ADVENT is the time when we wait and prepare ourselves to greet the Lord
Jesus when we celebrate his coming into this world at Christmas. It is also
a time of change in the Church’s year, a time of endings and new
beginnings. Many of us do not really like new beginnings because they take
us into areas of uncertainty and we are reluctant to let go of the things
we know and understand, all those things with which we have become most
comfortable. Few of us really like change because it challenges our sense
of security. Even those aspects of our lives that are not so good can seem
better than the unknown that lies ahead.
And yet this next stage of our journey is not all unknown for we have a
familiar story to take with us, the story of a man who looked on outcasts
with affection, who spoke words of forgiveness to those who could not find
it anywhere else and who died for his friends. We hear again the story that
was told by Jesus’s remaining followers of their commitment to their work
of spreading the Gospel. It is our story too because Christians are the
people of the story. We tell it again and again through our worship,
through our acts of service, by growing together as Christian brothers and
sisters, by witnessing to our faith in word and deed in our daily lives. We
tell the story so that it may enter into us until it becomes part of us and
we tell the story so that we may become part of it, because the story is
Worshipping, serving, growing, sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ:
these are the tasks that we have set ourselves as a Team. This is a summing
up of our vision for the future of the mission and ministry of our
churches. Where will it all lead us? I cannot say, for that is the unknown
part of our pilgrimage from God and our returning to God. As we journey we
may find that our progress is often slow as we move forward step by step.
We may sometimes find ourselves tempted to give up or to go off in a
different direction, but we must persevere because the important thing is
the journey that we are taking, and taking together. We still have an
important part to play in making the story a reality both in our own lives
and in the lives of other people.
Worshipping, serving, growing, sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Let this be our story as we begin a new year in the life of our Team.
At a public ceremony recently, Cyril received a Long Service Certificate
from Gloucestershire County Council in recognition of his twenty-four years
of service as a school governor. Cyril had been a foundation governor at
both St Mary’s Infant and Junior Schools. Latterly he served solely at the
Junior School, where he was kept well and truly busy as Chair of the
Premises and Finance Committees as well as being Vice-Chair of the
Sheila and Cyril
Cyril had experienced many changes in governorship over the years as it
shifted into the highly accountable, policy-statistic-target focussed role
of today and he talks nostalgically of his early days as governor. The days
when he physically dealt with the vagaries of school drains, heating,
lighting and was on call ready to bale the school out of yet another flood.
Cyril worked tirelessly raising funds to build the present day Infant
School. For years he has negotiated with school architects and contractors,
always with that uncommon common sense that characterised his style. He has
dealt with and understood the complexities and changing systems of school
finance and budgeting.
Cyril, you were remarkable in the generosity of your time, your
knowledge and commitment. We thank you. We miss you… and who is going to
cook the food at the governors’ barbecue in the summer?
Daphne Philpot, Chair of
Governors, St Mary’s Junior School
A few weeks ago I went to the Street Pastors launch at Cambray Baptist
Church. Twenty-five volunteers have been accepted for training during
November and early December and are hoping to be on the streets in time for
Christmas. To start with they will be working only on Saturday nights,
though they hope eventually to add Fridays as well. A further group will
start training in the New Year. There are some bookmarks in both churches
with more information. Please take one for your prayer time.
Saturday 5th December is the date of our pre-Christmas celebration this
year. For those not in the know, the ‘Real Christmas’ afternoon is a time
when we mark the start of Christmas preparation. This isn’t another bazaar,
although we will have a sprinkling of little stalls, Holy Name Hall
representatives will bring olive wood carvings from Bethlehem, the United
Reformed Church will have some of their lovely hand-crafted cards again,
and there will also be mulled wine for all, festive nibbles and tea.
Celebrate! will be running a Christmas decorations workshop and
the Sunday Clubs of St Nicolas’ and St Mary’s are joining together to run a
‘Star Workshop’. These stars will decorate lots of homes for certain but we
are also hoping for some super ones to decorate both churches this
Christmas Eve as well. The church choirs join us for carol singing, David
and Diane Lyle bring the handbells for us to try our hands at ringing more
carols, the Christmas quiz in aid of
Let the Children Live!
will be revealed and Nick Moore has agreed to provide some festive music.
