This year the Christmas card which will be delivered to (I hope) all the homes in the parishes of
North Cheltenham carries the image of the Christ child – baby Jesus – in the arms of his mother, Mary. It
is what would probably be described as a ‘sanitized’ image of a fair-haired baby smiling contentedly,
wrapped in a pristine white shawl. I am sure this is very far from the reality of the stable or
out-building where Jesus was born and I think it would be unlikely that the baby had fair hair or that he
was wrapped in a clean new shawl! However, what matters is the central truth, portrayed in this image and
in a huge variety of different ways, that in the Christ child, God became one of us. Was born of a woman,
like us. Lived his earthly life like us; experiencing joy and laughter, pain and sadness. With his birth
the whole course of human history was changed and our lives are changed as well.
Perusing through the stock of a religious bookshop, amongst all the variety of Christmas material, I
came across a simple book of poems entitled ‘Surrender at the Crib’. It was designed and printed at St
Mary’s Abbey, West Malling in Kent. One poem, called ‘The Onlooker’, includes these lines:
All a surrender had to make,
all a gift to receive and bring,
all met the Christ Child
and were changed.
The poem speaks about all the different people and animals who made the journey to the Crib, who met
God there in the little baby they saw lying in the manger, and whose lives were never the same again. At
Christmas, the invitation is a very simple one; for each one of us to gather at the Crib. To bring
ourselves as a gift and to meet the Christ Child and prepare to be changed. The poem continues;
Pause, then, by the crib,
reflect if here lies a message
for your life.
Is there a star you need to follow?
A situation to be let go?
A gift waiting to be given?
A new perspective to be discovered?
There are challenges for us all as we worship again the new-born king. What difference has his birth
made to our lives? Is there a message there for us; something Jesus wants to say to us personally; wants
us to know? Has his birth made a difference to our lives? Dare we hope that we will in some way be
changed by our encounter with the God who shows his love to us in the little baby whose birth we
celebrate? ‘Emmanuel’ – ‘God with us’.
Welcome to our Christmas / New Year Parish Magazine.
“Please can we have some fun, and more light articles”?
This request comes from one of our loyal readers and contributors just days after the November
Magazine went on sale.
“Yes, we can. The fun starts NOW with a Caption Competition”. The
centre page article focussing on music and
J.C.Supersound ‘fits the bill’ in our eyes for a
We have also received feedback relating to specifics and layout of ads in our new look/new feel
magazine. This is timely feedback, as we are on the brink of looking at our Marketing Strategy and your
issues will be ‘on the table’ at our next planning meeting.
I am writing to you in early November and all around us nature is changing. Many of us prefer to live
where there is a change of the seasons. British people are accustomed to seasonal variation and it is
what we expect and what we are comfortable with. Deacon Jennifer explores the subject of ‘Change’ in some
depth in her article. It is thought provoking, personal and
You will not be surprised to learn that our readers hugely enjoyed (and in some cases loved) the two
personal accounts of ‘Remembering’ from Elizabeth and Barbara. Louise’s story was a resounding success
with readers, and her photo ‘Said it all’. The most frequently heard feedback is: ‘The magazine is
changing’. For many of us, the shift of change is exciting and something to look forward to, for others,
it represents anxiety and can result in resistance.
Change is this month’s theme. Change is inevitable and has varying degrees. It has always been a
constant in our lives. It is the rapid rate of change in our population and circumstances that has caused
us all to question it more openly. No-one can deny that the Anglican Church and wider Anglican Community
are experiencing profound change. The heart of the Church of England is in the Parishes and this is where
we need to put our vision and effort. You will find examples on (Community
Corner, and CCP)
Long before the Editorial Team formed in June, there was an established magazine production team in
place, working in the interests of the Parish. Comprising: Father Daniel, responsible for reading the
draft, Kay and Simon in the Team Office, Cyril, Ken and Nigel overseeing printing and collating, Sue
proofreading, Shirley in charge of distribution and money collection from our army of deliverers.
Finally, and most importantly Brian, our webmaster and Man Friday, without whom we would have neither an
electronic nor hard copy magazine! There are many reasons why this long serving team diligently carry out
these vital tasks.
