News from St Marys'


July 2017

July brings plenty of opportunities to party at St Marys’ Church!

We are preparing for our annual Summer Fete on Saturday 22nd July. It’s held in the Vicarage garden, with lots of stalls, a dog show and delicious cream teas. Not to be missed.

Earlier in the month, we have a lovely celebration on Sunday 2nd July at our 10am service, when Leah Neale will be confirmed by Bishop Christopher, Honorary Assistant Bishop in Gloucester Diocese. Confirmation is an important step in the Christian journey: it is the time when, as adults, we chose to confirm our belief in the promises made on our behalf at baptism as a baby or child. People often talk about their doubts about being ready to take this step. I try to assure them that even the greatest of saints feel unworthy! We can only ask for God’s grace to be the very best we can be, and for forgiveness when we fail. To be confirmed, we don’t need to be perfect. We just need to be sincere in our commitment to growing in faith.

Finally, we are planning another party on Sunday 23rd July to welcome our new Curate, Rob Church (great name, isn’t it). You will see a short note here from Rob, introducing himself. And then we are having a special welcome service at St Marys’ followed by lunch on Sunday 23rd July. And the festivities begin at at 10.30am.

Do please join us for all these celebrations. I look forward to seeing you there.

With love and prayers, Poppy

Now … over to Rob …

Robert Church. Assistant Curate

It gives me great pleasure to introduce myself as the new Curate here in Tetbury, and of course also Beverston, Long Newnton and Shipton Moyne. This means I am a brand new member of the clergy who will be with you for about three years. Our wonderful parish priest Poppy Hughes has the task of forming me into a fully-fledged vicar by the time I leave!

 

I will be ordained as a deacon by the Bishop Rachel in Gloucester Cathedral on 16th July, and if you feel you are able to I would be very grateful for your prayers. A deacon is called to act as a link between the church and the community, so please do feel free to talk to me whenever you see me. I have spent the past three years training at a theological college just outside Oxford, where I read for a degree in theology. Before that I spent a year on the staff of Derby Cathedral. Prior to that I attended university in London, and then worked for a time at the House of Commons. I am married to Francesca, who I met at university. She is currently finishing a PhD, which means she is far more intelligent than I am.

I feel very lucky to have been offered to spend my curacy in such a special place, with such beautiful churches with lots going on in them. I grew up in Cirencester, so returning to the Cotswolds is very much a homecoming for me. It will be wonderful to be reacquainted with the area, not to mention its hostelries.

I really look forward to getting to know you all, and to serving you in whatever way I can.

Robert Church, Assistant Curate of the Tetbury Benefice


June 2017

I am delighted that so many people pop into St Marys’ Church while they are out and about in Tetbury.

Talking to folk recently, they told us they value the church as a spiritual centre reserved for peace and prayer. And it’s great they come in for a few minutes of quiet reflection and to enjoy the beautiful space. I love it too. To help me focus when I have a few minutes on my own, I often use the lovely words from the hymn “Dear Lord and Father of mankind” written by John Greenleaf Whittier in the nineteenth century:

Drop thy still dews of quietness,
till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls the strain and stress,
and let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of thy peace.

And the space has been extra special over the past few weeks, with an image of the empty tomb built into the space under the altar, shown in the photo below. Have you seen it yet? It was created for us by Peter and Anne Lisle-Taylor, and unveiled at Easter. It has been a beautiful reminder of the Easter story: that when it seemed everything was finished for Jesus and he was lost to darkness and death, he broke from the tomb and rose again.

The image of the empty tomb in St Marys’ is a beautiful reminder of the Easter story (photo by the Revd. Ian Aveyard)

Do please also use the church as a place to pray. You can always light a candle for someone - or something - you are worried about, or to remember a loved one. And you can ask for our prayers too: there is a “prayer board” at the front of church, where you can write the name of the person to be prayed for, and we will add them to our prayer list. Or you can contact our lovely Parish Administrator, Diana, and ask her to add someone to that list (01666 500 088).

So please use the church day in, day out – and then join us on Sundays! As you know, our main Sunday service is now at the new time of 10am, with Little Fishes Sunday School for the children. We have a special Pentecost service on Sunday 4th June, which is when the gift of the Holy Spirit was given to the disciples, to give them the strength and courage to begin to share their faith with others. So we think of Pentecost as the Church’s birthday (and there will be cake!). Do join us then, and for the Sunday services through June.

And looking ahead to next month … we are preparing for the arrival of our new Curate, Rob Church, who is ordained Deacon in Gloucester Cathedral on Sunday 16th July. Then we have a special welcome service at St Marys’ on Sunday 23rd July at 10.30am. All are welcome. Do please look out for Rob and his wife Frankie, and make them welcome in town!

With love and God’s blessing, Poppy
The Revd Poppy Hughes, Parish Priest
The Benefice of Tetbury, Beverston, Long Newnton and Shipton Moyne


April 2017

Have you heard the parable of the Lost Sheep?

Jesus is responding to criticism that he is mixing with a bad lot – cheats and liars, robbers and thieves – so tells the story about the shepherd who has a hundred sheep. When one goes missing he searches high and low, until he finds that one lost sheep. Then he invites his friends and neighbours to a party to celebrate.

It’s the story we shared this month at Faith Explorers, our after-school club at St Marys’. We made these fun sheep biscuits; try it! You just need fondant icing and mini-marshmallows, with a bit of white icing to stick it all together – and biscuits of course!

We also heard this Parable at our Ash Wednesday service, telling us that God is always reaching out, to connect or reconnect with us. And that’s been the theme for our Lent home groups and our reading: recognising the ways we wander away, and how we can live more closely with God. We’ve had some great conversations, with about seventy people meeting in eight homes across the Benefice. And now we’re gearing up for Holy Week and Easter. Beginning on Palm Sunday (9th April) at 10.30am we meet in the Market Place to re-enact the procession as Jesus entered Jerusalem. Do come and join us – palms are provided, but you can also bring branches from your garden. We process to church, singing that wonderful hymn “Ride on, Ride on, in Majesty”, then prepare for the week to come with the dramatic Gospel account of Jesus’ trail and crucifixion.

Each evening in Holy Week, our 7pm services go from village to village, providing times of quiet reflection and prayer: Monday in Beverston with lessons and carols for Holy week, Tuesday in St Saviour’s Church with a candle-lit Taize service – Wednesday in Long Newnton with Stations of the Cross.

Thursday 13th April is Maundy Thursday, when we remember the Last Supper at a special service at 7pm at St Marys’ Tetbury. Then on Good Friday, we follow Jesus’ journey to his death and burial. We join the churches in the Tetbury Area for the Procession of Witness at 11am, starting at the Gospel Hall in Hampton Street , followed by our Good Friday Service in St Marys’ at 2pm. Finally, at St John the Baptist in Shipton Moyne that evening (7pm), we share in a service specially written for our Benefice by the Right Revd Michael Perham, former Bishop of Gloucester, to mark the burial of Jesus.

What a joy it will be to then celebrate Easter, and Jesus rising again. We start as we light our “Easter Fire” outside church on Saturday 15th April at 9pm. This is followed by a wonderful Easter service which moves from darkness to light..... finishing up outside again with lots of bells and fireworks. And all this with some great hymns! So do join us then – or for our service on Easter morning at 9.30am.

With love and prayers, Poppy.

The Revd Poppy Hughes
Parish Priest
The Benefice of Tetbury, Beverston, Long Newnton and Shipton Moyne


February 2017

Here’s a nice story.

A mum notices that the storm clouds are forming mid-afternoon, and is worried about her seven-year-old daughter who will be walking home from her primary school around the corner. Deciding to meet her, the mother finds her daughter walking nonchalantly along, stopping to smile whenever lightning flashed. Seeing her mother, the little girl runs to her, explaining happily: "All the way home, God's been taking my picture!"

Children can make us laugh – and bring us up short, can’t they? They have their own take on things, and can help us all to see things differently, or afresh. I always find that having to explain things to children helps me to sort out my thoughts too … especially when it comes to God!

We’re delighted at St Marys’ Church that we now have a flourishing weekly Sunday School, “Little Fishes”. We’ve got a new Little Fishes’ room, and they meet every Sunday during our main 9.30 service (except the first Sunday of the month). They chat about a Bible story and do craft activities to help understand what it means for us. On Sunday 12th February, for example, we are focussing on God’s law of love, and decorating heart-shaped boxes to fill with chocolates and give to someone we love.

Then, on the first Sunday of the month, we usually have a baptism. All the children get involved in blowing bubbles as the child is baptised … we say the bubbles show we are surrounding them with our love and our prayers. The children also have Baptism activity books to fill out to help them think about what is going on. It asks: what’s your favourite bit of the service? This is one answer and picture …

As well as Little Fishes in church, we run the Faith Explorers Club on Wednesdays after school club at St Mary’s. Up to 20 children can sign up, and I am delighted that we are always “full”. Together, we explore “big questions” about what we believe, with Bible stories, chatting, questions, craft activities and snacks (of course!).

And I am delighted that we continue to support our young people when they go to Sir William Romneys. St Marys’ Church sponsors our Youth Worker, Mandie Winbow, to work with the young people in school when they need some loving support and encouragement - from mentoring to running a Diners’ Club to build cooking skills and confidence. She does a wonderful job!

So that tells you a little bit about what we are doing with children and young people. But whether you’re young or old, don’t forget Pancake Tuesday on 28th February. Then next day – Ash Wednesday – marks the beginning of Lent with our special Ash Wednesday service at 7pm on Wednesday 1st March. More in the next edition.

Until then, with love and prayers, Poppy

The Revd Poppy Hughes
Parish Priest
The Benefice of Tetbury, Beverston, Long Newnton and Shipton Moyne


December 2016

When you stand to sing “O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant …” you know Christmas is really and truly here!

There are so many fantastic highlights at St Marys’ in the festive season, I would be hard-pushed to pick a favourite.

The Children’s Crib Service at 4pm on Christmas Eve is gorgeous. The children are invited to dress up as sheep and shepherds, angels, stars … even donkeys to help bring Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. Lots of children are involved in telling the Christmas story, and every child is invited up to the front to be part of the nativity scene. As you can imagine, excitement runs high and it is a magical time.

