As we enter the season of Lent I cannot help recalling my visit to the
Mount of Temptation whilst I was on pilgrimage in the Holy Land. (You can
read a little more about the trip elsewhere in this edition of the
magazine!) We travelled up from Jericho by cable car to a point which
allowed us to look out over the land below. We were reminded that the devil
tempted Jesus by showing him a similar view and offering it all to him if
Jesus would worship him. Jesus replied, ‘it is written: “worship the Lord
your God and serve only him.”’.
Self-control and worship: a strange combination, but two things which
can help to give us a proper focus for Lent.
Self-control is about more than resisting the chocolate biscuits! It is
about having control over the time you give to God during the forty or so
days leading to Easter. How have you resolved to use this God-given time,
sometimes called ‘God’s Springtime’? Perhaps in joining in one of the Lent
Groups which are meeting across our Team Ministry. Possibly by selecting
one of the many Lent books which are available, or by setting aside some
time for some extra Bible reading. That could quite simply be looking again
at the Sunday morning readings and reflecting on them.
You also have control over the time you give to prayer and worship. Lent
is a good time to look again at your pattern of prayer and perhaps to try
something different. Morning and Evening prayer times are advertised, as
well as the times of the weekday Eucharists. Perhaps you can attend Mid-day
prayer on Tuesdays during Lent? Also, you have control over your pattern of
Sunday worship: why not endeavour to do all you can to join with one of our
worshipping communities on the Sundays of Lent?
Lent is a wonderful time to draw closer to God, and self-control and
worship are excellent tools to do that!
… when we seek happiness?
… when we face suffering?
… when we make decisions?
when we contemplate death?
… when we try to make sense of life?
A five-session course with booklet and audio resources
- Rowan Williams,
- Patricia Routledge,
- Joel Edwards,
- Pauline Webb and
- David Hope
During Lent groups are meeting in homes across the Team to reflect on
the issues raised by the 2006 York Course: Where is God…? At the time of
the magazine going to press, there were already six firm venues, available
on various afternoons and evenings of the week, and by the time you read
this, there will be more. There is a charge of £5 for the whole course,
including the booklet – good value at only £1 for each session. Sign-up
sheets are available in each church and transport can be arranged if
required. Do come and join us for discussion and hospitality. If you
require more information, please speak to:
Colin Holman at St Mary’s
Margaret Compton at St Nicolas’
Jennifer Swinbank at All Saints’
Praying Together in Lent
Do join us in St Mary’s for prayers at mid-day on Tuesdays during Lent.
As with last year, we shall use a resource booklet produced by Bishop
Michael. If you are interested, this is available on the Diocesan Website
www.gloucester.anglican.org and could be
used every day during Lent.
Members of Musica Vera will be paying tribute to one of the
Choir’s former members on Saturday 18 March, 7.30 pm at
All Saints’ Church, Cheltenham. Jill Yates, who died after a short
illness last September, had been a member of the Choir since the 1980s,
during which time she served as Social Secretary and Chairman. A programme
of some of Jill’s favourite choral music has been put together, and this
includes Vivaldi’s Gloria, also music by Byrd, Brahms, Bruckner,
Fauré, Gabrieli, Mozart, Pearsall, Purcell, Rachmaninov, Sanders, Stanford
and Vautor. The Conductor is Graham Alsop, and solos in the Gloria
will be sung by Dani May and Sylvia Strange.
Tickets cost £10, to include refreshments, and will be available at the
door, or from Showcase, 13 Montpellier Arcade, Cheltenham,
Tel 01242 224144.
Net proceeds to the Leukaemia and Intensive Chemotherapy Fund (LINC).
