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Prestbury Parish Magazine

December 2010 /January 2011



The Annunciation on the reredos in the Good Shepherd Chapel in St Mary’s church

by Stephen Murton



Come in!

Update on Fr David

Diocesan Synod Report

Celebrate!  News – Roots Group

Rockers:  thanking God for 35 years of introducing children to Christian worship

Autumn Follies

Pork, Apple and Mummery

Team Vision Process

GHCT Ride & Stride


Women in the Priesthood and Episcopate

Let’s read…

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



Come in!

At this time of year there is always a great sense of anticipation and of hope.  As we make our plans for Christmas, we anticipate the variety of services which help us to celebrate the birth of Jesus:  school Christmas services, carol services, crib services and the uniquely special service of midnight Mass.

One of my favourite stories about a school nativity service (not in one of our local schools!) is of the little boy who wanted to play the part of Joseph.  He was very disappointed to be given instead the part of the innkeeper, but he appeared to accept his teacher’s decision and got on with his part in the play.  However, on the day of the performance, in front of a school hall packed with parents, the boy took his revenge.  When Joseph and Mary asked him if there was any room in his inn, he abandoned the script, stood back so that the door to the inn was wide open and said, ‘yes there’s plenty of room; come on in!’

That might not be the way the familiar story goes but I think the little boy’s actions have some things to say to us at Christmas.  We all are invited to ‘come in’ to greet the holy child, born into such very humble surroundings.  All will be welcomed to the variety of different services which our churches offer at Christmas as we join together in celebrating the birth of Jesus, the One who comes to save us and bring us joy.  There literally is ‘room for all’ because God welcomes each and every one of us.  He does not want anyone to be turned away, because He loves each of us so much.  God has shown the depth of that love in His unique gift to us; the gift of His Son, born as one of us, part of a loving human family; the One who was willing ultimately to give his life for us, so that we might share in his life, for ever.

We anticipate the celebration of Jesus’ birth, not only because it is a great excuse for a bit of a party, but also because his birth gives us hope.  Hope for the future.  Hope in the midst of much that seems to be changing all around us.  Our Christmas celebrations lead into celebrations of the new year, with a heightened sense of anticipation for all that 2011 might bring.  Many will be praying that the next year will be better than the last; others will be going into the new year with a deep sense of anxiety and uncertainty.  However we approach 2011, we should remember the wonderful promise which Jesus made to us:  ‘remember that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time’ (Matthew 28, verse 20).  Jesus promises to be there with us in whatever it is that life brings; in the happy times and in the sadnesses; in the pain and also in the joy.

At Christmas, God welcomes us all to celebrate the birth of His Son, the One who brings hope to the world.  God invites us to come in because He has made sure that there is room for us all.

Fr Michael


Update on Fr David

On Sunday 5th December Fr David is due back from his placement at Holy Apostles, Charlton Kings.  All full-time curates undertake a placement during their third year and this placement was chosen to help Fr David to reflect particularly on the difference between working in a Team Ministry and in a single parish benefice.

When he returns to work in the North Cheltenham Team Ministry, Fr David will begin the final phase of his training with us.  From December he will be based mainly at St Nicolas’.  He will take full responsibility for the worship on Sunday, including the choosing of music and liaising with choir and organists.  He will work closely with the Churchwardens and be involved in all aspects of parish life centred around St Nicolas’ and its local community.  He will also be the ‘lead priest’ for pastoral matters connected with St Nicolas’.  All this will hopefully be a beneficial part of Fr David’s training, giving him the experience of having priestly responsibility for one congregation and for its church and local community.

Please will you assist with this part of Fr David’s training by referring any matters relating to St Nicolas’ to him in the first instance.  This does not mean that you will not see me or any of the other clergy at St Nicolas’.  I am sure that Fr David will be grateful to share the preaching rota with others!

Fr Michael



Diocesan Synod Report

The Diocesan Synod met at St Nicolas’ Church on 16th October and I would like to say at this point how much the general hospitality and efficiency of the St Nicolas’ volunteers is appreciated by Synod Members.  Car parking is always a worry at meetings and the professional service awaiting arrivals is a great relief.

