Alleluia! Christ is Risen!
He is Risen indeed! Alleluia!
It is good to be in Easter. The journey from Ash Wednesday to Easter Day is
always one that makes its length felt. It is also a period that, if you give it
the time and effort that it deserves, always brings growth to your relationship
with God. I hope many of you have come out of Lent having taken the opportunity
of a Lent course or similar Bible Study and prayer group, and that the
experience helped you in your experience of Holy Week and Easter Sunday.
But now we are here in Easter, where do we go next? Lent was a time of
self-discipline and self-examination. Easter is a time of celebration, but that
does not mean we should let go of what we have learnt about ourselves: rather,
we should now be examining what all of it means in the light of Easter, because
Easter is really the game-changer of all that we celebrate in Christianity.
Easter affords us all the unique opportunities of the Christian faith:
in a God who chooses not to focus on a particular social or ethnic group, but
who offers his saving grace to anyone who will listen (Acts 10: 34-43)
relationship with a God who actually wants a relationship with his people. Not
some distant, uncaring, hands-off God, but a God who is close, loving and
involved, who calls us individually, by name, to be a part of his family.
(John 20: 1-18)
topsy-turvy God who not only became human in the Nativity, taking on our
frailty, but who also shows his love for us in willingly giving up all glory
to die a horrific and humiliating death. Then, through that awful death, shows
himself as all-powerful by making it his triumph.
opportunity of a new perspective in that, as he shared in our death, we can
share in his life, and so can look beyond our earthly situation into the
heavenly inheritance Christ’s resurrection affords us. (Colossians 3: 14)
It is a great thing to be a Christian, and Easter is a time for us to
celebrate, not because it is a hollow party at the end of a period of
discipline, but because we come to understand just how good our God is to us.
So, as we celebrate and rejoice, let us keep in mind all that God does for us,
and consider how it would be best for us to respond. What can we do to show to
the world that we are Easter people? At the very least we can continue to
proclaim, in full voice, our pride in our Saviour:
Alleluia! Christ is Risen!
He is Risen indeed! Alleluia!
How was it for you?
What did you do during Lent? Lectio Divina or Compline? Glenfall or the
Cathedral? Something completely different? Deacon Jennifer would be
delighted to receive some feedback, by phone (700128) or by email.
Reader Ministry Placement
Derek Holden is coming to North Cheltenham on a placement as part of his
training for Reader Ministry. He will begin the placement on 1st May and will
mainly be based at All Saints’ although he might well appear on other occasions
across the Team. The placement ends on 26th June. Derek writes:
‘I am a second year Reader-in-Training on the West of England Ministerial
Training Course (WEMTC) at the University of Gloucestershire. I usually
worship at St Barnabas’ Church in West Cheltenham, together with my wife Sue.
We have three grown-up children and three grandchildren.
I am interested in all forms of music and am also writing a series of
science fiction books. I look forward to meeting you all.’
Guest preacher on 15th May
The Revd Katie McClure, Chaplain for Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation
Trust, will preach at St Mary’s Parish Eucharist on Sunday 15th May. The
aim is to meet a representative of the chaplaincy team, which is part of the
wider picture of ministry in North Cheltenham, so do go and say hello to Katie
and ask her anything you like.
Annual Meetings Report
The Annual Meeting of Parishioners and the Annual Parochial Church Meeting
were held at St Nicolas’ Church on 3rd April 2011 and attended by forty
parishioners this year, with another eleven sending their apologies for absence.
At the Annual Meeting of Parishioners, which took place first, the
Churchwardens for the parish were elected. The results of this were as follows:
With responsibility for St Nicolas’ – Margaret Compton. There were no
nominations for the other vacancy, so that position remains unfilled. Sue Bolton
has served the maximum continuous period allowed under Church Representation
Rules, but will continue until 31st July 2011, when she must stand down for at
least a year.
With responsibility for St Mary’s – Margaret Holman and Mary Turner.
