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Prestbury Parish Magazine

October 2000


'No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.
Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.'
John 15:4.

October 2000


The Ever Changing Body

Monthly Prayer Group

Making Music

Prestbury Youth Action

Expedition to Peru

A Letter from Fr Stewart Kasembe

Parish BBQ

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

Church Architecture - sundials; clocks and bells


The Ever Changing Body

From the moment of birth a body never ceases to develop. Cells are constantly renewed. It alters in shape and in potential as the years go by. We have to learn to live with changes, even when we don't want them.

The very universe, also, is continually changing and developing. Our planet, Earth, is slowly evolving... we can't stop it. Families, communities, nations - all are bodies of people. They, too, don't stand still. History is constantly on the move. We all live in an ever-changing world, and there is little we can do to stop it. So perhaps it is small wonder that we look towards God as the only fixed, unchanging, stable, rock-like point in our experience. So the hymn goes:

We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree
And wither and perish, but nought changeth Thee.

The Church of God is an ever-changing Body. It has been since its creation by Jesus Christ.

For some, change within the life of the Church can come hard. Advent Sunday, December 3rd, will see the latest change when Common Worship 2000 will replaces the Alternative Services Book of 1980. With the advice of our Worship Committee it is the intention that changes in the Eucharist at St Mary's and St Nicolas' will be gentle and gradual. To help prepare for the introduction of Common Worship please come to our course of teaching addresses on Sunday mornings (St Nicolas' 9.30 and St Mary's 11.00):

October 15 Setting the background
  22 What we do - and why
  29 Making the best use of our churches
November 19 Worship within the context of the Community
  19 (6.30pm at St Mary's) Your questions answered - a dialogue

Although we hope you will, we can't guarantee that you will like any or all of the changes but at least you might understand why.

With love,
Fr Stephen


Harvest Offering

This year our harvest offering will once again go to asylum seekers: there are about 100 living in Gloucestershire at present. They are given less than the State Benefit to live on. The gifts we give will be stored for handing out to asylum seekers in emergencies.

We are asked to give tins (soup, vegetables etc), dry goods (tea, pasta, cereals etc) and toiletries (toothpaste, washing powder etc). Please bring your offering to either church on the morning of Saturday 30th September, or to one of the Harvest Services on Sunday 1st October.

Jerry Porter

Parish Office Hours

As from this month, the parish Administrator will usually be in the Office at the Vicarage on Monday (9am-12noon), Thursday (9-11am) and Friday (9am-12noon).

Communion before Confirmation

Another opportunity to join a group preparing to receive communion before being confirmed. This applies to children who have been baptised and who are now in Year 3 (aged 7) or above. The preparation will probably take six weeks and we hope to admit the children to communion before Christmas. Please give names to Fr Michael or speak to him if you would like to know more.

Monthly Prayer Group

We meet during the day in the first week of each month between 10am and 11am. At first we chat briefly about specific things to pray about, then we all join in with informal prayers for the people, events, joys, difficulties we are aware of in our church, parish and world. We know people are busy with many demands on their time and no one is expected to be at every meeting, some folk might come once a year and that's fine. We generally finish by saying The Grace together before 11 o'clock and then enjoy a coffee together. So now you know, and it's not too off- putting is it? We'd be happy to see you...

The next few dates are Thursday 5th October, Tuesday 7th November and Wednesday 6th December.

Sue Read

Making Music

This month's musician is Sarah.

My Violoncello.

I signed up for 'cello lessons at junior school with my best friend, Lizzie, when I was 8 years old. I liked the sound of the 'cello and thought that it was a bit different. A year later I had successfully passed Grade I. I kept playing through two changes of school and many changes of teacher before, at the age of 17, I passed the Grade VIII exam with distinction.

Just in case you are finding it difficult to visualize a 'cello, it looks like a big violin and you sit on a chair abreast of it to play.

Your reasons for playing change as you develop as a player. One thing that has kept me going are the opportunities provided by the county music service. I have worked my way up from the back desk of the 'cellos in Mr Thomas's orchestra (then known as Cheltenham Schools Junior Orchestra) to being leader of the 'cello section of the top county orchestra, the Gloucestershire Youth Orchestra. I have also been on three of the county summer courses; they are fantastic fun. Through all of these groups I have made some brilliant friends who I hope will stay with me for the rest of my life.

I've also been lucky enough to play in some outstanding trios, string quartets and quintets, in and out of school. This has proved quite profitable as the quartets are now often asked to play at weddings and other formal functions and can go out busking.