Midnight Mass, at 11.30pm that same evening, is wonderful, and just as joyful in a different way. The church is filled with people and beautiful music, all bathed in the candlelight of our lovely chandeliers. We will begin the service with It came upon a midnight clear, with its description of the First Christmas when “the world in solemn stillness lay” – and we end, of course, with O Come, all ye faithful.

But there is much to look forward to before Christmas itself.

Especially for children. Every Sunday through December, at our 9.30am service, children enjoy Advent stories and crafts in our Little Fishes Sunday School. We also have the candle-lit Christingle Service with carols on Sunday 4th December at 4pm. And – as mentioned earlier - we have our Crib Service on Christmas Eve at 4pm, with special help from children at St Mary’s Primary School.

Musical highlights. We delighted to be hosting two concerts in December. On Sunday 4th December at 7.30 we have Festivus: A Christmas Concert with musicians Heather Bristow, Nicola Clark, Richard Lloyd, James Slater and Sarana VerLin. The evening is “a beautiful and original take on sacred carols and the Christmas Story with just the right mix of contemporary material.” Tickets £5pp from Heather (0166 503 946) and others.

Then on Sunday 11th December at 5.00 pm we have a performance of Handel’s ‘Messiah’, with instruments and voices of Time and Truth, conducted by Sir Martin Smith. Tickets £20, in aid of St Mary’s Church, and available from the Tetbury Tourist Office, 33 Church Street, Tetbury (tel. 503552) or on line.

And there is more for everyone. Here are some dates for your diary.

Events

  • Thursday 1st December to Saturday 3rd December … come and enjoy Tetbury’s first Christmas Tree Festival to be held at St Saviour’s Church on New Church Street. Organised by Tetbury Area Churches Together (TACT) the Festival runs for three days, finishing with a Carol Service on Saturday 3rd December at 5.30pm
  • Saturday 3rd December, 10.00am-12.30pm. Christmas Market in the Market Hall in aid of St Marys’
  • Sunday 4th December at 7.30 Festivus: A Christmas Concert at St Marys’ (see details above)
  • Sunday 11th December at 5.00 pm. Handel’s Messiah’ at St Marys’ (see details above)

Special Services at St Marys’ Church

  • Sunday 27th November at 6.00pm, Advent Carol Service
  • Sunday 4th December at 4.00pm, Children’s Christingle Service at St Marys
  • Sunday 18th December at 6.00pm, Service of Nine Lessons and Carols
  • Christmas Eve, Saturday 24th December at 4.00pm, Children’s Crib Service
  • Christmas Eve, Saturday 24th December at 11.30pm, Midnight Mass
  • Christmas Day, Sunday 25th December 9.30am Christmas Day Service with carols (naturally!)
  • Sunday 1st January at 10.30am a special Christmas / New Year service in St Marys, with drinks afterwards in the Vicarage

Wishing you a wonderful Advent and a very Happy Christmas.

With love and prayers, Poppy

The Revd Poppy Hughes
Parish Priest
The Benefice of Tetbury, Beverston, Long Newnton and Shipton Moyne


November 2016

It will be a privilege to share Remembrance Sunday with everyone again this year.

I remember vividly my first experience of Remembrance Sunday in Tetbury in 2013. Growing up in London, I had never seen anything like it: the way the community comes together to involve everyone, young and old. St Marys’ Church is packed, with all the children and young people so beautifully turned out in their uniforms, to present their colours. Then there is the march through town with the brass band. And it is all the more moving because we share the service as Churches Together in the Tetbury Area, with ministers and readers drawn from all our churches. Do join us for this very special service on Sunday 13th November at 2.30pm in St Marys, followed by the observance at the War Memorial.

After that – before we know it – we are moving into Advent. We will be having a Quiet Day on Saturday 26th November in the Village Hall in Shipton Moyne. It will be a chance to take a step back and reflect on what it means for us for Jesus Christ to born into the world – Emmanuel, God with us. Do please contact me or our Parish Office (01666 500 088) if you are interested in coming along. The Quiet Day is followed by our Advent Carol Service at 6pm on Sunday 27th November in St Marys’.

Do also make a note of some special events coming up in December. On Saturday 3rd December we have our Church Christmas Market in the Market Hall, 10am-12.30pm. There is the children’s Christingle Service at 4pm on Sunday 4th December, with a wonderful Christmas concert given by Festivus (Heather Bristow, Sarana Verlin and their band) that same evening.

We then have a treat in store, with a candlelit performance of Handel's Messiah in Church on Sunday 11 December at 5pm. Please go to the Tetbury Music Festival website or call 01666 503552 for tickets and more details.

More of course in the December edition.

With love and prayers, Poppy (The Revd Poppy Hughes, Parish Priest)


October 2016

“Where words fail, music speaks.”

This tribute to the power of music comes from the famous wordsmith, Hans Christian Andersen himself. And he’s right, isn’t he? Music can express things we struggle to put into words, and can transport us to another world. So I hope you will join us for the variety of musical events we are hosting this month.

It begins with the delights of The Tetbury Music Festival (Thursday 29th September - Sunday 2nd October). Highlights include a free concert on Saturday morning at 11am to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Alison Parkhouse Organ Scholarship. We are very proud of this local institution, which has encouraged and supported young organists for a quarter of a century. Four scholars will play - Adam Langston, Jonathan Adkins, Joseph Middleton and Charlotte Corderoy, and the concert ends with musical fireworks played by the gifted organist and teacher, Robin Baggs. The next day, we’ll be pulling out all the stops at our Festival Eucharist Service at 10.30am on Sunday 2nd October.

Then you’re invited to enjoy a very different kind of music at our Harvest Barn Dance at St Mary’s School on Saturday 15th October at 7pm. I have to confess, barn dancing is one of my very favourite things in life (but please don’t confuse enthusiasm with ability…). I’m a big fan of “progressive mixing”, where you change partners as you dance. Always an interesting way to meet new people! As well as dancing, there is a fish and chip supper. So buy your tickets now by calling our Parish Office on 01666 500 088 (or pop in to see Diana Sharp in the office, Tuesday – Friday 9am-12.30pm).

Then on Sunday 16th we have our Harvest Festival Service at 9.30am at St Marys’ Church. Come and celebrate the good things of God’s creation by joining in with a rousing chorus of “We plough the fields and scatter”.

Finally, as October comes to an end, we change key again and turn to remembrance with our All Souls’ Services on Sunday 30th October. This is an opportunity to give thanks for the lives of all those we have loved and lost. In the evening, we have a quiet and reflective service at 6pm which includes reading the names of all those we are remembering, and lighting candles in their memory. If you would like us to include a loved one, please give their name to Diana Sharp in the Parish Office (details above). On the same day, we also have a short service for children at 4pm, suitable for all ages. They hang up stars for the people they are remembering, with prayers to say thank you for their life and asking God to care for them. Please call me if you would like more information, and do bring any children in your family who might find this comforting and helpful.

I look forward to sharing all of this with you.

With love and prayers, Poppy.

The Revd Poppy Hughes
The Revd Poppy Hughes, Rector, St Mary The Virgin & St Mary Magdalen
Tel: 01666 502 333
Join us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/St.MarysTetbury


July 2016

It feels like our theme for July is “all creatures great and small”.

For the first time, St Marys’ Church Summer Fete will include a dog show. I don’t know what the categories are yet, but how about: “most appealing expression”, “the dog who looks most like it’s owner” or “dog you would most like to take home”? Everyone is invited to come along on Saturday 16th July, 2-5pm, whether you bring a pouch or not! The Fete is held in the Vicarage garden and has a lovely English feel – with stalls and cream teas, music and special attractions for children.

And before that we have our Animal Service at Beverston at 11.15am on Sunday 3rd July. I love the church being filled with animals – especially when the dogs join in with the hymns. So do bring your beloved pets to church, to ask for God’s blessing on them. It’s always a riot – and a lot of fun.

As well as our furry friends, I wanted to mention an appeal from Bishop Rachel. As you know, she is the new Bishop of Gloucester, and she wants to hear our views. As a diocese, Gloucester is committed to building church communities that worship together, share our Christian faith and values, provide a visible presence in every community and serve the wider world. Now Bishop Rachel wants to hear how we take that work forward. She wants to hear your views on the Church of England in your local community, and how the Church can contribute to realising your hopes and vision for this community. Do send me an email if you would like us to include your views in the feedback (poppy_hughes@hotmail.co.uk).

Finally, all our prayers are with our schools this month as they finish the summer term. We wish St Mary’s and Sir William Romney a happy end of term, and hope the children and teachers have a wonderful summer holiday.

With love and prayers, Poppy.

The Revd Poppy Hughes
Rector
The Benefice of Tetbury, Beverston, Long Newnton and Shipton Moyne
The Benefice of Avening and Cherington


June 2016


During May, our Rector, Poppy, disappeared with her husband for a well-earned holiday in the United States. She asked me to give you the recent news from St. Marys’.

We have just completed the redecoration of the Chancel, which with the lights on, now looks splendid as a focal point as you come into the Church particularly seen through the new glass door. Gradually we hope to get more of the Church redecorated at times when it is not actively needed for weddings and other major events.

Woolsack Day will have seen the Tower open once again and coffee served in the Church. If you would like to go up the Tower, see the bells and experience the view and miss the opportunity on Woolsack day it will be open again on Sunday August 7th 2.00 – 4.00 pm. On this occasion cream teas will be served in the Church. From the top of the tower there are excellent views over the town, and in the distance you can see Long Newnton Church and Highgrove.

At this time of year it is lovely to welcome so many visitors to the Church. All nationalities come and we provide leaflets in many languages. Our small shop is well stocked and if you are looking for cards for special occasions, baptism, confirmation, bereavement, get well, weddings, look no further, the Church Shop has an excellent selection. Also on sale are souvenirs of the Cotswolds, Tetbury and the Church. Do call in. Our friendly stewards will be pleased to see you.

Keith Essam and Diana Challis
Churchwardens


May 2016

April 2016 was a memorable month for St Marys’ Church!

