At this time
of year there is always a great sense of anticipation and of hope.
As we make our plans for Christmas, we anticipate the variety of services which
help us to celebrate the birth of Jesus: school Christmas services, carol
services, crib services and the uniquely special service of midnight Mass.
One of my favourite stories about a school nativity service
(not in one of our local schools!) is of the little boy who wanted to play the
part of Joseph. He was very disappointed to be given instead the part of
the innkeeper, but he appeared to accept his teacher’s decision and got on with
his part in the play. However, on the day of the performance, in front of
a school hall packed with parents, the boy took his revenge. When Joseph
and Mary asked him if there was any room in his inn, he abandoned the script,
stood back so that the door to the inn was wide open and said, ‘yes there’s
plenty of room; come on in!’
That might not be the way the familiar story goes but I think
the little boy’s actions have some things to say to us at Christmas. We
all are invited to ‘come in’ to greet the holy child, born into such very humble
surroundings. All will be welcomed to the variety of different services
which our churches offer at Christmas as we join together in celebrating the
birth of Jesus, the One who comes to save us and bring us joy. There
literally is ‘room for all’ because God welcomes each and every one of us.
He does not want anyone to be turned away, because He loves each of us so much.
God has shown the depth of that love in His unique gift to us; the gift of His
Son, born as one of us, part of a loving human family; the One who was willing
ultimately to give his life for us, so that we might share in his life, for
We anticipate the celebration of Jesus’ birth, not only
because it is a great excuse for a bit of a party, but also because his birth
gives us hope. Hope for the future. Hope in the midst of much that
seems to be changing all around us. Our Christmas celebrations lead into
celebrations of the new year, with a heightened sense of anticipation for all
that 2011 might bring. Many will be praying that the next year will be
better than the last; others will be going into the new year with a deep sense
of anxiety and uncertainty. However we approach 2011, we should remember
the wonderful promise which Jesus made to us: ‘remember that I am with you
always; yes, to the end of time’ (Matthew 28, verse 20). Jesus promises to
be there with us in whatever it is that life brings; in the happy times and in
the sadnesses; in the pain and also in the joy.
At Christmas, God welcomes us all to celebrate the birth of
His Son, the One who brings hope to the world. God invites us to come in
because He has made sure that there is room for us all.
On Sunday 5th December Fr David is due back from his
placement at Holy Apostles, Charlton Kings. All full-time curates undertake a
placement during their third year and this placement was chosen to help Fr David
to reflect particularly on the difference between working in a Team Ministry and
in a single parish benefice.
When he returns to work in the North Cheltenham Team
Ministry, Fr David will begin the final phase of his training with us.
From December he will be based mainly at St Nicolas’. He will take full
responsibility for the worship on Sunday, including the choosing of music and
liaising with choir and organists. He will work closely with the
Churchwardens and be involved in all aspects of parish life centred around St
Nicolas’ and its local community. He will also be the ‘lead priest’ for
pastoral matters connected with St Nicolas’. All this will hopefully be a
beneficial part of Fr David’s training, giving him the experience of having
priestly responsibility for one congregation and for its church and local
Please will you assist with this part of Fr David’s training
by referring any matters relating to St Nicolas’ to him in the first instance.
This does not mean that you will not see me or any of the other clergy at St
Nicolas’. I am sure that Fr David will be grateful to share the preaching
rota with others!
The Diocesan Synod met at St Nicolas’ Church on 16th October
and I would like to say at this point how much the general hospitality and
efficiency of the St Nicolas’ volunteers is appreciated by Synod Members.
Car parking is always a worry at meetings and the professional service awaiting
arrivals is a great relief.
The results of the General Synod Election were announced.
The three Gloucester Diocese places were won by William Belcher, Cheltenham
Deanery, Graham Smith, and Professor Jenny Tann. On the dominating issue
of the appointment of women bishops, these three representatives speak for,
against and for with suitable provision, so this does cover the mix of feelings
held here in Gloucestershire. As some of you know, I stood as one of the
eleven candidates and I am sad not to be there in General Synod during these
next difficult five years but I wouldn’t have missed this opportunity for
anything because I learned so much about the workings of the Church of England
which will be of great use in the future and it forced all of us candidates to
decide on our deep core values and ideals.
