'And the Father waited until his son had finished his pathetic apology and
said, "Well if you must come home and be a slave very well, but don't you dare
disrupt things, it was all going very smoothly until you came back." '
I don't remember that being a part of the parable of the Prodigal Son.
I believe we are called to be courageous like the Father - to risk the
criticism of others in showing love and acceptance to those who are returning
I am struck by how many people 'come home'. From families and friends
supporting a baptism to young people helping run Parish events, from tourists
just popping in on a Sunday morning to broken people seeking a refuge. Many of
them are not as direct as the son returning home, they might be happier sticking
to the fringes. Our experience of God's love means that our welcome must be
lavish and unconditional. God, in Jesus, shows his willingness to set out and
welcome us 'while we were still sinners'.
This clearly has implications for how we worship together, how we
organise and communicate about events and, most importantly, how we just talk to
and support others.
Please join in prayer and action as we become ever more like our Father in
welcoming those 'coming home' - wherever they are on that journey. After all,
every time we meet as the church together it is a homecoming for all of us.
(with thanks to Henri Nouwen and Fr Stephen for thoughts on the Courageous
If you haven't been able to make it along to one of the recent Bible Study
groups here are a few of the things we've been considering together.
From Philemon, verse 4: "I (Paul) am always thanking God as I
remember you (Philemon) in my prayers". Three things - now there's the start of
a good Anglican sermon - occurred to us. Paul prays - do we? He thanks God - do
we? He prays about his friends - do we?
From Jude, verse 20, Jude writes: "But you, dear friends, build
yourselves up in your most holy faith... Keep yourselves in God's love..." Does
this mean blind faith isn't helpful? Do we have an input, a part to play, to
allow our faith to grow?
From Philippians, an exuberant book where the words joy and
rejoice crop up many times:
Chapter 2, verses 6 to 11 are an example of an early Christian hymn. Does
it jog any memories?
Chapter 4, verse 6: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Do
we spend too much time worrying? Is this helpful or not?
Chapter 4, verse 8. Between us, with the assorted versions of the Bible we
were reading from, we could rewrite the verse to read: "Whatever is true,
noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy, of good
report, gracious, honourable, just, good, lovable - think about such things."
What a lift to one's spirits!
If you would care to join us in November then you can hear some of the
questions and answers we come up with for the next passages. There is no need to
read the passage beforehand. Just come along with your copy of the Bible and an
This month we'll meet twice from 8pm to 9.30pm:
November 7th to look at Titus
November 20th at to look at James
chapters 4 and 5.
Sue Read is happy to tell you more about it.
This December we want to explore together some of the Psalms for Advent. We
make only limited use of the Psalms at our Sunday Eucharists in Prestbury,
though they are dear to many people, both in the familiar musical form of
chants, and for the words - often chosen at turning points in our lives to
express deep feelings. Yet for many of us it's a very limited selection we draw
Psalms were composed for use in widely different settings, and in different
historic situations; some were meant for congregational use while others are
intensely personal. They were written long ago, by and for Jews; but we are
Christians of the 21st century. What do these ancient poems have to say to us,
as we prepare once again to celebrate Christmas? Along the way, we can draw on
the many different ways in which Psalms have been set to music.
There will be three sessions, and you can choose to come either morning or
evening. Dates for your diary are Thursdays 5th, 12th and 19th December. In the
mornings we meet from 10.30am to 12 noon in St Nicolas' Room, Swindon Lane.
Evenings are 7.45pm - 9.15pm in the John Wood Room, All Saints' Church. Both
venues have good parking.
Joining with All Saints' gives us a larger pool of knowledge and experience
to draw on - as well as providing another comfortable venue, and the chance to
make new friends. Be brave, and find your way to a place you haven't visited
before, the distances aren't large, even for a winter evening! We look forward
to meeting members of All Saints' congregation at the morning sessions, and
Prestbury people will be just as welcome at All Saints'. If you need a lift let
P.S. If you thought we don't use Psalms at all at St Nicolas', think again!
We hope to begin some preparation leading towards a Confirmation service in
June 2003. If possible, we would run a group for young people (who are now at
secondary school) and a group for adults. Some people might like to join the
group for a 'refresher' - especially if your own confirmation preparation was
some years ago - you would be very welcome!
Please speak to Fr Michael or Fr Stephen if you are interested,
or if you would like to know more.
Communion before Confirmation
If there are any children (Year 3 and above) who would like to be prepared to
receive communion before being confirmed, please speak to Fr Michael or
Linda Biggs. Preparation would take the form of six sessions and would
begin after a consultation meeting with parents.
We are very excited to have been asked if we would like to run a 'Church
Club' after school. This would be one afternoon each week (in term time) from
3.30pm until 4.30pm. The content would be similar to our Sunday School/Club
activities on a Sunday morning.
We need someone to co-ordinate this and then perhaps 6 people to be on a rota
to help out. This might mean being available on alternate weeks, so perhaps 3 or
4 weeks each half-term. For the 'helpers', no particular skills would be
necessary - just some time and some enthusiasm - it should be great fun!
We would like to begin in January 2003. This is a wonderful opportunity for
us, as 'The Church', to meet and work with children from the Parish who attend
our Church school. Please give this some serious thought and prayer. We must not
let this pass us by! Please speak to Fr Michael, or to a member of the
Ministry Leadership Team, about this.
Do you have a passion for mission and outreach? Not just talking about your
faith, but finding ways of demonstrating that we are a vibrant, caring and
serving church at the heart of our community?
If so, why not join the Mission & Outreach team? We have wide and varied
tasks, from producing the annual Easter and Christmas cards, to making decisions
on our overseas mission giving. Right now we're preparing a 'Welcome Pack' of
information for newcomers to the parish; putting up posters to remind people
about Remembrance Sunday; and organising some Christmas carol singing!
But we'd like to do a lot more - and there is huge potential for outreach in
Prestbury. Could you help? Whether you're a bright ideas person, or happy to
help out when you can, please join us! Call Caroline Sexton for
Sunday, 1 December 2002
St. Nicolas' Church Hall
All are welcome!
Come and experience a modern youth service
organised by the young people of Prestbury
Watch this space for more info...
Carol Singing - 18 December
If you enjoy carol singing at the traditional Christmas
services, you'll love joining in with the familiar tunes in the great outdoors!
This year, we'll be carol singing in the area of Cleevelands Avenue and Paddocks
Lane on the evening of December 18, delivering Christmas wishes on behalf of our
churches. This residential area is very "compact", which means there won't be a
great deal of walking, and we should only be out for about an hour - so little
legs should be able to cope, too!
Do come if you can - the time and meeting place will be
confirmed nearer the time. This is a great opportunity for outreach to our local
community - and, who knows, there may even be refreshments in a nice warm house
after the event!
St Mary's Bake Stall
Margaret and Linda are adopting a new system of arranging
groups alphabetically by surnames: A-E (as per Oct 20th), F-M (Nov 17th), and
N-Z (Feb 16th), thus giving us three new teams.
Instead of our usual bumper effort in December, when everyone
is so busy, we will ask all teams to contribute on January 19th. The Bake Stall
will be held, as usual and whenever possible, on the third Sunday of the month.
New bakers are urgently required! Many thanks to all who have contributed
throughout the past months.
Crack Cancer Coffee Chain
Marle Hill and Prestbury W.I.s would like to thank everyone
who supported their coffee morning at Prestbury W.I. Hall for the Cobalt Unit. A
magnificent sum of £540 was raised.