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Prestbury Parish Magazine

March 2004

Some trust in chariots and some in horses
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God
Psalm 20:7


The pictures on the front cover of the Parish Magazine this year were drawn in November 2003 by children of the Prestbury After School Club at St Mary's Junior School. This month's picture of a racehorse is by Matthew, aged nine years.


March 2004


Equal Partners

Lent is a time when we ...

Maundy Thursday Vigil 8-9 April


An Hour in the Tower

Mothers' Union

Victim Support

Parish Quiet Day

Clergy Rota

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

Open Morning in St Mary's Tower

The Calendar for March 2004

The Diary for March 2004

The Parish Registers

Equal Partners

In a vivid adage, coined I think by the Swiss theologian Karl Barth, the life of the Christian community is perfectly defined - The Church gathers for worship and scatters for mission.

The picture described by Barth is worth remembering. Week by week Christians meet together to worship God and then go their various ways both to tell others the good news of the kingdom and to serve them in whatever way God calls. Thus, in George Herbert's poetic phrase, we offer God praise 'Seven whole days not one in seven'. I hope, such a sketch of how to be a Christian is not new to you and already second nature to all who are reading this magazine. Many folk have passed on this vision of the Church's life faithfully in every generation.

At the heart of discipleship, often going without being noticed, there has to be a regular pulse and rhythmic beat. The gathering and scattering of Christian people is like breathing in and breathing out and is like the work the lungs do (which also we take too much for granted) which sustains life.

Nor can worship and mission ever be separated. They stand and fall together. Worship without mission is not just lame and watered down, it is not the genuine article. Nor can mission without worship ever be effective. Too often we mislead ourselves and think mission is an optional extra for the minority, but it is not. It is not a dimension artificially added to a Christian life from time to time when occasion demands. No, it is an indispensable part of the inner structure of the life of every disciple every day.

What is true, though, is that unless both worship and mission are strong and equal partners in the enterprise of Christian witness then our discipleship will be too weak to share in the Easter victory. Which points us to the heart of the matter, especially during Lent, which is the cost of discipleship. Being a follower of Jesus is a way of living and loving - God and others - but always with a cost to self. To be a Christian is morally challenging but also demanding in total commitment. So in the weeks ahead we hear Jesus saying again, 'take up your cross and follow'.

Just as the continuity between worship and mission must never be broken or separated nor must the continuity between Jesus' resurrection and his death. Ultimately Good Friday and Easter are not two separate events in Jesus' life but together the single unifying centre which gives meaning and power to everything he did and continues to do. That is the truth for our own lives and the truth we long to share with any who will listen and hear.

Fr Paul


Lent is a time when we ...

    ... take time to reflect
        ... examine our priorities
            ... hope to grow in faith

Throughout Lent, sermons at the main Sunday Eucharist will explore the theme Acknowledging our hunger for God ...

Lent 1 ...  within ourselves
Lent 2 ...  within our local church
Lent 3 ...  within our varied communities
Lent 4 ...  within our family (Mothering Sunday)
Lent 5 ...  within our world

In Lent you could also ...

Join one of the Lent groups, either Christ and the Chocolaterie or the ecumenical one, Faith in the Fire. For details refer to the February magazine or contact me or Fr Peter Brown. You will find the Chocolate group on Wednesdays at 7.45; or ask for details of the group at All Saints'. In Prestbury there is one Faith in the Fire group at St Nicolas' room on Tuesdays at 7.30; there are also daytime groups at venues throughout Cheltenham, times and places listed on our church notice boards.

All these groups start in the week beginning 1st March.

If you missed the Lent bookstall, drop into Wesley Owen, and see what is on offer for reading in Lent. Ask to see the selection of day-by-day reflections for Lent, or if you are looking for something different, two (very different) authors to consider are Henri Nouwen and Philip Yancey, both in stock.

Set aside a regular time for the Bible. Read through one of the Gospels, or start at the beginning with Genesis, or whichever book you like. Any part of the Bible has a different impact when you read it several chapters at a time. This might be the time to equip yourself with a new Bible in a modern version. In church we use the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), or if you would prefer a more colloquial translation look at the Good News Bible. For the best selection of Bibles go to Wesley Owen in Winchcombe Street or Ottakar's in the Promenade (escalator to top floor, comfortable chairs).

Beryl Elliott


Maundy Thursday Vigil 8-9 April

In previous years young people have taken part in the all-night Maundy Thursday Vigil at St Nicolas' Church. The focus has been spending time in quiet prayer-slots of half an hour in small groups throughout the night. This has been an exciting and rewarding challenge, which we have undertaken creatively. The night has included a range of activities - a shared meal, craft, video, drama, aerobics. These activities have served to motivate but also to bring alive the idea of what that special night is about; certainly the sense of togetherness and of meeting with God was very powerful.

