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Prestbury Parish Magazine

May 2004

They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire
that separated and came to rest on each of them.
Acts 2:3


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 the Pentecost flames is by Anna, aged eleven years.

May 2004


 Mary's Month

Thanksgiving for Faithful Service

Mission & Outreach Action - an update

Student Cross: Pilgrimage or Pub Crawl

Puzzling Partners in Prestbury Churchyard - Part II

St Marys Flower Arranging Annual Meeting 2004

Mothers Union

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

Maundy Thursday - All-night watch

Palm Sunday procession and breakfast

The Calendar for this month

The Diary for this month

The Parish Registers

Mary's Month

'Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines!' Sometimes it feels as though no sooner is one thing finished, than another has to be thought about, planned, carried out. It can feel as though our lives are ruled by deadlines and we never take the opportunity to pause, review and reflect. (Well, that's how my life often feels!)

My deadline is to complete this article for the May edition of the magazine before my post-Easter break, which means writing it on Good Friday! Still in the very middle of the most significant and most emotional week of our year. Seemingly suspended between the moving drama of the Upper Room and the time with Our Lord in the Garden, and the emotionally charged anticipation of the Liturgy of Our Lord's Passion. The time spent at the foot of the Cross, on which is hung the Saviour of the world.

Mary, Jesus' mother, also stood at the foot of her Son's cross. May is often called 'Mary's month' and it is perhaps appropriate that I have been thinking about Mary's place in the events of Holy Week. As we contemplate Our Lady witnessing the final hours of her Son's life; receiving his dead body in her arms; watching it being placed into the tomb, there is no doubt that Simeon's prediction, 'and a sword will pierce your soul too', was very accurate. In a sense Mary, in her motherhood, stands alongside all parents who have had their hearts pierced in some way. All parents who have suffered pain, anxiety, bereavement.

No record is made in the Gospels of Our Risen Lord appearing to his mother, however Mary's heartache must have been transformed into joy at the news of her Son's resurrection. As we enter 'Mary's month', we share in her joy that Jesus is Christ is indeed risen from the dead. Alleluia!

Fr Michael


Thanksgiving for Faithful Service

At the Annual Church Meeting on 25 April we shall give profound and heartfelt thanks for the long service of three of our members.

Thanksgiving for Churchwarden Ken Bradbury's 25 years

Ken has served as Churchwarden of Prestbury for over 25 years. In his quiet and unassuming way, he has done so very much to ensure that the life of the church has continued and flourished. As a member of the PCC, Ken has taken a leading part in every parish initiative. He has been a support to each of the clergy, not least in many practical ways. We have been grateful for his many gifts, not least his professional experience and knowledge as an engineer. Ken has been strongly supported in his role of Churchwarden by Rosie, and they have been kindly hosts to many church social functions.

Ken continues to serve the wider Church as a member of the DAC (Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches). He travels around the churches of the Diocese as the DAC expert electrical and sound consultant.

Thanksgiving for Eileen Jones' 14 years as Warden at St Nicolas'

It would be impossible to count up the hours that Eileen has given in her most faithful service to God in her role as Assistant Churchwarden in the whole parish of Prestbury with particular responsibility for St Nicolas'. She has made sure that everything 'goes like clockwork' in preparation for both Sunday and weekday services. Eileen has been a very wise counsellor to the clergy, making sure that they were aware of the varying views and needs of the church membership. She has been tireless in her service. Last April Eileen was honoured to receive the Royal Maundy.

Eileen has also served the wider church as a member of the Deanery Synod.

Thanksgiving for Bill Riley as Parish Treasurer for 25 years

Over all the 25 years, Bill Riley has been treasurer of St Mary's in particular, and for quite some time he has also had to produce consolidated accounts for the whole parish. This has involved hours each week of complex record keeping, and regular presentations to the PCC and to the Finance Committee.

Bill has served the wider Church both as a member of the Diocesan Board of Finance, and of the Deanery Synod.

