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Prestbury Parish Magazine

September 2009

Mill Street from Lake Street, looking towards the eastern parish boundary

I lift up my eyes to the hills  

 Psalm 121:1a


Photograph:  Mill Street from Lake Street, looking towards the eastern parish boundary 

by Stephen Murton


New Beginnings

Inviting others

Help for Helpers

The Ministry Leadership Team –  a new ‘Calling Out’

Soul Survivor

Ordination Thanks

Snippets from the Tower

Open the Book

The Friends of St Mary’s

Do you play the piano?

The Ordination of Women debate

MU outing to Winchester

£240 from Waitrose tokens for young people

Parish Fete

Ideas flow at Prestbury Youth Meeting

Such as these

The Certainty of Change

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

The Registers

The Calendar for this month

The Diary for this month



New Beginnings

Perhaps some of you have been away on holiday, or taken a day out over the summer: a journey with a purpose that provides opportunity to see something new and do something different. Returning to our usual routine, after such a break, we can find that the experience has given us a new perspective – a desire to make changes in our life or to embark on a new venture.

September brings a new school term, a new class, new school or college, perhaps a new job. New beginnings come in many shapes and forms and do not cease when we stop growing. More than ever, men and women of all ages find themselves making a fresh start: a second career, changed family circumstances, maybe even a renewed sense of being drawn to explore the deeper things of life.

This month marks the beginning of Confirmation Classes for young people and adults who want to affirm for themselves their faith in the Lord Jesus and become fully-fledged members of his Church. September also brings ‘Back to Church Sunday’. A day on which we are encouraged to invite a friend or neighbour who used to come to church to come along with us. Not just a campaign to get more people into church, or more money on the collection plate, but a real desire that they should know for themselves the amazing power of God’s Holy Spirit at work in their lives.

At the Confirmation Service in November, the Bishop will pray for those who are to be confirmed: ‘Let your Holy Spirit rest upon them: the Spirit of wisdom and understanding; the Spirit of counsel and inward strength; the Spirit of knowledge and true godliness; and let their delight be in the fear of the Lord.’ Then he will lays his hands on the head of each candidate with the words: ‘Confirm, O Lord, your servant with your Holy Spirit.’

The Holy Spirit is a powerful force, guiding and strengthening us as we make our spiritual journey through life; but sometimes we can be caught out! Just when we have got our plans signed and sealed, along comes this inspiring wind of change, in a completely new direction, to turn our ideas upside down.

Recently I preached a sermon in which I had fully expected to be telling everyone about loaves and fish. Somehow I ended up talking about the God who is not just ‘God for the good times’, because the God whose goodness is so very obvious to us when life is rich and plentiful does not desert us when things gets tough. When we are struggling with difficulties at home or work, trying to make ends meet in a financial crisis, coming to terms with an unexpected illness or accident, or rebuilding a life after a loved one has died, his Holy Spirit comes to us, inviting us to recognise God’s presence, even in the middle of our complicated lives.

So the Bishop’s prayer at the end of the Confirmation Service is suitable not just for those who have just been confirmed, but for everyone who feels God’s call on their life and is sharing in the journey towards his Kingdom.

‘Defend, O Lord, these your servants with your heavenly grace, that they may continue yours for ever, and daily increase in your Holy Spirit more and more until they come to your everlasting kingdom.’

Deacon Jennifer


Inviting others

Christianity is, first and foremost, an invitation. We read in the Gospels that Jesus invited people to follow him. He taught people about a new way of life, inviting them to join in. He challenged people whose hearts were hard, inviting them to be changed by God’s love. He preached about God’s kingdom being like an invitation to a party. Of course there have been times when Christians have overstepped the mark, turning the invitation into something more demanding. But Jesus himself never forced anyone to join him and when they refused his invitation he let them go their way. There were some who felt threatened by his invitation and, because he would not stop inviting people, they put him to death. On the cross we see Jesus’ arms outstretched in an eternal invitation. The door to his tomb stands open, an invitation for all of us to step out into the light.

So it makes sense that Christians should be hospitable people, inviting others to come and eat with us, just as Jesus did. In September we have two opportunities to do just that.

Alpha dinner invitation

The first opportunity is to invite someone you know to come to the Alpha launch dinner. This will take place on Monday 14th September at Prestbury Village Hall, Bouncer’s Lane. It is an opportunity to have a meal together and there will be a brief presentation about the Alpha Course. Coming to the supper doesn’t oblige anyone to attend the course. We just want the opportunity to tell people about it. So if you were wondering why you haven’t been invited, it is because it is your job to invite someone else! And if you do invite someone, please consider coming too, so at least there is one person there they will already know.