The changeover from Editor to Editorial Team has realised the following changes:
- John and Beryl co-ordinate the Bible Page
- Michael manages adverts and advertisers
- Suzy is our roving reporter
- Stella and Kate arrange the layout of the magazine
- Father Mike and Diane provide photos and ideas for monthly themes
- Jean hunts and gathers
In the New Year there will be the following changes:
- Children’s Page
- Contributions from Elevate and Synergy
- New Deadline
- Marketing Strategy
So as to deliver these changes we are actively looking for a Children’s Page co-ordinator and a third
computer-minded person to assist with compiling the magazine. Please get in touch if you would like to be
part of the ongoing development of our Parish Magazine. As usual we always welcome feedback.
Our theme for February is Staying the Course, and for March, New Beginnings.
On behalf of the Editorial team I would like to sincerely thank our contributors and entire production
team for their loyalty and unstinting service. We wish you and all our readers a happy and peaceful
Christmas, and a joyous and healthy New Year.
This time last year the Local Ministry Team suggested that the Parish make a New Year resolution to
pray for every street in the Parish every month and thus the ‘Pray the Streets’ scheme was launched. The
prayers are included in our church services, and many people also use the scheme at home. Thank you for
continuing to take an active part in this prayer ministry. During the year we were joined by members of
the United Reformed Church and other Christians living in Prestbury, and the scheme also had a mention in
the Gloucestershire Echo
In the coming year we want to continue the scheme. More prayer cards are available in the churches if
you need one, and there are now some bookmarks too – handy to slip into your Bible.
Perhaps you might like to offer a card or bookmark to a friend or neighbour, someone who maybe goes to
a different church but lives in Prestbury and would like to join in praying for their area.
If you know of someone who has a specific prayer request, invite them to write it on a slip of paper
and pin it to the prayer board in St Mary’s church. It will then be offered to God on their behalf at
services during the week.
We could also invite people to come to church with us, either on a Sunday or midweek. Maybe they would
like to come on the day of the month on which their street is prayed for. Check the weekly notice sheet
or the parish magazine for details of service times at the two churches.
Frances Murton & Clare Wyatt, Local Ministry Team
For those of you who are curious we have four main groups as part of the charity.
- Synergy, for those aged 14 and above, who wish to explore their faith more
- Elevate, for those aged 11-14, who also wish to explore their faith.
- The Chill, which is a drop in youth club for anyone aged 11 or over
- Community Challenge, which takes a group of 14 year olds from Pittville School who are
struggling in main stream education and offers them an alternative programme of activities to build
their confidence etc.
So far over the past term we have seen all the groups
partake in different activities.
Synergy was offered the opportunity to partake in a large worship event at Wembley Stadium, known as
the national day of prayer and worship. A small group of us went along. The event itself was four hours
of worship and prayer. There were approximately 40,000 other people in the stadium and it made an
uplifting experience, if a little awe inspiring, to be in amongst so many other Christians all
worshipping God together. We also stopped off for a McDonalds on the way home to replenish ourselves, and
a special mention should go to Joe, our student worker, who managed a whopping 25 chicken nuggets,
although I was fairly thirsty and also looked slightly odd ordering three drinks all for myself! Thank
you to Richard for driving the bus for us.
Elevate too have had some fun with a social to laser tag
in Gloucester. Needless to say being an adult at these events is definitely a disadvantage. I ended up on
minus points as everyone kept shooting me. In other events Elevate joined with Synergy to have a bonfire
night party with sparklers and a fire. Both Elevate and Synergy have also been following a programme of
events that is helping aid their spiritual growth, and some young people have expressed an interest in
becoming confirmed at the next confirmation which will be in the Easter period.
The Chill group also enjoyed a bonfire party and have
been working on their teamwork skills through several of the activities we have been doing. Over the
coming weeks, some of the young people that attend the Chill are sharing their skills with the group and
teaching us things which they are good at, such as dance. At the Chill we have also enjoyed a bit of
baking and creativity.
We have recently had our first session with the Community Challenge group, and they too have been
working on team building skills with an aim to working together well enough to enable us to
go out into the community and help others by doing
activities such as clearing the churchyard at St Mary’s. If we succeed we will end up with a reward trip
to Viney Hill for a day of outdoor activities.
This is what we have been doing so far this term, however we have an Upcoming event for which we would
value everyone’s support. In December there is a youth service which is being planned and run by both the
Synergy and Elevate groups. It will be on the 2nd December in the evening (timings to be confirmed). All
will be welcome. Thank you to all the volunteers who help at the groups and to those who support in
prayer; it has been much appreciated.