Angela Walker, Choir Secretary
A Concert for Jill Yates
On Saturday 18 March Musica Vera will be performing a
concert in memory of Jill Yates, who was a keen member of the choir, a
committee member and Chairman over a number of years. Much of the programme
consists of Jill’s known favourites, and the money raised will go to the
Leukaemia charity LINC. The article above gives details of tickets, time
When I first heard about the concert, I wrote to the present Chairman
asking that it be given at St Mary’s, Jill’s church. He replied very
sympathetically, and I quote: ‘The organ was the sticking point, and it was
unanimously agreed that if the choir is to perform Jill’s choice of music
to a standard we hope she would appreciate, we had to compromise on the
So All Saints’ was chosen, and is after all part of our Team Ministry.
But whatever the place, this is to be a performance for Jill, given by the
choir with whom she sang for so many years. I sang alongside her in that
choir for ten years, and valued her friendship, as did so many others.
Please support this venture, and join the choir as they celebrate the life
of a talented musician and dear friend to so many of us.
We send our good wishes to the Revd Glyn Jenkins on his retirement this
month after eighteen years as minister in the United Reformed Church in
Cheltenham (URCiC, comprising Prestbury, Warden Hill and St Andrew’s).
Glyn’s last service in Prestbury URC, Deep Street, will be the Communion
Service at 11am on Sunday 12th March, and his farewell service will be at
St Andrew’s, Montpellier, at 4pm on Sunday 19 March. All are welcome to
attend either service.
Please also remember the URCiC in your prayers during the coming months
as they go through the process of appointing new ministers.
31 March – 2 April
Please pray for all those who will take part in this weekend. It is a
mix of full on outdoor activity, time to relax, chat and pray at Viney Hill
Christian Adventure Centre. There is still place for young people to join.
For further information contact Andy Macauly.
Darklight Laser Tag in Gloucester has become a bit of a favourite venue
for Youth activities. Our latest trip there included young people from The
Space, Elevate and Pittville Circus Skills. The aim (in addition to seeing
how many of ‘the opposition’ you could blast with the lasers) was to deepen
friendships, both within groups and between groups.
Twenty people in all took part – it was competitive but good humoured
and a fantastic time was had by all. It is always great to see bridges
being built between people who were previously strangers.
Pittville Youth Action Group
The group of students Andy works with on a Wednesday have just finished
a stint of work at Prestbury Hall. The young people worked hard in the
first phase of providing improved outdoor areas at the venue. There was a
great team spirit as we dug and barrowed and a sense of achievement in
clearing and preparing the area. This work will go towards the ASDAN
qualification for the students.
It was good to work alongside John, Linda and the team; we look forward
to seeing the project develop further. Please get in touch with Andy if
there are similar community projects which the group might be able to help
In the December/January magazine I requested goods for the Mothers’
Union Congo Appeal. Now I write to say an enormous Thank You for your
support. Boxes were available in the three churches and at St Mary’s Junior
and Infant schools.
During January various parts of our house were gradually taken over by
sewing machines, embroidery threads and cottons, tools (both gardening and
carpentry), school clothes and children’s underwear. More goods seemed to
arrive each day and needed to be sorted. Geoff was responsible for checking
all sewing machines and tools (a task that kept him out of mischief in the
garage for hours) and I looked after the other goods.
Goods donated included eight sewing machines and a large number of tools
(some of which were brand new), endless sewing items (all of which were
packed in boxes that would be reused in the Congo) and hundreds of pairs of
children’s knickers. In fact we had over 200 new pairs plus a vast quantity
of very good second hand, so the pupils will be very decently clad! We also
received some ecclesiastical clothing together with other church goods all
of which will be gladly welcomed by the African clergy.
The start of February saw us packing everything into large packing cases
which were clearly labelled in English and French, thanks to a translator
at St Nicolas! With some concerns about weight (remember the eight sewing
machines), we then packed our car, a large estate, to go to the MU office
in Gloucester. I was due to travel with Geoff to help with the unpacking.
In the end I couldn’t be fitted in! The front passenger seat and foot well
were full of boxes!
