Perhaps some of you have been away on holiday, or taken a day out over
the summer: a journey with a purpose that provides opportunity to see
something new and do something different. Returning to our usual routine,
after such a break, we can find that the experience has given us a new
perspective – a desire to make changes in our life or to embark on a new
September brings a new school term, a new class, new school or college,
perhaps a new job. New beginnings come in many shapes and forms and do not
cease when we stop growing. More than ever, men and women of all ages find
themselves making a fresh start: a second career, changed family
circumstances, maybe even a renewed sense of being drawn to explore the
deeper things of life.
This month marks the beginning of Confirmation Classes for young people
and adults who want to affirm for themselves their faith in the Lord Jesus
and become fully-fledged members of his Church. September also brings ‘Back
to Church Sunday’. A day on which we are encouraged to invite a friend or
neighbour who used to come to church to come along with us. Not just a
campaign to get more people into church, or more money on the collection
plate, but a real desire that they should know for themselves the amazing
power of God’s Holy Spirit at work in their lives.
At the Confirmation Service in November, the Bishop will pray for those
who are to be confirmed: ‘Let your Holy Spirit rest upon them: the
Spirit of wisdom and understanding; the Spirit of counsel and inward
strength; the Spirit of knowledge and true godliness; and let their delight
be in the fear of the Lord.’ Then he will lays his hands on the head of
each candidate with the words: ‘Confirm, O Lord, your servant with your
The Holy Spirit is a powerful force, guiding and strengthening us as we
make our spiritual journey through life; but sometimes we can be caught
out! Just when we have got our plans signed and sealed, along comes this
inspiring wind of change, in a completely new direction, to turn our ideas
Recently I preached a sermon in which I had fully expected to be telling
everyone about loaves and fish. Somehow I ended up talking about the God
who is not just ‘God for the good times’, because the God whose goodness is
so very obvious to us when life is rich and plentiful does not desert us
when things gets tough. When we are struggling with difficulties at home or
work, trying to make ends meet in a financial crisis, coming to terms with
an unexpected illness or accident, or rebuilding a life after a loved one
has died, his Holy Spirit comes to us, inviting us to recognise God’s
presence, even in the middle of our complicated lives.
So the Bishop’s prayer at the end of the Confirmation Service is
suitable not just for those who have just been confirmed, but for everyone
who feels God’s call on their life and is sharing in the journey towards
‘Defend, O Lord, these your servants with your heavenly grace, that
they may continue yours for ever, and daily increase in your Holy Spirit
more and more until they come to your everlasting kingdom.’
Christianity is, first and foremost, an invitation. We read in the
Gospels that Jesus invited people to follow him. He taught people about a
new way of life, inviting them to join in. He challenged people whose
hearts were hard, inviting them to be changed by God’s love. He preached
about God’s kingdom being like an invitation to a party. Of course there
have been times when Christians have overstepped the mark, turning the
invitation into something more demanding. But Jesus himself never forced
anyone to join him and when they refused his invitation he let them go
their way. There were some who felt threatened by his invitation and,
because he would not stop inviting people, they put him to death. On the
cross we see Jesus’ arms outstretched in an eternal invitation. The door to
his tomb stands open, an invitation for all of us to step out into the
So it makes sense that Christians should be hospitable people, inviting
others to come and eat with us, just as Jesus did. In September we have two
opportunities to do just that.
Alpha dinner invitation
The first opportunity is to invite someone you know to come to the
Alpha launch dinner. This will take place on Monday 14th September at
Prestbury Village Hall, Bouncer’s Lane. It is an opportunity to have a meal
together and there will be a brief presentation about the Alpha
Course. Coming to the supper doesn’t oblige anyone to attend the course. We
just want the opportunity to tell people about it. So if you were wondering
why you haven’t been invited, it is because it is your job to invite
someone else! And if you do invite someone, please consider coming too, so
at least there is one person there they will already know.
Back to Church Sunday
The next opportunity is less than two weeks later, on Sunday 27th
September. All over the country thousands of people will be inviting
someone to come to Church with them on that day as part of the Back to
Church Sunday campaign. People lose touch with Church for all sorts of
reasons but millions would come back with an invitation. Last year people
in 3,000 churches across 38 dioceses invited and welcomed back around
37,000 friends. This year every one of the 43 English dioceses is taking
part, with an estimated half a million people being invited back.
