THERE is a shiny new bridge over the lake in Pittville Park. We came across
it on a family stroll in mid-March and, seeing it for the first time, I
commented that it is a good place to put one (I later found out it replaces one
that was destroyed by fire six years ago). Looking with different eyes, Sarah
said: ‘It will be a real temptation to tired runners looking for a shortcut!’
We all experience tiredness sometimes. It comes in different forms. How do we
stay fresh, energised and open to the world around us? For Christians the answer
lies in prayer. It is tempting to think prayer is about talking to God, not
least because church services tend to be quite wordy. Those who lead formal
prayers regularly have to learn to express in words what we all want to say. It
is not easy, and I am frequently impressed by the depth of spirituality that
people bring to the task. However, it is important to realise that prayer does
not start with asking God for things and is not about finding the right words.
It begins with a movement of God towards us.
The bridge is a great metaphor for prayer, a place of connection, a two-way
movement that brings us back to what is essential. This particular bridge, with
its images of life and activity (designed by students from Pittville and
Dunalley Schools), reminds us that ‘Prayer leads us at one and the same time
towards God and towards the world’ (Br Alois of Taizé,
And every human being can do it from birth, turning our hearts towards the
source of life, growing in our awareness and ability to choose to walk this
Although it may seem too obvious to say that prayer is what God seems to be
doing in Prestbury at the moment, I will risk it. I have a sense that people are
being prompted to give time to prayer: finding quiet places to be still;
learning to put into simple words the desires of their hearts; rediscovering
ancient prayers that have inspired people in the past; or finding new ways to
pray that involve bodily movement, artwork and music.
Have you been rediscovering prayer recently? If so it would be good to hear
from you. The bridge that is prayer is, as I have said, open to two-way traffic.
You never know where the voice of God may come from, but you will recognise it.
His words always bring peace, hope, joy, encouragement, never condemnation or
threat. It is he who meets us, as on that first Easter morning, and puts new
life, new energy into us.
Fr David’s last Sunday will be 8th April, which is Easter Sunday. Where have
the past, almost four years, gone?! It has been a real joy to have been able to
accompany Fr David on these first few years of his ordained ministry during
which we have all seen him grow in confidence and in the skills with which God
has blessed him. People across our Team Ministry will have reason to be thankful
for the ministry which Fr David has shared with us in so many different ways,
through his leading of worship and his excellent preaching, his pastoral care,
his work amongst our young people and, during the past year, his leadership at
St Nicolas’. All of this work has been done with Fr David’s natural enthusiasm,
warmth, humour and sensitivity and, of course, supported all the way through by
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.
The Annual Parochial Church Meeting, which follows the Annual Meeting of
Parishioners, will take place on Sunday 22nd April at St Mary’s Church at
6.30pm. This is a chance to come to hear a review and reports of what has taken
place during the last year, together with plans for the future and an
opportunity to ask questions.
At the meeting elections to the PCC take place. Nominations for PCC members will
be displayed on the notice boards of both churches for at least the two Sundays
prior to the meeting. Candidates should be on the electoral roll of the parish
and must be proposed and seconded by a person who is also on the parish
electoral roll, and they should also be asked if they are willing to stand!
The Annual Meeting of Parishioners, which begins at 6.30pm, is a short
meeting to elect Churchwardens: two for St Mary’s and two for St Nicolas’.
Candidates must be nominated and seconded before the meeting begins and
nomination lists will also be displayed on the notice boards of both churches.
Anyone resident in the parish or on the parish (church) electoral roll may
attend the Annual Meeting of Parishioners and vote for churchwardens. Only those
on the parish electoral roll may attend the APCM.
Debbie Forbes, PCC
Parochial Church Council
The Parochial Church Council (PCC) acts like the trustees of a charity,
making important decisions about the running of the church throughout the year.
For more information speak to Fr Daniel or any of the clergy.
So, after more than thirteen years and one hundred and thirty magazines, this
is my last as your Editor. I have enjoyed my conversations with you through
these pages, developing the content of the magazine to reflect your interests
and to promote the Christian message. I have also enjoyed the challenge of
accommodating new technology, not least this fourth photocopier, which allows us
such glorious colour photographs.
