Our Epiphany celebrations in the parish have become rather special –
celebrating the Eucharist followed by entertainment and a sumptuous meal.
This year we were entertained by John and Helen Wright and Sue Dyson and
truly wonderful it was too. The meal that followed gave a variety of choices
of both main course and dessert – a triumph of culinary art. After three
years this has now become established – hopefully a tradition.
When I was asked to write this page, I started thinking a bit more about
the significance of something like this. It takes a lot of hard work to make
an evening like that pass with apparent ease, creating a relaxed atmosphere.
It takes planning organising and many hands doing what is required. There is
shopping to get, furniture and crockery to collect and arrange, cooking to
be done, entertainment to rehearse. It takes using many of the gifts that
God has given us. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians chapter 12 lists
them for us – prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading and
We often hear about the ministry of all members and this is a perfect
example of it in action. We have all been given gifts, some more obvious
than others, and yet strangely it is the less obvious that, day by day, make
the real difference to our lives. We admire an actor making an Oscar-winning
performance and an athlete winning a Gold medal, but they are just the icing
on the cake. We can, and most of the time do, live without them. The things
that really matter are the little acts of kindness and thoughtfulness. These
are the things that keep the wheels rolling day after day.
Take a look at the churches and their surroundings, and then think about
the amount of work that is required to keep them so beautiful. Think of the
obvious things like the flower arrangements. Then think about less obvious
things like keeping the church clean, ironing the linen, and in summer there
is grass to mow in the churchyards. Then listen to the sounds: think of the
music and the bell-ringing and, less obviously, the clock-winders.
We have wonderful bands of people who visit the sick at home and in
hospital, and others who give up their valuable time to attend committee
meetings where decisions are made on our behalf. There is general
maintenance and administration. And so much more, the list is endless.
God has given us all so many gifts. The best way to praise him and give
him thanks is to use them for each other – a true ministry of all members.
I was glad when they said unto me, we will go into the house of the
Lord. (Ps 122)
Malcolm McKelvey died on 29th December, having enjoyed more than seventy
years of music making including being a boy chorister, organist, piano
accompanist, recitalist, opera repetiteur, choir trainer, conductor,
lecturer, examiner and adjudicator. He also played the violin, bassoon and
in Birkenhead in 1926, from early days Malcolm had an aptitude for music. He
was encouraged by his parents and teachers, and took up his first organist
appointment at the age of fifteen. Called up into the army, Malcolm was
posted to Malta where he became garrison organist. An interview at St
Peter’s Hall (now College), Oxford, led to his appointment as Organ Scholar
in 1947. From then on there was never a lull in his musical activities.
Malcolm was Director of Music at three schools – Wrekin College, Brighton
College, and finally Christ’s Hospital, Horsham, from which he retired in
1985 after 23 years. Many of his pupils went on to distinguished musical
careers in their own right and countless others have given thanks for the
profound enjoyment of music that he helped them to discover.
Invited by Fr Ian Hazlewood, Malcolm came to Prestbury in 1989 as
organist at St Mary’s, a post which gave him enormous satisfaction and
fulfilment. He trained and encouraged many choristers, and arranged
enjoyable concerts to give young people the opportunity to play to parents
and friends. He instigated an annual series of mid-morning concerts preceded
by coffee, and founded the Prestbury Camerata and a wedding choir drawn from
St Mary’s and St Nicolas’. Malcolm was an instinctive accompanist of
worship, a rare ability that springs from his faith. Visiting singers and
instrumentalists invariably commented on his gifted accompaniment.
We have all delighted in Malcolm’s compositions – organ works, settings
for the Eucharist, settings for psalms and hymn tunes. I once mentioned to
him that I found the traditional Ratisbon rather dreary for Wesley’s
majestic ‘Christ whose glory fills the skies’. Within a week he
arrived at the Vicarage with a new tune that he had written – appropriately
named Viveash – and now we would sing no other. Latterly he was also
a prolific composer of manageable pieces for aspiring organists.
Malcolm was meticulous in all that he did. His record keeping was
legendary. In answer to the question of when we had previously sung a
particular hymn, he would consult his record book, and be able to tell the
exact date. This precise mind and meticulous eye for every detail gave me an
inkling of why Malcolm had a particular love for the intricacies and
complexities of Bach fugues and yet seemed to play them so easily.
