link to North Cheltenham Team Ministry website

The Parish of Prestbury

St Mary and St Nicolas

What's New?
Church Services
Pew Sheet
People and Teams
Our Churches
Our Events
Table of Contents



[Back] [Up] [Next]

Prestbury Parish Magazine

March 2011


Cover photograph:
Members of Synergy lead worship at the ‘Reach’ service in St Nicolas’ church
by Brian Wood


Experiencing the Spirit’s desire

Prepare for Lent

Future Focus

Diocesan Synod

Chilean Miner Jose Henriquez

The One

The Bride of Christ

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



Experiencing the Spirit’s desire

For over a year, across the four parishes of the North Cheltenham Team Ministry, we have been growing a common vision1.  As this process has gone on it has become increasingly clear that, as each of the churches serves a different locality, so each has to work out the vision in its own way.  Churches, just like people, have their own personalities and their own ‘charism’2.  One size does not fit all.  One of the tasks of the clergy, therefore, is to ensure the structure3 we call the ‘Team’ serves this vision, rather than being an end in itself.  But the task of discerning the vision, of listening to the Spirit of God, belongs to us all.

I remember watching a programme some years ago following the work of a famous sculptor.  I had always thought that sculpture would be a peaceful occupation, gently chipping bits of stone away at a slow, thoughtful pace and contemplating the emerging image.  It came as quite a surprise that the exact opposite was true.  There was a sense of a titanic struggle taking place:  a wrestling and frustration, a pouring out of creative energy that left the creator feeling drained and even at times defeated.

Have you found aspects of the vision process frustrating?  Has it sometimes confused you or felt like a waste of time?  Or have you wondered whether you have a part to play at all, that others are running ahead and leaving you behind?  Have you found it hard to grasp, and worried that you have failed to understand something that everyone else has come to more easily?  If so you are not alone!  In fact this kind of wrestling is normal, and indeed valuable, because through it we experience the frustration of the Spirit, who longs to re-create us and bring out the beauty that is within, and we are not always the easiest material to work with.

We all know that God’s will for the world is a big vision that encompasses all of creation4, but experience shows us that we only ever catch glimpses of it, never its entirety.  None of our churches will ever completely embody the whole vision of God, but we can take two or three steps closer to it and as we do so we experience his peace, his joy, his love and his longing for the world.  The vision process, therefore, brings us face to face with ourselves, a desert journey that is at the heart of Lent5, in which we will need to hold on to God’s word, to trust that God is with us and for us, and to let God be our guide and our centre.


1.      Vision is not a new thing.  It arises from the revelation that God has a will for the world, a desire, even a thirst, that is an expression of his love for humanity.  When you love someone you do not only have strong feelings for them, you want them to become the fullness of who they are.  This is your vision for them.

2.      A ‘charism’ is quite different from a skill or talent.  It arises from the breath of the Holy Spirit within a person or a group of people.  Far from being about our abilities, it is often where we are weak that we see God most at work, and what emerges is often as surprising to us as it is to others.

3.      It is one of the peculiarities of the Church of England that ‘team’ is used to mean a group of parishes rather than a group of people.  Perhaps there is an important challenge in this for us, to win back a sense of being a mixed group of communities with a common purpose.

4.      John’s Gospel tells us ‘God so loved the cosmos that he sent his only Son....’ (chapter 3, verse 16)

5.      See Matthew chapter 4 verses 1 to 11

Fr Daniel



Prepare for Lent

Ash Wednesday is on 9th March and it is hoped that we will all endeavour to attend one of the services on offer that day so that we can each make a good start to Lent.  Ash Wednesday services in Prestbury are:

     10.30  in St Mary’s Said Eucharist with Imposition of Ashes
  19.30  in St Nicolas’ Sung Eucharist with Imposition of Ashes

In the wider Team Ministry there will also be the following services which all are welcome to attend:
  14.00  in All Saints Said Service of the Word with Imposition of Ashes
  19.00  in St Lawrence Holy Communion
  19.30  in All Saints Sung Mass with Imposition of Ashes


Technology-Free Lent Groups

Our Lent Groups begin this month and will be following a course prepared by Bishop Michael using the Lectio Divina method of Bible study.  Details of times and venues are on the church notice boards.

