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

October 2012

Cover photograph:
by  Richard Johnson


Bringing in the Harvest

All Saintstide

Editorial Team Corner

Deacon Jennifer

Welcome on Wednesdays

County Community Projects Foodbox

Harvest at the Green Steps project in North Cheltenham

Snippets from the Tower

Prestbury Flower Arranging Club

Prestbury St Mary’s Church Flowers

Coast-to-Coast: Part 3: the North York Moors

A Harvest of Hope and Reconciliation

Fabric work in St Mary’s and St Nicolas’

Andy Macauly’s Leaving Do

Harvest and Prestbury

Living with a mystery

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


Bringing in the Harvest

Mummy told me that eating bread crusts would make my hair curly – it never did! But whenever I have a loaf, still hot from the oven, I’m a little girl all over again, waiting hopefully for the buttered crust. It always seemed as if Mum waited deliberately until after I’d taken the first big bite before she said, "What do you say?" And when I struggled to reply you can guess what she said next: "Don’t talk with your mouth full!"

Please and thank-you were probably among the first things we ever learned to say - and Harvest is a time for saying thank-you. Thank you that someone (probably not one of us) has been busy ploughing the fields and scattering the good seed, so that, after a bit of snow in winter and some warmth to swell the grain, it can be harvested and processed, allowing us to pop out to the supermarket and buy food for Sunday lunch, neatly packaged and possibly even ready-to-serve.

Harvest Festival gives us an opportunity to celebrate all that God provides for us: "first the grain, and then the ear and then the full seed shall appear." This cycle of life in the natural world is one of nature’s miracles. We so easily take it for granted until floods or drought threaten our supplies; then we’re reminded that food supplies are often uncertain for many people across the world. So Harvest is also a time when we bring a gift to church; tinned food to be passed on to somebody who needs it, or money to be sent to a charity working to relieve famine overseas.

But many of our harvest hymns also remind us that giving thanks for food and farmers might not be the only thing we need to think about. A crop of quite a different kind will be gathered by the Lord of Harvest, when he comes to bring us into his eternal barns.

One of the prayers we use at our Sunday Eucharists expresses the hope that each one of us will be a part of the Harvest that God will gather into His everlasting kingdom when life on earth is over.

"Look with favour on your people, gather us in your loving arms and bring us with all your Saints to feast at your table in Heaven"

It’s really rather appropriate that many of our churches now celebrate Harvest Festival within the context of a service of Holy Communion. The spiritual food we receive there provides the energy we need to sustain our lives as Christians in this world, and it prepares us for our eternal home in the next.

So when our Harvest Festival and our Eucharist are combined into a single great thanksgiving, we really do join with all the Saints in saying, "Come with all thine angels, come! Bid us sing thy Harvest Home."

Deacon Jennifer



All Saintstide

Due to the way the calendar falls this year we will commemorate All Souls before we celebrate All Saints, rather than the other way round!

All Souls Day Friday 2nd November

There will be a Sung Requiem in St Mary’s at 7.30pm with the combined choirs from St Mary’s and St Nicolas. During the Eucharist we will remember before God, by name, our own departed loved ones. Lists will be available in each church for you to enter any names you would like remembered, or contact the clergy.

All Saints Sunday 4th November

The celebration of All the Saints will be kept on Sunday 4th November and in the afternoon, at 4.00pm, there will be a Memorial Service. Each year we invite those who have been bereaved during the past year to join us for a service of hymns and prayers during which we join them in remembering their loved ones who have died. Anyone is welcome to join us for this service which is at 4.00pm in St Mary’s. Members of our bereavement support group will provide tea after the service. (Please note that there is no service at 6.30pm in St Mary’s)

Fr Michael



Editorial Team Corner

Rarely has the first line of Keats’ poem, ‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ held such poignancy, and for so many of us: as the greatest of all summers fades, a summer that saw the momentum of the Jubilee carried forward into the Olympics and Paralympics.

The legacy of the Paralympics is what people CAN do rather than what they cannot. We have fine examples in this magazine of what CAN be done. In fact, Stephen Murton’s illustrated ‘Coast to Coast’ articles have influenced people less physically able than Stephen to begin to plan how they can manage to enjoy parts of the St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay coast-to-coast trek. Similarly, Janet Ford’s article ‘Wednesday Welcomes’ shows what can be done to make social gatherings more inclusive within the local community.