The results of the General Synod Election were announced.  The three Gloucester Diocese places were won by William Belcher, Cheltenham Deanery, Graham Smith, and Professor Jenny Tann.  On the dominating issue of the appointment of women bishops, these three representatives speak for, against and for with suitable provision, so this does cover the mix of feelings held here in Gloucestershire.  As some of you know, I stood as one of the eleven candidates and I am sad not to be there in General Synod during these next difficult five years but I wouldn’t have missed this opportunity for anything because I learned so much about the workings of the Church of England which will be of great use in the future and it forced all of us candidates to decide on our deep core values and ideals.

After the usual administrative business, the Severn Vale Deanery proposed a motion that churches should be encouraged to do more to offer pastoral support to Service men and women and their families serving at present in conflict zones.  This was because the Allied Rapid Response Corps (ARRC) are now based at the old RAF Innsworth base and a mixture of soldiers and families from fifteen nations are now living there.  Their Army Chaplain gave a deeply moving talk on his current role with his men, often performing their marriages, funerals and christenings terrifyingly close together in tragic sequences.  He described a visit to a soldier’s grieving parents to plan his funeral.  They said they did not want a religious service because they were not religious people.  So he asked them what they did want.  They wanted a service, conducted by him.  ‘Where?’ he wondered, ‘In the church, of course.’  What did they want in it?  ‘Well, some hymns, prayers and a bible reading.’

This hit me somewhere deep down; have we unintentionally built walls between ourselves as ‘Church Goers’ and those around us who do not ‘Go to Church’?  Are we inclined to be a bit like the New Testament Pharisees?  I don’t know how this should be tackled, but tackled it must be.  Their Chaplain’s other very vital message was that please NEVER describe the Afghan war as a ‘failure’ or ‘hopeless’ in the presence of serving men or their families because that is very distressing for them.

The financial report was unhappy as always, but the Finance Board have realised they must give parishes more help to meet their designated share contribution.  So far, this seems to mean the new direct debiting system they have launched called ‘Giving for Life’.  This does mean that people cannot forget to pay each month and also any gift aid tax relief is done centrally, saving a lot of work for parish finance officers, but we all hoped something more might be forthcoming.  A representative from a very rural parish pointed out that their elderly parishioners were giving as much as they could; and that bigger congregations were needed.  We all knew that was the real answer, I suspect.  Apparently, two thirds of parishes need mutual support and only one third contribute this.  Sadly, it seems that some poor parishes give and some wealthy ones take out.

Thank you for reading this long report but as you can see, it was a Synod to provoke rather troubled thoughts, not about complicated administration matters but more worrying basic things, so please get your brains working as well.

Lynda Hodges



Celebrate!  News – Roots Group

The leadership team within Celebrate! realises we are all on a journey of growing in our faith and that we grow better together.  After thinking and praying about what might work, we are looking to start a group encouraging us all to deepen our faith.  The idea is that anyone interested (including children) will meet for food once every 4-6 weeks on Sunday lunchtime.  The meeting will help build stronger supportive links.  In between meetings we will commit to pray for each other, to share in reading a book or following Bible notes.  We hope it will be a network where we can all honestly share our insights, struggles and joys.  The emphasis will be on being willing to try new things out to see if they are helpful.  The group is aimed at meeting needs within the Celebrate! congregation but anyone would be welcome.  If you are interested or would like to find out more, please get in touch with Andy or Sharon Macauly (520534).



Rockers:  thanking God for 35 years of introducing children to Christian worship

A thanksgiving celebration was held on 7th November for Rockers, whose final session was on 30th September.  Although it is always sad when a group comes to an end, especially one that has so impacted the life of our community, it is important to recognise that this level of success and longevity is rare.  When Rockers began in 1975 there was very little for families with young children locally; today there are activities every morning and a number of professionally-run nurseries and pre-school groups.  For many, Celebrate!, held on Sunday mornings at 9.30, is providing what some families with young children are looking for.  We should be glad that we are still connecting with this section of our community, as well as looking for ways to make more, and deeper, connections wherever we can.  Our gathering was a fitting tribute to this phenomenal ministry.  We sang songs, together told the story of how it began, the people who made it happen (many of whom have died), offered up prayers:  giving thanks, interceding (especially for Vicky Dunn, who led it until just before her accident in November 2009) and asking for guidance for the future.  It was good to see, too, that we had one of the first Rockers (Hilary Brick) and one of the last (Mattie Stevens) to say ‘Thank you, God, for Rockers’.  We ended with the prayer:  ‘Jesus, may I walk your way in all I do and all I say.  Amen.’