We had a wonderful service on Sunday 10th April when Bishop Rachel came to bless the new glass door at the entrance to the church. Lots of people came to meet the new Bishop of Gloucester: altogether about 250 people attended, drawn from our family of churches across Tetbury, Avening, Beverston, Shipton Moyne, Long Newnton and Cherington.

And we are delighted that the Food Bank outlet opened at the St Mary’s Community Centre on Tuesday 25th April. This will provide emergency food for local families in crisis, rather than having to try to get into Cirencester to get the help they need urgently. The Food bank outlet will be open 9.30-11.30 on Tuesday mornings. We are grateful to everyone who has volunteered to staff the centre, and to help deliver donations to the Cirencester warehouse, and to collect supplies. This is truly a community effort. Thank you.

Coming up in May, we have our great Pentecost celebration at our 9.30am service on Sunday 15th May. This is the time we mark the coming of the Holy Spirit, to give us the courage and heart to do all God asks of us. So it feels right, the same evening at 6pm, to have a special service to launch this year’s Christian Aid Week (15th – 21st May). This appeal unites over 20,000 churches in raising money to fight global poverty.

We’re delighted that a member of our congregation – Eileen Hodgson – ran the London Marathon on 24th April, raising money for Christian Aid to loud cries of “Come on Eileen!” She told Christian Aid “I was inspired to run for Christian Aid because I just cannot understand the unfairness of poverty. I feel privileged to have been given the place and the St Marys’ congregation has given me a great start – not only with monetary donations but lots of encouragement, hugs and moral support.

And my usual invitation to everyone..... do join us for our regular Sunday service at 9.30am – with Little Fishes Sunday School for children,

I look forward to seeing you soon!

With love and prayers, Poppy.

The Revd Poppy Hughes
Rector
The Benefice of Tetbury, Beverston, Long Newnton, Shipton Moyne, and Avening with Cherington


April 2016

Bishop Rachel is coming to St Marys’ Church!

We’ve done “Clean for the Queen” … and now we’re cleaning for Bishop Rachel too. On Sunday 10th April, The Right Reverend Rachel Treweek will be taking a service here in Tetbury for the first time. She is, of course, our new Bishop of Gloucester and, although there were two female bishops appointed previously, she is the first woman to be appointed as a diocesan rather than suffragan bishop. You will have seen her in the news, too, as the first female Bishop to sit in the House of Lords. We look forward to welcoming her in Tetbury. Everyone is invited to join us for this special service on Sunday 10th April at 10am.

The invitation to Bishop Rachel began with a request for her to come and bless the lovely new glass door at the entrance to the church. Have you seen it yet? It means that, as you come into the porch, you now see all the beauty of the church opening up in front of you (instead of two heavy wooden doors). Our aim is to make the church as welcoming as possible.

We now hope that even more people will pop into St Marys’ while they are out and about in Tetbury. This is a chance to stop for a few minutes of quiet reflection, to enjoy the beautiful space, and perhaps light a candle for someone they are concerned about. And you can ask for our prayers too: there is a “prayer board” at the front of church, where you can write the name of the person to be prayed for, and we will add them to our prayer list. Or you can contact our lovely Parish Administrator, Diana, and ask her to add someone to that list (01666 500088).

And do join us for our regular Sunday service at 9.30am – with Little Fishes Sunday School for children.

I look forward to seeing you soon.

With love and prayers, Poppy

The Revd Poppy Hughes
Rector
The Benefice of Tetbury, Beverston, Long Newnton, Shipton Moyne, and Avening with Cherington


March 2016

Are you ready for Mothering Sunday?

It’s a wonderful opportunity to say thank you … to our mothers and for everyone who has helped “mother” us over the years. Speaking personally, I have a wonderful mum who has been a great role model and given me oodles of unconditional love. She’s always believed in me too … although perhaps not quite as much as Picasso’s mum? He once wrote: “My mother said to me, ‘If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope. Instead I was a painter, and became Picasso.’”

We’ll have our special Mothering Sunday service at 9.30am at St Marys’, do come and join us.

And then we move into Holy Week at the end of the month. Beginning on Palm Sunday (20th March), we have our procession when we remember Jesus entering Jerusalem, with that wonderful hymn: “Ride on, ride on in majesty”. Then, each evening in Holy Week, our 7pm services go from village to village, providing times of quiet reflection and prayer: on Sunday in Long Newnton with Stations of the Cross; Monday in Beverston with lessons and carols for Holy week; Stations of the Cross again on Tuesday in Avening; and on Wednesday in Cherington with a Taizé service.

Thursday 24th March is Maundy Thursday, when we remember the Last Supper at a special service at 7pm at St Marys’ Tetbury. Then on Good Friday, we follow Jesus’ journey to his death and burial. We join the Churches in the Tetbury Area for the Procession of Witness at 11am, starting at the Gospel Hall in Hampton Street, followed by our Good Friday service in St Marys’ at 2pm. Finally, at St John the Baptist in Shipton Moyne that evening (7pm), we share in a service specially written for our Benefice by The Right Revd Michael Perham, former Bishop of Gloucester, to mark the burial of Jesus.

What a joy it will be to then celebrate Easter, and Jesus rising again. We start as we light our “Easter Fire” outside church on Saturday 26th March at 9pm. This is followed by a wonderful Easter service which moves from darkness to light … and finishing up outside again with lots of bells and fireworks. And all this with some great hymns! So do join us then – or for our services on Easter morning at 9.30am.

By the way, Mothering Sunday is Sunday 6th March – don’t forget!

With love and prayers, Poppy

The Revd Poppy Hughes
Rector
The Benefice of Tetbury, Beverston, Long Newnton, Shipton Moyne, and Avening with Cherington


February 2016

Here’s a nice story.

One Sunday a mother shakes her son awake, telling him it was time to go to church. No response. Ten minutes later she is back: “Get up now, and go to church.” “But mum, I don’t want to. Why should I to church – why should I bother?” Her reply: “Two reasons. Firstly, you know you should go to church on Sunday, and secondly you’re the Bishop!”

I found this story in a book by a Dominican Friar, Timothy Radcliffe called “Why go to church?” And it’s a good question, isn’t it? Many of us connect with God in lots of ways that don’t involve church - from standing awed by a beautiful sunset to being overwhelmed by the wonder of life as we hold a new-born child. It puts us in touch with something spiritual - something beyond ourselves that might inspires us, or give us a sense of deep peace. Yet Timothy Radcliffe argues that being a Christian without going to church is like trying to play football on your own.

At St Marys’, we will be exploring all of these questions in our discussion meeting weekly through Lent. Do come and join us! You can get more information from leaflets in church, our website or our Parish Office (01666 502 333).

As well as the discussion groups, we have special Church services all through Lent. It all begins on Wednesday 10th February, at 7pm, with our Ash Wednesday service when we keep the centuries-old tradition where people are invited forward, for their foreheads to be marked in ash with the Sign of the Cross. We do this to show our sorrow at all we have done that hurts others and our relationship with God, and our asking for forgiveness.

Then, each Sunday, our services at 8am and 9.30am will mark the journey through Lent. For children, our Little Fishes Sunday School meets during the main 9.30am service. They will be exploring who Jesus was, with Bible stories and craft activities.

All this activity is about preparing ourselves for the events leading up to Holy Week, and Easter Day itself. More in the next edition.

Until then, with love and prayers, Poppy

The Revd Poppy Hughes
Parish Priest
The Benefice of Tetbury, Beverston, Long Newnton and Shipton Moyne


December 2015

As November draws to a close, it is wonderful to reflect on how much we have shared with the wider community this month. Special highlights have been our Remembrance Sunday service which is always so poignant. And then we had all the children from St Mary’s School – all 287 of them – on stage for concerts on Thursday 12th November doing “iSingPop” – mixing pop and faith together to produce a great mix of singing with lots of dance moves. It was fabulous to share that with so many people.

As we head into December, the first days of the month are all about preparations and counting down: parents making lists, and children opening their Advent Calendars. But it does make you wonder about God’s preparations for the first Christmas, because they seem a little haphazard … nowhere for Mary and Joseph to stay, a makeshift cradle, and an odd assortment of visitors. As Milton Jones jokes in his book 10 Second Sermons: “You can imagine Joseph at the inn in Bethlehem holding a crib of straw and saying ‘No, I asked to see the manager!’”

And yet, there are also the angels: the skies filled with the heavenly hosts and a joyful fanfare to announce the birth of Jesus. That’s an impressive alterative to birth-announcement cards and emails.

So perhaps there’s a message somewhere in all this. Not to mind too much if we can’t do everything on our list, or make it all perfect. We just need to make enough space for the real joy of sharing and generosity and love at Christmas.

And you are invited to share the joy of Christmas with us at St Marys’.

Especially for children. Every Sunday at our 9.30am service, children enjoy stories and crafts in our Little Fishes Sunday School. We also have the candle-lit Christingle Service with carols on Sunday 13th December at 4pm. And we have our Crib Service on Christmas Eve at 4pm, with special help from children at St Mary’s Primary School.

Wishing you a wonderful Advent and a very Happy Christmas.

With love and prayers, Poppy

The Revd Poppy Hughes
Parish Priest
The Benefice of Tetbury, Beverston, Long Newnton and Shipton Moyne


November 2015

In November, as the days get shorter and the nights draw in, it always feels right to me that the Church turns to remembrance. Historically, it is the time of All Souls and All Saints’, when we remember all those who’ve died, and celebrate the contributions of faithful people through the centuries. After that there’s Remembrance Sunday and, of course, out in the streets and lighting up our skies are the fireworks of Bonfire Night: remember, remember, the 5th of November …

Remembering means – literally – to put something together, to “re-member”: integrating our past into our present. That means recalling all the good things and the difficult things about people, relationships, places and experiences which are now past. It means celebrating the “good stuff”, and the way this has allowed us to become the people we are today. And it means facing things which have hurt and distressed us, and understanding how we can come to terms with those experiences.

There will be plenty of opportunities for remembering at St Marys’ this month. At 9.30am on Sunday 1st November we mark “All Saints Day”, when we celebrate the lives of all saints, known and unknown. Then, in the evening at 6pm, we have our All Souls’ Service. In this quiet, reflective service we name all those for whom we have held a funeral this year, and all the people you ask us to remember that night (just contact our church office, and give us their names).