I am writing on the day after the fourth and final London Games ceremony, which focussed on Britain’s pagan traditions, influenced by harvest and fire. Our theme this month is also harvest, a term derived from the Anglo-Saxon word haverfest, meaning ‘autumn’. Here in Britain, thanks have been given for harvest since pagan times. It refers to the season of reaping and gathering grain and other grown products.

The tradition of Harvest Festivals in churches began in 1843. They are usually held on the Sunday nearest the Harvest Moon, being the full moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox. As British people have come to rely less heavily on home grown produce, churches have begun to link the topic with a growing concern for people not only in the developing world, but here at home. Our central article, contributed by Matt Allison, who worships at Celebrate!, illustrates what can be done to help families undergoing hardship and crisis, especially during this tough economic climate.

Our theme for the November Magazine is REMEMBERING, and for December and January, CHANGE.  The Editorial Team looks forward to receiving your articles, observations, photos and drawings over the coming weeks.  A handwritten article dropped through my letterbox this morning. I was so happy to receive it, as the author expressed her delight at the ‘splendid wine tasting evening’ hosted by Roger and Linda Hodges.

Jean Johnson



Take a bow and carry on

Special thanks are due to Brian Wood, who made such an excellent job of editing the June and July/August editions. As well as providing continuity, it gave the new Editorial Team the breathing space they needed to make such a good start last month. Brian continues in his much-valued role as technical adviser: helping us to resolve computer-related issues, keeping information flowing smoothly and doing great work on the picture content. His attention to detail is invaluable. Thank you Brian!

Fr Daniel



Deacon Jennifer

Our congratulations go to Deacon Jennifer who has been licensed by Bishop Michael as Team Deacon to serve in the North Cheltenham Team Ministry. The licensing service took place on Monday 10th September during a Said Eucharist in Bishop Michael’s private chapel and marks the completion of Jennifer’s period of curate training.



Caring for the Sacristy at St Mary’s

We are looking for volunteers to join our Sacristy Team. Sacristy volunteers work in pairs on a quarterly rota over the course of the year. Each volunteer receives a short training period to undertake caring for the Sacristy. For, as well as being simply ‘good house keeping’, it has a direct influence on our worship. It is one of the ways in which we give of our best and in which we offer what we have and what we are. Enabling us to assist the priest in the service of God. Please contact Rosie Bradbury for further information.

Jean Johnson



Welcome on Wednesdays

After recent ‘Afternoon Teas’, as a means of fundraising at St Nicolas’, we have decided to arrange a regular once-a-month gathering, usually (but not always!) on the fourth Wednesday in the month.

If you would like to pop in on one of our dates, then please think of a friend or neighbour who might also enjoy a spot of company (in addition to tea and cake!). You will be warmly welcomed.

Our first 'Welcome on Wednesday' will be on October 24th at 2:30pm in St. Nicolas' Church Room, with subsequent gatherings on November 28th and December 19th.

After Christmas we hope to plan further dates. Go on - give it a try!

Janet Ford



County Community Projects Foodbox

Harvest time is often associated with sharing and the giving of food to the needy. Aptly enough, Matt Allison, a well-known member of the Celebrate! congregation, has sent us news of the work carried out by County Community Projects.

Have you noticed a large box just inside the door of St Mary’s. For some time now we have been supporting County Community Projects by filling the box with tinned foodstuffs and other non-perishable goods. But where does it go?

CCP Food Share is an emergency food distribution service for people and families in times of crisis. These are generally ordinary people who suddenly find themselves facing poverty and hunger due to loss of salary, change in benefits, unexpected large bills, illness or family breakdown. The CCP Food Share scheme provides food parcels to cover the immediate crisis or to give support in the intervening period before statutory agencies can begin ongoing, longer-term assistance.

It would be wonderful if every church member could add an item to their weekly shop and pop it in the box on a Sunday. Anything with a long shelf-life is suitable.

Why should we? Well, throughout the Bible the call of God to his people is to live in a way that is radically different from their neighbours (Deuteronomy 4:5-8; Isaiah 9:2 and 42:6; Luke 2:32). This includes living generous, even carefree, lives that demonstrate complete trust in God (Matthew 6:25-34). By restoring justice and fairness to the earth we communicate clearly what kind of a world God wants to see.

"If you remove [slavery] from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday." (from Isaiah 58)

CCP rely heavily on churches for this work, and what better practical demonstration of the love of God could there be? Paul Shane Spear wrote: "As one person I cannot change the world, but I can change the world of one person." In a small way our contributions to the Foodbox can help to do this. Please give if you can. Thank you.