So please start prayerfully thinking about whom you could invite to
either or both of these events: a neighbour, a friend, a member of the
family, someone who comes once or twice a year but might come more, or
someone who used to come years ago and is just waiting for an invitation.
Further information about Alpha and Back to Church Sunday
Preparation for Confirmation will begin in September. If you would like
to take part, please speak to Fr Michael or Deacon Jennifer.
Two sessions to encourage and support those helping with children in
Session One: 14th September
‘Help! Why am I doing this and why are they doing that?’
Thinking about children and God, children and community, children and
church – with a bit of bible background, sharing what is happening in
children’s lives, and thinking about their spiritual development.
Session Two: 5th October
‘Help! What am I going to do with them this week?’
Thinking about how to plan a programme, material to use, skills we
already have and sharing lots of ideas!
Led by Revd Dr Sandra Millar, Diocesan Children’s Adviser
Both sessions will be held at St Nicolas’ and will start at 7.30pm
Every member of the Parish Electoral Roll will be receiving a letter
from Fr Michael and Fr Daniel concerning the Ministry Leadership Team. The
following are some extracts from that letter. If you have not yet received
yours, please check to see if it is waiting for you in church. If not,
please take one of the spare letters which you should find there. If you
cannot find a letter, please ask one of the Churchwardens.
In 1999 the Parish of Prestbury was commissioned for Local Ministry and
eight lay members were called out to join the parish Clergy and Reader in
the ‘Ministry Leadership Team’. Local Ministry recognises that all of God’s
people, through their baptism, share in ministry; each one of us is called
to ministry of some kind as an expression of our Christian faith and
The purpose of the Local Ministry Team (or ‘Ministry Leadership Team’ as
we have called it) is to encourage and equip every member to take their
part in God’s mission in the world, to be a catalyst for the ministry of
all. For example, over the years the members of the Ministry Leadership
Team (MLT) have encouraged the ministry of pastoral care in our parish:
hospital and bereavement visiting. Some members have worked with others to
establish the Celebrate! congregation at St Mary’s. Some members
have been involved in Bible study and other areas of Christian education
and nurture. Members of the MLT staff the weekly ‘surgery’, making them the
first point of contact for people coming to arrange baptisms and weddings.
MLT members have visited families in their homes as part of the baptism
preparation programme; they have also been part of a team leading worship
in one of our local Nursing and Residential homes; and they regularly
review the life of the Parish, including significant events.
With some changes within the MLT, and with the blessing of the Parochial
Church Council, we feel this is the time in the life of the Church to seek
God’s guiding and direction through a fresh ‘Calling Out’, so that some new
members can join with some of the existing members on a new Ministry
Leadership Team. To achieve this we would ask you prayerfully, and in
strict confidence, to put forward the name or names of those who you
believe would become valuable members of the ongoing local ministry team.
You may nominate as many people as you wish; however you do not need to
nominate any existing team members. Please note that it is not appropriate
or necessary for you to ask people if they are willing to have their names
put forward. All the names which are given will go to the PCC for them to
seek discernment from God and to recommend those they believe should then
be approached to join the MLT. That part of the discernment process will
take place during a Eucharist on 28th September when each PCC member will
be asked to indicate (in strict confidence) whether or not they would
recommend each person named to be a member of the new MLT. If they do not
recognise a name they will put a mark to indicate that they cannot give a
view on that particular person. Please remember that we are asking you to
recommend people who you think can encourage and enable the gifts of
others; we are not asking for a list of ‘doers’!
The current members of the Prestbury MLT are:-
|Fr Michael Cozens
|Fr Daniel Papworth
|Fr David Gardiner
|Fr Peter Brown
This year a group of seven young people accompanied the Macauly clan to
Soul Survivor, a festival aimed at young Christians, and what was waiting
for them was an unforgettable experience. The festival was centred on two
main meetings a day in which there was time for worship, a talk and prayer.
