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Prestbury Parish Magazine

October 2011

Cover photograph:  Pittville Park
part of the 'Horse Parade' celebrating the centenary of the Cheltenham Festival
by Frances Murton 


The Generosity and Glory of God

Celebrating Harvest

Travels on the Amazon River

A Malawi Experience – Part 2

Can we be wiser than Solomon

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


The Generosity and Glory of God

Some may have noticed recently that the period from 1st September to the festival of St Francis (4th October) is being given a new name. We are being encouraged to think of the whole month as Creationtide with an emphasis on the biblical stories of creation. The purpose is to embrace and extend the themes of Harvest Festival and give them a deeper and longer lasting impact. The hymns and songs and the social activities of the traditional Harvest Supper are all included. But our growing sense of the wonders of the universe, which have been so movingly explored on television by Brian Cox and others, fill out and enlarge the theme.

Christians affirm and teach that the Creation itself is a major clue in any understanding of God. God may be more than the universe but he is never apart from it but within all there is, both the visible and the invisible. Thus Creation itself has been called God’s primary sacrament because it reveals and expresses who he is and what his intentions are for each person made in his image. The material world which science investigates, hopefully always with care, reverence and humility, does not simply reflect God’s glory but is itself glory and glorious, which Christians treat with the utmost seriousness and gratitude.

For a good number of years now this time of the year has been used by Christian Aid and local churches to underline the need for responsible ‘stewardship’ of all these God-given resources. They are for the use of every human being, not just a few. Looking not all that far ahead, many foresee the stark truth that human resources are limited and human needs are becoming greater than the human race has ever known before. Will there come a time when there is not enough to go round? Some speak apocalyptically of famine and global food wars.

That disturbs us. Yet the Christian vision remains firm. God’s will and providence can be trusted. ‘While the earth remaineth, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease’ (Genesis 8:22). A huge challenge rests on each person. The message is quite clear. Together we are responsible for sharing what we have been given. Together we have to find ways to sustain one another in our global community. It is a costly and demanding task. To discharge it we need the same level of total commitment and self-giving for others which Jesus made actual on the cross. The protection of creation and the promotion of sustainable lifestyles are gospel tasks for every created being. Esther de Waal standing in front of one of Ireland’s great high crosses, with fantastic sculpture and carving, describes ‘the central O, like the circle of the globe, holding in tension the two arms of the cross, creation and redemption’. Both are equally present in the death and resurrection of Christ.

Every time we recite prayers at the eucharist we declare:

      Yours, Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the splendour, and the majesty, for everything in heaven and on earth is yours.

      All things come from you, and of your own do we give you.

Let us welcome and enjoy Creationtide then – a time to be more aware of all God gives and the responsibilities we have, especially when we pray for our daily bread and give thanks for what we receive from the generosity and love of God.

Fr Paul





You can follow Celebrate! on Twitter: CelebrateNCTM


Celebrating Harvest

Bring a friend to one of our special Harvest services on Sunday 2nd October (usual times of 9.30am at St Nicolas’, 8.00, 9.30 and 11.00 at St Mary’s). Blank invitations are available in church for you to fill in the time of the service you want to invite someone to.

Instead of the evening service on Sunday 2nd October there will be a concert by the Gloucester Cathedral Choir in St Mary’s. This will be at the slightly earlier time of 6pm. Free entry, retiring collection for Cathedral Choir funds.

On Tuesday 4th October at 6pm in St Mary’s Church our celebrations continue with Harvest hymns, an informal Ploughman’s Supper and an auction of the fruit and vegetables which have decorated the church. Any profit made during the evening will be donated to the appeal for Famine Relief in East Africa.

On Saturday 8th October at 7.30pm there is a Harvest Barn Dance and Ploughman’s Supper in St Nicolas’ Hall. Tickets £8.