Back to Church Sunday

The next opportunity is less than two weeks later, on Sunday 27th September. All over the country thousands of people will be inviting someone to come to Church with them on that day as part of the Back to Church Sunday campaign. People lose touch with Church for all sorts of reasons but millions would come back with an invitation. Last year people in 3,000 churches across 38 dioceses invited and welcomed back around 37,000 friends. This year every one of the 43 English dioceses is taking part, with an estimated half a million people being invited back.

So please start prayerfully thinking about whom you could invite to either or both of these events: a neighbour, a friend, a member of the family, someone who comes once or twice a year but might come more, or someone who used to come years ago and is just waiting for an invitation.

Further information about Alpha and Back to Church Sunday from:



Confirmation Preparation

Preparation for Confirmation will begin in September. If you would like to take part, please speak to Fr Michael or Deacon Jennifer.


Help for Helpers

Two sessions to encourage and support those helping with children in church.

Session One: 14th September

‘Help! Why am I doing this and why are they doing that?’

Thinking about children and God, children and community, children and church – with a bit of bible background, sharing what is happening in children’s lives, and thinking about their spiritual development.

Session Two:  5th October

‘Help! What am I going to do with them this week?’

Thinking about how to plan a programme, material to use, skills we already have and sharing lots of ideas!

Led by Revd Dr Sandra Millar, Diocesan Children’s Adviser

Both sessions will be held at St Nicolas’ and will start at 7.30pm

Linda Biggs


The Ministry Leadership Team –
a new ‘Calling Out’

Every member of the Parish Electoral Roll will be receiving a letter from Fr Michael and Fr Daniel concerning the Ministry Leadership Team. The following are some extracts from that letter. If you have not yet received yours, please check to see if it is waiting for you in church. If not, please take one of the spare letters which you should find there. If you cannot find a letter, please ask one of the Churchwardens.

In 1999 the Parish of Prestbury was commissioned for Local Ministry and eight lay members were called out to join the parish Clergy and Reader in the ‘Ministry Leadership Team’. Local Ministry recognises that all of God’s people, through their baptism, share in ministry; each one of us is called to ministry of some kind as an expression of our Christian faith and discipleship.

The purpose of the Local Ministry Team (or ‘Ministry Leadership Team’ as we have called it) is to encourage and equip every member to take their part in God’s mission in the world, to be a catalyst for the ministry of all. For example, over the years the members of the Ministry Leadership Team (MLT) have encouraged the ministry of pastoral care in our parish: hospital and bereavement visiting. Some members have worked with others to establish the Celebrate! congregation at St Mary’s. Some members have been involved in Bible study and other areas of Christian education and nurture. Members of the MLT staff the weekly ‘surgery’, making them the first point of contact for people coming to arrange baptisms and weddings. MLT members have visited families in their homes as part of the baptism preparation programme; they have also been part of a team leading worship in one of our local Nursing and Residential homes; and they regularly review the life of the Parish, including significant events.

With some changes within the MLT, and with the blessing of the Parochial Church Council, we feel this is the time in the life of the Church to seek God’s guiding and direction through a fresh ‘Calling Out’, so that some new members can join with some of the existing members on a new Ministry Leadership Team. To achieve this we would ask you prayerfully, and in strict confidence, to put forward the name or names of those who you believe would become valuable members of the ongoing local ministry team. You may nominate as many people as you wish; however you do not need to nominate any existing team members. Please note that it is not appropriate or necessary for you to ask people if they are willing to have their names put forward. All the names which are given will go to the PCC for them to seek discernment from God and to recommend those they believe should then be approached to join the MLT. That part of the discernment process will take place during a Eucharist on 28th September when each PCC member will be asked to indicate (in strict confidence) whether or not they would recommend each person named to be a member of the new MLT. If they do not recognise a name they will put a mark to indicate that they cannot give a view on that particular person. Please remember that we are asking you to recommend people who you think can encourage and enable the gifts of others; we are not asking for a list of ‘doers’!

