A KNOCK CAME ON MY DOOR at home, on a Monday evening, towards the end of
1999. I had my coat on and was just about to leave to meet my friends, Mavis
and Sue, to go off to the Prestbury WI meeting.
It was Father Paul Kish, wearing his biker's outfit; he had come with the
news that I had been elected at the Parish Meeting to serve as a member of
the Local Ministry Team.
I was in a state of complete shock, and after a chat with Father Paul I
agreed to take on the challenge.
Well, after two years of training, here I am. I feel the Lord has called
me - and my hands are willing to be used in whatever tasks lie before me. I
am a listening voice and hope to be of Service to my Lord.
We have just celebrated the wonderful feast of Easter - a weekend when we
celebrate and give thanks for our Lord's resurrection. Our Good Friday
Passion procession was full of witness and we give thanks for its
simplicity, and its yet very moving message.
Do you feel refreshed and joyous? - take time to be still and quiet, and
listen. Is there a KNOCK ON YOUR DOOR? It could be Our
It has also been a time of mourning for the country, but also great
thankfulness for the life of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.
If you were not risen, Lord Christ,
to whom would we go to discover the radiance of the face of God?
If you were not risen,
we would not be together seeking your communion.
We would not find in your presence forgiveness,
wellspring of a new beginning.
If you were not risen, where would we draw the energy for following you
right to the end of our existence, for choosing you again and anew?
(Brother Roger of Taizé)
Kindest Regards to you all,
The Palm Sunday Walk
was led by a pony called Misty. The walk started at St Mary's Junior School
where there was a short service with hymns. Loads of people came on the walk
and some joined in on the way, about half of the crowd dressed up so it
looked more like the real thing, people also held banners and letters (which
spelt out 'Jesus') as well as a band which had a really good rhythm going.
The walk went up school lane, down Fawley Drive, down South View Way and
down to the war memorial where there was another short service and down to
the church at which point the pony went home. When we all got back to church
there was a joyful service and the children got to take part in the sermon.
It was good to take part in this act of witness and good to be walking with
Catherine M, aged 12
Illustration by Sarah M, aged 9
On Good Friday the people at Prestbury parish organised a
procession around the
village. Everyone participating went to at least one of the rehearsals
as they may not have been able to make them all. These were at St Mary's
church on a Wednesday and Sunday.
There were many parts that needed to be performed. There were readers,
symbol bearers, singers, palm and picture holders too. Each of these parts
was equally important overall.
The procession consisted of five destinations. At each of these stops
there would be a reading and someone would hold up a symbol. Also a
reflection is spoken, to make the listeners think. This could have been a
real life example or, at one point, Good Friday was acted in a short play.
The procession would have been a complete disaster without the help of
Daphne Philpot organising and running all the rehearsals and the big day
By Andrew W, aged 12
The Good Friday Procession
As part of Springboard for Faith, it was decided that the parish
of Prestbury would undertake a new venture - a Good Friday Procession of
Witness around the village.
During the procession were several stops, based on some of the Stations
of the Cross. At each station there was a reading with a visual aid and then
The Procession started at Capel Court at 11am. At the first station, the
story of Jesus washing the Disciples' feet was read followed by the song 'A
New Commandment'. The Procession then moved to the second station where the
Last Supper story was read, followed by bread being handed out to everyone.
Then we walked down the road to the chant 'Given for me' and stopped
outside the Scout Hut. Here Judas' betrayal was read out, followed by a
series of dramatised comparisons of modern day betrayals. We then walked
around the corner (to the chant 'Take him Away') and stopped outside Home
Farm. We heard of Jesus' trial before Pilate and then two short accounts of
the work of modern charities were read.
Then the procession moved up Mill Street. It passed eight lamenting
groups, each repeating a Biblical phrase about the Messiah. Each party had a
banner with a suitable picture on it. A cross was carried at the front of
the Procession, which stopped outside the church. A dramatised version of
the Crucifixion was read out. After this, everyone filed into the church
while some music by Górecki played and the Angelus bell rang. The Taizé
chant 'Jesus, remember me' was sung, after the story of Jesus being laid in
the tomb was read. After this, everyone was invited to stay and watch the
Passion play video over a hot cross bun. We were also invited to look at
displays about our Parish life.
I thought that this was a very effective Act of Worship.
Kathryn P, aged 13
On the Saturday before Easter Day, Mum took me to church with her. It was
a special service and it didn't start until 9pm. When we got there, we were
given a candle each as well as a service sheet. We sat down and the choir
came in. Then we all went outside again. We stood around the church door and
there was a fire burning. Father Stephen said some prayers and then lit the
new church candle from the fire. Then everyone went back into church,
lighting their own candle as they went past the wardens, who were standing
inside the doors.
When we got back to our seats the service started properly. There were
lots of lessons and Mum read one too. There were lots of hymns, but I didn't
know them all. A bit later on in the service we all walked past the font and
Father Stephen marked our heads with the sign of the cross. I was feeling a
bit sleepy by then and the cold water woke me up!