A couple of days earlier some of the men of St Mary’s will have cut our
big Christmas tree and hauled it down from Queenswood ready for the
children to decorate. A working party will be assembling Christingle
oranges for the service the next afternoon and members of the clergy will
be with us to lead our thoughts to the real meaning of Christmas, the
meaning that is so easily lost beneath all the tinsel and high powered
shopping. Everyone is welcome for an easygoing family afternoon, 2pm to
5pm. Admission is free, of course.
Parish Events Committee
Since the opening of the colony in Spring 2008 the Beavers have been
very busy working towards their challenge badges. Last month seven of the
Beavers attained their Chief Scout Bronze Award. Some examples of their
challenges included ‘doing their best’, visiting the local synagogue and
fire station, having a sleep over, learning about fair trade (eating
bananas dipped in chocolate), visiting the Robins football ground, packing
a rucksack for a hike and taking part in a keep fit session.
The 1st Prestbury Scout group is always looking for volunteers. In
January we are keen to re-launch Cubs and hold meetings every week. If you
are interested in helping as part of a team to support the re-launch, or
have admin or IT skills and able produce fliers or newsletters to support
the Scout group, or would like to help with some fundraising events, please
contact Linda Jackson.
Used postage stamps
Do you throw away your used postage stamps? Please don’t. Let me have
them (foreign and commemoratives only please). As Christmas approaches we
shall all be getting more so please start saving them now. The Scout
Holiday Homes Trust has specially adapted caravans in various seaside
locations available to handicapped Scouts and others and their families.
Used stamps and post cards can be sold to provide much needed money for the
upkeep of this greatly appreciated facility. Many Thanks.
November seems to have been a month of new initiatives…
* The CORE project is a partnership between PPY and The Rock –
providing an alternative curriculum for students from St George’s Centre.
The initial project focuses on team work, serving others and learning new
skills. There has been some excellent engagement by young people –
particularly enjoying the chance to develop skills in digital photography.
* Community Challenge is a small group project with students from
Pittville School based around involvement in community action projects. Our
first challenge is to prepare the Whaddon Children’s Centre’s allotment for
the growing season. The group have amazed us so far with their level of
commitment and team work. We are looking forward to our Christmas BBQ to
round off the challenge!
* Stephen Murton successfully completed his (nearly) 1000 mile cycle
ride in aid of PPY. A group of ten leaders and young people
accompanied Stephen on the Cheltenham leg of his trek. As well as the money
raised it has been a great chance to explore further learning about healthy
lifestyles with young people. Thanks again, Stephen! (See
Stephen’s articles in this and
magazines and elsewhere on this
website for photos and details.)
* Our commitment to supporting the transition to secondary school
has meant that we have opened one of our groups, Elevate, to young people
in Year 6. This has been greeted with enthusiasm from the young people and
will help to build relationships before young people make what can be a
challenging move. New young people of the right age are of course welcome
at all of our groups.
Thanks again for your support! Do please pray for the work.
Youth Group Dates
- The final youth group sessions this term are on Sunday 13th December
- Groups restart from Sunday 10th January.
- The PPY Team Christmas Party in on Saturday 19th December in
Whitethorn Drive at 7.30pm.
- There will be a PPY Team meeting on Thursday 7th January in St
Nicolas’ Church Room at 7.30pm
For more info on any of the above please contact: Andy Macauly
When Fr Daniel asked if I would like to write something for the parish
magazine I did my usual trick of saying yes before I had engaged my brain!
So here I am staring at a blank piece of paper, wondering what on earth I
should write about.
To coin a very familiar phrase perhaps I should ‘start at the beginning
– a very good place to start’. By ‘beginning’ I mean by introducing myself.
I can hardly believe it has been two years since I took up my post as
Resident Director at Glenfall House, the Diocesan retreat and conference
centre. I have worked in retreat houses all my working life, since
graduating in theology almost twenty-five years ago – it is a fantastic and
valuable ministry. When I arrived at Glenfall I was already exploring my
vocation to ordained ministry in my previous diocese of Worcester. It had
been a long journey, mostly because of my denial and reservations that God
would be calling me, along with a sense of being quite happy with things as
they were thank you very much.
However you can only ignore things for so long, and so after twenty
years I decided the time was right to put it to the test. So having arrived
in a new job, with a new house, new diocese and new parish church I found
myself, four months later, going to a selection conference in Ely – rather
hoping that the answer would be no. Of course, God has a sense of humour
and so the answer was yes.
