‘What’s it like coming back after your sabbatical?’ is a question I have been asked a number of times in
these first few days back at work. If I am totally honest it is a little bit scary! Of course it is good to
catch up with people again, to hear what they have been doing and to tell them something about my experiences.
The sabbatical time has been really rich and rewarding in so many ways and there will be opportunities in
sermons and in other editions of the magazine to tell you about it.
The return to work feels scary partly because I know how much I have ‘wound down’. I have adjusted to a
very different pace of life and know that I am going to have to bring myself up to speed if I am going to keep
up; at the moment I feel as though I am running after a departing bus! I am also aware that I have a
four-month-sized ‘hole’ because I do not know what has been happening in the parishes or in people’s lives.
Plans have been made and decisions taken that I am only just finding out about. I am having to realise that,
of course, everything has not stopped whilst I have been away! The other slightly scary aspect of returning to
duty is that I know that more change is on the horizon as we prepare for Fr Stephen’s retirement and look
towards working with some of our neighbouring parishes in an expanded team in the new North Cheltenham Mission
So how do I cope with the transition from sabbatical back into work? Firstly by not panicking! By accepting
that I cannot fill the four month ‘hole’ in a couple of days and that people will be talking about things that
I know nothing about. Also, by avoiding the temptation to jump in and start interfering where other people
have been doing an excellent job in my absence! But the thing that I realise that I must make my priority is
perhaps the most obvious. I must re-immerse myself in the round of daily prayer and worship. Not that I have
not been doing that during the sabbatical, but it has often been on my own and the great blessing is that most
days, somewhere in our Team Ministry, there is the opportunity to meet with other people for worship – the
task for which we were made by God. During these past few months I have been made even more aware of the
significance of that continuing daily round of prayer which must enfold and underpin the whole life of our
Christian Community. Whatever differences we might have, whatever the future might hold, our work of prayer
and worship must remain central to all that we are and to all that we do.
Saturday 9 September 7.30pm St Nicolas’ Church
Young people from Prestbury & Pittville Youth groups have been producing a film entitled ‘Our Voice’. The
idea is for young people to have a voice – this involves retelling parts of the Bible in contemporary ways,
recording activities they are in to and voicing their views on key issues.
The resulting film will be screened on Saturday 9 September at St Nicolas’ Church from 7.30pm. It will have
an ‘Oscars’ theme – so lots of posh frocks (and suits) and plenty of awards. All are invited to attend what
promises to be a fantastic night, tickets are £3 adults, £1.50 concessions, £7 families. DVDs (including out
takes) will be on sale too! Proceeds go to Prestbury & Pittville Youth. Please support the youth work and
engage with what the young people have to say.
For more info contact Andy Macauly
Regular Youth Group Dates
Elevate and Synergy restart on Sunday 3 September;
The Lounge restarts on Tuesday 5 September;
The Space restarts on Thursday 7 September
For more info: contact Andy Macauly
Youth Celebration Service – 1 October
Do join us for a special service at 6.30pm on Sunday 1 October at St Nicolas’ to celebrate the wonderful
work that is done in our parishes for young people and by young people, particularly through Prestbury &
Pittville Youth. The service will be led by Bishop Michael along with some of our young worship leaders and
musicians and promises to be both a wonderful occasion and a great time to thank God for all the different
ministries that he has called people to. We think especially of Andy and Sharon Macauly and all the volunteers
they lead but increasingly now also of many of our young people themselves who are responding to God’s call to
serve one another and the wider parishes.
Time to set the Truth free
John 8:32… ‘You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.’
‘It’s 8:32’ is a Bible Society campaign, calling for Christians to ‘wake up’ to the scandal of Bible
poverty around the world – and to take action to make this poverty history…
It is an integral part of Bible Society’s mission to take God’s life-transforming message to all people
across the world in their heart languages, and in formats which are relevant and accessible to them.
Here are some facts…
- More than half of the world’s 6,900 languages are without a single book of the Bible.
- One billion people are unable to read, but only 208 languages (3%) have the New Testament in audio.
- Every 5 seconds, someone goes blind – but the Bible in Braille exists in only 30 languages.