For the first time this year, we are also having a special children’s All Soul’s service at St Marys’ at 4pm on the same day. It will be a short service, suitable for all ages of children. There will be a chance for them to remember the person who has died, to say thank you for their life and to ask God to care for them. Please do bring any children in your family who might find this comforting and helpful.

On Remembrance Sunday itself (Sunday 8th November), there is a special service at 2.30pm in St Marys’. This involves all the churches in Tetbury, and ends with the laying of wreaths at the War Memorial.

Do please join us for these services.

Other dates for your diary: Thursday 12th November in the afternoon and evening, we will host an “iSingPop” concert held by St Mary’s Primary School in the church. Then we have an Advent Quiet Day on Saturday 28th November, focussing on the themes of faith, hope and love. Again, more details from our Parish Office.

With love and prayers. Poppy (The Revd Poppy Hughes, Parish Priest)

July/August 2015

On Woolsack Day St Marys ‘opened the tower and some sixty people climbed the one hundred and four steps to see the magnificent views over the town and to Highgrove. Many enjoyed visiting the ringing chamber too, where a short talk was given about the bells and bell ringing. This was much appreciated. It was a lovely day and the views were spectacular. Coffee was served in the church for those who braved the climb and for those waiting for family to return.

The next chance to go up the tower, the final opportunity for this year, will be on Sunday August 16th between 2.00 and 4.00pm. (No children under eight allowed.) On this occasion cream teas will be served in the Church, since this is also a friends of St Marys’ afternoon – and there will also be some exhibitions in the church to explain the work carried out over the past year and to look at future plans, if you are not a “Friend” then you might consider joining? Subscriptions go to help maintain the fabric of the most iconic building in the Town.

During July, the under-floor heating in the chancel is to be repaired. Much of the floor has to come up but we are hoping for a warmer Church next winter! Our main services will continue as usual.

Have a good summer!

Diana Challis, Keith Essam, Churchwardens


June 2015

English Fashion designer and businesswoman, Vivienne Westwood once said :” Being part of a community with a church at its centre and singin’ hymns is a great thing to do’

I know lots of people would agree. As summer arrives, St Marys’ will fill again and again with wedding guests – and music will be at the heart of the celebration. The organ fanfare as the bride enters, popular hymns from school favourites like “One more step along the road I go” to roof raisers like “Jerusalem”, the choir singing anthems during the signing of the register – and then of course, the joyful sound of Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” and other such delights, as the bride and groom turn to greet their family and friends as husband and wife.

And it is the same for other important life events from christenings and funerals to gathering as a community on Remembrance Sunday, or for Christmas celebrations. And – week in, week out – in our Sunday services.

We can be proud of our heritage of church music! As novelist Marilynne Robinson wrote, “One of the wonderful things about hymns is that they are a sort of universally shared poetry”. And we can be proud of the way we support church music at St Marys’.  This year, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Alison Parkhouse Organ Scholarship, which as set up by the Tetbury Parochial Church Council and the Friends of Tetbury Choir in 1990 to encourage young people to learn to play the church organ, and to help ensure that succeeding generations will have an adequate pool of church organists to maintain the fine tradition of English church music. And, of course, our director of Music, Jonathan Adkin was one of the first organ scholars – a tribute to the success of the charity.

On Sunday 14th June at 6pm, our special evensong will celebrate all the work done by Jonathan and our church choir. Do please join us for the service – and perhaps become a friend of Tetbury Choir if you are not one already? If you love singing, also have a look at our ad in the Advertiser this month, since we’re hoping to recruit new members of the choir and would be delighted to welcome people to join us in continuing the musical tradition of our church.

In other news, we’re excited that the Venerable Rachel Treweek will be consecrated in a service in Canterbury Cathedral as the new Bishop of Gloucester on 22nd July 2015. But before then, we will also have the opportunity to celebrate the ministry of our retired Bishop, the Right reverend Michael Perham in a service in Gloucester Cathedral at 4.30pm on Saturday 13th June.

With love and prayers, Poppy.

The Revd Poppy Hughes
Parish Priest
The Benefice of Tetbury, Beverston, Long Newnton and Shipton Moyne


May 2015

One of the things I love about our Easter celebrations is that they last 50 days. That's ten days more than Lent, which always feels right. More time for rejoicing and lots of Alleluias!

I always remember a friend of mine - not a church goer - asking why Christians are so "crazy happy" at Easter. She could understand Christmas ... but not Easter. I explained it like this. All of us - at some time in our lives - will be like Mary Magdalen standing by Jesus' grave before sunrise. We will all stand by the grave and weep. We will weep for people we have lost, for dreams and hopes that are shattered, and for relationships that seem broken beyond repair. But then Mary Magdalen turns, and finds Jesus is alive. And in that moment she knows - and we know - that fear, darkness, and death will never have the last word. She knows - and we know- that in Christ love and life and light are unconquerable. And that HAS to be good news!

We've been having some other fun too. Did you hear about Peter Andre hiding in the vestry in Holy Trinity Church in Long Newnton? ITV's Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Away was playing a hoax on Ginny Bray, secretly filming at her daughter Phoebe's baptism with her favourite pop star in the background. It was all good fun, and I think I managed to stay on the right side of telling the truth ... I did say we couldn't use the loo because we have a problem with the vestry. the fact that the "problem" was Peter Andre hiding there just wasn't mentioned. And it was worth it. Ginny seemed very happy when Ant & Dec sprung the surprise on her.

And the celebrations continue. Do join us on Sunday the 24th of May for our Pentecost service. It's the birthday of the Church and we'll be having bunting and balloons ... and cake.

With love and prayers, Poppy.

The Revd Poppy Hughes - Rector
The Benefice of Tetbury, Beverston, Long Newnton and Shipton Moyne


March 2015

I am pleased that so many people pop into St Marys' while they are out and about in Tetbury. They stop for a few minutes of quiet reflection, to enjoy the beautiful space, and perhaps light a candle for someone they are concerned about. And you can ask for our prayers too: there is a "prayer board" at the front of the church where you can write the name of the person to be prayed for, and we will add them to our prayer list. Or you can contact our lovely parish administrator, Diana, and ask her to add someone to that list (01666 500 088).

This Lent, we are focussing on prayer at St Marys' - and the theme for our Lent Groups is "An invitation into Prayer". We are really challenging ourselves over our prayer life, because it is so easy to let all our busy-ness take over, and not leave time to be still with God. As one cartoon puts it: "I am a great believer in prayer. I pray almost every day: almost on Monday, almost on Tuesday, almost on Wednesday, ..." You are very welcome to join one of our discussion groups - again, please contact Diana who can give you more information.

And, each Sunday, our services at 8am and 9:30am are marking the journey through Lent. You are welcome to join us - especially for our Palm Sunday procession on Sunday 29th March. We will be gathering in the Market Place at 9:30am for a brief service and then - remembering Jesus' entry into Jerusalem - we will walk down to St Marys' to continue our worship.

Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week, when we have services every evening as we prepare to come to the cross on Good Friday - and then rejoice at the empty tomb on Easter Day. But more about that next month!

With love and prayers, Poppy.

The Revd Poppy Hughes
Parish Priest
The Benefice of Tetbury, Beverston, Long Newnton and Shipton Moyne


February 2015

My granny was delighted when one of her grandchildren asked: "Grandma, do you know how you and God are alike?" Mentally, she polished her halo. "No," she said, "do tell me how we're alike." "You're both old," he replied!

Children can make us laugh - and bring us up short, can't they? They have their own take on things, and they can help us all to see things differently, or afresh. I always find that having to explain things to children helps me to sort out my thoughts too ... especially when it comes to God!

We're delighted at St Marys' that our Sunday School - called "Little Fishes" - is meeting again every week during our main 9:30 service. The children learn about the Bible story for the week, with crafts and other activities. All are welcome, so do bring your children along.

And whether you're young or old, don't forget Pancake Tuesday. Then next day - Ash Wednesday - marks the beginning of Lent. We will have our special Ash Wednesday service at 7pm on Wednesday 18th February. At this service, we will be keeping the centuries-old tradition where people are invited forward for their foreheads to be marked in ash with the Sign of the Cross. We do this to show our sorrow at all we have done that hurts others and our relationship with God, and our asking for forgiveness.

Then, each Sunday, our services at 8am and 9:30am will mark the journey through Lent. We are also running discussion groups each week, which we will share with all the Tetbury Area Churches Together. Our theme is prayer and how we can grow in relationship with God. Do please come and join us. See out websites, or leaflets, for more information.

All this activity is about preparing ourselves for the events leading up to Easter, and Easter Day itself. More in the next edition.

Until then, with love and prayers, Poppy.

The Revd Poppy Hughes
Parish Priest
The Benefice of Tetbury, Beverston, Long Newnton and Shipton Moyne


December 2014

Have you heard this story about a school nativity play? The angel’s announcement went off smoothly. But as Mary and Joseph started plodding off to Bethlehem, one of the shepherds had the bright idea of making a call on his mobile: he was ringing to make a reservation at the inn…

And that’s the risk at Christmas, isn’t it? We have so much to do that we start cutting corners – and we can end up missing out the important things. Like taking the time to write our Christmas cards with care and thought. Or stopping to relax with our family and friends.

We’ve very aware – at St Marys’ – that God can get crowded out by all the busy-ness of life. We may glimpse God’s gentle peace, his grace and his love, but then other things coming crowding in. And we can be left wondering where God is amongst all this stuff. So as well as lists and festive preparations this December, we’ll be focusing on “making space for God”: finding practical ways to make changes and make peace. And – by making space in our lives - we’re hoping we will be ready to receive the gift of God himself at Christmas.

So please do make time to come and join us.

Our Christmas Fair is on Saturday 6th December, 10am-12.30pm in the Market Hall. We will have a display of all the entries for the “Christmas Stocking Competition” at St Mary’s School – and I’ll be decorating biscuits with the children again. Other attractions include tombolas, cakes, pickles and jams, Christmas decorations and much more.

Especially for children. We have the candle-lit Christingle Service with carols on Sunday 14th December at 4pm. And we have our Crib Service on Christmas Eve at 4pm, with special help from children at St Mary’s Primary School.