There’s always a danger with modern and postmodern art to come at it with questions and comments that
contain a lot of assumptions. “It is very attractive, but what does it mean?” or “I could have done
that!” are two of the more common ones. Often these reactions say a lot more about us than about the art
in question, and sometimes that is precisely why an artist has created it.
Damien Hirst’s famous spot painting series, spanning a quarter century (1986 – 2011) is a case in
point. Speaking about them in 2001, Hirst said1: “I suddenly got what I wanted...a way of
pinning down the joy of colour”.
You may have heard it said that the word “enthusiasm” originally stems from the idea of God within,
literally en-theos-iasm. So to speak of the “joy of colour” brings us an awareness again of the
created world and God’s desire that we should live in harmony with it, rejoicing as he does in all that
he has made. It is a real pleasure to be able to display work inspired by Hirst’s spot paintings,
produced by children at St Mary’s CofE Junior School, during December and January. I hope you will enjoy
looking at these creations and through them have a renewed appreciation of our colourful world, into
which Christ chose to be born.
1. Damien Hirst, cited in Damien Hirst and Gordon Burn, ‘On the Way to Work’, Faber
and Faber, 2001, p.119
Last September, I came to the end of my time as a Curate. My training with Father Michael was complete
and Bishop Michael issued me with a new licence. I’d shown that I was able to do everything required in
my new role as Team Deacon.
Yet although I’d reached the end of my training, it didn’t mean that I could stop learning. I’ve been
taught to carry out specific tasks for specific purposes, but as time goes by, I’m finding that it’s
rather like beginning a New Year. Some things remain the same, but there are also new challenges. There
may be occasions when I might need to modify the way in which I do things, or even discover a completely
different approach, in order to meet the needs of new situations and new people.
Those who have been part of the Church for a long time will have seen many changes during their
lifetime. Congregations, which used to have one vicar all to themselves, are now likely to be sharing
their Incumbent with a number of other parishes. Sunday Schools have been superseded by Friday clubs or
Messy Church. Organ music has been supplemented by worship bands, or even replaced altogether by music on
CD; and in almost all churches there are fewer people attending Sunday services than in years past. In
some areas, church buildings which were once at the centre of community are facing closure.
Change is exciting, change can surprise us, but it can also be scary and a bit of a challenge. Changes
we would have preferred not to make are sometimes forced upon us by circumstance, by the limitations of
age or by the demands of family responsibility
Yet looking back, we realise that change has always been part and parcel of our lives and has often
been something that we’ve welcomed. We change the car, redecorate the living room or buy a different
brand of breakfast cereal. And when we browse our photo albums we have to admit that the young fresh
faces smiling back at us from our baby snapshots are somewhat different from the faces we have now.
It really would be rather odd if we didn’t expect there to be changes in the life of our Church,
because each one of us is in the process of being changed. God’s Holy Spirit is at work in all our lives,
and he transforms us into the likeness of Christ.
John Henry Newman wrote: “In a higher world it is otherwise, but here below to live is to change,
and to be perfect is to have changed often.” May the God of peace make us perfect in every good work
to do His will, working in us that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be
glory for ever and ever.
When visiting the flower festival held during the Jubilee weekend, I bought raffle tickets, and to my
great surprise, I was the lucky winner of an afternoon tea for two at Ellenborough Park. I had no idea
when I bought my tickets that this fabulous prize was on offer. Unable to go during the summer, we
finally settled on 31st October. No tricks, but most certainly a treat!
Tea was served in the Great Hall, impressive with lots of comfy armchairs and settees and a log fire.
We were shown to a low table already set out for tea, white linen tablecloth, napkins and with a reserved
sign which made us feel special. Sandwiches with assorted fillings, scones plain and fruit, plus jam and
cream, also dainty cakes, this was all presented on a silver three tier stand. Tea or coffee was also
offered. We sampled everything, just about making room for one of the cakes - a lovely chocolate
The whole afternoon was an unforgettable experience and most enjoyable.
Maisie & Graham Shambrook
On 28th October I did a thing that I have never done before; I got up in church during the
Celebrate! Service and spoke about something important to me.
I suffer from Noonan Syndrome, and the 28th October is
the birthday of Dr Jacqueline Noonan, the American paediatric cardiologist who discovered the condition
in the 1960s. Noonan Syndrome is almost as common as Down’s Syndrome but not many people have heard of
it. That’s why I did the presentation at Celebrate! The Noonan Association has designated 28th
October to be Noonan’s Day, in order to raise awareness of this condition.
