Are you more of a group person or an individual? The reality for most of us
is probably ‘a bit of both’. In a way this is one of the central questions in
life – especially so for young people as they build their sense of identity
between the expectations of others and their sense of being an individual.
This tension between the community and the individual is something I was very
aware of when the Indaba teams from the Dioceses of Gloucester and Western
Tanganyika travelled to California in November. We realised how flimsy any
preconceptions were which we may have had about people fitting neatly into
groups (conservative – liberal, black – white, male – female). We could
genuinely look around the group and see twenty-four unique individuals, all
bringing something special to the make the group flourish.
One of my special memories is singing our favourite song of worship. Somehow
the faltering nature of the westerners’ Swahili added a real sense of communion
– laying aside our inhibitions for the sake of joining together in worship.
Another powerful experience was our visit to a project called ‘Our Daily
Bread’ near San Jose. It was staggering to hear that this project to feed the
local hungry (whoever may turn up) every Monday, Wednesday and Friday since the
mid 1980s had recently served its millionth lunch! We had a glimpse into some of
the personal stories which made up this community – which at first felt
potentially threatening but was in fact very welcoming.
As a traveller away from home you can feel very alone. In experiencing the
grace of welcome and hospitality, I appreciated something of the church’s
calling to serve our neighbours, whatever their journeys through this (at times,
very lonely) world. Later this month (20-26 February) we welcome our friends
from the Dioceses of Western Tanganyika and El Camino Real – I pray that we
would find that joy of welcoming the travellers – our companions.
As we turn to think about Lent, I was struck by the way in which it combines
that sense of being an individual and part of a community. Before Jesus goes
into the wilderness he is baptised by his cousin, hears the voice of his
heavenly Father, and the Holy Spirit descends on Him. Jesus is reminded of His
identity rooted in divine community which enables Him to move into that solitary
wilderness time. Meeting together through the Lent Course provides that
opportunity to become rooted again in Christian community whilst we also focus
on that deeply personal relationship with our loving God.
May we all better know the God who is true community yet has made and knows
each one of us as unique and precious.
With Christmas only just behind us, our thoughts turn towards Lent which
begins this month on Wednesday 22nd February. All communicant members of
the Church of England are encouraged to attend a service on Ash Wednesday as
part of their own personal preparation for Holy Week and Easter. The services in
Prestbury will be:
10.30am Said Eucharist with Imposition of Ashes in
7.30pm Sung Eucharist with Imposition of
Ashes in St Nicolas’
In the rest of the North Cheltenham Team Ministry there will also be the
following services which anyone is welcome to attend:
2.00pm Said Service hosted by the Tempo Group in
7.00pm Said Holy Communion at St Lawrence, Swindon
7.30pm Sung Mass with Imposition of Ashes in All
Shrove Tuesday Quiet Day
Posters are up in all our churches advertising this day, on 21st February,
which is held in the Cathedral and runs from 10.00am to 3.30pm. The title this
year is ‘Led by the Spirit in the Wilderness’ and, alongside worship,
silence, prayer stations and a sense of space, there will be three addresses,
one by Bishop Sadock of Western Tanganyika, one by Bishop Mary of El Camino Real
and one by the Bishop of Gloucester. Anyone is welcome to attend this free day.
No booking is necessary.
Prayer Every Day in Lent
Bishop Michael is again asking us to ensure that our church buildings are
prayed in every day during Lent. Our normal pattern of Morning and Evening
Prayer and the Eucharist (as set out in this magazine) means that we only have
to add one extra service, in St Mary’s on a Tuesday. This year we will again be
using the service of Compline every Tuesday during Lent at 9.00pm. Compline,
meaning ‘completion’, is a short service which draws the day to a close. Simple
chants will be used with prayers and short readings.
Why not decide to add an extra service to your pattern during Lent? ‘Taking
something on’ is a good way of drawing closer to God during this holy season.
Transforming Life in Lent 2012
This year’s Lent Groups will be ‘Transforming Life’, using study
material produced by the Diocese of St Albans that follows the Old Testament
readings for the Sundays of Lent. Groups will start during the week beginning
26th February. Please sign up on the lists now, to indicate your preferred
weekday and time of day, so that we can begin to link hosts and leaders with
prospective group members.
If you would like to lead or host a group, please contact
We send our congratulations to Fr David who has been appointed to the post of
Team Vicar in the Benefice of Richmond Team Ministry. Fr David will be licensed
by the Bishop of Southwark on Monday 30th April at 7.30pm in St Matthias,
Richmond. We will be organising a coach to take people to the service. More
details will be given in the weekly Notice Sheet.
