Mummy told me that eating bread crusts would make my hair curly – it never
did! But whenever I have a loaf, still hot from the oven, I’m a little girl all
over again, waiting hopefully for the buttered crust. It always seemed as if Mum
waited deliberately until after I’d taken the first big bite before she said,
"What do you say?" And when I struggled to reply you can guess what she said
next: "Don’t talk with your mouth full!"
Please and thank-you were probably among the first things we ever learned to
say - and Harvest is a time for saying thank-you. Thank you that someone
(probably not one of us) has been busy ploughing the fields and scattering the
good seed, so that, after a bit of snow in winter and some warmth to swell the
grain, it can be harvested and processed, allowing us to pop out to the
supermarket and buy food for Sunday lunch, neatly packaged and possibly even
Harvest Festival gives us an opportunity to celebrate all that God provides
for us: "first the grain, and then the ear and then the full seed shall
appear." This cycle of life in the natural world is one of nature’s
miracles. We so easily take it for granted until floods or drought threaten our
supplies; then we’re reminded that food supplies are often uncertain for many
people across the world. So Harvest is also a time when we bring a gift to
church; tinned food to be passed on to somebody who needs it, or money to be
sent to a charity working to relieve famine overseas.
But many of our harvest hymns also remind us that giving thanks for food and
farmers might not be the only thing we need to think about. A crop of quite a
different kind will be gathered by the Lord of Harvest, when he comes to bring
us into his eternal barns.
One of the prayers we use at our Sunday Eucharists expresses the hope that
each one of us will be a part of the Harvest that God will gather into His
everlasting kingdom when life on earth is over.
"Look with favour on your people, gather us in your loving arms and bring
us with all your Saints to feast at your table in Heaven"
It’s really rather appropriate that many of our churches now celebrate
Harvest Festival within the context of a service of Holy Communion. The
spiritual food we receive there provides the energy we need to sustain our lives
as Christians in this world, and it prepares us for our eternal home in the
So when our Harvest Festival and our Eucharist are combined into a single
great thanksgiving, we really do join with all the Saints in saying, "Come with
all thine angels, come! Bid us sing thy Harvest Home."
Due to the way the calendar falls this year we will commemorate All Souls
before we celebrate All Saints, rather than the other way round!
All Souls Day Friday 2nd November
There will be a Sung Requiem in St Mary’s at 7.30pm with the combined choirs
from St Mary’s and St Nicolas. During the Eucharist we will remember before God,
by name, our own departed loved ones. Lists will be available in each church for
you to enter any names you would like remembered, or contact the clergy.
All Saints Sunday 4th November
The celebration of All the Saints will be kept on Sunday 4th November and in
the afternoon, at 4.00pm, there will be a Memorial Service. Each year we invite
those who have been bereaved during the past year to join us for a service of
hymns and prayers during which we join them in remembering their loved ones who
have died. Anyone is welcome to join us for this service which is at 4.00pm in
St Mary’s. Members of our bereavement support group will provide tea after the
service. (Please note that there is no service at 6.30pm in St Mary’s)
Rarely has the first line of Keats’ poem, ‘Season of mists and mellow
fruitfulness’ held such poignancy, and for so many of us: as the greatest of all
summers fades, a summer that saw the momentum of the Jubilee carried forward
into the Olympics and Paralympics.
The legacy of the Paralympics is what people CAN do rather than what they
cannot. We have fine examples in this magazine of what CAN be done. In fact,
Stephen Murton’s illustrated ‘Coast to Coast’ articles have influenced people
less physically able than Stephen to begin to plan how they can manage to enjoy
parts of the St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay coast-to-coast trek. Similarly, Janet
Ford’s article ‘Wednesday Welcomes’ shows what can be done to make social
gatherings more inclusive within the local community.
I am writing on the day after the fourth and final London Games ceremony,
which focussed on Britain’s pagan traditions, influenced by harvest and fire.
Our theme this month is also harvest, a term derived from the Anglo-Saxon word
haverfest, meaning ‘autumn’. Here in Britain, thanks have been given for harvest
since pagan times. It refers to the season of reaping and gathering grain and
other grown products.
The tradition of Harvest Festivals in churches began in 1843. They are
usually held on the Sunday nearest the Harvest Moon, being the full moon that
occurs closest to the autumn equinox. As British people have come to rely less
heavily on home grown produce, churches have begun to link the topic with a
growing concern for people not only in the developing world, but here at home.