For me playing the 'cello has really taken off in the past two years when I have begun to enjoy the social dimension to music and play with a much wider variety of groups. One of the most memorable performances for me has been playing the first movement of Elgar's 'Cello Concerto accompanied by the school orchestra in the Pittville Pump Room. It was an amazing experience.

There will always be times when you think 'I can't be bothered any more'. I have often thought that when teachers have been telling me I need to learn my scales (my least favourite part of 'cello playing!). All I can say is stick at it. I thought that 'cello playing stopped at grade VIII, but having got there I've found that this is where it starts.

Sarah Lyle (age 18)


Prestbury Youth Action

For a week during August eight Young People and eight Adults took on the challenge of transforming gardens of the elderly and disabled. Here are some comments from those involved:

  •  'I enjoyed helping on the Community Action project; it was good helping other people and it was fun.' (Young Person)
  •  'Children seem to get a very bad press these days but this bunch deserve nothing but praise.' (Owner of Garden)
  •  'I am pleased that we can help the elderly and disabled in Prestbury.' (Young Person)
  •  'It turned out to be a three way venture in getting to know each other - young people, older helpers and the owners of gardens that needed attention. I think we all benefited.' (Adult Helper)
  •  'There's nothing like working alongside people to get to know them: a fantastic bunch, dedicated and with a great sense of fun. (Youth Worker)
  •  'It was very much appreciated!' (Warden)

The week also included a BBQ, with some 'well cooked' items, and a trip to the fantastic Greenbelt. Both events continued to build a strong sense of togetherness among the young people and leaders. Thanks to all who were involved. Watch this space as we see how we can continue the project.

Andy Macauly


Expedition to Peru - Pate's Team 'A'

Two members of the parish, Stephen Price and myself, took part in the Pate's Grammar School Team A expedition to Peru this summer. A fantastic and eventful time was had by all. River journeys by local boats, overloaded truck journeys through high mountain passes and desperate taxi journeys across cities made for an adventure of a life time. As we all struggled to grapple with the language, locals went out of their way to help us... despite the fact that it was often not the help we wanted. From the tourist dives of Cusco, the Pongo de Manique and the jungle, the Inca Trail, Cotahausi Canyon, the festival in Arequipa and the delights of sleeping on the floor of Lima airport, despite one member of the team trying to throw himself off a cliff on the Inca trail in the dark (not intentionally), the most dangerous moments were taxi rides in the cities. The taxi drivers are probably the most religious people I have ever seen. One driver crossed himself every time he went past a church... he crossed himself even more furiously each time we approached a busy junction or roundabout, this made us somewhat concerned.

Nigel Woodall

A Month in Peru

Mountains, rainforests, llamas and roasted guinea pigs go a long way to summing up our trip yet I'm sure you're keen to know more. We started off wide eyed and bushy tailed eager to be off with our sparkling new kit well packed and our stomachs filled with the slap up send off meal our parents had provided. I know my Mum had fed me up as if I was going to be away for a decade rather than a month. However surviving off crackers, porridge and gorgeous McDougals (a slightly dodgy dehydrated meat substitute) whilst hiking up 4000 metre high mountains led most of us to daydream of our mothers cooking and torture ourselves by describing the feasts we were going to prepare when we got home.

Despite this though and some uncomfortable truck rides crammed in like sardines with the locals there were some amazing moments. Swimming in the Pongo with sheer rock faces on either bank, spectacular waterfalls streaming down them and in sparkling sunshine was one of the best moments of the trip especially climbing up behind the waterfalls and diving off into the river. Arriving at the ruins of the Inca hilltop fort Machu Picchu was incredible as they appeared through the mist and made the four day trek through the mountains with full packs well worth it.

Our last phase of the trip was in the world's deepest canyon where we painted a local school as our community project. One of the highlights of this was the natural hot springs where we washed the grime and paint off each day in boiling hot water. Mr Woodall enjoyed the springs so much he compared them in significance to the birth of his daughter!

When we arrived home we were no longer the clean faced young youths we had been when we left. We were smelly, covered in dirt, starving hungry and glad to be back in green and pleasant England where hot showers and Roast Beef were plentiful. However it had been an amazing trip and I think all of us have wished we were back there at least once since we got back.

Stephen Price


Expedition to Peru - Pate's Team 'B'

I have a collection of memories from this summer that words can barely sum up. I spent a month in Peru with World Challenge Expeditions. Their brochure offers 'the experience of a lifetime' and Peru did not fail to deliver. Our team crammed a huge range of activities into the time out there; everything from the spectacular beauty of the Inca Trail to the tropical paradise of a boat trip down the Urubamba River, stopping at a farm to pick oranges. Night journeys by flat-bed truck, horse riding and numerous Inca ruins, not to mention clubbing in Cuzco, were to follow. Cuzco is the second largest city in Peru (after Lima) but seems much smaller than Arequipa because the outskirts go up the valley sides instead of sprawling flat. The cathedral is very ornamental, a strange mixture of western influence and Inca creativity.