My presentation was in the form of an interview with Andy Macauly. We also put some information and
pictures up on the screen. I was very nervous, scared and worried beforehand but determined to go ahead
with it. Having Andy with me was a great help. One of the questions asked was, “What is the most
difficult thing for you about having Noonan’s?”
I said it was being so short that people think I am
still a child, even though I am now 31.
He also asked what helped me in difficult times.
I mentioned three things:
- Firstly, being a member of the Noonan’s Association, which runs a helpline, organises
get-togethers and raises money for research.
- Secondly, all the support I and my family have received from people in the church, friends,
acquaintances and neighbours.
- Thirdly, and most importantly, knowing that God does not judge people by how good looking or
clever they are.
When I had finished everybody gave me a round of applause and then Andy prayed for me and the work of
the Noonan Association. I was very relieved, I felt the presentation had gone well and everyone had
Later Fr Daniel and Margaret Holman asked me if I would do something similar at the 11 o’clock service
and I hope to do that in the near future.
Noonan Syndrome: What is it?
Noonan Syndrome is a complex
genetic disorder and people with it tend to have distinctive facial features. Problems caused by the
syndrome include; short stature, congenital heart defects, feeding problems in babies and learning
For more information about Noonan Syndrome contact the Noonan Syndrome Association (Reg. Charity No
1140671) at www.noonansyndrome.org.uk
A Fond Farewell as our Director of Music Moves On……
As many readers will already be aware, David Smith played his last service for us at St Mary’s on
Remembrance Sunday 11th November 2012. David had been our Director of Music since January 2009 when he
took on the responsibility for the choir and for playing at services, including weddings and funerals.
But perhaps some might not be aware of David’s long standing relationship with St Mary’s. Aged just
seven years, David joined the choir as a boy treble and was soon taking piano lessons with Malcolm
McKelvey, the then Director of Music. A big and rather important decision at the time given that he had
to choose between the Choir and the Scouts, both of which took place on a Friday evening. In time David
also performed with the Cheltenham Youth Orchestra, Cheltenham Youth Brass and Gloucester Youth Brass.
But it seems to have been at St Mary’s, and with Malcolm’s encouragement, that David’s abilities and love
of Music were fostered. As a Tenor, David went up to Cambridge to read Music as a Choral Scholar at
Peterhouse, yet still sang with the St Mary’s Choir during the holidays.
Several current members of the Choir fondly remember David in those early years. ‘He was so quiet’,
‘he was always very well behaved!’, and ‘he clearly had talent’. Perhaps not an obvious appointment, to
take up the reins of Director of Music as a relatively new graduate, when several choir members recalled
him in his pram! But David’s musicianship, non-critical manner, patience and hard work were to win the
day. Not often perhaps that a prophet is recognised in his own land.
Recent comments from choir members include the following;
‘David has nurtured St Mary’s Choir with skill, patience and purpose, showing his huge ability to
take on all forms of music and encouraging the choir to aim for high standards. He is a superb
organist and teacher, quick to understand and help with problems.’
‘He has been marvellous for the choir, held us all together and brought us all on without
‘One feature of his ‘go-ahead’ mastership of the choir is his youthful passion for learning new
works, particularly in his choice of anthems for Sunday morning service. This makes singing under
his guidance both challenging and interesting.’
‘I really like the way that David explains the dynamics so that it all makes sense when we are
singing. It adds a whole new dimension to the music.’
In a farewell message from Father Daniel, we heard about David saving the day at a wedding when, on
receiving a call to say that there was no organist in church, he speedily cycled from his workplace in
the High Street to greet the bride with ‘The Entry of the Queen of Sheba’. Such dedication and good
Whilst at St Mary’s David has also been extending his musical interests through the Cheltenham Bach
Choir, the Oriel Singers and Voices2Go, with whom he recently performed extracts from ‘The Marriage of
Figaro’ and ‘The Impressario’. Certainly we will expect to hear more of such developments as his
performing interests continue to develop.
But David is now making a career move to Leamington Spa where he will pursue his interests in digital
downloads of classical music. We know he will be back to visit his family and friends, but in the
meantime we all wish him all the very best for this new, and hopefully exciting and rewarding chapter of
his life. And to mark the occasion the Choir had a rather excellent lunch party in his honour.
