In all of our Churches the day of Pentecost was marked with an important question: what does it mean to
have the Holy Spirit within us? What difference does he make to our lives?
One of the things we have been thinking about recently is how we move from ‘maintenance’ to ‘mission’.
Having come through an important time of dealing with all kinds of ‘in-house’ issues, the time is now right to
allow God, who always looks outwards, to draw our attention away from ourselves and think, once again, about
our neighbours and friends, those with whom we want to share our Easter message of new life and hope.
It is tempting, whenever we think of such words as ‘mission’ or ‘outreach’ immediately to start planning
activities and events to which we can invite people. Such initiatives are a great way of welcoming newcomers…
as long as they respond to the invitation!
We have to be careful, however, not to become so busy that we have no room in our lives for the ordinary
meetings: conversations at the school gates, walking the dog, and bumping into people in the shops or the Post
Office. These moments are not perhaps as focussed as special services and events, and yet they are probably
more important because they are when people see us as we are. It is not just when we talk openly about Jesus –
or get the vicar to do so – that people encounter the Good News.
The exciting fact of Pentecost (not just a single day in history but an ongoing event) is that Christ is
with us, present even when we are least aware of him. What people see is much more than our words or our
actions. What often leaves an impression is what we are like to be with. All those who are in Christ have this
promise: that the Holy Spirit is in us, and is therefore present in every encounter that others have with us.
It could even be said that the more we are truly ourselves with people, the more they will see of Jesus,
through his Spirit.
Here are some quotations to think about over the next month:
A reflection of Christ is in us… So many people on earth radiate the holiness of Christ without
realizing it and perhaps without daring to believe it. And it is better that way.
Br Roger of Taizé (1915-2005)
Create peace within yourself and thousands will find salvation around you.
St Seraphim of Sarov (1754-1833)
Holy Spirit, life that gives life,
moving all things,
rooted in all beings;
you cleanse all things of impurity,
wiping away sins,
and anointing wounds,
this is radiant, laudable life,
awakening and re-awakening
Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)
Please keep David and Sarah Gardiner in your prayers as they move from Cambridge to Prestbury during this
month. David will be ordained Deacon to serve in our Team Ministry during the Ordination Service in Gloucester
Cathedral on the morning of Sunday 29th June. Please pray for him especially as he prepares for this
significant new chapter in his own Christian discipleship.
There will be an opportunity to welcome David and Sarah during a tea party in the garden of Prestbury
Vicarage beginning at 3.30pm. All are very welcome to attend.
… to Andrew Hughes …
will be ordained Deacon alongside David Gardiner on 29th June. Andy, who is a member of All Saints’ but is
known to people at St Nicolas’ and St Mary’s, will serve in the Team Ministry on a non-stipendiary basis until
December. He will then move to the Lichfield Diocese where he will take up a full-time post in the parish of
Friar Park. Please pray for Andy as he prepares for ordination and welcome him in his new role.
… and to Bruce Goodwin!
This month we also welcome Bruce Goodwin who
is joining us for a four-week placement. Bruce is a student at Trinity Theological College in Bristol and has
just completed his first year of training for ordained ministry. Bruce commutes to Bristol from Prestbury
where he lives with his wife and family, who usually worship at Trinity Church in Cheltenham. During his time
with us Bruce will mainly be at St Mary’s and will be preaching for us on one of the Sundays. He will also be
attending weekday services and other meetings and events to help him to ‘get a feel’ for parish life in
On Tuesday 13th May Sylvia, Mavis, Jenny, Jean and myself went to Gloucester Cathedral by car on a
beautiful summer evening to the above Mothers’ Union Festival Service. The Cathedral was full and it was a
wonderful service with the display of Banners at the start and finish of the evening. The address was given by
Elizabeth Brown, Provincial President of Canterbury Province. A Liturgical Dance was performed, copied with
permission from Dornakal Diocese, South India, the four ladies dressed in traditional saris, having visited
there a short while ago. The collection was for the Mothers’ Union ‘Away From It All’ Fund, which takes
families on holiday who would not otherwise get a holiday at all. The theme of the service was ‘Time for
Relationships, with God and Each Other’. An uplifting and inspirational evening.
Ecumenical Pentecost Praise
On Sunday 11th May St Michael’s Church, Whaddon, hosted a service to celebrate Pentecost and the
commencement of Christian Aid Week. We were warmly welcomed by the Revd Robert Pestell.
