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Prestbury Parish Magazine

February 2003

You are the light of the world.
 Matthew 5:14


February 2003


How do we worship?

An important date for the diary!

New Curates

Bible Study in February

A Song in Season: a Postscript

Christmas Carols at Abbeyfield House

St Marys Bake Stall - where the money went

Christmas Flowers

Youth Service

St Nicolas Renewal - almost there!

Rockers Half-Hour

Snippets from the Tower

Experience China - China Experience

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

The Calendar for February

The Diary for February

How do we worship?

In my dictionary 'worship' is defined as 'homage or service paid to a deity; adoration or devotion; acts, rites or ceremonies of this'. However we choose to define worship, we would hopefully all agree that, as Christians, we offer our worship in love, adoration, devotion and gratitude to our God, the Most Holy Trinity; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We can worship God alone, even in silence, but what makes us distinctive is that we gather to worship together, so reflecting our membership of God's body, The Church. Corporate worship, especially our Sunday worship, is what marks us out as different!

Of course, because we are all quite different, we all feel differently about the sort of worship which 'works for us'. That is why different churches worship in different ways. Just in Cheltenham, the worship offered in the many Anglican churches on a Sunday, will vary enormously and here in Prestbury, if you move between the 8.00am, 9.30am and 11.00am Eucharists on a Sunday, you will be aware of the subtle differences. At our main Sunday services the congregations are made up of a wide age range, with people coming from a variety of worshipping traditions, some having already enjoyed a fairly long worshipping life and others just getting going!

Having all this in mind, in October the Ministry Leadership Team began some discussion about our worship with the Worship Committee. They spent some considerable time discussing the accessibility of our worship to different groups, thinking particularly about visitors, young families, young children and people who might be joining in worship for the first time in their lives.

As a result of these discussions, the Worship Committee recommended to the PCC that at least four times a year in each church, the Eucharist will be more orientated towards 'all-ages', making use of a variety of worship material and music, perhaps involving different groups of people in the preparation of the service for that Sunday. The services will still be Eucharistic, but the Sunday Club or Sunday School will not meet on those Sundays, hopefully being involved in the worship, and at St Nicolas' the uniformed organisations will be invited to join us.

The first of these Sundays is February 2nd, which is Candlemass. The first 'All-age Service' will take place at St Nicolas' at 9.30am. The Sung Eucharist at St Mary's at 11.00am will follow the traditional form. In March, on Sunday 2nd, we will swap round, with the 'All-age Service' taking place in St Mary's.

We hope that, in time, different groups of people will be responsible for planning each of these services. Please speak to a member of the Ministry Leadership Team or a member of the Worship Committee if you would like to make a contribution.

This is very much an initial response to the discussions. Please be open to the Holy Spirit working in you as you join in this worship. Pray about it. Listen to God; hear what he is saying to you and to us all as a worshipping community. Please do let us know your response.

Fr Michael


An important date for the diary!

On Saturday 15th March at 7.30pm we will have the opportunity to show our appreciation and thanks for all that Malcolm McKelvey has contributed to the life of our parish during his time as Parish Director of Music. At a local venue (still to be decided!) there will be an evening of celebration which will include a party, some musical contributions and possibly a short service. Please put this date in your diaries now and await further details!

(Fr Stephen was preparing a written appreciation of Malcolm as the magazine went to press. Unfortunately the 'flu got him before he could complete it and so it will appear in the March edition!)

Fr Michael


New Curates

We are very pleased to announce that Grant Bayliss has accepted our invitation to join us at Prestbury and All Saints' as our new curate.

Grant has completed his training for the priesthood at Cuddesdon Theological College, Oxford, and is currently completing his theological research for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

Married to Chris, they have a daughter Bethany who was one year old last November. They will live in Boulton Road, adjacent to St Nicolas'.

We have to be mindful that Grant is coming to what is described by the Diocese as a 'training post'. Rightly, the emphasis in the very first years of ministry is about formation and about what we can contribute to a curate's training rather than what we can get out of it. We all - ordained and lay - share in this training.