After the usual administrative business, the Severn Vale
Deanery proposed a motion that churches should be encouraged to do more to offer
pastoral support to Service men and women and their families serving at present
in conflict zones. This was because the Allied Rapid Response Corps (ARRC)
are now based at the old RAF Innsworth base and a mixture of soldiers and
families from fifteen nations are now living there. Their Army Chaplain
gave a deeply moving talk on his current role with his men, often performing
their marriages, funerals and christenings terrifyingly close together in tragic
sequences. He described a visit to a soldier’s grieving parents to plan
his funeral. They said they did not want a religious service because they
were not religious people. So he asked them what they did want. They
wanted a service, conducted by him. ‘Where?’ he wondered, ‘In the church,
of course.’ What did they want in it? ‘Well, some hymns, prayers and
a bible reading.’
This hit me somewhere deep down; have we unintentionally
built walls between ourselves as ‘Church Goers’ and those around us who do not
‘Go to Church’? Are we inclined to be a bit like the New Testament
Pharisees? I don’t know how this should be tackled, but tackled it must
be. Their Chaplain’s other very vital message was that please
NEVER describe the Afghan war as a ‘failure’ or ‘hopeless’
in the presence of serving men or their families because that is very
distressing for them.
The financial report was unhappy as always, but the Finance
Board have realised they must give parishes more help to meet their designated
share contribution. So far, this seems to mean the new direct debiting
system they have launched called ‘Giving for Life’. This does mean that
people cannot forget to pay each month and also any gift aid tax relief is done
centrally, saving a lot of work for parish finance officers, but we all hoped
something more might be forthcoming. A representative from a very rural
parish pointed out that their elderly parishioners were giving as much as they
could; and that bigger congregations were needed. We all knew that was the
real answer, I suspect. Apparently, two thirds of parishes need mutual
support and only one third contribute this. Sadly, it seems that some poor
parishes give and some wealthy ones take out.
Thank you for reading this long report but as you can see, it
was a Synod to provoke rather troubled thoughts, not about complicated
administration matters but more worrying basic things, so please get your brains
working as well.
The leadership team within Celebrate! realises we
are all on a journey of growing in our faith and that we grow better together.
After thinking and praying about what might work, we are looking to start a
group encouraging us all to deepen our faith. The idea is that anyone
interested (including children) will meet for food once every 4-6 weeks on
Sunday lunchtime. The meeting will help build stronger supportive links.
In between meetings we will commit to pray for each other, to share in reading a
book or following Bible notes. We hope it will be a network where we can
all honestly share our insights, struggles and joys. The emphasis will be
on being willing to try new things out to see if they are helpful. The
group is aimed at meeting needs within the Celebrate! congregation but
anyone would be welcome. If you are interested or would like to find out
more, please get in touch with Andy or Sharon Macauly (520534).
celebration was held on 7th November for Rockers, whose final session was
on 30th September. Although it is always sad when a group comes to an end,
especially one that has so impacted the life of our community, it is important
to recognise that this level of success and longevity is rare. When
Rockers began in 1975 there was very little for families with young children
locally; today there are activities every morning and a number of
professionally-run nurseries and pre-school groups. For many,
Celebrate!, held on Sunday mornings at 9.30, is providing what some families
with young children are looking for. We should be glad that we are still
connecting with this section of our community, as well as looking for ways to
make more, and deeper, connections wherever we can. Our gathering was a
fitting tribute to this phenomenal ministry. We sang songs, together told
the story of how it began, the people who made it happen (many of whom have
died), offered up prayers: giving thanks, interceding (especially for
Vicky Dunn, who led it until just before her accident in November 2009) and
asking for guidance for the future. It was good to see, too, that we had
one of the first Rockers (Hilary Brick) and one of the last (Mattie Stevens) to
say ‘Thank you, God, for Rockers’. We ended with the prayer:
‘Jesus, may I walk your way in all I do and all I say. Amen.’