Our central article, contributed by Matt Allison, who worships at Celebrate!,
illustrates what can be done to help families undergoing hardship
and crisis, especially during this tough economic climate.
Our theme for the November Magazine is REMEMBERING, and for December and
January, CHANGE. The Editorial Team looks forward to receiving your
articles, observations, photos and drawings over the coming weeks. A
handwritten article dropped through my letterbox this morning. I was so happy to
receive it, as the author expressed her delight at the ‘splendid wine tasting
evening’ hosted by Roger and Linda Hodges.
Take a bow and carry on
Special thanks are due to Brian Wood, who made such an excellent job of
editing the June and July/August editions. As well as providing continuity, it
gave the new Editorial Team the breathing space they needed to make such a good
start last month. Brian continues in his much-valued role as technical adviser:
helping us to resolve computer-related issues, keeping information flowing
smoothly and doing great work on the picture content. His attention to detail is
invaluable. Thank you Brian!
Our congratulations go to Deacon Jennifer who has been licensed by Bishop
Michael as Team Deacon to serve in the North Cheltenham Team Ministry. The
licensing service took place on Monday 10th September during a Said Eucharist in
Bishop Michael’s private chapel and marks the completion of Jennifer’s period of
Caring for the Sacristy at St Mary’s
We are looking for volunteers to join our Sacristy Team. Sacristy volunteers
work in pairs on a quarterly rota over the course of the year. Each volunteer
receives a short training period to undertake caring for the Sacristy. For, as
well as being simply ‘good house keeping’, it has a direct influence on our
worship. It is one of the ways in which we give of our best and in which we
offer what we have and what we are. Enabling us to assist the priest in the
service of God. Please contact Rosie Bradbury for further information.
After recent ‘Afternoon Teas’, as a means of fundraising at St Nicolas’, we
have decided to arrange a regular once-a-month gathering, usually (but not
always!) on the fourth Wednesday in the month.
If you would like to pop in on one of our dates, then please think of a
friend or neighbour who might also enjoy a spot of company (in addition to tea
and cake!). You will be warmly welcomed.
Our first 'Welcome on Wednesday' will be on October 24th at 2:30pm in St.
Nicolas' Church Room, with subsequent gatherings on November 28th and December
After Christmas we hope to plan further dates. Go on - give it a try!
Harvest time is often associated with sharing and the giving of food to the
needy. Aptly enough, Matt Allison, a well-known member of the Celebrate!
congregation, has sent us news of the work carried out by County Community
Have you noticed a large box just inside the door of St Mary’s. For some time
now we have been supporting County Community Projects by filling the box with
tinned foodstuffs and other non-perishable goods. But where does it go?
CCP Food Share is an emergency food distribution service for people and
families in times of crisis. These are generally ordinary people who suddenly
find themselves facing poverty and hunger due to loss of salary, change in
benefits, unexpected large bills, illness or family breakdown. The CCP Food
Share scheme provides food parcels to cover the immediate crisis or to give
support in the intervening period before statutory agencies can begin ongoing,
It would be wonderful if every church member could add an item to their
weekly shop and pop it in the box on a Sunday. Anything with a long shelf-life
Why should we? Well, throughout the Bible the call of God to his people is to
live in a way that is radically different from their neighbours (Deuteronomy
4:5-8; Isaiah 9:2 and 42:6; Luke 2:32). This includes living generous, even
carefree, lives that demonstrate complete trust in God (Matthew 6:25-34). By
restoring justice and fairness to the earth we communicate clearly what kind of
a world God wants to see.
"If you remove [slavery] from among you, the pointing of the finger, the
speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of
the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like
the noonday." (from Isaiah 58)
CCP rely heavily on churches for this work, and what better practical
demonstration of the love of God could there be? Paul Shane Spear wrote: "As one
person I cannot change the world, but I can change the world of one person." In
a small way our contributions to the Foodbox can help to do this. Please give if
you can. Thank you.
What produce to give?