Travels on the Amazon River:

Meeting of the Waters

The Amazon River at Manaus is incredibly wide: it is almost hard to grasp that it is a river, and that it still has nearly a thousand miles to go before it reaches the Atlantic. In total it is about 7,000 kilometres long and is fed by many tributary rivers, each with its own eco-system. Once it reaches the Atlantic Ocean the water flowing out colours the sea water for several hundred miles. Bearing this in mind it is quite amazing to find wide white sandy beaches along the side of the river close to Manaus.

Sandy beach beside the River Amazon near Manaus

The river floods every year beginning in January and reaching its highest levels in June/July. These levels can vary but generally rise eight or nine metres. The waters then start to go down again. This obviously affects the way much of the vegetation grows and also has a serious impact on the people who live by the river, not only in the type of housing they choose, but because if the river levels rise too much they have to move to higher ground complete with all their belongings and their animals. Some who are not prepared lose everything. Some areas can also become unreachable in the ‘dry’ season.

One of the three largest tributaries is the Rio Negro which starts in Colombia and ends at Manaus, where it meets the Solemois River. The river we know as the Amazon has many different names on its journey from the Andes, and only becomes the Amazon River at Manaus, after the ‘meeting of the waters’.

The Rio Negro is almost black in colour (as its name suggests) because of the minerals and vegetation that grow in it. It has very high acid levels which mean that any plants and fish that are found in the river have had to adapt to survive and the vegetation is far less than in other rivers. It is slow moving and the water is quite warm. At Manaus it meets the Rio Solemois which is much faster moving, colder and denser, the water is a light muddy brown. (I described it to someone as the difference between a black coffee and a milky coffee!) When the two rivers meet the two colours run alongside each other and are quite clearly seen; this is called ‘The Meeting of the Waters’.

Dark and light water flowing alongside each other

Gradually they merge and the lighter, denser colour of the River Solemois slowly covers the dark waters of the Rio Negro, and that is the next stage of the Amazon River!

Liz Greenhow



A Malawi Experience – Part 2

Kaphiridzinja Cottage is owned and run by the Diocese of Upper Shire (pronounced Shiree), one of the four dioceses in Malawi. It is situated on the lake shore with a sandy beach and safe bathing. This was our base for six nights.

Kaphiridzinja Cottage

Wednesday was our first day at Nkope, a local village where we were to help with repairs and painting over the next four days. There is a local health centre/hospital working under St Martin’s Hospital at Malindi a little further south. Their main function is to provide maternity care for patients who are admitted at about eight months in their pregnancy and await labour at the hospital. This is because of the long walk to the hospital which often takes more than a day and it would be too late once contractions had started. There are also general wards but at the time of our visit these were empty because there were no drugs to treat patients once the diagnosis was made. Patients often have to be sent on to St Martin’s Hospital and as there is no transport they walk. They are charged a fee which in no way covers the cost of treatment and as a result the hospital often cannot purchase drugs.

After our introduction we were put to work. Chris and I were sent to work repairing mosquito netting on the windows of a nurse’s house. Others went to paint a teacher’s house under the guidance of the local painters whilst the younger members spent their time teaching the local children games with the kit that we had brought with us. Amy brought art materials and held classes which the children enjoyed. They do not have any toys and the schools do not have the money to spare so any gifts that we brought were eagerly accepted by the teachers. It is a very strict rule that whenever a gift is given it should always be handed to the responsible adult and not the child so that they realise that it is for all and not an individual.

The village has a school for blind children who should have been on holiday but they stayed to meet us and on Friday afternoon we were entertained by their choir following which we presented gifts to them, the junior school and the Mothers’ Union. Blindness often renders a child an outcast in their home village and being in a special school becomes home to them so often they do not want to go back to their villages during the holidays. We finished the work on their teacher’s house and by the Saturday she was able to move back in from her yard where she had been living with all her belongings.

Roger views the empty pharmacy

To be continued.