- A billion people live on less than 60p a day, making the Bible a luxury they can’t afford.
- Sixty per cent of people in the UK believe the Bible is irrelevant to them. Bible ownership is down
by a quarter in just 50 years.
The challenge to Prestbury
The 8:32 campaign calls on churches to fight Bible poverty, and to make this mission a priority. And for us
in Prestbury, it offers an opportunity to be actively involved in taking the Bible message to others – so that
they, too, are able to experience the life-changing power of God’s Word.
This autumn we will be inviting a Bible Society representative to speak with our congregations, and to
highlight the reality of Bible poverty in our world today. And our response will have powerful consequences
for Bible work – for instance:
- A GIFT of any amount is valuable in helping reach those living in Bible poverty.
- We can PRAY for all those who are without the Bible, and who want and need God in their lives.
Please keep this campaign in your prayers over the coming weeks.
For further details see
8:32 in Prestbury & All Saints’
Here in Prestbury & All Saints’ we shall not only be encouraging the congregations to help combat ‘Bible
poverty’ around the world but also to think more about our own attitudes to the Bible and how we might read
it, pray it and live it better.
There will be specific things in services, such as readings in foreign languages and a sermon series, but
also particular events focusing on the Bible, such as Education on Location, the Quiet Day and a weekly Bible
Study on the book of Ruth running through November.
Alongside all this we also hope to hear from you about particular passages from Scripture that have moved
you or played a big role in your own life, some of which we will share in future magazines and on the website.
The Sunday themes are as follows:-
||Recognising the Word (Why Bother with the Bible?)
||Translating the Word (It’s All Greek to Me!)
| 1 Oct
||Harvesting the Word (Responding to the Bible in our Daily Lives)
| 8 Oct
||Sharing the Word (Tackling ‘Bible Poverty’ around the World)
||Praying the Word (Using the Bible in our Daily Prayer Lives)
This year’s Education on Location sessions will be held on three Thursdays:
21 September at All Saints’
5 October at St Mary’s
19 October at St Nicolas’
We will be using a video presentation on the letter of St Paul to the Philippians, produced for the Caister
Retreat of 2005 by Sister Margaret Magdalen of the Community of St Mary the Virgin.
Each session will begin at 7.45pm and follow the usual format of presentation, break for refreshments,
group discussion and closing prayers.
Should the current building disruption make it impractical to use All Saints’ for the first session, notice
will be given via the weekly pew-sheets.
There is no charge for this series of events.
Do you know how the Finances of a Parish work? I certainly did not know at all until I was asked to join
the Parish Events Committee. This led unexpectedly to a place on the PCC, and that to becoming a PCC
representative on the Fabric committee. Since I collated the current guidebook for St Mary’s church that
seemed reasonable enough.
At that point realisation began. I had assumed, having been part of the Stewardship method of giving money
to the Church, that this covered all. It probably did 30+ years ago but not any more – not by a long way.
Our treasurer has never failed to send a cheque for our ‘parish quota’ contribution each month – not all
parishes do – but it is the honourable thing because it provides us with clergy in the Church of England and
makes their life financially tolerable.
But, and the but is getting bigger rapidly, without our ‘Parish Events’ money raised in such an ad hoc
fashion we would find it very difficult to pay the essential bills, for example the gas, electricity and
insurance, and vital repairs to keep our two churches waterproof and safe to sit in. St Mary’s and St Nicolas’
both have big bills looming this year and things are genuinely looking a bit frightening.
We have asked for fresh ideas and support for Parish Events. The response has been one person from St
Nicolas’, who has always helped in the church anyway.
We are very earnestly asking for new support for fund raising in every way. If you want the use of a warm,
dry, safe church with support from a team of clergy for both parish and our church schools, do take this
request seriously and start thinking if you could possibly help, even in a small way.
on behalf of the Parish Events Committee
As you may know the church hall has now become Prestbury Hall. This change is to enable the trustees to
apply for grants as a community hall. The trustees are Dr Bob Lyle, John Petchey, Richard Mason, Linda Dove
and myself, Cyril Beer.