Just when I thought it was time to go home, Mum said we were going to
have bread and wine, like we do on Sundays. I like this bit, but it felt
strange eating it at night.
When the service was over there were refreshments at the front of the
church. Mum was helping (of course) so I helped too, by putting the food
into dishes and walking around with them.
At last the lady in charge said we could go. When we came out of church I
looked up at the big clock. It said 12.20! Mum explained that the clocks had
changed, so it was really only 11.20. I was so tired that when we got home I
went to bed and fell asleep straight away.
I did enjoy the service, but next year I think I will have a sleep before
Hannah S, age 10
On Thursday 21st March my Junior School and the Infant School got
together for a day of Easter Workshops. All the children were put into mixed
aged groups and various workshop activities were set up by the teachers from
the two schools.
The first workshop my group went to made mobiles depicting Jesus, his
death and resurrection. This was followed by a session of dance in the
school hall and the last workshop was making a little egg-shaped man called
Eggbert, who with a built-in prop was able to sit up with dangling legs over
the edge of a shelf. The day finished with an assembly in each school with a
representative from each workshop showing their finished articles. Other
groups made Easter cakes, hats, paper stained glass windows, engraved wooden
plaques and had a treasure hunt.
This was a marvellous day which required a lot of teacher preparation,
but everyone really enjoyed the two schools getting together and creating
items with the Easter theme.
Eleanor F, aged 10
Maundy Thursday Workshop
On Maundy Thursday children from St Mary's and St Nicolas' Churches came
together for an afternoon of activities. In groups with our friends we went
around the church and learnt about Easter. We painted flowers to put onto a
wooden cross in our own church and helped to build the Easter Garden under
the altar at St Mary's. We also made our own little Easter Garden, to take
home. Some of us made Easter bonnets, but all of the boys decided to make
Easter Crowns instead. We decorated a paper basket, which was filled with
mini chocolate eggs. After drinks and biscuits, Fr Michael joined us for a
Service; we talked about Jesus, blessed the Easter Gardens with Holy Water
and shared in the breaking of some bread.
James R, aged 11
Hundreds of doughnuts, seven carloads of creative stuff to help people
pray, 120 young people from 20 churches around Cheltenham, 24 leaders, one
fantastic Cheltenham-produced 'Labyrinth' reflective experience.
Place in an amazing church building (Salem Baptist) and for 24 hours a
day for 7 days: pray, meet, worship, chat, go round the Labyrinth, paint,
write, read, video, shout, cook, eat, burst balloons, blow up balloons, let
go of balloons and listen to the awesome God who answers our prayers...
(Be sure to clean off any paint left on walls, basins or floors.)
A group of weary worshippers, new-found friends, rekindled faith,
answered prayers, people learning to 'be' with God and each other, committed
to be a generation of History Makers.
Generation Rising - Friday 17 May, featuring UK band Quench and fab
speaker Ian Henderson. Ideal for young Christians and friends.
To find out more about 24-7 speak to one of the youth participants:
Claire, Clare, Kirsty, David, Jon, Kat, Hannah, Kathryn, Michael, Alex and
Diocesan Link with Dioceses of
Karnataka Central and Dornakal, South India, 2nd to 22nd May
As has been promulgated in the Diocesan News, twenty-one members of the
two Indian Dioceses are spending three weeks in Gloucester Diocese, and we
have agreed to host one visitor each week. Our guests are Revd J Jacob,
Presbyter of a rural church in Karnataka Central Diocese, Mrs K P S Vinaya Kumari,
Women's Fellowship Organiser and Miss Mary Allen, Youth Representative, both
from Dornakal Diocese. Their hosts are Bob and Barbara Lyle, Jim and Diana Mackie
and Allan and Daphne Philpot respectively.
The Diocese has organised a few events for the whole group but one object
of the visit is that the individuals should experience and share life in the
parishes. If you are willing to entertain a guest for a day or just for a
meal please contact one of us or Jerry Porter.
The visit will be a rewarding experience for all involved; do join us.
Please pray for the seven young people who are preparing to be
They will be confirmed in Gloucester Cathedral on Friday 7th June at
7.30pm. Everyone is welcome to attend the service - please support the
candidates with your prayers and your presence!
A good number of people were at the evening meeting on 17th April to
consider the next steps of faith to take our parish into Phase 3 of our
Springboard initiative. A useful time of idea-sharing was had. WATCH and
LISTEN for the publicity to keep you updated and prepare to be INVOLVED in
praying for the range of ventures, for the individuals hearing, hosting and
helping and get ready to say YES when YOU are asked to play your part
however large or small, upfront or behind the scenes that may be.
Sue Read (MLT)
Twenty-nine members gathered at Tatchley House and the meeting started
with a prayer in memory of Muriel Meredith, who died earlier that day.