For everyone.

St Marys’ Tetbury:

  • Sunday 30th November 6.00pm Advent Carol Service
  • Sunday 14th December 4.00pm Christingle Service
  • Sunday 21st December 6.00pm Candlelit Service of Nine Lessons and Carols
  • Christmas Eve, Wednesday 24th December 4.00pm Crib Service
  • Christmas Eve, Wednesday 24th December 11.30pm Midnight Mass
  • Christmas Day, Thursday 25th December 8.am and 9.30am Parish Eucharist (Nativity of our Lord)
  • Sunday 28th December 10.30am Benefice Eucharist with Christmas drinks in the Vicarage afterwards

St John the Baptist Church, Shipton Moyne

  • Tuesday 9th December 2.00pm Mothers’ Union Eucharist
  • Tuesday 16th December Carol singing in Shipton Moyne
  • Sunday 21st December 4.00pm Carol Service
  • Christmas Eve 4pm Crib service
  • Christmas Day, Wednesday 25th December, 11.15am Parish Eucharist (Nativity of our Lord)

St Mary’s Church, Beverston

  • Monday 22nd December, 6.30pm Carol Service
  • Wednesday 25th December, 9.30am Parish Eucharist (Nativity of our Lord)

Holy Trinity Church, Long Newnton

  • Monday 22nd December, 3pm Crib Service and Children’s party
  • Christmas Eve, Wednesday 24th December 6.00pm Carol Service
  • Christmas Day, Thursday 25th December, 11.15am Parish Eucharist (Nativity of our Lord)

Wishing everyone a good Advent, and all the joy of Christmas.

With love and prayers, Poppy

The Revd Poppy Hughes
Parish Priest
The Benefice of Tetbury, Beverston, Long Newnton and Shipton Moyne
The Benefice of Avening and Cherington


November 2014

As October came and went, we had some wonderful harvest celebrations across our churches in Avening, Beverston, Cherington, Long Newnton, Shipton Moyne, and Tetbury! Lots of suppers and beautiful harvest services shared by hundreds of people in all.

Now in November, as the days get shorter and the nights draw in, it always feels right to me that the Church turns to remembrance. Historically, it is the time of All Souls' and All Saints', when we remember all those who've died, and celebrate the contributions of faithful people through the centuries. After that there's Remembrance Sunday and, of course, out in the streets and lighting up the skies are the fireworks of Bonfire Night: remember, remember, the 5th of November ...

We begin the month on Sunday 2nd November with two special services at St Marys'. In the morning at 9:30am, our Family Service for All Saints' will include two baptisms and we will be welcoming three children as they receive Holy Communion for the first time. Then, in the evening at 6pm, we will have our beautiful All Souls' Service: a quiet time of reflection as we read the names of those who have died, and light candles in their memory, with music lead by the choir and organist.

On Remembrance Sunday itself, there is a special service at 2:30pm in St Marys'. This involves all the churches in Tetbury, and we are delighted to welcome as our preacher Fr. Isidore Obi (know to us as Fr. Issy), from St Michael's Catholic Church. As we continue to see the appalling effects of war and civil strife in our news reports, I know our prayers for peace will be heartfelt. As is tradition, the service ends with the laying of wreaths at the War Memorial at St Saviour's Church.

Do please join us for these services.

Then ... at the end of the month we change gear as we move into the season of Advent services and Christmas Bazaars. Please "save the date" in your diary for St Marys' fair on Saturday 6th December in the Market Hall. More in next month's edition!

With love and prayers, Poppy

The Revd Poppy Hughes
Parish Priest
The Benefice of Tetbury, Beverston, Long Newnton and Shipton Moyne
The Benefice of Avening and Cherington


September 2014

It is amazing to think I've been here for a year now! It's been great to meet so many people over the past months, and thank you again for making us so welcome.

I always think that September is a time of beginnings and endings. There are new beginnings, especially for our children and young people as they move into a new year in our schools and colleges. We hope and pray all will go well for them.

And there is the end of the summer - and everything coming to fruition in our harvest time. This will be celebrated with various harvest suppers and services in Cherington, Long Newnton, Shipton Moyne and Beverston throughout the month, with harvest celebrated at St Marys' in Tetbury at our 9:30am service on Sunday 12th October with lunch after at St Marys' School.

Over the past few weeks we have also, of course, faced another ending, as Bishop Michael stepped back from ministry as Bishop of Gloucester in mid-August for personal reasons. There have been news reports since about a police investigation into certain allegations relating to the early 1980s. We feel so sad for everyone involved and affected by these reports, and we are holding them all very much in our prayers.

And there are many prayers for the works, too. As I write, I am aware of the terrible situations around the world, where people's lives are devastated by violence and war: Gaza, Syria, Iraq, Southern Sudan. In the face of such suffering, we can sometimes wonder if praying for justice and peace is a waste of time. After all, we are praying to the God of love, so he will hardly need convincing that these things are needed in our world.

But our prayers are needed: as God's children, we believe we each have a part to play in making God's kingdom a reality here on earth. In our prayers, we join with the desire of God's own heart, for peace in the world.

So let's keep praying!

With love and my prayers for us all, Poppy

The Revd Poppy Hughes
Parish Priest
The Benefice of Tetbury, Beverston, Long Newnton and Shipton Moyne
The Benefice of Avening and Cherington


June 2014

So much has happened since last month. There has been plenty to celebrate creativity and creation, which was our theme through June, with music, poetry and a pilgrimage with Bishop Michael. And we have, of course, had the privilege of holding the funeral for Nat Prosser at St Marys’. It was a heart-breaking occasion, yet also wonderful to see the church filled to overflowing in tribute to Nat, and in loving support of the family. Nat was clearly loved and widely respected. As Lisa wrote at the start of her tribute: “Tall, smart, clever, generous, caring and the bravest man we will ever know, that’s how I would sum up ‘Our Dad’.” We continue to hold the family, and all who have lost loved ones, very much in our prayers.

July brings two big social events at St Marys’. On Sunday 6th July, you are invited to our Friends’ Afternoon: the tower is open 2-4pm with cream teas being served in the church all afternoon. Then do join us for Sung Evensong at 6pm. And on Saturday 19th July, come to our Summer Fete in Vicarage Garden, 2-4.30pm. As well as stalls and cream teas, special attractions for children include a toy stall, face-painting, and icing biscuits – and a demonstration of maypole dancing by children from St Mary’s School.

And we are into the season of Animal Services. You are invited to bring your beloved pets to church, to ask for God’s blessing on them. The first service is at Beverston at 11.15am on Sunday 6th July. If you miss this opportunity, a second service will be held at Shipton Moyne on Sunday 31st August at 11.15am. I’ve never taken an Animal Service before, but they promise to be a riot … of fun!

Finally - many people will know Gary Grady and his family, who were living in Tetbury before Gary started training for the priesthood. He is now Assistant Curate in Cirencester, and being ordained priest in Gloucester Cathedral on Saturday 5th July at 3pm. It will be a great celebration and we wish him well.

With love and prayers, Poppy

The Revd Poppy Hughes
Parish Priest
The Benefice of Tetbury, Beverston, Long Newnton and Shipton Moyne
The Benefice of Avening and Cherington


June 2014

The English painter and poet, William Blake, wrote: “Imagination is evidence of the Divine.” Or put it another way, we can glimpse of God in all the wonderful and beautiful things we create.

And we hope you’ll find plenty to inspire you at St Marys’ this month. We begin with our Sung Evensong at 6pm on Sunday 1st June, where our theme is gifts and creativity, and includes performances by the talented young musician, Charlotte Corderoy, our Alison Parkhouse Organ Scholar.

Then on Sunday 8th June, our 9.30am service will be party to celebrate Pentecost, the birth of the church. And at 6pm that evening, there is a special evening of poetry and reflection entitled “Touched by Fire”, led by Julie Nicholson and Bristol-based actor David Collins. Julie Nicholson has a background in devising and producing community theatre, and writes: “Irrespective of rain or shine, summer is an affirmation of the persistence, hope and resilience of nature which resonates with the wellspring of life, creativity and resurgence of the human spirit. Through poets including Stephen Spender, Elizabeth Jennings and Seamus Heaney, as well as poets less well known, we will explore some themes of the season, sharing thoughts and ideas in the company of others.”

On Tuesday 10th June, you’re invited to share in the beauty of creation, and join Bishop Michael as he continues his pilgrimage through the area, passing through Long Newnton at lunchtime and Shipton Moyne for tea. You are also invited to join the Bishop's Pilgrimage!  On Tuesday 10th June, the Bishop's Pilgrimage will pass through Long Newnton and Shipton Moyne. Timetable:  9am depart from All Saints School, Kemble; walk 7.5miles to Long Newnton, with lunch and Holy Communion at Holy Trinity Church, 12.30-1.45pm; walk 2.6 miles to Shipton Moyne, with tea at the Cat and Custard Pot, 3-4pm; walk 5.8 miles to Sopworth, finishing with Evening Prayer at St Mary's, 6.30pm. Join us for all or part of the walk.

There’s all this and more, with our usual Sunday services at 8am and 9.30am each week. So come and share some inspiration. As Albert Einstein said: “Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.”

With love and prayers, Poppy

The Revd Poppy Hughes
Parish Priest
The Benefice of Tetbury, Beverston, Long Newnton and Shipton Moyne


March 2014

Lent, Holy Week and Easter 2014

At St Marys’ Church, we begin Lent with our special Ash Wednesday service at 7pm on Wednesday 5th March. This year, we’re delighted that the Bishop Michael, Bishop of Gloucester, will be with us to take the service. We will be keeping the centuries-old tradition where people are invited forward for their foreheads to be marked in ash with the Sign of the Cross. We do this as a sign of our sorrow at all we have done that hurts others and our relationship with God, and our asking for forgiveness.

Then, each Sunday, our services at 8am and 9.30am will mark the journey through Lent. We are also running discussion groups each week. Our theme is what it means to know God, and how we can grow in relationship with God. Do please come and join us. There’s a group meeting in St Marys’ Church each Wednesday morning at 10.15am for five weeks, starting on Wednesday 12th March. Or find out about one of our house groups.