Celebratory cake made by Gill Ashman
well with the CHADS Autumn production in Prestbury Hall. We went
anticipating an evening of fun and were not disappointed: they are a
versatile and talented team who had prepared a varied programme of songs, dances
and sketches, with plenty of the local references that appeal to an audience of
friends and neighbours. Subjects ranged from parodies of Shakespeare to
behaviour in church, songs from the shows and cookery demonstrations. The
two charming young dancers starred in several scenes, while the more mature
actors provided humorous dialogues or monologues, interspersed with farce.
Four Girls Bright and Beautiful,
with the pantomime-inspired descent of one lovelorn ‘girl’ into the audience to
select an unwilling partner, was particularly funny.
The sketch which I most enjoyed was Silence is Golden,
in which the whole cast, dressed as Trappist monks, filed creepily up the sides
of the darkened hall to the stage, to give a silent rendering of the
Hallelujah Chorus. Nick Moore conducted with frantic energy as a
recording of the music was played, while the monks held up cards showing the key
words. The cards bobbed up in all directions, faster and faster, and one
monk was overwhelmed by the speed, lost his place and caused chaos, to the
delight of the audience.
Nick Moore, the musical director, provided accompaniment and
continuity with great verve, while Michael Brick was a confident, unflappable
The production raised £1,244.42, of which £1,000 will go to
Let the Children Live! and £244.42 to Prestbury Hall. Pauline
Allen, administrator of Let the Children Live!, gave a short presentation
about the charity’s work with vulnerable street children in Colombia.
Photographs by Brian Wood and Edward Wyatt
Friends of St Mary’s held a ‘Roast Pork and Apple Pie’ evening on 6th
November. This event looked back to the old tradition of celebrating ‘The
Failure of the Gunpowder Plot’. Annual celebrations began here soon after
1605, and by the middle of the seventeenth century records show the church
providing ten shillings for ‘beef and ale’. In 1744 there appears to have
been a period of austerity (familiar to us today) and the church’s contribution
was reduce to eight shillings. In the nineteenth century these
celebrations continued to be a feature of local life, and in 1859 The
Cheltenham Examiner records Churchwarden John Newman,
great-great-grandfather of Maurice Newman, being toasted at the gathering held
in the King’s Arms.
This year excellent entertainment in the form of a
traditional Mummers’ Play followed by folk-singing was provided by the
Gloucestershire Morris Men and Mummers.
at around ten o’clock I hesitantly asked one of the troupe, who was standing at
the back of the hall, how long the folk-singing was going on for, I received
this reply: ‘They go on all night unless you stop them’!
Photographs by Brian Wood
You may well be wondering what has happened to all those
pieces of flipchart paper that were on display in both churches over the summer.
The next phase of the Team Vision Process is now underway and a small group of
people (just three or four) from each church has now collated everything that
was recorded. Reports have been made in November to the PCC outlining the
common themes which have emerged under the four headings: Worshipping,
Serving, Growing, Sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.
From these a separate plan is beginning to emerge for each
church community which we hope will contain some key objectives under the four
aspects of the Vision Statement. These objectives – the basis of the plan
– will help inform the direction our two church communities take in the next few
years. The two draft plans will be discussed by the PCC at its meeting in
January and then presented to the congregations on Sunday 30th January 2011,
which we will be keeping as Candlemas, otherwise known as the Feast of the
Matt and Martin for giving their time and using their initiative in supporting
the Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust sponsored Ride & Stride. They
respectively managed to raise the sums of approximately £400 and £84.
Thanks go to all those who supported this worthy cause.
In the ten years to 2009 over £400,000 has been raised by the
good folk of Gloucestershire. All this money is ploughed back into the
coffers of the Churches in this county.
