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Prestbury Parish Magazine

April 2002

Jesus said,
'I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;
and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?'
John 11:25,26.

April 2002


Easter People

SPRINGBOARD, looking forward to Phase 3

A Celebration of Ministry

A Day in London

A Little Easy Listening

Annual Meeting 2002

St Nicolas Renewal

Administration of the Chalice at St Nicolas

Pastoral Care

Snippets from the Tower

Easter People

I write this at the beginning of Holy Week. We have just celebrated Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem with a really joyful Procession through part of Prestbury, followed by a united Parish Eucharist. I couldn't help wondering what the sleepy residents of South View Way were making of it all and perhaps some of us who took part were also wondering quite what we were doing! But surely we were showing, in a very public way, our own excitement on entering the most Holy Week of the Christian year - the week which takes us from celebration, through betrayal, suffering and death and then culminates in the joy of the Resurrection.

On the Monday of Holy Week we celebrated the Resurrection a little early at the requiem Mass for Fr Michael Mason, a retired priest who has worshipped in Prestbury for many years. That service was a wonderful reminder of the risen life which Jesus won for us and in which we all can share. The joy of Easter is that we are given hope, even in the darkest and most difficult times of our lives.

'We are an Easter People' is a phrase we often hear used to describe Christians. Our question must be, 'do we live as Easter People?' Do we show in our own lives the joyful belief that God loves us so much that he sent His only Son to die for us and to rise again so that we can share in His risen life?

Over 80 people took part in Springboard for Faith during Lent. A wonderful 'success', but also, I hope, a wonderful experience for every one who took part. Hopefully an experience of God's love which will empower some (hopefully many) to do something more. To think and pray about how we can respond to the challenge of 'Phase 3' - to invite others to share something of whatever particularly touched us during the six weeks of Springboard.

In Eastertide we think and talk especially of 'new life'. As we emerge from the season of Lent, we also emerge from winter into spring and we look forward to summer. As Christians, let us bear witness to that new life in our own lives. As a Church, let us pray for signs of that new life in all that we do and let us look forward, in hope and in joy, to all that God has in store for us, His Easter People.

Fr Michael


SPRINGBOARD, looking forward to Phase 3

At the end of the Springboard for Faith programme, we can pause for a moment to recognise how much we enjoyed it, and how it helped us grow together as a community. You came in large numbers (88 in all), you kept coming even when the subject was challenging, and each one of the groups built up its own supportive identity. The final meeting was unforgettable, with a delicious supper (as planned) and an (unplanned) candlelit finale.

As I write, the two outside events on Palm Sunday and Good Friday are still to come.

Then after Easter we get to Springboard Part 3. Still using the Passion Play video, we look for ways of reaching out to our friends and neighbours. At this point we leave behind the name Springboard for Faith. We have already jumped on the springboard, and now we are 'taking off' or 'diving in'. We want to offer the chance to find out a bit more about the historic source of our faith, and the way it relates to our everyday life, with no obligation to immediate commitment. The headline for this phase is something like 'Come and see'.

Exactly what form it takes is up to you. We shall be looking again at the discussion questions, and re-shaping them to suit people coming from outside a church background. Beyond that, we are not expecting a tidy unified scheme. The video and discussion material could be used in different ways:

  • Some groups could hold 5 or 6 weekly gatherings, on the same lines as the programme we have just finished;
  • or you could watch 2 sections of the video in each session, completing the whole thing in 3 weeks, and using as many of the discussion pointers as you like;
  • or just invite a couple of friends to watch the whole 60 minutes of the video story, and see what discussion flows naturally out of it;
  • or you might like to lend a copy of the video to someone, and perhaps talk it over when they return it;
  • or perhaps you have got another idea.

WHEN - any time between 1st May and 31st October this year. Whichever day, whichever time of day suits you.

WHERE - in your own home, or someone else's; or if you fancy inviting someone to a meeting on neutral ground, we could probably arrange one in St Nicolas' Church Room or perhaps elsewhere.

Whatever way you choose, you won't be on your own. You'd almost certainly want to team up with a few others from Springboard for Faith to form the nucleus of a group as well as some neighbours who aren't regular churchgoers. And if you don't feel up to leading discussion yourself, we can find someone. And in any case, we'll be there to back you up before and during the time your group is running.

If you weren't able to come to Springboard for Faith you need not feel left out of the outreach programme. Buy or borrow the video, and when you have watched it yourself, consider how you might invite someone else to see it. The title is Jesus Today, Tomorrow, Forever?, and the price is £10, available from Wesley Owen Books.

Talk about it. Think about it. Pray about it.

If you are willing to host a group, or lead one, or are just interested, join us for a short meeting on Wednesday 17th April in St Nicolas' Church Room, from 8.15 to 9.30, (coffee served from 8 o'clock).

