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Prestbury Parish Magazine

December 2001 / January 2002

'We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.'
Matthew 2:2.

December 2001 / January 2002


Fr Stephen writes ...

Elizabethan Banquet

The Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham

St Nicolas' Patronal Festival

Parish Carol Service, 16 December

SPRINGBOARD: A Rallying Call for Prestbury!

Wide Angle

MLT Update

Saturday Prayers for Peace

That was the year that was!

Bon Voyage from Prestbury St Mary's

A Review of Luke's Gospel on Tape.


Advent Readings

Fr Stephen writes ...

Looking back at 2001

What will you remember most this first year of the new Millennium? Perhaps September 11th, and the succeeding bloodshed in Afghanistan? Reflect that humankind still has so very much to learn of the peace which the Christ Child came to bring. Terrorism, fundamentalism, all persecution, aggression, and reprisals, cannot be the will of an all-loving God. Each tragedy has involved individual families, individual people. Pray for a New Year of Peace.

In our parish, there has been much for thanksgiving.

Mary had nowhere to give birth except in a stable. The Holy Family became refugees, no doubt suffering further rejections and indignities. This year the UN Commission for Refugees 'has concern' for 21.5 million refugees, more in ten years. 2001 has seen an extra 1.1 million more people being displaced from home. The trend is the wrong way. Remember each refugee is a child of God and as such has a right to dignity. Pray for all refugees and for all strangers who come among us, for whatever reason.

Then you will have personal memories, some sad, some happy. At the Vicarage they include the deaths of two loved mothers and grandmothers, and a broken arm, but these have been balanced by happy family gatherings and other events.

The clergy have been given the privilege of sharing with others in the arrival and christening of new babies, of celebrating exam successes, family weddings, anniversaries, and achievements of all kinds.

Part of a priest's function is to help discern the presence and the love of God in all of life.

Looking Forward

We all still have to learn to fully respect and affirm people of other faiths, and recognise that they, too, may also hold God's truth, revealed in other ways. Jesus who said, 'I am the way, the truth and the life', and, 'No one comes to the Father except through the Son', also said, 'Other sheep I have who are not of this fold,' and 'In my Father's house there are many rooms.' This equally includes Jews, Muslims, people of other faiths, and people of no faith during their earthly life, for in the next life with God, without exception, we shall all be transformed.

My New Year prayer is that all people should live with this understanding.

Fr Stephen


Elizabethan Banquet

Saturday 10th November witnessed the arrival of a variety of costumed people advancing on St Nicolas' Hall. We were in the presence of Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Thomas More and many other Elizabethan characters wearing elaborate hired, or many skilfully made, costumes.

All had gathered for our Elizabethan Banquet. 'Bags of Brass' entertained us and set the mood before the banquet began. The drab hall had been transformed by Jackie Moles' traditional art work and candlelight. The 'Elizabethan Babes' played Elizabethan music during the feast and taught us an Elizabethan round involving a cat. All joined in with gusto.

Serving wenches served the delicious food assisted by the Baldricks, who also ran the bar, so thanks to my fellow staff - Janet, Gill, Jan, Ruth, John, Simon and Nigel.

Prizes were awarded for the most original costumes: Jackie Moles' was judged most original female costume and Roger Ashman's costume most original male.

SNADS ably entertained us after the meal with their usual enthusiasm and this made a wonderful conclusion to a magical evening.

My special thanks go to Janet White, my fellow worker from our Mediaeval Banquet 15 years ago. In another 15 years we shall be 70, so I doubt if banquets will be on our minds then!

The very welcome profit for the St Nicolas' Renewal Appeal is over 500.

Marion Godden


The Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham

to come and find out all about 'England's Nazareth'

Walsingham is a village in Norfolk to where, throughout the ages, many have gone on pilgrimage to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.

A weekend pilgrimage from our Parish has been booked for the early May Bank Holiday next year. If you'd like to learn a little more about Walsingham and what we get up to when we're there, please join us for a cup of tea in St Nicolas' Room on Sunday 2nd December at 4.00pm

There will be an opportunity to watch a video about Walsingham, to view photographs of past pilgrimages and browse through other information.

You will not be under any obligation to join the pilgrimage - this is just an opportunity to find out a little more!