Prestbury Playmates, run by Linda, uses the hall daily. She applied for, and obtained, a grant to improve
the grounds at the side and rear of the hall.
Steve Wilson, a garden designer, offered his services free of charge to design the layout of the garden.
John Petchey was project leader for the construction of the garden. He not only coordinated the work but also
did most of it, with the assistance of Andy Macauly’s Team from Pittville School and a team of youngsters from
Trinity Church. Maurice Newman added his expertise in helping with the construction of the rear fence. The
parents of the Playmates carried out the planting of the garden with some assistance from the children. This
was under the careful guidance of Steve and his wife Diane.
The area was transformed from a derelict dump to a delightful and safe garden. Premiere Products kindly
donated a climbing frame to add to the facilities.
The garden was opened and blessed by Father Stephen on Friday 21 July. The many people involved in the
transformation enjoyed refreshments, supplied by Linda and friends.
No couple could have hoped to have celebrated their Golden Wedding in a pleasanter place than Prestbury,
first with a Thanksgiving Service in its ancient St Mary’s Church at 3.30pm on 28 May, thanks to Father
Stephen, the Service sheet, another masterpiece by Kay Porter; followed by a sumptuous tea, brilliantly
organised by our Churchwarden, Marion Beagley, and her generous lady helpers, mainly for our many kind, local
A month later, on 25 June, a lovely summer day, the nearby Hotel de la Bere was a beautiful setting for
12.30 noon drinks in the rose garden, luncheon in the historical Great Hall for relatives – our family safely
back from a three-year tour in India – and friends living distances away; the tables adorned with Barbara
Lyle’s exquisite floral centre-pieces, and the occasion enlivened by the delightful company, and hilarious
pre-Grace anecdote by Father Stephen, and an amusing Toast proposed by Laurie Slade, one-time pupil of Molly’s
at Nairobi Primary School, who observed that our real anniversary date in November, when we actually wed in
All Saints’ Cathedral, Nairobi, was still to come!
Fortunately it remained fine for tea, wedding cake, Wendy Thomas’ delicious creation, and sparkling wine,
in the more modest garden of our home, to where Jerry Porter had kindly transported borrowed Church urn,
trestle tables and crockery; and with Shirley Brown, Sue Banks and Val Fagan kindly supervising all the
arrangements, the redoubtable Ian Kinnear and Keith Fagan expertly dispensing the bubbly, we were freed to
circulate, and chat to all, much to our appreciation.
To discover, when everyone had departed, a treasure trove of donations for Oxford’s Helen and Douglas House
Hospice for Young People from our generous guests, requested in lieu of gifts to us, made the day quite
perfect; the excellent photographs David Price generously gave us, a wonderful record of it, too, to remind
us, for always, of a very special and enjoyable event. Deo gratias.
Molly & Basil Walter
It seems an appropriate time to just update everyone on how the ‘Traidcraft’ stalls are progressing since
in September the stall at St Nicolas’ will be a year old and the one at St Mary’s, thanks to Sue Weston, will
be six months old.
The whole idea came out of one of the Eucharist with a Difference services at St Nicolas’ when we examined
the whole concept of trade justice and the suggestion of having a ‘Traidcraft’ stall came up. Everyone agreed
it would be a good idea but who would run it? Well, I clearly weakened first! Initially the process of
registering as a Fair Trader seemed rather daunting, especially since I was made aware that I could only keep
this status if I ordered an average of £50 a month. At the time it seemed like an awful lot of stock but
thanks to the support given to both stalls we have certainly managed to achieve this target. I have learned
what sells well (stem ginger cookies!) and what does not. Next year I would like to see the stalls make a
profit because any profits made do go to the church and in a small way we are helping to make a difference to
those in the Third World.
Please remember that if anybody would like us to stock a particular item that is only sold in bulk then we
will be happy to order it and see how it goes. Also catalogues are always available and if you order via the
church then you can save on the postage and packing. The Christmas catalogues will be arriving soon so please
feel free to have a browse and maybe share them with your friends and neighbours. Thank you to everyone who
has supported us in this last year.
