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Prestbury Parish Magazine

June 2000

They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated
and came to rest on each of them.
Acts 2:3,4.


June 2000


Close Encounters

Pentecost 2000 (P2k)

Alleluia! 2000 (1)

Alleluia! 2000 (2)

25 years of  Rockers' half hour

Making Connections

Making Music

Some articles from this month's magazine have been included elsewhere in the web site:

Church Architecture - Arches and Doorways (2)


Close Encounters

When Moses came down from the mountain his face shone. He had been close to, and had spoken with, God. (Read Exodus 34:29-35.)

Elijah had a similar experience, again, on a mountain top. After a raging storm he recognised God’s presence in the calm and peace, in the ‘still, small voice’. So we sing:

Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire
Speak through the earthquake, wind and fire
O still, small voice of calm.

There is a sense in which our worship should be a ‘mountain top’ experience.

Part of our human situation, however, is that one person’s mountain top seems to be another’s valley of dry bones.

The Orthodox Church regard each church as being at the very gate of heaven. During their worship - the Divine Liturgy - from time to time the doors open, the heavenly choir is heard singing a litany of praise to the Creator, and the altar stands just inside the gate. Christ comes in mystical form, and the priest brings out the Sacrament to the people who queue at the gate.

Our Worship Committee are considering all the implications of Common Worship - the book which will replace the Alternative Services Book on Advent Sunday. It is an opportunity to look at our all of forms of worship and to ask how we can create ‘mountain top’ situations, both in our own Divine Liturgies and in the ‘Occasional’ Services, i.e. baptisms, weddings and funerals.

A Service offering this for some is Benediction. In the Sacramental presence of Jesus we sing praises, meditate using words, music and extended silence, we make intercession, and finally receive God’s Blessing in a most solemn and sacramental way. Sometimes at this Service we sing:

Jesus these eyes have never seen
That radiant form of thine
The veil of sense hangs dark between
Thy blessèd face and mine.

Yet, though I have not seen, and still,
must rest in faith alone,
I love thee, dearest Lord, and will,
Unseen, but not unknown.

Let’s pray to see shining faces emerging from our churches!

Fr Stephen



Pentecost 2000 (P2k)

The Millennium Event

Cheltenham Racecourse
Saturday 10th June 2000
10.00am - 10.30pm

  • A whole day, or simply ‘pop in and out’
  • Seminars and workshops - something for everyone and for all ages - everything from ‘how the computer can help the isolated’ to clock making
  • All sorts of music. Mime, drama, dance (even line-dancing)
  • Three main acts of worship (12.00 noon, 3.00pm and 6.00pm)
  • Separate Youth Venues running throughout the day culminating in a massive Youth Event in the evening and a final extravaganza of light and power to end with.


With an event like this, (literally on our doorstep), it is hoped that many of us will be able to attend. Ticket prices are:-

Whole day:  £4 Adults - £2 Children
With these tickets you can come and go as often as you like!
Evening £3 Adults & children

An evening ticket can only be used in conjunction with a day ticket and is needed only for those who wish to be close to the stage.

You can book your tickets direct from Cheltenham Town Hall Box Office, or place an order with Kay Porter, or pay ‘at the gate’.

Look out for the

Prestbury Parish Hospitality Box
somewhere to ‘chill out’


For much more information, please look at one of the souvenir brochures which are on display in both churches. There promises to be enough to keep us all occupied and amused - this will be the biggest Millennium celebration in the county - don’t miss it!

Meditations at P2K

In the Hattons Grace Room there will be a short guided meditation on the hour, every hour, from 11am to 6pm.


Alleluia! 2000 (1)

On the weekend of 13-15 May 2000 several churches from around England sent a mixture of young Christians to St. Stephen’s House in Oxford to celebrate their faith.