This year we are planning to open this experience to people of all ages, we will be starting after the moving Maundy Thursday service with various activities while there is a chance for other members of the congregation to undertake the vigil. We will then carry on the baton through the night, finishing at 8am on Good Friday.

Please get in touch with Andy Macauly if you are interested - it would be great to have a real range of ages there! We will also be holding a planning meeting on Tuesday 7 April from 7pm - to get people's ideas for the vigil. There will be a cost of £2 per person to cover materials, forms (available from Andy) will need to be filled in by children or young people under 18.

Andy Macauly



Sunday February 8th was Stewardship Sunday in the parish and everyone should have received an envelope with details of how they can give to the church. Thank you to all those who responded to our appeal, at a time when our churches are financially, precariously balanced. House keeping at home is delicate enough, but in order to keep both our fine churches in good order, it is a constant headache to keep our church finances solvent. If, by some slip of the computer, you did not receive an envelope, please accept my apologies. I sent out 350 but suspect I may have lost some through the net. Do ask me for the information if you missed it and I will happily provide you with the relevant forms. As an experiment, you will find a Stewardship envelope within (the paper edition of) this magazine, so that anyone who feels they would like to make a one-off donation can do so. We are always happy to receive your gifts, and rest assured, they are used wisely by our Treasurer.

God's greatest gift to us was Jesus, and our Stewardship is just one of the gifts we can give back to the church, as a means of thanks for this, the greatest gift of all. Many thanks for your continued generosity.

Marion Beagley - Chairman of Stewardship Committee


An Hour in the Tower

Thank you to David and Mary Lynch for giving us an opportunity to visit St Mary's tower during the Open Day on Saturday 31st January.

My six-year-old granddaughter, Lois, was thrilled at the idea. Together we climbed the stone steps, opened a wooden door, and were surprised to discover we had to go even higher. Having carefully accomplished the steep ladder ascent we were welcomed by Mary and David, two of our regular bell ringers. With enthusiasm they explained how the bells worked and helped every visitor to have 'hands on' at pulling the ropes. We were astonished to realise how little strength is required. A big thank you to our regular happy band of bell ringers who welcome the people of Prestbury to St Mary's each week with the joyful sound of bells.

Lois thought it great fun watching the bell ropes with a coloured grip (known as a 'sally') disappear through small holes in the ceiling and then re-appear. When we arrived home Lois wrote a few words about her visit, which I should like to share with you: 'Me and Granny went out to the church tower and it was great! I went to the top of the church tower and I got to ring the bell. I did very well with David but then Granny joined me. The bell rope had to go really high so I had to jump.'

Ann Cole

Snippets from the Tower

We are grateful to the seventeen visitors who came to our tower open morning on 31st January. Everyone had a go at either ringing or chiming a bell, and most of the adults climbed two steep ladders to see the bells. The children learned how to ring Rounds, Queens and Kings changes on handbells. We are still looking for new recruits to join the band, so if you are interested please get in touch with the Tower Captain or Secretary at

Jenni Scruton

Pictures ...


Mothers' Union

Most of you will remember that, until 1998, St Mary's had an active Mothers' Union group. Sadly it closed, but many members have stayed on as Associate Diocesan members. Recently, several ladies have expressed an interest in reforming the group. There is a large group of potentially new members in our current congregation, some with young families, who might now be interested in joining. It would be good if we could reform the group and include ex-members together with new ones. Perhaps some ex-members would feel happy to rejoin if they didn't have to be on the committee! I have spoken with the clergy, who would be very pleased if we were able to get the group up and running again and they would support our efforts whole-heartedly.

To get some idea of what enthusiasm there would be among our congregation, I have arranged two meetings, one at each end of the parish. The first will be on Wednesday 24th March at 10.30am at St Mary's, where we will have facilities for a crèche, if necessary. The second will be at St Nicolas' on Wednesday 31st March at 7.30pm. This would enable most interested parties to attend and we could air and share ideas on the feasibility and logistics of putting a plan into action. I would appreciate your prayerful thought as to whether we should go ahead and look forward to seeing lots of you at one or other of the meetings.

Marion Beagley


Victim Support

It is a sad fact that whether a crime is committed against a person or property, someone suffers. Each year in Cheltenham, Victim Support contacts about 3,600 victims of crime. This independent national charity helps people in need cope with the effects of crime. Trained volunteers offer free, confidential support and practical advice to those who seek help.