Eagerly anticipated choir outings took place each summer, usually to
cathedral cities. In every place, Malcolm had contacts and friends, and
their welcome of the Prestbury visitors always enhanced the trip. Invariably
he knew the organist and we were invited to visit the organ loft and other
parts that visitors rarely penetrated.
Malcolm has been strongly supported by Christine, and together they have
contributed greatly to the life of the parish of Prestbury and to music
making in Cheltenham as a whole. They have been a complementary team.
Sadly, illness meant that Malcolm had to take a less active part in the
musical life of the parish, which was a tremendous loss to us. Asking him to
relinquish his post was one of the most painful tasks that I have had to do.
Although music was the dominant force in his life, Malcolm was also a
gifted calligrapher and drew well. In earlier days he was an accomplished
small arms marksman. He loved travel, particularly France, and enjoyed
family camping holidays. He retained a lifelong interest in Tranmere Rovers,
and enjoyed a relaxing pint after choir practice with some of the more
My very last words must be of Malcolm’s faith. Of his great belief in the
loving God who created him, of the Holy Spirit who inspired him, and of his
trust in the Saviour who died and rose for him, and who came to take him to
Malcolm has inspired so very many people. He was invariably kind,
supportive and encouraging to all who came into contact with him. No words
can adequately express our gratitude for him. Thanks be for the very special
ministry of this good, humble, modest servant of God. May he rest in peace.
|Christine and James would like to say a special thank you to
everyone who helped to make Malcolm’s Thanksgiving Service so moving. It
was a wonderful tribute to a great musician. Thank you for sharing it
Daily Telegraph obituary
I enjoyed having a chat with Andy Macauly, our Parish Youth Worker, and
can only say that I am impressed with the amount of work that is being done.
I already knew of the four main groups of organised youth activities and
visited the open day they had at St Nicolas’ last year. However, talking to
Andy helped to fill me in with the work of the groups.
Elevate and Synergy have the accent on faith so that our young people can
explore in their own way more about what we older ones have found in church
going. Elevate is for school years Y7 and Y8 and they meet on Sundays from
5pm to 7pm, then Synergy carries on with the Y9+ students from 7pm to 9pm.
The Space and The Lounge are more youth club style, with The Space
catering for Y7 to Y9 on Thursdays from 7.30pm to 9pm and The Lounge for
Y10+ on Tuesdays from 7.30pm to 9pm. All of these meet in St Nicolas’ Hall
On Tuesday after school at Pittville School there is Pittville Circus
Skills, and on Wednesdays a day working with students at risk of exclusion.
At St Mary’s Junior School there is a group for Y6 during their RE sessions,
with the idea of preparing them for their secondary education.
Quite a busy week for the young man who came to the parish nearly six
years ago. Of course there have always been active youth organisations in
the village with the Brownies and Guides, Cubs and Scouts, as well as
organised sports activities. But Andy is our first designated full-time
Parish Youth Worker to organise groups for the 11- to 18-year-olds. His wife
Sharon works with the volunteer team, particularly with Synergy, and also
copes with a busy husband and their young son. In their team there are 15
adults and 10 young leaders who help to share the load. Their aims are to
provide meetings where young people become aware of the different choices
there are and help them to become more settled with their lives, knowing the
boundaries of acceptable behaviour. They have a regular programme of varied
activities and recently supported the ‘Inspire’ youth event in Gloucester
Cathedral. It can also include ice skating visits, all night watches, trips
to the Forest of Dean, and the annual camp at the Greenbelt Festival on the
Racecourse, when three of the student leaders are members who have gone on
to higher education.
Fr Michael is Andy’s line manager, who is always ready to give of his
experience, and Tricia Wilson, our excellent fund-raiser, has made all the
difference with the financial side of the project. This financial aspect is
becoming increasingly challenging. They do need regular support from us, and
Andy would appreciate more funding to enable them to maintain and develop
what they can offer. Volunteers are always welcome – please contact Andy.
We are lucky to have this talented, dedicated young couple living and
working in our midst who feel that the work they do is what matters most to
them. Let us hope they are able to stay with us and that one day, their
young son will be able to join in these welcome groups.