The date for next year’s ‘Ride and Stride’ will be 10th
The Crucible exhibition in Gloucester Cathedral was due
to close at the end of October. I was so impressed on my first visit that
I had to go a second time. In fact it was extended by a week and I went a
was the idea of the retiring Dean to have a collection of sculpture by British
artists shown against the background of the ancient building. There was
some opposition but he won the day and it must be a great satisfaction to him to
be going out with such a success to his credit. It was certainly popular
and each time I went there was a steady stream of visitors. A number had
come in parties, especially from schools. It was great to see so many
children hugging the life size bear in the porch and then keen to go on inside.
first creation to meet you was outside the building, a massive Vulcan by Eduardo
Paolozzi which you could interpret in many ways. You could not fail to be
impressed by its massive size and the questions which hovered – how much of it
may be human or just robotic. The Bear by Martin Cooper seemed all the
more welcome after this.
On my first visit, I just wandered around, but the second
time I invested in the £1 guide and could catch up on the ones that I had
missed, but which other visitors told me about. I did not miss the huge
Christ at Calvary facing up into the nave,
had forgotten that it was made up from clothes hangers – how ever did he do
that? What I had missed was the Close V by Anthony Gormley which others
had been so impressed by. He is probably our most well-known sculptor now
due to his Angel of the North in its prominent position on the motorway. I
seem to have missed that each time we have gone north, but I did see his
previous piece at the cathedral, made up of a lot of small figures along one of
the cloisters. We also saw his figures on the edge of several high
buildings in London a few years ago and which caused some people to ring in and
say there was a risk of a possible suicide.
always recognize the angular work of Lyn Chadwick, who lived for many years at
Painswick and whose son Daniel had two white marble pieces here and continues to
live at the family home. The large dripping fountain was most impressive
but there were plenty of small items which you could easily miss. Perhaps
the most striking and given the best position, below the high East window, is
the St Bartholomew Exquisite Pain showing the Apostle who was flayed alive,
holding his skin. It is by local artist Damien Hirst, who has caused so
much controversy in the past with his animals preserved in formaldehyde.
The bronze figure stands heroically looking down through the choir and out into
the nave. It must surely belong to some large collection.
took me a while before I realized that there were also plate-like saucers
floating in the ceiling of the nave and it was very relaxing just to sit and
watch them rotate. I could also go back over the years and think of how
many times I had visited this most important building in the county and I
remember Gilbert Harding saying that it was one of the most important in Europe.
Probably my first visit was when I was about eleven and we had been instructed
in Confirmation and had come from our village of Tutshill to be confirmed.
I think we boys disgraced ourselves by giggling, due to seeing girls out of our
class in their white dresses and with veils to match. I received sharp
words later from my father.
The definition in the dictionary says that a crucible is a
pot in which metals are melted, and for this exhibition there must have been a
lot of it in the pot. It was certainly well worth all the time and
In a recent
edition of ‘Inspires’, the Gloucester Diocesan publication, Bishop
Michael presents a positive view of the benefits to the Church of an ordained
Ministry of both men and women. I have myself been in favour of women
being admitted to both the priesthood and episcopate for many decades. It
may be helpful to recall why, historically and theologically, the present deep
division and controversy on the subject has arisen.
Laws discriminating against women are found both in the
Pentateuch of the Old Testament and the legal systems of the classical world.
Jesus himself was born into a very unequal kind of society, but how different
was Christ’s personal approach to women! Nevertheless it would seem that
Jesus only appointed men as apostles, though there is evidence that both women
and men led churches and also that both written and stone records were altered
from the name of a woman to that of a man. The overwhelming forces of the
society and culture prevalent at the time would be stacked heavily against a
woman having the kind of authority needed to preach and teach. Some
argue that a priest is an icon of the male Jesus and therefore must be a man.
However, an American theologian, Richard Norris, supporting the ordination of
women, pointed out that Christ’s attributes should be considered. (1)
Jesus was divine, (2) he was a Jew, and the gulf between Jews and Gentiles was
probably greater even than that between male and female, and (3) he was male.