The task is over and we have reclaimed our home. Thank you again for
your generosity and thoughtfulness. Your help means that many people will
have a better start in life using items which we take for granted. It may
also interest you to know that as well as the goods from Prestbury, a
couple of our MU members joined a group washing, checking and packing four
large crates of spectacles for the Congo also.
There seems to be an opinion that the Mothers’ Union only ever dispenses
tea and cakes. Don’t you believe it! We meet monthly and details are always
in the church magazine or speak to our Branch Leader, Marion Beagley.
This Month at Celebrate!
This month we’re basing our worship round some of Jesus’ ‘I am…’
I AM …
… the way, the truth, the life
… the light of the world
… the bread of life
… the true vine
… the good shepherd
… the door for the sheep
… the resurrection and the life
Why my family go to Celebrate!
About a year ago I started taking my young daughters to Celebrate! at St
Mary’s Church. I wanted to bring my children up in the Church and also get
more involved with Church life myself. However, I was concerned about how
this could be done and at the same time keep my children quiet and still
for the duration of a service.
Luckily, Celebrate! provided the answer! It starts at 9.30 every Sunday
morning and the atmosphere is very relaxed and welcoming. Bible stories are
taught in fun ways, with lots of audience participation, or often acted out
by the Celebrate! team. I think that this keeps the message entertaining
and digestible but without diluting it. The children never seem to get
bored which also means that the adults can relax and listen to what is
The music is modern and upbeat and led by Celebrate!’s dedicated band.
Children (and adults) join in the songs with percussion instruments. My
children are usually dancing in the aisle during the more jolly songs!
Celebrate! is a very social occasion. The service ends with lots of chat
and laughter as biscuits and drinks are served.
I would recommend Celebrate! to anybody, young or old, who wants to
explore faith or get more involved in the local community. But I especially
recommend it to families with children who are too young yet to have
‘quiet’ and ‘still’ on their agenda!
A Not So Swift Half
One of the important aspects of Celebrate! is the value of fostering
genuine community. It was with this in mind that we decided to invite men
with links to Celebrate! to meet at the pub.
After some rejigging of venue due to renovation work we ended up at The
Plough on Monday 6 February. There were about ten of us in all, just
spending time together chatting. Personally I valued the whole thing about
hearing snippets of other people’s stories, just that sense of ‘company’ –
people with you on the journey. Oh and the scrumpy was good too…
This initiative is not intended to be exclusive – there is a ladies’
night being planned for Wednesday 22 March. We deliberately set out to give
opportunities for just men and just ladies to meet, separately. Apart from
anything else, this can make the logistics of babysitting easier.
The Celebrate! team hope to plan similar socials for men in the future –
which would of course be open to those from any congregation and hopefully
to those who are not yet part of a congregation.
For more information or suggestions about either the men’s or ladies’
events please contact Andy or Sharon.
Report of meeting 27 January 2006 held in the Upper Room
St Mary’s Church Hall
The lease for the hall is now with the PCC.
A small working party has moved the St Nicolas’ choir to their new home
in the ambulatory in order to relocate the parish office to what was the
choir vestry. This has been repainted and the heating pipes are to be boxed
in, and new sockets are to be fitted. The present office furniture will be
moved to the new site, new furniture will be purchased when there is a need
The deposit has been paid for all the new signs for St Mary’s churchyard
and the gateway and entrance to St Nicolas’.
St Nicolas’ Church
The revised Quinquennial report is still awaited.
There is to be a cupboard in the right hand entrance hall toilet to
accommodate the flower stands and to enable the removal of the clutter at
present in that toilet.
St Mary’s Church
The Quinquennial report has been received; we await the specifications.
The wooden floor by the font has been repaired along with the broken tiles
in the nave area. The restoration of the painting of the Last Supper is
still being explored.
The Upper Room has been tidied and reorganised. It is to be repainted
and curtains are to be hung. There will be a cupboard for Celebrate! at the
top of the stairs; the bookcase there at present will go into the Upper
Wall cupboards are to be placed in the toilet for the cleaning materials
for cleaning the church.