Bishop Michael will be here to give a talk about the meaning of Lent on Sunday 23rd March at 6pm in St Marys’.

In all this, we are preparing ourselves for the events of Holy Week and Easter, when we share with Christ’s own journey from his triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to the empty tomb on Easter morning. Throughout this week, Bishop Michael will be with us, to lead us through our special services on Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Liturgy on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th April.

Dates for your diary over Holy Week and Easter

  • Sunday 13th April: Palm Sunday. We assemble in the Market Place at 9.30am to begin our procession in commemoration of our Lord’s entry into Jerusalem. We then gather in St Marys’ Church for our Palm Sunday service led by Bishop Michael, including the dramatic reading of the Passion Narrative.
  • Thursday 17th April: Maundy Thursday. Our service at 7pm, led by Bishop Michael, remembers Jesus loving service in washing the feet of his disciples, the sharing of the Last Supper and the agony of Gethsemane.
  • Friday 18th April: Good Friday. This begins with our Walk of Witness at 11.15, shared with churches across the Tetbury Area. We then assemble in St Marys’ at 2pm for the Good Friday Liturgy, led by Bishop Michael. And in the evening, we have remember the burial of Christ in a special service at 7pm in St John the Baptist, Shipton Moyne.
  • Saturday 19th April: Easter Liturgy. Our Easter begins with a service including baptism and confirmation by Bishop Michael.
  • Sunday 20th April: Easter Day. Services at 8am and 9.30am

ALSO at the end of March … we are very pleased to announce that The Reverend Peter Quinnell will be joining the parishes of Avening with Cherington as Associate Priest. He will be licensed by the Bishop of Gloucester in the Church of the Holy Cross in Avening on Monday 31st March at 7pm. And at the same service I will be inducted as Rector of the Benefice of Tetbury, Beverston, Long Newnton and Shipton Moyne and of the Benefice of Avening with Cherington.

The Revd Poppy Hughes
Parish Priest
The Benefice of Tetbury, Beverston, Long Newnton, and Shipton Moyne


February 2014

Reflecting on my first few months in Tetbury, one privilege is to be part of people’s lives in conducting christenings, weddings, and funerals. These are moments of huge importance to families: celebrating new life, sharing the joy of a couple starting their married life together, and marking the end of a life of a loved one. At these times, people are at a major turning point, and everything changes. It is wonderful when people choose to anchor chose moments in God.

And every celebration - or commemoration - is different. I love the story about a couple who rang their vicar to discuss a baptism for their son and by the end of the conversation had arranged to get married as well. Then the vicar helped to keep it a secret until the big day. When guests arrived for the christening, they were told that the family were running a bit late, until the bride walked down the aisle on here dad’s arm. It sounds lovely, but I am not sure you could keep a secret that big in Tetbury!

So do get in touch. You don’t need to go to church every week to ask us for a baptism, a wedding, or a funeral. St Marys’ is your parish church, and we are here for everyone. We will meet with you, to talk about the service and what’s involve, and to help you prepare. Just call or email us.

And come and join us on Sunday mornings at St Marys' our main service is at 9:30am every week. On Sunday 2nd February, we begin the month with the celebration of Candlemas, when Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Jerusalem to present their new baby at The Temple. This was the Jewish equivalent to our baptism, celebrating the arrival of a new baby! And we’ll be lighting candles in church to mark the occasion. Then, as the month ends, we’ll be turning our thoughts to Lent with Ash Wednesday on 5th March.

Until then, with love and prayers, Poppy.

The Revd Poppy Hughes
Parish Priest
The Benefice of Tetbury, Beverston, Long Newnton, and Shipton Moyne


December 2013

It will be wonderful to experience my first Tetbury Advent and Christmas. People tell me the Christmas lights are beautiful, and the atmosphere is fantastic. I can’t wait.

The first days of December are all about preparations and counting down: parents making lists, and children opening their Advent Calendars. But it does make you wonder about God’s preparations for the first Christmas, because they seem a little haphazard … nowhere for Mary and Joseph to stay, a makeshift cradle, and an odd assortment of visitors. As Milton Jones jokes in his book 10 Second Sermons: “You can imagine Joseph at the inn in Bethlehem holding a crib of straw and saying ‘No, I asked to see the manager!’”

And yet, there are also the angels: the skies filled with the heavenly hosts and a joyful fanfare to announce the birth of Jesus. That’s an impressive alterative to birth-announcement cards and emails.

So perhaps there’s a message somewhere in all this. Not to mind too much if we can’t do everything on our list, or make it all perfect. We just need to make enough space for the real joy of sharing and generosity and love at Christmas.

And you are invited to share the joy of Christmas with us at St Marys’.

Especially for children. We have the candle-lit Christingle Service with carols on Sunday 8th December at 4pm. Then come and explore the themes of Christmas with interactive displays in “Experience Christmas” after school on Tuesday 10th December, and 10.30am-3.30pm on Wednesday 11th December. Finally we have our Crib Service on Christmas Eve at 4pm, with special help from children at St Mary’s Primary School.

With love and prayers. Poppy

Revd Poppy Hughes, Parish Priest


November 2013

In November, as the days get shorter and the nights draw in, it always feels right to me that the Church turns to remembrance. Historically, it is the time of All Souls and All Saints’, when we remember all those who’ve died, and celebrate the contributions of faithful people through the centuries. After that there’s Remembrance Sunday and, of course, out in the streets and lighting up our skies are the fireworks of Bonfire Night: remember, remember, the 5th of November …

Remembering means – literally – to put something together, to “re-member”: integrating our past into our present. That means recalling all the good things and the difficult things about people, relationships, places and experiences which are now past. It means celebrating the “good stuff”, and the way this has allowed us to become the people we are today. And it means facing things which have hurt and distressed us, and understanding how we can come to terms with those experiences.

There will be plenty of opportunities for remembering at St Marys’ this month. At 9.30am on Sunday 3rd November we mark “All Saints Day”, when we celebrate the lives of all saints, known and unknown. Then, in the evening, we have our All Souls’ Service. In this quiet, reflective service we name all those for whom we have held a funeral this year, and all the people you ask us to remember that night (just contact our church office, and give us their names).

On Remembrance Sunday itself, there is a special service at 2.30pm in St Marys’. This involves all the churches in Tetbury, and ends with the laying of wreaths at the War Memorial.

Do please join us for these services.

Then … at the end of the month we change gear. On Saturday 30th November, do join us in the market hall for our Church Christmas Fair.

With love and prayers. Poppy

Revd Poppy Hughes, Parish Priest


October 2013

I am delighted to be writing my first news update for St Marys’ Church. I have been in post for almost a month now, and it has been a joy! We had a wonderful celebration on Friday 6th September when Michael, the Bishop of Gloucester, licensed me as parish priest, and we were launched on the next stage of the life of our church community in Tetbury.

You’ll see me around town (I’m usually wearing a clerical collar). So do please stop me and say hello, especially if we’ve not met yet. As a brief introduction … I have moved here with my family from South East London. Before being ordained, I worked for the BBC for nearly 25 years as a producer for Radio 4, then in different roles including adviser to the BBC Trust. In 2006, I felt I was being called by God to the priesthood, and so started my training and then was in a parish in East Dulwich for three years. I am married to Garry and we have two children: Jack (23) and Nancy (19).

When I first came to Gloucestershire, I felt immediately at home. I was delighted to be appointed to the role at St Mary’s and the churches in Beverston, Long Newnton and Shipton Moyne. And we have been made to feel so welcome since then. Thank you!

“Imagination is evidence of the Divine” (William Blake, 1757-1827)

This is one of my favourite quotes because it highlights the way we are called by God to be creative and imaginative. And plenty is happening at St Marys’ to respond to that call right now.

If you’ve not seen it yet, do come in and enjoy the church’s 17th-century copy of Raphael’s “The Holy Family”. This is newly cleaned and restored to hang on the east wall in the side chapel.

Over the past ten days, we have also been celebrating the wonders of creation itself! At St Marys’, our Harvest Festival service was on Sunday 22nd September followed by our Harvest Lunch. And we have been sharing services and suppers in Beverston, Long Newnton and Shipton Moyne.

And looking forward … we are delighted to host the Tetbury Music Festival in St Marys’ Church, to include our Festival Service on Sunday 6th October at 9.30 am. Writing personally, I find St Mary’s is a space which truly lifts the soul, and it will be wonderful to experience these musical riches in such a beautiful place.

With love and prayers. Poppy

The Revd Poppy Hughes, Parish Priest


September 2013

Last month we announced that the Reverend Veronica Jane Hughes (Poppy) was to be the new Incumbent of Tetbury, Beverston, Long Newnton and Shipton Moyne. Bishop Michael of Gloucester will lead her Licensing Service on Friday 6th September at 7:00pm in St Marys’, Tetbury. There will be drinks and nibbles following the service to which you are all invited. Poppy’s first service will be a Benefice Eucharist on Sunday 8th September at 10:30am in St Marys’, Tetbury. There will also be Choral Evensong on Sunday 8th September at 6:00pm in St Saviour’s. Please come and join us for one or both of these services.

We would like to thank everyone for their help, guidance and tolerance during the ‘vacancy’. We would especially like to thank our retired clergy and the collaboration group, which has done wonderful work in keeping the ‘mechanics’ of the Benefice running smoothly during what has been a very busy time. We believe that we will continue to work together and develop, so that when Poppy Hughes arrives we will offer our services to her, to help her in building up the co-operation and trust between our parishes which will be so necessary.

Clearly the days of one priest for one parish are gone, at least for a time, and we are being called to make changes.

Thank you all,

Alan Bailey and Diana Challis
Churchwardens


July 2013

You are all invited to our Annual Friends of St Marys’ Day on Sunday 7th July. There will be displays in Church showing details of work going on and planned, and a further opportunity to go up the Tower. Escorted tours up the 52 steps to the ringing chamber where you will be given demonstrations of bell ringing and then if you wish you can be led up a further 52 narrow steps to the top of the tower from where there is a magnificent view. Teas will be available in the church during the afternoon. Finally at 6:00pm the day will end with Evensong. Please come and visit on the day.