When we see articles like the one above, we often forget to act or a43 not
sure what to give. So it might help to offer a list of possible foods to
contribute. Here it is so you can pop it on your shopping list:
- Tinned pies, soup, meat, hot dogs, corned beef, tuna, tinned stews or
- Dried rice, noodles or pasta
- Cooking sauces, curry sauces
- Tinned vegetables, tomatoes, baked beans, spaghetti hoops, ravioli
- Boxes of breakfast cereal, rolled oats for porridge
- Teabags, coffee, instant hot chocolate, sugar, bottles of concentrated
- Jars of jam, peanut butter, biscuits, honey, Nutella, marmite, marmalade
- Tinned or boxed biscuits, crackers, snack bars (anything that won’t be
damaged too easily)
- Dried milk powder e.g. semi-skimmed
- Anything from the above that’s wheat or dairy-free (gluten intolerant
individuals can suffer hardship too!) - try the ‘Free From’ aisle.
Plus anything else you might find!!
The project was
opened in the summer of 2006 near Sainsbury’s on the Tewkesbury Road. Green
Steps provide training and support for adults with learning disabilities by
teaching gardening skills. Later that year, Green Steps received gifts and
donations providing the service users with a large range of fruit trees, an ash
tree and all the necessary equipment for a large pond, including a strong grid
to cover it, enabling wheelchair users to watch the pond and fish.
We visited the Project this September and were delighted to find a sensory
area, maze, greenhouses, a range of sheds and raised beds, together with
recreation areas. We explained to that we were interested in taking Harvest
photos for our Parish Magazine . They welcomed us as they were picking and
gathering their harvest and Nick Huston and David Bullock gave us permission to
take their photos on the understanding that we would return with a copy!
We were thrilled to stumble upon this Project, almost on our doorstep.
We hope to return in the
Spring to talk to the gardeners about their choice of seeds for the raised beds
and sensory areas. We may even be tempted to give Nick and David a helping
hand! Look out for the March 2013 magazine, with the theme of New Beginnings.
The photos are just a small sample of the Service Users gardening
activities at the Green Steps Project.
Diane and Fr Mike French
We have had quite a busy summer. The wedding season is now drawing to a close
but we have been pleased to ring for several happy couples on their special day.
In addition to this, we have said farewell to one of our ringers, Hazel, who
with her husband has moved to pastures new. She has family in the village so we
know she will visit us when she can, and we shall be more than pleased to see
her, as she was a valued member of the band; we shall miss her.
In mid-August a band, including Hazel, rang a quarter peal of Plain Bob
Doubles for Sunday evensong. This consisted of 1260 changes on the front six of
our ring of bells and took 41 minutes. The ringer of the tenor (6th) bell was
Matt who has been gaining experience with us for a couple of years. This was his
first quarter peal. In ringing circles this marks a giant step and is a real
achievement. Our congratulations to him.
Our learners continue to make good progress and have graduated from merely
joining us on practice nights to ringing for Sunday morning Eucharist as well.
Peter manages to juggle family commitments for us, and our junior learner, Will,
is also doing really well. Both learners are valuable additions to our band.
Sue Deadman from "Eden" of Bishop's Cleeve will be coming to demonstrate for
us on Monday 22nd October. Our meetings are held in Prestbury Hall on Bouncers
Lane and commence at 7.30pm with the hall open from 7pm. As we will also be
holding one our popular produce stalls on that evening it might be a good idea
to get there promptly! Sue is a talented local florist and though I have seen
her demonstrate before this will be her first visit to Prestbury Flower Club, I
am sure she will come up with some unusual ideas for us, the majority of which
will be raffled at the end of the evening, so do come along and join us for a
rather different approach to flower arranging. Visitors are always welcome at £5
We still have a few places available for our trip to the "Longhope
Experience" on Thursday 8th November, tickets cost £18.50 and include a
demonstration in Longhope Church followed by a super lunch in the village hall.
This will be the last year that the "Experience" will be taking place, so if you
have never been this is your last chance and it really is well worth a visit. If
you are interested in joining us do give me a ring or you can call Fenella
Botting. Lots more information and pictures of past demonstrations can be viewed
on our website,
We have certainly been delighted by the wonderful flowers in St Mary’s over
the past few months for important occasions, especially the Diamond Jubilee and
various weddings more recently. We would like to thank everyone who kindly
sponsored these flowers.
It is now time to think of the autumn festivals, and the church will soon be
decorated for Harvest. I am writing to remind you that, whilst the "Flower
Ladies" are very happy to provide super arrangements, we all need to contribute
towards the costs of the flowers. There will be bowls out for donations and we
will be very grateful for all contributions. Thank you.