For quite some years Bill has been chair of Governors of Arthur Dye School in Hesters Way. He has been very involved in local sport, and has given countless hours to support youth football. For many years Sheila was Akela at St Nicolas' Cubs. We wish Bill and Sheila every blessing and happiness in Newcastle, when he will no longer have to travel to watch every home match of the Magpies.

Most important of all, each has a deep faith, and has been constant in prayer and worship. For all these things we give thanks.

Fr Stephen


Mission & Outreach Action - an update

After a tremendously successful 'mission brainstorming' on March 13, the M&O team would like to bring you right up to date on what came out of that afternoon, and what is happening as a result.

The meeting was held to draw together ideas on how we might be more effective in our outreach to the people of Prestbury. More than 30 people form St Mary's and St Nicolas' joined us, representing many different groups and committees.

By the end of the afternoon, we had begun to identify, or suggest, some of the issues that might matter most to local people. These ranged from feeling of isolation and a lack of community, to teenagers and single parent families, to the elderly and the environment - and many more.

Suggestions on what we might do to address some of these issues, through outreach, came thick and fast! But, more importantly, we began to sow the seeds for a new way of working together as a Church.

We began to see that by bringing people from different groups and committees together, we could communicate with each other effectively, share suggestions, and create solutions that would involve everyone.


  • Working as a Team

We communicate! Our prime aim is to build a team which will represent all our church groups and committees to work corporately on tackling those issues which we identified.

  • Sharing Information

We will strive to ensure that every member of our congregation is aware of what is happening in our Churches via - for example - our noticeboards, parish magazine, website, handouts, notice sheets and personal communication!

  • Communicating with Others

We will work to improve our communication with our neighbours in Prestbury.

  • Addressing Issues

Together, we will begin to address some of the very real issues for local people, as highlighted on March 13.

Caroline Sexton


Student Cross: Pilgrimage or Pub Crawl?

What made me agree to walk 121.8 miles from Nottingham to Walsingham during Holy Week? Madness? Possibly. Partly also the persuasion of friends; partly the desire to be challenged by new ideas and physical hardship.

I encountered both. Student Cross began in 1948, and walking Northern Leg I met people who first walked more than 25 years ago and were still coming back. Nine Legs start from various places around England, each carrying a 10' x 5' wooden cross on their shoulders.

The full distance seems daunting, but the pilgrimage is broken up into days; each day into stretches; each stretch into the walking routine. Three people carry the cross, switching every few minutes to the back of the column to pull the 'dog', a little cart containing water and first aid, and then into the main column. We often sang as we walked, talked with new friends or walked silently. The first days were the longest, and very hard. Once we overcame the pain of blisters, swollen ankles and aching joints, however, there was more space for thoughts and emotions; a richer sense of the spiritual. Distanced from much of the world to which we are accustomed, life slows down. We discovered what was truly important to us: food, drink, sleep; an arm around one's shoulders or a warm smile from a fellow pilgrim. This was particularly important on Northern, as we were the only Leg without a chaplain; as one walker noted, 'we are chaplains to each other'. We were never asked to deny our discomforts, but in bearing Christ's cross we bore them together. Faith carried us; not only belief in God but also perseverance and faithfulness to the other pilgrims.

The journey was greatly eased by the generosity of people along the route, some of whom had helped Student Cross since it started, such as the lady into whose bungalow all thirty of us squeezed for tea and biscuits. Every lunchtime and evening we stopped in pubs, churches or parishioners' homes for food and rest. At our Wednesday pub a tab at the bar provided by past pilgrims paid for two rounds of drinks for the whole Leg. Several evenings we had a lock-in at the pub, and the landlord carried on serving while we played and sang until 1am.

The week is very intense, physically, emotionally and spiritually. We become close to the people we walk with, as we depend on each other to complete our task. There is a richness and mystery in our worship, but also a refreshment of the call to Christian life which found me thinking when the bare wooden cross was laid down for the final time in Walsingham: 'Lord Jesus Christ, may it be my privilege to bear your cross' (words from the prayer on taking up the cross).

