Looking back at 2001
What will you remember most this first year of the new Millennium?
Perhaps September 11th, and the succeeding bloodshed in Afghanistan?
Reflect that humankind still has so very much to learn of the peace which
the Christ Child came to bring. Terrorism, fundamentalism, all persecution,
aggression, and reprisals, cannot be the will of an all-loving God. Each
tragedy has involved individual families, individual people. Pray for a New
Year of Peace.
In our parish, there has been much for thanksgiving.
Mary had nowhere to give birth except in a stable. The Holy Family
became refugees, no doubt suffering further rejections and indignities.
This year the UN Commission for Refugees 'has concern' for 21.5 million
refugees, more in ten years. 2001 has seen an extra 1.1 million more people
being displaced from home. The trend is the wrong way. Remember each
refugee is a child of God and as such has a right to dignity. Pray for all
refugees and for all strangers who come among us, for whatever reason.
Then you will have personal memories, some sad, some happy. At the
Vicarage they include the deaths of two loved mothers and grandmothers, and
a broken arm, but these have been balanced by happy family gatherings and
The clergy have been given the privilege of sharing with others in the
arrival and christening of new babies, of celebrating exam successes,
family weddings, anniversaries, and achievements of all kinds.
Part of a priest's function is to help discern the presence and the love
of God in all of life.
We all still have to learn to fully respect and affirm people of other
faiths, and recognise that they, too, may also hold God's truth, revealed
in other ways. Jesus who said, 'I am the way, the truth and the life', and,
'No one comes to the Father except through the Son', also said, 'Other
sheep I have who are not of this fold,' and 'In my Father's house there are
many rooms.' This equally includes Jews, Muslims, people of other faiths,
and people of no faith during their earthly life, for in the next life with
God, without exception, we shall all be transformed.
My New Year prayer is that all people should live with this
Saturday 10th November witnessed the arrival of a variety of costumed
people advancing on St Nicolas' Hall. We were in the presence of Queen
Elizabeth I, Sir Thomas More and many other Elizabethan characters wearing
elaborate hired, or many skilfully made, costumes.
All had gathered for our Elizabethan Banquet. 'Bags of Brass'
entertained us and set the mood before the banquet began. The drab hall had
been transformed by Jackie Moles' traditional art work and candlelight. The
'Elizabethan Babes' played Elizabethan music during the feast and taught us
an Elizabethan round involving a cat. All joined in with gusto.
Serving wenches served the delicious food assisted by the Baldricks, who
also ran the bar, so thanks to my fellow staff - Janet, Gill, Jan, Ruth,
John, Simon and Nigel.
Prizes were awarded for the most original costumes: Jackie Moles' was
judged most original
female costume and Roger Ashman's costume most original male.
SNADS ably entertained
us after the meal with their usual enthusiasm and this made a wonderful
conclusion to a magical evening.
My special thanks go to Janet White, my fellow worker from our Mediaeval
Banquet 15½ years ago. In another 15½ years we shall be 70, so I doubt if
banquets will be on our minds then!
The very welcome profit for the St Nicolas' Renewal Appeal is over £500.
YOU ARE INVITED
to come and find out all about 'England's Nazareth'
Walsingham is a village in Norfolk to where, throughout the ages, many
have gone on pilgrimage to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.
A weekend pilgrimage from our Parish has been booked for the early May
Bank Holiday next year. If you'd like to learn a little more about
Walsingham and what we get up to when we're there, please join us for a cup
of tea in St Nicolas' Room on Sunday 2nd December at 4.00pm
There will be an opportunity to watch a video about Walsingham, to view
photographs of past pilgrimages and browse through other information.
You will not be under any obligation to join the pilgrimage - this is
just an opportunity to find out a little more!
This will be celebrated with a Sung Eucharist on
Thursday 6th December at 7.30pm
in St Nicolas' church
Refreshments will be served after the service
A Patronal Festival is an important day in the life of
Do come and join the rest of the Church Family for our celebration.
The Brass quintet is looking forward to playing from 5.45pm until the
beginning of the service: a captive audience is not inclined to walk away.
We feel that we are the birthday party element of the evening, acting as a
warm-up to the main service of the celebration of the birth.