St Nicolas’ Hall
Trial holes are to be made to check the foundations of the hall in the
corner where the cracking has occurred.
Date of next meeting
4.15pm Friday 24 March at St Nicolas’.
Should you have any comments or questions, please submit them in writing
to Jackie Moles at the Parish Office or by email to
These will be presented to the committee at their next meeting.
Jackie Moles, Fabric Committee
Prestbury v Cambray Baptist Church
Saturday 11 February found a very small band of loyal supporters
shouting encouragement to the Prestbury Churches Football team. The game
appeared to start badly when the Prestbury goalkeeper, John Sexton, injured
his right arm. Nevertheless he carried on playing, although clearly in
pain. A few minutes later, Cambray scored their first goal, but Tim Rudge
soon equalised for Prestbury. However, Cambray scored again from the
kick-off and the first half ended 2–1. The Prestbury team played some good
balls to their strikers, but the speed of the Cambray defence often outran
them. Cambray soon scored their third goal and the Prestbury team tried to
get a goal but hit the post. Steve Hawkins for Prestbury scored two goals
in the second half, but the final score was 6–3 to Cambray.
Fr Michael and Simon Cozens
reporting from The Burrows Sports Field, Leckhampton
Nick Kaleniuk, a trained barrister and practising immigration
lawyer, is currently on placement in Prestbury and All Saints’ as part of
his preparation for training for ordination. Here he shares some of his
first impressions… and a fond farewell.
Perhaps like me you believe God has a tremendous sense of humour. I
think He smiled last summer when I puzzled at His purpose in determining
that I should not start my training for ordination without first completing
a period of pre-theological training at churches very different from the
ones I am used to. ‘Just wait and see where I place you’ He must have said.
God does have a way of using humour, amongst other things, to guide and
encourage us. It was by the Grace of God that Father Michael and Father
Stephen agreed to my placement at All Saints’, St Mary’s and St Nicolas’
Churches from All Saints’ Day 2005 to Easter Day 2006.
Having wondered at what we might experience I can now say that my wife,
Alex, and I will find it an enormous wrench to say goodbye to everyone when
my placement ends on 16 April. We have experienced the tremendous warmth of
people here and an awesome sense of devotion in worship.
We have benefited from the wonderfully varied aspects of life and
worship in the region. From the fun and vitality of the Celebrate! services
at St Mary’s, to the fantastic family-friendly ‘Eucharist with a
Difference’ at St Nicolas’, to the exquisite reverence of various other
services that we have attended.
It has been insightful and a privilege to witness some of the day-to-day
life of a minister when I have shadowed Father Michael in some of his daily
duties – such as his work with schools in Prestbury. It seems there is
never a quiet moment for a priest.
But perhaps one of the most striking impressions that all three of the
churches have left upon me is the impression of a desire to give to God the
very best of oneself. Something else which brings a smile to God’s face I
Sarah and fellow cyclists, Pauline, Nic, Jamie and Dom, together with
Rowena and Dickie driving the support vehicle, are continuing their journey
from the lowest point on Earth, the Dead Sea, to the highest, Everest. The
team entered Iran on 12 January, and in less than a month had crossed a
country three times the size of France. During this time they passed the
half-way point in their 8000km (5000 mile) cycle. They cycled in snow and
ice, and had days when they needed to find shade from the sun. They cycled
through mountains and across plains, through fields of pistachio plants and
busy towns. The people were friendly and very generous – major repairs to
the van were carried out free of charge. The team spent a day in Bam, where
MERLIN, one of the charities they are supporting, provided tents, food,
blankets and medical aid barely 24 hours after the major earthquake on 24
December 2003. They left Iran on 11 February and are now somewhere in
Pakistan. Comments from members of the team: ‘Iran really is a beautiful
country yet this is something which shamefully never gets mentioned due to
all the other associated political matters.’ ‘The people have been
fantastic, welcoming and always willing to help.’ ‘Iran has been a
wonderful host to EverestMax and will have a special place in our memories.