Also on 7th July, Beverston will be holding their second annual Animal Service at 11:15am. Shipton Moyne will be holding theirs on 25th August also at 11:15am followed by a dog show in the afternoon.

Last month we announced that the Reverend Veronica Jane Hughes (Poppy) was to be the new Incumbent of Tetbury, Beverston, Long Newnton and Shipton Moyne. Bishop Michael of Gloucester will lead her Licensing Service on Friday 6th September at 7:00pm in St Marys’, Tetbury. There will be drinks and nibbles following the service to which you are all invited. Poppy’s first service will be a Benefice Eucharist on Sunday 8th September at 10:30am in St Marys’, Tetbury. Before the end of her first year is up she will become Rector of the Benefices of Tetbury and Avening and Cherington.

During August our choir will be on holiday so the next Choral Evensong will be Sunday 8th September at 6:00pm in St Saviour’s. Please come and join us.

Alan Bailey and Diana Challis
Churchwardens


June 2013

The New Rector of Tetbury

We are both extremely pleased to announce that the Reverend Veronica Jane Hughes has accepted the post of the Incumbent of Tetbury. The Bishop Michael of Gloucester will lead the Licensing and Induction service on Friday 6th September at 7pm in St Marys’, Tetbury.

Those of you who met the candidates at the interviews will wonder who Veronica is. I am sure that she will explain that while some of her family call her Veronica, she is generally known by her nickname, Poppy!

Poppy is currently the Assistant Curate at St Clement with St Peter, Dulwich and was ordained priest in the Diocese of Southwark in 2011. As the daughter of a priest, Poppy grew up living in drafty old vicarages, so our vicarage should hold no surprises. Before ordination Poppy worked as a freelance features writer, specializing in social affairs with publications in Good Housekeeping, Times Educational Supplement and New Statesman. She was a Radio Producer for BBC Radio 4 and 5 Live and for her last 4 years with the BBC she lead projects at divisional and executive level in building vision, strategic planning and managing change.

Poppy’s interests are in current affairs, in particular social issues and she has strong concern for environmental issues. Poppy enjoys films, reading, walking and wild swimming, she has a particular love of Sweden and holidays there as often as she can. Both Poppy and her husband are food lovers and enthusiastic cooks.

Poppy is married to Garry, a freelance Television Producer/Director, and they have two children. Jack (23) is just completing a first degree at Manchester School of Architecture and Nancy (19) is taking a gap year before going to Leeds University to study English and History of Art.

When the Archdeacon informed us that the announcement could be made on Sunday, Poppy emailed to say thank you for the wonderful welcome on the day of the interviews, and for all the support and affirmation she received from all those involved. She felt immediately at home.

We would add our thanks to all of you who did so much to show all the candidates how welcoming and friendly we are in Tetbury; and to the Snooty Fox and its staff. I am sure that like us you all will be absolutely delighted with this appointment.

Finally, please remember Poppy and her family in your prayers as they prepare to move from London to rural Gloucestershire. Also we should all pray for the congregation and people of St Clement with St Peter as they start to come to terms with the departure of their curate, leader and friend.

Alan Bailey and Diana Challis
Churchwardens

May 2013

Those who came to our celebrations during Holy Week and Easter will agree that the presence of the Archdeacon, Robert Springett, helped to make Easter special this year. Robert himself said that he had enjoyed our hospitality and the opportunity to be part of a parish once again. The group of parishioners who attended the Easter Mystery Plays in Gloucester Cathedral found them very rewarding. We would like to thank everyone who helped over the Easter period. To complete Eastertide we shall have a service at St. Marys’ on Thursday May 9th at 7.30pm to celebrate Ascension Day.

Lesley Hewish, after a number of set backs, was finally licenced by the Bishop of Gloucester as Chaplain of Eastwood Park Prison on April 4th. She will be returning to St. Marys’ for her postponed final service on Sunday May 19th at 9.30am at which she will preside and preach. All are invited to come to this service and to join her for coffee and cake afterwards and to send her off with our good wishes.

On Sunday May 12th the Commissioning Service for all those helping with Christian Aid Collections will take place at Christ Church at 6.00pm.

The next Choral Evensongs at St. Marys’ will be on Sunday May 5th and then on Sunday June 2nd at 6.00pm.

By the time you read this, short listing and interviews for the new Rector of the Benefice will have taken place We hope that before long we shall be able to announce the news of a new incumbent.

Alan Bailey and Diana Challis
Churchwardens.


April 2013

We are now pleased to report that after one or two problems our Curate, Revd Lesley Hewish started work at Eastwood Park Prison on Palm Sunday. She is sharing the Chaplaincy and working with the inmates and their families. This will be a full time post and she is looking forward to the challenge. We wish her well.

Looking ahead to Woolsack Day we are planning to open the Church Tower for visitors who may be interested and who have the stamina to go up. It is a long way and the steps are steep but the view to Highgrove and over Tetbury are well worth the effort! If you can't make Woolsack Day we are planning a 'Friends of St Marys' afternoon on Sunday July 7th when there will be another chance to go up the Tower.

Alan Bailey and Diana Challis
Churchwardens

From the Captain of Tetbury Church Tower - a few questions:

  • Can you hum the Old 113th?
  • Where can you see the best view of Tetbury?
  • What is a baldricke?
  • What is a Tetbury Surprise Major?
  • Why do the Mars-bar monks irritate me?

The Old 113th is a tune first attributed to Matthias Greiter who was a monk and chorister at Strassburg Cathedral in Germany (although Strasbourg as it is now known is currently in France). This melody was first published as a setting for Psalm 119 in 1525, and in 1539 it was republished as the tune for Psalm 36. The tune has since been adapted and reused as the music for a number of hymns, the most famous arrangement being that by Ralph Vaughan Williams for Thomas Lacey's rousing verses commencing "O Faith of England, taught of old by faithful shepherds of the fold." (you can find the rest of the words on Google if you are interested.)

Interesting as the history of hymn tunes is, "What does this have to do with St Marys'?" I hear you ask. Well, if you have lived in Tetbury for any length of time, you will have heard the Old 113th at least 4 times daily because it played by the carillon in the church tower; at 9am, midday, 3pm, and 6pm. People who live in the vicinity can probably whistle the tune in their sleep without realising it!

The carillon is essentially just a rather large electrically operated musical box that is triggered by a timer. At the appointed hours, a drum inside the carillon turns, and pegs push levers that pull wires which rattle through the ringing chamber and cause hammers to strike the bells in sequence. (These are the same bells that the ringers ring for Church services and weddings – we have to disconnect the carillon first.) In theory, it is possible to change the tune if you have a spanner of the appropriate size and a fair amount of patience.

The carillon was first installed in the 1720s, and paid for by John Wight who was vicar at the time. This was the same John Wight who was responsible for replacing the crumbling medieval edifice of a church in the late 1770s and erecting the Gothic masterpiece that we have today. When the new church was constructed, the original tower was left in place. However, a century later it began to subside, and in 1891 it had to be demolished and was rebuilt. The tower was constructed as an exact copy of the original, reusing much of the stonework and other materials although the bells were hung in a new frame, the carillon was replaced, and a new clock mechanism was installed. This rebuilding was financed by Hamilton Yatman who lived at Highgrove House, and who also paid for a new carillon and clock. Mr Yatman so loved the church tower that he arranged for the treeline between Highgrove and St Marys' church to be cut back so that he had an unobscured view. Of course, the reverse is also true, and those hardy souls willing to climb the 100 steps to the top of the tower get an excellent view not just of the Highgrove Estate, but also Tetbury and the surrounding countryside.

The tower houses 8 bells, 7 of which date from 1722 while the other is from 1803. The bells range in weight from a little over 4 hundredweight for the treble (the smallest bell with the highest note) to 16 hundredweight for the tenor. Records show that there were bells in the tower before the 1720s, so the current set seems to have replaced an earlier peal; the churchwarden's accounts from 1626 include the following entries (the spelling is original):

For mending the bells and a baldricke, 6 shillings and 10 pence
2 newe Ropps and carriage from bristoll, 6 shillings and 6 pence
Pd to the Ringers on the 5 of November, 2 shillings and 6 pence

It turns out that a "baldricke" is a leather strap that was used to hang the clapper inside the bell. These days, the clappers swing from metal bearings.

So, now you know about the carillon, the tower, and the bells, but what about a Tetbury Surprise Major? Contrary to recent rumours, this has nothing to do with an unexpected elevation to military rank of either of our esteemed church wardens. Rather, it is a somewhat complex bell-ringing method composed in the 1970s, and first recorded as being rung on the bells at St Marys' on Sunday 17th December 1978. It has been rung at least once since then, on the occasion of what would have been John Philip's (aka Mr Tetbury) 90th birthday.

A bell-ringing method is simply another name for a tune that is rung (not surprisingly) on church bells or hand-bells. The exact definition of what constitutes a bell-ringing method will take too long to explain fully in this column, but I'll try and give a brief description.

Originally, bells were simply rung in sequence, starting from the treble down to tenor. After a while this sequence got a bit monotonous, so ringers invented "change ringing" to mix things up a bit. In change ringing, a conductor swaps the order of pairs of bells, by asking one ringer to pull their rope slightly faster while an adjacent ringer pulls slightly slower. Again, this approach can be slightly cumbersome after a while, so in the mid-17th century bell ringers decided to learn automated sequences of changes in which multiple pairs of bells swap over at appointed times, and these series of changes are what constitute a bell-ringing method. There are a large number of different methods, and they often have rather quaint names such as Grandsire, Plain Bob, or Reverse Canterbury Pleasure Place Doubles. The origins of many of these names are lost in the mists of time, which all add to the fun and mystique of this ancient pastime.

Finally, what about those monks in the Mars-bar adverts? You must have seen them, pulling bell ropes and then swinging up and down while the bells wobble about above them. The reason I get irritated is that the advert researchers did not do their homework. Bells just don't sway gently back and forth like that when they are being rung in the style suggested by the monks. Instead, they rotate a full 360 degrees on a wheel, and the ringer controls the speed of this wheel and the rate at which the bell rings by pulling the rope. The other gripe I have is that if you ring properly you are unlikely to fly around like the monks (fun though it might be).

