunday 11 December; restarts 8 January
The Lounge Christmas Party Tuesday 13 December; restarts 10 January
The Space Christmas Party Thursday 14 December; restarts 12 January
Youth Team Social – Saturday 17 December from 7pm
Youth Team Meeting Thursday 5 January 7.30pm St Nicolas’ Lounge
For more info: Andy Macauly, youthprestbury.net
Sunday Club/School term dates
Sunday Club will end on 11 December and begin again on Sunday 8 January.
The Mothers’ Union prayer has, for a long time, been under review as the
wording of it has affected some families (especially in Africa) for whom
the concept of marriage may not quite be the same as it used to be for many
of us. The revised prayer has now been issued and I print it for your
information. You will see that the strengthening and support of marriage
and family life is now very much the key issue. If any readers have felt
unable to join us because of the old wording, please ring me and I will be
more than happy to talk to you about it.
Mothers’ Union Prayer
We thank you for your love so freely given to us
We pray for families around the world.
Bless the work of the Mothers’ Union as we seek to share your love,
through the encouragement, strengthening and support of marriage and
Empowered by your Spirit, may we be united in prayer and worship, and in
love and service reach out as your hands across the world.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
We send our love and prayers with Sarah Lyle over the next six months as
she sets out on 12 December to cycle from the lowest point on Earth, the
Dead Sea, to the highest, Everest! Sarah, with a team of five others, will
cycle through Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal and
China, arriving at Everest in early April. At base camp they will swap
bikes for boots and spend 6-8 weeks on the mountain culminating, they hope,
in a cyclist reaching the summit. The team is due back home in early June.
The expedition is raising funds for three charities, SOS Children’s
Villages, Merlin and Practical Action. You can find out
more about the expedition and the charities through the website,
We shall also be thinking of those left in the UK waiting for their safe
return. (Sarah has asked us please to give her mum and dad lots of hugs!)
At its recent meeting, the PCC agreed to relocate the Team Office from
Fr Stephen’s study in the Rectory to what is presently the choir vestry in
St Nicolas’ Church. The reason for this move is in anticipation of the time
when the Rectory will be vacant. The Diocese will want it to be clear
during an interregnum and also we cannot assume that any future occupant
will wish to have the office in his home. The use of the choir vestry at
St Nicolas’ will involve the choir moving into the ambulatory. The fabric
committee consider this option is the lowest cost solution, one that can be
carried out in a short amount of time and also one that can be reversed if
necessary. Work will begin in the New Year.
Gloucestershire Mothers’ Union is linked with several dioceses overseas,
one of them being Bukavu Diocese in the Congo. Over recent years the Congo
has suffered tremendous hardship through war and coping with refugees from
other troubled surrounding countries. The MU are planning to send a
container of useful goods to Bukavu Diocese to help the people of the area
rebuild their shattered lives.
Listed below are the articles we are collecting and during January there
will be boxes in our churches in which to leave things. Should anyone have
large articles to donate please give me a call since fitting garden tools
into the box might be difficult! Please do try to help, these people really
appreciate your generosity.
We are appealing for the following:
- Underwear, especially girls’ knickers, for school age children (up to
age 10-12). They are not allowed to attend school without!
- White shirts/blouses or white T-shirts, black shoes (not trainers),
socks, blue or black trousers (not grey), again for school age children.
The culture of the country, like many African places, means that a child
cannot go to school unless in uniform, which is the same for all schools.
- Carpentry hand tools in usable condition – NOT electrical as these go
out into the bush. There is a school for former boy-soldiers where they
learn woodworking skills, and will take these skills back to their own
- Garden tools – again in usable condition, we are not able to
refurbish very worn or broken tools.
- Hand sewing machines
- Sewing cottons and embroidery threads – reels should be at least
half full to make them worth sending out.
Thank you for your help.
To trick or to treat…? Bishop Michael pointed out on All Hallows’ Eve
that there was another option – to celebrate the victory of God’s light
over darkness. The whole Inspire youth event in Gloucester Cathedral was a
celebration of that ongoing victory, and in particular of those who inspire
us in our faith.
Synergy planned and set up a zone exploring songs that inspire.
This included a range from a hymn to a full on rock track, from hip hop to
a kid’s song. People had the opportunity to just chill, listen to the music
on personal stereos and then add their comments to the lyric sheets laid
out (oh and there were chocky bickies and cushions too).
One young person said the zone had helped them to think about the
possible meaning of apparently ‘secular’ songs in a new way. Another adult
commented that they had been able to reconnect with God in a special way
which they had lost since when they were first a Christian.
The event as a whole had such a sense of energy. There were so many
fantastic zones set up around the cathedral. It felt so significant to have
a packed cathedral of young people finishing the evening worshipping
together at such an important time of year.
Thanks to all those who helped make it possible.
A fun evening was held in Prestbury Hall with eight teams pitting their
wits against each other. Michael and Noel Brick came up with a good
selection of questions, some easy and some hard and at times one could hear
the brains working overtime. The outright winners were ‘The Clueless Team’
– well done to them. We raised £119.00 for the NSPCC so it was a very
We think it is well worth repeating and have booked St Nicolas’ Hall for
another session; so put Saturday 21 January 2006 at 7pm in your
diaries now. Thanks go to the Brick Family and to all who supported us.