The enjoyable weekend was experienced by Anna Cooper, Jen Lyle, Christine Chamberlain, Alastair Sweetman and Stephen Price. The weekend consisted of a variety of workshops, art, drama, music and earth and each created a piece which was presented to everyone else at the Sunday morning Eucharist.

The weekend started with the traditional ‘getting to know you’ where we were put into 5 groups and played a variety of highly entertaining games to ‘break the ice!’.

After a very comfy night’s sleep on a nice hard floor, Saturday started with 2 workshop sessions where everyone went to their desired choice of activity. After lunch we went to Wadham chapel, after this uplifting service there was a trip to ‘The Oxford Story’, an interactive museum about the history of Oxford University. We then had free time where we could go into town, down to the river or to play footie!

The most thought-provoking service was the service of reflection, this is a very quiet and emotional service. After this some went and started the BBQ and party whilst others found secluded spots where they could have chats and get anything off their chest. As the evening progressed a more light-hearted and social event got into full swing!

At Sunday morning Eucharist each group presented their work and the service ended on a youthful note by playing Fatboy Slim’s ‘Praise You’ as the departure tune!

As the departure time drew near, people said their goodbyes and thanked everyone at final prayers in the church. Alleluia! 2000 was certainly a weekend to remember, meeting new people, rekindling old friendships and looking forward to Alleluia 2001!

By Anna and Jen!


Alleluia! 2000 (2)

So there we were. Two lads from Prestbury stuck in the middle of Oxford’s St. Stephen’s House. Fr. Paul had mentioned an Alleluia 2000! Weekend that had proved popular last year. I thought to myself that this would be interesting so decided to go. The weekend was made up of 14-19 year old people from all over the country who had come together to expand, question and worship our common Christian faith.

As we walked through the door, not knowing what to expect, around 40 heads turned and stared. Still trying to maintain an air of confidence we carried on in and picked a couple of chairs. We had just arrived in time for the initial ‘ground-breaker’ (chat and coffee). After everyone had arrived we proceeded into the chapel for prayers. We then had the main icebreaker, which involved games, pizza and quizzes to try and create the sociable atmosphere. At 11:30 p.m it was time for bed on a lovely comfy(?) floor.

The next morning started with breakfast at 8:30. This was followed by our workgroups (music, art, drama or the one I was participating in, earth-science). I met our group leader, James, who proceeded to take the group down to the park and start to marvel at nature. Having met some of the other group members last night the atmosphere was already sociable. We explored various things including resting on trees (you ought to try it, it is very relaxing) and appreciating nature’s marvels. We then had to build a tree out of whatever we could find. At midday we had lunch and then went on a tour of Oxford including a visit to Wadham College where we participated in a Eucharist. When we returned to the college it was time for more group work, followed by a very emotional service of reflection. This service was a very quiet service with lots of time for reflecting on the different problems and happy thoughts that you were experiencing. You could also light a candle to make that ‘extra special’ prayer. Although this was a service with a simple feel to it, it was probably one of the most moving services I have been to. As well as lighting a candle some of us took the opportunity to have our feet washed which were especially sweaty from football and walking in Oxford. After your feet were washed you said a prayer for the person who washed your feet and then washed the feet of the next person. It was quite a humbling experience and added to the spirit of reflection.

Stephen on the other hand took part in the music workshop playing the bass in a small group with drums, two guitars, a flute, a violin and piano. We practised with the choir of about 10 people and played some great, lively songs. In the Sunday service the music went really well and everyone sang enthusiastically, some even inspired to dance.

It was then time for the BBQ and Disco and the evening started to get into full swing. For some reason I had the thought that no one was going to get any sleep tonight!

Sunday morning was glorious. Too bad we were too tired to appreciate it properly. Staggering to breakfast for some well-needed cups of coffee we began to talk about what was going to be done today. After breakfast it was a bit more group work in preparation for the final service to be held later on that morning. The service was a combination of all the work that each of the groups had prepared and produced an atmosphere the likes of which I have never known in a Church service.