Prayers and readings reflecting the theme of Pentecost, serving others and Christian Aid were offered by
the Revd Jon Morgan and the Revd Maz Allen of the URC and Prestbury and All Saints’ Team Ministry. The service
was brought to a conclusion by a moving display of three silver flags representing the Trinity, to the singing
of a traditional Celtic blessing.
The final blessing was given by Fr Michael and the dismissal by the Revd John Wren from St Mark’s Methodist
Sheila Beer & Doreen Morris
Christian Aid Week
Many thanks to all who helped with the house-to-house collection by giving, collecting and counting. As a
result of your generosity the parish has so far raised £996 at St Nicolas’ and £4,804 at St Mary’s, giving a
grand total for the parish of £5,800 to date. The final figures will be published next month.
You may have seen in the publicity material that Christian Aid allocates 30% of its resources to
emergencies and 40% to long-term projects like the provision of clean water and training and education. The
terrible disasters in Burma and China have made us all more aware of the need for this two-pronged approach.
Gill Ashman & Paddy Spurgeon
Eighteen people attended the Quiet Day on May 10th and enjoyed a wonderful day in lovely surroundings,
under the guidance of Father Paul. We were sustained by the hospitality of the Sisters and the day was rounded
off with a Eucharist at which sacramental healing was made available. A special thank-you to Father Paul for
his wise and gentle leadership. Thanks also to all who helped with organising the event and to those who
joined in the fellowship, without whom the Quiet Day could not have taken place.
Tongues of Fire
For some people the thought of a quiet day is quite daunting. ‘What happens?’ I have been asked. ‘Do you
sit in church in silence all day?’ ‘I’m frightened that I will disturb others.’ However, a quiet day is what
you wish to make it. The Marist Convent at Nympsfield is an excellent venue. There are many places to go and
sit quietly and read or think, a room to talk quietly while completing a jigsaw, colouring or drawing. There
are also some good short walks that can be taken, as well as a garden to enjoy.
The day was led by Father Paul. The theme Tongues of Fire was subtitled ‘a feather on the breath
of God’ by Hildegard of Bingen. The day was divided into three sessions: Creation, Inspiration and
Healing. Each session was followed by a time to be quiet, and the opportunity to explore readings and texts
Father Paul encouraged us to think about how the Spirit is always with us, and that we need not only to
release the power within ourselves, but also to recognise and acknowledge that it exists within us, and then
to use the creative power of the Spirit. We need to remember that, as Christians, part of our vocation is to
point everyone to what is good. That is the creative, strengthening and inspiring energy of the Holy Spirit
which then leads us to praise God. We need to allow time in our lives to let the Holy Spirit speak clearly to
us and to work within us, despite the things that we do in our everyday lives. The Holy Spirit sustains and
heals us in a quiet way, the way of true holiness.
Selected quotes from the quiet day
‘In some way the simpler we can be the better … the central movement of the Spirit is at the heart
of our life …’
‘… we need to focus on what really matters … and that is the delicate work of the Holy Spirit’
‘By healing I do mean medical healing, but in a wider sense it is spiritual growth … when the
aspects of our lives are in proper balance …’
‘A good doctor [for example] will not only exercise his skill, but will also allow the natural
processes of healing – over which he has no control – to take place …’
‘Special Time Together with God’
Special Agents …
Celebrate! is a service with adventure. Every week is different and this past week [the Sunday after
Ascension Day] was no exception. We were greeted by ‘special agents’ (members of the Celebrate! team
dressed up as detectives with dark sunglasses). But what did it all mean? The agents were on a mission. We
were all welcomed to join the discovery and the adventure began.There was a short quiz, pictures of all
different special agents, James Bond, The Men in Black, and envelopes were scattered round the church. We were
all agents on a mission to find these envelopes and solve the puzzle inside. Yes that was it, puzzles,
different images of Jesus. Once completed they were all pinned up at the front of the church and we were the
detectives looking at the clues.So what was the meaning behind all the evidence presented to us? Everyone is
different, and Jesus appears to us all in different ways. We all have our own feelings and theories about God
and Jesus. In our lives as we meet day by day we all build up our own beliefs about Jesus. Therefore, without
realizing it, we are all God’s special agents, on a mission.
Jerry, Nick, Dan, Steve, Andy and Ben
Photograph by Sharon Macauly
… Our Mission
Calling all special agents – rendez-vous at St Mary’s Church, Prestbury, at 9.30am on a Sunday to
Celebrate! Fifty days after Easter the mission for this week [Pentecost] (if you chose to accept it) was
to spread the word about Pentecost.There were several key elements to this assignment – making a ‘flame’
headdress, blowing bubbles in the wind, lighting a candle, drawing a picture of a dove, washing your hands in
water, and spreading oil on your palm. Not forgetting, of course, the importance of worship through song and
prayer. A critical mission for all agents to help us remember that the Holy Spirit is upon us, and to
Celebrate the birth of the Church.