Youth Work Dates
There will be no groups from 11-16 Feb inclusive (½ term)
Fri 3 February: Y7&8 trip to Laser Tag, Gloucester
Fri 31 March - Sat 2 April: Y9+ Activity Weekend @ Viney Hill
… when we seek happiness? … when we face
… when we make decisions? …
when we contemplate death?
… when we try to make sense
A five-session course with booklet and audio resources
Speakers: Rowan Williams, Patricia Routledge, Joel Edwards,
Speakers: Pauline Webb and David Hope
Following a very successful Lent Course in 2005 we are anxious to start
making arrangements for this year’s course with sufficient time, in order to
avoid a repeat of last year’s frenetic last-minute planning.
- Were you involved last year and are you able to be part of this year’s
- Would you be able to host a group meeting in your home?
- Do you feel able to lead a group? Resources are provided for you.
- Will you come and be part of a group, to share in the discussion,
reflection and hospitality?
The Team-wide Education Group has already identified people who are
willing to co-ordinate the organisation of Lent Groups in each parish – but
Lent Courses know no boundaries. You may attend whichever group is most
convenient for you.
Posters will be displayed in each church giving information about the
Lent Course (in glorious Technicolor!). There are lists for you to sign up
and you will of course be hearing more about it in the weekly notice-slot at
our main Sunday Services.
Lent begins on March 1 and we are hoping for another good response. Don’t
wait to be asked – sign up now or talk an Education Team member in your
Colin Holman at St Mary’s
Margaret Compton at St Nicolas’
Jennifer Swinbank at All Saints’
The Yellow Brick Road to Bethlehem
Celebrate! went ‘over the rainbow’ recently when the theme of The
Wizard of Oz was used to explore our spiritual journey.
Each week different members of the Celebrate! team did a great job
leading the service dressed as the main characters of the film. Sue became
the Scarecrow; Andy was the Tin Man; Father Michael played the Lion and
Kathryn became Dorothy. Much to the delight of the children we had a real
live puppy in church too as Dorothy’s dog was played by Kathryn’s puppy.
We also watched clips of the 1939 film of The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy
meets each of the characters and we learn that the Scarecrow would really
like a brain, that the Tin Man would love to have a heart and that the Lion
was desperate for some courage. It was unusual and great fun to be watching
a film in church!
Each week we followed the characters on The Yellow Brick Road as they
each took a journey of discovery, challenge and friendship, which resulted
in each of them realising that they all already possessed what they were
looking for. And, of course, Dorothy also discovers that ‘there’s no place
At the end of each service, we all wrote prayers or did drawings on small
yellow pieces of paper which we then took to the front of the church and
glued to a long piece of paper which became Celebrate!’s own Yellow
Sharing a great start to the New Year!
It was a surprisingly bright, mild morning which greeted us early on New
Year’s Day and an even more cheerful welcome awaited everyone at St Mary’s;
instead of our usual Celebrate! service at 9.30am, we had decided to
have a very sociable ‘Bring and Share’ breakfast.
So, once everyone had deposited their very generous breakfast donations
on the breakfast table at the front of the church, we started the morning
with some festive music in the form of a number of traditional family
favourites Christmas carols, expertly accompanied by Frances on the piano.
This was followed by Father Michael’s welcome and introductory New Year
Then it was time to tuck in to an amazing feast of croissants, bagels,
bacon and mini sausages, yogurts, muffins and various other delicious
goodies. The children all enjoyed their treats and there was a definite
peace as they enjoyed their breakfasts with their friends, while the grown
ups chatted and exchanged Christmas and New Year stories.
Suitably refuelled, we ended the service with a couple more carols before
having one last opportunity to view the lovely crib scene and nativity
figures at the front of the church.
All in all, an excellent start to 2006 (although not good for the diets…)
– thanks to everyone who made this possible and a Happy New Year to
This Month at Celebrate!
In early February we are continuing our series on some of Jesus’
parables. We aim to present these each week so that whatever age you are, or
whatever stage along your Christian experience, you can connect with
something relevant for you.