Fr Michael



The current members of the Prestbury MLT are:-

Fr Michael Cozens Linda Biggs Margaret Holman
Fr Daniel Papworth      Andy Macauly Sylvia McKenzie
Fr David Gardiner Margaret Compton      Jerry Porter
Fr Peter Brown Beryl Elliott Sue Read


Soul Survivor '09

This year a group of seven young people accompanied the Macauly clan to Soul Survivor, a festival aimed at young Christians, and what was waiting for them was an unforgettable experience. The festival was centred on two main meetings a day in which there was time for worship, a talk and prayer. This was then sandwiched between a huge variety of seminars and workshops, with cafes, stalls and even a cinema to keep us entertained. As a ‘newbie’ to the ways of Soul Survivor I didn’t quite know what to expect, but what I experienced has completely turned my life upside down. Before going to Soul Survivor I felt disconnected from my faith and unsure of my purpose, but now I feel like a different person, rejuvenated and ready for a life serving God. During the main meetings, we witnessed many strange and wonderful things that opened my eyes to the power of the Holy Spirit: healings, conversions and callings, we have seen it all. Amongst all of this emotional upheaval, we were all very lucky to have Sharon and Andy, two great listeners who gave us space to talk about all we had seen, heard and felt. I also felt that we all came closer as a group and strengthened our friendships. I feel certain that I will return to Soul Survivor and will recommend it to any young people who want to find out more about their faith. After a fun, refreshing (and wet in parts) weekend I look forward to the future and to using all the skills I have been equipped with to contribute more in the community.

Kathryn T

Chilled time together at Soul Survivor (notice the modified Gazebo)

Photos from Andy and Sharon Macauly


Soul Survivor 2009

In July ten of us from the PPY group ‘Synergy’ went to the Christian festival ‘Soul Survivor’ in Stafford. It was a five-day festival with main meeting worship sessions, seminars and lots of other activities. The group bonded extremely well and we also met people from another youth group from Wolverhampton. We could all agree that there was a very strong sense of God’s presence all week at every worship session, which was shown as 104 non-Christians dedicated their lives to Jesus. Overall we all had an amazing experience and are looking forward to see it being planned again. A massive thank you to Sharon and Andy Macauly for all their hard work in organising the trip.

Matt B

Worshipping with thousands in the main meeting


Ordination Thanks

It was lovely to see so many familiar faces at the Ordination in June – some of you were even caught on camera! Thank you to all who supported me on the Day and also to everyone who joined us at All Saints’ for the Welcome Lunch in July.

I must say a special thank-you for the gift of two stoles, one white and one purple, to accompany my red Ordination stole. All three were beautifully made by Richard Taylor of Oxford, who even managed to produce two customised designs, which will be familiar to everyone who knows All Saints’. Thank you too for the many cards and best wishes, some from people I’ve never even met, but who had seen my name in the Diocesan Ember List.

Returning to my home Team in a new persona is a bit scary, but I missed you all so much while I was away so it’s wonderful to be back. I shall be holding you all in my prayers with very much love as we work and grow together.

Deacon Jennifer



Deacon Jennifer with (l-r) Frs Michael, Stephen, David and Stephen Gregory


Snippets from the Tower

A quarter peal of 1273 changes of Grandsire Triples was rung for Evening Service on Sunday 16th August. The tenor was rung by Ryan Lacroix. Ryan is a Canadian teenager who had been living near the Church in Prestbury for the past four years and had asked to learn to ring with us. He had made good progress and was a reliable member of the Sunday morning service band and had progressed to ringing at weddings.

The quarter peal was rung to wish him well as he returns with his parents and siblings to Canada. We shall miss him!

Following the ringing, Ryan’s parents joined the ringers in the tower for a celebratory drink and specially made cake.

If anyone would like to learn to ring at St Mary’s, please feel free to contact either the Tower Captain or myself, details inside the front cover of the magazine. We are always on the lookout for new recruits.

We are hoping to hold an Open Tower day during the Heritage Weekend (12th September). Details will appear on the pew sheet.

Jenni Scruton



Open the Book

This month sees our now much stretched team leading Open the Book assemblies in no fewer than three schools! What a great opportunity to tell God’s story to children who are still receptive and listen avidly. Please pray for the work being done and, if you feel you could help us, contact me.

Marion Beagley


The Friends of St Mary’s, Prestbury

The formation of ‘The Friends of St Mary’s’ is the culmination of much preparatory work by the churchwardens, the PCC and other individuals who have recognised for some time that our congregations cannot meet the financial burden of major repairs to the church as well as the ordinary day-to-day running costs. We do not have access to external funds or large grants, let alone help from the state or the local council.