When that finished it was time for the good-byes and swapping of addresses/e-mails and the final packing up.

All in all it was an amazing weekend, definitely worth going on. We are definitely planning to go back next year. This last bit is just to thank Fr. Paul for suggesting it and all the organisers who made it flow smoothly.

Alastair Sweetman and Stephen Price


25 years of  ROCKERS’ HALF - HOUR


For Mothers with their under-5s

Action Songs

Bible Stories

Tea and Toys

On Thursday afternoons during term-time
2:00 - 2:45 pm in St Mary's Church

1975 - 2000

“Amongst many other things the Parish Conference highlighted was the concern felt by young mothers for their small children’s need of religious guidance, and our concern that young parents should be encouraged to attend Church with some provision made for the noisy toddler. It is with great joy and humility that I have been able to watch the surge of growth of Rockers’ Half-Hour from its tiny beginnings round the piano to the full and happy Church that we have on Thursday afternoons during term time.”

Thus wrote Mrs. Rosemary Bradbury, one of the founders of Rockers, in her report to the Parish AGM in early 1976. She thanks her friend and co-founder, Mrs. Jean Williams, “for all the hours of hard work she has put into organising and running the Rockers”, and goes on to describe what they do each week: “first we have 10 minutes of action songs and hymns and a prayer in the nave of the Church. Coffee is made in the Tower and brought to the Mothers who circulate and chat while the over 3s have a story and project in the Choir Vestry, and the under 3s a box of toys in the Good Shepherd Chapel, all supervised by volunteers. Then we get together for the band finale, a selection of drums and shakers where even the babies can shake their rattles - and a good noise is had by all.”

Has anything changed? Nothing has changed, and yet everything has changed. The original songbooks have been replaced twice, the candles once and the drums never! The church extension, finished in 1988, gave us the luxury of toilet and kitchen facilities for the first time. We still hold the service in the nave of the church, sitting either formally in the pews or informally on the carpet at the front. The atmosphere is very relaxed: babies sleep, feed, cry or just listen; toddlers toddle; and 3- & 4-year-olds sometimes take a turn at leading the service.

The biggest change is probably the numbers attending. By 1977 the weekly headcount (adults and children) had risen to about 100. It dropped in the 80s, possibly because the children were starting school a year younger, and then fluctuated, gradually dropping to present levels. Perhaps fewer babies are being born, perhaps more mothers are returning to work sooner, though to a certain extent that is counteracted by the fact that grandparents, nannies and childminders bring children.

What has not changed is the opportunity for mothers and children to meet each other and the clergy, to become familiar with the Church, and to take part in a service which is child-friendly.


From the very outset Rockers has been self-supporting. A coffee morning in May 1975 raised enough money to buy music books, storybooks, coffee, sugar etc. and drum ribbons, ready for the first service on June 5th. The voluntary collection each week and the small charge for tea/coffee more than covers our running expenses, including further books, birthday cards, flowers and Christmas chocolates. Between 1976 and 1997 we organised regular sales of nearly-new clothes and toys, keeping a percentage of the turnover.

Altogether, in 25 years, we have donated over £3000 to the PCC.


According to the Birthday Book the numbers of children who came to Rockers were born as follows:

1970-79 135
1980-89 208
1990-99 148
2000 5
Total 496

representing approximately 330 families.

Some of these may have been only a few times; others attended almost every week until they started full-time school. One or two children from the early days have also come back to us as parents.

We relied very much on Ex-Rocker parents, whose children were at school, to run the sales for us. And it is impossible to count how many people have been involved over the years in storytelling, helping with the craft activities, playing the piano or guitar, leading the singing, making the tea, getting the church ready for us, and tidying it up after we have gone, or just coming along to be there and get to know us.