After a winter of heart-break in the football, could Prestbury finally achieve sporting success by turning
to a small red ball instead? All would be revealed as a glorious summer’s afternoon saw an enthusiastic
Prestbury XI take to the field for a 20-20 match against our sporting friends and nemeses from St Matthew’s.
After winning the toss and deciding to bat, Nick Moore and Stephen Murton saw us off to a rapid start with
52 from the first five overs. A fine spell of 1 for 8 from Matt Allison stemmed the flow of runs to give St
Matt’s a chance but John Radburn held things together for Prestbury and allowed Steve Hawkins and Tim Buttress
to score rapidly with a flurry of sixes before they both retired having reached 25 not out. Even a run out off
the last ball couldn’t dampen Prestbury spirits as we reached 156 for 7 from our 20 overs. It looked like a
winning total but one couldn’t help eyeing the short boundary on one side rather nervously.
After an enjoyable tea and chance to get to know one another better (many thanks to Shelly for all her hard
work!), it was St Matt’s turn to bat. Wickets were hard to come by at first with Al McGonville striking some
fine boundaries. However, Prestbury’s opening bowlers kept the run rate down and at the half-way point, St
Matt’s needed a mammoth 103 runs to win. As the run rate spiralled up beyond 10 an over, the batsmen had to
take chances and our bowlers began to enjoy themselves, spreading the wickets around with Stephen Murton and
Fr Grant both taking 2 for 12. However, it was the Prestbury fielding which made the real difference in
securing a 28 run victory – all in all a real team effort with lots of sharp work in the outfield, some fine
catches, two quick run outs and a splendid display from Pete Sexton behind the stumps.
It was a great day for players and spectators alike with everything played in the best of spirits and
Michael Cole did a wonderful job of umpiring in the face of some over-keen lbw appeals from the Prestbury
bowlers. (These would probably have been more forgivable had lbws not been ruled out before the match!) Thank
you to everyone involved from both sides.
Hoping that a change of name may bring a change of fortunes, Prestbury Football Team have transformed over
the summer into North Cheltenham Churches to reflect the new era of Team Ministry we are about to enter. A new
kit of green and white hoops will complete the new look as we prepare to face the other seven Christian sides
that make up the Cotswold Churches League. Last year saw a great team spirit and camaraderie and we’re on the
look-out for new players, so if you’d like to join in the fun, do come along to our pre-season training on
Wednesday nights at 7pm at the playing field. By one of those coincidences that you can only put down to God’s
sense of humour, our first competitive match is against St Matt’s. Hopefully something of the cricketing
success may rub off, as last year they beat us 8-2 not once but twice.
New players, contact Andy Macauly. Or if you’re at a loose end, why not come down and cheer us on for our
home matches (10.30am kick-off at Prestbury Playing Field)?
Only twice a month, with a strict one-hour time limit, it seemed an acceptable commitment, so I turned up
at All Saints’ church on the second Tuesday in June. Immediately I felt I belonged even though I didn’t know
everybody. There have been about ten people each week, though not always the same ten. We have been reading
Paul’s letter to the Galatians, using a study guide with thought-provoking questions. Julia and Jennifer are
in charge, but different people have taken turns to lead sessions. We are now taking a break so that members
can participate in other things, such as the Education on Location, but we hope to resume later in the year.
I wonder where you went to church while you were on holiday. I didn’t have to go very far at all, didn’t
even have to leave the campsite! It was a large site (about 850 pitches) under tall pine trees on the coast of
Sardinia. Tucked away in one corner of the site a vacant area had been designated the ‘chapel’, with an altar
on a wooden platform under a canopy. On Sunday morning a priest from the church in the nearby small town (or
large village) came and celebrated the Eucharist. Seating was bring-your-own or stand throughout, and there
were about seventy or eighty people in the congregation both weeks I was there.
It was lovely to take part in the familiar service in that casual outdoor setting. The priest was wearing
exactly the same shade of green vestments as our priests here; he performed the same actions, genuflecting in
exactly the same way behind the altar, and so on. I don’t understand Italian, and yet I knew exactly what he
was saying, such is the universality of the Eucharist.