But over and above the financial rationale for self-help, many people in our community have an affection for St Mary’s even though they are not necessarily involved in its religious life. They are known to delight in the peace and beauty of the church, sitting as it does in the heart of the village. It is these people, with their links created by memories of weddings, baptisms or local school days, whom we would like to welcome as ‘Friends of St Mary’s’. Other local churches have already trodden a similar path with great success – a success that is measurable both in financial terms and in the forging of stronger community links.


Publicity for ‘The Friends of St Mary’s’ started in August with a leaflet drop within Prestbury. The leaflet, with a foreword by Father Michael and a reply-paid card, lets everyone know about the setting up of ‘The Friends’ and invites them to become members.

Heritage Open Days

Following the leaflet drop we will have a manned stand in church between 2pm and 5pm on the Heritage Open Days (10th-13th September). This will provide further information on ‘The Friends’ and will include a sheet giving answers to ‘frequently asked questions’ such as the purposes behind the setting up of ‘The Friends’ in the first place, its charitable status, its constitution, its own proposed committee, its links to the PCC and committees, how the money raised will be used, the controls to be exercised over spending money and the cost of membership.

Draft programme

We will also have a draft programme of forthcoming events, which will include a talk on 31st October by Edward Gillespie, the Managing Director of the Racecourse, on its history and daily life. Also planned are a Christmas musical soirée, a bridge evening, a wine tasting and a talk on Prestbury local history.


We are looking to our congregations to support ‘The Friends’ and spread the word as widely as possible to all who care for St Mary’s.

Jim Mackie

Photograph by Ken Bradbury


Do you play the piano?

For nearly ten years members from the parish have been conducting services in Bay Tree Court. These take place at 5.00pm each Sunday afternoon and last for about 30 minutes. There are four regular leaders from the Ministry Leadership Team – Linda Biggs, Liz Greenhow, Sylvia McKenzie and myself, Fr Peter Brown. The first three conduct a Service of the Word with three hymns; I conduct a Communion Service, also with three hymns. They are greatly appreciated by the residents, numbers attending varying between ten and twenty.

We have a problem! We currently have only one pianist, John Boxwell. He is very willing and plays at as many services as he can, but it is not fair to expect him to continue to do so.

You’ve guessed it. We are looking for volunteers. Ideally three more would be our target so that each would be called on once every four weeks. However, I think it only fair to any potential volunteers that we accept having to conduct services without a pianist if we don’t get enough volunteers to make that possible. So, the bottom line is: we are looking for volunteers to commit to play at one service every four weeks.

There is music for all the hymns that are chosen, so you won’t need to know them by heart. The piano is an adequate upright type and is reasonably well tuned. Any level of ability is welcome.

I can’t stress how important this ministry is for our senior members of the community who are confined to residential home. If you yourself are not eligible, please pray for those who are – especially for any who volunteer.

Volunteers, please contact me.

Fr Peter


The Ordination of Women debate

Both Prestbury PCC and All Saints’ PCC have had some discussions concerning issues surrounding the ordination of women to the priesthood. Both PCCs identified the possibility of a further meeting which would be open to anyone who would like to attend. All Saints’ PCC has invited Canon David Hoyle (Diocesan Director of Ministry) to speak about the nature of priesthood and to facilitate a discussion. This meeting will be held in All Saints’ Church on Sunday 4th October at 3.30pm and all are very welcome to attend.

Prestbury PCC members asked for the article which was included in the magazine in March 2008 to be reproduced. You will find the article, which was written by Jerry Porter, printed below.

Fr Michael



The Legal Details of Ordained Women in North Cheltenham

The Priests [Ordination of Women] Measure 1993 was passed by the General Synod of the Church of England to make provision for the ordination of women as priests. Under that Measure PCCs may pass either or both of these resolutions:

  • Resolution A says:

this parochial church council would not accept a woman as the minister who presides at or celebrates the Holy Communion or pronounces the Absolution in the parish.

  • Resolution B says:

this parochial church council would not accept a woman as the incumbent or priest-in-charge of the benefice or as a team vicar for the benefice.

Resolution B applies only to priests of incumbent status – the team rector and team vicar – not to any curate, house-for-duty priest, non-stipendiary priest or other ordained minister licensed to the benefice.

(Where the PCC of any parish has passed one or both of resolutions A and B, the incumbent and the PCC may decide jointly to ask the diocesan bishop for appropriate episcopal duties in the parish to be carried out in accordance with the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993. This is the Act which made provision for parishes opposed to the ordination of women to receive alternative pastoral oversight from a Provincial Episcopal Visitor, commonly referred to as a Flying Bishop. Such a petition is often referred to as Resolution C. No such petition has been made by either Prestbury or All Saints’.)