Only the last criterion is relevant to the male priest of today.
The Virgin Mary and the many female saints, also mostly
virgins, are rightly honoured but that respect never crossed the chasm that
existed between them and the sexually active women who gave birth to children
and were so maligned. Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyons, Clement of
Alexandria, Origen and Tertullian all blamed Eve for bringing death and lust
into the world. Tertullian tells women that they are each ‘the devil’s
gateway’, destroying so easily God’s image in man, and that through them even
the Son of God had to die. Paradoxically, as the image of virgins, and in
particular the cult of Mary as the ‘Mother of God and Queen of Heaven’, grew, so
physically involved women, sex and fecundity were increasingly despised.
Later St Augustine (354-430) wrote, ‘For on account of sin
woman is man’s inferior, symbol of a debasing carnality which draws the male
mind from its spirituality’. St Thomas Aquinas (1225-74), following
Aristotle’s teaching, emphasized that the man was the only active contributor to
procreation and concluded therefore that woman was a failed and defective man.
(The female ovum and woman’s fifty per cent genetic contribution were only
discovered in the nineteenth century.) But in the light of the history of
gender relationships in the Christian Church one cannot be surprised that the
tradition was to ordain only men. However the word ‘tradition’ itself has
neutral connotations, for traditions can be bad, harmful and cruel, or positive,
helpful and relevant. In the twenty-first century the Church is currently
deciding into which category the tradition of male only priests should be
At the beginning of the nineteenth century the secular world
also regarded women as inferior. In Britain they could not attend the
universities or join the professions and were still, as through the previous
centuries, largely under the control of either their fathers or their husbands.
They had no vote even at the beginning of the twentieth century and the Church
of England was among those bodies speaking at first against their being given
the franchise on the grounds that the headship of the man would be compromised
if women helped to frame legislation which men would have to obey. Women
artists and writers were marginalised or ignored, having often to submit
manuscripts under male pseudonyms. Women could surely never be considered
for ordination until probably the middle of the twentieth century, when greater
understanding of gender issues was starting to emerge and women were
increasingly being released from continual childbearing.
The perceived ‘greater’ authority of Rome prevents some
people accepting the ordination of women. One readily acknowledges the
great attributes of the Roman Church, its wonderful liturgy and its truly
inspirational men and women. But historical truth and accuracy have to be
the prime consideration. The crucial and controversial text, ‘You are
Peter and upon this rock will I build my church’ is continually studied and
recent scholars, both Catholic and Protestant, through Peter’s confession of
faith in Jesus as the Messiah, ‘are inclined to regard Peter as the rock, but
functioning in this capacity in an unrepeatable way’. This does not mean,
‘Peter is the first holder of an office others will someday hold’. Today
some Catholic and Protestant theologians think Peter may not have been the first
bishop of Rome, as the earliest and possibly the most reliable records quote
Linus in that role. The Roman Church, however, claims that the popes are
Peter’s successors and Hans Küng, a Roman Catholic theologian, outlines the
corrupt practices over the next five centuries to establish this position.
He says there were ‘in all 115 forged documents by Roman bishops and 125
authentic documents falsified by later interpolations and changes’, resulting in
a successful power struggle for papal supremacy. The Vatican Council of
1870 defining papal ‘infallibility’ proclaimed a doctrine and power base that
would have astonished and been incredible to both the Early Church and
succeeding generations. Some Roman Catholics left the Church and formed
the Old Catholic Church, stressing by ‘Old’ the former truer tradition regarding
the Roman See. The Orthodox Churches of the East have never accepted papal
infallibility or, indeed, the universal jurisdiction of the bishops of Rome.
The question of the ordination of women is a growing issue in
the Roman Catholic Church. The results of polls amongst practising Roman
Catholics in Europe, Australia and North America show a large majority in
favour, averaging 70%. A poll by YouGov this September and quoted in the
‘Tablet’ shows 66% of British Roman Catholics are in favour.