St Nicolas' Patronal Festival

This will be celebrated with a Sung Eucharist on

Thursday 6th December at 7.30pm

in St Nicolas' church

Refreshments will be served after the service

A Patronal Festival is an important day in the life of any Church.
Do come and join the rest of the Church Family for our celebration.

Parish Carol Service, 16 December

The Brass quintet is looking forward to playing from 5.45pm until the beginning of the service: a captive audience is not inclined to walk away. We feel that we are the birthday party element of the evening, acting as a warm-up to the main service of the celebration of the birth.

More secular type tunes are played in the first part of our programme: JOPLIN, BEATLES, SULLIVAN etc. Why should the Devil have all the best tunes? Among the more sober tunes we play as we approach the beginning of the service will you recognise IT CAME UPON THE MIDNIGHT CLEAR? We play the tune WILLIS rather than the more popular SULLIVAN arrangement.

There will be at least one and possibly two different faces in the quintet. We all play in different groups and fixtures clash at this time of year. Our two Christmas performances at JARDINERIE were mid November this year. Strange, isn't it?

Edgar Davison

Christian Aid - Carol Singing

There will be envelopes for the Christmas Appeal in both churches in due course. In addition, both choirs will be singing carols for Christian Aid at Sainsbury's on Saturday 22nd December, St Nicolas' from 10-11am and St Mary's from 2-3pm. Do join them if you can.

Gill Ashman & Paddy Spurgeon


SPRINGBOARD: A Rallying Call for Prestbury!

It's a call to every man, woman and young person in our congregations. People of every age, and every stage in their Christian lives! Anyone, in fact, who wants to discover more about themselves, their faith - and, perhaps, how to talk to others about it.

That's the essence of Springboard in Prestbury in 2002, when we all have a chance to explore our faith in the face of some everyday issues. Friendship, for instance - what does it mean to have friends in our lives? How about conflict and betrayal - how easy is it to really forgive? Then death and resurrection - what do we truly believe?

Springboard for Faith is a chance for each of us to explore these challenging questions - and more - over the course of six evenings to be held weekly from February 12th at St Mary's Infant School in Bouncer's Lane.

In small groups, we'll have a tremendous opportunity to talk, listen and share our questions, doubts and fears. It's a chance to be bold and reflective, or quiet and thoughtful. It could be a real adventure of self-discovery that could help us learn to talk about our faith to our families, friends and neighbours.

What will the evenings be like?

Springboard for Faith is based on Jesus, Today, Tomorrow, Forever?, the video of the Cheltenham Passion Play held in 2000. The video is divided into the five themes of Friendship, Conflict, Betrayal, Death, and Resurrection.

Each evening will concentrate on one of the themes, and a clip of the video will be shown, followed by group discussion, coffee and fellowship, and a short meditation, again based on the video. Each session will last for just one hour and 15 minutes.

On the sixth evening, we'll join together to eat, drink, and review what we've covered - and how we can move forward to take the Christian message to others.

Most importantly, there will be no pressure and no fixed agenda. Each group will have a 'leader' to help keep the discussion moving - but how much you personally choose to say, or how far you join in, is entirely in your hands. Springboard for Faith is for you.

What do we hope to achieve?

Springboard for Faith is Prestbury's response to the Springboard initiative, which aims to strengthen Christians for mission.

And although that might sound daunting, it's really about finding out how we, as individuals, can best talk to other people about our church, our faith, and what it means to have God in our lives.

So our aim is to get an enormous number of people on board for the February/March evenings - and generate a fantastic level of enthusiasm and commitment for the next two stages of Springboard:

Holy Week:   taking the Easter message to the people of Prestbury through drama;

After Easter:   sharing our faith with friends and neighbours, with another series of discussion evenings.

So what are we asking you to do?

Join the six week programme and be part of this great initiative in Prestbury! Look out for the posters and leaflets in church after Christmas for details of how to "sign-up". And, in the meantime, please pray for the success of Springboard for Faith - that it might be everything we hope for!

Caroline Sexton, Springboard for Faith Planning Team


Wide Angle?

One of the most exciting things for me about being a Christian is the fact that we share in something which is not just limited to a small group - but the whole Church.

Recently Young People from Synergy have met up to eat ice cream and play icebreakers with others from Charlton Kings and attended a training day on sharing their faith with young people from across the Diocese.