Matt Allison


What produce to give?

When we see articles like the one above, we often forget to act or a43 not sure what to give. So it might help to offer a list of possible foods to contribute. Here it is so you can pop it on your shopping list:

  • Tinned pies, soup, meat, hot dogs, corned beef, tuna, tinned stews or casseroles
  • Dried rice, noodles or pasta
  • Cooking sauces, curry sauces
  • Tinned vegetables, tomatoes, baked beans, spaghetti hoops, ravioli
  • Boxes of breakfast cereal, rolled oats for porridge
  • Teabags, coffee, instant hot chocolate, sugar, bottles of concentrated squash
  • Jars of jam, peanut butter, biscuits, honey, Nutella, marmite, marmalade
  • Tinned or boxed biscuits, crackers, snack bars (anything that won’t be damaged too easily)
  • Dried milk powder e.g. semi-skimmed
  • Anything from the above that’s wheat or dairy-free (gluten intolerant individuals can suffer hardship too!) - try the ‘Free From’ aisle.

Plus anything else you might find!!


Harvest at the Green Steps project in North Cheltenham

The project was opened in the summer of 2006 near Sainsbury’s on the Tewkesbury Road. Green Steps provide training and support for adults with learning disabilities by teaching gardening skills. Later that year, Green Steps received gifts and donations providing the service users with a large range of fruit trees, an ash tree and all the necessary equipment for a large pond, including a strong grid to cover it, enabling wheelchair users to watch the pond and fish.

We visited the Project this September and were delighted to find a sensory area, maze, greenhouses, a range of sheds and raised beds, together with recreation areas. We explained to that we were interested in taking Harvest photos for our Parish Magazine . They welcomed us as they were picking and gathering their harvest and Nick Huston and David Bullock gave us permission to take their photos on the understanding that we would return with a copy!


We were thrilled to stumble upon this Project, almost on our doorstep. We hope to return in the Spring to talk to the gardeners about their choice of seeds for the raised beds and sensory areas.  We may even be tempted to give Nick and David a helping hand! Look out for the March 2013 magazine, with the theme of New Beginnings. The photos  are just a small sample of the Service Users gardening activities at the Green Steps Project.

Diane and Fr Mike French



Snippets from the Tower

We have had quite a busy summer. The wedding season is now drawing to a close but we have been pleased to ring for several happy couples on their special day. In addition to this, we have said farewell to one of our ringers, Hazel, who with her husband has moved to pastures new. She has family in the village so we know she will visit us when she can, and we shall be more than pleased to see her, as she was a valued member of the band; we shall miss her.

In mid-August a band, including Hazel, rang a quarter peal of Plain Bob Doubles for Sunday evensong. This consisted of 1260 changes on the front six of our ring of bells and took 41 minutes. The ringer of the tenor (6th) bell was Matt who has been gaining experience with us for a couple of years. This was his first quarter peal. In ringing circles this marks a giant step and is a real achievement. Our congratulations to him.

Our learners continue to make good progress and have graduated from merely joining us on practice nights to ringing for Sunday morning Eucharist as well. Peter manages to juggle family commitments for us, and our junior learner, Will, is also doing really well. Both learners are valuable additions to our band.

Jenni Scruton



Prestbury Flower Arranging Club

Sue Deadman from "Eden" of Bishop's Cleeve will be coming to demonstrate for us on Monday 22nd October. Our meetings are held in Prestbury Hall on Bouncers Lane and commence at 7.30pm with the hall open from 7pm. As we will also be holding one our popular produce stalls on that evening it might be a good idea to get there promptly! Sue is a talented local florist and though I have seen her demonstrate before this will be her first visit to Prestbury Flower Club, I am sure she will come up with some unusual ideas for us, the majority of which will be raffled at the end of the evening, so do come along and join us for a rather different approach to flower arranging. Visitors are always welcome at £5 per person.

We still have a few places available for our trip to the "Longhope Experience" on Thursday 8th November, tickets cost £18.50 and include a demonstration in Longhope Church followed by a super lunch in the village hall. This will be the last year that the "Experience" will be taking place, so if you have never been this is your last chance and it really is well worth a visit. If you are interested in joining us do give me a ring or you can call Fenella Botting. Lots more information and pictures of past demonstrations can be viewed on our website,

Lindsey McGowan



Prestbury St Mary’s Church Flowers

We have certainly been delighted by the wonderful flowers in St Mary’s over the past few months for important occasions, especially the Diamond Jubilee and various weddings more recently. We would like to thank everyone who kindly sponsored these flowers.