At Chivay we loaded kit for our community project on to donkeys and walked down and down (and down and down...) into the Colca Canyon. The views were fantastic and we saw condors - average wing span 6 feet. The path disintegrated briefly into scree and tree roots, then a rickety suspension bridge over the river, and then all uphill to San Juan Chuccho. Here we had a three-day rest from walking - the lads put up corrugated iron walls around the 'toilet' (hole in the ground) while we girls washed and repainted the inside and outside walls of the school building, helped by some of the local children. An interesting challenge was communicating in Spanish with a six-year-old. The most common phrase of the expedition had to be a plaintive 'Liz, what did he just say?' (I was the only Spanish-speaker in the group.)

Then on to the Inca Trail where temperatures were freezing at night. We climbed to Dead Woman's Pass (4200 metres above sea-level). I twisted my knee on the second day, so spent the next two days using walking poles as crutches. The final section of the Inca Trail has narrow paths, bridges and steep stairs. We reached the Sun Temple and a magnificent view of ... fog, which cleared as we went on down to Machu Picchu.

As well as condors, we saw several herds of llamas with red tassels on their ears, a large family of guinea pigs running loose in a kitchen, and cicadas and luminous butterflies in the jungle. We showered under a waterfall (powerful but cold), bathed in hot springs, and slept everywhere from tents to buses to the best hotel in town.

My personal favourite was the jungle town of Quillabamba, with banana trees and tropical scenery, delightfully warm in both its climate and the welcome we received - it was here that I had my first taste of salsa dancing. Overall the expedition was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Elizabeth Murton


A Letter from Fr Stewart Kasembe (18/7/2000)

Dear Revd Canon Stephen & Vicky,

I hope by the grace of God our Father you are all fine. I am very well and ready to go home. I will be going on 20/7/2000. I have passed my exams and my dissertation as well.

I would like to express my sincere thanks to you and your clergies, all your parishioners, for your LOVE and friendship and more than that for your support and prayers. I will always remember you during my prayers to God.

I thank you so much for your Administrative Skills which I gained during my stay on Christmas vacation. I enjoyed visiting your parishioners, and staying with them, and I would like to say THANKS to them all. For their LOVE and GENEROSITY they offered to me will not be forgotten in my mind for ever.

I will be in touch with you, when I get at home and inform you my new "possibly" Parish.

May the blessings of God be with you all,

Rev Fr Stewart Kasembe


Earlier this year Fr Stewart's wife was seriously ill and money was collected in this parish to help pay for her medication. The amount collected was more than enough, and we have sent the balance (about £1700) to the Bishop of Masasi to set up a diocesan fund to help in cases of similar need in the future.

Fr Stephen


Parish BBQ

Sunday 10th September was a beautiful, late summer day (proving that God does hear our prayers!) and the Infant School grounds were a perfect setting for the Parish Barbecue. Lots of good food, expertly cooked; a chance to sit and chat in the welcome shade of the trees, or for the more energetic, a game of rounders and then a treasure hunt. Very many thanks to those who organised such an enjoyable social occasion. Also, thanks to those who helped on the day; to Andy (for the entertainment!) and to all those who came. Not to be missed next year!!

A Taste of Paradise -
 Classical Music in the Seychelles

After responding to a letter displayed at a Cheltenham Choral Society rehearsal in January asking for experienced singers to take part in the Seychelles International Festival of Classical Music, we left Heathrow on Thursday 8th June, bound for Nairobi, where we enjoyed a mini safari in the National Park before flying on to the Seychelles for our first concert on 10th June.

First impressions of Mahé were of a paradise island. After a few hours rest we travelled over very mountainous roads to the capital, Victoria, and a rehearsal for the concert that evening. We were a choir of 80 and orchestra of 40 and our guest conductor was Sir David Willcocks. Among other things that evening the choir sang the Seychelles National Anthem in Creole, Handel's Coronation Anthems 1, 2 & 3 and a piece arranged by Sir David "Rejoice to-day with one accord"; he was most surprised to find everyone sight-reading the piece, having been handed it as we entered the Conference Centre.