But now it is time for new editors to have the opportunity to bring their own
ideas and personalities to this publication. They will grow into their roles,
and I know you will make them feel as welcome as you did me in 1998.
Details of the new editorial team will be published as they are confirmed.
For the time being, on a temporary basis, production of the magazine will be
overseen by our parish webmaster, who has for the whole thirteen years willingly
offered support when I needed help with any aspect of the magazine.
All copy for the magazine should continue to be emailed to the designated
address. If you do not have access to a computer, items can be sent in a clearly
marked envelope to: Prestbury Parish Magazine, ℅ 2 Honeysuckle Close,
Prestbury, GL52 5LN.
This is an historic edition of the Prestbury Parish Magazine as it is the
last edition under the editorship of Frances Murton! The words ‘thank you’
really seem inadequate as we try to express our gratitude to Frances for her
dedication and hard work during her thirteen years as editor. Frances has made
the magazine into a high quality, highly respected and enjoyable publication
which not only conveys information about the life of our parish and beyond, but
also speaks of the Gospel to those who read it. Many of us will have been
‘badgered’ by Frances to submit copy for the magazine and diligently reminded of
deadlines: all part of Frances’ determination that the magazine should be as
good as it possibly can be and the information in it as accurate as possible! As
a parish we should be rightly proud of our Parish Magazine, knowing that it is
highly regarded in ‘parish magazine circles’ and we should be proud of all that
Frances has achieved during her time as editor.
As Team Rector, on behalf of the clergy, churchwardens and all the members of
our two churches, I would like to say, ‘Frances, thank you for making such a
significant contribution to the life of the church through your ministry as
editor of our parish magazine!’
We are grateful to the team who have volunteered to take on the monthly
production of the magazine and we pray that God will bless them in all that they
do and we pray that the Prestbury Parish Magazine will only continue to
During the last few months a significant amount of essential maintenance work
has been carried out on the trees in St Mary’s churchyard. This has included the
removal of dead and dangerous branches from the large horse chestnut trees and
reduction in the height of a number of the conifers. A major decision that faced
the churchwardens was what to do about the large yew trees on the south side of
the church as their girth had increased to such an extent that they were
restricting the footpaths through the churchyard.
Advice was sought from several arboricultural experts, and the unanimous
opinion was that, in order to maintain the long-term health and appearance of
the yew trees, they should be pollarded back to their trunks. This would allow
them to regenerate with fresh new growth within two to three years. Similar yew
tree pollarding has taken place in Painswick churchyard and Glenfall House, and
successful new growth has occurred.
Thanks are due to Margaret Holman for organising all the work and to Adrian
Phillips and Cheltenham Tree Services for carrying out the work in an efficient
manner. The rest of us can now watch and enjoy the regrowth of the yews over the
next few years.
The south-west path towards St Mary’s church before …
… and after pollarding the yew trees
Photographs by Phil Dodd
It is almost one year since my first contribution to the Parish Magazine on
this subject, and we have had the pleasure of some stunning flower arrangements
in church during that time. We especially enjoyed a beautifully decorated church
for the Patronal Festival last September, when the church also welcomed many
visitors during the Historic Churches weekend, to see the informative displays
about our local heritage.
All the flowers are arranged by volunteers, who mostly provide and pay for
their own flowers. However, the costs of extra flowers for special occasions and
festivals are supplemented by St Mary’s Flower Fund. Recent accounts show that
this fund is running very low, so it is time to appeal to you again to make a
contribution to the fund, to ensure that the high standard of festival flowers
Donations can be made to our treasurer, Margaret Waker, or via the collecting
bowls in church which appear on the Sundays before the main festivals. Thank you
In previous years many people have sponsored an Easter Lily in memory of a
loved one. This will be placed in one of the pedestal arrangements, and a card
displayed alongside with names of those to be remembered during this Holy
If you would like to donate the cost of a lily, please put the money in one
of the envelopes which will be provided, and write the name of the person you
wish to remember on the display card.