It is now time to think of the autumn festivals, and the church will soon be decorated for Harvest. I am writing to remind you that, whilst the "Flower Ladies" are very happy to provide super arrangements, we all need to contribute towards the costs of the flowers. There will be bowls out for donations and we will be very grateful for all contributions. Thank you.

Wendy Price



Coast-to-Coast: Part 3: the North York Moors

23 miles is hard on the feet, even though the terrain is relatively flat between Richmond and Ingleby Cross, so I was glad to be able to sleep andeat at the Blue Bell Inn rather than walk any further! Highlights of the day included visiting the memorial in St. Mary’s churchyard, Bolton-on-Swale, to Henry Jenkins who was reputedly born in 1500 and died in 1670 at the age of 169, and a man with an aeroplane (self-built!) in his garage which he flew from a grass field behind his house. The following day I set off onto the North York Moors on a wonderfully sunny day – sporting shorts and T-shirt, as well as hat and sunblock. As evidenced by the contour lines, the North York Moors is not one expanse of moorland but a series of humps with periodic steep descents from one moor down into a road gap, followed by equally steep ascents back onto the next moor.

Starting up Beacon Hill I happened upon a BT microwave relay station, the expanse of wire mesh fencing and metal towers somewhat incongruous amongst the natural surroundings. The popularity of walking on the Moors is such that, over time, teams of volunteers have had to set rough paving stones into the paths to combat erosion. The hazy views from the top of the moors were breathtaking at times, as was meeting various lads attacking the "walk" on mountain bikes; they said they spent more time carrying the bikes than riding them! I felt fortunate that the weather was fine as there is absolutely no cover from trees or otherwise on these moors; I can’t imagine what it would be like in inclement weather.

Catholic church at Egton Bridge

A good part of the walk from Ingleby Cross is along the Cleveland Way, as far as Bloworth Crossing where it turns north, and my onward trail then diverges across Farndale Moor, Blakey High Moor and Danby High Moor, following the old Rosedale ironstone railway track. A late afternoon stop at the Lion Inn at Rosedale Head afforded the opportunity for a welcome cold beer before being picked up two miles later by my cousin for an overnight stop in Kirkbymoorside. The Inn is far enough away from civilisation that one visitor had actually come by helicopter, landing on flat ground nearby.

"Lancashire Fusilier" and "Green Knight"
 at Grosmont station

After being dropped back on the trail the following morning, it was more of the same: Great Fryup Head (you couldn’t make these names up!), Glaisdale Rigg, the Beggars Bridge in Glaisdale itself and the picturesque little village of Egton Bridge where, somewhat bizarrely given the size of the village, I came across a large and ornate Catholic church. The village of Grosmont provided that experience without which no expedition is complete – a steam railway. The North York Moors Railway climbs from Pickering through some spectacular scenery and has a number of beautifully preserved working engines – 45407 "The Lancashire Fusilier" and 75029 "The Green Knight" were in the station on my arrival. After an over- night on a farm in Littlebeck, I finally began to sense that the journey was nearing its end but on reaching the cliff edge between Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay, I found that you couldn’t see the sea at all - it was completely obscured by sea mist! Fortunately RHB itself was set back from the line of mist and was clear and sunny, so it was now time to indulge in the three essential coast-to-coast traditions: have a beer in the Wainwright Bar at the Bay Hotel, dip one’s boots in the North Sea to signify successful arrival, and collect a commemorative certificate from the artist’s shop opposite the Bay Hotel. The journey was complete.

Day 12: Dipping boots in the North Sea at the end of the walk

Stephen Murton



   Part 1 - The Lake District        Part 2 - the Yorkshire Dales


A Harvest of Hope and Reconciliation:

Support for disadvantaged children in South Sudan

The brothers of the Taizé Community in France bring support to people in difficulty on the different continents, especially to children who are destitute or sick. In addition, it helps certain young people coming either to Taizé or to the European, Latino-American, African or Asian meetings: many of them cannot cover the entire cost of their stay or their travel because they come from so far away

In past years we in the North Cheltenham Team Ministry have had some connection with South Sudan, through a visit by a missionary, Robin Denney, who came to preach at St Mary’s in June 2009. To mark the 50th anniversary of the Church of Reconciliation in Taizé, inaugurated in August 1962, Brother Alois announced an initiative to show solidarity with South Sudan, just coming out of 20 years of war. "Through Operation Hope, which supports various projects on different continents we will support the disadvantaged children of the town of Rumbek for the next three years."