Fr Daniel




Celebratory cake made by Gill Ashman


Autumn Follies

Half-term began well with the CHADS Autumn production in Prestbury Hall.  We went anticipating an evening of fun and were not disappointed:  they are a versatile and talented team who had prepared a varied programme of songs, dances and sketches, with plenty of the local references that appeal to an audience of friends and neighbours.  Subjects ranged from parodies of Shakespeare to behaviour in church, songs from the shows and cookery demonstrations.  The two charming young dancers starred in several scenes, while the more mature actors provided humorous dialogues or monologues, interspersed with farce.  Four Girls Bright and Beautiful, ending with the pantomime-inspired descent of one lovelorn ‘girl’ into the audience to select an unwilling partner, was particularly funny.

The sketch which I most enjoyed was Silence is Golden, in which the whole cast, dressed as Trappist monks, filed creepily up the sides of the darkened hall to the stage, to give a silent rendering of the Hallelujah Chorus.  Nick Moore conducted with frantic energy as a recording of the music was played, while the monks held up cards showing the key words.  The cards bobbed up in all directions, faster and faster, and one monk was overwhelmed by the speed, lost his place and caused chaos, to the delight of the audience.

Nick Moore, the musical director, provided accompaniment and continuity with great verve, while Michael Brick was a confident, unflappable compère.

The production raised £1,244.42, of which £1,000 will go to Let the Children Live! and £244.42 to Prestbury Hall.  Pauline Allen, administrator of Let the Children Live!, gave a short presentation about the charity’s work with vulnerable street children in Colombia.

Paddy Spurgeon

Photographs by Brian Wood and Edward Wyatt  more>>>



Pork, Apple and Mummery

The Friends of St Mary’s held a ‘Roast Pork and Apple Pie’ evening on 6th November.  This event looked back to the old tradition of celebrating ‘The Failure of the Gunpowder Plot’.  Annual celebrations began here soon after 1605, and by the middle of the seventeenth century records show the church providing ten shillings for ‘beef and ale’.  In 1744 there appears to have been a period of austerity (familiar to us today) and the church’s contribution was reduce to eight shillings.  In the nineteenth century these celebrations continued to be a feature of local life, and in 1859 The Cheltenham Examiner records Churchwarden John Newman, great-great-grandfather of Maurice Newman, being toasted at the gathering held in the King’s Arms.

This year excellent entertainment in the form of a traditional Mummers’ Play followed by folk-singing was provided by the Gloucestershire Morris Men and Mummers.  When at around ten o’clock I hesitantly asked one of the troupe, who was standing at the back of the hall, how long the folk-singing was going on for, I received this reply:  ‘They go on all night unless you stop them’!

Jim Mackie

Photographs by Brian Wood



Team Vision Process

You may well be wondering what has happened to all those pieces of flipchart paper that were on display in both churches over the summer.  The next phase of the Team Vision Process is now underway and a small group of people (just three or four) from each church has now collated everything that was recorded.  Reports have been made in November to the PCC outlining the common themes which have emerged under the four headings:  Worshipping, Serving, Growing, Sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ

From these a separate plan is beginning to emerge for each church community which we hope will contain some key objectives under the four aspects of the Vision Statement.  These objectives – the basis of the plan – will help inform the direction our two church communities take in the next few years.  The two draft plans will be discussed by the PCC at its meeting in January and then presented to the congregations on Sunday 30th January 2011, which we will be keeping as Candlemas, otherwise known as the Feast of the Presentation.