More secular type tunes are played in the first part of our programme:
JOPLIN, BEATLES, SULLIVAN etc. Why should the Devil have all the best
tunes? Among the more sober tunes we play as we approach the beginning of
the service will you recognise IT CAME UPON THE MIDNIGHT CLEAR? We play the
tune WILLIS rather than the more popular SULLIVAN arrangement.
There will be at least one and possibly two different faces in the
quintet. We all play in different groups and fixtures clash at this time of
year. Our two Christmas performances at JARDINERIE were mid November this
year. Strange, isn't it?
Christian Aid - Carol Singing
There will be envelopes for the Christmas Appeal in both churches in due
course. In addition, both choirs will be singing carols for Christian Aid
at Sainsbury's on Saturday 22nd December, St Nicolas' from 10-11am and St
Mary's from 2-3pm. Do join them if you can.
Gill Ashman & Paddy Spurgeon
It's a call to every man, woman and young person in our congregations.
People of every age, and every stage in their Christian lives! Anyone, in
fact, who wants to discover more about themselves, their faith - and,
perhaps, how to talk to others about it.
That's the essence of Springboard in Prestbury in 2002, when we all have
a chance to explore our faith in the face of some everyday issues.
Friendship, for instance - what does it mean to have friends in our lives?
How about conflict and betrayal - how easy is it to really forgive?
Then death and resurrection - what do we truly believe?
Springboard for Faith is a chance for each of us to explore these
challenging questions - and more - over the course of six evenings to be
held weekly from February 12th at St Mary's Infant School in Bouncer's
In small groups, we'll have a tremendous opportunity to talk, listen and
share our questions, doubts and fears. It's a chance to be bold and
reflective, or quiet and thoughtful. It could be a real adventure of
self-discovery that could help us learn to talk about our faith to our
families, friends and neighbours.
What will the evenings be like?
Springboard for Faith is based on Jesus, Today, Tomorrow,
Forever?, the video of the Cheltenham Passion Play held in 2000.
The video is divided into the five themes of Friendship, Conflict,
Betrayal, Death, and Resurrection.
Each evening will concentrate on one of the themes, and a clip of the
video will be shown, followed by group discussion, coffee and fellowship,
and a short meditation, again based on the video. Each session will last
for just one hour and 15 minutes.
On the sixth evening, we'll join together to eat, drink, and review what
we've covered - and how we can move forward to take the Christian message
Most importantly, there will be no pressure and no fixed agenda. Each
group will have a 'leader' to help keep the discussion moving - but how
much you personally choose to say, or how far you join in, is entirely in
your hands. Springboard for Faith is for you.
What do we hope to achieve?
Springboard for Faith is Prestbury's response to the Springboard
initiative, which aims to strengthen Christians for mission.
And although that might sound daunting, it's really about finding out
how we, as individuals, can best talk to other people about our church, our
faith, and what it means to have God in our lives.
So our aim is to get an enormous number of people on board for the
February/March evenings - and generate a fantastic level of enthusiasm and
commitment for the next two stages of Springboard:
Holy Week: taking the Easter message to the people of
Prestbury through drama;
After Easter: sharing our faith with friends and neighbours,
with another series of discussion evenings.
So what are we asking you to do?
Join the six week programme and be part of this great initiative in
Prestbury! Look out for the posters and leaflets in church after Christmas
for details of how to "sign-up". And, in the meantime, please pray for the
success of Springboard for Faith - that it might be everything we
Caroline Sexton, Springboard for Faith Planning Team
One of the most exciting things for me about being a Christian is the
fact that we share in something which is not just limited to a small group
- but the whole Church.
Recently Young People from Synergy have met up to eat ice cream and play
icebreakers with others from Charlton Kings and attended a training day on
sharing their faith with young people from across the Diocese.
There are also exciting links being developed within the Cheltenham
Christian Youth Leaders Forum - a group of Leaders who meet to support and
pray for each other, while the Diocesan Youth Work Forum continues to be a
valuable source of information and inspiration.
And the future? There are plans to hold a week of prayer by young people
across Cheltenham during Holy Week; we hope to continue to meet with other
groups across Cheltenham and The Space will soon be taking on other youth
groups in sport.