Elizabeth Murton


Puzzling Partners in Prestbury Churchyard

II - Catherine's Encounters with Napoleon

Mention of Catherine Younghusband's grave at Prestbury can hardly be made without some account of the controversial career which has earned her a footnote in Napoleonic history. She was already the widow of Capt Robertson of the Bengal Artillery, with a 4-year-old daughter, Emily, when, in June 1811, at 31, she married the handsome Capt Robert Younghusband of the 53rd Foot at Calcutta. Six years older than her husband, high-spirited, intelligent and ambitious, she soon became the dominant partner.

They arrived at St Helena with the Regiment at the end of October 1815, a fortnight after Napoleon who was then lodged temporarily at The Briars while Longwood House, the Lieut-Governor's country residence, was being enlarged and renovated for him and his entourage. Catherine, determined to meet the ex-Emperor, was soon making social calls, with 8-year-old Emily, on the wife and daughters of the merchant, William Balcombe, who lived at The Briars, a stratagem which shortly brought success. Napoleon, seeing an elegant lady in the garden with a pretty young daughter, could not resist coming out demanding 'Qui est cette Dame?'. Speaking first in French and then in Italian, in both of which he found her fluent, he ushered her into the house to give an impromptu recital of Italian airs 'in style grandissimo', including an Italian duet with Emily. He was captivated. 'Ah! voilà une femme d'ésprit!', he later exclaimed to his attendants, further intrigued by learning that she claimed descent from Oliver Cromwell! When, after Christmas, he was settled in at Longwood House, he invited her to dinner, a privilege so rare that, during his exile, it was shared by only two other Englishwomen, Mrs Skelton, wife of the dispossessed Lieut-Governor, and Lady Malcolm, wife of the naval commander on the St Helena station. Again she was asked to sing Italian songs, accompanying herself on his newly arrived grand piano, which she declared, diplomatically, 'much better' than the Governor's at Plantation House. A few days later she paid a 'morning visit' to Longwood when Napoleon took her for a drive in his 'barouche and four ... insisting on my sitting next to him.' The Marquis de Las Cases confided to her, 'he has paid you more attention than he has paid to many Queens.'

Catherine did not fail to befriend such senior members of Napoleon's entourage as Las Cases, the chief Secretary. Indeed she wrote to her aunt, Lady Roche in Ireland, that she would rather talk and listen to him 'than to almost any person I have ever met.' Her closest confidante at Longwood, however, was Madame Bertrand, wife of General Bertrand, the self-styled Grand Marshal of Napoleon's 'Court'.

'I have seen her every day ... and do all I can to alleviate the uncomfortable state of a woman of high rank, placed in a Hovel without any comforts ...'

Proudly she told her aunt in March 1816 that few 'know so much about the Court at Longwood as myself.' But her letter hinted that there were storm clouds on the horizon:

'Sir Hudson Lowe is expected daily. Everyone regrets the approaching departure of Governor & Mrs Wilks ...'

The amiable East India Company Governor, Manxman Mark Wilks, who, with his staff, had accepted their unexpected French guests like any other distinguished visitors, as 'gentlemen', was replaced by a military governor with relevant European experience, with orders from Earl Bathurst on behalf of the Allied Powers, to treat 'General Buonaparte' with 'indulgence', but as a prisoner-of-war. Thus General Sir Hudson Lowe was cast, from the outset, in the role of 'Napoleon's Jailer', and Catherine's affable fraternization with the French would henceforth be deemed impolitic in the wife of a senior regimental officer of the garrison. Indeed, after Lowe's arrival, she seems to have paid Longwood less attention, perhaps because her curiosity had been satisfied. But her troubles were, in fact, only just beginning.

Trevor W Hearl
March 2004




St Mary's Flower Arranging Annual Meeting 2004

Eighteen members met at Sheila Beer's house for their annual meeting on Tuesday 30th March. Prayers were said with a special mention to Margaret Waker and her family on the sudden death of dear Raymund. Judy Atty, Wendy Thomas and Hilary Brick were welcomed as new members. Unfortunately Hilary could not be present.

In Margaret's absence Sheila Beer read the Treasurer's Report, which had been audited by Noel Brick. The report was adopted. It was decided that the cost of a pedestal at weddings should be increased in 2005 to offset rising prices and expenses incurred by the arrangers.