23 miles is hard on the feet, even though the terrain is relatively flat
between Richmond and Ingleby Cross, so I was glad to be able to sleep andeat at
the Blue Bell Inn rather than walk any further! Highlights of the day included
visiting the memorial in St. Mary’s churchyard, Bolton-on-Swale, to Henry
Jenkins who was reputedly born in 1500 and died in 1670 at the age of 169, and a
man with an aeroplane (self-built!) in his garage which he flew from a grass
field behind his house. The following day I set off onto the North York Moors on
a wonderfully sunny day – sporting shorts and T-shirt, as well as hat and
sunblock. As evidenced by the contour lines, the North York Moors is not one
expanse of moorland but a series of humps with periodic steep descents from one
moor down into a road gap, followed by equally steep ascents back onto the next
Starting up Beacon Hill I happened upon a BT microwave relay station, the
expanse of wire mesh fencing and metal towers somewhat incongruous amongst the
natural surroundings. The popularity of walking on the Moors is such that, over
time, teams of volunteers have had to set rough paving stones into the paths to
combat erosion. The hazy views from the top of the moors were breathtaking at
times, as was meeting various lads attacking the "walk" on mountain bikes; they
said they spent more time carrying the bikes than riding them! I felt fortunate
that the weather was fine as there is absolutely no cover from trees or
otherwise on these moors; I can’t imagine what it would be like in inclement
Catholic church at Egton Bridge
A good part of the walk from Ingleby Cross is along the Cleveland Way, as far
as Bloworth Crossing where it turns north, and my onward trail then diverges
across Farndale Moor, Blakey High Moor and Danby High Moor, following the old
Rosedale ironstone railway track. A late afternoon stop at the Lion Inn at
Rosedale Head afforded the opportunity for a welcome cold beer before being
picked up two miles later by my cousin for an overnight stop in Kirkbymoorside.
The Inn is far enough away from civilisation that one visitor had actually come
by helicopter, landing on flat ground nearby.
"Lancashire Fusilier" and "Green Knight"
at Grosmont station
After being dropped back on the trail the following morning, it was more of
the same: Great Fryup Head (you couldn’t make these names up!), Glaisdale Rigg,
the Beggars Bridge in Glaisdale itself and the picturesque little village of
Egton Bridge where, somewhat bizarrely given the size of the village, I came
across a large and ornate Catholic church. The village of Grosmont provided that
experience without which no expedition is complete – a steam railway. The North
York Moors Railway climbs from Pickering through some spectacular scenery and
has a number of beautifully preserved working engines – 45407 "The Lancashire
Fusilier" and 75029 "The Green Knight" were in the station on my arrival. After
an over- night on a farm in Littlebeck, I finally began to sense that the
journey was nearing its end but on reaching the cliff edge between Whitby and
Robin Hood’s Bay, I found that you couldn’t see the sea at all - it was
completely obscured by sea mist! Fortunately RHB itself was set back from the
line of mist and was clear and sunny, so it was now time to indulge in the three
essential coast-to-coast traditions: have a beer in the Wainwright Bar at the
Bay Hotel, dip one’s boots in the North Sea to signify successful arrival, and
collect a commemorative certificate from the artist’s shop opposite the Bay
Hotel. The journey was complete.
Day 12: Dipping boots in the North Sea at the end of the walk
Part 1 - The Lake District
Part 2 - the Yorkshire Dales
Support for disadvantaged children in South Sudan
The brothers of the Taizé Community in France bring support to people in
difficulty on the different continents, especially to children who are destitute
or sick. In addition, it helps certain young people coming either to Taizé or to
the European, Latino-American, African or Asian meetings: many of them cannot
cover the entire cost of their stay or their travel because they come from so
In past years we in the North Cheltenham Team Ministry have had some
connection with South Sudan, through a visit by a missionary, Robin Denney, who
came to preach at St Mary’s in June 2009. To mark the 50th anniversary of the
Church of Reconciliation in Taizé, inaugurated in August 1962, Brother Alois
announced an initiative to show solidarity with South Sudan, just coming out of
20 years of war. "Through Operation Hope, which supports various projects on
different continents we will support the disadvantaged children of the town of
Rumbek for the next three years."
The war has made South Sudan a country well behind in development terms, and
in particular illiteracy is widespread. Many young people have known only
violence, but now there is a great effort being made to give back to younger
generations the meaning of working the land or to encourage them to study. It
requires great patience and sensitivity because feelings of humiliation,
frustration and anger are easily exacerbated in young people. It will take time
before independence embodies all the dreams of several oppressed generations.