The months since then were spent a little adrift, with me not really
feeling a sense of belonging – the diocese that sponsored me handed me over
to Gloucester, because that was where I now lived, and of course I was no
longer heavily involved in my local parish. I was in a new job with all the
demands of evening and weekend work that being in a residential post holds,
and I certainly did not want to march into St Mary’s Prestbury expecting to
have a ‘role’ – especially when I could not commit to much on a regular
basis once training had started. Training started in September that year,
and life became a hectic whirl!
Over the past eight weeks I have been on ministerial placement at
Gotherington, Oxenton and Woolstone, part of the Bishop’s Cleeve benefice.
I have been assisting with services, pastoral visiting and preaching. It
has been a richly rewarding experience, and has enabled me to realise that
I need to work out how I can fit in to the life of St Mary’s, what gifts I
can bring, and how the parish can play its part in my ministerial
development. I look forward to being back amongst you over the coming
weeks, and to seeing what the future holds.
I Need Help!
In March every year Prestbury life, particularly at St Nicolas’, is
affected in some way by the Gold Cup week. While the intrepid ‘car-parkers’
brave the weather and make a lot of money a small band of others serve
coffee, tea and biscuits to race-goers, coach drivers, Police and anyone
else who feels the need. For about ten years I have been involved and for
the past seven have organised this small but vital service. Last year I
decided five mornings plus the buying and organising was too much and cut
it down to four. This year I really must cut down further.
PLEASE, I NEED SOMEONE TO HELP.
(continued from last
Having enjoyed the company of Prestbury and Pittville Youth as far as
Frampton, where we picnicked on the green, I continued on my way to Bristol
for the overnight stop. A relatively short stage on the following day gave
me time to visit I K Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge and take in the
views over Bristol and the Avonmouth Gorge. I consequently had a rather
late coffee stop at a pub and was sorely tempted by their Sunday carvery,
which was just getting under way, but I already had sandwiches made up. My
B&B stop for the night was a nice 16th century farmhouse just outside
Taunton, with a dairy herd of about sixty cows, plus assorted farm cats.
Unfortunately the village pub was unexpectedly shut, so although they
didn’t officially do evening meals, the farmers very kindly prepared a meal
Taunton Castle Gate
After having had pretty good weather thus far, things took a turn for
the worse from now on and the next three days got progressively wetter.
Fortunately I was able get clothes dried out at my overnight stops, so at
least I started the day dry, but I left small puddles of muddy water on the
floor at two coffee shops and a McDonald’s as a memento of my visit. I gave
thanks for bridges and bus shelters under which to hide for lunch breaks
and that my panniers lived up to their advertising as being waterproof.
From Taunton, my route took me via Teignmouth, then to the south of
Dartmoor via Totnes, crossing the River Tamar on the Torpoint ferry at
Plymouth, finally arriving at my overnight stop with family in Liskeard.
On the penultimate stage from Liskeard to Penzance, I was beyond wet,
with spray from overtaking lorries and cars determined to add to the deluge
but the wind was finally, for the first time in the journey, right behind
me from the north east all day and I was regularly seeing 20mph+ on the
speedo – hooray! But, in the only mechanical ‘incident’ during the whole
trip, by the time I reached Penzance I had no brakes left, having had to
use them frequently since the start to prevent myself running out of
control down some of the more hair-raising descents with blind corners;
fortunately there was a bike shop still open in Penzance, and I was able to
buy some new brake blocks.
Waking early on the final morning, after the previous day’s appalling
weather, I was greeted by an absolutely cloudless sky for the final
ten-mile stretch down to Land’s End where my cousin from Liskeard had
driven down to wave me over the finish line (yes, there is actually a
Start/Finish line painted on the road!) and take photos. Then all that
remained was to get back to Penzance (into the wind again – grrr!) to catch
the train home, and with time to spare I was able to detour along the
coastal B roads and visit the open-air cliff-side Minack Theatre at
So that was it. In all a total of 994 miles, compared with my original
planning estimate of 970 – the extra miles being accumulated through a few
brief, but unmissable diversions to places of interest close to my route,
including Dunnet Head, Lake Windermere, the Garden of Remembrance at
Lockerbie and the Minack Theatre at Porthcurno on the way back to Penzance
from Land’s End. I passed loads of cyclists doing the trip from
Lands End, but encountered very few doing it north to south! At one point I
even encountered a cycling holiday tour group whose support vehicle had a
trestle table laid out in a lay-by with refreshments!!