After a deliberate gap of two years, we have booked another Team-wide weekend at Sidholme in Sidmouth in
September 2007. We have the whole hotel to ourselves and can take up to 120 people. We would welcome both
previous participants and any new visitors who would like to join us. The weekend will be full of interesting
things to take part in or, if you don’t wish to join in, there are lots of interesting things to do in the
area under your own steam.
There are en-suite rooms at £110.00 for the weekend and also rooms with shared facilities at £98.00
inclusive. Children under 5 are free; 5-10 years at 75% off the adult fee; 11-15 years at 50% off the adult
fee; 16-17 years at 25% off the adult fee. Early booking is advisable as en-suite rooms tend to go quickly. I
will organise a coach for those who do not wish to drive and advise of the fare nearer the time. Hope to see
lots of you with us as it is a golden opportunity to get to know our church family more and to enjoy fun and
fellowship at the sea-side – don’t forget your swimming things as the hotel has its own heated swimming pool!
For further details contact Marion Beagley.
This September sees the return of Celebrate! after the summer break, and also of Fr Michael, refreshed from
his sabbatical with, we are sure, a selection of stories of UK saints and shorelines of significance for our
Early in the month we’ll be catching up and sharing what we’ve been up to and what God has been doing in us
over the summer. On 10 September remember to ask some of your friends and neighbours along – personal
recommendation is such an easy, powerful and effective way to give others the chance to join in with the fun,
friendship and faith we share week by week at Celebrate!
During the second half of the month, and on into October, our weekly themes will be aspects of the truth
about life we find in the bible, unwrapped in a variety of ways to connect with everyone. We aim to both
encourage and challenge.
Over to you:-
- Bring some friends and neighbours – to any Celebrate!
- Celebrate! pub night for men to chill and chat – at the Royal Oak from 7.30pm on Mondays 11th
September and 16th October.
- Is music your forte? We’d love you to share it with the music group – please have a word with Jerry.
- We are looking to expand our team of terrific welcomers. Could you get to St Mary’s for about 9.20am
to give a cheerful greeting to everyone as they arrive? – please chat to Mary if you’re up for this on a
- Watch this space for details of ladies’ nights …
- Want to think more deeply about what we believe? Earmark Thursday evenings for Celebrate! Plus. Also
on Thursday 21st September is the first of three churchwide opportunities to discuss some issues raised
by a letter of St Paul – see Sue for more about this. (Details also elsewhere in this magazine.)
- Many thanks for the part the Celebrate! tea team played at the church fete – £180 was raised by teas.
And over £2000 in total.
In view of Fr Stephen’s retirement and his ‘last Sunday’ commitments (see below) at the
three Team churches, it has been decided that the Patronal Festivals will NOT be joint celebrations this year.
St Mary’s will celebrate the Birth of the BVM on Sunday 10 September at 11.00am. Services in
St Nicolas’ and All Saints’ will be at the normal times.
All Saints’ will celebrate their patronal on Sunday 5 November at 10.30am. Services in
Prestbury will be at the normal times.
St Nicolas’ will celebrate their patronal on Wednesday 6 December at 7.30pm. There will be
no service at St Mary’s that night.
Kay Porter, Team Administrator, Prestbury & All Saints’ Team Ministry
Dates for your Diary
The Eucharist of Thanksgiving for 38 years of Fr Stephen’s Ministry and 40 years of his and
Vicky’s Marriage will be at 11.30am on Saturday 4 November.
Fr Stephen’s last Sunday at All Saints’ will be 5 November, and his last Sunday at St
Nicolas’ and St Mary’s will be 12 November.
Retirement Present for Fr Stephen
Anyone wishing to make a donation towards a retirement present for Fr Stephen please put it
in a marked envelope and give it to one of the Churchwardens.
Christian Aid Middle East Appeal
Thank you to all at St Mary’s and St Nicolas’ who contributed to this appeal via the bucket
collections in August. £211.62 was raised.
Paddy Spurgeon & Gill Ashman
Team Lunches at the Royal Oak
By popular request I have arranged two more lunches at the Royal Oak. The first will be on
Sunday 17 September and the second on 10 December – both at 1.00pm. These are open to the whole Team;
please book with me if you would like to join us for this time of fellowship with each other. The cost is £11
per person for a two-course meal.