Fr Michael



GHCT Ride & Stride

Congratulations to Matt and Martin for giving their time and using their initiative in supporting the Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust sponsored Ride & Stride.  They respectively managed to raise the sums of approximately £400 and £84.  Thanks go to all those who supported this worthy cause.

In the ten years to 2009 over £400,000 has been raised by the good folk of Gloucestershire.  All this money is ploughed back into the coffers of the Churches in this county.

The date for next year’s ‘Ride and Stride’ will be 10th September 2011.

Nigel Woodcock




The Crucible exhibition in Gloucester Cathedral was due to close at the end of October.  I was so impressed on my first visit that I had to go a second time.  In fact it was extended by a week and I went a third time!

It was the idea of the retiring Dean to have a collection of sculpture by British artists shown against the background of the ancient building.  There was some opposition but he won the day and it must be a great satisfaction to him to be going out with such a success to his credit.  It was certainly popular and each time I went there was a steady stream of visitors.  A number had come in parties, especially from schools.  It was great to see so many children hugging the life size bear in the porch and then keen to go on inside.

The first creation to meet you was outside the building, a massive Vulcan by Eduardo Paolozzi which you could interpret in many ways.  You could not fail to be impressed by its massive size and the questions which hovered – how much of it may be human or just robotic.  The Bear by Martin Cooper seemed all the more welcome after this.

On my first visit, I just wandered around, but the second time I invested in the £1 guide and could catch up on the ones that I had missed, but which other visitors told me about.  I did not miss the huge Christ at Calvary facing up into the nave, but had forgotten that it was made up from clothes hangers – how ever did he do that?  What I had missed was the Close V by Anthony Gormley which others had been so impressed by.  He is probably our most well-known sculptor now due to his Angel of the North in its prominent position on the motorway.  I seem to have missed that each time we have gone north, but I did see his previous piece at the cathedral, made up of a lot of small figures along one of the cloisters.  We also saw his figures on the edge of several high buildings in London a few years ago and which caused some people to ring in and say there was a risk of a possible suicide.

I always recognize the angular work of Lyn Chadwick, who lived for many years at Painswick and whose son Daniel had two white marble pieces here and continues to live at the family home.  The large dripping fountain was most impressive but there were plenty of small items which you could easily miss.  Perhaps the most striking and given the best position, below the high East window, is the St Bartholomew Exquisite Pain showing the Apostle who was flayed alive, holding his skin.  It is by local artist Damien Hirst, who has caused so much controversy in the past with his animals preserved in formaldehyde.  The bronze figure stands heroically looking down through the choir and out into the nave.  It must surely belong to some large collection.

It took me a while before I realized that there were also plate-like saucers floating in the ceiling of the nave and it was very relaxing just to sit and watch them rotate.  I could also go back over the years and think of how many times I had visited this most important building in the county and I remember Gilbert Harding saying that it was one of the most important in Europe.  Probably my first visit was when I was about eleven and we had been instructed in Confirmation and had come from our village of Tutshill to be confirmed.  I think we boys disgraced ourselves by giggling, due to seeing girls out of our class in their white dresses and with veils to match.  I received sharp words later from my father.

The definition in the dictionary says that a crucible is a pot in which metals are melted, and for this exhibition there must have been a lot of it in the pot.  It was certainly well worth all the time and dedication.

Tudor Williams



Women in the Priesthood and Episcopate

In a recent edition of ‘Inspires’, the Gloucester Diocesan publication, Bishop Michael presents a positive view of the benefits to the Church of an ordained Ministry of both men and women.  I have myself been in favour of women being admitted to both the priesthood and episcopate for many decades.  It may be helpful to recall why, historically and theologically, the present deep division and controversy on the subject has arisen.

Laws discriminating against women are found both in the Pentateuch of the Old Testament and the legal systems of the classical world.  Jesus himself was born into a very unequal kind of society, but how different was Christ’s personal approach to women!  Nevertheless it would seem that Jesus only appointed men as apostles, though there is evidence that both women and men led churches and also that both written and stone records were altered from the name of a woman to that of a man.  The overwhelming forces of the society and culture prevalent at the time would be stacked heavily against a woman having the kind of authority needed to preach and teach.   Some argue that a priest is an icon of the male Jesus and therefore must be a man.  However, an American theologian, Richard Norris, supporting the ordination of women, pointed out that Christ’s attributes should be considered.  (1) Jesus was divine, (2) he was a Jew, and the gulf between Jews and Gentiles was probably greater even than that between male and female, and (3) he was male.  Only the last criterion is relevant to the male priest of today.