Agents, don’t forget to look out in coming weeks for new instructions. Same time, same place. This message
will self-destruct in five seconds…
Beavers at Celebrate!
On Sunday 29th June we welcome members of the new Beaver colony in Prestbury, who will lead a service with
‘Friendship’ as the theme. All are welcome to join us.
On Sunday 8th June from 10.00am at St Mary’s Infant School. Informal Worship, Picnic, Games, Children’s
Bouncy Castle. Please bring your own picnic food; drinks are provided. There is shelter available if it rains
and we plan to finish by 1pm.
Everyone welcome – all ages – children and adults. Under-11s must be accompanied by an adult. There is no
charge. For more information: email
At the Annual Meeting at the end of April we expressed our very grateful thanks to Jerry Porter who has
served as Churchwarden for six years. Under new rules introduced in 2001, Churchwardens can only serve for a
maximum of six years and then must ‘rest’ for two!
Jerry has given very generously of his time despite a demanding full-time job. He has brought to the role
great wisdom, his skills of leadership, the ability to bring clarity to discussions where there is confusion
or uncertainty and to put into words things others have struggled with. Through his commitment to
Celebrate! (which will continue!) Jerry has demonstrated his concern to bring new people to an
understanding of God’s love for them revealed through Jesus and of welcoming them into the Church family. All
this (and more!) has been done with his customary humility. Thank you, Jerry!
Seventy-five people attended the Annual Meeting of Parishioners and the Annual Parochial Church Meeting on
Sunday 27th April. At the meetings, Churchwardens and PCC members were elected to serve the Parish of
Prestbury. The members of the PCC for the coming year are as follows:
Fr Michael Cozens (Chairman)
Fr Daniel Papworth
Fr Peter Brown
Fr Paul Iles
Liz Underwood, PCC Secretary
If the technology had been around I have no doubt St Paul would have been sending emails to the churches of
Asia Minor, and probably would have had a website as well.
In April I attended the biennial conference of the Association for Church Editors (ACE) in St Alban’s. Our
first speaker was Bob Little, a free-lance journalist working for the Beds & Herts Media Trust, who gave a
brief history of church magazines and then talked about how they might develop in the future. When was the
first ‘church newsletter’ written? It depends how you define them. What constitutes a church magazine or
newsletter? The modern variety dates from about 1790, with added impetus about 150 years ago from the movement
for men’s education and literacy. There is also evidence that church magazines of a sort existed in 17th
century Britain. But you could go a lot further back than that, almost 2,000 years in fact. What are St Paul’s
epistles in the New Testament if not church newsletters? Writing to congregations and individuals, he
encourages them on their spiritual journey, thanks them for fund-raising for his next project, and
occasionally has to correct them on some point of doctrine or behaviour.
We talked a bit about what purpose the church magazine serves – to inform, educate, amuse – and then we
looked at the competition. As a source of information what does any printed magazine or newspaper have to
compete with? Mobile phones and Blackberries were mentioned, and I would add radio, television and the
Internet. The printed magazine is not superseded by these other media, but does have to have an appealing
structure, relevant content, and must be presented attractively. A church is judged by its magazine, among
other things, and so the magazine is a vital part of any church’s marketing strategy (outreach and mission).
We thought also about our target audiences: Church of England and Free Church magazines have very different
audiences. On the whole the latter are in-house and the readers are mainly members of the congregation,
whereas a typical CE parish magazine serves the whole of the local community, including non-churchgoers. A
telling question for editors to ask themselves is ‘Can a non-churchgoer read my magazine without being
bored to tears?’.
We then held a very brief AGM, followed by an excellent lunch. We had all brought copies of our own
magazines, and I collected up as many others as I could to bring home for comparison. Ours is one of the more
interesting and attractive of those produced on church photocopiers, but there are many out there which make
ours seem quite dowdy. Perhaps we should invest in a colour photocopier (in my dreams!).
Our second speaker was Arun Kataria, Diocesan Communications Officer for St Alban’s diocese. (By the way,
he spoke very highly of our Gloucester diocesan magazine Inspires, edited by our DCO, Lucy Taylor.) As
DCO Arun receives copies of all parish magazines in his diocese and reads them all, though not every one cover
to cover every month! His opinion is that as a species the parish magazine is thriving and is very important
as a source of information in local communities.