Our Birthday is on June 5th, which is a Monday this year, so we shall light the candles on Thursday June 8th. A bigger celebration will be two weeks later, on June 22nd, with more candles, and even the story will be about birthdays. Then in July we shall have our annual Garden Party, weather permitting. (If it rains we shall go to the churchas usual.)

If you have ever been to Rockers, at any time in the past 25 years, do please come to one or all of these special meetings. We would love to meet you.

Frances Murton

Jean Williams

Jean organised the story syllabus and group activities and stood at the front of Rockers to lead the singing, while Rosemary preferred the background role of getting to know people individually and maintaining the Birthday Book and address list.

After nine years Jean decided to retire from Rockers in 1984, which is when I took over the role of leading. Rosemary retired in 1995 after 20 years, handing over the paperwork and pastoral role to Susan Banks, but has since returned to make tea.

We were very sad when Jean died last November. It was as if part of Rockers had gone. I shall always remember her enthusiasm when she led the action songs: no mother or child could fail to join in!




Some thoughts from Andy Macauly, the Parish Youth Worker

Do you like meeting new people or does it fill you with fear? If you’re like me, it can be a bit of a nerve-racking experience: desperately trying to remember names and worrying about putting your foot in your mouth. So, a big ‘thank you’ to all those who have welcomed me so warmly to Prestbury.

As a youth worker, I have found the biggest challenge when meeting people in all sorts of settings: schools, youth clubs, sports projects and on the streets, has been to think about the people I am meeting rather than myself.

Recently, I was surprised to realise how Jesus seemed to spend much of his time: chatting with people over meals. He was interested in people, their hopes and concerns. How often do I stop to talk long enough to discover where people are, without rather deciding where I think they should be? This is risky of course: what happens if you chat to the wrong people, go to the wrong places or get on to the wrong subjects? Risky if image and reputation are your main concerns.

Over the next few weeks I will be trying to listen to people, young and older, talking about Prestbury, about the Church and about young people in the area. I will try to listen to as many different people as possible, so that future youth work can be about moving on with young people from where they are at the moment, building on the good work which is taking place already.

Please do say hello, share any thoughts you have and pray for us as a church that our work may always relate to young people’s everyday lives. It is an exciting journey together!


Making Music

This month's musician is Catherine

My Clarinet

At the moment I’m playing tunes from ‘Clarinet Basics’ by Paul Harris. I have lessons every Tuesday and have to practise.

The parts of the clarinet are, from the top: the reed and mouthpiece, then the barrel which is for tuning, the upper joint and lower joint for the different notes and lastly the bell to project the sound. It is handy to have a cleaner because when you play for half an hour or more it gets a bit messy.

It’s really fun. I really like playing the clarinet, A because it’s an instrument not often played and B because I like the noise it makes. My favourite piece is ‘Haunted House’.

Catherine Mann, age 10 years



Mid-Morning Music at St Mary’s (MMMSM)

This popular series returns on Wednesday 14 June. Coffee and biscuits are available at 10.30am and the concert starts at 11 o’clock.

Keri Dexter, a former chorister of St. Mary’s, will give an Organ Recital, including works by Bach, Elgar and Tchaikovsky.

Admission is free. There will be a retiring collection in aid of church funds.


Paddy and Gill thank everyone who collected for Christian Aid.

The amount collected so far (4 June 2000) is

Prayer Group

We’ll be meeting for an hour at 10 am on Tuesday 6th June. Please join us to pray together for the Lord’s work in Prestbury and elsewhere.

Advance notice: We think the date for July is likely to be Tuesday 4th July. Details from Beryl.

Dates for your Diary

‘Living with Teenagers’, a four-session course for parents starting Wednesday 27 September.

Quiet Day, at the Marist Convent, Nympsfield on Saturday 25 November.

Beryl Elliott


Final call for anyone interested in preparing for Confirmation - adults or young people (Year 8 and above). Preparation will lead to Confirmation in November 2000. Please speak to Fr. Michael ASAP.



Prestbury Parish Magazine - June 2000

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