There are also exciting links being developed within the Cheltenham Christian Youth Leaders Forum - a group of Leaders who meet to support and pray for each other, while the Diocesan Youth Work Forum continues to be a valuable source of information and inspiration.

And the future? There are plans to hold a week of prayer by young people across Cheltenham during Holy Week; we hope to continue to meet with other groups across Cheltenham and The Space will soon be taking on other youth groups in sport.

Please pray that these links would strengthen - but that it would be at a level of individual relationships that we are able to share the excitement of journeying together with God.




Exploring Faith and Life (Y7+ welcome)
1900 - 2100 Sunday evenings
St Nicolas' Room & Hall
Last session this term is Sunday 2nd December
Restarts Sunday 13th January 2002


Y7+ youth club
1930 - 2100 Thursday evenings
St Nicolas' Room & Hall
Term ends with a Bonfire on Thursday 13th December
(no session on 6th December)
Restarts Thursday 17th January 2002

Twilight Zone

Y9+ youth club
2000 - 2200 Friday evenings
St Nicolas' Room & Hall
Friday 14th December - Christmas Ball
Restarts Friday 18th January 2002

New members always welcome!


Diocesan Youth All-Night Fundraiser 7/8 December

A fantastic chance to get involved in raising money for India and the homeless in Gloucester including a night packed full of fun and stimulating activities. If you are not going along why not sponsor someone who is?


For more info on any of the above please contact Andy Macauly


MLT Update

At our Ministry Leadership Team meetings we are now working through a module on the Bible. I was struck by a couple of pieces from one of the resource books I'm reading to give us a wider breadth to our meetings and hope it will also strike a chord with some other church members.

From a book about the Bible by one Walter Wink (ISBN 0-687-09626-X): "Parables are tiny bits of coal squeezed into diamonds, condensed metaphors that catch the ray of something ultimate and glint it at our lives. They are the jewelled portals of another world; we cannot see through them like windows, but lights are refracted through their surfaces that would otherwise blind us - or pass unseen." "Parables have hooks all over them; they can grab each of us in a different way, according to our need."

Sue Read
Ministry Leadership Team

Saturday Prayers for Peace

12.00 noon in both Churches

This special time of prayer for the needs of our world began on Saturday 13th October and is led by members of our Ministry Leadership Team. We have been encouraged by the number of people who have joined them in one of the churches for this short time of public prayer every Saturday. The Angelus bell is rung before the prayers begin. This serves as a call to prayer and also as a reminder to those who hear it that prayers are being offered. We feel that the need for prayer is still very great at this time. If you are not able to get to church, why not make Saturdays at noon a time for your own prayers?


'That was the year that was'!

Auction of Promises, Theatre trip to Stratford, 'the Herods' - meal & talk, Talent Contest, Walsingham Festival in Llandaff, Fashion Show, Thanksgiving for Marriage Weekend, Summer Supper and Songs, Open Gardens, Parish Dance, Parish Barbecue, Patronal Festival Lunch, September Fayre, Quiet Day in Nympsfield, Abertillery Choir, Elizabethan Banquet. All of those, plus refreshments after weekday festivals, are just some of the social occasions which have been on offer to us during the year (and that's just up to November!).

Many, many thanks to all those people who have taken any part in organising and running the social events which so many of us have been able to enjoy this year. The newly named Parish Events Committee are now putting together the 2002 Events Calendar. This is still in the planning stage, so if you have any suggestions (or offers) to make, please speak to a member of the committee. We would be interested in ideas for trips, talks, rambles, meals, entertainment or any other social occasion. It is always good to have a 'get together', but it is especially good to have events to which we can invite people who are not church members - perhaps neighbours or friends - then they can see that we do know how to enjoy ourselves!

Coming soon:-

Saturday 2nd February: 'Candlemas Quiz Night' with refreshments & licensed bar

Committee members

John Elliott, Eileen Jones, Margaret Holman, Kay Porter, Ruth Rudge, Fr Michael



The Millennium Resolution

Let there be:

respect for the earth;
peace for its people
love in our lives;
delight in the good;
forgiveness for past wrongs;
and from now on a new start.


reprinted from the February 2000 magazine


Bon Voyage from Prestbury St Mary's

In September 1971 Stuart Jones, the Headmaster of our Church Junior school, secured the appointment of the new, young teacher who was, it turned out, to succeed him. Peter Vaus had trained for his profession in Leeds, where he studied History, Theology and Philosophy. His first teaching post was in Hertfordshire. After moving to Cheltenham, he spent a sabbatical year at Oxford and proceeded to work in the County of Gloucestershire before joining the staff of the Junior school here in Prestbury.