Please pray that these links would strengthen - but that it would be at
a level of individual relationships that we are able to share the
excitement of journeying together with God.
PARISH OF PRESTBURY YOUTH
Exploring Faith and Life
1900 - 2100 Sunday evenings
St Nicolas' Room & Hall
Last session this term is Sunday 2nd December
Restarts Sunday 13th January 2002
Y7+ youth club
1930 - 2100 Thursday evenings
St Nicolas' Room & Hall
Term ends with a Bonfire on Thursday
(no session on 6th December)
Restarts Thursday 17th January 2002
Y9+ youth club
2000 - 2200 Friday evenings
St Nicolas' Room & Hall
Friday 14th December - Christmas Ball
Restarts Friday 18th January 2002
New members always welcome!
Diocesan Youth All-Night
Fundraiser 7/8 December
A fantastic chance to get involved in raising money
for India and the homeless in Gloucester including a night packed full of
fun and stimulating activities. If you are not going along why not sponsor
someone who is?
For more info on any of the above please contact Andy Macauly
At our Ministry Leadership Team meetings we are now working through a
module on the Bible. I was struck by a couple of pieces from one of the
resource books I'm reading to give us a wider breadth to our meetings and
hope it will also strike a chord with some other church members.
From a book about the Bible by one Walter Wink (ISBN 0-687-09626-X):
"Parables are tiny bits of coal squeezed into diamonds, condensed metaphors
that catch the ray of something ultimate and glint it at our lives. They
are the jewelled portals of another world; we cannot see through them like
windows, but lights are refracted through their surfaces that would
otherwise blind us - or pass unseen." "Parables have hooks all over them;
they can grab each of us in a different way, according to our need."
Ministry Leadership Team
12.00 noon in both Churches
This special time of prayer for the needs of our world began on Saturday
13th October and is led by members of our Ministry Leadership Team. We have
been encouraged by the number of people who have joined them in one of the
churches for this short time of public prayer every Saturday. The Angelus
bell is rung before the prayers begin. This serves as a call to prayer and
also as a reminder to those who hear it that prayers are being offered. We
feel that the need for prayer is still very great at this time. If you are
not able to get to church, why not make Saturdays at noon a time for your
Auction of Promises, Theatre trip to Stratford, 'the Herods' - meal &
talk, Talent Contest, Walsingham Festival in Llandaff, Fashion Show,
Thanksgiving for Marriage Weekend, Summer Supper and Songs, Open Gardens,
Parish Dance, Parish Barbecue, Patronal Festival Lunch, September Fayre,
Quiet Day in Nympsfield, Abertillery Choir, Elizabethan Banquet. All of
those, plus refreshments after weekday festivals, are just some of the
social occasions which have been on offer to us during the year (and that's
just up to November!).
Many, many thanks to all those people who have taken any part in
organising and running the social events which so many of us have been able
to enjoy this year. The newly named Parish Events Committee are now
putting together the 2002 Events Calendar. This is still in the planning
stage, so if you have any suggestions (or offers) to make, please speak to
a member of the committee. We would be interested in ideas for trips,
talks, rambles, meals, entertainment or any other social occasion. It is
always good to have a 'get together', but it is especially good to have
events to which we can invite people who are not church members - perhaps
neighbours or friends - then they can see that we do know how to enjoy
Saturday 2nd February: 'Candlemas Quiz Night' with refreshments &
John Elliott, Eileen Jones, Margaret Holman, Kay Porter, Ruth Rudge, Fr
The Millennium Resolution
Let there be:
respect for the earth;
peace for its people
love in our lives;
delight in the good;
forgiveness for past wrongs;
and from now on a new start.
reprinted from the February 2000
In September 1971 Stuart Jones, the Headmaster of our Church Junior
school, secured the appointment of the new, young teacher who was, it
turned out, to succeed him. Peter Vaus
had trained for his profession in Leeds, where he studied History, Theology
and Philosophy. His first teaching post was in Hertfordshire. After moving
to Cheltenham, he spent a sabbatical year at Oxford and proceeded to work
in the County of Gloucestershire before joining the staff of the Junior
school here in Prestbury.
At that time it was a relatively small village school, which had only
recently separated from the Infant school and had only five teachers,
including Stuart, and a mere 125 children.