See Part 1    Part 3    Part 4

Roger Hodges



In July Roger spent several days in Malawi with the charity MACS. Editor


Can we be wiser than Solomon?

The Lord therefore said to Solomon, ‘Because you have done this and have not kept my covenant and statutes as I commanded you, I will tear the kingdom from you and give it to your servant’.

1 Kings 11:11 (New English Bible)

Over the past weeks the Wednesday Bible Study Group has been delving into the Old Testament. This part of the Bible can be even more complex and puzzling than the New Testament, so it is helpful to study the text in the supportive atmosphere of a group.

For those keen on history, the Old Testament provides some interesting insights into the ancient world, but what is its relevance for Christians today?

In the Old Testament we have the story of God working through imperfect human beings to prepare the way for the salvation of mankind through Jesus Christ. It also gives us a background to the customs and culture of the Jewish society in which Our Lord lived and worked.

These were the scriptures Jesus knew. When Jesus expounded the scriptures, for example, on the road to Emmaus or in the upper room, it was to these writings He was referring.

It is also these writings which the author of 2 Timothy had in mind when he wrote ‘Every inspired scripture has its use for teaching’ (2 Timothy 3:16 New English Bible)

The particular book of the Old Testament we have been studying is The First Book of Kings. Although much has changed since this was written, human nature remains much the same, and it is possible to pick out themes which are relevant to us today.

Probably the main message of 1 Kings, and indeed much of the Old Testament, is about remaining faithful to God. Time and time again the people of Judah and Israel are seduced by the gods of the surrounding tribes and start to take on the idolatrous ideas and customs of those around them. What are the false gods of the society which surrounds us? Money, power, possessions, celebrities? You can probably think of several others. It is so easy to let them take the place of God in our hearts. The First Book of Kings also shows us that the worship of false gods is not just a problem for young people. Consider what happened to Solomon.

At the beginning of his reign Solomon put God’s work first. He built a great temple for the Lord in Jerusalem and unselfishly he asked God for wisdom so that he could govern justly. However, towards the end of his life he faltered and relaxed in the sumptuous extravagance of his palace with his multitudes of wives and concubines. Many of the wives came from the neighbouring tribes and Solomon started to worship their gods. Did Solomon think he had done enough for the Lord? Did he think it was time to retire and enjoy himself, and to forget about all those tiresome rules and restrictions? Clearly God did not think so.

Reading this story can remind us that there is no retirement from a Christian life and that we must continue to love and serve the Lord until he calls us home. Then, by God’s grace, we can rest in peace.

The Wednesday Bible Study Group is now moving on to look at the letter to the Colossians. Come and join us.

Clare Wyatt




Sunday 2nd October at 6pm
A short concert by
Gloucester Cathedral Choir
Directed by Adrian Partington
Organist: Ashley Grote

Come and hear the Choir in the setting of
St Mary’s Church, Mill Street, Prestbury

Programme to include works by Byrd, Dering, Parry, Parsons, Swayne and SS Wesley

The concert is free with a retiring collection for Cathedral Choir funds

The concert will replace the usual service of Evening Prayer



A Family Harvest Celebration
Tuesday 4th October - 6pm
St Mary’s Church, Mill Street

  • Favourite Harvest Hymns
  • Ploughman’s Supper
  • Sale of Fresh Produce

Proceeds in aid of Famine Relief in East Africa

All welcome!



Barn Dance

Please come along to St Nicolas’ Church Hall on Saturday 8th October at 7.30pm for the Harvest Barn Dance. We will have the Bandy Coots playing and John Boucher as caller. Tickets are £8 to include a Ploughman’s Supper, with a bar available. Why not bring your friends with you?