Singing as part of a congregation brings an extra dimension to worship. Augustine of Hippo is supposed
to have said “Whoever sings, prays twice.” Worship is in the meaning of the words, but also in the
physical act of singing.
To continue our themed series of articles about
Celebrate!, I recently spoke to the members of the Celebrate! Band, a group of musicians who
are central to the worship every week. The main ‘lead’ band consists of adults and young people but a
more recent development has been the creation of a Junior band called JC Supersound, including
members from the age of 7 upwards. Here, Jerry Porter and Sharon Carley-Macauley tell us about both
Celebrate! started in October 2004, and the band has been an integral part of it from the very
first service. I've been coordinating the band since the beginning. The founder members who are still
with the band include Sharon (on vocals), Nick (keyboard) and me (drums, mainly). We have had a number
of other long-term members since, most of whom moved on to attend university.
The current members are a varied group, not all of whom sing every week. Apart from the
instrumentalists Nick and me, we have a flexible pool of vocalists who sing when they can.
Plus, not all of our band singers necessarily sing at the front on Sunday. Either through personal
preference or due to the need to look after children they are often more comfortable supporting the music
from within the congregation and this works really well. Our aim is to help anyone who wants to bring
their musical gifts to Celebrate! to do so in whatever way works for them and for Celebrate!
Apart from the run-through immediately before the service each Sunday, we try to meet roughly one
evening each month, partly to plan and practise for the next few services, but also to make sure that
over time all band members become familiar with the whole Celebrate! song book. Anyone who feels
like a sing is very welcome to come along to these sessions (they're advertised on Facebook and Twitter),
with absolutely no obligation to stand up at the front and sing on Sunday. Anyone who comes to practice
sessions also gets to choose some of their favourite songs to sing!
Sources of inspiration
We tend to choose music we know or have come across, which we think will work well for Celebrate!
(Sharon is very knowledgeable here). When it comes to music particularly aimed at children, we're very
keen at the moment on the songs written by Stephen Fischbacher of Fischy Music. Nick and I
have also written some music especially for Celebrate!
Enjoyment and worship
I love everything to do with live music, including the technical side of setting up and operating the
equipment. The band is a great team to be part of - we have a lot of fun. And, last but not least, we
are not giving a concert to an audience but are playing and singing as part of a worshipping
congregation. This brings responsibilities - we must be sufficiently competent that we are not a barrier
to, or a distraction from the worship. But it is also liberating, in that we are just bringing the best
we can to the worship, with all of our imperfections.
Planning and leading Celebrate! rests with a fairly small team of people (though I'm glad to
say more are stepping forward into those roles) and the effort needed to prepare and deliver a service
every week is pretty relentless.
This is true of all the elements of the service. We need to make sure the music helps to set the tone
and style of Celebrate!, offering structure and shape to the service whilst complimenting the
content, yet offering something to all age groups.
We are building up a useful number of singers, but it would be good to have a few more in the pool,
particularly some more instrumentalists. Guitar and electric bass would be particularly welcome, but
we'll have a go at incorporating pretty much any instrument (not too many bagpipers please). So…
if you're interested please have a word with Jerry. (And that's also true if you play keyboard or drums
- it's good to ring the changes sometimes, as we have done recently with Andy Murton doing a great job on
keyboard in Nick's absence.)
Jerry Porter was talking to Suzanne Beadnell
The newest members of the Celebrate! congregation,
attending on the 11th November.
Richard presenting his talk
The evening of the 27th October was a special one for several reasons. Three years ago, "The Friends
of St. Mary's" came into being. There were hopes and very definite doubts about its future. Some felt
that people who were not churchgoers wouldn't be interested, and nobody could be certain of its success
but the evening learning about the ancient Pilgrim Way from Canterbury to Rome settled the matter.
Richard Gould, a Prestbury resident who is not a member of any of our congregations, volunteered to
give an illustrated talk on his summer spent, quite literally, walking, every step of the way from the
Cathedral Close in Canterbury, through France, Switzerland and on down through Italy to St. Peter’s
Square in Rome. Not only that, he planned and cooked a delicious menu of regional foods representing the
countryside he crossed, accompanied by beer and wines to match. He showed slides to illustrate his
travels, gave a charming and very personal account of his journeying, and in the interludes whilst we
ate, he serenaded us with appropriate music on his accordion. I doubt if such an evening could be
repeated. The only sadness was that for obvious reasons, he felt that he could not cater for more than
This limit on tickets led to another special happening. The event was a complete sell-out. Ten people,
at least, were unable to get seats -a very definite first for us.