This might be just lending a listening ear to someone who has experienced a burglary; it could extend to negotiating with other agencies to find help for a family suffering harassment, helping with the after-effects of an assault, or the family consequences of a sudden and unnatural death.

Victim Support also has a Witness Service to help victims, witnesses and their families before, during and after a trial, with trained volunteers based on all Crown Court centres and magistrates' courts.

If you feel you could help with this work please ask me for further details or phone Victim Support on 01242 577476.

Above all come to the concert to be given by Musica Vera in All Saints' in aid of Victim Support on Saturday 13 March at 7.30 p.m. (details below).

Peter Attwood

Concert in aid of Victim Support

Musica Vera's Spring concert will this year be given in All Saints' Church under their conductor, Claire Alsop, on Saturday 13 March at 7.30pm. Proceeds from this concert will be given to Victim Support. The programme will consist of German Baroque music, including the Motet Jesu, meine Freude, and other choral music by Bach, Buxtehude and Heinrich Schutz, with Andrew Kirk, Director of Music at St Mary Redcliff, Bristol, on the organ.

Tickets £7, to include a glass of wine after the concert, are available from Jill Yates (St Mary's), Peter Attwood (St Nicolas') or at the door.

Jill Yates



Parish Quiet Day - Coming Home: Reflections on the Prodigal

Saturday 6 March at St Mary's Infants School

If you are looking for a chance to snatch a few hours of peace away from the daily grind, then make sure you put this date in your diary. Although this year we are staying close to home, otherwise it is very much the mixture as before. The day will be arranged around some short reflections on the story of the Prodigal Son considered from different points of view. There will also be a range of other activities: your chance to try your hand at some arts and crafts, take a walk, listen to some music, explore a labyrinth or simply sit in peace and quiet with a good book (perhaps the good book?). The day will finish with the Eucharist. All the sessions and activities are optional, so you can pick and mix to create the sort of day you want. You will need to bring a picnic lunch but tea, coffee and soft drinks will be provided. Look out for details of how to sign up in church soon. (We will try to provide a crèche if there is enough demand - if you think you might use it, or could help to organise it, pleased get in touch with one of the MLT.)

Jerry Porter on behalf of the MLT


Worship Group

If you would like to be involved in the planning of the 'Eucharist with a Difference' services at St Nicolas' please speak to Fr Michael. We are looking for lots of different input so that we can include drama, readings, music, instruments and so on. We would also like to represent the variety of age groups who worship with us.

Clergy Rota

During March you might notice a different pattern to the clergy rota at 9.30am and 11.00am. Until now, Fr Stephen and Fr Michael have tried to alternate on a fortnightly basis between the main Sunday services in the two Prestbury churches and All Saints'. During March, Fr Stephen will be in Prestbury on most Sundays and Fr Michael will be in All Saints'. In April they will swap round. This is partly a response to points raised during the St Mary's consultation and also following enquiries made to colleagues as to how they run their Team Ministries. Fr Stephen, Fr Michael and Fr Paul will continue to preside at the 8 o'clock services in St Mary's and All Saints' on a regular basis.


St Mary's Bakestall

The next Bakestall will be held on Mothering Sunday, 21st March, with contributions from members with surnames A - F.

Linda Matthews and Margaret Waker

St Mary's Flower Arrangers

St Mary's Flower Arrangers and Friends are warmly invited to the Annual Meeting and Demonstration by Ron Middleton on Tuesday 30th March at 7.30pm at the kind invitation of Sheila Beer.

Barbara Lyle

Churchyard and Church Annual Spring Cleaning Days

Friday 2nd April from 4.00pm and Saturday 3rd April from 9.30am

Please support this project if you can, even if it is only for one hour. More hands make light work. We will again have a Fish and Chips Lunch together. It was great fun last year and we all like to take a pride in the upkeep of our Churchyard and beautiful old Church. Let's see you there, particularly the younger people. Bring necessary equipment if you can.

Doreen and Henry Morris


University of Gloucestershire Orchestra comes to St Nicolas' Church

We are delighted to welcome the University of Gloucestershire Orchestra, conducted by Ian Higginson, to St Nicolas' Church on Tuesday 30 March at 7.30pm. The Orchestra will present a programme of popular music including: Music for the Royal Fireworks by Handel, Pavane by Faure and Symphony No 100 by Haydn.

Tickets priced £5 are available in advance from Ian and Janine Higginson or Maltby Books, Regent Street, Cheltenham, or at the door.



Prestbury Parish Magazine - March 2004

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