The country is vastly different from the one politicians like to paint and
I urge you to consider it as an alternative venue for your next holiday.
You will not regret it.’ For up-to-date information see the online diary on
It was Science Week at St Mary’s Junior School in early February and one
day we were all asked to keep our coats on at the start of the day and
stand by the big playground. Then an Army man tied a big piece of red
fabric to the fence and set off an orange smokebomb.
A few minutes later an Army Helicopter appeared and hovered over the
playground. Then it landed right in front of us! We all had a look around
it and asked the pilot lots of questions. He let us sit in his seat and
make the rotors go round, but we couldn’t fly it.
After lunch, we stood by the big playground again and watched the
helicopter take off and fly away back to its base. It was a great day and
the whole school really enjoyed it.
James B, aged 7
Quantum Theatre came to
Prestbury St Mary’s Junior School on Monday 6 February 2006 as part of our
‘Science Week’ to perform a play about scientific force. I definitely think
that Quantum Leap Theatre has great skill and co-operation between the
actors with an amazingly short amount of time, ten days, to practise one
play that in the end is about one hour and thirty minutes. The actresses
explained that it took an awfully long time to learn how to act as well as
they did, to do all of the quick changes that they had to do and keep in
character throughout the whole performance. One of the reasons that there
were so many quick changes was because there were only two of them playing
seven characters. I thought they were absolutely brilliant and taught me a
lot about force!
by Sophie B (age 9)
At school we had a Science week. We did lots of things during the week
but on Friday the Army came in and showed us their Radio Communication
Systems. They brought in two Army Telephones with a cable stretched across
the middle of the playground, which we were allowed to use. They also
brought in two high frequency radios that broadcast different radio
stations including Radio Moscow. The last thing they brought in was four
very high frequency ‘Walkie Talkies’. They showed us how to work the Radios
and showed us the button that would let us communicate to troops around the
world but we weren’t allowed to. That visit ended a lovely Science Week
that all the pupils enjoyed.
Simon C, aged 9
When Science landed in the School Playground
Why a helicopter? The theme of Science Week was forces, and the aim was
to have hands-on fun, with not a textbook in sight. At the end of each
investigation the question was ‘What have I learned?’, and the children
certainly had fun learning. So why the helicopter? Think how many different
forces are required to fly, hover, land and take off. And this marvellous
piece of Science came to school!
Later in the week the children worked on different experiments with
their own and other teachers; they had the opportunity to follow a Science
Trail investigating their senses – hearing, sight, touch, taste; and
finally on Friday afternoon Dr Keith Ross, a Teaching Fellow at the
University of Gloucestershire, presented awards for Science Enthusiasm
during an assembly in which the children demonstrated to their parents what
they had learned.
How many of you joined the gym after Christmas? Who is still going
regularly! The solution is easy – come along to St Mary’s for a free, fun
We need LADDER CLIMBERS to shin up and dislodge dust from the rafters on
the evening of Friday 31 March (contact Steve Murton for details). We need
GROUND BASED dusters, cleaners and polishers from 10am on Saturday 1 April.
We need LABOURERS in the churchyard to cut back shrubs, uproot ivy and
brambles, trim round graves and sweep paths from 10am on Saturday 1 April.
Plenty of time to chat and banter, and coffee is thrown in. Do join us!
Churchyard and Church Annual Spring Cleaning Day
Saturday 1 April 2006 from 10am
Please come and help if you can, even if only for one hour. More hands
make light work. We had great fun last year and we all like to take a pride
in the upkeep of our Churchyard and beautiful old Church. Bring necessary
equipment if you can. Just turn up at 10am, or you could even come to the
Eucharist first at 9.30!
We also need people to go up the ladders on Friday evening 31 March to
do the high cobwebbing. Please let us know if you can help with this.
Doreen & Henry Morris