As the nights draw in and the joy of Christmas approaches, the children
from Rockers would like to take you back to those long and far off days of
This year Rockers celebrated our 30th anniversary and that gave us the
perfect excuse for a Summer Party! We took over the Rectory garden for an
afternoon at the end of the school year in July and filled it with toys,
games and, above all, fun.
The children, brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents of the
current generation of Rockers, were joined by some previous – dare we say
old? – Rockers and their families and the children thoroughly enjoyed
themselves playing with the toys and the ball pool. They especially liked
the feet painting and making footprints on the banner which was part of the
afternoon’s story about hands and feet.
Fr Grant, Fr Michael and Fr Stephen joined us and soon became honorary
play leaders; as you can see from the pictures everyone had a fantastic and
We are always pleased to welcome new members to join us on Thursday
afternoons from 2.00 - 2.45 pm in St Mary’s church for a story, song and a
chance to meet new friends. This term ends on 15 December and we restart
after Christmas on 5 January 2006. Please come along and see for
A Very BIG Thank You!
… to Caroline Sexton, who compiled and edited the October and November
magazines for me, and also to the rest of the team (Cyril, Ken, Fr Michael,
Brian and Shirley) for their continuing support throughout the year.
The deadline for the February magazine will be Sunday 15 January 2006.
Please send copy in an envelope clearly marked ‘Parish Magazine’, or email
(All Saints’ will have a January magazine, deadline second Sunday in
December. Please send items for All Saints’ direct to Tim Winder or email
Frances Murton, Editor
For the first
time, St Nicolas’ Patronal Festival
will be celebrated with a United Team Sung Eucharist
at St Nicolas’ at 9.30am on Sunday 4 December
The service will be followed by light refreshments
There will not be a 10.30am Sung Mass at All Saints’
nor an 11am Sung Eucharist at St Mary’s that day
We hope to see you all at St Nicolas’
Patronal Pudding Evening – Saturday 3 December
Another mouth-watering event from the Stewardship Team is
the Puddings Evening at St Nicolas’ on Saturday 3 December at 7pm. (Please
note change of date.) Do join us for this fun evening of fellowship and
fantastic food! For tickets (priced £2.50) and further information please
contact Marion Beagley.
Images of Christmas – the Nativity in Art
A one-off Advent evening at All Saints’ presented by
Vivian Northcote, retired Deaconess from the Diocese of London, on Thursday
1 December, 7.45pm - 9.15pm, followed by a break for refreshments and an
opportunity for group discussion. Amid the hustle and bustle of
preparations for a commercial Christmas, set aside one evening to think
about the real meaning behind the tinsel and turkey.
Join us for this special service at St Mary’s Church,
Prestbury, on Sunday 11 December at 4.00pm.
Come and be part of this service to raise funds for The
Children’s Society. This year the charity aims to collect one million
pounds – to help children who are runaways or have been forced from their
homes. We are one of 5,000 churches and schools across the country holding
a Christingle service to help the charity continue its good work.
Bring along a collection box containing whatever
contribution you can raise. Children will receive a Christingle – an orange
bearing a candle, red ribbon and decorated with sweets. The highlight of
the service is when all the Christingle candles are lit, shining light into
Please come and join us! If you would like a
collecting box to bring to the service please contact Jane Turner or
The World Vision Alternative Christmas Card
This will be available in church again in December to
provide you with the opportunity to greet all your friends in one fell
swoop and at the same time contribute to the relief of suffering in the
world. You just sign your greetings and place your donation in one of the
gift envelopes. World Vision has an international commitment, founded on
belief in Jesus Christ, to provide compassionate help to those in need
irrespective of religious beliefs. Want to know more? Ask us.
Margarets Holman & Waker
Carols at the Supermarkets – Saturday morning 17 December
Our choirs will be singing carols for Christian Aid:
St Nicolas’ at Tesco’s in Collets Drive from 10-11am,
St Mary’s at Sainsbury’s from 11-12.
They would be VERY grateful if other members of the congregations could
join them, even if only for a few minutes before or after shopping.
Gill Ashman & Paddy Spurgeon
Epiphany – 6
celebrate Epiphany with a
United Sung Eucharist
St Mary’s Church, Mill Street
Friday 6 January 2006
After the Eucharist supper will be served, and then
John & Helen Wright of All Saints’
will perform a selection of light seasonal music
Tickets will be available nearer the time
pewsheet for details
Prestbury Mothers’ Union
Our next meeting is a bring and share meal at the home of
Ruth Shaw on Tuesday 20 December from 7.30pm. All are welcome.
The first meeting in the New Year will be on Tuesday 24 January at 7.30pm.
Please see the pewsheet for details of the venue.
St Mary’s Bakestall
Although we have a month ‘off’ in December (no bakestall),
may we encourage you ALL to participate in January on the third Sunday in
the month, January 15th? The results of our combined effort will be sent to
the continuing earthquake relief appeal.
Margaret Waker & Linda Matthews
Many thanks to those who contributed to the Red Bucket
Appeal for victims of the earthquake in Pakistan. A total of £580 was
collected at St Mary’s and St Nicolas’ and sent to Christian Aid.
Gill Ashman & Paddy Spurgeon