This was then sandwiched between a huge variety of seminars and workshops,
with cafes, stalls and even a cinema to keep us entertained. As a ‘newbie’
to the ways of Soul Survivor I didn’t quite know what to expect, but what I
experienced has completely turned my life upside down. Before going to Soul
Survivor I felt disconnected from my faith and unsure of my purpose, but
now I feel like a different person, rejuvenated and ready for a life
serving God. During the main meetings, we witnessed many strange and
wonderful things that opened my eyes to the power of the Holy Spirit:
healings, conversions and callings, we have seen it all. Amongst all of
this emotional upheaval, we were all very lucky to have Sharon and Andy,
two great listeners who gave us space to talk about all we had seen, heard
and felt. I also felt that we all came closer as a group and strengthened
our friendships. I feel certain that I will return to Soul Survivor and
will recommend it to any young people who want to find out more about their
faith. After a fun, refreshing (and wet in parts) weekend I look forward to
the future and to using all the skills I have been equipped with to
contribute more in the community.
Chilled time together at Soul Survivor (notice the
Photos from Andy and Sharon Macauly
Soul Survivor 2009
In July ten of us from the PPY group ‘Synergy’ went to the Christian
festival ‘Soul Survivor’ in Stafford. It was a five-day festival with main
meeting worship sessions, seminars and lots of other activities. The group
bonded extremely well and we also met people from another youth group from
Wolverhampton. We could all agree that there was a very strong sense of
God’s presence all week at every worship session, which was shown as 104
non-Christians dedicated their lives to Jesus. Overall we all had an
amazing experience and are looking forward to see it being planned again. A
massive thank you to Sharon and Andy Macauly for all their hard work in
organising the trip.
Worshipping with thousands in the main meeting
It was lovely to see so many familiar faces at the Ordination in June –
some of you were even caught on camera! Thank you to all who supported me
on the Day and also to everyone who joined us at All Saints’ for the
Welcome Lunch in July.
I must say a special thank-you for the gift of two stoles, one white and
one purple, to accompany my red Ordination stole. All three were
beautifully made by Richard Taylor of Oxford, who even managed to produce
two customised designs, which will be familiar to everyone who knows All
Saints’. Thank you too for the many cards and best wishes, some from people
I’ve never even met, but who had seen my name in the Diocesan Ember List.
Returning to my home Team in a new persona is a bit scary, but I missed
you all so much while I was away so it’s wonderful to be back. I shall be
holding you all in my prayers with very much love as we work and grow
Deacon Jennifer with (l-r) Frs Michael, Stephen, David
and Stephen Gregory
A quarter peal of 1273 changes of Grandsire Triples was rung for Evening
Service on Sunday 16th August. The tenor was rung by Ryan Lacroix. Ryan is
a Canadian teenager who had been living near the Church in Prestbury for
the past four years and had asked to learn to ring with us. He had made
good progress and was a reliable member of the Sunday morning service band
and had progressed to ringing at weddings.
The quarter peal was rung to wish him well as he returns with his
parents and siblings to Canada. We shall miss him!
Following the ringing, Ryan’s parents joined the ringers in the tower
for a celebratory drink and specially made cake.
If anyone would like to learn to ring at St Mary’s, please feel free to
contact either the Tower Captain or myself, details inside the front cover
of the magazine. We are always on the lookout for new recruits.
We are hoping to hold an Open Tower day during the Heritage Weekend
(12th September). Details will appear on the pew sheet.
This month sees our now much stretched team leading
Book assemblies in no fewer than three schools! What a great
opportunity to tell God’s story to children who are still receptive and
listen avidly. Please pray for the work being done and, if you feel you
could help us, contact me.
The formation of ‘The Friends of St Mary’s’ is the culmination of much
preparatory work by the churchwardens, the PCC and other individuals who
have recognised for some time that our congregations cannot meet the
financial burden of major repairs to the church as well as the ordinary
day-to-day running costs. We do not have access to external funds or large
grants, let alone help from the state or the local council.
But over and above the financial rationale for self-help, many people in
our community have an affection for St Mary’s even though they are not
necessarily involved in its religious life. They are known to delight in
the peace and beauty of the church, sitting as it does in the heart of the
village. It is these people, with their links created by memories of
weddings, baptisms or local school days, whom we would like to welcome as
‘Friends of St Mary’s’. Other local churches have already trodden a similar
path with great success – a success that is measurable both in financial
terms and in the forging of stronger community links.
Publicity for ‘The Friends of St Mary’s’ started in August with a
leaflet drop within Prestbury. The leaflet, with a foreword by Father
Michael and a reply-paid card, lets everyone know about the setting up of
‘The Friends’ and invites them to become members.