Peter Brown will also be ordained deacon to serve here amongst us as an Ordained Local Minister. For the past three years, Peter has been studying on the West of England Ministerial Training Course. It cannot have been at all easy to balance a busy and demanding job with the heavy workload of this course, and we admire Peter for the way he has given this his all.

Peter will have that most difficult task of working out the right balance for his ministry, and we must be careful and discerning in any demands we place upon him.

This good news means that we shall be in the wonderful and interesting situation of having two deacons at once, with two ordinations at the Cathedral on Sunday 29 June, the Feast of SS Peter and Paul. If all goes to plan, both Peter and Grant expect to be ordained priest at Petertide in 2004.

Please pray for Grant and Chris, Peter and Shirley during this time of preparation.

Fr Stephen


Bible Study in February

We are continuing our discoveries about connections between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Do please join us. You don't need to come to every evening. We don't have all the answers but I think it is fair to say that we all go home having picked up something fresh about our faith. I am happy to answer most questions you may have about the evenings, do speak to me.

When? What?
Thursday 13 Sin offering
Wednesday 26        Covenant

 Sue Read, Ministry Leadership Team

'A Song in Season': a Postscript

In December we ran a series of three evening or morning meetings centred around Psalms, and how they can help us to make the most of the weeks before Christmas.

A few people found their way to All Saints' for the evenings, but sad to say almost no-one came to the morning sessions at St Nicolas', the largest number was two people plus leaders. Last year we received a special request for daytime meetings in Advent. So what was wrong this time?

All the same, for the few who did meet this was a very worthwhile time. I for one had never realised how the words and thoughts of the Psalms surface again and again in our hymns, our liturgy, in the New Testament, not least in the teaching of Jesus. We found many layers of meaning, and different ways of using them - and we listened to some lovely music. Best of all, we met in friendship, with time for everyone to listen and to be heard. You missed something good.

Beryl Elliott

Christmas Carols at Abbeyfield House

At 4.15pm on 12 December the spirit of Christmas flowed through the sitting room at Abbeyfield House. A teacher and pupils from Berkhampstead School came to sing Christmas carols to the residents and friends. We all thoroughly enjoyed the selection of carols, especially the unusual ones and the singing was excellent. The occasion was a repeat performance which we all hope will now become an annual event. We wish Berkhampstead School every success in the New Year.

Jack Beaver

St Mary's Bake Stall - where the money went

Although our proceeds were somewhat down last year we supported a good number of charities:

Christian Aid 85.70
Unicef 75.00
Let the Children Live 73.00
Disasters Emergency Committee     50.00
Care International 25.00
Hope Africa 14.00
Water Aid 12.00
Cancer Research 10.00
Childline 5.00

The February Bake Stall falls on Sunday 16 with contributions from members with surnames N-Z.

Margaret Waker


Christmas Flowers

I am sure everyone who saw the beauty of the candlelit church window sills at St Mary's this Christmas would like to thank Jim Meredith and his family for the donation of the iron candle holders which made this possible. They came to us in memory of Muriel, who for so many years beautified our church with her arrangements and in particular gathered others together at Festival times. Thank you from us all for a tangible memory of Muriel.

Since offering this gift two others have been inspired to give similarly such that now each of the church windowsills can be joyously lit by candlelight.

Vera Gray, now 93 and living near her daughter Joan in Leicestershire, used to do flowers in church and at the Cathedral with Vi Reese. Vera's gift is in memory of both Vi and Beryl Fowler, great friends while she lived in Park Lane with her family.

And Thelma Nichols, who for years organized all our activities and arrangements, donated another in memory of her husband Aubrey, whom many will remember for his military bearing.

Thank you both - we should have taken a Christmas photograph to share with you.

We have thought that in future people may like to donate the candles, which will cost about 5.

On a lighter note, many of you will have been in church for the notices when Fr Michael thanked all who had contributed towards the warmth of atmosphere at services over Christmas but some may have missed his quote from William Yates' wedding speech that 'the flower ladies strip down after Epiphany'! What, if anything, have the Rilstone & District WI over our Prestbury ladies?