At that time it was a relatively small village school, which had only recently separated from the Infant school and had only five teachers, including Stuart, and a mere 125 children.

How things have altered as the school has grown and flourished! Thirty members of staff (class teachers, support, administrative and music staff) now fit into the staffroom with a shoehorn. With a two-form entry, 260 pupils now fill the extra classrooms and all the spaces which have been created.

During the 30 years Peter has been with us, twenty of those as Headmaster, he has certainly experienced a period of exciting and dramatic changes in our school and, indeed, in the whole field of Education.

When Peter first came there was no Television, no Video in school. He well remembers buying our first black and white TV set, a Grundig from Radio Rentals. What luxury we thought! Now, with ICT high on the agenda, we boast a whole new ICT suite, enhanced by a multi-media projection system from the PTA.

With the increase in instrumental teaching and provision of a Music room, the musical life of the school has grown and become one of its greatest strengths. Thanks to Peter, who is himself a violinist.

Nor has Peter's influence been confined to the school itself. At Diocesan level he played a major role in establishing special services in the Cathedral for Year 6 school leavers. For many years he has served as Chairman of the Cheltenham Headteachers' Association with a membership of 38 local schools.

Not so very long ago it was fashionable to talk in terms of "child-centred education". This has always been Peter's approach. His real, personal concern for every child in his care has been his hallmark.

We thank him for all he has done and wish him a long and happy retirement.

Margaret Waker (School Governor 1972 - )


A Review of Luke's Gospel on Tape.

Do you have long car journeys to fill, or time to just sit, listen and think? Why not listen to Luke's Gospel being read by Tenniel Evans?

The Education & Nurture committee members have been thinking about the busy lives we all lead and have some tapes which can be used for inspiration or learning. St Luke's Gospel is 2 hours long but can be taken in sections. Tenniel Evans' projection is enthusiastic and expressive to the text which he brings alive as the letterform in which it was written. Over one hundred scholars of diverse denominational backgrounds worked on the New International Version of the Bible for fifteen years, and their principle concern was to be faithful to the original text.

I listened to it in the car as I drove around work, ten minutes here, twenty minutes there, each day for about two weeks. The words were all very familiar but the presentation made it seem very real, as Luke was relaying his gathered first hand reports and experiences. Some of the chapters where parables are gathered together flowed well as one illustration followed another, but it was also noticeable that occasionally a parable seemed unrelated to anything before. A first time listener would be left thinking, "What was that about?" even more than I was so would need an opportunity for explanation.

The structure of the Gospel had not struck me before. Here is laid out the sequence of Jesus' witness to Man. Starting with the contemporary Social and Religious structure we hear the impact made on peoples' lives before and at his birth. Childhood events affect the adults around Him and His confidence grows into manhood. Compulsion to take this new message to the world draws in dedicated followers but with increasing conflict with authority, culminating in the Passover trial and execution. But just as important are the reports of witness after His predicted resurrection, convincing the most depressed and doubting followers that His message had been true and needed to be taken out to all peoples.

If you have time in your week to listen regularly to the radio, I recommend you borrow this tape and hear again the experience of someone who was there, and be encouraged.

David Lyle


Parish Sports

This month's sportsman is Andrew.


I started playing football at the age of four months, aided and encouraged by my granny. At the age of eight, I joined 'The Saturday Club,' run by Charlton Kings-based Charlton Rovers. During that year, various friendly matches were organised and then we joined a proper league at the under-10's age group. I have since progressed through the club right up to under-16 level and captained the team in our last season. We played in a tournament in Belgium when I was 12. I also played football at Prestbury Junior School, and now at Pate's Grammar School. Last year I was selected to play in the first XI and hope to do so again when the school season begins after Christmas. In the current school year, I have joined a five-a-side team and we play every week in Bentham.

