WEDNESDAY mornings have suddenly taken on a new joy for me – at least for the
duration of the Easter season. As many of you will know, I love reading the
psalms. I might even be called a psalmaholic! What may not be so familiar to you
is that Psalm 139 is my favourite.
So, when I sat down to celebrate Morning Prayer on Wednesday morning during
the week after Easter week, I was excited to see that Psalm 139 is one of the
appointed psalms for Wednesdays throughout the Easter season.
It is a relatively long psalm so tends to speak to me in different ways each
time I read it. What it always does though is to heighten my sense of God’s
intimate relationship with me – even when I am perhaps less intimate with Him
than I would like to be.
I know there are others in our worship community who are as keen as I am on
the psalms. Their reasons for that keenness vary to some extent but, as a
general rule, the psalms offer us ways to speak to God which normally elude us.
How can I, for instance, put into words my feelings of awe for what He has done
for me personally? Who am I, a mere mortal, to praise Him for His wonderful
deeds? Equally, how can I share my sadness and anger, when my emotions prohibit
openness and total honesty with Him? There is something in the psalms for all
occasions, and it is a source of constant joy that they play such an important
role in our Morning and Evening Prayer in this Parish.
I would love to hear from others of you what your views are on the psalms –
especially Psalm 139. How do you use them? What are your favourites? What are
the special meanings that psalms offer to you? Please let me know via email – my
address is in the Parish Magazine – or by snail mail, if you do not have a
computer, or even speak to me – now there’s an idea! I am not into ‘texting’.
If I get a good response I shall publish a further article on the subject.
You never know, reading the psalms could catch on – better still we could have a
repeat of the psalm being so beautifully sung for us at the 11 o’clock Eucharist
in the second week of Lent. Now I am getting carried away – but it would be
wonderful to hear them once in a while.
Spring is well and truly with us now – everything seems to be earlier this
year. How about taking on a new approach to your prayer life and making greater
use of the psalms? This is the time for renewal – why not try it?
consider becoming a collector for the house-to-house collection or organizing a
small group of collectors in an area of Prestbury. More than ever we are being
asked to help those in poor countries combatting the disastrous effects of
climate change, already so evident in many parts of the world. We can do a lot
to help them by taking an envelope to each household and calling back for it two
or three day later for the response. The time spent doing this may be only two
or three hours, but counts so much towards the valuable work done by Christian
Aid through its partner organizations in countries of all the continents. If you
are willing to help, please contact:
Mary’s: Gill Ashman
St Nicolas’: Paddy Spurgeon
At Easter Rosie Bradbury (soprano) and Avril Keen (alto) retired from St
Mary’s choir. They have both been involved in the musical life of the church in
a number of guises for over 20 years. We shall of course miss them and thank
them for their commitment and loyal support. Whilst they have now hung up their
choir gowns, I am sure they will continue to be active with other aspects of
I have been asked several times where the leeks, and often other vegetables,
come from every Sunday morning at St Mary’s. Our unsung hero is John Boxwell –
he is not only a good gardener but also a super pianist, and we have a good time
together when we go to Bay Tree Court and deliver Evensong for the residents,
when it is our turn at Sunday teatimes.
Are you a Pianist?
If you could help once every few weeks by playing a couple of hymns during
the short service at Bay Tree Court on a Sunday afternoon, please get in touch
with Diana Mackie. Thank you.
magazine @ prestbury.net
Most of you do send your magazine articles to the magazine address – thank
you. But some of you are using my or my husband’s private email addresses. The
problem with this is that if we are not at home, then your article will sit
there unopened and will not go into the magazine, whereas if you use the correct
magazine address, then Brian Wood, or sometimes a third person, will also
receive it and will deal with it in my absence.
Similarly for those of you who post or deliver your articles by hand: if you
write ‘Parish Magazine’ on the envelope, then it can be passed on to the person
compiling that month’s magazine. If you don’t, then it will look like a private
letter and will remain unopened until I return home, and may miss the deadline
Prestbury Drama – your chance to become
Following the recent notices about re-creating a drama group in Prestbury we
held a very encouraging meeting in April to see whether this was a viable
proposition. A dozen people attended the meeting, with several sending
apologies, and it was agreed that we should go ahead and see what we can
Our next meeting will be held at St Nicolas’ Church Room on Wednesday 21st
May at 7.30pm, when we shall examine various scripts and ideas with a view to
presenting ‘something’ early in the autumn. There is still time to join us if
you fancy ‘treading the boards’ or helping in any other way that might be
suitable. Please contact me if you would like to hear more.