St Mary’s Flower Arrangers AGM
The meeting was held at St Nicolas’ Church on 28th February. There were
twenty-five people present and thirteen apologies. Sheila Beer welcomed everyone
and opened with a prayer. Margaret Waker gave her report as Treasurer and was
concerned as there was a shortfall this year. Diane Singleton is now in charge
of weddings, Sue Fairclough festivals, Joan Rushworth window sills and Becky
Marks Mothering Sunday posies. There were two people retiring, two new members,
Nick Roach and Lesley Clark, and Jean Johnson and Lynne Whitehead returning to
be flower arrangers. For the Jubilee a decorated arch is to be put up at the
entrance to the church and further plans are to be made later.
The February meeting was held at St Silas in Hester’s Way Road. It was the
first meeting for the Revd John Gann, who now represents the retired clergy of
General notices and notifications included:-
* A farewell to our David Gardiner,
* 28th April: The Riding Lights Theatre Company will present ‘Opymlic’
* 13th May: a service will be led by Bishop Michael at Holy Apostles to
* 23rd May: it is hoped church bells will ring between 6 and 7pm while the
Olympic torch comes through the town.
There is slight improvement in the financial situation. Parishes who have
been able to increase their giving were thanked.
The incumbents of St Mark, St Barnabas and St Aiden and St Silas reported on
the several mission initiatives in their West Cheltenham Area. Use of the
Renovare groups has helped introduce the Christian faith to local people in a
meaningful way. So has the CPAS ‘Start’ course. Family Space is proving
invaluable to some in the neighbourhood. Prayer is requested for that and for
the appointment of an Anglican Chaplain for All Saints’ Academy.
Liz Palin, and two helpers, spoke about the history, vision and key
priorities of Glenfall House. The flexibility of the facilities available and
the value of the hospitality and peace offered in the house, the smaller
Pavilion and by the extensive grounds at Glenfall were outlined. Details at
www.glenfallhouse.org, or if you prefer to speak to a real person, or would like
to have a look round, do ring 583654.
The next meeting is on 15th May at All Saints’ Academy.
We are happy to report that some people have joined us at St Mary’s to learn
bellringing. There are four people who are starting from scratch and who are
progressing well with learning bell-handling skills. Another person learned at
Prestbury as a teenager and has taken up ringing again as family commitments now
permit this. We are pleased to have them ringing with us on Tuesday nights at
practice and are grateful to David Lyle for encouraging them to come along in
the first place. As soon as they are competent enough to handle a bell safely on
their own without supervision they will be invited to ring on Sunday mornings
for service which will greatly swell the numbers of bells we can ring on
Our Tower Captain David Lynch left us in December. At our recent Tower AGM we
elected Sarah Collacott as the new Tower Captain. Sarah has been a member of the
band for many years and has been involved with overseeing the recent teaching
sessions. Our AGM was chaired by Fr Michael, our thanks to him for all the help
and encouragement he has given us over the last year.
We shall be involved with various special ringing events to mark both the
Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic celebrations, details nearer the time!
After being rested last year the pilgrimage is back with a new look here and
there and will take place on Saturday 16th June 2012 with ‘All for Jesus’ as its
theme. The programme still looks familiar with the Solemn Mass of Jesus Christ,
the Universal King, as the central act of worship for the day at 12.00 noon. For
those who have missed it in recent years the afternoon procession has returned
as the Procession of the Blessed Sacrament to the Abbey for Solemn Benediction.
Admission to the Abbey grounds on the day is by service book, which will be
available at the entrances, price £5.00. Service book vouchers may be ordered in
advance for £4.00. Please let me know if you wish me to order vouchers for you.
For children under 16 admission is free.
More details can be seen on the pilgrimage website:
I hope that Glastonbury may welcome pilgrims from the North Cheltenham Team once
The Memorial Trust has been hard at work and managed to qualify as one of the
thirty groups selected for a share of a £15,000 prize in the ‘Wish Cash for your
Community 2012’ competition organised by the Gloucestershire Echo. Each
accepted group will receive a share of the prize fund, based on the total of
coupons collected. The more coupons we collect the more cash the Trust will
These coupons started being printed in the Echo in March. The idea is
to collect as many coupons as possible, and to encourage the people in our local
community to do the same. Please look out for notices identifying our collection
points where these coupons can be donated.