Arun asked some of the usual questions: What is our strategy? Who reads our magazine? Who doesn’t read it,
and why? And then the same question we had in the morning: What are we competing with? He pointed out that
many of the technological advances of the last decade have been in the field of communication. Communication,
spreading the good news, is part of the church’s mission, so it is important to investigate all forms of
modern communication. Many parishes, including our own, have a website – but how we do use it? And how does it
complement the printed magazine? And what other forms of communication do we use?
Words are very important, but 55% of normal communication is visual, 38% vocal, and only 7% verbal. In the
printed medium we should therefore make use of drawings and photographs. But we should also consider the other
media such as audio and video, interactivity on the website, and pod-casting, which Arun said can be
fantastically effective, giving anything from short trailers once a month to long articles and interviews.
It was a good day, with lots of ideas for making the best use of our magazines, our websites and any other
communication technology we can think of. The printed magazine, reassuringly, is by no means obsolete.
Enlarge picture (opens in new
This photograph by Tony Parsons is the ceiling in the choir of All Saints’ church. Tony is a member of the
Cheltenham Camera Club, which held an exhibition in All
Saints’ just before Easter. He was fascinated by the natural lighting in the church and decided to take some
photographs using only the daylight coming through the windows. In a process known as HDR (high dynamic
range), Tony used different exposures and then merged them to produce beautiful pictures which we cannot do
justice to in black and white. This one was taken with the camera fixed on the horizontal plane, as if lying
on the floor facing directly upwards (which is by far the easiest way to appreciate this ceiling!). I love the
symmetry, and while it does look good in black and white, it is stunning in colour. You can see it (and
another picture) by clicking on the image above. Tony’s photographs will also be on display in All Saints’
church, probably during June.
2Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health…, even as your soul
is getting along well. 3It gave me great joy to have some brothers tell about your
faithfulness to the truth… 5You are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even
though they are strangers to you. 6They have told the church about your love… 8We
ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth… 11Do
not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God… 13I have
much to write to you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. 14I hope to see you soon,
and we will talk face to face…
3 John (NIV)
Just as the Old Testament is made up of books of different styles of literature – history, prophecy and
poetry for example, so too is the New Testament, with books about the person of Jesus (the gospels), letters
to individuals or churches (epistles) and prophecy (Revelation). This short letter, just a single chapter of
fourteen verses, is found towards the end of the New Testament and lies immediately before the two concluding
books Jude and Revelation.
3 John is very much the length of a private letter of the time (probably towards the end of the first
century AD) and it would have been written on a sheet of papyrus (about 20cm x 25cm). The author identifies
himself as ‘the Elder’ writing to his friend, Gaius. We do not know whether the author was John, the apostle,
or a close follower, but that need not stop us from benefitting from the message.
Good practice when reading any part of scripture is to seek out the original context, then what it teaches
us of God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit and finally how it applies to our personal Christian life.
Regarding context – both 1 and 2 John are in part written to counter false teachings that were being
circulated at the time and were threatening to deny the incarnation of Christ. It is possible that 3 John
results from the same situation. It concerns hospitality offered to visiting preachers: Diotrephes was
refusing to receive those whom the Elder commended and was gossiping maliciously (v9).
As regards teaching, the Elder is keen that being a Christian will influence how we each live our life. Our
God is a personal God. See verse 11.
Perhaps recalling letters or cards you have sent, do you wish similar things to those in verse 2 to the
people you correspond with? What is it that gives you great joy (v3)? How faithful are you, both as a friend
and as a Christian (v5)? Do people say verse 6 of you? How do you support fellow Christians (v8)?
Should you have access to this letter in full you will read that Diotrephes was putting up barriers to
God’s work. He loves to be first. He will have nothing to do with the Elder. He gossips maliciously. More
light is shed by these other passages: ‘Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn
from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.’ (Psalm 34:13-14) and ‘No-one who lives in Jesus keeps
on sinning.’ (1 John 3:6).
We live in the age of mobile phones, email and instant communication – but I am so glad we have access to
some of the early Christian letters. And don’t you just love the personal touches in verse 13?
In conclusion: the context – a letter from one Christian to another illustrating how two different men
behave. One thing it teaches about God or Jesus is that faithfulness to God’s truth brings joy. How do you
apply it – well that really isn’t up to me to tell you, is it?
Year 6 Welcome to Elevate
Elevate is now open to young people currently in school Year 6. Elevate is a group which
explores faith and life through a wide range of games, activities and discussion. We meet 5-7pm on Sunday
evenings at St Nicolas’ Church.