Barbara Lyle


Youth Service

The youth service in December, which was organised by Synergy and Elevate, went without any major hiccups (surprisingly!). It was great to see so many of you there of all ages taking part. So many in fact we had to find more chairs and there were still people standing.

The theme of the evening was belonging: Belonging to God, the community and many other aspects of our lives. Many points were addressed in a variety of new and interesting ways. The hymns were all sung with a live band accompaniment, made up of the musical members of Synergy. I personally had a great evening, and from all the positive feedback we received know I'm not alone.

Thanks to Claire R and Sam M for organising the rabble, as well as to Andy and Sharon for giving invaluable advice.

There is another youth service planned for 9th March at 6:30 pm at St Nic's. It would be fantastic to see as many of you coming along!

Clare Wood


St Nicolas' Renewal - almost there!

Now that the scaffolding is down we can appreciate the new ceiling, on which just a few horizontal timbers remain to be done once the windows have been installed. At the time of writing the heating is being installed and the new floor will be laid by the time you read this.

Lights have been installed around the perimeter of the ceiling and plans are being finalised for the central pendant fitting.

It has been a long process and once the builders leave we have to give the interior a good clean and put back the chairs and other furnishings, but hopefully we shall be worshipping in the church by early March.

Geoff Shaw

St Nicolas' Celebration Weekend 3 - 5 May 2003

We are anticipating returning to the 'renewed' St Nicolas' Church during March and looking forward to celebrating Easter there! The Bishop of Gloucester will be joining us for a Thanksgiving Service on Saturday 3 May at 4.00pm. We hope that this will form part of a weekend of celebrations, during which we will be able to invite anyone who wishes to come and view the completed work. Other events and displays have been suggested for the weekend, including perhaps a Talent Show and a barbecue.

Please book this Bank Holiday weekend in your diaries and watch out for further details. If you have any suggestions of how we can celebrate the renewal work, please speak to John Elliott or a member of the Parish Events Committee.

Rockers Half-Hour

Term started in mid-January and runs through to early April. If you are looking after a young child aged 0-5 years, whether your own or someone else's, do please come and join us for our very informal service in St Mary's church at 2 o'clock on Thursday afternoons. We sing some songs, listen to a short Bible story (or play in the baby corner), colour a picture and have a cup of tea. For further details contact Frances Murton or just turn up.



Snippets from the Tower

We have been busy ringing over the Christmas and New Year period. We were able to ring for all of the extra services.

A successful peal of 5120 changes of Spliced Surprise Major was rung on the morning of 28 December. It was arranged by our ringers and three of them were involved, with help from other members of the Cheltenham branch. Congratulations to them, as it was a particularly difficult peal to ring.

During 2002, thirty-five quarter peals were rung at St Mary's, mostly for evening service and some for weddings. This number was more than in previous years as several were rung to commemorate the Accession and Golden Jubilee of the Queen, as well as in memory of the Queen Mother. One was rung in March to wish Bertha Hardman, our oldest ringer, a happy 89th birthday!

We were pleased to dedicate a quarter peal of Grandsire Doubles, rung in May, to the Ruby wedding anniversaries of Ken and Rosemary Bradbury and John and Di Petchey.

In June a quarter was rung for Fathers' Day by a band of six fathers with 17 children and 11 grandchildren between them!

A 'date touch' of 2002 changes of Grandsire Triples which had been composed by our own David Lynch was rung on 15 December. This took 69 minutes to ring!

During the year Janet Covey Crump retired as Tower Captain after ten years in the post and Mary Lynch was elected in her place. She was commissioned during the Eucharist on 7 July.

We look forward to more joyful ringing during 2003.

Jenni Scruton


Experience China - China Experience

September 14, 7.00am. The phone rings. Margaret says 'Oh! which of the children is ringing us up so early in the morning to wish us a good holiday?' I answer 'Get up. We're late! It's the taxi for Heathrow. We have missed the alarm.' What an auspicious start! Fortunately we had packed the night before, within 15 minutes, we were up and dressed and in the taxi. There's always plenty of time to shave etc at Heathrow after checking in, thankfully.