Lindsey McGowan has willingly offered to succeed Angela Schofield to liaise with the brides and organise the helpers to do the wedding flowers - not a small task as there are eighteen weddings to date during the coming year. Ron Middleton's demonstration on 'pew end' arrangements was warmly welcomed, especially as more people would be involved in these arrangements in the future. Her tips on preparing the flowers and foliage were most helpful.

We would warmly welcome anybody who feels they would like to join us; it does not have to be female - don't be afraid, it is quite fun!

Sheila Beer


Mothers Union

Thank you to all who attended the meetings and showed enthusiasm for the relaunching of the Mothers Union here in Prestbury. There certainly seems to be a great deal of interest and I would like to thank you all for your help and encouragement.

We plan to hold our first 'proper' meeting on Tuesday 25 May, at St Nicolas', at 7.30pm. It will take the form of a short service in the church, followed by a friendly social time in the church room, to set up the necessary programme for the remainder of the year. The meetings will alternate between St Nicolas' and St Mary's but we felt a social evening would be easier at St Nicolas'. Please bring a small plate of food for a Bring and Share Supper and we will provide drinks. We would welcome as many people as possible, both new and not so new! If you require a lift, that can be arranged as well. Please contact me and I will be pleased to help.

Marion Beagley


On a Personal Note ...

I am so grateful to all my church friends, including our clergy. Over the past few weeks your love has supported me and your prayers have sustained me.

Margaret Waker

Church Cleaning and Churchyard Tidyup

We would like to thank everyone who turned up on Friday and Saturday, 2nd and 3rd April, to help with the Church cleaning and the Churchyard. We had a very happy band of helpers and a few of us stayed on for fish and chips at Ken and Rosie Bradbury's house. We do thank them for their hospitality. Our Church & Women's Institute Steps are also now looking excellent, thanks to Sheila Beer.

Doreen and Henry Morris

Dates for your diary

Christian Aid Week 9-15 May

Volunteers (over 16 years old) are still needed to help with the house-to-house collection during Christian Aid Week and the count on 16 May. Please ask yourself if you could spare two to three hours for this worthwhile cause.

Gill Ashman and Paddy Spurgeon

St Mary's Bakestall

Sunday 16 May is the date for our next Bakestall with contributions from members with surnames N-Z.

Linda Matthews & Margaret Waker

Mid-Morning Music at St Mary's

There is to be a mid-morning concert at St Mary's on Wednesday 19 May starting with the usual coffee at 10.30am. The music will start at 11am. This is a unique chance to hear something completely different. Lee Axford is a gifted pianist who left Dean Close last year and his mother Carol is an excellent harmonica player. Please come and support them. There will be a retiring collection for church funds.

Christine McKelvey

Ascension Day -
Thursday 20 May

Join us at St Nicolas' at 7.30pm for a joint Sung Eucharist to celebrate this special day. The choirs from St Mary's and St Nicolas' will be joining together, and we hope to have some refreshments after the Service.

Confirmation preparation

Please pray for Claire and Vicky who are preparing for confirmation. The confirmation service will take place in Gloucester Cathedral on Friday 4 June at 7.30pm. All are welcome to attend.

Corpus Christi -
Thursday 10 June

Once again we shall be joining for a United parishes Festival at All Saints'. We hope for great turn out, including united choirs. This will be followed by the now traditional Corpus Christi sumptuous bring and share refreshments.

Ordinations and arrangements for first Masses

Fr Grant and Fr Peter will be ordained priest in the Cathedral on Saturday 3 July at 5pm. All are most welcome to come. Details next month.

Fr Grant will preside for the first time at the 10.30am Mass at All Saints' on Sunday 4 July (united service) followed by lunch for all at St Nicolas'.

(NB There will be no 9.30 service at St Nicolas' and no 11.00 service at St Mary's)

Fr Peter will preside for the first time at the 11.00am Eucharist at St Mary's on Sunday 11 July (united service) followed by a pig roast in the Rectory garden.

(NB There will be no 9.30 service at St Nicolas' and no 10.30 service at All Saints')




Prestbury Parish Magazine - May 2004

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