A Review of this Season
Dad and I have looked back over the NCC’s second season, and, with delight,
note a tremendous improvement in their results of six wins, including a cup win,
and two draws, with 10 defeats, scoring 35 goals, compared with 20 during the
previous season. Leading scorers were Andrew Murton (16) and Andrew Elvidge (9).
We felt the fifth game, against Tewkesbury Trinity Tigers, was the season’s
turning point, resulting in a first-ever league win. With the NCC under great
pressure, and their goalkeeper well beaten, and well outside his area, the
Tigers appeared to be heading for the opening score, as depicted in this
photograph. One defender thought otherwise, and in his desperate run managed to
clear the ball off the line, epitomising the never-say-die determination the
team has shown throughout every game. Well done to all concerned!
A line from the NCC Captain
As NCC stepped onto the pitch for the last game of the 2007/8 season against
Gloucester the feeling of expectation rather than hope that was amongst the
players surely summed up what a vastly improved campaign it had been. Victory
would have secured 4th spot for the Undertakers – a far cry from the solitary
point gained in the previous season leaving the team bottom of the league.
Unfortunately a typically spirited effort from all the boys went unrewarded as
Gloucester sneaked a last minute winner.
Many thanks to everyone who has contributed on and off the pitch this season
– our position once again at the top of the fair play league speaks volumes.
Bring on next season!!!
A line from the NCC Manager
Well, what a season! The summer saw steady activity in the transfer market.
We lost two regular players (Grant and Graeme) and gained some new faces (Aj,
Duncan and David). Our youth system continued to produce with James Radburn
becoming an established member of the side. But the core of the team remained
the same and regular training sessions throughout the summer meant we were well
prepared for the new season.
Despite an increasing confidence within the team we had the most
disappointing of starts – three straight defeats. Then something just seemed to
click and we went on a record-breaking run of five victories and one draw in our
next six games. We were majestic – our defence was assured, our midfield fluent
and our attack potent as we beat the best the Cotswolds Churches League could
offer. Then, unfortunately, Christmas arrived and the mid-season break saw a
turn in our fortunes. A combination of injuries and bad luck meant that the
second half of the season couldn’t live up to the early promise.
It’s a measure of how far we have come that in the end we are slightly
disappointed in our final position of seventh. The team has vastly improved in
the past twelve months. Whereas last year we concentrated on defending and
keeping the score respectable, this year we have felt confident of beating any
side in the league. Although most players have been called upon to play in
multiple positions, there is now much greater coherency to our play, and a good
understanding of the strengths of other members of the team. Whilst there have
been many memorable individual performances during the season, they have been
spread throughout the squad. All our players have improved during the season
both personally and as a team.
Finally whilst it’s true to say that we have become more competitive, with
some tense, hard fought games, we have still played the game in a sporting
manner. So, whilst it is good to have started winning games, we haven’t lost
sight of the main purpose – to have an enjoyable game of football.
continued from last month
‘NOW THIS is where your holiday begins’ said Angie, our tour leader.
Having arrived late, we had a quick transfer to the landing stage, where our
first shock was to see two sea lions reclining where we should have sheltered
from the sun, one on the bench and one underneath. ‘Do not touch them’ said one
of the naturalists, ‘they are wild animals’. The second shock was that our yacht
Isabella II was not there for us to board, it was anchored out in the bay and we
had to don life jackets and travel out by panga.
After a hasty lunch due to our late arrival it was up on deck for lifeboat
drill then back into the pangas for our first trip ashore and about a two mile
walk. This proved to be the pattern for the next seven days: breakfast, leave
the yacht at 8.30am, return between 11.30 and 12.00, lunch, leave again approx 2.30pm, back 5 to 6pm,
6.45 talk and orientation for the following day by Antonio (one of the
Naturalists), 8pm dinner, after which we were ready to retire to bed. The first
night some of us did venture on deck and saw sharks following the ship and
another evening we all went star gazing from the deck. A new island was visited
each day and during this time we saw amazing birds, sea lions, land and marine
iguanas, nests, chicks, both blue and red footed boobies and frigate birds
showing off with pride their courtship display by inflating an enormous red air
balloon at the throat.
Landings from the pangas were varied, some wet landings, some on to rocks or
lava and when it came to travelling in the glass bottom boat, that was an
adventure in itself in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, sitting on the edge of
the panga and swinging your legs into the adjoining boat; we were quite blasé
about all this come the end of the week. The hazardous transfers were well worth
it when you surveyed the wonderful sea life below the boat, a view those who
went snorkelling also experienced.