Heritage Open Days
Following the leaflet drop we will have a manned stand in church between
2pm and 5pm on the Heritage Open Days (10th-13th September). This will
provide further information on ‘The Friends’ and will include a sheet
giving answers to ‘frequently asked questions’ such as the purposes behind
the setting up of ‘The Friends’ in the first place, its charitable status,
its constitution, its own proposed committee, its links to the PCC and
committees, how the money raised will be used, the controls to be exercised
over spending money and the cost of membership.
We will also have a draft programme of forthcoming events, which will
include a talk on 31st October by Edward Gillespie, the Managing Director
of the Racecourse, on its history and daily life. Also planned are a
Christmas musical soirée, a bridge evening, a wine tasting and a talk on
Prestbury local history.
We are looking to our congregations to support ‘The Friends’ and spread
the word as widely as possible to all who care for St Mary’s.
Photograph by Ken Bradbury
For nearly ten years members from the parish have been conducting
services in Bay Tree Court. These take place at 5.00pm each Sunday
afternoon and last for about 30 minutes. There are four regular leaders
from the Ministry Leadership Team – Linda Biggs, Liz Greenhow, Sylvia
McKenzie and myself, Fr Peter Brown. The first three conduct a Service of
the Word with three hymns; I conduct a Communion Service, also with three
hymns. They are greatly appreciated by the residents, numbers attending
varying between ten and twenty.
We have a problem! We currently have only one pianist, John Boxwell. He
is very willing and plays at as many services as he can, but it is not fair
to expect him to continue to do so.
You’ve guessed it. We are looking for volunteers. Ideally three more
would be our target so that each would be called on once every four weeks.
However, I think it only fair to any potential volunteers that we accept
having to conduct services without a pianist if we don’t get enough
volunteers to make that possible. So, the bottom line is: we are looking
for volunteers to commit to play at one service every four weeks.
There is music for all the hymns that are chosen, so you won’t need to
know them by heart. The piano is an adequate upright type and is reasonably
well tuned. Any level of ability is welcome.
I can’t stress how important this ministry is for our senior members of
the community who are confined to residential home. If you yourself are not
eligible, please pray for those who are – especially for any who volunteer.
Volunteers, please contact me.
Both Prestbury PCC and All Saints’ PCC have had some discussions
concerning issues surrounding the ordination of women to the priesthood.
Both PCCs identified the possibility of a further meeting which would be
open to anyone who would like to attend. All Saints’ PCC has invited Canon
David Hoyle (Diocesan Director of Ministry) to speak about the nature of
priesthood and to facilitate a discussion. This meeting will be held in All
Saints’ Church on Sunday 4th October at 3.30pm and all are very welcome to
Prestbury PCC members asked for the article which was included in the
magazine in March 2008 to be reproduced. You will find the article, which
was written by Jerry Porter, printed below.
The Legal Details of Ordained Women in North Cheltenham
The Priests [Ordination of Women] Measure 1993 was passed by the
General Synod of the Church of England to make provision for the ordination
of women as priests. Under that Measure PCCs may pass either or both of
this parochial church council would not accept a woman as the minister
who presides at or celebrates the Holy Communion or pronounces the
Absolution in the parish.
this parochial church council would not accept a woman as the
incumbent or priest-in-charge of the benefice or as a team vicar for the
Resolution B applies only to priests of incumbent status – the team
rector and team vicar – not to any curate, house-for-duty priest,
non-stipendiary priest or other ordained minister licensed to the benefice.
(Where the PCC of any parish has passed one or both of resolutions A and
B, the incumbent and the PCC may decide jointly to ask the diocesan bishop
for appropriate episcopal duties in the parish to be carried out in
accordance with the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993. This is the Act
which made provision for parishes opposed to the ordination of women to
receive alternative pastoral oversight from a Provincial Episcopal Visitor,
commonly referred to as a Flying Bishop. Such a petition is often referred
to as Resolution C. No such petition has been made by either Prestbury or
Once passed, a resolution continues in force until the PCC votes to
The Prestbury PCC debated the issue at the time of the interregnum in
1994 and passed Resolution B. This resolution has been in force since then.
