Prestbury Parish Magazine
Thanks to Stephanie Rollinson and Irina Ebbs for organising this.
This term has seen the addition of a new group on Sunday evenings. Alongside the current groups Elevate and Synergy we have started a confirmation course for young people.
The aim of this new group is to look more closely at what being a Christian means to them and to encourage the young people involved to ask themselves if they are ready to make a decision about living out their faith for themselves.
We have been looking at subjects like prayer and the Bible and have had people come in to speak on the importance of communion and what it means to be confirmed etc. We have also had fun together as a group, and enjoyed a night out ice skating in Malvern, teaching each other how to skate and trying not to laugh at the leaders’ antics. The award for star skater goes jointly between Sophie Bestwick and her friend Jessica as well as Natasha Beardsell all of whom were very confident. Most improved skater status goes to Agata and Sofia Giles who helped each other to a confident skate and Louis Meesmaecker who wouldn’t let go of the side at the start of the session but by the end was skating on his own without the side or a person to lean on.
The confirmation service will be on Saturday 30th March 2013 in All Saints’ church with Bishop Michael in the evening. Please come along and support the young people as they take this important step.
All four groups have been having fun with the beginning of Lent which means Shrove Tuesday which also means Pancakes. The Chill group went into the kitchen, a small group at a time, and learnt how to make from scratch and toss a pancake, something they all enjoyed. We worked out by the end of the evening a total of 23 pancakes had been made. We have also had an evening on rubbish holding a binbag fashion show (pictured) which the young people enjoyed.
Coming up we have a residential weekend at Viney Hill.
All three groups will partake in adventurous activities, have a lot of fun and also have some space and time to reflect on our lives. Please pray that this is a success and that the planning continues to run smoothly.
This term also sees the run up to the AGM of PPY which this year will be held on Sunday 14th April at St Nics. Please feel free to come along and hear in more detail what it is we get up to as a charity and how the young people feel being a part of PPY.
Finally we are in need of a few more volunteers to help in several areas of the work PPY does.
We are currently looking for a new treasurer. If you think you would be interested please contact the Revd Canon Michael Cozens.
We also need more help with the Chill group on Thursday evenings. If you think you could spare a Thursday evening a week or even a month we would love to hear from you. Basic training and induction would be provided. Our Monday group community challenge is also in need of a few more driver volunteers. For further details or information please contact me .
Toy Sale Fundraiser at St Mary’s brings congregations together
In the afternoon of Sunday 3rd February a toy sale was held in St Mary’s Church.
The idea was hatched between Kathryn Green and her mother, who had been discussing the need to clear out Kathryn’s sons’ toys to make room for the new ones they would be getting over Christmas. Kathryn normally takes them to a charity shop, but after hearing of the need to improve church finances, decided to plan a fundraiser for the Church.
Kathryn moved to Prestbury with her husband and baby son in 2008 and started going to Celebrate! later that year. They discovered a service that she says was ‘so welcoming and family friendly that we soon became regulars’. Before long, Kathryn was volunteering to help with Summer Celebrate!, a modified version of the service to cover the school holidays, and was then asked by Father Daniel to join the Celebrate! Leaders Group. Along with Louise Green, who has previously featured in the magazine, Kathryn helps to organise the weekly prayer activities for Celebrate!
The sale was initially planned to precede the Christmas period, but after consulting with a few mums it was felt that after Christmas would be better. Kathryn received kind offers of help from both the Celebrate! congregation and from the 11 o’clock service. ‘It was lovely to meet other St Mary’s Church goers’ she says, and it was certainly nice on the day to see two quite different congregations working together for the good of our Church. More interaction of this type would certainly be a positive thing. Often the two congregations pass ‘like ships in the night’ as it were, as Celebrate! tidies up and the 11 o’clock service is in preparation.
Kathryn brought some delicious cakes along, and on the day of the sale was delighted to see a group of ladies from the Mother's Union who arrived to take over the job of providing refreshments. “It was fantastic. I was able to leave all that to them, and they did an amazing job”, says Kathryn.