The side pews in church were swung back to the walls to make room for long refectory style tables
which were candlelit; candles were also on all the window sills so we needed the minimum of electric
lighting. Richard Gould spoke so sincerely of the hardship of the medieval journey the pilgrims made,
perhaps as an act of faith or thanksgiving. Sometimes it was a punishment for a crime committed, such as
the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket. In some places, Richard trod the original flag stoned pathways
and in the soft light, beneath our own ancient pillars and arches, the centuries of walkers seemed very
close. He also commented on the relief he felt as he approached Rome which was mixed with a deep sadness
that this incredible experience was about to end.
It was a remarkable evening, our congratulations and thanks go to Richard. The sum raised was slightly
All Friends of St. Mary's events are open to everyone, but there is a members’ website which keeps
members up to date with projects we are involved in and early notice of forthcoming events. This autumn,
Friends have paid for floor repairs in front of the Chancel, prior to the fitting of new carpet and will
also cover the cost of removing dense moss and cleaning of the Upper Room roof, which our church
architect very strongly advised in the last quinquennial review. If you would like more information,
speak to our Chairman, Jim Mackie.
Thanks to Sharon Carley-Macauly for providing us with information about the new Celebrate!
Junior Worship Band which has a great name - JC Supersound . The JC in the logo represents
either Jesus Christ, Junior Choir, or Junior Celebrate; the children came up with the name.
Over a dozen children aged 7+ are involved in the new band, some as singers, some as musicians or
percussionists and some who are getting involved with the ‘technical’ stuff. It’s all going really well
and there’s a great atmosphere, as most of the children know each other and are beginning to form a
'group' with a real identity.
A typical practice session takes the shape of a warm up, learning a song, having a food and drink
break, learning a second song and then finishing with a short bible thought or teaching slot. Last time
this final slot led into some really enjoyable song-writing inspired by a recent song sung at
Jerry Porter and Sharon regularly meet to work out what material JC Supersound can use, and Jo Baxter
is also stepping up to get involved. The band has recently been approached by Lynda Hodges to perform at
THE REAL CHRISTMAS and it is hoped that this will be a success.
JC Supersound is set to become an important contributor to Celebrate! and led the service on
two occasions in October and November. They will also be leading worship on the 16th December so do come
along at 9.30am if you want to see how they are doing! Please include JC Supersound in your prayers as
Jerry and Sharon are really enjoying helping to develop this important work with the 7+ years children.
They have had a great start, and we are all keen to watch God grow it.
When you read these words, I wonder what
they conjure up in your imagination: an aged learned clergyperson giving advice on holy things or
something which is available only to those in ordained ministry. What you may not know is that this
ministry is available to all, is provided by gifted and trained lay and ordained people, and is something
which is potentially life-giving and growth-giving to the whole church.
The ministry of Spiritual Direction has an ancient history and an exciting future. Right back from
Christianity’s earliest days people have sought out others whom they perceive as being able to help them
in their spiritual journey and their life as a Christian. People travelled far and wide to receive wisdom
from the Desert Fathers and Mothers, for instance, and throughout the centuries great writers such as St
Benedict, Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Avila, Thomas Merton, Gerard Hughes and many more have shared
their spiritual journeys with others, both in the books they have written, and in the conversations they
had. Today there are still directors willing to accompany others on their Christian journey, and there is
also training available for those who feel God may be calling them into this ministry.
But what is it? Spiritual direction is a way of meeting with someone - a spiritual director or
guide - to share your thoughts and reflections about your faith. A spiritual director or companion is
someone who has specific skills in listening, in helping you to reflect more deeply about your faith
journey, and in helping you to reflect on your relationship with God. Spiritual direction – or spiritual
guidance - consists of regular, confidential conversations with someone who will accompany you on your
spiritual journey. The material for spiritual direction is not only to do with prayer but with the whole
of your life experience. Its aim is to make you more discerning of the presence of God, in you and with
you, so that you may grow into greater spiritual freedom to choose the way of life Christ is leading you
Could God be calling you into this ministry? If so, you may wish to consider joining the next two-year
training course which begins in September 2013 or, if you are seeking someone as a director for yourself,
please contact me, the Chaplain at Glenfall House – tel: 583654 or email@example.com
Revd Felicity Bayne
Saturday 20th October dawned clear and dry which was most fortunate as the preceding days had seen
much rainfall. We were pleased to welcome a group of about 14 walkers from across the All Saints’, St
Mary's and St Nicolas’ Churches .