If you are intrigued and want to learn more about how the bells work, pull a bell rope (and remain firmly on the floor), see the carillon for yourself, or just view Tetbury from the highest point for miles around, then the tower and ringing chamber will be open on Woolsack Day. We will be very pleased to see you.

John Sharp
Tower Captain (not a mad monk)


March 2013

By the time you read this our Curate, Lesley Hewish will have left us and will be beginning her new appointment as Chaplain at Eastwood park prison. She will be formally inducted there by the Bishop of Gloucester on April 4th. Her last Sunday with us was on February 17th and was especially ‘Lesleys’ service with some of the music requested by her. A presentation was made to her over coffee and cake after the service. We shall all miss her here at St.Marys’ and wish her well in her new post.

On March 1st TACT (Churches together in Tetbury) unite to hold a service for the Women’s World Day of Prayer. This year it is being held in St.Michael’s at 2.00pm to which all are invited.

Shortly, those passing the Church gates will notice a banner inviting all to ‘Experience Easter’. From Palm Sunday through to Easter Day St. Marys’ have a programme of varied services which provide the opportunity to experience something different each evening of the week.

Palm Sunday, March 24th, sees us meet under the Market Hall at 9.30am together with the other churches in the Town for the Blessing of the Palms before going on to our own churches for the rest of the service. In the evening, 6.00pm, there will be a special choral evensong with music and readings.

Monday 25th at 7.30 is Compline, a quiet reflective service for the ending of the day.

Tuesday 26th at 7.30 we follow the Stations of the Cross with readings and prayers.

On Wednesday 27th at 6.00pm a Passover Supper is to be held in the Market Hall, a symbolic Upper Room, re-enacting the Jewish Passover. You are welcome to join this but, as numbers are limited, you will need a ticket. (£5.00 adult, children £1.00 from the Parish Office, 500088.)

Thursday 28th , 7.30pm, Maundy Thursday. This commemorates the Institution of Holy Communion at the Last Supper. We celebrate with a Sung Eucharist. At the end of the service the altars are stripped of all furnishings and decorations and the lights go out.

On Good Friday at 11.00am the churches in Tetbury again unite in a procession of witness. The Cross is carried from St. Saviours church, up Long Street to St. Marys’, on to St. Michael’s and finishing at Christ Church for coffee and hot cross buns! At 2.00pm There is a service of meditation and readings in St. Marys’, ‘ The Last Hour’.

Saturday sees the Church prepared for its Easter decoration. The climax of the day is the service of the Coming of Light at 8.00pm. The service begins in darkness and then the Pascal Candle is brought into the darkened church. From it other candles are lit until the church is filled with a brilliance of light.

All this has led up to Easter Day. You are invited to make Easter Special . Do come and join us.

During February a group of people have been extremely busy preparing the Parish Profile. This sets out details of the parish and benefice and its vision for the future. It is the document which prospective Rectors will read. The advertisement for a new Rector will be in the Church Times early in March. We would like to thank all those who have contributed to this excellent, well written Parish Profile.

Alan Bailey and Diana Challis
Churchwardens.


February 2013

We would like to thank all those of you that have helped during the early weeks of the vacancy at St Marys’, in particular, the group of church members who have made contributions to the parish profile. This gives information about the town, the church buildings and services, and sets out our vision for the future. It accompanies the advertisement for a new Rector which will be placed in the Church Times early in March. Some of you will already know that the diocese are to let the Vicarage from mid February for 6 months. It has been confirmed by the Archdeacon that the tenancy will conclude before the end of August when it is expect that the new incumbent will move in.

On March 1st Tetbury Area Churches Together (TACT) unite to hold a service for the Women’s World Day of Prayer. This year it is being held in St.Michael’s at 2.00pm to which all are invited.

Experience Easter is an initiative to bring together local churches, schools and communities to share the story of Holy Week and Easter. Shortly, those passing the Church gates will notice a banner inviting all to ‘Experience Easter’. From Palm Sunday through to Easter Day St. Marys’ have a programme of varied services to which you are invited. These services provide the opportunity to experience something different each day throughout Holy Week.

The Venerable Robert Springett, Archdeacon of Cheltenham will be joining us for our Holy Week celebrations which begin on 24th March with Palm Sunday. This starts with us meeting under the Market Hall at 9.30am together with the other churches in the Town for the Blessing of the Palms before going on to our own churches for the rest of the service. At Tetbury in the evening, 6.00pm, there will be a special choral evensong with music and readings for the start of Holy Week. There will be Palm Sunday services at Beverston at 9.30am, Shipton Moyne at 11.00am and Long Newnton at 11.15am.

We have an established a pattern of worship during Holy Week starting with Compline, a quiet reflective service for the ending of the day on Monday 25th at 7.30pm. Tuesday 26th at 7.30pm we follow the Stations of the Cross with readings and prayers. On Wednesday 27th at 6.00pm a Passover Supper is to be held in the Market Hall, a symbolic Upper Room, re-enacting the Jewish Passover. You are welcome to join us but, as numbers are limited, you will need a ticket. (adults £5.00, children £1.00 from the Parish Office, 500088). Thursday 28th at 7.30pm, Maundy Thursday we commemorate the Institution of Holy Communion at the Last Supper with a Sung Eucharist. At the end of the service the altars are stripped of all furnishings and decorations, the lights go out and the church is left bear and in darkness for Good Friday.

On Good Friday at 11.00am the churches in Tetbury again unite in a procession of witness. The Cross is carried from St. Saviours church, up Long Street to St. Marys’, on to St. Michael’s, finishing at Christ Church for coffee and hot cross buns! At 2.00pm there is a service of meditation and readings in St. Marys’, ‘The Last Hour’. There is a similar kind of service at Shipton Moyne at 7.30pm. Saturday sees the Church prepared for its Easter decoration. The climax of the day is the service of the Coming of Light at 8.00pm. The service begins in darkness and then the Pascal Candle is brought into the darkened church. From it other candles are lit until the church is filled with a brilliance of light.

Easter Day there will be services in Tetbury at 8.00am (Book of Common Prayer) and Parish Eucharist led by The Venerable Robert Springett, Archdeacon of Cheltenham at 9.30am; Beverston Holy Communion at 9.30am; Long Newnton Holy Communion and Shipton Moyne Holy Communion at 11.15am. You are invited to make Easter Special. Do come and join us.

If you are a Christian and a member of the Church of England, Easter is one of the three occasions in the year when you are EXPECTED to take communion. Obviously some people may be unable to do so as a result of illness or incapacity and we can arrange for Communion to be given at home in the days leading up to Easter. If you, or a member of your family, or a friend want this please ring the parish office 01666 500088 and we will make sure that it is done.

Alan Bailey and Diana Challis
Churchwardens


January 2013

2013 has arrived and on January 6th our Rector, Reverend Canon John Wright, celebrated his final service in St. Marys’. The Church was packed with parishioners from Tetbury and the surrounding villages, together with representatives of the many organisations in the Town. St. Marys’ Church choir was joined by the choir from Beverston and the music was splendid, especially when they sang ‘I was glad’ by Sir Hubert Parry.

Another poignant moment came at the end of the service when John was presented with a lighted candle. This was to recall the last ten years when John had brought ‘the light of Christ’ into the church on the Eve of Easter; this light is used at all Baptisms in St Marys’. John was reminded that he had enlightened us, illuminated our way during his time in Tetbury and was invited to take a part of this light with him as he went into the retirement phase of his ministry. John left the service to rapturous applause in appreciation of the pastoral care and interest he has shown to so many people in so many different ways.

Many will miss seeing him and his dog,’Tizzie’ walking in the Town and no doubt Tizzie will miss the biscuits she received in Lloyds Bank!

The service was followed by lunch at St. Mary’s Primary School. This was a jolly occasion and the hall was packed. The food and drink was provided by all the churches in the Benefice and all enjoyed a very fine spread. When it came to the presentations Alan Bailey gave a very amusing speech reminding John of his first sermon when he came to Tetbury ten years ago. John was introducing himself with visual aids and produced items from a Waitrose bag including a cricket bat, a ham sandwich, a banana………… Alan gave him back these things to send him on his way together with the 2012 Wisden Cricketers Almanac and a packet of lupin seeds. In the past John frequently told us that he was no good at gardening and the only plant that he had successfully grown was a lupin.

John was also presented with a cheque and it is planned to keep the account open until the end of February. If there are any further donations they can be given to the Churchwardens Alan Bailey and Diana Challis, or paid directly into the Rectors Leaving Fund; Sort Code: 30 – 80 – 95; Account Number: 37526668 at Lloyds Bank, Tetbury Branch.

Tribute was also paid to Liz. She always gave John great support and came up with great ideas for social events and then masterminded them with great skill. Who will forget the magnificent Jubilee lunch expertly served in the marquee on the vicarage lawn? Liz was behind the organisation of many summer fetes and Christmas markets, and exhibitions in the Church especially that for the Royal Wedding in 2011. Whatever Liz undertook we could always be sure of professionalism and everything done to a high standard. We shall miss them both and hope they will have a long and happy retirement.

In the December Advertiser John referred to the fact that our Curate, Lesley Hewish, will be leaving in February. You are all invited to Lesley’s last service in St. Marys’ on Sunday February 17th at 9:30am. Lesley has brought her infectious enthusiasm and fresh activities to the church, especially working with the children from St Marys’ Primary School, please come and say goodbye to her.

It is now business as usual for the Church and Lent begins on 13th February with two services for Ash Wednesday in Tetbury Parish Church, a Holy Communion at 9:30am and a Eucharist at 7:30pm which will include the optional Imposition of Ashes. During the vacancy the normal pattern of worship will be maintained (8:00am, 9:30am and 6:00pm at Tetbury Parish Church), (9:30am at Beverston), (11:15am at Shipton Moyne) and (9:30am on 1st Sunday; 11:15am on 2nd and 4th Sundays and 6:00pm on 3rd Sunday at Long Newnton). The vacancy is a time during which we can all pull together, helped by retired clergy, readers and the laity. Soon there will be advertisements for a new Rector for the Tetbury Benefice and we pray that the right candidate will apply.

Alan Bailey and Diana Challis
Churchwardens