Walking on the islands could also prove tricky as we walked on lava, rocks,
climbed rocky uneven surfaces, but also beautiful
golden or white sand, saw the world’s largest tortoises, smallest penguins and
strolled into a long lava tunnel. We also crossed the Equator three times in one
day and the Captain called us to the bridge on one occasion and we drank a toast
There is much more I could write about but space will not permit, so what
lasting impression did I bring home with me? Well I felt very privileged to have
been able to walk on islands never inhabited by man and to see natural wild life
in its own environment yet with no fear of humans.
We left the UK shortly after Christmas and returned to find Lent already
started. So what am I going to give up this Lent? The answer is simply
nothing!!!! Instead I am endeavouring to go for a walk each day, enjoy the fresh
air, observe new life as it breaks forth this spring and really appreciate this
wonderful world God has given us.
I said earlier in this report that I would reserve judgement on whether the
holiday really began when we reached Galapagos. Well the answer is it was a
wonderful, wonderful experience and with great companions; but it was certainly
the most energetic I have ever undertaken.
Keen together with Eleanor Knight
JESUS said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water
will thirst again but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will
never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become to him a spring of
water welling up to eternal life.’ John 4:13-14 (RSV)
As my Lenten reading this year I decided to embark on an older book, William
Temple’s Readings in St John’s Gospel, first published in those ominous years,
1939 and 1940. William Temple was Archbishop of Canterbury, one of the great
moral forces of his time, an outspoken advocate of social reform, crusading
against usury, slums, dishonesty and the aberrations of the profit motive.
Unfortunately his tenure of the post was short, from 1942 to 1944, and he died
at the early age of sixty-three.
It is not always easy or comfortable reading but it is full of rewarding
insights and encouragement to those of us who find the theology and reality of
the Incarnation difficult to comprehend or to appreciate. Temple is constantly
aware of our need for reassurance and in his comments on the conversation
between Jesus and the Woman of Samaria he stresses its relevance to our
Christian discipleship. Jesus was actually wearied by his journey, tired and
thirsty when he said ‘Give me to drink’ and we need to be reminded that he drew
the woman into conversation by asking for her help from his real need. Christian
aid workers often find it difficult to offer service to those whose lifestyle is
so different from their own. Temple illustrates this by relating the occasion
when a helper left well-appointed premises where he needed nothing his
neighbours could supply and went to live in a workman’s flat. The first evening
he needed a hammer and went to borrow one from those in the flat below. At once
the relationship was different – there was something that they could do for him.
In the same way, Almighty God seeks to win us to fellowship with him by
putting some part of his purpose into our hands. He makes himself dependent upon
us as Jesus was dependent on the woman of Samaria for the quenching of his
thirst. He asks for our service. ‘How is it thou askest of me?’ we might well
ask. We know you can do all things. We have nothing. We are surely not fit to
offer the meanest service. Surely God will first require and help me to form a
character worthy to serve him. No, it is only through service that such a
character can be formed. Christ did not first make his disciples saints and then
give them work to do. He gave them work to do and as they did it, they became
closer to the character that was worthy of the demands made on them. The service
that he asks of us is a real service; yet it is for my sake and out of love for
me that he so orders his world as to need my service, inadequate as it so often
is. He does it because he loves us. He rejoices that we should be
‘fellow-workers with him’ (read 1 Corinthians 3:9). If he were not Love he would
have no need of us; it is his love that needs us and should prompt us to reach
out to those who offer us the opportunity for service, even if this sometimes
means accepting others’ consolation rather than offering our own, or sharing
their doubts than providing our certainties.
Ascension Day –
Thursday 1st May
10.30 am Said Eucharist St Mary’s
7.30 pm Team Sung Eucharist All Saints’
Ascension Day is a major Feast Day in the Church Calendar and
a day when all who are confirmed should attend a Eucharist to celebrate our
risen and ascended Lord
‘Tongues of Fire’
Our next Quiet Day is on Saturday 10th May, the day before
Pentecost, at Nympsfield Marist Centre from 9.30am to 4.00pm. The cost is £15
per person, to include lunch and other refreshments during the day.
Please sign up on the sheets in church. Further information from Margaret
Compton (St Nicolas’), Colin Holman (St Mary’s) or Karen Winder (All Saints’).