Once passed, a resolution continues in force until the PCC votes to change it.

The Prestbury PCC debated the issue at the time of the interregnum in 1994 and passed Resolution B. This resolution has been in force since then.

When a vacancy arises, as was the case when Fr Stephen Gregory announced his retirement in 2006, the PCC must decide whether to pass a new resolution or resolutions, or to rescind an existing resolution or resolutions, or to do neither of these things. If it does neither of these things, any existing resolutions remain in force. At the Prestbury PCC meeting in September 2006, after lengthy discussion of the issues and options, no motion to rescind Resolution B or to adopt another Resolution was proposed, with the result that Resolution B still stands.

This means that, whilst the Prestbury PCC does not support the appointment of a woman as team rector or team vicar, it has no objection to a woman priest presiding at Holy Communion or pronouncing the Absolution in the parish of Prestbury.

In benefices (teams) consisting of several parishes, the passing of Resolution B by any one parish is binding on all the parishes in the benefice. Of the parishes which make up the North Cheltenham Team, both Prestbury and All Saints’ currently have Resolution B in force. This means that at present the team may not appoint a woman priest as either team rector or team vicar, but a woman priest may preside at Holy Communion and pronounce the Absolution throughout the team, except at All Saints’, which has also passed Resolution A.

Jerry Porter



This article is reprinted from the March 2008 Parish Magazine.


MU outing to Winchester

TUESDAY 28th July saw some fifty people join the Mothers’ Union annual outing, this year to Winchester. Considering the recent weather we had experienced it was a relief when Marion Beagley told us that she had organised dry conditions as well; thus I considered the Beagley Beatitudes(!): Thou shalt have good weather, thou shalt have fun, etc. After an opening welcome, and a prayer from Father Michael, the coach set off promptly at 9.30am. Within two hours, following a stress-free run to the M4, and thence along the A34, we were exploring this one-time capital of England, remembering to be at the cathedral shop by 2.00 pm, ready for our guided tour of the building.

People soon disappeared to the far corners of this historic city, some admiring the fine statue of King Alfred, some to see the Round Table, hanging resplendently from the walls of the 13th century Great Hall. We know it dates from later, and was repainted for King Henry VIII; this triggered memories of King Arthur, and the later Prince Arthur, born in this city to fulfil the dream of Henry VII. As we know this did not happen, and Arthur’s death propelled his brother into the limelight, his impact familiar to us all. Continuing, it was within the cathedral that Mary II and Philip II were married, in 1554. Clare and I visited the museum, and had a whirlwind tour of Winchester, from its earliest days onwards. I lingered a little longer admiring the beautiful Saxon carvings, protected by being indoors, and feeling how their skills have been widely ignored. After lunch, within the cathedral refectory, and graced by many familiar faces, there was time for an ice-cream before the tour began.

Emerging from the crypt in the cathedral

The original church, founded in 648, became a cathedral soon after. It profited from the many pilgrims visiting the shrine of Bishop Swithin, and by the 14th century had grown into the structure we see today. During our tour we were shown many of the treasures here: the mid 12th century Tournai marble font, depicting scenes from the life of St Nicholas (Santa Claus); the mortuary chests, which contain the bones of Danish and Saxon kings (mixed-up following the Civil War); the crypt (dry, but often flooded, its entrance is shown); the Holy Hole (allowing pilgrims closer access to old relics); the painting of Christ on the east end of the vault (as the vault was blocked up this survived intact); the Lady Chapel (with its walls lined with paintings showing miracles of the Virgin); and the tomb slabs of both Izaak Walton (died 1683) and Jane Austen (died 1817). Those who looked up were able to view some of the one thousand roof bosses.

The tour concluded with a visit to the tomb of Mary Sumner (1828-1921), the founder of the Mothers’ Union. She lies buried with her husband, Bishop of Winchester (as was his father) and related to William Wilberforce. Close by is the house (No 1, The Close) where she and her family lived in their later life.

Gathering round Mary Sumner’s grave

We were back at St Nicolas’ by 6.30pm, having enjoyed a superb day out, made more memorable by the poignant wet day on the morrow! Thank you Marion.

Edward Wyatt


Children from this Parish at the Heart of the Diocese!

The event in the cathedral on 4th July was extremely successful with about five families from Prestbury participating in a huge range of activities both in and outside the cathedral. The day began with a march through the city led by the Bishops which was a great witness. A short act of worship followed and then families and children explored the many workshops on offer. The day concluded with a service.