If you would like to join a group please add your name to the appropriate list or contact Deacon Jennifer on


Compline during Lent

As part of our provision of daily prayer in Lent, this year there will be a simple service of silent prayer followed by sung Compline at St Mary’s Prestbury on Tuesday evenings.  Silent prayer begins at 8.30pm, and Compline will begin at 9.00pm.  You are welcome to both or either.

Fr David



Other Daily Prayer Opportunities

You are also welcome to join us for Morning Prayer at 9am in St Mary’s (Mondays and Wednesdays), St Nicolas’ (Tuesdays) or All Saints’ (Thursdays) and Evening Prayer at 5pm in St Nicolas’ (Monday to Saturday).  The service takes about twenty minutes and there is time for both spoken and silent prayer.




Future Focus

One of the ideas which came about early in the life of PPY was to have a project running across the youth work.  Previously we have run projects such as Challenge 07 (encouraging young people to take on personal challenges), Great Outdoors, Re-create (creative arts) and Dimensions (spirituality).  This encourages a depth to the work and helps to keep things fresh from year to year.

Our Future Focus project this year brings together film-making and reflections on ‘the future’.  A key part of this project will be our residential (11-13 March) at Viney Hill.  Past experience has shown that film-making brings together important areas such as team work, creativity, communication and ICT.  As well as the important process there will also be a great product.  We will be showing some of the films produced at the PPY AGM on Sunday 27th March 6-8pm at St Nicolas’.

Please do pray for this project and support the AGM/showcase – really listening to the young people’s message and helping to shape the future of PPY in these challenging times.

Andy Macauly



 Prestbury and Pittville Youth

Registered Charity 1103099

 Annual General Meeting

 Sunday 27th March  6pm – 8pm

St Nicolas’ Church

 Open to young people, parents and all supporters of PPY

Feedback, films and worship from young people
Important discussions on future work
Voting in a new committee
Refreshments afterwards

 Please join us if you can and help PPY to provide the very best for local young people

 For more info:  Andy Macauly 520534





Diocesan Synod

The Diocesan Synod met on 5th February at St Nicolas’; once again, Bishop Michael told us all that he felt it to be a really excellent venue.  The ‘Gold Cup-Trained’ coffee and parking teams swung into smooth action yet again, an enormous relief, particularly for those who have to travel long distances and still be there for the 9am Eucharist.

The first item after the service was reports from the inaugural meeting of the new General Synod.  Arising from this was the arrangement made by the Diocese for all the Deaneries to discuss the very serious matters of the Anglican Covenant and the appointment of women to the episcopate.  I was relieved to hear that the Diocese are engaging panels of speakers to be at Deanery Synod meetings to explain the various arguments for or against these rather contentious matters.  It will then be the duty of Diocesan Synod members to vote at the Diocesan Synod level, if I understood correctly.  The House of Laity (that’s people like me) will also have another special meeting before the next Synod, with a panel of people to advise on any legal points we do not understand, so when the actual Diocesan Synod meets in June we will all be as well informed as possible.  I admit I am not looking forward to all of this a great deal.  With feelings running high on all sides, I am afraid the atmosphere could get rather unpleasant.

On more mundane things, the new Giving for Life scheme, at parish level, seems to be coming into action well, with the Diocesan Board of Finance making more hopeful noises.  More people are using the simpler direct debiting system and linking their donations to the level of inflation.