Beryl Elliott


A Celebration of Ministry 2nd March 2002

Saturday 2nd March was the day upon which the Prestbury Ministry Leadership Team (Linda Biggs, Peter Brown, Margaret Compton, Fr Michael, Beryl Elliott, John Elliott, Fr Stephen, Margaret Holman, Sylvia McKenzie, Jerry Porter and Sue Read) were to receive the Bishop's mandate at Gloucester Cathedral. This was the culmination of two years of training during which we worked through the six core training modules produced by the Local Ministry office and attended various Local Ministry days and weekend residentials (all to be completed before mandating).

The day started at 10 am when we gathered with other teams from around the diocese. Five including ourselves were to be newly mandated, the other four were to have their mandate renewed. There was excitement in the air as we met in the Chapter House with the friends that we had made throughout our training and looked forward to the Mandating Service (or was it because we were sat in Harry Potter's classroom!). After the initial get together a quiet morning of reflection and preparation began, led by an old friend of Prestbury, Elizabeth Vooght, now a member of the Thornbury Local Ministry Team, using vision, music and word. The morning gave us all a chance to step back from the rush of every day life and prepare ourselves for the afternoon. We then took a short break, which was very welcome as by now we had all become very cold, before gathering in the Cathedral where Barbara Merrick (Local Ministry Officer) took us through our paces for the afternoon. This was followed by lunch at which we were joined by the Bishop and Archdeacon. (We were worried at this point that Fr Stephen was going to miss lunch as he was still sitting in his car trying to get warm.)

We were now ready to make our way back into the Cathedral where all our friends, family and congregation were gathering ready for the service that was based on the theme 'baptism'. After the processional hymn the Bishop welcomed the congregation and then led us in prayer. The readings, by Local Ministry facilitators, were taken from Isaiah and the Gospel of St Luke. The Bishop then preached, reiterating the fact that all God's people were called to minister. It is however the role of the Ministry Teams to lead, co-ordinate, encourage and enable the work and witness of all God's people in the church and the world. It was then time for the actual mandating of the Teams. Barbara Merrick presented the teams to be newly mandated: Fairford; Coney Hill; Painswick, Sheepscombe and Cranham with The Edge, Pitchcombe, Harescombe and Brookthorpe; Thornbury; and ourselves. The Bishop gave his mandate to each team one by one with the words 'It is a joy to mandate you as the Local Ministry Team of ...'. The teams of Chipping Sodbury and Old Sodbury; Dursley; South Cerney with Cerney Wick and Down Ampney; and Westbury with Flaxley and Blaisdon were now presented to the Bishop to receive renewal of their mandate. After the intercessions, led by another Local Ministry facilitator, and the Bishop's blessing the service concluded with a rendition of 'Colours of Day'.

All present agreed that it really had been a joyous occasion and the beginning of an exciting episode in the life of the Parish of Prestbury.

Margaret Compton


A Celebration of Ministry

On the 2nd March 2002 Gloucester Cathedral was bursting at the seams, (350 people were expected, 450 were there) to participate in the mandating ceremony of five Local Ministry Teams (one of which was our own Prestbury Team) and four teams renewing their Mandate.

The teams were seated in semi-circles on opposite sides of the main aisle, in the centre of the Cathedral. The Bishop moved slowly along each line, giving every member of each team their Mandate.

There was a great sense of anticipation in different parts of the congregation, as 'their' Team stepped forward to receive their mandate.

The whole ceremony had a strong spiritual feeling to it; and at the end there was a celebratory air, with people milling about everywhere, cameras flashing and a final farewell handshake from the Bishop for nearly every member of the congregation.

Liz Greenhow


A Day in London

On a wintry day at the end of February we ate our picnic lunch by the river watching the London Eye creep slowly round. It seemed not to be moving unless compared carefully with nearby buildings. Occasionally it really did stop, but only momentarily. (This was to allow wheelchair access; all other passengers have to step across the gap while the wheel is turning.) We walked across the bridge, collected our tickets and 'flew' for half an hour. As we rose above the rooftops it was tempting to start photographing, but the view is better higher, and higher still, except for St Paul's, which is most impressive at the moment when it dominates the skyline. For a long time the giant hub of the wheel was above us, then abreast, then at last we were higher. It was strangely exciting to see other cars above us, then only one car, and finally to realise that we were now at the top. The view is wonderful and far-reaching, and the Eye moves so slowly that there is ample time to gaze in all directions. Of course, then we had to come down again, with slight feelings of regret, but that is life: the experience, however brief, of being up there is worth it.

In the evening we went to The Mysteries, a vibrant musical sung and danced by a South African company, whose Musical Director is Charles Hazlewood (formerly of Prestbury!). All the actors spoke or sang in their mother tongue: Afrikaans, English, Xhosa, Zulu and many others not listed in the programme. The musical instruments were large oil drums, upturned plastic dustbins and the actors' voices. At Creation the empty world filled up audibly rather than visibly, and every imaginary animal coaxed into Noah's ark could be heard clearly - birds, elephants ...