For more information: Andy Macauly 520534.
Eucharist with a Difference
The Brownies and Guides will be taking part in our next Eucharist with a Difference at St Nicolas’on
Sunday 15th June at 9.30am. All are welcome to join us.
St Mary’s Bakestall
The next bakestall falls on Sunday 15th June with contributions gratefully received from the
A-F surname team. It will be in aid of Victims of Torture via the Medical Foundation.
In April we sent donations amounting to £50 to African appeals: Africa Now, Hope Africa
and Breadline Africa. Thank you all for your support, both baking and buying.
Linda Matthews & Margaret Waker
Parish Lunch at The Royal Oak
Our next Parish Lunch will take place on Sunday 20th July at 1.00pm in the function room of
The Royal Oak. I shall be taking names in a short while, but this is just to let you know in advance so that
you can make a note in your diaries.
Mid-Morning Music at St Mary’s
On Wednesday 25th June Music Scholars from Dean Close School will give a concert at 11am in
St Mary’s church after coffee at 10.30am. There will be a retiring collection in aid of the Organ Fund. All
Prestbury Mothers’ Union
This month’s meeting takes place on Tuesday 24th June at St Nicolas’ Church at 7.30pm. Our
speaker will be Mr Chris Baynham who will talk to us about The Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service.
Any husbands or friends who may find this interesting are more than welcome to join us for this occasion.
Saturday 21st & Sunday 22nd
2 – 5 pm
Tickets £5 (accompanied children free)
All proceeds to Church funds.
With cream teas in St Mary’s Church
3 – 5 pm
Gardeners are working hard, so bring your friends and enjoy exploring the delightful gardens.
Football Awards Night
On Saturday 21st June the North Cheltenham Churches (NCC) football team is holding its
annual Awards Night at Whitethorn Drive from 7.30pm by kind invitation of Sharon and Andy.
If you are over sixteen and interested in playing for the team, please contact the team
manager, Tim Rudge, or email
On Sunday 22nd June the Revd Jon Morgan will lead a service of worship from Iona. The
service is at 6.30pm in Prestbury United Reformed Church and everyone is invited to attend. There will not be
a 6.30pm service in St Mary’s on this evening.
Important Date for your Diary
Ordination Service –
On Sunday 29th June at 10.15am in Gloucester Cathedral David Gardiner will be
ordained as a Deacon to serve in our Team Ministry. The Cathedral would like to know how many people might be
attending the service. Please let Fr Michael know ASAP if you intend to go.
Ordination Sunday – 29th June
Please keep the afternoon free so that you can attend the welcome tea party for our new
curate, David Gardiner and his wife Sarah. This will be held in the garden of Prestbury Vicarage – let’s hope
the weather’s fine!
Outing to Hereford Cathedral
This will take place on Tuesday 22nd July, leaving St Nicolas’ Church by coach at 9.30am. We
will leave Hereford at 4.30pm. Fr Paul Iles will do an afternoon guided tour of the Cathedral for those who
are interested. The cost of the coach will be £8.00 return per person and at the time of going to print there
are only 10 places left. If you would like to join us, you must hurry!
‘Beat the Bounds’ – for PPY
On Saturday 6th September, as part of St Mary’s Patronal Festival, we shall walk the
boundary of Prestbury Parish. Do join us for all or part of the route. If you would like to ask people to
sponsor you to raise funds for Prestbury and Pittville Youth, please do so, but this is not essential. More
information in next month’s magazine.
The Fate of the Fete
You may well be wondering if we shall be having a church fete this summer. Well, the answer
is yes we shall, but it will be in late summer – Saturday 13th September to be exact. It will take place on
the Scout Field in The Burgage and run from 2.00pm until 5.00pm. Any ideas for new stalls and attractions will
be welcome and I shall soon be compiling a list of volunteers to help on the day. Meanwhile, keep that day
free in your diaries and watch the magazine for further information.
Advance Date for your Dairies …
Saturday 11th October at All Saints’ Church, a return visit of the much loved Abertillery
Orpheus Male Choir. They have already raised a lot of money for the parish over the past few years and have
kindly agreed to come again to help raise more money for the Quinquennial repair work. Please keep the date
free and support us in this enjoyable venture.
Blue Moon Harmony Choir
I would like to thank everyone who came and supported the concert given by the above choir
on 26 April. Also a big thank you to my fellow choir members, Musicial Director and our accompanist for giving
up their time on a Saturday evening to help raise money for my church. A profit of over £800 was made for the
Building Repair Fund.
Thank you all again.