Andy Macauly, his son Ben, Matt Allison, Paula Harward (pictured) and a few others (even one kind chap who turned up with whiplash from playing rugby) worked really hard all afternoon. Fi Haddock also turned up with some prizes to run a small raffle – this also went down really well.
In the end, the sale raised over £160, all of which will be going to St Mary’s Church. There were a few toys left, which have been bagged up for charity, but it is possible that we will be selling some from a box in the church and asking for a small donation. It all helps!!
The idea was so successful that Kathryn hopes to run a similar event again next year. Despite the fact that she spent the night before tossing and turning in the worry that no one would attend, she really enjoyed it and I think we can all say it was a great success!!!
Starting in late April, Richard Gould, a Prestbury resident, will be walking the ancient pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela. We’ve asked him to write about his thoughts on the trip and on his preparations. His sponsored charity is the Cheltenham Housing Aid Centre. He writes:
Since my first article about walking to Santiago de Compostela, I’ve been getting in some hard miles. The daily stats make for interesting reading, but only for me, so I won’t bore you with them. I’ve had two great walking experiences down in the West Country though. I walked Dartmoor for the first time and if I meet freezing cold, horizontal rain on the Camino I know my jacket is up to the challenge. I also did some of the coastal path in south Cornwall. We stayed in a cottage (pictured) on the Menabilly Estate, near Fowey; the former redolent with the dark shadows of Rebecca and Mrs Danvers and the latter with the lighter hues of local pasties and Doombar ale.
As well as some good physical training I’ve also been catching up on the other important preparation for a long walk: Singing. I can’t think of much as good as belting out something at the top of your voice in the sure knowledge that you’ll be the only one to hear it. This is important for me as my singing is excruciating. The word bad doesn’t describe it. I’m talking bad enough to be left behind at school when all the other kids went to the Eisteddfod . The teacher said I was putting the rest of the lads off. Dogs join in when I sing. I’m the exception proving the rule that all Welshmen can sing.
But on your own on the top of a mountain you can really let rip. Where do you start? Well, I like to give the Beatles a battering first. Sinatra is normally in the programme (“Fly me to the moon” being a great favourite). There’s also many a show tune I’ve murdered. I tend to end up finishing my concerts with songs from my early years in Wales. I start this section with folk songs like “Sospan Fach”, going through the tear-jerkers like “Myfanwy” and “Calon Lan” before making my way to the heavyweight chapel stuff. Cwm Rhondda (also known as “Guide me O thou Great Redeemer” or “Bread of Heaven”) is a favourite as it gives scope for an attempt at two part harmony (“....WANT NO MORE”) although this is a bit difficult on your own. “O Iesu mawr” is as good as it gets for me. This is a powerful song; sonorous in the extreme and perfect for the bass voice. It doesn’t even need any range. It starts as deep as the Marianas Trench and never moves more than two notes higher.
At this time of year, Christians everywhere are raising their voices and Easter hymns are what they are singing. My father’s all-time favourite hymn was “The Old Rugged Cross” and hearing it sung at Easter always makes me think of him. The hard days of Lent come to an end in late March and the biblical story of death and resurrection will be beautifully mirrored in the natural world with the coming of spring.
I’ve set my date for departure for one month after Easter so I’ll try to get one more post in before I go.
PS. During my last walk (Canterbury to Rome) I had a few occasions when I had nowhere to sleep and the combination of foreboding, wet and cold made for an uncomfortable experience. I was lucky as kind souls always gave me a roof over my head for the night. Since returning I’ve tried to help other people suffering homelessness as a Trustee with the Cheltenham Housing Aid Centre. This is my sponsored charity for the walk. If you wish to make a donation, you can do so through the JustGiving website (http://www.justgiving.com/Richard-Gould1) or by cheque (made payable to the charity as above) or by signing up on the sponsor forms which are doing the rounds.