We then flew to Frankfurt - Lufthansa - to join our flight for Shanghai (overnight). We arrived in Shanghai, a modern riverside city with a New York style skyline. Skyscrapers all over the place, 'Telecom Tower', masses of shipping including, in mid-stream, a satellite comms vessel, just like the one owned by one James Bond's enemies! The road traffic was somewhat alarming but not a patch on that in Beijing. There was little or no sight of the old China. The night sky was fully illuminated by all the lights and searchlights, or whatever, on top of all the skyscrapers.

It was in Shanghai that we became accustomed to the practice of sitting at round tables with a large 'Lazy Susan' on which was placed the selection of foods we were to eat. Whilst the variety seemed welcome at first view, it became rather monotonous by the end of the holiday. Sweet & Sour pork bones (very little flesh on them) chickens' feet, whole fish - full of bones and very difficult for the uninitiated to tackle with chopsticks etc. One evening on the trip we had a dumpling banquet, which included 18 large dumplings together with numerous small ones. The waitresses informed us what each of the large dumplings was but most of us were unable to taste any difference of flavour in 16 of them. After the dumplings, eaten at tables in the theatre, we turned round to see a magnificent 'Tang Dynasty' show - costumes, instruments and dancing, just as in the past

The prime justification for our trip was the anticipated completion of the 'Three Gorges Dam' and its forecast destruction of the scenery. I had my own doubts about the serious damage which the flooding of the river banks would have in landscapes of 2-3000 meters and they were confirmed by seeing the band markings of the future height of the water. Clearly the scenery will not be quite so dramatic but it will still be dramatic. The project is most impressive and there will be a staircase o five licks for larger vessels to pass up and down and there is also a ship lift for the smaller ones. Our cruise upstream was great and, partway along, we disembarked on to little boats to travel along the three lesser gorges of the Shennon stream which was, in places, so shallow that our crew of local villagers had to get out and haul our boat and us along against the current. It was said that after the dam is completed they will be able to continue this exercise further upstream.. The flooding will, of course, destroy numerous communities along the river banks but the people have had houses built for them on higher ground and are alleged to be very happy. This may or may not be true. They are probably now in larger communities and have stronger accommodation that in the past, with electricity, sanitation and running water but not the freedom of the past. Has their land been taken away from them? What about compensation? This seems unlikely since there is now no welfare provision.

We flew to Xian, a walled city, although much of it these days is, as you would expect, outside the walls, as usual, wide enough to drive a chariot and overtake another. From Xian we drove to see the 'Terracotta Army'. This had been created by an Emperor to guard his tomb but, a few years after his death, the peasants revolted, burst in and damaged the greater part of this army of thousands of full size figures of soldiers, archers, charioteers etc and set fire to the building. All this gradually became forgotten and covered with soil until a farmer, digging a well some years ago, came across it, realised its value and reported it to the authorities. He is now employed by the site authorities, signing 'his' book about it. Work is still going on, as funds allow, excavating and repairing the damaged figures. This will go on for years.

At one of our stops we met some Americans, on a parallel tour, who were not very happy. They had been booked for their Yangtse cruise on a Dragon Boat. Only to discover, after settling in, that the boat was overbooked and that three were having to sleep in a cabin for two, with one on the floor, on blankets, between the two bunks. When we told our Tour Manager about this he said: 'Oh, yes! They are renowned for doing this.'

We were taken to see several Chinese Gardens, of which the essential ingredients are rocks, water, trees and a pavilion. Flowers are of little or no importance.

Beijing was another surprise, full of buildings in progress. Everything has to be just right for the Olympics! You can, if you have the money, buy your apartment in China now, but all you get is the bare walls and you have to complete it yourself, doors, windows, plumbing, sanitary fittings etc. Whilst driving around we saw numerous areas with lines of washing and nothing else, obviously they had not yet found the money to complete the accommodation.