We commenced our walk from Childswickham which is situated between Evesham and Broadway and enjoyed a
route through a rural scene that included a mix of ploughed up fields, brassica crops and grass pastures,
typical one supposes, of the autumn season. Interestingly thus far we followed the route of an ambling
After an hour or so we made our way into the centre of Broadway, where we were able to sit outside a
café and enjoy a coffee break. Yes, it was that warm!
Following this we continued our stroll out of the village and aimed in a NW direction which eventually
led us back to our lunchtime venue, the Childswickham Brasserie where we hungry souls all enjoyed a
country pub lunch provided by our host Kevin. We will be arranging a further country stroll/walk in due
course so watch this space.
Members and friends enjoyed a very different demonstration in October when Sue Dedman, a local florist
from "Eden" of Bishops Cleeve came to show us some smaller, more manageable flower arrangements, suitable
for decorating the house for Christmas and other occasions.
A very successful year for the club was rounded off at our Christmas demonstration on 26th November,
when Barbara Priest came to entertain us with “A Winter's Tale”.
On 8th November, a number of Club Members went off to
the “Longhope Experience” and were entertained by Beryl Griffiths and Bob Harris who gave a fun,
festive demonstration in the church. Everyone then enjoyed a delicious lunch in the Latchen Room in the
We do not have a meeting in December, but hopefully many of our members will join us on Monday 28th
January when we hold our AGM. Our meetings start at 7.30 pm and are held in Prestbury Hall on Bouncers
Lane. Should you require any further information on future events do have a look at our website,
Photo taken in Brockhampton churchyard, Herefordshire
Name a title which should embrace our Dec/Jan theme of CHANGE.
FIRST PRIZE = BOTTLE OF WINE or SIMILAR, donated by Father Mike.
Father Mike and Jean will judge the entries, which should be sent to
magazineprestbury.net by Saturday 5th
January 2013. Entries arriving after 5th January will not qualify.
Winning entry will be announced in the February Magazine.
ENJOY AND HAVE FUN
In 1988, when Rotary International decided to take on a WHO initiative to try to eradicate polio by
annually immunising every newborn child in the world, 1,000 people were contracting this killing, or
severely paralysing, disease every day of the year. In 2012 there have been fewer than 200 new cases in
the world, confined to only 3 countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria, where immunising newborn
babies has been made difficult through war, inaccessible terrain and tribal traditions.
During the last 25 years, many hundreds of millions of pounds have been raised by Rotary, and
Rotarians in endemic countries have helped practically with immunisation days. Rotary is on the brink of
achieving its goal but has been challenged to raise a further US$75,000,000 to complete the task of
eradicating polio from the world.
Having just retired from 30 years of General Practice in Cheltenham, I felt that I wanted a major
challenge to take on, before I became too old and unfit! Hence I shall be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro
(19,340ft.) in Tanzania during the last week of January 2013. I shall be appealing for sponsorship to
raise funds for my Rotary Club (The Rotary Club of Cheltenham) to make a substantial contribution to the
END POLIO NOW campaign. I would be extremely grateful for any contributions (see
you feel able to offer to assist our efforts to rid the world of one of its major diseases. Sponsorship
forms will be circulated in church during December and January. (website:
CCP (County Community Projects), with its Head Office at 15 Royal Crescent,
Cheltenham, registered charity number 1043143, is one of Gloucestershire’s leading charities working with
vulnerable children, young people, families and adults.
CCP was founded in 1989 by local businessman, Michael Ratcliffe, to help young homeless people in
Cheltenham. While it has always kept at its core the notion of transforming the lives of young homeless
people, over the years its remit has expanded and developed to include improving the lives of children,
families and vulnerable adults across Gloucestershire. Never is this more apparent than each year in the
run up to Christmas, when CCP staff, volunteers and residents, all pull together to make its Hamper
Scamper Christmas Giving Scheme a bigger and better success than the previous year.