When a vacancy arises, as was the case when Fr Stephen Gregory announced
his retirement in 2006, the PCC must decide whether to pass a new
resolution or resolutions, or to rescind an existing resolution or
resolutions, or to do neither of these things. If it does neither of these
things, any existing resolutions remain in force. At the Prestbury PCC
meeting in September 2006, after lengthy discussion of the issues and
options, no motion to rescind Resolution B or to adopt another Resolution
was proposed, with the result that Resolution B still stands.
This means that, whilst the Prestbury PCC does not support the
appointment of a woman as team rector or team vicar, it has no objection to
a woman priest presiding at Holy Communion or pronouncing the Absolution in
the parish of Prestbury.
In benefices (teams) consisting of several parishes, the passing of
Resolution B by any one parish is binding on all the parishes in the
benefice. Of the parishes which make up the North Cheltenham Team, both
Prestbury and All Saints’ currently have Resolution B in force. This means
that at present the team may not appoint a woman priest as either team
rector or team vicar, but a woman priest may preside at Holy Communion and
pronounce the Absolution throughout the team, except at All Saints’, which
has also passed Resolution A.
This article is reprinted from the March 2008 Parish
TUESDAY 28th July saw some fifty people join the Mothers’ Union annual
outing, this year to Winchester. Considering the recent weather we had
experienced it was a relief when Marion Beagley told us that she had
organised dry conditions as well; thus I considered the Beagley
Beatitudes(!): Thou shalt have good weather, thou shalt have fun, etc.
After an opening welcome, and a prayer from Father Michael, the coach set
off promptly at 9.30am. Within two hours, following a stress-free run to
the M4, and thence along the A34, we were exploring this one-time capital
of England, remembering to be at the cathedral shop by 2.00 pm, ready for
our guided tour of the building.
People soon disappeared to the far corners of this historic city, some
admiring the fine statue of King Alfred, some to see the Round Table,
hanging resplendently from the walls of the 13th century Great Hall. We
know it dates from later, and was repainted for King Henry VIII; this
triggered memories of King Arthur, and the later Prince Arthur, born in
this city to fulfil the dream of Henry VII. As we know this did not happen,
and Arthur’s death propelled his brother into the limelight, his impact
familiar to us all. Continuing, it was within the cathedral that Mary II
and Philip II were married, in 1554. Clare and I visited the museum, and
had a whirlwind tour of Winchester, from its earliest days onwards. I
lingered a little longer admiring the beautiful Saxon carvings, protected
by being indoors, and feeling how their skills have been widely ignored.
After lunch, within the cathedral refectory, and graced by many familiar
faces, there was time for an ice-cream before the tour began.
Emerging from the crypt in the cathedral
The original church, founded in 648, became a cathedral soon after. It
profited from the many pilgrims visiting the shrine of Bishop Swithin, and
by the 14th century had grown into the structure we see today. During our
tour we were shown many of the treasures here: the mid 12th century Tournai
marble font, depicting scenes from the life of St Nicholas (Santa Claus);
the mortuary chests, which contain the bones of Danish and Saxon kings
(mixed-up following the Civil War); the crypt (dry, but often flooded, its
entrance is shown); the Holy Hole (allowing pilgrims closer access to old
relics); the painting of Christ on the east end of the vault (as the vault
was blocked up this survived intact); the Lady Chapel (with its walls lined
with paintings showing miracles of the Virgin); and the tomb slabs of both
Izaak Walton (died 1683) and Jane Austen (died 1817). Those who looked up
were able to view some of the one thousand roof bosses.
The tour concluded with a visit to the tomb of Mary Sumner (1828-1921),
the founder of the Mothers’ Union. She lies buried with her husband, Bishop
of Winchester (as was his father) and related to William Wilberforce. Close
by is the house (No 1, The Close) where she and her family lived in their
Gathering round Mary Sumner’s grave
We were back at St Nicolas’ by 6.30pm, having enjoyed a superb day out,
made more memorable by the poignant wet day on the morrow! Thank you
Children from this Parish at the Heart of the Diocese!
The event in the cathedral on 4th July was extremely successful with
about five families from Prestbury participating in a huge range of
activities both in and outside the cathedral. The day began with a march
through the city led by the Bishops which was a great witness. A short act
of worship followed and then families and children explored the many
workshops on offer. The day concluded with a service.