During the Annual Parochial Church Meeting the elections for new PCC members
took place. The results were:
Representing St Nicolas’ – Hazel Langley
Representing St Mary’s – Matt Allison and Nathan Weller
Members for the Deanery Synod were elected (these people also become
ex-officio members of the PCC). The results were:
Representing St Nicolas’ – Janet Ford and Sue Read
Representing St Mary’s – Michael Brick and Diane Singleton
Liz Underwood, PCC Secretary
Meeting on Women in the Episcopate
I hope to express this report as clearly as possible, so I ask you to bear
with me and read it carefully; it was not easy to condense it to one article. It
is vital to state that the aim of the open Deanery Synod meeting on 5th April
was to discuss the proposed legislation to go to General Synod for ratification,
NOT to discuss whether women should be bishops or not. That matter has been
There are two ways forward. The first is to ratify the draft legislation as
it stands; the second is to reject it in its current form and then the General
Synod should consider the objections and re-draft it in a form which would be
accepted. It is important to say at this point that the Archbishops’ amendment
which did this was, at the July 2010 General Synod, passed by the House of
Bishops and the House of Laity but turned down by a very narrow margin by the
House of Clergy.
At our open Deanery Synod meeting on 5th April there were two speakers
invited to explain why, in their opinion, the current draft should be accepted
or turned down. We were not obliged to vote. If we did, it would not be binding
at Diocesan Synod level but would only be to assess what the majority present
felt should be done.
The Rev Leonard Doolan, Vicar of Cirencester, spoke for acceptance. He felt
that the existing scheme of ‘flying’ Bishops Ebbsfleet and Richborough, who care
for those who do not agree with the ordination of women, should not continue
because it was divisive. He felt there should be one ruling for all. All priests
must swear their oath of Canonical Obedience to the Bishop of the diocese in
which their parish stands. He felt that the promise of an established Code of
Practice (as yet to be debated, written and agreed by a future General Synod
only) should be enough to satisfy all. This Code of Practice, although legally
established, would say that it was at the discretion of each Diocesan Bishop to
implement it. At diocesan level it would therefore only act as guidance, not as
The Rev Stephen Wookey, Vicar of Morton-in-Marsh, spoke against the current
proposed form. When it was agreed that women should be ordained, it was agreed
that ‘Two Integrities’ should be allowed. Those men who were in favour of women
ordinands swore canonical allegiance to a bishop who ordained women, those who
were not could do so to one of the ‘Flying Bishops’. The same applied to
bishops. If they felt they could not ordain a woman, then she could be ordained
by a bishop who did. Under this agreement, priests from both Evangelical and
Anglo-Catholic sections of the Church of England have worked happily and now run
many large and successful congregations, doing an enormous amount in community
outreach and evangelism in many needy areas. By refusing these men this option
they are potentially lost to our church as we know it because they would no
longer be able to swear that oath of obedience. In conclusion he felt that it
was not possible to ratify legislation when a major chunk of it, the Code of
Practice, was as yet unwritten, and even once it was written would not enforce
rules across all dioceses, only offer suggestions to bishops. He felt the Church
of England’s great strength was its tolerance and inclusiveness and this was now
to be lost.
A vote of Deanery Synod members approved holding a vote on the draft
legislation by Deanery Synod members and a second vote by everybody present. In
both cases, the draft was rejected.
A following motion requesting further amendment at General Synod has been
submitted in writing to Cheltenham Deanery Synod. I expect our next Deanery
Synod meeting in June will deal with this. It was officially recorded that a
vote on the requested following motion had inadvertently been omitted.
If you have stayed with me to the end of this article, thank you for your
Hodges, Diocesan Synod Representative and ex officio Deanery Synod Member
Four-year-old Reuben serves as Boat Boy for the first time on Mothering
Sunday at St Mary’s
Photograph by Margaret Holman
If your child or grandchild would like to serve at St Mary’s or St Nicolas’
on a Sunday morning, please contact one of the servers for more details.
Pittville Youth AGM
On Sunday 27th March thirty-six adults and sixteen young people attended
PPY’s Annual General Meeting. The evening opened with worship led by some of the
young people from Synergy.
In his youth worker’s report Andy Macauly explained how the charity’s aims of
involving, supporting and challenging young people had been met over the past
year. This was illustrated by two short films about the weekend at Viney Hill.
The films, mostly shot and edited by the young people themselves, were very well
made and highly entertaining.