The Virgin Mary and the many female saints, also mostly virgins, are rightly honoured but that respect never crossed the chasm that existed between them and the sexually active women who gave birth to children and were so maligned.  Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyons, Clement of Alexandria, Origen and Tertullian all blamed Eve for bringing death and lust into the world.  Tertullian tells women that they are each ‘the devil’s gateway’, destroying so easily God’s image in man, and that through them even the Son of God had to die.  Paradoxically, as the image of virgins, and in particular the cult of Mary as the ‘Mother of God and Queen of Heaven’, grew, so physically involved women, sex and fecundity were increasingly despised.

Later St Augustine (354-430) wrote, ‘For on account of sin woman is man’s inferior, symbol of a debasing carnality which draws the male mind from its spirituality’.  St Thomas Aquinas (1225-74), following Aristotle’s teaching, emphasized that the man was the only active contributor to procreation and concluded therefore that woman was a failed and defective man.  (The female ovum and woman’s fifty per cent genetic contribution were only discovered in the nineteenth century.)  But in the light of the history of gender relationships in the Christian Church one cannot be surprised that the tradition was to ordain only men.  However the word ‘tradition’ itself has neutral connotations, for traditions can be bad, harmful and cruel, or positive, helpful and relevant.  In the twenty-first century the Church is currently deciding into which category the tradition of male only priests should be placed.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century the secular world also regarded women as inferior.  In Britain they could not attend the universities or join the professions and were still, as through the previous centuries, largely under the control of either their fathers or their husbands.  They had no vote even at the beginning of the twentieth century and the Church of England was among those bodies speaking at first against their being given the franchise on the grounds that the headship of the man would be compromised if women helped to frame legislation which men would have to obey.  Women artists and writers were marginalised or ignored, having often to submit manuscripts under male pseudonyms.  Women could surely never be considered for ordination until probably the middle of the twentieth century, when greater understanding of gender issues was starting to emerge and women were increasingly being released from continual childbearing.

The perceived ‘greater’ authority of Rome prevents some people accepting the ordination of women.  One readily acknowledges the great attributes of the Roman Church, its wonderful liturgy and its truly inspirational men and women.  But historical truth and accuracy have to be the prime consideration.  The crucial and controversial text, ‘You are Peter and upon this rock will I build my church’ is continually studied and recent scholars, both Catholic and Protestant, through Peter’s confession of faith in Jesus as the Messiah, ‘are inclined to regard Peter as the rock, but functioning in this capacity in an unrepeatable way’.  This does not mean, ‘Peter is the first holder of an office others will someday hold’.  Today some Catholic and Protestant theologians think Peter may not have been the first bishop of Rome, as the earliest and possibly the most reliable records quote Linus in that role.  The Roman Church, however, claims that the popes are Peter’s successors and Hans Küng, a Roman Catholic theologian, outlines the corrupt practices over the next five centuries to establish this position.  He says there were ‘in all 115 forged documents by Roman bishops and 125 authentic documents falsified by later interpolations and changes’, resulting in a successful power struggle for papal supremacy.  The Vatican Council of 1870 defining papal ‘infallibility’ proclaimed a doctrine and power base that would have astonished and been incredible to both the Early Church and succeeding generations.  Some Roman Catholics left the Church and formed the Old Catholic Church, stressing by ‘Old’ the former truer tradition regarding the Roman See.  The Orthodox Churches of the East have never accepted papal infallibility or, indeed, the universal jurisdiction of the bishops of Rome.

The question of the ordination of women is a growing issue in the Roman Catholic Church.  The results of polls amongst practising Roman Catholics in Europe, Australia and North America show a large majority in favour, averaging 70%.  A poll by YouGov this September and quoted in the ‘Tablet’ shows 66% of British Roman Catholics are in favour.