How things have altered as the school has grown and flourished! Thirty
members of staff (class teachers, support, administrative and music staff)
now fit into the staffroom with a shoehorn. With a two-form entry, 260
pupils now fill the extra classrooms and all the spaces which have been
During the 30 years Peter has been with us, twenty of those as
Headmaster, he has certainly experienced a period of exciting and dramatic
changes in our school and, indeed, in the whole field of Education.
When Peter first came there was no Television, no Video in school. He
well remembers buying our first black and white TV set, a Grundig from
Radio Rentals. What luxury we thought! Now, with ICT high on the agenda, we
boast a whole new ICT suite, enhanced by a multi-media projection system
from the PTA.
With the increase in instrumental teaching and provision of a Music
room, the musical life of the school has grown and become one of its
greatest strengths. Thanks to Peter, who is himself a violinist.
Nor has Peter's influence been confined to the school itself. At
Diocesan level he played a major role in establishing special services in
the Cathedral for Year 6 school leavers. For many years he has served as
Chairman of the Cheltenham Headteachers' Association with a membership of
38 local schools.
Not so very long ago it was fashionable to talk in terms of
"child-centred education". This has always been Peter's approach. His real,
personal concern for every child in his care has been his hallmark.
We thank him for all he has done and wish him a long and happy
Margaret Waker (School Governor 1972 - )
Do you have long car journeys to fill, or time to just sit, listen and
think? Why not listen to Luke's Gospel being read by Tenniel Evans?
The Education & Nurture committee members have been thinking about the
busy lives we all lead and have some tapes which can be used for
inspiration or learning. St Luke's Gospel is 2½ hours long but can be taken
in sections. Tenniel Evans' projection is enthusiastic and expressive to
the text which he brings alive as the letterform in which it was written.
Over one hundred scholars of diverse denominational backgrounds worked on
the New International Version of the Bible for fifteen years, and their
principle concern was to be faithful to the original text.
I listened to it in the car as I drove around work, ten minutes here,
twenty minutes there, each day for about two weeks. The words were all very
familiar but the presentation made it seem very real, as Luke was relaying
his gathered first hand reports and experiences. Some of the chapters where
parables are gathered together flowed well as one illustration followed
another, but it was also noticeable that occasionally a parable seemed
unrelated to anything before. A first time listener would be left thinking,
"What was that about?" even more than I was so would need an opportunity
The structure of the Gospel had not struck me before. Here is laid out
the sequence of Jesus' witness to Man. Starting with the contemporary
Social and Religious structure we hear the impact made on peoples' lives
before and at his birth. Childhood events affect the adults around Him and
His confidence grows into manhood. Compulsion to take this new message to
the world draws in dedicated followers but with increasing conflict with
authority, culminating in the Passover trial and execution. But just as
important are the reports of witness after His predicted resurrection,
convincing the most depressed and doubting followers that His message had
been true and needed to be taken out to all peoples.
If you have time in your week to listen regularly to the radio, I
recommend you borrow this tape and hear again the experience of someone who
was there, and be encouraged.
This month's sportsman is Andrew.
I started playing football at the age of four months, aided and
encouraged by my granny. At the age of eight, I joined 'The Saturday Club,'
run by Charlton Kings-based Charlton Rovers. During that year, various
friendly matches were organised and then we joined a proper league at the
under-10's age group. I have since progressed through the club right up to
under-16 level and captained the team in our last season. We played in a
tournament in Belgium when I was 12. I also played football at Prestbury
Junior School, and now at Pate's Grammar School. Last year I was selected
to play in the first XI and hope to do so again when the school season
begins after Christmas. In the current school year, I have joined a
five-a-side team and we play every week in Bentham.
The game of football is contested between two teams of 11 players, each
with ten outfield players and one goalkeeper. A player may touch the ball
with any part of the body except the arms and hands and the aim of the game
is simply to get the ball into the opposing team's goal. A game lasts 90
minutes (split into two halves of 45 minutes) and to win a team must score
more times than the opposition within this time. An average full-sized
pitch is about 100 yards long and 40 yards wide. There are no restrictions
as to where any player may go - even some goalkeepers go up to the wrong
end of the pitch if their team is desperate to score a goal!