Many Christians throughout the world look forward to the
implementation of a total ministry of both men and women, as envisaged by Bishop
Michael. Perhaps only then will the fulfilment of the Gospel be realised
that in Christ Jesus there is neither male nor female for all are one in Him.
Barton, J & Muddiman, J eds. The Oxford Bible
Commentary, OUP 2001, reprinted 2008.
Hare, D R A. Interpretation, A Bible
Commentary for Teaching and Preaching: Matthew, John Knox Press, 1993.
Küng, H. The Catholic Church: a short history,
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, English ed. 2001, translated from German by John Bowden.
Langley, M. Equal Woman, Marshall, Morgan
& Scott, 1983.
Norris, R. The Ordination of Women and the
‘Maleness of Christ’, extract from Living Worship published in the
Anglican Theological Review, June 1976 and published by the Movement for
the Ordination of Women, occasional paper no 2 in 1981.
The Tablet, Issue of
18th September, 2010.
Every inspired scripture has its use for teaching the truth and
refuting error, or for reformation of manners and discipline in right living,
so that the man who belongs to God may be efficient and equipped for good work
of every kind.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (New English
These days we are bombarded with advice about maintaining a
healthy lifestyle. We are constantly reminded to eat a balanced diet, to
make sure we get our ‘five a day’ etc. Our physical health is important
but so is our spiritual well-being. Just as eating fresh fruit and
vegetables is necessary to maintain our physical health so the regular study of
scripture is necessary to maintain our spiritual health. This passage from
the Second Letter to Timothy mentions some of the benefits. Notice that
the writer refers to all scripture not just the familiar bits!
Accessing the spiritual nutrition offered by the Bible can be
difficult. I know I have felt overwhelmed by the sheer scale and
complexity of the Bible. It is tempting to give up and leave the book
sitting on the shelf, even though a Bible sitting on the shelf is no better for
us spiritually than fruit left in the fruit bowl aids our physical well-being.
The best way I have found of overcoming my problems with
scripture is to join a Bible study group. Such a group brings together
people with different insights, and the use of different translations of the
Bible often throws light on a difficult passage. It is not a teaching
session: the role of the leader is simply to help the group stay on track
and keep to the advertised start and finish times. Joining a group has
other benefits, old friendships are reinforced and new ones made, there is an
opportunity to pray together and to help and support one another.
This form of Bible study does not take the place of the
private devotional reading of scripture, nor diminish the importance of the
sermon; rather it enhances these by setting the readings in context and aiding
When my children were small I used to go to a group
specifically for mothers with young children. With the children playing
happily in the centre of the room we mums were able to read and discuss passages
from the Bible. Now I go to the Wednesday morning Bible study group.
We are currently looking at St Luke’s Gospel but have previously studied Romans
and before that Amos.
Bible study along with public worship and private prayer form
the balanced spiritual diet that helps us to grow and become strong in our faith
so we can do God’s work in the world.
Blessed Lord who hast caused all Holy
Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear
them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience, and comfort
of thy holy word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of
everlasting life which thou hast given us in our saviour Jesus Christ.
Collect for the second Sunday in Advent (Book of Common Prayer)
The ‘Real Christmas’
The Real Christmas this year is on
Saturday 4th December in St Mary’s Church from 2pm until 5pm. We will
be having a Christmas visit from the puppets who were so popular at the Parish
Fete. They will perform a play telling the story of Christingles.
Their puppet choir will sing us some carols and then there will be a chance to
meet the puppets personally.
At 3.30pm the Prestbury handbells will be
unpacked and we will ring some Christmas tunes helped, we hope, by the 1st
Prestbury Cubs, who have already had a very successful practice. Families
and friends can join in and try their hands and ears at this as well.
At 4.15pm the Church Choir will lead us in
some carol singing to get us in practice for the coming Christmas Season.