At parish level, the drive for effective ministry is beginning to bear fruit as well.  There are now only ten deaneries and the newly reorganised ones are settling in.  Team ministry is becoming the general thing with both lay and ordained staff members working closely together.  When you read this, spare a thought for our clergy and church wardens.  It takes a lot of management to keep our buildings and services functioning.  What we all see is truly the tip of a very big iceberg!  The work of stipendiary Clergy is ever changing.

There is aways a break after coffee and biscuits for twenty minutes bible study using the Lecto Divina system:  one short passage is used, we sit in small circular groups and each reads a sentence in turn, pause for thought, then we go round again each of us saying what we think is the key word of the passage, silence again, read a sentence each again, silence, then a comment in one sentence from each of us and this then breaks into a discussion quite spontaneously.  Those who know me will know that I am absent from bible studies, but even I thoroughly enjoy these sessions, very stimulating and refreshing.  Deacon Jennifer is organising these for us this Lent and I definitely recommend them.

The final presentation was from Katherine Clamp from the Diocesan Communications Office on how well we communicate:  as a parish with our surrounding community; and between ourselves as a congregation.  She is willing to visit parishes and give similar talks and I really hope she comes to our North Cheltenham Team because I can promise that none of us nod off during her talk.

Lynda Hodges, Diocesan Synod representative



Chilean Miner Jose Henriquez

St Matthew’s  Church, Cheltenham

On the evening of 1st February I was one of hundreds of people of all ages privileged to be present in St Matthew’s church when Jose Henriquez, the twenty-fourth Chilean miner to be brought to the surface from the San Jose mine, through his interpreter Rev Alf Cooper, told of some of his experiences.

The first thing that struck me was his calm composure and sincere and dedicated belief in the living God.  He told of the silence for several hours after the rock fall which blocked the passage and their way out.  It was followed after the dust had settled, which was several hours later, by the different reactions to the situation:  some shouted, others cried and some suffered severe shock.

After a while it was decided they must organise themselves, firstly by checking their stock; this revealed they only had sufficient water for one day and food for three.  The next thing was to allocate jobs according to each man’s skill.  He himself said they should pray, but only if they believed in the Living God:  it was no use believing in a dead God.  It was agreed that he, being an evangelical preacher, should lead the prayers, which happened every day; also from memory he told them Bible stories, and later in the two months they were trapped, they held Bible quizzes.  After their rescue twenty-two miners accepted Christ as their Saviour, and as he had taught the sacrament of marriage five men married their partners.

It was seventeen days before the second drill from above ground by a miracle went off at an angle and broke through to let those on the surface know they were all thirty-three alive.  President Pinera ordered all the best brains and skilled engineers to be deployed in the rescue of the miners, and ordered a day of prayer and thanksgiving at the palace.

With a small shaft now open food and drink was able to be passed to the miners, also a small bible.  During the seventeen days when there was no contact with the outside world they had survived by drinking the industrial water, which of course was contaminated, and were rationed at one stage to one teaspoon each of tuna a day.

Later in the talk it was open to questions from the floor, one of which was ‘Did he think it had been a miracle?’.  His reply was that it had joined the whole world together in prayer, but that Christ was the miracle.  Another question was ‘Had the accident made any difference to the safety in the mines?’.  He said the safety at level one had always been excellent, but that at level two where they were trapped was a different matter, due to greed and expense, but was due to be changed now.  Someone asked ‘Would you ever go down the mine again?’.  The reply caused much laughter when he said ‘I was first to go back down; I had left something in my box’.

I could write much more of what proved to be a wonderful evening.  I left in wonder at the resilience of the human spirit to come through so much, and it humbled me and left me in awe at such strength of faith.

Avril Keen




It is good to welcome David Whale to the North Cheltenham Team Ministry on a placement which runs until Easter Day.  David is exploring the possibility of ordination and is worshipping with us and joining in with other events across the Team.  David is accompanied by his wife Jo, so please introduce yourselves to them.  We hope that David will be able to visit all the churches in our Team, but you may not get to meet him for a while!