In 2002 the Echo organised a similar competition with the first prize
being a minibus. Our then lunch club organiser, Ann James, somehow managed to
motivate Prestbury into collecting tokens so successfully that we won the
minibus. It was quite a coup for the Trust! You will see the said white minibus
providing our transport needs around Prestbury.
The Trust depends almost entirely on donations and fund-raising to run all
our activities. An opportunity like this is just too good to miss!
Contact: Richard Mason
Contact: Carol Allan
wonder if you know how many collectors we need to cover the St Mary’s part of
the parish. In order that each round is manageable, one session delivering
envelopes and two to three sessions collecting, we need about 100 volunteers!
Each year we have to recruit for various reasons so please think ahead and ask
yourself: ‘If I’m not already a collector, why not? Could I become one?’ At St
Nicolas’ we also need new volunteers as inevitably some people are no longer
able to help. It may seem a long way ahead but it will soon be here. If you feel
able to help, please contact one of us, details below.
Hodges (St Mary’s)
Allan Philpot (St
‘The enjoyment of the quiz evening is not about winning but about taking
part.’ This was our motto as we embarked on our first ever church quiz and we
were not disappointed. We had decided to go because we wanted to support the
evening to help raise funds for the Jubilee Event; however, we knew our chances
of surviving were nil. Since we never go to the cinema, do not watch any Soaps
or popular TV programmes, have no idea of sport or popular music that rules out
a large number of possible questions. Since Hazel and John were in a similar
position we joined forces! We were aiming for a certain prize.
The evening was great fun and we all enjoyed it. There were many questions we
could not answer but we could do the scripture ones, the maths and science. We
even succeeded with some of the picture ones.
In the end we were not disappointed and came away with a very useful kitchen
implement, it was just as well we had not won the first prize as it was
chocolates and we have given them up for Lent!
We hope this might encourage others not to worry about their capabilities; we
had fun, relaxed and had a good laugh.
Geoff & Ruth Shaw
Photograph by Brian Wood
On a clear cold day in February a job that had been outstanding for a long
while was finally completed.
For years the SW gable-end window had been leaking and then during decoration
five years ago considerable rot was noted in the window frame, the gable
cladding and the eaves. Because we were waiting for that end of the hall to
stabilize after removing the trees and scrub that had caused subsidence, the
window problem was put on hold. Once no more movement in the walls was
detectable and the cracks had been filled, attention turned to the windows.
Close inspection last summer revealed that the SW window was in danger of being
blown in by high wind so it had to be secured by partially boarding it up.
Inspection of the NE gable end showed that rot was starting to eat into the
sill and frame at that end so quotations were sought for the replacement of both
gable end windows and the associated woodwork with μPVC
material and double glazed units.
Following a consultation process dealing with improvements to the hall in
general, the window work was given priority, moved through the various committee
stages for final approval by the PCC and we are now blessed with water-tight and
maintenance-free gable ends.
Photographs by Brian Wood
Would you like to join a friendly group for exercise? We do Aerobics,
Stretching, etc. between 8 and 9 pm. on Wednesday nights, cost just £4. Please
come along to St Nicolas’ Church Hall, Swindon Lane, and we will make you most
welcome. Just bring yourself and wear trainers and bring a mat for floor work.
Since my visit last summer and following your generous help in setting up an
ophthalmic unit at St Luke’s Hospital I have sent another large box of
spectacles in the container organised by the Diocese of Birmingham. Also thanks
to your contribution following Richard Barton’s talk in January and donations
from a three-month sponsorship at Tewkesbury Abbey I have been able to acquire
medical items requested by a small local hospital at Nkope. These are also on
their way and should reach their destination by June.
WE spent Christmas 2011 with our son Andrew who now lives and works in
Wellington, New Zealand. After Christmas we spent three days cycling the Central
Otago Rail Trail (150km) then travelled around in a slightly more leisurely
fashion in a hire car. We discovered the sparsely populated East Cape region on
North Island and couldn’t resist taking photos of St Mary’s church in Tikitiki.
Built in 1924 by Ngati Porou, a Maori leader, and decorated by Maori carvers
from Rotorua, it stands as a memorial to Maori soldiers who died in the 1st