The play took us from the Fall of Lucifer right through to Pentecost. The first half ended with the birth of baby Jesus with all the joy and horror immediately surrounding it. After the interval God became Jesus (the same actor played both parts) so simply that it was quite breathtaking, and of course brought home the realisation that he is not two people, but one.

There is much in this play to jolt us out of our prejudices, for example we might try to identify ourselves (in my case English-speaking, white-skinned and fairly well-dressed) with Jesus in the trial before Pilate, Pilate being the representative of the occupying forces of the Roman Empire. But this Jesus was not white, spoke a language I did not understand and wore ragged jeans, while Pilate was dressed immaculately in British naval uniform and spoke impeccable English. I found it humbling to have to identify culturally with the 'enemy' rather than with Jesus.

Other preconceived ideas about God were similarly challenged: for example Noah and his family were all dancing around in the ark after the flood, singing a catchy song, when God walked on stage. They all shushed each other and stood sheepishly waiting to hear what he had to say; but he too started dancing and beating time with a stick on an empty wine bottle, so they all joined in even more enthusiastically than before!

Do go and see The Mysteries if you can. It is running until May 18th at the Queen's Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue.

Frances Murton


A Day at the Races

In 1997 Bishop David told the Deanery clergy that the Diocese could no longer afford 'industrial chaplaincy'. He suggested that clergy should consult with the industries in their parishes to see if there were any ways in which we could offer help. I wrote to Mr Gillespie at Cheltenham Racecourse, received a warm welcome, and since then have attempted to give some basic support to full time staff and to be present on race days. So last month I was at the three-day Festival.

Festival days involve arriving early for the briefing and to meet with members of St John Ambulance and the Red Cross who will be on duty.

I then usually walk around the tented shopping village to meet stall-holders, and then the hospitality marquees and viewing lounges to meet catering and security staff and hosts. I hope that a Church presence demonstrates that we are concerned for all people. It has certainly led to discussion and to requests and referrals for ministry.

Part of my role is to be a support to people, families and friends in the hopefully unusual event of a major medical incident, occasionally inevitable with 50,000 race-goers each day. Issued with an intercom radio, I am able to be reached throughout the day. It means being at the course for 9 or 10 hours, and I return home ready for an armchair. However, on two nights this year I spent the evenings visiting parishioners in the general hospital, and the third chairing our PCC meeting.

I am able to share in the excitement and enjoyment of the best three days of steeple-chase racing in the world. Either you do or you don't - and I do!

Fr Stephen

Gold Cup Parking

Many thanks to Fred and John in the car park at St Nicolas' during Gold Cup Week and to Gillian and her team in the kitchen who made and served refreshments. Altogether they raised £922, which has been given to the Renewal Appeal.

A Little Easy Listening

Don't forget that church has two cassette tapes available to be borrowed for a period of a few weeks at a time. They are the gospel according to St Mark and the gospel according to St Luke. It is good to have a chance to hear the familiar stories and they really come alive when read by a professional actor.

See Kathy Beacham at St Mary's or Sue Read at St Nicolas'.


Annual Meeting 2002

At the well attended Parish Annual Meeting and Vestry Meeting held in St Mary's Church on Sunday 17 March, Ken Bradbury and Jerry Porter were elected to be Churchwardens and Eileen Jones and Peter Attwood were elected to be Assistant Wardens with special responsibility for St Nicolas'.

The two new members of the Parochial Church Council are Jackie Moles and Marion Beagley. Doreen Morris, Kay Porter, Margaret Compton and Liz Greenhow were elected as representatives to the Deanery Synod.

Grateful thanks were extended to members who had completed their terms of office, and to the Treasurers, clergy and, of course, Bob Lyle, who has served for over forty years as Churchwarden.

Kay Porter, PCC Secretary


St Nicolas Renewal

Yes, we are making progress, if rather more slowly than we had hoped.

A brief history. About a year ago we thought we were close to awarding a contract for the work to be done and had authorisation from the PCC for the expected expenditure. After protracted negotiations however the agreement between the architect and the main contractor broke down in May. Subsequently three local building firms were invited to tender, but by September these had all declined the work. It was then proposed that we appoint project managers to bring together the various subcontracts; this approach was approved in December.

The current situation. The Fabric Committee, under the authority of the PCC, have appointed a firm of Chartered Surveyors to act as project managers. They have been busy removing odd ceiling tiles to determine asbestos content (thankfully none!) and to allow a structural engineer to inspect the girders on which the new ceiling will have to be fixed. The object of this exercise is to determine exactly what problems we shall encounter before work begins.