The war has made South Sudan a country well behind in development terms, and in particular illiteracy is widespread. Many young people have known only violence, but now there is a great effort being made to give back to younger generations the meaning of working the land or to encourage them to study. It requires great patience and sensitivity because feelings of humiliation, frustration and anger are easily exacerbated in young people. It will take time before independence embodies all the dreams of several oppressed generations.

For the people of South Sudan "Harvest" means more than the gathering of food, as important as that is. Our hope is that there will be a different kind of harvest as new skills are learned and developed and anger is replaced with hope, peace and even reconciliation both within South Sudan and in its relations with other countries, especially its northern neighbour.


Father Daniel



The late Br. Roger, Founder of Taizé Community

Worship in the Chapel with the young people and community

Photos from Fr John Gann


Fabric work in St Mary’s and St Nicolas’

Faculties have now been granted giving permission for two projects to proceed in St Mary’s. The first, involving minimum cost to the PCC thanks to the generous donation of time and labour, will improve the storage facilities in the Server’s Vestry and recycle some of the old pews that were removed many years ago. The second project, which is more dependent on funds being available, is to carpet the area at the top of the nave. Carpet matching the blue carpet in the Choir will replace the piece which is not fitted and will stretch from the South aisle across to the North aisle. Before the carpet is laid some work will need to be done to the flooring in this area which is in a very poor condition and we are grateful for the offer of assistance with this work.

At St Nicolas, plans have been on display for a proposed new entrance to the Hall which would include disabled toilet facilities. This project is still in the exploratory stages and comments on the plans are very welcome. The Hall Committee and the PCC will also need to consider how this project would be funded once costs are known. The other project under consideration is for a new set of etched glass doors leading from the entrance hall into the church. These doors would be dedicated in memory of Jackie Moles, and her daughter Justine has been working with our church architect on their design.

Please do ask any of our Churchwardens if you would like to know any more about any of these projects.

Fr Michael



Friends of St Mary’s Prestbury

The wine tasting event on 7th September was held on a glorious evening in the garden of Linda and Roger Hodges. When a similar event was held there 2 years ago, we experienced one of the wettest days of that year. This year fortune smiled on us; and everyone could enjoy not only wine but a spectacular garden.

The master of wine ceremonies was Gordon of John Gordons wine bar in Montpellier. He led us on a brief toasting tour of affordable wines from Europe and the New World with a clear commentary of his own preferences.

We are most grateful to the Hodges both for hosting the event, providing delicious pizzas and for their hard work in erecting (and dismantling) the tent.

Jim Mackie




Many thanks to Roger, Linda and their team of helpers for a splendid wine tasting evening at Dunelm House.

This time the weather was perfect, which enabled them to showcase their lovely garden. We tasted at least 6 wines which gave me an appetite for Linda’s excellent pizzas. More please!

Liz Chantree – a friend


Andy Macauly’s Leaving Do

Saturday 1st September at St Nicolas

The roasted pig arrives

Thanks Andy

On Saturday 1st September, there was a leaving do held for Andy Macauly, with worship, socialising and most importantly, hog roast. This was very successful and a pleasure to attend, and it was such a great way to celebrate the work which Andy has done in his time with us. He has done so much for the youth work, especially in the four main youth groups: Elevate, Synergy, The Chill and The Lounge. I joined Elevate five years ago with Andy as the leader, which was probably the best thing that I could have done, as Andy and the rest of the PPY team have been my support system throughout this time. Andy has helped me and many others to grow in both faith and life. When I was first starting at senior school, youth club with Andy was the only place where I felt I could talk about my faith. After having the support of Andy for a few years, I found that I could start to talk about my faith with others who had different opinions to me. This new confidence opened new doors for me, as did the opportunity to join the worship band which was put together for events such as the "Reach" services run by the youth groups.

People enjoying the sunshine outside

Andy has provided many opportunities for the youth, such as going on weekend trips to Viney Hill in the Forest of Dean where he proved to have the patience of a saint, putting up with a house full of teenagers and keeping us entertained for the duration. Whilst at Viney Hil, we took part in activities such as wide games, canoeing, kayaking, low ropes courses, caving, archery, mountain biking and the huge campfire! Andy has always been willing to take part in activities no matter how ridiculous or difficult they were.