For the people of South Sudan "Harvest" means more than the gathering of
food, as important as that is. Our hope is that there will be a different kind
of harvest as new skills are learned and developed and anger is replaced with
hope, peace and even reconciliation both within South Sudan and in its relations
with other countries, especially its northern neighbour.
The late Br. Roger, Founder of Taizé Community
Worship in the Chapel with the young people
Photos from Fr John Gann
Faculties have now been granted giving permission for two projects to proceed
in St Mary’s. The first, involving minimum cost to the PCC thanks to the
generous donation of time and labour, will improve the storage facilities in the
Server’s Vestry and recycle some of the old pews that were removed many years
ago. The second project, which is more dependent on funds being available, is to
carpet the area at the top of the nave. Carpet matching the blue carpet in the
Choir will replace the piece which is not fitted and will stretch from the South
aisle across to the North aisle. Before the carpet is laid some work will need
to be done to the flooring in this area which is in a very poor condition and we
are grateful for the offer of assistance with this work.
At St Nicolas, plans have been on display for a proposed new entrance to the
Hall which would include disabled toilet facilities. This project is still in
the exploratory stages and comments on the plans are very welcome. The Hall
Committee and the PCC will also need to consider how this project would be
funded once costs are known. The other project under consideration is for a new
set of etched glass doors leading from the entrance hall into the church. These
doors would be dedicated in memory of Jackie Moles, and her daughter Justine has
been working with our church architect on their design.
Please do ask any of our Churchwardens if you would like to know any more
about any of these projects.
Friends of St Mary’s Prestbury
The wine tasting event on 7th September was held on a glorious evening in the
garden of Linda and Roger Hodges. When a similar event was held there 2 years
ago, we experienced one of the wettest days of that year. This year fortune
smiled on us; and everyone could enjoy not only wine but a spectacular garden.
The master of wine ceremonies was Gordon of John Gordons wine bar in
Montpellier. He led us on a brief toasting tour of affordable wines from Europe
and the New World with a clear commentary of his own preferences.
We are most grateful to the Hodges both for hosting the event, providing
delicious pizzas and for their hard work in erecting (and dismantling) the tent.
Many thanks to Roger, Linda and their team of helpers for a splendid wine
tasting evening at Dunelm House.
This time the weather was perfect, which enabled them to showcase their
lovely garden. We tasted at least 6 wines which gave me an appetite for Linda’s
excellent pizzas. More please!
Liz Chantree – a friend
Saturday 1st September at St Nicolas
The roasted pig arrives
On Saturday 1st September, there was a leaving do held for Andy Macauly, with
worship, socialising and most importantly, hog roast. This was very successful
and a pleasure to attend, and it was such a great way to celebrate the work
which Andy has done in his time with us. He has done so much for the youth work,
especially in the four main youth groups: Elevate, Synergy, The Chill and The
Lounge. I joined Elevate five years ago with Andy as the leader, which was
probably the best thing that I could have done, as Andy and the rest of the PPY
team have been my support system throughout this time. Andy has helped me and
many others to grow in both faith and life. When I was first starting at senior
school, youth club with Andy was the only place where I felt I could talk about
my faith. After having the support of Andy for a few years, I found that I could
start to talk about my faith with others who had different opinions to me. This
new confidence opened new doors for me, as did the opportunity to join the
worship band which was put together for events such as the "Reach" services run
by the youth groups.
People enjoying the sunshine outside
Andy has provided many opportunities for the youth, such as going on weekend
trips to Viney Hill in the Forest of Dean where he proved to have the patience
of a saint, putting up with a house full of teenagers and keeping us entertained
for the duration. Whilst at Viney Hil, we took part in activities such as wide
games, canoeing, kayaking, low ropes courses, caving, archery, mountain biking
and the huge campfire! Andy has always been willing to take part in activities
no matter how ridiculous or difficult they were.
A slightly more relaxing experience led by Andy was the trip to Soul
Survivor. This week-long event helped a group of us to learn practical skills
such as pitching tents and cooking food on a simple gas camping grill, but also
helped us to grow closer to God in discussions about our faith, visits to the
Big Top (to worship with 10,000 other Christians) and through the various arts
and social locations around the site. My favourite was the dance academy, and
when I went out to meet up with the dance crew for a few hours in the evening,
Andy stayed up until gone midnight to make sure that I was back safely before
going to bed.