John Fogarty RIP

It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of John Fogarty.  John had been a significant figure in the village for over fifty years, and it was only just over a year ago that he sold the Bakery Stores (now Prestbury Village Stores) and retired.  This photograph was taken at the presentation to him on 30th January 2010.




The One

The One who eats with sinners and turns the tables in the temple.

The One who washes feet and wears the crown of thorns.

The One who is torn from the Father for the sake of the whole world and who makes sure Thomas feels the wounds and could believe.

The One who speaks the words ‘Peace be with you’ and who stills the storm with his voice.

The One who welcomes street children and speaks in parables so people have to search, seek, knock for him.

The One who throws the biggest party in eternity and who comes to my door to knock for me.

The One who cuts himself off for forty days and provides gallons of wine to keep the wedding celebration going.

The One who stands and fights all that is evil and who changes his plans to respond to the touch of a ‘nobody’.

The One who has a burning purpose which keeps him moving on and who escapes to be with the ones he loves.

The One who heals all ten even though only one comes back to praise.

The One who preaches to thousands and who sits for hours with his friends.

The One who embraces terrorists and collaborators.

The One who plans a global rescue and who bends down to put the pieces of a single shattered life back together.

The One who looks in the eyes – in the eyes of the rulers, in the eyes of the hypocrites, in the eyes of the adulteress, in the eyes of the betrayer, in the eyes of death itself

and still loves

and still loves

and still loves.

Andy Macauly, written during his sabbatical



Wanted – Old Glasses (Spectacles)

Regular readers of this parish magazine will remember that last summer I helped our son Paul and two of his friends raise money for mosquito nets for Malawi.  I have now been invited to join a party of twelve who each year in July visit the projects and help with some DIY.  I have offered, with my medical background, to try to collect medical instruments etc which are no longer needed here but still will have a good life in a Malawi hospital.  They asked for help in improving their eye clinics and the doctors have asked for old glasses.  This is where I feel that you can help by searching in your drawers and cupboards for all those old pairs of glasses that you no longer use.  It does not matter how old they are so long as both the lenses are intact and the frames are usable.  If you have a card with the prescription this will help but I can have the glasses checked and measured so this is not a problem.

If you have any contributions please leave them on the box which will be by the main display table inside St Mary’s Church.  For those interested in the Charity their website is  where you can see the work done and the outline of the 2011 visit.

Thank you in anticipation of a good response.

Roger Hodges



The Bride of Christ

A capable wife who can find?  She is far more precious than jewels.  The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.  She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life…  She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household…  She considers a field and buys it… she plants a vineyard…  She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy…  She makes linen garments and sells them…  She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue…  Her children rise up and call her happy; her husband too, and he praises her:  ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’

Proverbs 31:10-31 (abridged) NRSV

In Hebrew this poem is an acrostic of twenty-two verses starting with successive letters of the alphabet, which might explain the randomness of the achievements and qualities listed.  We could produce a similar effect by translating it thus:

A capable wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.

By her husband she is trusted,
and he will have no lack of gain.

Continually she does him good,
and not harm…

An astute business woman, this wife is adept at multi-tasking and presumably also at delegating and monitoring.  But she does not work for her own ends; she is not trying to prove herself.  She is doing it because this is her role.  Her husband takes his seat with the elders at the city gate (v23) and is respected there because of her.  This does not sit easily with our notion today of equality, when we might expect her also to have a place with the elders.

This, though, is something more:  it is the ‘equality’ of mutual respect, where each complements the other, recognising and acknowledging their different abilities and different roles.  Whether in the husband-wife partnership of marriage, a business partnership in an office or the working together of members of a church or a football team, it is in complementing each other’s abilities that we achieve most.

Now link this with a passage which is sometimes hard to reconcile with the freedom women expect in society today:  ‘Wives, be subject to your husbands…’ (Ephesians 5:22).  This is balanced by ‘Husbands, love your wives…’ (v25), indicating mutual respect. 