There then followed a presentation to Tricia Wilson on her retirement from
the executive committee of PPY. In 2004 it was Tricia who liaised with the
Charity Commission and handled all the paper work necessary to set up Prestbury
and Pittville Youth as a charity. Since then she has been its Honorary Secretary
and a chief fundraiser. During that time Tricia Wilson raised over £300,000 for
PPY by making appeals to various charitable trusts. This involves great
determination and perseverance, writing hundreds of letters and filling in
Fr Michael thanked Tricia for all she had done. The Executive Committee
presented her with theatre tickets and flowers and the young people gave her a
scrapbook containing pictures of various PPY activities over the years.
The meeting continued with the Treasurer’s report, which made gloomy reading.
The recent financial situation has made raising funds from charitable trusts
Peter Horn and Jackie Smith were elected to the Executive and Clare Wyatt was
elected Honorary Secretary.
The evening ended with refreshments organised by the young people.
St Mary’s Church Flower Arrangers
We are very fortunate at St Mary’s to have a team of almost fifty flower
arrangers. They give freely of their time and energy to adorn the church with
beautiful arrangements beside the two altars. Each member usually also provides
her own flowers, and maintains them over a two week period with regular visits
to top up the water and remove wilted blooms.
At festival times: Easter, Pentecost, Harvest and Christmas, many arrangers
take on extra commitments to decorate the other areas of the church, with
wonderful results as I am sure you will all agree.
You may have noticed that a collection bowl appears just before these
festivals! At our recent AGM, the accounts worryingly showed a reduction in
donations, but an increase in costs, not only for the flowers, but for oasis and
May we ask you to consider making donations towards these costs when you see
‘the lady with the bowl’ standing outside church! If you prefer, our treasurer
Margaret Waker would be very pleased to receive donations.
Thank you all for helping us to maintain the high standards of floral
offerings in our church.
Don’t Worry, Be Happy
[Jesus] said to his
disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will
eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and
the body more than clothing. … And can any of you by worrying add a single
hour to your span of life? … Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither
toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed
like one of these.’
Luke 12:22, 23, 25, 27 (NRSV)
As some of you may know, I have had to move abroad for the last few months
for family reasons. When this was first planned, I suddenly became aware of how
much I had become attached to the life I was leading: my home, my worship in the
churches of the parish, the people I met on a regular basis. It struck me that
in a sense I had become stuck in a very comfortable rut and that I was averse to
change because it would be such a challenge. Yet I was returning to my home
country, to live in the city I had grown up in, to worship in the church where I
had learnt the main principles of my faith, so in a sense these fears were
irrational but still very real.
It was the awareness that I held so many material things important and
necessary to daily life that showed me that perhaps I was not living as Jesus
Christ would have wanted me to. And so I came here, and found it very hard to
get used to the changes in culture, in ways of worship, in people’s attitudes
and also naturally missed the contact with friends and familiar places.
Certainly a challenge and a huge learning curve!
I have met people who have moved me in many ways, and situations which have
made me review the way I think and how I see my faith life developing. Right at
the beginning of my stay I met again a friend who is blind and has many needs.
One of the stories she told me, whilst being amusing, had a much deeper meaning
too. Pato, as she likes to be called, was attending a Bible study at someone’s
house, and needed a car to take her home. One was called, and soon the doorbell
rang and someone went to answer the door and returned saying in English, ‘Jesus
has come to fetch you in a blue car’ (Jesus is a fairly common name in Spanish).
Pato was quite taken aback, much to everyone’s amusement! But how would you feel
if the doorbell rang and Jesus had come for you? What thoughts would race
through your head? My initial thought was, ‘I’m not ready!’ It is all very well
being told that we should always be prepared, ‘for the Son of Man is coming
at an unexpected hour’ (Luke 12:40) but how hard to follow for most of us!
My time away has shown me that it is God’s creation in all its glory which is
far more important than how many new material items I can amass. That there are
people who live simple lives in conditions which would appal many and yet who
appear to enjoy life far more than many who have much. Worship can be basic but
just as real, with people who have little to offer but their hands and hearts,
and a constant care for those who have less than they do. That beauty is not
just skin deep and dependent on which face cream is used, but comes from the
soul and shines through in spite of suffering or poverty.
‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’ (Luke 12:34)