Andy receives a scrapbook
from Kathryn Porter
Andy receives an iPad
from Fr Michael
At the hog roast event, past and present members of PPY presented him with a
scrapbook compiled by Kathryn Porter, which contained many messages, pictures
and memories of our time with Andy. My contribution to this book was the
Five years ago I started Elevate,
The activities were fun and the people were great,
As I have grown I have been helped through life,
With activities such as cutting flour with a knife,
Talking in pods or doing some worship,
Not to mention food such as crisps and dip,
Chocolate, cake, this sounds rather bad,
But it was all fairtrade I hasten to add,
Andy Macauly is the mastermind,
Often a Frisbee he’s been known to find,
When we’ve thrown them out far and wide,
If it’s been nice enough to play outside,
The weather didn’t stop him still,
Each time he took us to Viney Hill,
We’d go on night walks round and about,
Roast marshmallows until the fire died out,
Soul Survivor was fantastic in a word,
With crazy warm ups from Von Lycra the Third,
So Andy I thank you for helping me grow,
And I know many will be sad to see you go,
But you will still shine through at the Rock,
So now all I can say is good luck!
Andy Macauly has been a great youth leader and we are all very thankful
that God sent him to us so many years ago, and let us know that he would be
there for us for so long. I hope that his time at The Rock is as successful
and I know that he will be a much loved addition to their team, good luck
Andy and family and Fr Michael and 11 young people who have
benefited from Andy in the last 12 years
As congregations around the country prepare to sing ‘We Plough the Fields
and Scatter’ and other seasonal standards, what relevance do such nostalgic
celebrations hold for us here in Prestbury?
Within living memory Prestbury was a retreat from the rest of Cheltenham.
Prestbury held many working farms; its residents worked the fields, derived
income from related industries and truly valued the land that surrounded them.
Perhaps inevitably with increased urban development and the loss of
agricultural resources our connection to the land has dwindled. It was
particularly sad to see posters around the village recently declaring the
Prestbury Garden Produce Show ‘cancelled due to lack of interest’.
In the last few decades, as agriculture has declined, the national emphasis
at harvest festival has moved away from celebrating the local harvest to
raising awareness and supporting the plight of those less fortunate at home
and abroad. This is right and admirable as of course we have a responsibility
to support others and share Gods love worldwide.
However, our own land is as important an area as any other, worthy of
protection and unique in its ecological make up. Food may now be plentiful in
the modern world and to import is relatively cheap and easy, but there will
come a time when things are not so. When our agricultural land is lost to
development it can never be fully reclaimed and, as we know it, is gone
It is quite clear from reading Genesis that our duty and original purpose
as created by God is one of caretaker and custodian of the land. "The Lord
God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of
it" Genesis 2:15
God created for us a world of staggering beauty and complexity and by
giving over our precious resources and heritage to urban development we are
abandoning our calling and failing in that purpose. God is infinite. The green
and pleasant land He has entrusted to us is not.
To find out how you can help protect and reinvigorate your local
environment visit us and join our team at
Mary turned around and saw Jesus, but she
did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you
weeping? Whom are you looking for?" Supposing him to be the gardener she
said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid
him, and I will take him away". Jesus said to her, "Mary!". She turned and
said to him, "Teacher!" Jesus said to her, "Do not hold on to me, because I
have not yet ascended to the Father"…
Why bring this text out at this time of year? The joy and the mystery of
that spring Sunday seem such a long way from the darkening days of Autumn. But
though this story, is about the experience of those who were there that Easter
morning, it is really meant for people who were not, and that, of course,
includes people like us. How are we to believe in a Christ we cannot see or
There is a striking painting in the National Gallery, by the 16th century
artist Titian, of Mary kneeling before a Christ she has suddenly recognised,
the grave clothes still half around him, reaching out as if to be sure he is
really there, trying to clutch and hold on to someone she thought she had lost
for ever, and would never see again. The painting is titled "Noli Me Tangere",
"Do not touch me", and it is the genius of the artist that he has found a way
to paint a Christ who seems to be at the same time both reaching out and
withdrawing, as he bends over Mary. But that hardly seems to make sense: how
can he be both welcoming her and leaving her at the same time? It is that
paradox that engages the writer of the Fourth Gospel, reacting no doubt to the
questions of the young churches he was writing for, and that speaks to people
ever since as they try to work out their faith in the risen Christ.