Linda Biggs


£240 from Waitrose tokens for young people

Prestbury and Pittville Youth want to thank everyone who shopped at Waitrose during June and who put their green plastic tokens through the slot of the PPY box.

There was stiff opposition from Gloucester Stroke Club and the PDSA but, after a strong late rally (for which an even bigger thank you), PPY received a cheque for £240.00 which Andy Macauly and four members of PPY went along to the store to collect.

Prestbury and Pittville Youth is a registered charity, number 1103099. If anyone has any other ideas of ways to raise funds for its work with young people please contact Fundraising Coordinator,

Tricia Wilson


Parish Fete

I don’t know what it says about the differences between the sexes, but on the morning of the fete, whilst setting up the tents and stalls, all the men thought we would have to move inside by the afternoon. In contrast all the girls were more than happy to set up outside on the field.

As it turned out, the weather provided perfect ‘fete’ conditions. We had a record turnout, firstly to watch the dance display put on by Helen Gill’s performers, and then the ever-popular Doggy Gymkhana organised by Daphne and Allan.

The Rally car attracted many envious glances and all the usual stalls and games were busy, particularly the ice cream stall and the Afternoon Teas run by Marle Hill WI.

The organisers were delighted that the fete raised just over £1700. Many thanks to all!!

Janet Ford

Photographs by Nigel Woodcock


Ideas flow at Prestbury Youth Meeting

Fifty people put their heads together to help to plan a way forward for the local youth charity, Prestbury and Pittville Youth, at a ‘Consultation and Ideas’ Meeting held on 21st June. After a successful first five years, the charity wanted to make sure they were meeting local needs as they planned the next five.

Many ideas for young people were put forward including life skills, safety from crime/drugs, safety on-line, support for young people into adulthood, offering more to those aged 9 to 13, coping with conflict and bullying, recognising learning and physical differences, sharing more with older and younger community members.

People of all ages and interests in discussion at a table.
Clockwise from the left: Martin Kannreuther, Martin Horwood MP,
the Revd David Gardiner, Huw Roberts (Volunteer Leader)
and young people from PPY

The young people themselves also came up with some ‘dream’ ideas including ‘Living History’, ‘Having an allotment’, ‘Walk in other people’s shoes to develop empathy, understanding and tolerance’, ‘A local café run by young people’, ‘Bring back the community and lose the individual’, ‘More young people to have a greater impact on decision making’.

Other issues that were considered included changes in the geographical area covered by the charity which includes Prestbury, large residential estates across the north of Cheltenham town centre and Swindon Village and Elmstone Hardwicke. This also prompted thoughts about changes in the charity’s name and getting young people together who would not normally meet up.

The thinkers and planners included around fifteen young people aged 10 to 17, some of their parents, the Cheltenham MP, Martin Horwood, County Councillor Charmian Sheppard, Prestbury Parish Councillors Les Godwin and Jeneth Slater, and many interested members of the local community.


For more information contact Prestbury and Pittville Youth Executive Committee Member,  

Tricia Wilson


Such as these

CHRISTIAN faith has a special place for children. They were, and are, welcomed by Jesus, and held up by him as an example for his disciples (us) to follow. Children embody so much of what we know about God: unpredictable, irrepressible, able to experience sorrow and joy, open and trusting and therefore vulnerable, seeking relationship, faithful in believing, living in the moment, imaginative and creative, not always behaving appropriately, abandoned in laughter, focussed in activity, absorbed in prayer. The psychologists tell us that the child we once were never leaves us, that each one of us has an ‘inner child’ that gives us the power to play, a sense of wonder and magic, the ability to be hurt... and to recover.

Jesus was also clear that adults have a special responsibility for children. They depend on us to tell them the truth and not to lead them astray. They can’t make all the decisions because they don’t have all the facts. They depend on adults far more than they realise. It is so easy to leave them out, something we have to constantly watch out for. One example is the Easter Preface, where we are told:

‘Jesus Christ has conquered the powers of death and hell and restored in men and women the image of [God’s] glory’ (Common Worship, p.317).

When this was pointed out, Bishop Michael (who is quite an authority on liturgy) said he was very happy for this to change, and as far as I know there has been no official revision, so get your ideas to him now!