Amazingly nothing went wrong with me (apart from getting wet, and the
inevitable aching legs and occasional knee twinges which passed off), or
mechanically with the bike – apart from the replacement brake pads. I
averaged about sixty miles a day and, with breaks, I was cycling from about
8.30 in the morning until around 5.00-5.30-ish in the evening. As a result
of the strong headwinds, my average speed was only around 10-11 mph, but I
did manage to hit 30mph on a few occasions and I am sure I could have
reached 50mph if I had not held onto the brakes on some of the more
exciting descents, but when you can’t see what’s round the corner…!!
And finally, most important of all, thanks to people’s enormous
generosity across the churches in the Team, I managed to raise in excess of
£2000 for the work of Prestbury and Pittville Youth! Thank you to all who
supported me both monetarily and by keeping me in your thoughts throughout
On Saturday 31st October some eighty members and supporters of the
Friends of St Mary’s met in the church to enjoy the first in a programme of
social events to raise funds to assist in the maintenance of the church
facilities. After being greeted with a welcome drink, the audience were
treated to an excellent talk by Edward Gillespie, the manager of the
Prestbury Park race course. In a very interesting and amusing session,
Edward traced the history of horse racing in the area right up until the
present day. During questions he explained his thoughts on future
developments at the race course. This included the possible new stadium for
the Robins. If built, this would also provide new permanent hospitality
accommodation for the races. He believed that this was probably now on hold
for the time being. More likely was a new quality hotel for the race
course, if a suitable site could be found.
During a splendid two course supper produced by the ladies of the
Friends of St Mary’s Edward remained to talk with many of the people who
had enjoyed his presentation.
This was a successful event with which the Friends are well pleased and
they would like to thank everyone for their support.
The next event in the Friends’ calendar is a bridge evening at the
church on Friday 15th January.
Friends of St Mary’s – Bridge Evening
We are holding a Bridge Evening in the church on Friday 15th January. We
hope that all keen bridge players will be able to come. The evening, which
includes supper and a drink, starts at 7.30pm. Tickets (£15) are available
from Jim Mackie, telephone Cheltenham 524213. All the proceeds will go
towards the special fund for the upkeep of the church building and
The Diocesan Synod runs in blocks of three years and this autumn meeting
was the first of the new triennium 2009-2012 so for the next three years
you will continue to have updates from me.
From slight bewilderment as a novice representative three years ago I
have developed into a seriously committed member. It is complicated at
times but it is a relief to know exactly how we stand in these rather
ominous times. To spur us on in a positive spirit we met at 9.30am in the
cathedral quire and shared a beautiful sung Eucharist. The sense of purpose
was helped by an awareness of nearly a thousand years of Christian prayer
held within that magnificent space, vast but also intimate as we packed the
Bishop Michael gave the presidential address. He explained the motive
behind our alliance with dioceses in Sweden (Lutheran), South India, Africa
and California. He feels that in this troubled and ever changing world,
Christians must unite and develop friendships in which they can discuss
problems and differences in an honest fashion, learning from each other by
sharing successes and failures, to speak out but also to
LISTEN to all the various points of view. This reminded me of the
old adage, ‘a trouble shared is a trouble halved’. He asked particularly
that we in Gloucestershire should work in the same manner: talk together,
eat together, pray together and in that depth of fellowship it will be
easier to find a just and peaceful way forward in our parishes. I found it
a very thought provoking address.
The Synod was held in the Chapter House after a hasty coffee break.
Appointment of officers to fill vacant posts, budget and financial matters
were dealt with first. The clergy pension fund is causing even greater
concern. Before 1977 all such matters were dealt with centrally but due to
the worsening financial problems the Church Commissioners transferred the
burden to the dioceses. They are now requesting that the Commissioners
should revert to using some of their capital assets to assist once more
because it is impossible to meet the increasing level of funding required.
We parishes donated £5.7 million towards the diocesan running costs last
year but we need to increase our share by 4% to restore the spending power
to that of 2006 due to increased cost of living. The board of finance is
taking drastic measures to help. Stipend and salary costs are frozen,
trainee curate places are cut by one. When vacancies in parish clergy posts
arise new appointments will be held over for six months and the
accommodation let on a six month lease to generate extra income. The
contribution to the Church of England nationally will be reduced also.