A slightly more relaxing experience led by Andy was the trip to Soul Survivor. This week-long event helped a group of us to learn practical skills such as pitching tents and cooking food on a simple gas camping grill, but also helped us to grow closer to God in discussions about our faith, visits to the Big Top (to worship with 10,000 other Christians) and through the various arts and social locations around the site. My favourite was the dance academy, and when I went out to meet up with the dance crew for a few hours in the evening, Andy stayed up until gone midnight to make sure that I was back safely before going to bed.


Andy receives a scrapbook
 from Kathryn Porter


Andy receives an iPad
from Fr Michael

At the hog roast event, past and present members of PPY presented him with a scrapbook compiled by Kathryn Porter, which contained many messages, pictures and memories of our time with Andy. My contribution to this book was the following poem:

Five years ago I started Elevate,
The activities were fun and the people were great,
As I have grown I have been helped through life,
With activities such as cutting flour with a knife,
Talking in pods or doing some worship,
Not to mention food such as crisps and dip,
Chocolate, cake, this sounds rather bad,
But it was all fairtrade I hasten to add,
Andy Macauly is the mastermind,
Often a Frisbee he’s been known to find,
When we’ve thrown them out far and wide,
If it’s been nice enough to play outside,
The weather didn’t stop him still,
Each time he took us to Viney Hill,
We’d go on night walks round and about,
Roast marshmallows until the fire died out,
Soul Survivor was fantastic in a word,
With crazy warm ups from Von Lycra the Third,
So Andy I thank you for helping me grow,
And I know many will be sad to see you go,
But you will still shine through at the Rock,
So now all I can say is good luck!

Andy Macauly has been a great youth leader and we are all very thankful that God sent him to us so many years ago, and let us know that he would be there for us for so long. I hope that his time at The Rock is as successful and I know that he will be a much loved addition to their team, good luck Andy!

Andy and family and Fr Michael and 11 young people who have benefited from Andy in the last 12 years

Sophie Bestwick


Harvest and Prestbury

As congregations around the country prepare to sing ‘We Plough the Fields and Scatter’ and other seasonal standards, what relevance do such nostalgic celebrations hold for us here in Prestbury?

Within living memory Prestbury was a retreat from the rest of Cheltenham. Prestbury held many working farms; its residents worked the fields, derived income from related industries and truly valued the land that surrounded them. Perhaps inevitably with increased urban development and the loss of agricultural resources our connection to the land has dwindled. It was particularly sad to see posters around the village recently declaring the Prestbury Garden Produce Show ‘cancelled due to lack of interest’.

In the last few decades, as agriculture has declined, the national emphasis at harvest festival has moved away from celebrating the local harvest to raising awareness and supporting the plight of those less fortunate at home and abroad. This is right and admirable as of course we have a responsibility to support others and share Gods love worldwide.

However, our own land is as important an area as any other, worthy of protection and unique in its ecological make up. Food may now be plentiful in the modern world and to import is relatively cheap and easy, but there will come a time when things are not so. When our agricultural land is lost to development it can never be fully reclaimed and, as we know it, is gone forever.

It is quite clear from reading Genesis that our duty and original purpose as created by God is one of caretaker and custodian of the land. "The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it" Genesis 2:15

God created for us a world of staggering beauty and complexity and by giving over our precious resources and heritage to urban development we are abandoning our calling and failing in that purpose. God is infinite. The green and pleasant land He has entrusted to us is not.

To find out how you can help protect and reinvigorate your local environment visit us and join our team at  or

Matthew Parker


Living with a mystery

Mary turned around and saw Jesus, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" Supposing him to be the gardener she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away". Jesus said to her, "Mary!". She turned and said to him, "Teacher!" Jesus said to her, "Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father"…

Why bring this text out at this time of year? The joy and the mystery of that spring Sunday seem such a long way from the darkening days of Autumn. But though this story, is about the experience of those who were there that Easter morning, it is really meant for people who were not, and that, of course, includes people like us. How are we to believe in a Christ we cannot see or touch?