A team of 18 set off with Maz Allen, Minister of URC in Cheltenham, and founder of Kenya Projects (UK), on a wintry morning soon after Christmas. We each had a large suitcase bulging with clothes and toys, toothbrushes and paste, medical supplies, and stationery which had been donated, with only a small backpack in which to take our own belongings! A large number of carpentry tools were packed in a separate crate, kindly sponsored and transported free of charge.
The team came from all over the UK, many drawn in by the original group’s initial aim to take a party including teenaged Christians to “do something practical to help” rather than fundraising for a remote part of the world and never seeing the effects of the funds raised. Some team members are already sponsors of the orphaned or vulnerable children supported by the Projects, and used the visit to meet them. These visits take place every alternate year and 13 of our group had been on at least one previous trip. All trip expenses are paid for personally; all funds raised are spent on the projects: St. Stephen’s Children’s Home and Utugi Boys’ Home.
Our transport in Kenya was a collection of matatus: rather ancient mini buses with a motley assortment of seatbelts of limited efficacy, the wearing of which is compulsory. This was checked at multiple police road blocks on the route. Our base was Embu, a Provincial Capital 100 miles north of Nairobi. This was reached by a sealed road with potholes which are considerably larger and more uncomfortable than ours! In each village and town “sleeping policemen” allow inhabitants to cross the main road safely, but progress is consequently slow! Almost all side roads are unsealed, as are the pavements and school grounds etc.
13 members of the team visited St Stephen’s Children’s Home and the associated Gatondo Health Clinic. We painted five rooms at the clinic and were able to see the completed bore hole in the clinic grounds, for which we had been fundraising. While we were there, the Bishop attended, and there was a dedication service (pictured below) with opening ceremony, tasting of the water, and celebration of the encouraging links with the local Gatondo community who will benefit from the bore hole water. They will hopefully support the clinic in new developments and services to extend the current care offered: maternal and child healthcare, family planning, and minor illness and injuries treatment.
The other six were at Utugi Boys Home, a home with on-site school, set up for street children and other vulnerable boys in a smaller town, and supported by the diocese. Fundraising for a new workshop for the boys to learn useful skills had enabled a large building to be erected, and we were pleased to see the crate of tools arriving during our stay.
We also were able to visit the local Red Cross home for disabled children, which is next door to a government school which the children attend, collected each morning at 6.30 am by their able bodied friends, and returned there at 5.00 pm. It was great to meet Joyce, whom we now sponsor. She entertained us with lovely gospel singing, both solo and with her friends. The facilities offered would not meet those required for disabled people in UK, but they all cope well in a supporting and loving environment.
Many of the children in all the homes are able to visit or stay with relatives during the school holidays. This may involve long and tortuous journeys and a return to very cramped and difficult conditions, but it is essential to maintain the contact where possible as these children will return to their relatives when they finish education at approx. age 18. Orphans will be supported by the children’s homes or by their sponsors until they are self-supporting, which can involve paying College fees, or applying for government grants/loans on their behalf. Some sponsors even find themselves negotiating marriage agreements in loco parentis, and arranging for dowry of goats and gifts, with financial contributions towards the wedding as well!
During our stay we made a lot of varied visits, including a country orphanage, St Andrew’s Theological College and University, the local Archdeacon’s house and huge church at Kutus, a Salvation Army compound and Baden Powell’s memorial and grave. We had a tour of the local Government Hospital (where the nursing staff had been on strike for 5 weeks and it was being run by a small team of dedicated Christians with much reduced capacity), saw the shops and supermarket, and visited Joyce’s family home and that of the grandmother who cared for two of the St. Stephen’s children. The support these families needed was obvious.
We enjoyed meeting and chatting to the children and staff of St. Stephen’s, sharing meals and playing time with them, and giving them all a sturdy new pair of shoes (see front cover picture) and a party bag of gifts on the last evening. They reciprocated with singing and entertainment for us. We got to know some of the St Stephen’s staff and charity committee, who are all very dedicated, but we came to understand why progress towards improvements and change was sometimes very slow and inefficient, but usually successful with continued encouragement.