Bishop Michael and the Board of Finance felt ashamed at having to do this
but it is totally unavoidable. If funds are not there they simply cannot be
We ended the morning on a far happier note with a presentation by a
visiting team on ‘Fresh Expressions’. This is an ongoing national project
to reach people who have little or no real knowledge of the Christian
faith. They have no interest in any kind of organised worship so things
like ‘Back to Church Sunday’ are complete non-starters for them. There are
many different ways of finding the love of Christ to discover and put into
action BUT, and this is the important bit, this does not involve the way in
which we are worshipping as a congregation now. We are looking at ‘Not only
but also’. My first response? Bewilderment. But then came realisation. In
Prestbury we already have Rockers, Celebrate!, the Alpha Course, The
Lounge and The Chill and now the new Friends of St Mary’s. These are all
fresh expressions, ways of making contact with others in our local
community who don’t come to church to worship. In Surrey a group was rather
humorously started as a holiday club for the retired and they set about
doing some of the things that you enjoy doing but wouldn’t do alone! Sooner
or later the feeling of comradeship, giving thanks for this and gradually a
kind of praying evolved. God is worldly wise light years beyond any of us.
In Prestbury this idea will probably surface again in another form but
don’t draw back in suspicion, just remember, ‘Not only but also’.
We have recently returned from two weeks in La Grande Motte, a 1960s
French new build town on the Med in Languedoc-Rousillon, about ten miles
from Montpellier and west of the Petite Camargue.
It was with much delight that on one of our forays into the Camargue we
discovered the Basilica Abbey Church of St Gilles Gard, in the somewhat
isolated and impoverished town of St Gilles. Here, we learnt about the
Abbey’s link to the Pilgrims’ Route to Santiago de Compostela. Not only had
we holidayed near Santiago with our family in 1998, but I also joined the
Prestbury and All Saints’ pilgrimage in 2006. These connections inspired me
to explore the St Gilles Abbey Church during our visit and have inspired me
to share the following information in the hope of bringing back memories of
According to legend, Saint Giles, otherwise known as Aegidius, was born
in Athens during the middle of the 7th century. He came from a rich family
but renounced all his wealth to become a hermit, firstly in Arles and later
in the Flavienne Valley, where his sole companion was a doe which provided
him with milk. One day King Wamba of Wisigoth was out with his huntsmen and
Giles was accidentally wounded by an arrow meant for the doe. As a peace
offering Wamba granted him the valley, where he was asked to found a
monastery. The hermit was known for his numerous miracles. He died in 720
or 721. His cult (which has a following even today) believes in his ability
to protect people against fear and fire, to heal them of all nervous
illnesses and to safeguard their children.
The town of St Gilles Gard was once an important medieval port. St Giles
(Aegidius) is buried here in the Abbey Church, which was one of the most
famous places of pilgrimage during the Middle Ages and also the first
stopping point for pilgrims bound for Santiago de Compostela in Galicia,
who were following the Via Tolosana which led from Arles to Toulouse and
crossed the Pyrenees to join other routes.
The Abbey Church (listed in 1998 among the UNESCO
world heritage sites) was originally established by the monks of Cluny
Abbey as a shrine to St Giles.
During the Wars of Religion the church was twice destroyed by the
Protestants and the interior is without interest. Fortunately the catholic
army arrived before Duc de Rohan, who was knocking the church down for the
second time, was able to get round to the west front. The catholic army
saved a masterpiece of medieval sculpture, rivalled only by St Trophime. It
is among the most beautiful of the great Romanesque portals and a
definitive example of the Provençal Romanesque.
There are three doorways linked by a colonnade and richly adorned with
sculptures of the life of Christ. Nearly all the scenes are taken from the
Gospels, except for a few from the Old Testament such as Balaam on his ass
cursing the Hebrews. Other animals represented are bears, lions, camels,
monkeys and, if you can call it an animal, a centaur.
The sculptures are the work of different schools: the central portal,
which is the earliest, was carved by sculptors from Toulouse at the end of
the 12th Century, while the other two, postdating the Crusader conquest,
were by northern artists from the Île de France. The statues of the
Apostles, which are later still, seem to have been the work of local
The crypt is the same size as the church above and is in fact an
underground church, one of the earliest in France to be built with ogival
vaulting. Here is the tomb of St Giles, hermit and thaumaturge, to which
the pilgrims used to flock. The crypt has remained as it was in the Middle
Ages. It contains the sarcophagus of the saint rediscovered in 1865 by
Father Goubier and bears the inscription:
IN H TML QI
C B AEGD
(Here lies the
body of the blessed Aegidius)
Our digital camera does not do justice to the detail of the façade.