A closer reading of this passage (5:22-33), however, shows us the deeper analogy of ‘wives’ representing the church, which is subject to Christ, and ‘husbands’ representing Christ, who ‘loved the church and gave himself up for her’.  Who is the ‘church’ today?  It is all of us, women and men alike, who call ourselves Christians.  We are members of Christ’s body here in St Nicolas’ or St Mary’s; we are members of the Church of England; of the whole of Christendom, regardless of denomination.  And as such, how should we behave?  We have already answered that question in Proverbs 31.

We can all emulate this wife by ensuring that members of our church ‘family’ are fed and clothed, both physically and spiritually.  We can use our artistic abilities or business skills to spread the gospel of Christ.  We can be generous in giving to charity, both worldwide and to those on our doorstep.  We can be wise and kind.

And then perhaps our ‘husband’, Christ, will be honoured and respected at the ‘city gate’:  in society, in politics, in business, in education, in healthcare, in the law courts.  Our lives and behaviour will point people to the living Christ.

Frances Murton





Women’s World Day of Prayer – Friday 4th March

This year’s service comes from Chile and is entitled ‘How many loaves have you?’

Services will be held in and around Cheltenham at the following churches:

10.30 St Mary’s Parish Church, Town Centre
  St Mary’s Church, Charlton Kings
  St Mark’s Church, Church Road
  St Paul’s Church, Shurdington
11.45 St Michael’s Church, Whaddon
13.45 Highbury Congregational Church
14.30 Bishops Cleeve Methodist Church
  St Peter’s Church, Leckhampton
19.30 St Luke’s Church, St Luke’s Road
  St Christopher’s Church, Warden Hill

All are welcome to any of the services, women and men and children.



St Mary’s Bakestall

Thank you to all who supported last month’s stall.  We were able to send £20 to Habitat for Humanity

This month’s stall is on Sunday 20th March and we invite the A-F team to supply the cakes.  If you would like to join our baking teams, please have a word with one of us.

Margaret Waker and Linda Matthews



Prestbury Mothers’ Union

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 22nd March at St Nicolas’ Church at 7.30pm.  Our speaker will be Enid Phipps and her talk is entitled ‘Relationships and Rules’.  All are very welcome – and Enid is a very good speaker.

Sylvia McKenzie, Branch Leader




Super Soup Lunch

St Mary’s church is holding an ‘Open House’ on Saturday 26th March from 12 noon until 2pm to raise awareness of Christian Aid Week (15-21 May 2011).  We will be serving soup and rolls and a little tasty bite of something sweet to finish.  There will be activities for younger family members, so everyone is welcome to join us to eat and chat. 

During Christian Aid Week we, as a parish, need as much help as possible with fund-raising events and house-to-house collections.  Do join us for lunch on 26th March and find out more!  Donations for the meal will be given to Christian Aid.  More information and some soup recipes can be found on

Roger Hodges (Christian Aid Co-ordinator)




Prestbury Local History Society

Prestbury Local History Society will hold its first open meeting on Monday 28th March when Beryl Elliott will give an illustrated talk on Prestbury Park.  This large expanse of land to the west of the village is now mostly occupied by the Racecourse.  But at various times in the past it has been the setting for a state-of-the-art farm; the prestigious country estate of a retired ambassador; and, long ago, a deer park where a bishop would treat his guests to a day’s hunting.  Beryl's talk aims to unravel some of this complex history, and to situate the park in the familiar landscape.

The meeting begins at 7.30pm, at the Library in the Burgage, and admission for non-members will be £2.50.  There will also be an opportunity at this meeting to become a member, annual subscription £10.  Three more open meetings with talks on various topics are planned for later this year.