The usual festive refreshments will be
available all afternoon, with a return of the toasted teacakes which were in
such great demand last year. The children are going to decorate our big
Christmas tree, our friends from Holy Name Hall will be selling the lovely olive
wood carvings and gifts from Bethlehem, the United Reformed Church Christmas
Stall is coming once again and also Wendy Price will be selling Eczema Society
Cards for their final year. Entry is free and you are all invited to come
and spend some time with us.
Parish Events Committee
St Nicolas’ Patronal Festival
St Nicolas’ Patronal Festival will be
celebrated on Sunday 5th December. We welcome the Venerable John
Lewis as guest preacher at the 9.30am Eucharist. There will be celebratory
refreshments after the service. All are welcome.
Christingle Service 2010
in aid of The
December at 4.00 pm
St Mary’s Church,
“Let light shine
out of darkness”
2 Corinthians 4:6
The Christingle Service carries a deep
message of God’s love and is a particularly special way for us all to reach out
together to help children and young people who are in urgent need. The
Archbishop of Canterbury, in a letter supporting The Children’s Society
Christingle appeal this year, writes, “I commend Christingle services as a way
of encouraging children and adults to worship together, responding to Jesus’
message of love and care for the young and marginalised”. During the
service Christingle oranges will be given to everyone who brings a gift of money
for the work of The Children’s Society; this will help them to continue to take
direct action to support disadvantaged children all over the UK.
Our thanks go to Sainsbury’s at Oakley for
providing the oranges for our Christingle Service.
The members of Prestbury MU are invited,
by kind invitation of Fr Daniel and Sarah, to a Bring and Share finger buffet
supper on Tuesday 7th December at 7pm.
Sylvia Mckenzie, Branch Leader
William Tyndale – English Scripture’s Gloucestershire Provenance
talk by the Revd David Gardiner on Thursday 9th December at 2.30pm in All
Saints’ Church, All Saints’ Road, Pittville. Organised by the Friends of
All Saints’ Church. Everyone welcome. Refreshments. Visitors
Advent Quiet Afternoon
On Saturday 11th December Father
Paul will be leading an Advent Reflection in All Saints’, beginning at midday
with a light lunch. Space is not limited but if you wish to have lunch, we
do need to know in advance. Please give your name to Margaret Compton,
Karen Winder or Deacon Jennifer or sign the lists in church.
Regular Youth Group Dates
Elevate: End of Term Party
Sunday 12th December; restarts Sunday 9th January
Synergy: End of Term Party
Sunday 12th December; restarts Sunday 9th January
The Lounge: End of Term
Party Tuesday 14th December; restarts Tuesday 4th January
The Chill: End of Term
Party Thursday 16th December; restarts Thursday 6th January
PPY Year 11+: Party 17th
December 7.30pm onwards
For more information contact
St Mary’s Christmas Choir
Come and sing your favourite Christmas
carols with a friendly group of singers! Why not join St Mary’s Choir for
the Christmas season? Choir practice is from 7pm to 8pm on Friday
evenings, usually followed by a well-earned visit to the Plough. The
ability to read music is not necessary; more important is a willingness to give
it a go and enjoy singing!
If this sounds appealing, please contact the
Director of Music,
Christian Aid carol singing
St Nicolas’ choir will be singing Christmas carols to raise
money for Christian Aid on Saturday 18th December at Sainsbury’s Oakley
store between 10.00 and 11.00am.
Celebration of Christmas
At St Nicolas’ Church on Tuesday 21st
December, at 7.00pm – 8.00pm.
There will be an informal programme of
Christmas songs, carols and readings.
Seasonal refreshments will be served.
a Wakefield Mystery Play
Wednesday 22 December, 7.00pm at the Plough Inn, Mill
Street, Prestbury GL52 3BG
draws together a number of the medieval mystery plays that tell the human story
behind the brief Gospel accounts. The writer allows us to smile at
Joseph’s natural reaction to finding that Mary is pregnant, to laugh at the
sheep stealer and his wife hiding a lamb in the cradle and perhaps to tremble
before the raging of King Herod.