The game of football is contested between two teams of 11 players, each with ten outfield players and one goalkeeper. A player may touch the ball with any part of the body except the arms and hands and the aim of the game is simply to get the ball into the opposing team's goal. A game lasts 90 minutes (split into two halves of 45 minutes) and to win a team must score more times than the opposition within this time. An average full-sized pitch is about 100 yards long and 40 yards wide. There are no restrictions as to where any player may go - even some goalkeepers go up to the wrong end of the pitch if their team is desperate to score a goal!

Andrew Murton


Advent Readings

You are cordially invited to join us in St Nicolas' Room on Tuesday evenings from 7.30pm till about 9pm or on Monday mornings from 10.30am at different homes in Prestbury for three weeks in December to read and consider the Advent lectionary readings. The sessions will be led by three members of the Education & Nurture Sub-committee. It will be an opportunity for shared reflection and friendly banter over a cup of coffee. A time blissfully free of commercial exploitation!

3rd and 4th Dec: Isaiah 2:1-5; Romans 13:11-14; Matthew 24:36-44.

10th and 11th Dec: Isaiah 11:1-10; Romans 15:4-13; Matthew 3:1-12.

17th and 18thDec: Isaiah 35; James 5:7-10; Matthew 11:2-11.

To help your hosts on Monday mornings PLEASE RESERVE YOUR PLACE by contacting Beryl Elliott.

Confirmation in 2002

If anyone would like to talk about Confirmation Preparation, please speak to either Fr Stephen or Fr Michael. We are looking towards a Confirmation Service in Gloucester Cathedral on Friday 7th June 2002.


Sunday School/Club - Dates for your Diaries

Star workshops during Sunday School/Club:

St Mary's, Sunday 9th December

St Nicolas', Sunday 16th December


St Mary's, Sunday 9th December 4pm

St Nicolas', Sunday 23rd December 4pm

Decorate St Mary's Christmas Tree:

Saturday 15th December

Parish Carol Service:

Sunday 16th December 6.30pm St Mary's

Crib Service rehearsals:

Friday 21st December 2.30pm in St Mary's

Monday 24th December 2.30pm in St Mary's prior to Crib Service at 4pm

12th Night Disco

Saturday 5th January 2002, 4-6p.m. in St Nicolas' Hall

Rockers and Synergy are invited to join us.

We do hope that you can join us on these dates and look forward to seeing you.

Margaret Compton


Rockers' Half-Hour

Our term ends on December 13th, but Rockers families are always invited to join in all the other services and activities during the Christmas period. In particular we hope to see members at the Christingle services and Crib service and decorating the Christmas tree in St Mary's on 15th December. The Sunday School has also invited us to their 12th Night Disco on 5th January.

Our next term starts on Thursday 17th January. All under-fives are welcome to come with their parents, grandparents or whomever looks after them during the day. It is an opportunity to meet new people in an informal atmosphere, complete with bible story, songs, toys and a cup of tea.

Frances Murton

Bible Study

In the New Year we will be meeting each fortnight on both Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 8 pm till 9.30 pm. If for any reason these are not good slots for you do speak to Sue Read and we may be able to plan in a different time.

Weds 9th & Thurs 10th January

Weds 23rd & Thurs 24th January

If you aren't sure what it's all about or want to know more, then Kathy Beacham or Sue Read would be very happy to speak to you and explain anything. Roughly twenty different people have been along on one or more occasions and no one is expected to be at every gathering.

Sue Read

Marriage Preparation Day

We will be inviting all those couples who will be married in Prestbury during 2002 to join us on Saturday 2nd February 2002 for a Preparation Day. This will be held at St Nicolas' and will conclude in St Mary's. During the day the couples meet each other and the clergy, discuss the practical preparations for their Wedding Service and also spend some time considering what marriage is all about! If there are any married couples (young or not so young) who would be willing to join us as hosts and also to impart some wisdom, please speak to Fr Michael.

Prayer Diary

Don't forget to pick up a copy of the December Parish Prayer Diary, which should be available in church at the same time as the magazine. The January Prayer Diary will be available after Christmas.

If you feel you would like to contribute material for some of the daily intentions for prayer, do speak to Kay Porter or to Fr Michael.

St Mary's Bake Stall

Sunday December 16th will see our last Bake Stall of the year and, as is our custom, we ask members of all our teams to contribute and make this a special effort before we all take a month off in January.

Margaret Waker & Linda Matthews



Prestbury Parish Magazine - December 2001 / January 2002

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