During the following fortnight we rehearsed and sang a concert in the Cathedral, including Fauré's Requiem, Locus iste (Bruckner), Cantique de Jean Racine (Fauré), Laudate Dominum (Solemn Vespers), all of which was being broadcast. On another occasion we sang Mozart's Requiem, and gave a joint concert with the Seychelles Choral Society including songs from the shows and an open air concert entitled 'A Night at the Opera / Last Night of the Proms'. Sir David Willcocks conducted a workshop during our stay and kindly autographed and gave us each a copy of his arrangement of "Rejoice to-day with one accord".

The orchestra accompanied us for each performance and also played alone. One memorable occasion was outside at Cap Lazare, playing Handel, Mozart and Vivaldi with the sea and waves lapping in the background. Our international soloists (both vocal and instrumental) gave recitals on various evenings and we were all entertained to a reception by the British High Commissioner and his wife at their lovely house high in the hills overlooking the sea; also a very warm welcome and sing-along with the Seychelles Choral Society.

We did manage to have some time for sunbathing and sightseeing of both Mahé and two neighbouring islands Praslin & La Digue (where we travelled by ox cart). One day en route back to our room at the hotel we met Shirley and Peter Brown, who were on a tour of the island while staying at a hotel further along the coast. All that way from home and you walk into someone from Prestbury St. Mary's!

It was a holiday of a lifetime, a paradise island with a warm friendly people, the joy of listening to and making music, the companionship of people with the same interests and I know we have made many lifelong friends.

Avril Keen accompanied by Bill Keightley


All Saints' Tide

Wednesday 1st November
A Sung Eucharist at All Saints' Church, Pittville
We are invited to join Fr Stephen and the congregation at All Saints' to celebrate their Patronal Festival and enjoy some refreshments after the service

Thursday 2nd November
A Sung Requiem for the Departed
St Mary's Church

Sunday 5th November
A Service for those who have recently been bereaved
St Mary's Church
We will invite those who have been bereaved during the past year
to attend this service


St Nicolas' Patronal Festival

Wednesday 6th December

Festival Eucharist at 7.30pm
Followed by some light refreshments

Come and celebrate our life together
All are very welcome


Christmas Ideas

Webb Ivory Christmas 2000 Card and Gift catalogues are available from Marion Godden. Profits to St Nicolas' Roof Appeal.


 Parish Youth Clubs 


Synergy: Sundays 7.30pm St Nicolas'
Exploring Faith and Life (Y7 and up)

1 October:
8 October:
15 October:
22 October:
29 October:

Being: Family
Social (tba)
Being: Living and Dying
No meeting
Being: Chilled

'The Space' Youth Club (Y7&8)
Thursdays 7.30-9pm St Nicolas' Hall

5 October:
12 October:
19 October:
26 October:

Banner Making
No club

TZ Youth Club:
Fridays 7.45-9.15pm St Nicolas' Hall
Chat, Challenge and Chill (Y9&up)

6 October:
13 October:
20 October:
27 October:

Club Night
Club Night
Club Night
No Club
For further information on any of the above please contact Andy Macauly


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

The summer mid-morning concerts at St Mary's ended on September 6th. Christine and Malcolm McKelvey have again delighted us with a varied programme of recitals given by talented performers. We are most grateful to them for arranging this series and look forward to the next one in the Spring of 2001.

Christine East


'A Thanksgiving for Marriage'

Sadly this service, due to be held on 9th September, had to be cancelled. Invitations were sent to couples married in Prestbury during the past five years, but only six said they were able to come! Lots replied saying, 'what a good idea, but we have another engagement' and we were not sure how many other people would join us.

One suggestion is to hold a similar service on Saturday 5th May 2001, including it as part of a weekend celebration of marriage. Perhaps we could show wedding dresses if people still have them, photographs and other wedding 'memorabilia', along with a display of wedding flowers. These are only suggestions - let us know what you think!

Fr Michael

Gloucester Cathedral Evening Pilgrimage

20 disappointed people had to forego their evening visit to the Cathedral due to the fuel crisis. We have been assured by the Cathedral Visitors' Officer that we will be at the top of the list for the next series of evening tours.

Parish Quiet Day

Advance notice of a Quiet Day to be held on Saturday 25th November 2000 at Our Lady's Homestead, Nympsfield, near Stonehouse. Nympsfield is a quiet village in the Cotswold Hills, between Stroud and Dursley. The Retreat House is owned and run by the Marist Sisters and our Quiet Day will be led by an Anglican Monk, Br.Steven of the Community of the Servants of the Will of God (CSWG). Transport can be arranged. More details nearer the time - book the date now!



Prestbury Parish Magazine - October 2000

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The Parochial Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish of St Mary and St Nicolas Prestbury Cheltenham - Registered Charity No 1130933

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