At the end of our stay we spent two nights at The Ark Safari Lodge in Aberdare National Park, with super views of Mount Kenya and wildlife viewings, part of the successful and important tourist industry. It was interesting to see different aspects of Kenya: the fields of rice, coffee, beans and pineapples, large rice processing factories, hot houses for roses, irrigation projects and agriculture research centres; the posters and publicity for the forthcoming national and local elections in March; huge hoardings advertising mobile phones etc, large shops and large houses in walled compounds contrasting with poor villages, makeshift market stalls, and overcrowded smallholdings with a few plants, small dwellings and three or four animals tethered on the grass verge. We saw many churches and church schools, with only an occasional mosque.
This was a “new beginning” for me, recently retired, making this visit without my husband, seeing first-hand the work of St. Stephen’s Charity and meeting (above) Purity, the girl sponsored by the Prestbury Mothers' Union. I am now prayerfully considering whether there is more for us to do in this area. However, I am sure that this will not be the only time we visit St Stephen’s and Joyce!
We are back into the swing of things now that the snow has gone. Unfortunately one Lunch Club and one Exercise Group had to be cancelled because of the icy conditions. We will be submitting regular articles to the Parish Magazine to familiarise and update readers with our forthcoming activities.
Twice a month, on Mondays, Carol Allan and her team of volunteer drivers, organises our Lunch Club. This is a popular and lively event for up to 40 guests. Door to door transport is provided to Cleeve Hill Golf Club, where a very welcome three course meal is served. New guests are always welcome.
Every Tuesday our white minibus does a grocery shopping run to Sainsbury’s in the morning and to Tesco in the afternoon. This is a door to door service with ample time for a leisurely shop. We have places on both these trips.
On Wednesday afternoon at the library we run our Extend & Scrabble group. Extend is a gentle exercise class led by our trained practitioner Janet. It aims to promote mobility, strength and balance. No leotards required here and the routines are designed to be carried out while seated. Door to door transport if needed. We are looking for a volunteer to help run this group. You will be given a warm welcome, plenty of support and will be joining a team of other helpers so will never be left on your own.
Some of you may recall that in 2002 The Trust had the good fortune to win a brand new minibus in a competition organised by The Gloucestershire Echo. Our bus is an invaluable asset that enables us to lay on the majority of our activities. It is also available for hire to any Prestbury-based group. At present we would like to hear from anyone willing to join our team of volunteer minibus drivers. The work is not onerous and would average out at about 4 hours per month.
If you would like further details about any of the above please contact Richard Mason on 579097 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Prestbury Memorial Trust
An Art and Craft Show and Exhibition plus Sale of Work is to be held at Prestbury Hall on Saturday 9th March at 1.30 pm. Entry is free, tea and coffee will be available.
This event organised by Prestbury Memorial Trust Art & Craft Group Members is in association with other Prestbury artists. Everyone is welcome to come along and support the event.
Members and friends met for our AGM in January. After the formalities Liz Harvey, a representative from Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre, Cheltenham gave a talk on the wonderful work of the Centres in Cheltenham and around the UK. This presentation was very well received and a collection of £80 was donated for this excellent charity.
On 25th February we welcome Laura Leong with “Contemporary Craftwork” and looking forward, our demonstrator on 25th March is Alwyn Page with “Less is More”. Also in March we have our informal competitions; for flowers the title is “Happy Easter”, the craft competition is open for any type of entry.
Our club meetings are held in Prestbury Hall, Bouncers Lane GL52 5JF and start at 7.30pm with doors open at 7pm. Visitors are always most welcome, £5 payable at the door. There is a Sales Table and following the demonstration and refreshments there is a raffle of the demonstrator’s floral arrangements.
Should you require any further information on future events details can be found on our website: www.prestburyflowerarrangingclub.com or you can contact by telephone: Lindsey McGowan on 07754 592 848, Fenella Botting on 01242 241642.
The Revd Tudor Griffiths opened the meeting with a reading from St Matthew’s gospel and prayers.