Each week our music group leads the singing parts of our worship and
sometimes other parts too. We enjoy old favourites and a steady trickle of
new songs. The more energetic enjoy the range of percussion instruments on
offer and some of the more reflective songs lend themselves to more gentle
We have a web site
www.prestbury.net/celebrate where you can find pictures and news. Most
weeks there is also ‘Going Deeper’. If you are at Celebrate! you will
know that this is on a paper slip but if you can’t be there then logging on
is a handy way to make sure you don’t miss out on the action. ‘Going Deeper’
is always tied in with the theme of the worship that week and offers guided
thoughts for reflection during the week.
In the first three weeks of February we will be looking at ‘The
Persistent Widow’ from Luke chapter 18 verses 1-8, ‘The Workers in the
Vineyard’ from Matthew chapter 20 verses 1-16 and then we’ll have a go at
making up a Modern Parable. The end of February will see the start of a
series about unwrapping some of the ‘I am …’ sayings of Jesus.
If any of this is making you curious – that’s great. Come along to St
Mary’s any Sunday at 9.30am and experience Celebrate! for yourself.
Well, we may not be sending chill tremors of spine-tingling terror
through the Chelsea dressing-room and Arsène Wenger is scarcely quaking in
his boots but Prestbury Parish now has its very own footie team. Eighteen
hardy souls rose to the challenge that had been set before us by the good
folk of St Matthew’s (who play regularly in a local league for church sides)
and took to the field on a crisp but bright December morning. Sadly the
final scoreline of 8-2 to St Matt’s wasn’t all we might have hoped for but
there were one or two moments of brilliance and a really solid first 20
minutes with an even more impressive come-back in the last quarter of an
hour. Above all, the spirit of the game was great, everyone enjoyed
themselves and buoyed up by drinks and the odd chip in the Royal Oak
afterwards, the team were keen for more.
Prestbury (in stripes) score their second goal
So onto 14 January, which saw us trekking over to Naunton Park to play
New Life, a free church from Leckhampton, with more than one player sporting
suspiciously shiny boots still fresh from their Christmas wrapping paper. On
a heavy, mud-strewn pitch though, the gleam of the new boots didn’t last for
long, and again, stamina and fitness told against us. Just 1-0 down after 40
minutes, we were feeling this was a game with chances for us but we conceded
again on the stroke of half-time and the second half saw us defending
frenetically. The star of the show without a doubt was Nick Moore who pulled
off some stunning saves (despite barely being able to stand up for all the
mud!) and one particular effort, diving full-length to palm a great strike
away from the top right corner, was worthy of a TV replay. Our best chance
came from a sustained period of pressure leading to a handball but the
penalty was struck just over the bar. Meanwhile goals leaked in at our end
and at the final whistle we found ourselves on the end of a 5-0 defeat.
Nonetheless, well done to everyone who has played so far and made it such
fun to be part of. Better things should come as we start to find our feet as
a team and play together a bit more. We’re arranging matches against some of
the other Cheltenham church teams through the spring and, who knows, we may
even be ready to join the Church league next season. If you’d be interested
in playing, supporting or even offering a bit of coaching from the
touchline, please ring Fr Grant or Andy Macauly.
Next match 11 February – Come on you Prestbury!
Sarah is on her way from the lowest point on Earth
to the highest, the first part of the journey being by bicycle. The
team at this stage comprises cyclists Dom, Jamie, Nic, Pauline and Sarah,
with Dickie and Rowena driving the support vehicle. They cycled 107km
on Christmas Eve, spending the night in a hotel in Damascus, then 64km on
Christmas Day (after Sarah had opened her stocking!), sleeping that night in
a derelict building somewhere in the Syrian desert, and then managed another
105km on Boxing Day. On New Year's Eve they cycled 167km, sang Auld
Lang Syne at midnight and were fast asleep by 12.10. On 1 January 2006
they crossed into Turkey and are now somewhere in Iran. For up-to-date
information see the online diary on
Some two years ago, one Sunday afternoon, a Parish discussion was held in
St Mary’s church to discover what the parishioners of Prestbury felt the
Church should be doing to serve the needs of the Parish.
One of the most strongly felt views was that the Church should take a
more active part in village life, to present a more welcoming image to those
living around us. I think most people would agree that this last year, in
particular, has seen a good start on this campaign.
We have held a fete and
barn dance free to all comers
in the Royal Oak pub garden which was sheer magic. There was a Gardens open
weekend with cream teas at the church. Some of the tea-drinkers suggested
ploughman’s lunches next time! The English Heritage open weekend brought
more strangers than congregation members into St Mary’s.