Fr David’s last Sunday here will be 8th April, which is Easter Sunday. There
will be a ‘Farewell Tea Party’ in St Nicolas’ Hall from 3.30pm. This will be an
opportunity for everyone from across the North Cheltenham Team Ministry to say
‘thank you’ and ‘farewell’ to Fr David and Sarah. During the afternoon, in
addition to tea, there will be a time for presentations and (brief!) speeches.
The afternoon will conclude with a short service of farewell and blessing. This
will be the only evening service in Prestbury on that day but there will be
time, if people wish, to attend Choral Evensong for Easter Day in either
All Saints or St Lawrence at 6.30pm. Please put this important date in your
Thank you to all of you who have taken leaflets and are incorporating this
project into your own prayers at home. We now invite you during the next three
months (February, March and April) to come to church on the day on which your
street will be prayed for. In St Mary’s there are services every day except
Tuesday. At St Nicolas’ there is a service every day (except Bank Holidays) with
three on Tuesdays! Details of all services are on the back cover of this
magazine. Some are early morning, some afternoon or evening; many are small and
quiet, some large and noisy!
Some people have told us that their street is missing, for which we
apologise. We have therefore amended the St Mary leaflet as follows: move
Queenwood Grove from 8th to 7th; add Wayward Lad Close and Bula Way to 8th; add
Tremblant Close and Mill Reef Drive to 9th. It should now read:
7th Southam Road; The Hayes;
Gravel Pit Lane; Queenwood Grove
8th Mill Lane; Upper Mill Lane;
Wayward Lad Close; Bula Way
9th Desert Orchid Road; Midnight Court;
Tremblant Close; Mill Reef Drive
The St Nicolas leaflet remains unchanged. We look forward to seeing you in
church on your day if you can make it.
See the full list.
Murton on behalf of the LMT
What is Messy Church? A contemporary approach to making a meaningful
connection between families with young children and the church community.
In 2004 near Portsmouth a vicar’s wife and a small team of supporters
tentatively invited families with young children to a ‘non-churchy’ event on the
premises because nothing their church offered at that time had grabbed the
imagination of many of the local children. What they started was to grow into
Messy Church, which now has spread to 900 localities in some 12 countries.
That first Messy Church met and continues to meet once a month for about two
hours and offers messy activities suitable for all ages from tiny people with
their parents to people of any age who wish to be there. There will be a
Christian theme woven through every session, perhaps a miracle or Moses or hope.
In addition to the child-friendly creative activities there is time for worship
and, most importantly, for a simple meal together.
Lucy Moore (the vicar’s wife) and her team soon realised that it is critical
to engage the whole family because we all need to learn together that
Christianity is an ongoing journey together and not something you grow out of by
the time you get to about 8 or 11 or 18 or any age. The work is now
supported by the Bible Reading Fellowship and a number of publications are
available so no-one needs to feel they have to ‘re-invent’ the wheel.
I was thrilled and deeply blessed to be able to play a part in the initiation
and setting up of Celebrate! at St Mary’s. We need to thank God for the
connections made in Prestbury village between so many and the church there. As
part of the North Cheltenham Team Vision process I put a question to you. Is
Messy Church something that we could base at St Nicolas’ to grow similar links
in that part of the Team?
It is quite a big task but very much a team effort. Remember our God is a
great God. He has gifted us as a church with people with many talents. When we
seek to do His will He will provide us with what we need and more. There will be
opportunities for food preparers to make simple meals like hot dogs, soup or
pasta. Fund raisers might have coffee mornings. Washers-up will do what the
label says. Some will lead a 5-10 minute worship time. Others may set up tables
or clear away at the end. Musicians could give a lead for songs. Activity
planners will get stuff ready and activity leaders help little hands stick
things onto cards or cut something out.
'Messy Church Logo Copyright Bible Reading Fellowship© 2012.
You may have noticed that all of us in the Local Ministry Team disappeared
from view one weekend in November. Where were we and what were we up to?
Well, we were at Glenfall House, learning to work together as a team. You may
be surprised this was necessary, given that we have had a local ministry team in
Prestbury for ages. Surely we have got the hang of it by now? But of course it
was not that long ago that we had a ‘calling out’ for new members of the team.
And, as any experienced coach will tell you, when even one member of a team
changes, it is a whole new team.
During the weekend we undertook a number of tasks using a structured approach
recommended by the Diocesan local ministry experts. Some of the tasks were
light-hearted. We constructed a beautiful and symbolic display from natural
objects found in the Glenfall gardens, for use during worship on the Sunday
morning. Other tasks were intended to be of practical use once we had returned
home. We started to plan not just how we could let our congregations in
Prestbury know more about what the Local Ministry Team is doing, but also, and
perhaps more importantly, how we could enlist the active participation of more
members of the congregations in the many aspects which make up our life as a
church, so we grow in ministry together.