* Training for evangelism led by ‘Good News People’ at St Matthew’s Church will be held on the second Monday of each month beginning on 11th March. The first session will be led by the Rt Revd John Went.
The whole of the rest of the time was given over to “Effective Ministry in Every Parish” presentations by Bishop Michael and three Diocesan staff.
At the outset the Bishop stressed the importance of this initiative. He fully realises the importance of the parish unit within the Anglican church but also that an appropriate degree of leadership and guidance from him, as Bishop, is right and proper. “Effective Ministry in Every Parish” stresses our responsibilities of pastoral care, public worship and spreading Christian faith in our local community and aims to support us in this.
The initiative is outlined in three leaflets:
As church members we need to:
1. Journeying Together is very similar to our own North Cheltenham Team vision of:
2. Effective Ministry in Every Parish proposes some ways to renew the ministry and mission of the church.
At present there are many people in parishes ministering effectively – stipendiary, non stipendiary (self supporting), local ordained and retired clergy, Readers, Local Ministry Team members, youth workers, choirs, pastoral visitors and many more. But clergy numbers have been dropping and parishes amalgamated. Land is being developed to provide more houses for the growing population. Do these patterns free us or tie us down? How can the parish unit be sustained?
“Effective Ministry in Every Parish” stresses the importance of:
A significant new idea is Local Representative Ministry in which the ministry of the local church may be provided in a number of different ways and should incorporate the whole church. In collaboration with clergy and church members “local ministers” will be a representative focus for the life of the local church and enablers of that church in its work and mission.
A Local Minister will live in the parish, be prayerful, be a team player and encourager of others’ ministries. Further, they will be a community gatherer and pastoral carer, a steward of and an enabler of the local church life and be mission minded. They could be a non stipendiary or retired priest, a Reader, a lay person or a pioneer minister. Each Local Minister would be commissioned by the Bishop. They would take a four term training and be supported by the Diocese.
3. Our Share in the Future is about finance. However one looks at it, church expenditure is exceeding income and this is unsustainable.
It was stressed our churches need to be visible as people not just as buildings.
Sue Read, Deanery Synod Representative
The synod was held in the chapter house at the cathedral on Saturday, 3rd February. Although I was unable to attend, I can report as follows.
The morning commenced with a Eucharist to celebrate the Feast of Candlemass and this included the collation and installation as a canon residentiary of the Revd Canon Andrew Braddock, Director of Mission and Ministry.
As well as the official business of the Diocese to be dealt with, three motions were proposed for members to debate. The first was an expression of thanks for the support we receive from self-supporting ministers, to continue to value and use this support strategically and to encourage those who make appointments to be guided by the calling and gifts of each minister rather than the demands of an overstretched parochial system.
The second motion was to affirm the belief that after Bishop John of Tewkesbury retires, a successor should be appointed.
The third motion was proposed by the Revd Canon Paul Williams that we should (i) recognise the failure of the November General Synod to approve women in the episcopate legislation; (ii) question the procedures in Synod which allowed this to happen; and (iii) use simple legislation allowing the ordination of women to the episcopate so as to protect the authority of diocesan bishops (male or female); to be brought forward with a sense of urgency.
Lynda Hodges, Diocesan representative.
In my younger days it was believed that the name Elmstone came from the large number of Elm trees in the area, but this now looks unlikely.
It may seem obvious to begin with the Domesday Book for the first references of the parishes of Elmstone Hardwicke and Uckington. However we need to look at an even earlier time to find the origins of the Saxon font in the Church. Modern historians (1) suggest that the Saxon stone was once the base of a commemorative stone and this particular one remembers King Aelsmund's death at the Battle of Kempsey in 802AD put here by his son Aethelric. Maybe King Aethelric stood by the stone with a priest giving a blessing together with some of the King's entourage. Though now very rare in this part of England, it was customary for such commemorative crosses to be put by crossroads. The square hole in the stone would have held the wooden cross perhaps or even a stone one. The connection of Deerhurst with the Saxon base is interesting as it has been shown to be made of stone from the same quarry as the font in Deerhurst Church and almost certainly carved by the same mason. Both Aelsmund and Aethelric are thought to be buried at Deerhurst in St Mary's Priory.