There is a striking painting in the National Gallery, by the 16th century artist Titian, of Mary kneeling before a Christ she has suddenly recognised, the grave clothes still half around him, reaching out as if to be sure he is really there, trying to clutch and hold on to someone she thought she had lost for ever, and would never see again. The painting is titled "Noli Me Tangere", "Do not touch me", and it is the genius of the artist that he has found a way to paint a Christ who seems to be at the same time both reaching out and withdrawing, as he bends over Mary. But that hardly seems to make sense: how can he be both welcoming her and leaving her at the same time? It is that paradox that engages the writer of the Fourth Gospel, reacting no doubt to the questions of the young churches he was writing for, and that speaks to people ever since as they try to work out their faith in the risen Christ.

Titian’s masterpiece was part of a major exhibition of religious art down the centuries, called "Seeing Salvation", which the Gallery mounted in 2000. The Gallery curator, Neil Macgregor, wrote of this painting and what it tells "Mary’s gesture concedes that what she loves is now unattainable in the terms familiar to her, that the fulfilment of her love will not be physical, but spiritual. And her anguish of a few minutes before is resolved; because a lord who cannot be touched is a lord who can never be taken away".

That figure of the mysterious, ‘different’, not-quite-recognised Christ keeps turning up, through the New Testament and ever since – a sense of someone there, someone who may not at first seem like Christ at all, a voice calling our name, a Lord we long for, or perhaps a Lord we’d rather given up on. His gift, then or now, is not a phantom, but a presence, just out of reach yet closer than heartbeat

Of course that is still mysterious, and mysteries are elusive and hard to hold on to; and they bring us new questions to think about, more intriguing than ever. But this is a mystery that, like Mary, we can live with, and believe in, at Easter or any day at all. For "a Lord who cannot be touched is a Lord who can never be taken away".

David Hamilton



To see the picture, go to:



All Saints’ Road, Cheltenham

(with special reference to the metalwork)









St Mary’s Bakestall

The September bakestall raised £32 which was sent to "Action against Hunger" to be matched by the UK government as part of the "Love Food Give Food" initiative running from September to November. We are always on the look out for these offers!

The next bakestall falls on Sunday 21st October, with the support of the A-F team to be gratefully received.

Margaret Waker and Linda Matthews



Prestbury Mothers' Union

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 23rd October at St Nicolas' Church at 7.30pm. The speaker will be Mr Stephen Murton who is coming to tell us about Wainwright's Coast to Coast walk. Everyone most welcome.

Sylvia McKenzie, Branch Leader





CHADS Supports "Simply Vicky"

The next production from CHADS – "Winter Draws On" – will be held in the Prestbury Hall at 7pm on Friday 16th and Saturday 17th November 2012.  We guarantee lots of laughs! Tickets, to include wine and cheese, will be £6.  All proceeds will be given to ‘Simply Vicky’ to help provide equipment for Vicky Dunn when she returns home.





Any children and young people aged around 7-14 years who enjoy singing, making new friends and growing in their faith, would be very welcome. Come and try a session! For further details please contact Heather Charlesworth -

Heather Charlesworth




National Eczema Society Cheltenham Support Group

This group exists to support people with eczema and their carers. We have contacts from the Society website, and occasional local meetings. The group had a stall at the Rotary Club Jubilee Olympics, which was unfortunately washed out, with very few people brave enough to stop and look!

We plan to hold a meeting on Tuesday 13th November with an invited speaker from the Dermatology department, who will talk to us and then answer questions. This will be at 7.30pm at the Prestbury Centre. There will be plenty of information available with updated leaflets etc. and we also offer refreshments.

For further information about eczema or this meeting, please contact Wendy Price





Visit to Kenya with Kenya Projects UK

Thank you so much to all the members of the Mothers’ Union and others who donated toothbrushes or money for my trip to Kenya starting 28th December 2012 for 2 weeks. I now have lots of brushes which will be very much appreciated at the Children’s Homes we will be visiting. The surplus donations will be used by Kenya Projects UK to help fund ongoing projects, currently a borehole to provide fresh water for the Health Centre, and a carpentry workshop for the Utugi Boys’ Home. We will also purchase new shoes for all the children in St Stephen’s Home, but this purchase is made locally because of the luggage weight issues.

Fundraising continues until we depart. Revd Maz Allen of URC, who founded the charity, will organise a stall at the Promenade Charity Christmas market, selling cakes and produce, on Saturday 1st December. Any donations or other fundraising ideas would be very much welcomed.

Wendy Price





Prestbury Parish Magazine - October 2012

[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