Many Christians throughout the world look forward to the implementation of a total ministry of both men and women, as envisaged by Bishop Michael.  Perhaps only then will the fulfilment of the Gospel be realised that in Christ Jesus there is neither male nor female for all are one in Him.

Audrey Bailey



Barton, J & Muddiman, J eds.  The Oxford Bible Commentary, OUP 2001, reprinted 2008.

Hare, D R A.  Interpretation, A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching: Matthew, John Knox Press, 1993.

Küng, H.  The Catholic Church: a short history, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, English ed. 2001, translated from German by John Bowden.

Langley, M.  Equal Woman, Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1983.

Norris, R.  The Ordination of Women and the ‘Maleness of Christ’, extract from Living Worship published in the Anglican Theological Review, June 1976 and published by the Movement for the Ordination of Women, occasional paper no 2 in 1981.

The Tablet, Issue of 18th September, 2010.



Let’s read…

Every inspired scripture has its use for teaching the truth and refuting error, or for reformation of manners and discipline in right living, so that the man who belongs to God may be efficient and equipped for good work of every kind. 
          2 Timothy 3:16-17 (New English Bible)

These days we are bombarded with advice about maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  We are constantly reminded to eat a balanced diet, to make sure we get our ‘five a day’ etc.  Our physical health is important but so is our spiritual well-being.  Just as eating fresh fruit and vegetables is necessary to maintain our physical health so the regular study of scripture is necessary to maintain our spiritual health.  This passage from the Second Letter to Timothy mentions some of the benefits.  Notice that the writer refers to all scripture not just the familiar bits!

Accessing the spiritual nutrition offered by the Bible can be difficult.  I know I have felt overwhelmed by the sheer scale and complexity of the Bible.  It is tempting to give up and leave the book sitting on the shelf, even though a Bible sitting on the shelf is no better for us spiritually than fruit left in the fruit bowl aids our physical well-being.

The best way I have found of overcoming my problems with scripture is to join a Bible study group.  Such a group brings together people with different insights, and the use of different translations of the Bible often throws light on a difficult passage.  It is not a teaching session:  the role of the leader is simply to help the group stay on track and keep to the advertised start and finish times.  Joining a group has other benefits, old friendships are reinforced and new ones made, there is an opportunity to pray together and to help and support one another.

This form of Bible study does not take the place of the private devotional reading of scripture, nor diminish the importance of the sermon; rather it enhances these by setting the readings in context and aiding understanding.

When my children were small I used to go to a group specifically for mothers with young children.  With the children playing happily in the centre of the room we mums were able to read and discuss passages from the Bible.  Now I go to the Wednesday morning Bible study group.  We are currently looking at St Luke’s Gospel but have previously studied Romans and before that Amos.

Bible study along with public worship and private prayer form the balanced spiritual diet that helps us to grow and become strong in our faith so we can do God’s work in the world.

Blessed Lord who hast caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience, and comfort of thy holy word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life which thou hast given us in our saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen

      Collect for the second Sunday in Advent (Book of Common Prayer)

Clare Wyatt




The ‘Real Christmas’

The Real Christmas this year is on Saturday 4th December in St Mary’s Church from 2pm until 5pm.  We will be having a Christmas visit from the puppets who were so popular at the Parish Fete.  They will perform a play telling the story of Christingles.  Their puppet choir will sing us some carols and then there will be a chance to meet the puppets personally. 

At 3.30pm the Prestbury handbells will be unpacked and we will ring some Christmas tunes helped, we hope, by the 1st Prestbury Cubs, who have already had a very successful practice.  Families and friends can join in and try their hands and ears at this as well.

At 4.15pm the Church Choir will lead us in some carol singing to get us in practice for the coming Christmas Season.

The usual festive refreshments will be available all afternoon, with a return of the toasted teacakes which were in such great demand last year.  The children are going to decorate our big Christmas tree, our friends from Holy Name Hall will be selling the lovely olive wood carvings and gifts from Bethlehem, the United Reformed Church Christmas Stall is coming once again and also Wendy Price will be selling Eczema Society Cards for their final year.  Entry is free and you are all invited to come and spend some time with us.