However, the www link below provides an overall view. Should you be
travelling through the Camargue in the Arles / Aigues Mortes area you will
pick up the tourist signs to St Gilles, portraying the superbly sculpted
12th century façade of the abbey church. It is well worth a diversion.
References: The Companion Guide to the South of France
It turned out that whenever
Moses raised his hands, Israel was winning, but whenever he lowered his
hands, Amalek was winning. But Moses’ hands got tired. So they got a
stone and set it under him. He sat on it and Aaron and Hur held up his
hands, one on each side. So his hands remained steady until the sun went
17:11-12 (The Message)
I have chosen three passages for this article. Two deal with delegation
and the third with support where delegation is not an option.
In Exodus 18:13-27 Moses is the leader and so the people come to him,
firstly to learn about God, but also for advice on their problems and for
him to arbitrate in their disagreements with each other. Whether Moses has
set this up or whether it has just developed over time we do not know, and
it is irrelevant anyway. It is how things are. It takes an outsider,
Jethro, who happens to be visiting, to see how tiring and time-consuming it
all is. ‘You’ll burn out… you can’t do this alone…’ he says, and tells
Moses to choose competent people and appoint them as leaders over small
groups. They will judge routine cases, and will bring only the complicated
cases to Moses. ‘They will share your load… you’ll have the strength to
carry out whatever God commands you, and the people will flourish also.’
In Acts 6:1-7 we see a similar situation. The new Christian church was
growing rapidly, but some of the day-to-day running was being overlooked in
the excitement of evangelism: one group felt that another group was being
favoured in the daily distribution of bread. How we interpret that into our
modern-day situations at St Mary’s and St Nicolas’ I don’t know, but their
solution was that the leaders called a meeting and said: ‘It wouldn’t be
right for us to abandon our responsibilities for preaching and teaching the
Word of God to help with care for the poor.’ Care of the poor, however, was
important, so seven trustworthy people were chosen and commissioned to deal
with the distribution of bread, while the leaders got on with their
‘assigned task of prayer and speaking God’s Word’.
In the Church of England, and in most other Christian denominations,
distinction is made between those who are ordained and those who are not.
On the whole our ordained clergy are our leaders, but that does not absolve
the rest of us from doing things. Much of the running of a Christian
community can be ‘delegated’, but our leaders cannot delegate to us unless
we are willing. I know we are sometimes reticent in offering to help with
things in case it is interpreted as criticism of the way those things are
currently being done, but maybe there is scope for us to do more.
Some things, of course, cannot be delegated, which brings me to my third
passage, Exodus 17:8-13, part of which is quoted above. Amalek has attacked
Israel, so Moses tells Joshua to select some men and go and fight, while he
stands on the top of the hill holding God’s staff. It seems that only Moses
is allowed hold up the staff, and when he tires, as all humans do, the
other two give him their support to enable him to continue.
As we enter the new Christian year this Advent, and the secular New Year
in January, let us resolve to be Aarons and Hurs and support our leaders in
whatever way they need; let us resolve to take on extra tasks, however
small, thus setting our clergy free to lead both us and others nearer to
St Nicolas’ Patronal Festival
St Nicolas’ Patronal
Festival will be celebrated at the 9.30am service on Sunday 6th
We welcome the Revd Dr
Sandra Miller, Diocesan Children’s Officer, and the service will
include a unique St Nicolas’ drama.
At 11am, after
refreshments, there will be a short organ recital given by
Colin Smith, former organist at St Nicolas’
All are welcome
Shining light into darkness…
This year’s Christingle Service in aid of the Church of
England Children’s Society is in St Mary’s Church at 4.00pm on Sunday 6th
Christingle is a simple, moving service with great appeal
to children, young people and their families. Christingle oranges are
presented to everyone who brings a gift of money for the work of the
We hope that you will be able to come and help raise
money to brighten the lives of children for whom Christmas would otherwise
be a rather bleak time. We hope to see you there!