Prestbury and Pittville Youth want to thank everyone who shopped at
Waitrose during June and who put their green plastic tokens through the
slot of the PPY box.
There was stiff opposition from Gloucester Stroke Club and the PDSA but,
after a strong late rally (for which an even bigger thank you), PPY
received a cheque for £240.00 which Andy Macauly and four members of PPY
went along to the store to collect.
Prestbury and Pittville Youth is a registered charity, number 1103099.
If anyone has any other ideas of ways to raise funds for its work with
young people please contact Fundraising Coordinator,
I don’t know what it says about the differences between the sexes, but
on the morning of the fete, whilst setting up the tents and stalls, all the
men thought we would have to move inside by the afternoon. In contrast all
the girls were more than happy to set up outside on the field.
As it turned out, the weather provided perfect ‘fete’ conditions. We had
a record turnout, firstly to watch the dance display put on by Helen Gill’s
performers, and then the ever-popular Doggy Gymkhana organised by Daphne
The Rally car attracted many envious glances and
all the usual stalls and games were busy, particularly the ice cream stall
and the Afternoon Teas run by Marle Hill WI.
The organisers were delighted that the fete raised just over £1700. Many
thanks to all!!
Photographs by Nigel Woodcock
Fifty people put their heads together to help to plan a way forward for
the local youth charity, Prestbury and Pittville Youth, at a ‘Consultation
and Ideas’ Meeting held on 21st June. After a successful first five years,
the charity wanted to make sure they were meeting local needs as they
planned the next five.
Many ideas for young people were put forward including life skills,
safety from crime/drugs, safety on-line, support for young people into
adulthood, offering more to those aged 9 to 13, coping with conflict and
bullying, recognising learning and physical differences, sharing more with
older and younger community members.
People of all ages and interests in discussion at a
Clockwise from the left: Martin Kannreuther, Martin Horwood MP,
the Revd David Gardiner, Huw Roberts (Volunteer Leader)
and young people from PPY
The young people themselves also came up with some ‘dream’ ideas
including ‘Living History’, ‘Having an allotment’, ‘Walk in other people’s
shoes to develop empathy, understanding and tolerance’, ‘A local café run
by young people’, ‘Bring back the community and lose the individual’, ‘More
young people to have a greater impact on decision making’.
Other issues that were considered included changes in the geographical
area covered by the charity which includes Prestbury, large residential
estates across the north of Cheltenham town centre and Swindon Village and
Elmstone Hardwicke. This also prompted thoughts about changes in the
charity’s name and getting young people together who would not normally
The thinkers and planners included around fifteen young people aged 10
to 17, some of their parents, the Cheltenham MP, Martin Horwood, County
Councillor Charmian Sheppard, Prestbury Parish Councillors Les Godwin and
Jeneth Slater, and many interested members of the local community.
For more information contact Prestbury and Pittville Youth Executive
CHRISTIAN faith has a special place for children. They were, and are,
welcomed by Jesus, and held up by him as an example for his disciples (us)
to follow. Children embody so much of what we know about God:
unpredictable, irrepressible, able to experience sorrow and joy, open and
trusting and therefore vulnerable, seeking relationship, faithful in
believing, living in the moment, imaginative and creative, not always
behaving appropriately, abandoned in laughter, focussed in activity,
absorbed in prayer. The psychologists tell us that the child we once were
never leaves us, that each one of us has an ‘inner child’ that gives us the
power to play, a sense of wonder and magic, the ability to be hurt... and
Jesus was also clear that adults have a special responsibility for
children. They depend on us to tell them the truth and not to lead them
astray. They can’t make all the decisions because they don’t have all the
facts. They depend on adults far more than they realise. It is so easy to
leave them out, something we have to constantly watch out for. One example
is the Easter Preface, where we are told:
‘Jesus Christ has conquered the powers of death and
hell and restored in men and women the image of [God’s] glory’
(Common Worship, p.317).
When this was pointed out, Bishop Michael (who is quite an authority on
liturgy) said he was very happy for this to change, and as far as I know
there has been no official revision, so get your ideas to him now!