For our own benefit we have had a
quiz night, a pudding party with ‘Snow-White and Co’ bringing the house
down. The Celebrate! congregation has developed a character of its own with
a 1st Birthday party
and a very successful New Year’s Day breakfast party. Two Sunday pub
lunches were a complete sell-out, as was this year’s
Epiphany supper. The launch of this
year’s stewardship campaign turned into a relaxing cheese and wine evening
with the revelation of more
Finally a certain rather manic beetle drive at St Nicolas’ should not be
Such a wide range of events needs help and information from all quarters.
The Parish Events Committee (PEC) is very small. We don’t mind working hard
– it’s actually good fun (most of the time!) – but we are concerned because
unless we have contact with all ages and groups we won’t know what you want.
We have all enjoyed ourselves this year, but to continue at this pace we
need more general help and more Committee Members to provide the ideas as
well as food, drink, entertainment and furniture and crockery shifting.
Could people who have volunteered as catering helpers in the past, or
people who would like to join in that, please contact Shirley Brown (St
Mary’s) or Gill Wood (St Nicolas’)? General helpers or anybody wanting to
join our committee please get in touch with me (Lynda Hodges). Help us think
up new ideas, we don’t meet very often and our evenings are far from boring
– come and try us out!
Lynda Hodges, Parish Events Committee
As requested we donned a posh frock and smart tie and jacket ready to
attend the New Year’s Eve party at All Saints’ church. There was a warm
welcome for us when we arrived and a glass of wine. There had obviously been
a great deal of hard work done to provide such a delicious buffet and
attractive tables. At the mid-night hour we sang ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and wished
each other a Happy New Year over a glass of sparkling wine.
This occasion gave us an opportunity to meet with our friends from All
Saints’ and of course to wear our posh frock and smart tie and jacket.
Gill & Nigel Woodcock
What a wonderful evening we had at St Mary’s church to celebrate
Epiphany! First of all there was a United Sung Eucharist to which Father
Michael welcomed everyone, especially the clergy and members from St Peter’s
After the lovely service, mulled wine and mince pies were served. We were
then entertained by John and Helen
Wright and Sue Dyson with a delightful medley of seasonal music.
A delicious hot supper of ham, chicken or quiche was then served,
followed by gorgeous desserts; all this was accompanied by a constant supply
Thank you very much to everyone who helped in any way to make it another
wonderful Epiphany celebration.
Jenny and Maurice Newman
Now that Christmass is past for another year, and things are starting to
return to normal I have managed to write something about my experiences of
the first term at St Stephen’s House, here in Oxford. The start of last term
was almost four months ago, but I remember very clearly how nervous I felt
on that first afternoon, meeting the other twelve new students who would be
my colleagues on the course. We drank tea together, and then joined the rest
of the students and staff in Church for the Sung Mass which would herald in
the start of the new term. In fact, I have subsequently discovered how
important worship and prayer is in the life of St Stephen’s House. Not only
is the beginning and end of each term marked by a solemn act of worship, but
morning and evening prayer, and a celebration of Mass are actually offered
every day. So praying and worshipping together play a very important part of
my training for ordination.
Of course, I am also at college to study, and I have lectures most days
during the week. Subjects studied last term include Old and New Testament,
Church History, Doctrine, Greek, Mission and Ministry, and some Liturgy.
Each subject requires essays and assignments to be written, so it was a
shock to discover that I had thirty essays to write before April 2007. So in
addition to prayer, worship, and lectures, private study occupies time each
day. I also spend one afternoon a week on placement at a local C of E
primary school, trying to teach Year 6 children primary science. I don’t
know whether it is the children or I that are more confused!
But life here is not all work, and no play. Living corporately with a
total of twenty-six ordinands means we do much together socially, and have a
lot of fun. Living in community also inevitably means that there are periods
of tension and conflict, but part of formation to priesthood is about
learning to deal with those. So overall I am enjoying my life in Oxford,
although my course is hard and demanding. What is particularly scary is that
I have already completed about one-fifth of my course, and am already being
asked to think about where I may wish to serve as curate. And for me that is
one of the real challenges of being an ordinand. As soon as I begin to
settle in to life at Theological College, I am reminded that God is calling
me to Priesthood, and I mustn’t become too comfortable in Oxford.