Titian’s masterpiece was part of a major exhibition of religious art down
the centuries, called "Seeing Salvation", which the Gallery mounted in 2000.
The Gallery curator, Neil Macgregor, wrote of this painting and what it tells
"Mary’s gesture concedes that what she loves is now unattainable in the terms
familiar to her, that the fulfilment of her love will not be physical, but
spiritual. And her anguish of a few minutes before is resolved; because a lord
who cannot be touched is a lord who can never be taken away".
That figure of the mysterious, ‘different’, not-quite-recognised Christ
keeps turning up, through the New Testament and ever since – a sense of
someone there, someone who may not at first seem like Christ at all, a voice
calling our name, a Lord we long for, or perhaps a Lord we’d rather given up
on. His gift, then or now, is not a phantom, but a presence, just out of reach
yet closer than heartbeat
Of course that is still mysterious, and mysteries are elusive and hard to
hold on to; and they bring us new questions to think about, more intriguing
than ever. But this is a mystery that, like Mary, we can live with, and
believe in, at Easter or any day at all. For "a Lord who cannot be touched is
a Lord who can never be taken away".
To see the picture, go to:
TUESDAY 2nd OCTOBER 2012
2.30pm in ALL SAINTS’ CHURCH,
All Saints’ Road, Cheltenham
AN ANALYTICAL LOOK
AT THE FABRIC OF
ALL SAINTS' CHURCH
(with special reference to the metalwork)
A TALK BY
KEITH JAMESON, SCULPTOR
ORGANISED BY THE FRIENDS OF
ALL SAINTS’ CHURCH CHELTENHAM
St Mary’s Bakestall
The September bakestall raised £32 which was sent to "Action against
Hunger" to be matched by the UK government as part of the "Love Food Give
Food" initiative running from September to November. We are always on the look
out for these offers!
The next bakestall falls on Sunday 21st October,
with the support of the A-F team to be gratefully received.
Margaret Waker and Linda Matthews
Prestbury Mothers' Union
Our next meeting is on Tuesday 23rd October
at St Nicolas' Church at 7.30pm. The speaker will be Mr Stephen Murton who is
coming to tell us about Wainwright's Coast to Coast walk. Everyone most
Sylvia McKenzie, Branch Leader
CHADS Supports "Simply Vicky"
The next production from CHADS – "Winter Draws On" – will be held in the
Prestbury Hall at 7pm on Friday 16th and
Saturday 17th November 2012.
We guarantee lots of laughs! Tickets, to include wine and cheese, will be £6.
All proceeds will be given to ‘Simply Vicky’ to help provide equipment for
Vicky Dunn when she returns home.
CHELTENHAM YOUNG GOSPEL CHOIR
Any children and young people aged around 7-14 years who enjoy singing,
making new friends and growing in their faith, would be very welcome. Come and
try a session! For further details please contact Heather Charlesworth -
National Eczema Society Cheltenham Support Group
This group exists to support people with eczema and their carers. We have
contacts from the Society website, and occasional local meetings. The group
had a stall at the Rotary Club Jubilee Olympics, which was unfortunately
washed out, with very few people brave enough to stop and look!
We plan to hold a meeting on Tuesday 13th November with an invited speaker
from the Dermatology department, who will talk to us and then answer
questions. This will be at 7.30pm at the Prestbury Centre. There will be
plenty of information available with updated leaflets etc. and we also offer
For further information about eczema or this meeting, please contact Wendy
Visit to Kenya with Kenya Projects UK
Thank you so much to all the members of the Mothers’ Union and others who
donated toothbrushes or money for my trip to Kenya starting 28th December 2012
for 2 weeks. I now have lots of brushes which will be very much appreciated at
the Children’s Homes we will be visiting. The surplus donations will be used
by Kenya Projects UK to help fund ongoing projects, currently a borehole to
provide fresh water for the Health Centre, and a carpentry workshop for the
Utugi Boys’ Home. We will also purchase new shoes for all the children in St
Stephen’s Home, but this purchase is made locally because of the luggage
Fundraising continues until we depart. Revd Maz Allen of URC, who founded
the charity, will organise a stall at the Promenade Charity Christmas market,
selling cakes and produce, on Saturday 1st December. Any donations or other
fundraising ideas would be very much welcomed.