As you will know, we took an important step forward after Easter this
year with the start of a new Sunday Club at St Mary’s. It means that,
during the first part of the Parish Mass (11.00am), the children have the
opportunity to engage with the Bible readings in their group while the rest
of us do so in our, more adult, way. When they join us during ‘the peace’
they have been enabled, like us, to enter into the experience of receiving
God’s gift of himself and, with the rest of us, are sent out ‘to love and
serve the Lord’. It also means that every six weeks or so the Parish Mass
will be slightly different, being adapted to include the children, so that
instead of anyone going out and coming back, we will be able to spend the
whole worship time as one Church. The first of these will be at our Harvest
celebration on 4th October.
A wise person once said the children are not the Church of tomorrow:
they are the Church of today. They have an equal place, perhaps even a
superior place, to the rest of us in God’s kingdom (perhaps it should be
the adults who go out during the service and come back at the peace!). I
hope that, with me, you will welcome the opportunity from time to time to
worship our loving God all together. Perhaps in this way we may come a step
or two closer to a future we know he has in mind for us all.
The officers of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon
advanced on Jerusalem and laid siege to it, and Nebuchadnezzar himself
came up to the city… Jehoiachin king of Judah, his mother, his
attendants, his nobles and his officials all surrendered to him… He took
Jehoiachin prisoner. As the LORD had declared, Nebuchadnezzar removed all
the treasures from the temple… He carried into exile all Jerusalem: all
the officers and fighting men, and all the craftsmen and artisans…
2 Kings 24:10-14a (NIV) abridged
The Israelites in the passage were about to experience huge changes – a
loss of autonomy, forced removal to a different geographical area,
immergence in an alien culture. The people of Judah (the southern kingdom)
were about to enter an exile that was to last for many generations, some
165 years. The people of Israel, the northern kingdom, had fallen to an
earlier conquest in 722BC as related in 1 Kings 17:1-41.
For the faithful remnant the explanation for this unwelcome change is a
direct result of the people having failed to keep the law of Yahweh and
ceased to worship Him appropriately. It is portrayed as a just punishment.
In time they returned as recounted in Ezra 3:1-3.
Let us consider change and our attitude to it. I am sure you have heard
some people say ‘I like change’ while others moan ‘I hate change’. Why such
Like it or loathe it, change happens. Change is obvious and apparent at
the start of life, hair grows or falls out, a first smile is formed – a new
baby is accepting of being totally dependent on others for all its needs.
Change at the other end of life is different since it mostly consists of
losing abilities which have long been enjoyed, perhaps even taken for
granted – ease of movement, hearing, sight, a pain free existence, sound
There are two types of change. The first is that which is of our
choosing and that we opt into willingly (the cherished infant above) and
the other is when change is thrust upon us and is not what we wish (the
example from old age). In the first category we may chose a holiday
destination or a new job. The second could be a broken marriage or being a
victim of crime.
I am not saying that the change we experience (unlike that from 2 Kings)
is the direct result of any action or omission on our part; rather it is
simply part of the human condition. Change is innate. It comes with the
territory. It is comforting to be reminded that ‘I the Lord do not
change’ from Malachi 3:6, and from the letter to the Hebrews in the New
Testament that ‘Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever’.
Perhaps a third, cyclical, kind of change needs to be added to our
earlier two types. The annual seasonal changes or lunar phases or day and
night… You may care to look at the famous list in Ecclesiastes chapter 3:
‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build…’
To kick against change is not a long-term solution. If it cannot be
altered, it needs to be accepted. But it is comforting to remember that,
notwithstanding how unpleasant change may be, we are never truly alone in
it because our Lord promises ‘I am with you always to the very end of
the age.’ Matthew 28:20.
Mary’s Patronal Festival
Two Cheese & Wine
at Prestbury Hall
on Friday 4th & Saturday 5th September
will be an evening of comic entertainment similar to last year to raise
Let the Children Live!
Both performances to start at 7.00pm
This short informal service for pre-school children and
their parents/carers starts again on Thursday 3rd September in St Mary’s
church. Do come and join us for action songs and a bible story, creative
activity, toys and the opportunity to chat over a cup of tea. We start at
2pm and finish in good time to meet older children from the Prestbury
For more information
This special service for families starts again on Sunday
6th September at 9.30am at St Mary’s Church. Come and join us!
Young children can’t be expected to sit quietly for very
long. At Celebrate! they don’t have to. The whole service is 40
minutes long and includes songs and story, and an activity, usually linked
Everybody is welcome. If you would like to know more
about Celebrate! please contact Fr Daniel.