Muriel was a wonderfully knowledgeable and skilled flower arranger who
masterminded every festival for us and in particular the 'Celebration of
Marriage' last May. Several friends had visited her since Easter and been
inspired by her composure and practical cheerfulness as she lay in sight of
her beautiful garden. James, Margaret, Elizabeth and all the family are much
in our thoughts and prayers. She will be sadly missed.
The audited accounts were accepted and the duties for the forthcoming
year discussed in the light of rising costs. Lindsey McGowan volunteered to
organise the festivals in future and several members undertook additional
necessary duties as two members had moved from the parish. Letters have
since been sent to the latter in gratitude for the years they helped us to
beautify the church.
Linda Whitehead then demonstrated how to set candles in an arrangement.
It developed from a simple small one with just greenery to one much larger,
gay with tulips and carnations - so now wait till Christmas and maybe we
will try to follow her lead with candle-light from each window sill. Time
The following letter from Muriel was received subsequent to the meeting:
My Dear Flower Arranging Friends,
A rather belated note to say 'Thank you' for your good wishes and the
lovely plant, which is doing well.
I am told that the church looked particularly lovely for Easter.
I have had many happy times with you all and hope that you will all have
many more decorating our lovely church.
With very best wishes,
As is our custom we did not have a bellringing practice on the Tuesday of
Holy Week, but since then we have been especially busy.
Despite the news of the death of the Queen Mother on the day before
Easter Sunday we rang the bells open for both services on the day of Our
Lord's Resurrection. We rang the bells half-muffled on Easter Monday in
memory of the Queen Mother. All Prestbury ringers who wished to pay their
respects to her were able to join in one of the three quarter-peals which
were rung on that day: 1260 changes of Plain Bob Doubles at 11.00am, 1260 of
Grandsire Doubles at 3.00pm and another 1260 of Plain Bob Doubles at 5.00pm.
We kept the bells half-muffled for our Tuesday evening practice.
There was open (ie not muffled) ringing for a wedding on April 6th and
for the Sunday services on April 7th
A band of us gathered on the afternoon of Tuesday 9th April and we rang a
quarter-peal of Grandsire Doubles, again half muffled, as a mark of respect
to HM the Queen Mother on the day of her funeral.
Some of our members had a busy time muffling and unmuffling the bells!
Our thanks to them.
We are now looking forward to the 'wedding season' to begin in earnest!
In 1957 I travelled to London to the headquarters of the National
Association of Girls' Clubs and Mixed Clubs to receive from the Queen Mother
the King George VI Certificate in Youth Leadership, instituted in his
memory. I was one of twelve students, each representing a different area of
the country. We had followed a two year part-time course, not for a
professional qualification, but as an aid to voluntary youth work. I was a
librarian by profession, going to Merseyside for posts in public libraries
and then at Liverpool Polytechnic as a lecturer.
I had become a youth leader at Liverpool Parish Church, our Lady and St
Nicholas, then recently rebuilt after the wartime bombing, though the tower
and the retaining wall of the churchyard had remained intact and one can
still see embedded in it the large iron rings to which the sailing ships
would moor. The Sunday and weekday services had congregations largely made
up of people from the suburbs and office blocks respectively, though there
was also an active ministry to the ever diminishing local population from
which our youth club members were drawn. I never hear the Beatles' song
'Ferry 'cross the Mersey' without recalling those trips from Pierhead to
New Brighton, ensuring that as many teenagers finally made it back to
Liverpool as had embarked on a ferry from there in the first place.
Work at the Rodney Youth Centre in Liverpool was a greater challenge, a
cultural, Dickensian shock to someone from a sheltered background in
Morecambe. We were told bluntly that 'one either coped or couldn't, did or
didn't and lock yourself in the room with the group being taken'. Perhaps
the first mistake one made was to cope! I offered drama as a special
interest, English being my academic subject, but difficulties in putting on
a production of any sort for the 'Trustees' Evening' soon emerged on my
realising most of the youngsters could not read. But they were brilliant
ad-libbers and no two rehearsals or the final performances were ever the
same. Afterwards they would declare those evenings the greatest of their
lives, so perhaps my most exhausting ones were worth it after all.
So after these experiences and completing the course and the exams I was
on my way to London. The Queen Mother gave us our certificates in a very
ordinary room with no overtones of grandeur. But the national press
photographers were there and we were given our instructions and told to
applaud as she entered the room. She was quite small but dressed in her own
inimitable style in two shades of lavender velvet, wearing a most dazzling
diamond brooch. The opening speech of welcome was short but quite humorous
and she laughed with seemingly genuine appreciation. Our few minutes of
personal conversation with her were both delightful and friendly, any
previous nervousness having evaporated. She established and maintained eye
contact throughout and focused closely on the replies to her relevant
questions. She had obviously taken both the time and trouble to understand
some of the issues involved. As she left, our applause and smiles were warm
and friendly, now no mere formality.
The Queen Mother will, indeed, be missed but one can only marvel at her
longevity and give thanks. May she rest in peace.
Audrey Bailey (Prestbury Writers' Workshop)