Unfortunately the cost has been escalating due to delays beyond our control and the discovery that we shall have to pay VAT at the full 17.5% (we had based earlier estimates on a reduced rate, but this is only applicable to listed churches and St Nicolas is not of sufficient architectural interest to warrant listing). As a consequence we are now likely to be seeking compromises to save money and the PCC have directed us to look at cheaper options for the ceiling, e.g. plain wood boarding rather than the horizontal stepped design originally proposed (the less favoured alternative is to keep the ceiling as designed but leave out the new heating and flooring).

The future. We are still not in a position to let contracts, tell you the final cost or announce a start date for the work, but hope to do so shortly. Once started the project is likely to take about four months to complete.

Geoff Shaw


Administration of the Chalice at St Nicolas'

It has been brought to the attention of the MLT that how the chalice is currently administered at St Nicolas' (one chalice to each half of the communion rail) may not be the most appropriate and can lead to a degree of confusion. So to try to improve the situation we shall (with effect from May when a new rota is due to begin) administer two by two with both assistants moving together around the whole of the communion rail behind the priest after the host is administered.

Sue Read


Pastoral Care

The MLT are in the process of reviewing the question of pastoral care within the parish. As a first project we are setting up a hospital visiting scheme. We have approached a number of people, including those who expressed an interest in hospital/sick visiting when filling in their 'Time and Talent' form in 1999. We would be delighted to hear from any others who might be interested. We are planning to have a meeting of all interested people towards the end of this month - look out for date, time and venue in a forthcoming Weekly News Sheet. Also, we hope to arrange some training by the Diocese a little later in the year.

Of course we need to know who would like to be visited! Pastoral Care is the responsibility of us all so we ask all parishioners to help us in this task by bringing to our attention any who may be sick or who have family and friends who are due to go into hospital and would like a visit. We can then make the appropriate arrangements, if required.

We will keep you informed as plans for this and other areas of parish development begin to unfold.

Please feel free to get in touch with any of the members of the MLT.

Margaret Holman, Jerry Porter


Snippets from the Tower

We held our Annual General Meeting in the tower on the evening of Tuesday 5th March 2002 at 8.30 pm after some ringing practice. At this meeting we thanked Janet Covey-Crump for being our Tower Captain for the last ten years and we presented her with a present and some flowers. She had decided to step down as Tower Captain. We elected Mary Lynch, who has rung at the tower for many years, as our new Tower Captain. Jenni Scruton remains in her position as Tower Secretary and Treasurer. David Lynch is the new Steeplekeeper. He replaces Jonathan Sweetman. Our thanks to all our ringers for all their efforts over the past twelve months.

Jenni Scruton


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

Our new season of mid-morning music in St Mary's church opens with concerts in May and June featuring pupils from Dean Close School. On Wednesday 15th May there will be a recital of Ensemble music (Trios and Quartets). On Wednesday 19th June the concert will consist of Piano and Violin Solos. On both occasions coffee will be served at 10.30am and the music will start at 11 o'clock. As in past years there will a retiring collection in aid of church funds.

Christine McKelvey


St Mary's Church Spring Cleaning - Friday 26th & Saturday 27th April

Please help brush those cobwebs away on Friday evening 26th April from 4.30pm and sweep up the mess on Saturday 27th April from 10am; long-handled brushes are available but please bring your own dusters, polish, ladders etc. Refreshments will be provided. See you then.

Margaret Holman

Calling All Bake Stall Contributors

After Easter we would like to experiment for three months (April, May and June) by dispensing with the reminders. We invite members to contribute to the stall on any (or all!) of the dates:- April 21st, May 19th, June 16th, i.e. the third Sunday in the month.

Linda & Margaret

Sunday Refreshments at St Mary's

Thank you for your continued support for this venture. Since our contribution to 'Cheltenham Open Door' at Christmas, we have made a profit of £100 which we are donating to St Mary's heating fund.

Margaret Holman

Bible Study Groups

We shall continue our fortnightly studies of the Acts of the Apostles; chapter 17 on 10th & 11th April; and chapter 18 on 24th & 25th April. Please see pewsheet for venues. We start at 8pm, and usually finish at about 9.30. For more details please contact Sue Read or Kathy Beacham.


Rockers' Half-Hour and the London Marathon

On Sunday 14th April one of our Rockers' mothers will be running in the London Marathon to raise money towards sending young people from Gloucestershire on Outward Bound® personal development courses.

Rockers' summer term starts on Thursday 18th April at 2 o'clock in St Mary's church. All people caring for pre-school children are welcome to bring them to this informal service consisting of action songs, a bible story, tea and toys.

Frances Murton

Let the Children Live!

We are forming a group to raise funds for Let the Children Live! a charity which supports street children in Colombia. If you are interested in joining us please contact Molly Campbell.



Prestbury Parish Magazine - April 2002

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