The rough-hewn beauty of the medieval poetry,
retained in this modern English adaptation, allows blood to run through the
veins of the figures familiar to us all from hundreds of Christmas cards, and
gives audiences the chance to wonder anew at the actions of these characters.
Suffused with music, Nativity will be a delightful seasonal treat.
Go2Theatre aims to bring quality
productions to venues throughout Monmouthshire and Gloucestershire. If you
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Candlelit Crib Services
St Mary’s Church
Friday 24th December
4.00pm & 6.00pm
Children are invited to dress as Shepherds, Angels or Kings and to bring a
present for children at The Family Haven in Gloucester
Candlelit Nativity Service
St Nicolas’ Church
Friday 24th December
us for this wonderful time of worship on Christmas Eve
Children are invited to dress as Shepherds, Angels or Kings and to bring a
present for children at The Family Haven in Gloucester
The Family Haven
The Family Haven was established in 1988
to help disadvantaged and vulnerable families in Gloucestershire to a brighter
future. We help parents and their pre-school children by providing a warm,
caring and supportive day centre where assistance and encouragement is available
to help them to improve the quality of their lives.
The Epiphany Supper will take place in St
Mary’s Church after the Sung Eucharist at 6.30pm on Thursday 6th January,
snow permitting!!!! Details will be announced in the pew sheets nearer the
Parish Events Committee
St Mary’s Bakestall
Our November bakestall raised £50 for
Cambodia and brought a record total of £515 sent to the various charities
this year. Thank you to everyone who has baked and bought to enable us to
Next year the first bakestall falls on
Sunday 16th January, when all three teams are invited to contribute to give
a flying start.
Margaret Waker & Linda Matthews
Service to Celebrate the Scriptures, marking the 400th anniversary of the
Authorized Version of the Bible, will take place in Gloucester Cathedral at 3pm
on Sunday 16th January 2011. All welcome.
Decorate a Window Sill –
St Mary’s Flower Arrangers
On Thursday 20th January at 7.30pm
in St Mary’s church Ron Middleton has very kindly agreed to demonstrate how to
arrange a pedestal and a window sill. So many of us are diffident about
offering help beyond our designated dates, because we don’t think we are good
enough. This is our chance to learn something new and become more
Everyone is welcome, so please make the effort
to come, and maybe bring a friend. There will be tea and coffee available,
and entrance is free, though a donation towards the Church Flower Fund would be
Our meeting on Tuesday 25 January 2011
welcomes Julie Jefferies who will talk about her visit to Kenya, and will also
update us on Purity, the young girl who lives in Kenya whom some of us support.
The money helps with her education, etc. The meeting will be at 7.30pm at
St Nicolas’ Church, and all are very welcome.
Mckenzie, Branch Leader
Combat Stress, formally the Services Mental Welfare Society,
cares for British Veterans who have been profoundly traumatised by harrowing
experiences during their Service career. The United Reformed Church in
Prestbury has traditionally had a collection for this charity on Remembrance
Sunday for many years.
The collection this year was taken at St
Mary’s Church and raised £122.55. Thank you to all who contributed.
Please continue to remember in your
prayers all those leading and taking part in the Alpha course on Tuesday
mornings. The group will take a break over Christmas and start again in
the New Year.
Alternative Christmas card
The alternative Christmas card scheme
will be available at St Mary’s again this year. For details see the
pewsheet or speak to
Education and Nurture
We hope to begin the 2011 Anniversary of
the King James’ Version with a one-off presentation to set the scene for a
technology-free Lent, when we will be marking ‘The Year of the Bible’.
We are keen to identify prospective Lent Group
leaders NOW, so that we can arrange to meet together beforehand to look at the
study resources. Please contact Deacon Jennifer if you are willing to lead
a Lent Group. No special expertise is needed – we will be using material
prepared for small groups by our own Bishops and others from the Diocese.
Confirmation in 2011
Please speak to one of the clergy if you
would like to consider joining a confirmation preparation group. This
group will begin meeting in January in preparation for a confirmation service in
Gloucester Cathedral on 7th May 2011.