Parish Events Committee



St Nicolas’ Patronal Festival

St Nicolas’ Patronal Festival will be celebrated on Sunday 5th December.  We welcome the Venerable John Lewis as guest preacher at the 9.30am Eucharist.  There will be celebratory refreshments after the service.  All are welcome.



Christingle Service 2010

in aid of The Children’s Society

Sunday 5th December at 4.00 pm

St Mary’s Church, Mill Street

“Let light shine out of darkness”
2 Corinthians 4:6

The Christingle Service carries a deep message of God’s love and is a particularly special way for us all to reach out together to help children and young people who are in urgent need.  The Archbishop of Canterbury, in a letter supporting The Children’s Society Christingle appeal this year, writes, “I commend Christingle services as a way of encouraging children and adults to worship together, responding to Jesus’ message of love and care for the young and marginalised”.  During the service Christingle oranges will be given to everyone who brings a gift of money for the work of The Children’s Society; this will help them to continue to take direct action to support disadvantaged children all over the UK.

Our thanks go to Sainsbury’s at Oakley for providing the oranges for our Christingle Service.



Mothers’ Union

The members of Prestbury MU are invited, by kind invitation of Fr Daniel and Sarah, to a Bring and Share finger buffet supper on Tuesday 7th December at 7pm.

Sylvia Mckenzie, Branch Leader



William Tyndale – English Scripture’s Gloucestershire Provenance

A talk by the Revd David Gardiner on Thursday 9th December at 2.30pm in All Saints’ Church, All Saints’ Road, Pittville.  Organised by the Friends of All Saints’ Church.  Everyone welcome.  Refreshments.  Visitors £3.



Advent Quiet Afternoon

On Saturday 11th December Father Paul will be leading an Advent Reflection in All Saints’, beginning at midday with a light lunch.  Space is not limited but if you wish to have lunch, we do need to know in advance.  Please give your name to Margaret Compton, Karen Winder or Deacon Jennifer  or sign the lists in church.

Deacon Jennifer



Regular Youth Group Dates

Elevate:  End of Term Party Sunday 12th December; restarts Sunday 9th January

Synergy:  End of Term Party Sunday 12th December; restarts Sunday 9th January

The Lounge:  End of Term Party Tuesday 14th December; restarts Tuesday 4th January

The Chill:  End of Term Party Thursday 16th December; restarts Thursday 6th January

PPY Year 11+:  Party 17th December 7.30pm onwards

For more information contact
Andy Macauly



St Mary’s Christmas Choir

Come and sing your favourite Christmas carols with a friendly group of singers!  Why not join St Mary’s Choir for the Christmas season?  Choir practice is from 7pm to 8pm on Friday evenings, usually followed by a well-earned visit to the Plough.  The ability to read music is not necessary; more important is a willingness to give it a go and enjoy singing!

If this sounds appealing, please contact the Director of Music,



Christian Aid carol singing

St Nicolas’ choir will be singing Christmas carols to raise money for Christian Aid on Saturday 18th December at Sainsbury’s Oakley store between 10.00 and 11.00am.

Roger Hodges



Celebration of Christmas

At St Nicolas’ Church on Tuesday 21st December, at 7.00pm – 8.00pm.

There will be an informal programme of Christmas songs, carols and readings.

Seasonal refreshments will be served.  Everyone welcome.

Sue Bolton



Go2Theatre Presents

Nativity:  a Wakefield Mystery Play

Wednesday 22 December, 7.00pm at the Plough Inn, Mill Street, Prestbury GL52 3BG

Nativity draws together a number of the medieval mystery plays that tell the human story behind the brief Gospel accounts.  The writer allows us to smile at Joseph’s natural reaction to finding that Mary is pregnant, to laugh at the sheep stealer and his wife hiding a lamb in the cradle and perhaps to tremble before the raging of King Herod.

The rough-hewn beauty of the medieval poetry, retained in this modern English adaptation, allows blood to run through the veins of the figures familiar to us all from hundreds of Christmas cards, and gives audiences the chance to wonder anew at the actions of these characters.  Suffused with music, Nativity will be a delightful seasonal treat.