As you will know, we took an important step forward after Easter this year with the start of a new Sunday Club at St Mary’s. It means that, during the first part of the Parish Mass (11.00am), the children have the opportunity to engage with the Bible readings in their group while the rest of us do so in our, more adult, way. When they join us during ‘the peace’ they have been enabled, like us, to enter into the experience of receiving God’s gift of himself and, with the rest of us, are sent out ‘to love and serve the Lord’. It also means that every six weeks or so the Parish Mass will be slightly different, being adapted to include the children, so that instead of anyone going out and coming back, we will be able to spend the whole worship time as one Church. The first of these will be at our Harvest celebration on 4th October.

A wise person once said the children are not the Church of tomorrow: they are the Church of today. They have an equal place, perhaps even a superior place, to the rest of us in God’s kingdom (perhaps it should be the adults who go out during the service and come back at the peace!). I hope that, with me, you will welcome the opportunity from time to time to worship our loving God all together. Perhaps in this way we may come a step or two closer to a future we know he has in mind for us all.

Fr Daniel


The Certainty of Change

The officers of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon advanced on Jerusalem and laid siege to it, and Nebuchadnezzar himself came up to the city… Jehoiachin king of Judah, his mother, his attendants, his nobles and his officials all surrendered to him… He took Jehoiachin prisoner. As the LORD had declared, Nebuchadnezzar removed all the treasures from the temple… He carried into exile all Jerusalem: all the officers and fighting men, and all the craftsmen and artisans…
                                       2 Kings 24:10-14a (NIV) abridged

The Israelites in the passage were about to experience huge changes – a loss of autonomy, forced removal to a different geographical area, immergence in an alien culture. The people of Judah (the southern kingdom) were about to enter an exile that was to last for many generations, some 165 years. The people of Israel, the northern kingdom, had fallen to an earlier conquest in 722BC as related in 1 Kings 17:1-41.

For the faithful remnant the explanation for this unwelcome change is a direct result of the people having failed to keep the law of Yahweh and ceased to worship Him appropriately. It is portrayed as a just punishment. In time they returned as recounted in Ezra 3:1-3.

Let us consider change and our attitude to it. I am sure you have heard some people say ‘I like change’ while others moan ‘I hate change’. Why such varied reactions?

Like it or loathe it, change happens. Change is obvious and apparent at the start of life, hair grows or falls out, a first smile is formed – a new baby is accepting of being totally dependent on others for all its needs. Change at the other end of life is different since it mostly consists of losing abilities which have long been enjoyed, perhaps even taken for granted – ease of movement, hearing, sight, a pain free existence, sound judgement.

There are two types of change. The first is that which is of our choosing and that we opt into willingly (the cherished infant above) and the other is when change is thrust upon us and is not what we wish (the example from old age). In the first category we may chose a holiday destination or a new job. The second could be a broken marriage or being a victim of crime.

I am not saying that the change we experience (unlike that from 2 Kings) is the direct result of any action or omission on our part; rather it is simply part of the human condition. Change is innate. It comes with the territory. It is comforting to be reminded that ‘I the Lord do not change’ from Malachi 3:6, and from the letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament that ‘Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever’.

Perhaps a third, cyclical, kind of change needs to be added to our earlier two types. The annual seasonal changes or lunar phases or day and night… You may care to look at the famous list in Ecclesiastes chapter 3:

‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build…’

To kick against change is not a long-term solution. If it cannot be altered, it needs to be accepted. But it is comforting to remember that, notwithstanding how unpleasant change may be, we are never truly alone in it because our Lord promises ‘I am with you always to the very end of the age.’ Matthew 28:20.

Sue Read



St Mary’s Patronal Festival



Two Cheese & Wine Evenings
 with Entertainment
at Prestbury Hall
on Friday 4th & Saturday 5th September

Each will be an evening of comic entertainment similar to last year to raise funds for
Let the Children Live!

Tickets £5
Both performances to start at 7.00pm





This short informal service for pre-school children and their parents/carers starts again on Thursday 3rd September in St Mary’s church. Do come and join us for action songs and a bible story, creative activity, toys and the opportunity to chat over a cup of tea. We start at 2pm and finish in good time to meet older children from the Prestbury schools.

For more information




This special service for families starts again on Sunday 6th September at 9.30am at St Mary’s Church. Come and join us!

Young children can’t be expected to sit quietly for very long. At Celebrate! they don’t have to. The whole service is 40 minutes long and includes songs and story, and an activity, usually linked to prayer.

Everybody is welcome. If you would like to know more about Celebrate! please contact Fr Daniel.