For further details contact Michael Cole



The Friends of St Mary’s

The next event being organised by the Friends of St Mary’s is an illustrated talk:  ‘Lawrence Johnston:  The Creator of Hidcote’.  Speaker – Graham Pearson

As Lord Aberconway, President of the RHS, said when presenting the Veitch Gold Medal to Lawrence ‘There has been no more beautiful formal garden laid out since the time of the old Palace of Versailles than that designed on quite a small scale, but with exquisite artistry, by Major Lawrence Johnston at Hidcote’.

The speaker, Graham Pearson, who is a volunteer with the National Trust at Hidcote, has written several books about Hidcote and its creator, Major Lawrence Johnston.  He has also given many talks and lectures to various groups over the years.

Following the talk there will be a two course supper with a glass of wine.  The event is taking place in St Mary’s church on Friday 1st April at 7pm.  Tickets cost £10 each and are available from Jim Mackie, Phil Dodd or Gill Wood.



Notice of Prestbury APCM – 3rd April 2011

The Annual Parochial Church Meeting, which follows the Annual Meeting of Parishioners, will take place on Sunday 3rd April 2011 at St Nicolas’ Church at 6.30pm.  This is a chance to come and hear a review and reports of what has taken place during the last year, together with plans for the future and an opportunity to ask questions.

Anyone resident in the parish or on the parish (church) electoral roll may attend the Annual Meeting of Parishioners and vote for churchwardens.  Only those on the parish electoral roll may attend the APCM.  For details of how to enrol please see the article below.

The APCM is where elections to the PCC take place.  This year there will also be elections for representatives to the Deanery Synod.  Nomination forms will be displayed on the notice boards of both churches for two Sundays prior to the meeting.  Candidates must be proposed and seconded by a person who is on the Electoral Roll of the parish and they should also be asked if they are willing to stand!

Please may I ask all those people who provide reports for the meeting to let me have them by Sunday March 6th, or before if you are able?  Many thanks.

Liz Underwood, PCC Secretary


Parish Electoral Roll

The Parish Electoral Roll has nothing to do with political elections.  The Church of England is run democratically and therefore each parish has its own ‘Electoral Roll’.  Joining it does not oblige you in any way, but it does give you the opportunity to be more involved in the running of the church.

To be on the Electoral Roll you have to be:

· baptised (christened)

· a member of the Church of England

· living in the parish or regularly attending worship in the parish for at least six months

· at least 16 years old

(Those who turn 16 during the next 12 months may complete the form:  they become eligible to be entered on the Roll on their sixteenth birthday).

If you have any questions about this please speak to one of the clergy or churchwardens or contact on 515941.  Enrolment forms are available in church or from Brian Wood. 

To be entitled to attend the next Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) and to take part in its proceedings, you need to have returned your application form to Brian Wood by Sunday 13th March.





The cobwebs are coming down!

On Friday 8th April the cobwebs are being brushed from the ceiling at St Mary’s.  Help will then be needed on Saturday 9th April to spring clean the church in the usual way.  The springtime churchyard tidy will also be taking place on Saturday 9th.  Any time that you can spare to help with these jobs will be greatly appreciated.

Rosie Dodd




St Mary’s Thursday Morning Eucharist

We have raised £400 this year for the St Mary’s church heating fund, which is a wonderful result.  After the service we meet socially for a cup of coffee and biscuits.  Our numbers have increased this year and we hope more will attend this short half-hour service, at 10.30am on Thursdays, a time to set aside for worship and fellowship during midweek, away from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives.  You will be sure of a warm welcome.  See you there!

Doreen Morris




Prestbury Parish Magazine - March 2011

[Back] [Up] [Next]

Welcome • What's New? • Church Services • Pew Sheet • People and Teams • Our Churches • Our Events • Magazine • Table of Contents • Links

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

This website does not gather information about its visitors nor does it place cookies on your computer.  Please read Policy for this website

For general enquiries email  or telephone the Team Office  01242 244373  Mondays to Fridays 09:00 to 12:00
Send mail to with comments about this web site.
Copyright © 1999-2015 The Parish of Prestbury, Gloucestershire, UK
Last modified: 06 June 2015