At the kind invitation of Bob and Barbara Lyle, we met for a garden party at Tatchley House
on a lovely warm evening in July, having changed the date to accommodate as many members as possible. We had a
short prayer session and then enjoyed shared food and drink plus the delights of the garden. Our bring and buy
raised £20 for Diocesan MU work and a pleasant evening was enjoyed by everyone.
Our next meeting will take place on Tuesday 26 September at 7.30pm in the United Reformed
Church. All existing and new members welcome when our speaker will be Mrs Margaret Edwards who will continue
her Glimpse of India talk.
Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust
Reg Charity No 280879R
Annual Sponsored Ride and Walk
On Saturday 9 September the Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust will be organising its
Annual Sponsored Ride and Walk. It is the Trust’s major fund raising event and if you can ride a bicycle or a
horse or walk, it is hoped you will be willing to participate in it. If none of these applies to you, your
support by agreeing to sponsor participants will constitute an excellent alternative. If you could spare some
time on the day to keep our churches open and welcome the visitors that would be most appreciated, too.
Further information about the event, together with sponsorship forms, is available from Bob
Lyle at St Mary’s and Nigel Woodcock at St Nicolas’.
Half of the money raised is given to the churches of the choices of the participants. The
other half is to be given to the Trust for its grant aid fund, which exists solely to assist churches and
chapels facing financial headaches in respect of repairs and restoration costs.
The cause is a good one and, although good weather cannot be guaranteed, all those who have
taken part in past years have experienced an enjoyable day.
Please consider how YOU can best support the event. Thank you.
Celebrate! Men’s Night
Celebrate! are hosting another men’s social evening at the
Royal Oak in the Burgage on Monday 11 September from 7.30pm. Do join us if you fancy a drink and a chat – no
previous experience of Celebrate! necessary!
St Mary’s Bakestall
The next bakestall at St Mary’s is on Sunday 17 September with contributions from those with
surnames N-Z. Do contact us if you would like to join the rota.
Margaret Waker & Linda Matthews
The Quiet Day will take place on Saturday 14 October at Nympsfield. The day offers three
short sessions considering different aspects of hospitality in St Luke’s Gospel and there will be plenty of
opportunity for quiet reflection, concluding with a Eucharist. A generous lunch provided by the Sisters is
Please sign up on the lists displayed in each church, indicating whether you need transport
or can offer transport to someone else. The cost of the day will be £14, including lunch; bookings with
payments are needed no later than the first Sunday in October. A total of 30 places is available across the
Team, so you are advised to sign up early if you wish to attend.
Further information is available from members of the Education Group:
Colin Holman at St Mary’s
Margaret Compton at St Nicolas’
Karen Winder or Julia Hook at All Saints’
Musicians for Celebrate!
If you think you might be interested in joining the band at Celebrate! on Sunday
mornings at 9.30 in St Mary’s, do have a word with Jerry Porter.
Rockers Musicians Required
Do you have a spare hour on a Thursday? Can you play an instrument? Pre-school children and
their carers would be very grateful if you could join the rota and play music whilst we sing and dance. Music
will be provided. Please contact Vicky Dunn.
Children’s Society Boxes at St Mary’s
Ruth Rudge will be collecting and opening the boxes in September this year. Can any box
holders please bring them to church to Celebrate! or before the 11 o’clock service. If this is a problem
contact Ruth and she will collect. Thank you.
Many thanks to our church family who have supported us over the past few weeks whilst Father
Michael has been on sabbatical leave. Your kind thoughts and prayers and many offers of practical help have
been so much appreciated. A particular ‘thank you’ to Terry Biggs and Simon Taylor for much ferrying about of
children and post – and also for their heroic (and successful) mouse catching!!
Gill, Anna and Simon Cozens
My thanks to all who supported the Church Fete
back in July. We had a very nice, warm afternoon, with lots of visitors and plenty to do. We raised around
£2,000 for church funds, so congratulations and thanks to all involved.