Sunday Club dates

The Sunday Clubs at St Nicolas’ (9.30am) and St Mary’s (11am) start their new term on Sunday 6th September. For more information about the Sunday Clubs please contact .



Prestbury & Pittville Youth dates

Youth work restarts this term from Sunday 6th September.

Elevate – Faith & Life (Y7-Y8):
  Sundays 5-7pm

Synergy – Faith & Life (Y9+):
  Sundays 7-9pm

The Chill – Youth Club (Y7-Y9):
  Thursdays 7.30-9pm

The Lounge – Youth Club (Y10+):
  Tuesdays 7.30-9pm

For more information please contact Andy Macauly on 520534 or .



Heritage Open Days

From Thursday 10th to Sunday 13th September St Mary’s Church, Prestbury, will be open to the general public for ‘Heritage Open Days’ from 2pm-5pm. This is a national event organised by English Heritage and is advertised on their website at

In our church we will be staging an exhibition called ‘The Ways we travelled’. This will cover footpaths, ancient roads, turnpikes and stagecoach travel, then on to cycles, trams, buses and trains. There will be many maps, text and pictures, a video about the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway and its history. Instruction sheets for a short historic walk around the village centre will be available.

In the Good Shepherd Chapel we will show a PowerPoint presentation of the Prestbury Passion Play, made by Neil Jones, whose wonderful pictures have been displayed in church this summer.

Teas will be served each afternoon in the church and we hope that the Tower will be open to visitors at some point during the weekend. There is no admission charge.

Lynda Hodges



GHCT Sponsored
Ride and Stride

On Saturday 12th September, the Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust (Reg. Charity No. 1120266) will be holding its annual sponsored Ride and Stride.

Every year the Trust makes awards to church communities to maintain their buildings for worship and a significant amount of money awarded is raised through this sponsored event. We are appealing to you to help us give money back to communities which desperately need it in order to keep their churches open.

You can do this by taking part in our Ride and Stride or by sponsoring a participant. This year, for the first time, you can also choose to be sponsored to spend the day carrying out tasks in your own church or chapel.

Further information, together with sponsorship forms, is available from your Local Organiser, details below. Each participant can nominate a church/chapel of their choice to receive half of their money.

The cause is a good one and, although good weather cannot be guaranteed, those who take part have an excellent day. Please consider how you can best support the event.

For information about the Trust’s work and how to support it please look at the new website

The Local Organiser for Prestbury is Nigel Woodcock (St Nicolas') and Phil Dodd (St Mary's)



In Memory of George Walpole-Brown

An event to celebrate George’s enthusiasm for music, life and Prestbury will be held on Sunday 13th September at 2.30 pm at the WI Hall on Prestbury Road.

Royal Oak Brass will play a set of popular tunes and the Gloucestershire Outward Bound Association will serve afternoon teas. There is no entry charge, but there will be a retiring collection for two of George’s favourite charities – the Gloucestershire Outward Bound Association and a Christian Group doing development work in India.

All are most welcome to come.

Diane Lyle



St Mary’s Bakestall

The next bakestall, provided by the N-Z team, falls on Sunday 20th September. Although many will be away, enjoying the weekend in Sidmouth, we hope for sufficient support to be able to send a reasonable donation to SOS Children’s Villages, one of our long-standing charities.

Margaret Waker & Linda Matthews



Prestbury Mothers’ Union

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 22nd September at St Mary’s at 7.30pm. Our speaker will talk about ‘Energy Efficiency’, which should be of interest to us all in these days of both economic downturn and global warming. Please join us even if you are not a member.

Marion Beagley




As many of you know, I am planning to cycle from John O’Groats to Land’s End at the end of this month to celebrate (!) my retirement. I am doing this as a sponsored event to support the work of Andy and Sharon Macauly for Prestbury and Pittville Youth.

I am very grateful to those of you who have already promised money. There is still time to sponsor me if you would like to. You can .

I hope that you will be willing to support me in this escapade, taking advantage of Gift Aid tax benefits if possible.

Thank you in anticipation.

Stephen Murton



Team Quiet Day

Beyond the Spoken Word led by Father John Mead, Saturday 3rd October, 9.30am-4pm. Venue: Marist Centre, Nympsfield. Sign up on the sheets available in all churches from the beginning of September. Further information from Karen Winder, Margaret Compton or Deacon Jennifer.


Prestbury Parish Magazine - September 2009

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The Parochial Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish of St Mary and St Nicolas Prestbury Cheltenham - Registered Charity No 1130933

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