In his book Anthony Poulton-Smith (2) thinks the name Elmstone refers to “the boundary stone of a man called Alhmund with the personal name followed by Old English stan”. This would fit the above.
Domesday Book (3) shows the Land belonged to St Peter's Westminster and they held Deerhurst . One of the outliers of this manor is Hardwicke with 5 Hides and “Elmstone was held by Brictric 1 Hide and Reinbald holds it”. The land at what is now Uckington was held by the Church of St Denis, Paris and there were 5 hides here. The parish was called "Hochinton" although it is widely believed that it was Ucca's farmstead in Saxon times. Note 1 Hide was about 120 acres.
This stone is now in the church and with the later building of perhaps a chapel of ease on the same spot in Saxon times, we now realise Christians have worshipped here for over one thousand years.
More of the history of St Mary Magdalene can be found in “The Story of an English Country Church” by Gordon David Williams. It is available at the church.
1 Paper: A possible commemorative stone for Aethelmund father of Aethelric . Michael Hare 2009
2 Gloucestershire Place Names. Anthony Poulton-Smith p61.Amberley Publishing 2009
3 Domesday Book. John S. Moore. Phillimore 1982
As we go through March, we continue on our Lenten journey of discipline and end with a recalling of the awful scenes that see God, God the creator, God made man, suffering at the hands of those he created.
We as humans, the pinnacle of God’s creation, illustrate so well the extremes of good and evil. In our disciplined loving we see a glimpse of God. In our fearful need of control, we still try to kill the author and creator of life itself.
So our challenge at this time of year is to ask: will we trust and persevere and carry on loving, or will we retreat, batten down the hatches, and perhaps attack anyone who comes near?
It isn’t always easy, it is hard to love when we feel broken and it is hard to stay open when people and even life itself seem to have hurt us.
But God our loving Creator, who delights that we see him as both our Father and Mother, has modelled for us, as parents aim to do, how to live this way through his life on earth as Jesus. As we read about his last hours on earth before his death, we notice he demonstrates his love to those he knows will betray him when he washes his disciples’ feet, and challenges them to continue trusting and loving even though he knows he will be arrested.
What helped him persevere? He trusted in God, he knew who he was and he knew where he was going, ‘Jesus [knew] that he had come from God and was going to God’ (John 13.3). ‘I am not alone because the Father is with me.’ (John 16.32). And we too can be strengthened in reflecting on what Jesus taught us, ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me... I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.’(John 14.1, 3)
After assurance comes the challenge, ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments’ (John 14. 15). As with our parents, they can set us the challenge, but the choice is ours. With the challenge, comes the promise, ‘If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love.’ (John 15.10) And ultimately, ‘I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.’ (John 15.11)
So, the choice is ours, to try to stay safe, to retreat, to hide behind our defences, to disconnect, to decay, or alternatively to stay open, to persevere, to carry on trusting, to carry on obeying, to stay in love and to know ultimate joy.
‘Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy... I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.’ (John 16.20, 22)
This time of Lent and Passion, let us choose the path to joy.
Sarah and Neil Jones
Come and Celebrate! with Bishop John
You may have seen that there will be a special service to mark the retirement of the Bishop of Tewkesbury, in the cathedral at 4:30 pm on Saturday 2nd March. What you may not know is that the Celebrate! band has been asked to provide some of the music. We'll be playing during communion and again towards the end of the service. All are welcome and it would be lovely to see a contingent from Prestbury supporting Bishop John - and also the Celebrate! band.
St Nicolas’ Hall Saturday 2nd March at 7:30pm.
Come and join us for this popular event.
Mothering Sunday at St Mary's -
The Parochial Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish of St Mary and St Nicolas Prestbury Cheltenham - Registered Charity No 1130933
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