Sunday Club dates
The Sunday Clubs at St Nicolas’ (9.30am) and St Mary’s
(11am) start their new term on Sunday 6th September. For more information
about the Sunday Clubs please contact
Prestbury & Pittville Youth dates
Youth work restarts this term from Sunday 6th September.
Elevate – Faith & Life (Y7-Y8):
Synergy – Faith & Life (Y9+):
The Chill – Youth Club (Y7-Y9):
The Lounge – Youth Club (Y10+):
For more information please contact Andy Macauly on
Heritage Open Days
From Thursday 10th to Sunday 13th September St Mary’s
Church, Prestbury, will be open to the general public for ‘Heritage Open
Days’ from 2pm-5pm. This is a national event organised by English Heritage
and is advertised on their website at www.heritageopendays.org.uk.
In our church we will be staging an exhibition called
‘The Ways we travelled’. This will cover footpaths, ancient roads,
turnpikes and stagecoach travel, then on to cycles, trams, buses and
trains. There will be many maps, text and pictures, a video about the
Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway and its history. Instruction sheets
for a short historic walk around the village centre will be available.
In the Good Shepherd Chapel we will show a PowerPoint
presentation of the Prestbury Passion Play, made by Neil Jones, whose
wonderful pictures have been displayed in church this summer.
Teas will be served each afternoon in the church and we
hope that the Tower will be open to visitors at some point during the
weekend. There is no admission charge.
Ride and Stride
On Saturday 12th September, the Gloucestershire Historic
Churches Trust (Reg. Charity No. 1120266) will be holding its annual sponsored Ride and Stride.
Every year the Trust makes awards to church communities
to maintain their buildings for worship and a significant amount of money
awarded is raised through this sponsored event. We are appealing to you to
help us give money back to communities which desperately need it in order
to keep their churches open.
You can do this by taking part in our Ride and Stride or
by sponsoring a participant. This year, for the first time, you can also
choose to be sponsored to spend the day carrying out tasks in your own
church or chapel.
Further information, together with sponsorship forms, is
available from your Local Organiser, details below. Each participant can
nominate a church/chapel of their choice to receive half of their money.
The cause is a good one and, although good weather cannot
be guaranteed, those who take part have an excellent day. Please consider
how you can best support the event.
For information about the Trust’s work and how to support
it please look at the new website
The Local Organiser for Prestbury is Nigel
Woodcock (St Nicolas') and Phil Dodd (St Mary's)
In Memory of George Walpole-Brown
An event to celebrate George’s enthusiasm for music, life
and Prestbury will be held on Sunday 13th September at 2.30 pm at the WI
Hall on Prestbury Road.
Royal Oak Brass will play a set of popular tunes and the
Gloucestershire Outward Bound Association will serve afternoon teas. There
is no entry charge, but there will be a retiring collection for two of
George’s favourite charities – the Gloucestershire Outward Bound
Association and a Christian Group doing development work in India.
All are most welcome to come.
St Mary’s Bakestall
The next bakestall, provided by the N-Z team, falls on
Sunday 20th September. Although many will be away, enjoying the weekend in
Sidmouth, we hope for sufficient support to be able to send a reasonable
donation to SOS Children’s Villages, one of our long-standing
Margaret Waker & Linda Matthews
Prestbury Mothers’ Union
Our next meeting is on Tuesday 22nd September at St
Mary’s at 7.30pm. Our speaker will talk about ‘Energy Efficiency’, which
should be of interest to us all in these days of both economic downturn and
global warming. Please join us even if you are not a member.
As many of you know, I am planning to cycle from John
O’Groats to Land’s End at the end of this month to celebrate (!) my
retirement. I am doing this as a sponsored event to support the work of
Andy and Sharon Macauly for Prestbury and Pittville Youth.
I am very grateful to those of you who have already
promised money. There is still time to sponsor me if you would like to. You
I hope that you will be willing to support me in this
escapade, taking advantage of Gift Aid tax benefits if possible.
Thank you in anticipation.
Team Quiet Day
Beyond the Spoken Word led by Father John Mead, Saturday 3rd
October, 9.30am-4pm. Venue: Marist Centre, Nympsfield. Sign up on the
sheets available in all churches from the beginning of September. Further
information from Karen Winder, Margaret Compton or Deacon Jennifer.