Go2Theatre aims to bring quality productions to venues throughout Monmouthshire and Gloucestershire.  If you know of a venue and would like to see one of our productions, please contact us for more information.



Candlelit Crib Services

St Mary’s Church
Friday 24th December
4.00pm & 6.00pm

Children are invited to dress as Shepherds, Angels or Kings and to bring a present for children at The Family Haven in Gloucester

All are welcome!


Candlelit Nativity Service

St Nicolas’ Church
Friday 24th December

Do join us for this wonderful time of worship on Christmas Eve

All are welcome!

Children are invited to dress as Shepherds, Angels or Kings and to bring a present for children at The Family Haven in Gloucester


The Family Haven

The Family Haven was established in 1988 to help disadvantaged and vulnerable families in Gloucestershire to a brighter future.  We help parents and their pre-school children by providing a warm, caring and supportive day centre where assistance and encouragement is available to help them to improve the quality of their lives.



Epiphany Supper

The Epiphany Supper will take place in St Mary’s Church after the Sung Eucharist at 6.30pm on Thursday 6th January, snow permitting!!!!  Details will be announced in the pew sheets nearer the time.

Parish Events Committee



St Mary’s Bakestall

Our November bakestall raised £50 for Cambodia and brought a record total of £515 sent to the various charities this year.  Thank you to everyone who has baked and bought to enable us to achieve this.

Next year the first bakestall falls on Sunday 16th January, when all three teams are invited to contribute to give a flying start.

Margaret Waker & Linda Matthews



400th Anniversary

A Service to Celebrate the Scriptures, marking the 400th anniversary of the Authorized Version of the Bible, will take place in Gloucester Cathedral at 3pm on Sunday 16th January 2011.  All welcome.



Decorate a Window Sill –
St Mary’s Flower Arrangers

On Thursday 20th January at 7.30pm in St Mary’s church Ron Middleton has very kindly agreed to demonstrate how to arrange a pedestal and a window sill.  So many of us are diffident about offering help beyond our designated dates, because we don’t think we are good enough.  This is our chance to learn something new and become more confident.

Everyone is welcome, so please make the effort to come, and maybe bring a friend.  There will be tea and coffee available, and entrance is free, though a donation towards the Church Flower Fund would be welcome.

Sue Fairclough



Mothers’ Union

Our meeting on Tuesday 25 January 2011 welcomes Julie Jefferies who will talk about her visit to Kenya, and will also update us on Purity, the young girl who lives in Kenya whom some of us support.  The money helps with her education, etc.  The meeting will be at 7.30pm at St Nicolas’ Church, and all are very welcome.

Sylvia Mckenzie, Branch Leader



Combat Stress

Combat Stress, formally the Services Mental Welfare Society, cares for British Veterans who have been profoundly traumatised by harrowing experiences during their Service career.  The United Reformed Church in Prestbury has traditionally had a collection for this charity on Remembrance Sunday for many years.

The collection this year was taken at St Mary’s Church and raised £122.55.  Thank you to all who contributed.

Fiona Hall




Please continue to remember in your prayers all those leading and taking part in the Alpha course on Tuesday mornings.  The group will take a break over Christmas and start again in the New Year.



Alternative Christmas card

The alternative Christmas card scheme will be available at St Mary’s again this year.  For details see the pewsheet or speak to
Margaret Holman.



Education and Nurture

We hope to begin the 2011 Anniversary of the King James’ Version with a one-off presentation to set the scene for a technology-free Lent, when we will be marking ‘The Year of the Bible’.

We are keen to identify prospective Lent Group leaders NOW, so that we can arrange to meet together beforehand to look at the study resources.  Please contact Deacon Jennifer if you are willing to lead a Lent Group.  No special expertise is needed – we will be using material prepared for small groups by our own Bishops and others from the Diocese.



Confirmation in 2011

Please speak to one of the clergy if you would like to consider joining a confirmation preparation group.  This group will begin meeting in January in preparation for a confirmation service in Gloucester Cathedral on 7th May 2011.



Prestbury Parish Magazine - December 2010 / January 2011

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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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