Janet Ford



‘Visual Variety’

On Friday 14th and Saturday 15th October at 7pm CHADS (our CHurches Amateur Dramatic Society) is presenting another varied performance, this time to raise money for STEPS, a charity helping children born with hip and walking-related problems. We have decided to support them this year one of our church members has a delightful baby granddaughter who was born with a hip condition and because of this most of her life has been in plaster from her trunk right down to her feet. She is the sweetest-natured baby imaginable, and yet has undergone a lot of invasive surgery to try to help the situation. The STEPS charity, as well as helping with the purchase of special equipment such as car seats, walking aids etc, also offers enormous support to parents of children with lower limb problems, and we feel it important to help a local child who is one of our own church family.

Please come and support us in this event – you will have a lovely evening of good honest entertainment followed by cheese and wine, all for only £6 per ticket. These will be available soon at all three churches. By supporting our show you will know that all of your ticket money will go to the charity as we have again been fortunate to obtain sponsorship to cover our costs.

Sylvia McKenzie on behalf of all the members of CHADS




St Mary’s Bakestall

The proceeds from last month enabled us to send £20 to Practical Action. Thank you all for your generosity in both baking and buying. This month’s stall is after the 11 o’clock service on Sunday 16th October 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



He spoke to them in Parables

An Education and Nurture Quiet Afternoon on Saturday 22nd October at St Christopher’s Warden Hill, beginning at 12.30pm with a Bring-and-Share lunch. Short reflections will be led by Fr Michael and Deacon Jennifer, with ample opportunity to reflect on the Bible passages depicted in the beautiful stained glass windows designed by Thomas Denny.

After a break for tea and cake, the afternoon will conclude with a short, informal act of worship. We look forward to being joined by members of all churches in the Team; please sign up on the lists in church.

Deacon Jennifer




Prestbury Mothers’ Union

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 25th October at 7.30pm at St Nicolas’ Church. Our speaker will be Fr Stephen Eldridge and his topic is ‘From Blue to Black’. Intrigued?! Do come along and find out more! All are very welcome.

Sylvia McKenzie, Branch Leader




Fauré Requiem – All Souls’ Day (2nd November)

St Mary’s Prestbury, 7.30pm

As part of the service for the Commemoration of the Departed on All Souls’ Day, the combined choirs of St Mary’s and St Nicolas’ will be singing Fauré’s Requiem, with Jerry Spence at the organ and David Smith conducting. Singers from the parish are warmly invited to come along to swell the ranks – rehearsals will be at St Mary’s from 8.15 until 9pm on Friday evenings. If you have your own copy please bring it, but music will also be available for those without.

David Smith



C4 Children’s Choir – ‘Silent Night’

C4 Children’s Choir are now recruiting for their Christmas musical – SILENT NIGHT. All children Yr R and above who like to sing and act are invited to join us at our rehearsals in Prestbury United Reformed Church, Deep Street on Friday evenings.

Please contact Revd Maz Allen on for more details.



Women’s World Day of Prayer – March 2012

The women of Malaysia have produced the 2012 service, based on the theme ‘Let Justice Prevail’. The new edition of the WWDP magazine contains information about Malaysia including the Lord’s Prayer in the national language and a page of Malaysian cuisine.

Do join us at the local Preparation Seminar on Thursday 3rd November at the Elim Christian Centre, Parkend Road, Gloucester, starting at 10am. Day cost is £2; bring a packed lunch, but tea and coffee are provided. Contact Margaret Apperley by 30th October (usual tel. no. 01452 413104, but during October, 01452 522712) to book a place.



Bible Study Groups

‘Study at Six’ on Tuesday evenings meets twice a month; please contact Deacon Jennifer for details. The Wednesday morning group in Prestbury meets weekly; contact Fr David for more information. If you would like to meet for bible study and fellowship on a different day, please let one of us know and we may be able to start another group.



Sponsored Swim

I achieved my aim of swimming 2.5 km (100 lengths of a 25m pool) in aid of The Ethiopia Link Charity maintaining an Ethiopian Orphanage and I would like to say a huge thank you to all those who so generously sponsored me. The amount raised was £345.

Shirley Brown




Prestbury Parish Magazine - October 2011

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