And, by the way, if you didn’t notice that we were all missing on that
weekend in November, that perhaps makes the point that we need to be more
visible – look out for us, individually and collectively, in the weeks and
months to come. Below is a reminder of who we are and what we look like.
From left to right, back row: Fr Daniel Papworth, Margaret Holman,
Miriam Barnes, Fr David Gardiner, Frances Murton, Jerry Porter,
Fr Peter Brown. Front row: Sylvia McKenzie, Margaret Compton, Liz Greenhow,
Beryl Elliott, Linda Biggs, Clare Wyatt. Fr Michael Cozens is also a member of
the LMT, although not in the photograph.
Representatives from the Indaba Teams will be joining us for worship at St
Mary’s Church on Sunday 26th February for Celebrate! and the 11 o’clock
The Indaba Teams from the Dioceses of Western Tanganyika (Tanzania), El
Camino Real (California) and Gloucester
12th June when I started my placement at St Mary’s six months seemed a long time
and I would like to thank Fr Daniel and the Churchwardens for the welcome and
on-going support that they gave me which in retrospect enabled the time to pass
very quickly. I was glad to share in the life and worship of the church,
particularly by joining in with the Local Ministry Team and the Servers and
appreciate all I learnt from them. My time in Prestbury will inform my
continuing reflections on my future ministry in the Church of England. I haven’t
cut all my links with Prestbury as I am keeping up meeting with the Wednesday
bible study group.
New Year’s Day …
Picture by Kate Bestwick
David, Sophie and Demi socialising after the New Year’s Day service
… and Epiphany Supper
‘Open the Book’ Coffee Morning
Saturday 18th February 10.00am – 12.00 noon
Please join us for a special and extra coffee morning on
Saturday 18th February where Julie Jefferies will be explaining how ‘Open
The Book’ works and the benefits to our local community. This will take place at
Prestbury URC from 10.00 until noon. There will be the usual mix of coffee, tea,
cakes and good companionship!
Prestbury Mothers’ Union
Our next meeting is on Tuesday 21st February at St
Nicolas’ Church at 7.30pm. This will be our AGM and Eucharist, and Fr David will
be with us.
McKenzie, Branch Leader
Dates for the Diary at St Nicolas’
February 25th: Quiz evening
March 24th: Beetle Drive
April 14th: An Evening of Entertainment
Women’s World Day of Prayer – Friday 2nd March
This year’s theme is ‘Let Justice Prevail’ and comes from
Malaysia. Several services are being arranged in and around Cheltenham during
the morning, afternoon and evening of Friday 2nd March. Details will be
published nearer the time.
Day School for Flower Arrangers – Saturday 17th March
This is scheduled for 10am at St Nicolas’ Hall and will be led
by Beryl Griffiths, a well-known teacher and demonstrator.
The event is aimed at church flower arrangers across the
parishes, and offers a rare opportunity for individual help and inspiration, but
should there be enough spaces, others are welcome too.
The cost, to include tuition, coffee and lunch, will be £10
per person, and we are asked to bring our own flowers and foliage, details of
which will be circulated nearer the time.
To reserve a place, please contact me.
Mothering Sunday at St Mary’s – 18th March
As part of our Mothering Sunday celebrations this year, we
would like to ask for your continued valued support in donating posies for our
Sunday services. All posies can be delivered to St Mary’s on the morning of
Saturday 17th March, where there will be buckets of water located by the font
for you to place them in. For further information, please contact Becky Marks.
We very much appreciate all your kindness in helping others to share the joy of
St Mary’s Bakestall
Our January bakestall raised £50 for Mission Aviation
Fellowship (MAF), who are currently flying both workers and supplies to
Sudan for World Vision and other charities.
We are updating our list of bakers and hoping for new
volunteers to replace some of our ‘old faithfuls’ who are no longer able to
support the bakestall. Do think about joining us. This month’s bakestall for the
N-Z team falls on Sunday 19th February.
Margaret Waker and Linda Matthews
World Vision alternative Christmas card
The alternative Christmas card at St Mary’s raised £152 for
World Vision. Thank you to everyone who supported this scheme.
Margaret Holman & Margaret Waker
Thursday Morning Eucharist 10.30am
In 2011 at the Thursday morning Eucharist at St Mary’s we
raised £300, of which £100 was sent to Midlands Air Ambulance. The Finchcroft
Lane Street Party kindly donated £25 to the Church in May, and this is included
in the final figure. After the Eucharist we meet socially for a cup of coffee
and biscuits and most people donate 50p for this. We supervise the coffee and we
usually get various people helping in the kitchen and we do thank them for this.