Last year’s quiz was very successful, and we are hoping
for more entries this time. If you are looking for something to test the
knowledge of family and friends please buy a copy for £1. All proceeds will
go to Let the Children
Live!. After going on sale at ‘The Real Christmas’
quiz sheets will be available in St Nicolas’ and St Mary’s. The first
correct entry selected after Saturday 2nd January will receive a book
The MU Christmas Social is on Tuesday 8th December at
7.30pm at Tatchley House, hosted once more by Barbara Lyle. Please bring a
small plate of food to share and something for a bring and buy stall to
raise funds for MU causes overseas. Please note this is a week earlier than
published in our programme.
Our first meeting in the New Year will be on Tuesday 26th
January at St Nicolas’ at 7.30pm. Our speaker will be Edward Wyatt, whose
subject will be In the footsteps of George Fox. This is a follow-up
power point presentation following on from last year’s interesting and
The Christmas Story –
The Message in the Cards
An illustrated talk by Vivien Northcote at St Nicolas’ on
Thursday 10th December at 7.30pm. All are welcome.
World Vision Alternative Christmas Card
We should like to invite you once again to take part in
this scheme which we have supported for the past seven years. Instead of
sending individual cards to all your church friends, just bring one card
with your personal greetings to display in church and make a donation to
For almost sixty years World Vision has worked with
vulnerable children, families and communities to overcome poverty and
injustice. Much has been achieved by working in partnership with other
organisations such as Viva, Toybox and United Christian Broadcasters, which
reaches thousands of people every week through their radio, TV channels and
Margaret Waker pp Margaret Holman
Christmas singers wanted!
If you would like to sing Christmas carols with the choir
at the Carol Service (20th December), Midnight Mass or Christmas morning,
why not come along to choir practice at St Mary’s? The practice is from 7pm
till 8pm on Friday evening, and is usually followed by a visit to the
Plough. Anyone interested in joining us for this period would be more than
welcome. The ability to read music and sing like Aled Jones isn’t vital;
enthusiasm is far more important!
David Smith, St Mary’s Organist
St Nicolas’ Church
Thursday 24th December
Do join us for this
of worship on Christmas Eve
All are welcome!
Children are invited to dress as
Shepherds, Angels or Kings and
to bring a present for a needy child
St Mary’s Church
Thursday 24th December
4.00pm & 6.00pm
Children are invited to dress as
Shepherds, Angels or Kings and
to bring a present for a needy child
All are welcome!
The Epiphany Supper will be held in St Mary’s Church on
Wednesday 6th January after the Festal Eucharist, which will start at the
earlier time of seven o’clock. The Parish Events Committee is delighted to
announce that the folk singer, Nick Holditch, will be with us and
entertaining us between courses. Together with Lyndon Doddington he is also
giving the opening concert at the first ever Cheltenham Folk festival in
St Mary’s Bakestall
The proceeds of the November bakestall, amounting to £39
were shared, as planned, between the Alice Glenister Foundation and
the Cambodia Trust. This year our total giving to the charities we
support stands at £433.50. Thank you to all our bakers and buyers who made
this possible. Quite an achievement!
There will be no bakestall in December, but business as
usual for all three teams on Sunday 16th January.
Margaret Waker & Linda Matthews
On Saturday 6th February from 10am to 4pm at Hucclecote
Methodist Hall, the Revd Andrew Braddock, Diocesan Missioner, will help us
explore what Mission means in practice. He will explore ways of helping
local congregations to grow in faith and confidence so they are better
placed to reach out and connect with their communities.
To book a place, please contact Sylvia McKenzie.
Team Pilgrimage to Walsingham, May 2010
A North Cheltenham Team Pilgrimage to the Shrine of our
Lady, Walsingham, is being planned for the May Day Bank Holiday Weekend
2010, ie from Friday 30th April until Monday 3rd May. If anyone is
interested in joining us or would like to know more about Walsingham (the
shrine, accommodation, sample programme, transport, cost), please contact
me. Booking forms and more details will be available early in the New Year.
Colin Holman :
Open the Book
Thank you to all who supported the coffee morning at the
URC in November. We raised £124.50 towards new props for Open the Book. Our
team currently goes into three local primary schools to read and act out
Charity Bike Ride
In September, my son Thomas cycled from Berlin to
Istanbul (over 1800 miles) with three other student friends, raising money
for Camfed and Teenage Cancer Trust. There is a blog about this ride on
Donations can be made via
www.justgiving.com/berlintoistanbul/ for Camfed and
www.justgiving.com/berlintoistanbul2/ for Teenage Cancer Trust.
Stephen S Wilson