Thank you to all those who kindly supported the carol
singing at Cheltenham supermarkets on 17 December. Their efforts resulted in
£143.14 being raised at Tesco’s by St Nicolas’ and £122.86 raised by St
Mary’s at Sainsbury’s. Prestbury Parish total was therefore £266.00.
Cheltenham Churches total was £2365.84, which included three school carol
sing-ins at Waitrose store. Well done to everyone taking part! The Christmas
donations total is not yet known, but will be announced in the March
Paddy Spurgeon & Gill Ashman
Shining light into darkness …
Our Parish Christingle Service held in December at St
Mary’s Church raised £306 for The Children’s Society. Thank you to everyone
who attended the service and helped us reach this fantastic total.
The Children’s Society at St Nicolas’
Very many thanks to all the box-holders who have helped to
collect a total of £344.71 during 2005. Thanks also to Enid Cowley who
patiently helps me to count all those pennies.
Thank you to all who supported the various stewardship
events held in the autumn. Everyone should, by now, have received a
stewardship envelope with a return pledge card. Please think prayerfully and
carefully about your response and return it to the recorder, either by post
as per the envelope, or by way of the collection bowls in church. We are
grateful for your generosity.
St Mary’s Bakestall
Our next bakestall this year falls on Sunday February 19
with contributions from members with surnames N-Z.
Thank you to everyone who brought and bought last year,
when we were able to send donations amounting to £368 to the charities we
support, namely Practical Action, Mission Aviation Fellowship, Care
International, Viva Network, Children in Distress, Breadline and Hope
Africa, Lepra, Christian Aid, SOS Children’s Villages, Everychild, Age
Concern and the Medical Foundation as well as the Disasters Emergency
Committee Appeal for the earthquake victims.
Margaret Waker & Linda Matthews
Our programme for 2006 has been prepared and our next
meeting will be held on Tuesday February 28 at 7.30pm in St Nicolas’ church.
It will take the form of our annual meeting and include a Eucharist led by
Fr Michael, a renewal of promises and the re-dedication of the Prestbury
Mothers’ Union banner. We are most grateful to Ruth Shaw for the wonderful
work she has done on bringing our banner up to date and into a wonderful
condition. Please join us on this happy occasion when any new members would
be most welcome to come and see what we are like!
St Nicolas’ Hall
We are looking for someone to take over the duties of
Lettings Secretary from Tricia Wilson, who is retiring after long and
The main requirements are an ability to manage a schedule
of regular bookings, take occasional bookings, hand out and receive keys,
handle the payments and join the Committee.
For further information please contact Nigel Woodcock,
Alan Jackson or Tricia Wilson.
Parish Annual Meeting
The Vestry Meeting and Annual Meeting will be on Sunday
2 April at 6.30pm.
Fifty Thousand Visitors!
The parish web site had its 50,000th visitor on Sunday
15 January 2006. If anyone is interested the full statistics and details of
our visitors’ habits may be viewed by clicking the multicoloured square at
the bottom of any page on this website.
St Mary’s Flower Arrangers
As part of St Mary’s Flower Arrangers I would like to
thank all the arrangers for their time and expertise during 2005. Each week
the flowers in church have been beautiful, and at Weddings (of which there
have been many) and Festivals, all the ladies involved have surpassed
themselves. It is a delight to see the flowers, and it is always a welcome
to visitors who have time to attend a service or who are merely ‘passing
As we begin a new year, and before the new Flower Rota
appears in time for Easter, may I make a plea for help? We are always
looking for volunteers and this past year has seen a considerable reduction
in our numbers for various reasons. We desperately need more helpers!
Please, please, is there anyone who feels they might be able to spare a
little time to be part of the team? We do need ‘apprentices’ and they will
be given tuition. You do not have to meet ‘Cordon Bleu’ standards before
volunteering! Young or old, male or female, everyone will be made very
Please, please, do give this request some serious thought.
World Vision Alternative Christmas Cards
Thank you to all who contributed to this project. A grand
total of £143.50 was donated, which we have rounded up to £150 and forwarded
to World Vision.
Marion Beagley & Margaret Waker