Christmas is always seen as a special time of year, but this isn’t always the case for everyone. The
expense and expectation can place a real strain on any family, but particularly those with low incomes
and difficult family situations. There are also many lonely and vulnerable adults who simply have nobody
to be with at this time of year. CCP’s Hamper Scamper Scheme relies entirely on the generosity of
donations and volunteers from churches, schools, community groups and corporate groups, to provide
hampers and gifts to those who need them.
“The mother of one Cirencester family was visibly touched by the generosity of the public who
donated the gifts. She was quite tearful as I handed the hamper over. She said that she had
not expected anything like it.” (CCP staff)
“My husband lost his job so we could only afford one present each for our four children. The
gifts we got from the hamper we were able to put under the tree and tell the children they were from
Father Christmas, thank you so much.” (Hamper recipient, Tewkesbury)
There are a number of ways churches can help. We need donations of gifts for children, and food such
as luxury boxes of chocolates and biscuits, food staples such as pasta, cereal, rice, and tinned goods
such as tuna, soup, and meat. We also need help with sorting, wrapping and packing and delivering, as
well as financial contributions.
To get involved with the Hamper Scamper Scheme, ring 01242 228999, email firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit www.ccprojects.org.uk
Dr Heather Sheridan (Community Fundraising Coordinator)
I have recently taken on the role of BRF church representative from Michael Cole. I have the details
of regular subscribers and will distribute the new Bible Reading Notes when they arrive.
If anyone would like to consider subscribing to these helpful notes which encourage regular reading of
a short Bible passage and a provided commentary, I would be pleased to let you have some sample copies
and can increase our order at any time.
During October at Evening Prayer we read the Second book of Chronicles. So much seems an arid,
unrewarding catalogue of battles, slaughters, and kings who have deserted the way of the Lord or who have
returned to the true path. However, it is worth occasionally pausing to look more closely. Take Chapter
12 verses 3 and 9.
“So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem and the people were without number who came
with him from Egypt – Libyans and Ethiopians...... he took away the treasures of the house of the Lord.”
Who was Shishak and why did he bring an army of Ethiopians against Judah? A little research reveals
that he is now confidently identified with Sheshonq 1 (945 – 924). He was first monarch of the 22nd
Dynasty in Egypt and of Libyan/Nubian tribal background and so it is not surprising for him to bring an
army of Ethiopians and Libyans to support him in his efforts to subdue kingdoms on his northern border.
His inscriptions at Karnak record a major military expedition against Israel and Judah. This confirmation
of the Biblical account is reassuring as confirming the truth of the Biblical account. It also provides a
glimpse into the power politics of the world at that time. Is it so different now?
Perhaps some readers might like to research the background, religion and identity of the tribes listed
in Chronicles and Kings that loom so large in the Israelite conquest of Canaan – the Perizzites, the
Amorites and the Hittites, the Hivites and the Jebusites (e.g. 2 Chronicles 8:7). Not only can we learn
more about the world that existed in Canaan before the arrival of the Israelites, it might make us think
about dispossession, ethnic cleansing and racial integration.
The New Testament text I have chosen is perhaps a surprising choice this time of year. “One of the
servants of the high priest, a kinsman of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, ‘Did I not see you
in the garden with him’. Peter once again denied it; and at once the cock crew. (John 18:27 RSV).”
We read it regularly, not only at Easter, and we have heard the cock crow at performances of our
Passion Play. It defines Peter and makes his later strength all the more convincing. But let’s look at
the event itself. William Temple, in ‘Readings in St John’s Gospel’ makes the startling suggestion that
the cock’s crow was not the cry of a bird but the trumpet sounding the ‘cock-crow’ which marked the
transition from the third watch of the night called ‘Cock-Crow’, to the fourth called ‘Early’. This would
make the Lord’s prediction in 13:38 more natural; “before cock crow” was a definite indication of time.
Whether we accept Temple’s version or not, close scrutiny of the event reminds us that the child born
in a stable in Nazareth came into a real world, a world where news spread quickly (how soon the event of
the servant’s ear being cut off had got around and become gossip), a world of ritual and custom where
timing mattered, a society making a living under an occupying power. The individuals in the courtyard
warming themselves round a brazier are flesh and blood witnesses to the tragedy taking place in rooms not
far away. Can we so immerse ourselves in the story unfolding in the Gospels that we become participants –
as a shepherd, a traveller, a maidservant or an innkeeper?