It has become a very popular service and we do welcome you to join us for this
half hour service away from the bustle of everyday life. You are sure to get a
Doreen Morris & Joan Rushworth
PPY, the charity which runs the youth work in the North
Cheltenham Team Ministry, is looking for someone who can take on the role of
fundraiser. The role will involve planning, preparing and making application for
funds to grant-making trusts and other similar bodies. The work can be done from
home (with a computer and internet access) and PPY can pay for up to 5 hours per
week. This role is really crucial to the future of our youth work and so if you
are able to help us, or know someone who can, please contact
Youth work dates
Elevate (Y6-Y8) Exploring Faith &
Life – Sundays 5.30-7pm, St Nicolas’
Synergy (Y9+) Exploring Faith &
Life – Sundays 7-9pm, St Nicolas’
Chill (Y7-Y9) Youth Club –
Thursdays 7.30-9pm, St Nicolas’
Lounge (Y10+) Youth Venue –
Tuesdays 7.30-9pm St Nicolas’
New Members are always welcome
There are no meetings during half-term (11th-17th February)
For more information contact
Scout Quiz Evening – Saturday 26th November 2011
We went along to this event to support the Scout group and
Linda Jackson and her team. We managed to gather a team of six together and give
ourselves a name. The ‘Allsorts’ tried their best with the many and
varied questions on all sorts of topics. We were not the brightest team
there but we did quite well. The quiz was very well organised and interesting.
The raffle had great prizes and Nigel was delighted to win a voucher towards a
meal at the Royal Oak. Well done to everyone who worked so hard to make this a
most enjoyable evening, not forgetting the people who put on a good cheese and
Well done and keep up the good work and of course Scouting in
|Pictures by Brian Wood
Can you see yourself?
Many of you will remember that a couple of years ago I undertook the John
O’Groats to Land’s End cycle ride
challenge to raise money for Prestbury and Pittville Youth. Not content to rest
on my laurels, I am now intending to embark on another adventure – the Coast to
Coast walk from St Bees on the Cumbrian coast to Robin Hood’s Bay on the North
Sea coast near Whitby, a distance of approximately 200 miles. Walkers amongst
you will probably have heard of Alfred Wainwright, whose life’s work was to map
out and describe, with illustrations, Fell walks all over the Lake District;
reprints of his books are still available. In addition he also traced out the
Coast to Coast walk, which passes through the Lake District, then across the
Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors.
I am aiming to do the walk in May and I should be hugely grateful if you
would feel able to sponsor me in my endeavour. This time I am intending
splitting the sponsorship money equally between PPY and the Friends of St
Mary’s, so watch out for me or someone from PPY or FoSMP waving a sponsorship
form over the coming months.
Many thanks in anticipation of your support.
The group discussion had turned to the topic of street beggars, when one lady
uttered the memorable words, ‘ ... and there’s always a dog!’
That was a few years ago now. But tonight I stopped to chat with the Big
Issue seller on Cheltenham High Street. I told him about our group discussion
and he commented, ‘For the homeless in a cold winter, a dog to sleep with can
make the difference between life and death!’
I shivered as I walked home.
A cathedral is or has been a bishop’s church. In Ireland the diocesan system
was agreed in the early twelfth century, but very many were set up, some serving
very small lordships. No title has ever been extinguished, but mergers began
very soon. Cathedral architecture is usually as splendid as local resources at
the time of building allowed, but few Irish dioceses were as prosperous as
English or Norman ones. Moreover, centuries of warfare have meant destruction of
buildings. Several too were centred on isolated monastic sites, meaning both
disendowment at the Reformation and few local inhabitants to assume support of
the building. Some remain ruined, some were rescued from ruin in the nineteenth
century, others were entirely replaced, often on village church scale, over the
centuries. In addition Roman Catholic cathedrals began to be built shortly
In a summer visit to the slice of Ireland between Sligo and Limerick, I
visited twelve cathedrals, eleven new to me, and a collegiate church. Several
others in this area would have been worth a revisit had time allowed. Cathedrals
whose architecture tends not to attract tourists usually open only for services,
so I had to choose my dates and route to minimise the need to locate and disturb
keyholders rather than minimising mileage. Some castles, archaeological sites
and ruined friaries too were only open at certain times.
Kilmore cathedral, three miles from the border town of Cavan, is
Victorian but succeeds the church of the 17th century Bishop Bedell, renowned
for translating the Bible into Irish Gaelic. The site is ancient but there is
now only a small residential area nearby.