Ecumenical Service for
Christian Aid Week
On Sunday 11th May at 5pm (please note the time) there will be an
Ecumenical service at St Michael’s, Whaddon. This is an opportunity to meet
together with our friends from Churches Together and celebrate not only
Pentecost but also the start of Christian Aid Week. Do join us. NB there will
not be a 6.30pm service in St Mary’s on that day.
St Mary’s Bakestall
The next bakestall falls on Sunday 18th May, with
contributions gratefully received from the N-Z surname team. The profits will go
to MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship).
In March we were able to send another £50 to Care
International for them to take further advantage of the EU scheme to quadruple
donations. In addition we managed to send £30 to Water Aid via the Glastonbury
Appeal. A very good year so far!
Linda Matthews & Margaret Waker
Corpus Christi –
Thursday 22nd May
10.30 am Said Eucharist St Mary’s
7.30 pm Team Sung Eucharist St Mary’s
An opportunity to join together to give thanks for God’s gift
of the Eucharist
Through the Eyes of an Artist
On Saturday 24th May at 7pm in St Mary’s Church we are holding
an evening event entitled Our Heritage through the Eyes of an Artist. Derek
Henman, an established local artist, has drawn in pen, pencil and ink the parts
of our church which the quinquennial review considered in need of repair. These
pictures have now been elegantly framed and Derek has donated them for auction
to raise money for the repair fund.
Fr John Mead will give a short explanation of quinquennial
reviews, after which Derek will display photographs of his drawings on the
screen, with explanations. There will then be an opportunity to view the
original pictures during a fork supper. At 9pm the auction will commence. It
will be an entertaining evening even if you are not intending buying.
Tickets priced £6, to include supper and a glass of wine, are
available from Margaret Holman, Lynda Hodges and Janet White. There will also be
a licensed bar.
Parish Events Committee
At our March meeting we were privileged to hear from the Revd
Maz Allen of the United Reformed Church. Her subject was ‘A Kenya Presentation’
and she told us of her on-going work in Kenya at the St Stephen’s Orphanage,
where street children are supported, cared for and educated. Although we were
all aware of the many, many street children all around the world, we found it
horrific to hear that some of these children were as young as three years old.
Imagine our own children and grandchildren being abandoned at that young age to
tend for themselves in a frightening and violent situation.
We were deeply moved by their plight and immediately agreed
amongst ourselves to adopt a little girl of seven years old, and enable her,
through our donations, to have a secure and safe future, where she can be
educated and cared for by loving staff. We will be fund raising for her over the
years to come to ensure that she is provided for. Anyone wishing to help us in
this task can speak with any MU member or directly to me. All donations will be
gift aided and used for her benefit.
This month’s meeting will be held on Tuesday 27th May and will
be an in-house study using MU material. It will take place at the URC, Deep
Street, Prestbury, at 7.30pm. All are welcome to join us.
Eucharist with a Difference
The next Eucharist with a Difference at St Nicolas’ will be at
9.30am on Sunday 15th June. Do join us for this slightly different way of
celebrating the Eucharist.
Advance date for Diaries
Prestbury Open Gardens
Saturday 21st & Sunday 22nd
2 – 5 pm
With cream teas in St Mary’s Church
3 – 5 pm
Please tell all your friends and help to make the weekend a great
All proceeds to Church funds.
Important Date for your Diary
Ordination Service –
On Sunday 29th June at 10.15am in Gloucester Cathedral
David Gardiner will be ordained as a Deacon to serve in our Team Ministry.
The Cathedral would like to know how many people might be attending the service.
Please let Fr Michael know ASAP if you intend to go.
Ordination Sunday – 29th June
Please keep the afternoon free so that you can attend the
welcome tea party for our new curate, David Gardiner and his wife Sarah. This
will be held in the garden of Prestbury Vicarage – let’s hope the weather’s
Outing to Hereford Cathedral
The Mothers’ Union summer outing will take place on Tuesday
22nd July. I have arranged an outing to Hereford Cathedral, where our own Fr
Paul Iles will give us a guided tour of the cathedral. I have booked a 52-seater
coach, which will enable husbands, friends and others to join us if they wish.
The coach will leave St Nicolas’ Church at 9.30am. On arrival at Hereford your
time is your own but anyone wishing to can enjoy a lunch-time concert in the
Cathedral, followed by the tour at 2.00pm. We will leave for home at 4.30pm.
The cost for the return fare will be £8.00 per person and any
profit will go to support our little adopted girl from Kenya (see above
article). Please let me know a.s.a.p. if you would like a place on the coach as
I expect there to be a good take up for this trip. Your name with a
non-returnable £5.00 deposit is all that is required at this stage.