Traffic in Beijing is horrific to one unused to it. Cyclists all over the place. Six-lane highways in each direction, some lanes going up, some going down, if there is a hold-up passengers just get off the bus and walk in front of you, there seem to be few, if any, rules of the road. If you are in the wrong lane than move over, everyone seems to allow this. In spite of all this apparent confusion we did not see many road accidents and, when we did, the road confusion was even more confounded.

We also visited the 'Great Wall' - they have even constructed 'loos' now. I'm sure they weren't part of the original construction! As in Xian, the wall is wide enough for chariots to pass but there are, inevitably, numerous wide stars for them to negotiate.

We were taken to a performance of Peking Opera - I wouldn't go again, by choice. Peking Duck dinner was not very exciting.

We had our first ever ride on a double-decker train with up-to-the-minute electronic time and destination notification in each carriage.

On the whole, a very enjoyable trip of a widely variable country.

Raymund Waker



From Kendal to Tewkesbury

At Tewkesbury Abbey for the whole of February there will be an exhibition of 39 of the 77 panels of the famous Quaker Tapestry. This is a wonderful opportunity to see the unique collection of embroideries, normally on display at Kendal in Cumbria. There is much historical detail related in the work which will also be of interest to non-embroiderers. Demonstrations and a video can also be seen.

There are details on the notice boards of both churches and the opening times are: 10am - 4pm Monday to Saturday (11.30am - 4pm on Thursday). Closed Sundays.

Ruth Shaw


Brass Cleaning Rota

The new rota for polishing the brass in St Mary's is now available. If anyone else would like to join the team please let me know. Your commitment would be for only one month in the year, and only twice in that month (we polish fortnightly).

Rosie Bradbury


Christian Aid Carol Singing

Thank you everybody who sang with the two choirs at the supermarkets in December. Together we raised 265.81. Altogether the fifteen churches who took part throughout Cheltenham raised 2103. Thank you, too, those who contributed via the Christmas Dinner envelopes in both churches. This raised 166.

Many thanks to all of you.

Paddy Spurgeon & Gill Ashman

Christingle (1)

Thank you to everyone who supported the wonderful Christingle service at St Mary's on 15 December. We raised over 316 for the Children's Society. This fantastic total included 1,378 2p coins and 2,075 1p coins - so every penny really does count! Thank you.

Wendy Thomas & Dorothy Smith

Christingle (2)

The church hall at St Nicolas' was filled to capacity for our Christingle service on 22 December. Although there were only a few moments of candlelight (for safety reasons), the glowing Christingles and excited children combined to create a wonderful atmosphere! Drama from members of the youth team helped everyone to focus on the depth and strength of God's love for every single one of us. A grand total of 108 was raised for the Children's Society. Special thanks to those who helped prepare for the service, and to Tesco at Bishop's Cleeve, who donated 100 exceedingly large and juicy oranges!

Caroline Sexton

Christingle (3)

Spare Christingles from St Nicolas' were taken along to the 5 o'clock service at Bay Tree Court and distributed to several delighted residents. Thank you!


Thursday Morning Eucharist, 10.30am

From 2 November 2000 to 8 December 2002 we have raised 900 for the St Mary's Church Heating Fund. What a wonderful achievement!

This has come about by serving coffee and biscuits after the Service and we usually pay 50p each. Thank you to everyone who has donated to this Fund and helped in any way.

Do come along to this service if you can, just half an hour out of your day. See you there!

Doreen Morris

The World Vision Alternative Christmas Card

Despite the fact that we were late getting this off the ground it was a successful venture and raised 117.18 for the Charity. We think it well worth repeating next year.

Margaret Waker


Date for the Diary - Plant Sale at St Nicolas'

On Saturday 17 May we shall once again hold a Plant Sale in aid of the Renewal Appeal. As ever we shall be most grateful if gardeners can help us: perhaps by taking some extra cuttings, growing some bedding plants, a few vegetable plants or herbs, and potting up herbaceous perennials. Geraniums and fuchsias sell especially well.

I shall be glad to answer any queries. Happy gardening in the Spring!

Janet White



Prestbury Parish Magazine - February 2003

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