Weekly Tetbury column by Kevin Painter

1. Future of church up for debate 

Last year, the PCC commissioned Peter Hyson to facilitate conversations with our church community, the wider community and key stakeholders at Diocesan and national level. The Revd Canon Poppy Hughes (Rector and Chair of St Mary’s PCC) said

“The church is a beautiful historic building but it has to be looking forward not back if it is to be relevant today.”

That’s a powerful statement, and just one of the responses to the conversations facilitated by Peter Hyson between May and October 2023, asking how the church building might better serve and support both the worshipping and wider community, and what’s needed to make that possible.

Meeting on Tuesday 16th January, St Marys’ PCC reviewed the responses received. Most importantly, we heard how much people value St Marys’. As one person said: “The church has the community as its heart. It acts as a hub to cater for the spiritual needs of Tetbury residents. It has a lead to stand up for religious, cultural and spiritual values.”

We noted that this role at the heart of our community has been clear in past months, with services that draw in young and old alike: from 300+ people gathering on Remembrance Sunday, to over 600 folk sharing in the services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

But it was also clear that – when it comes to our building – we need to adapt to survive. Currently we lack the most basic facilities: the “kitchen” and “parish office” are little more than cupboards, with one toilet that is hard to access, and no appropriate spaces for meetings or storage. The heating is ineffective and eco-unfriendly. And – with fixed box pews – there is no flexibility for either community use or gathering together for worship.

As one respondent wrote: “As an old Tetburian - christened, confirmed and married at St Marys’ - much as I like the pews, they do keep people segregated. To survive, the building has to update and be used as much as possible.” The PCC was clear that the option to “do nothing” was not viable and that work was needed for the church community to find or create a space that is welcoming, accessible,comfortable, serviceable, sustainable and flexible.

Carefully and prayerfully, the PCC then considered nine options, with some initial headlines about the “pros and cons”. These options included leaving St Marys’ and moving to another building. Of these possibilities, of course, our lovely St Saviour’s Church was the most popular alternative. In the event, however, the PCC was concerned that it is simply too small to accommodate big community services or the modern facilities we seek. So, this was put on hold for the time being.

This means, as the next step, the PCC will investigate further the possibilities of adapting the existing building, including a radical or partial redesign and/or extending the building. There are huge challenges – from gaining permissions to change this historic Grade 1 listed building, to raising the funds needed. So, we’ll be taking initial advice from experts including architects and heating engineers, to be reviewed in May 2024.

2. A fun and gentle introduction to theatre 

Tetbury Good shed are delighted to present Playtime with The Last Baguette on the 7 February 2024 with two performances at 10:00 am and 11:00 am. Brought to the Shed by Sidney and Tristan from The Last Baguette.

You’re invited to Join Ratty and her friends for fun and gentle introduction to theatre with play along story telling, original music puppetry, theatre games, movement, craft and lots of imaginative play, this time you can enjoy Cheesy tunes and join Ratty’s band!

There will be silliness, play acting, craft and music, expect to play, watch, laugh (lots) in this fun relaxed participatory theatre session.

The sessions last one hour including a stay and play session, and is created for ages 2-6 and their grown-ups. Younger and older siblings welcome! For information or to book please visit www.shed-arts.co.uk Tickets just £5.00 Under 18 months are free Please choose from Show one at 10.00am or Show two at 11.00am. Other Playtime sessions at The Goods Shed take place on Wednesday 13th March, Wednesday 22nd May and Wednesday 19th June. All starting at 10.00am

3. Film screening

Tetbury Goods Shed Cinema are pleased to be screening the film on February 8 The film Are you there God? It’s me Margaret (PG)

When her family moves from the city to the suburbs, 11-year-old Margaret navigates new friends, feelings, and the beginning of adolescence. For over fifty years, Judy Blume’s classic and ground breaking novel Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. has impacted generations with its timeless coming of age story, insightful humour, and candid exploration of life’s biggest questions. I

n Lionsgate’s big-screen adaptation, 11-year-old Margaret (Abby Ryder Fortson) is uprooted from her life in New York City for the suburbs of New Jersey, going through the messy and tumultuous throes of puberty with new friends in a new school. She relies on her mother, Barbara (Rachel McAdams), who is also struggling to adjust to life outside the big city, and her adoring grandmother, Sylvia (Kathy Bates), who isn’t happy they moved away and likes to remind them every chance she gets. z Doors and bar open at 7:00pm the film starts at 7:30pm-9:15pm tickets are £7.50

4. Cancelled show 

Tetbury Goods Shed Arts are very sorry but they have had to to cancel the show on 9th February cancel the show on 9th February of Miss Sasha Blaze the amazing live singing, comedy/cabaret drag queen.

And would like to give apologies for any disappointment caused. She may be able to return in the Summer. So please watch this space! In the meantime anyone who has purchased a ticket/s will receive a full refund automatically

5. Screening French drama 

On Wednesday 14th February, Tetbury Film Society will be screening the French drama “Full Time” (Cert 12A).

This French film follows a woman who is forever racing between family commitments and work duties. It won the Horizons awards for best actress (Laure Calamy) and best director at the Venice Film Festival 2021.

Everyone is welcome. Doors at the Dolphins Hall open at 7pm for a 7:30pm screening. Tickets for visiting guests cost £6 and can be purchased on the door

6. Evening of Jazz

An evening of Jazz with the Ben Holder Quartet. The Ben Holder Quartet is one of the most exciting bands to emerge in recent years. They masterfully mix old jazz favourites and upbeat swingers with some more recent material and leave audiences up and down the country shouting for more.

Expect jazz violin as you’ve never seen it before! Ben Holder is the most acclaimed and exciting jazz violinist in the UK. His classical studies began at the age of six and were complemented by training at the Birmingham Conservatoire. An introduction to jazz came in his early teens – classic masters such as Benny Goodman, Oscar Peterson and Stephane Grappelli – and lead Ben to truly find his place as a musician. To book a ticket or for further information, please visit www.shed-arts.co.uk. Advance tickets are Individual Seat, Adults £15.50 Or on the door on the night tickets will cost £19.00There will also be a licensed bar and the doors open at 7.00pm The performance starts at 7.30 pm - 9.45 pm.

7. Exploring the best Bible stories 

Returning for a new year will be iSing Pop Celebrate. The first will be on Sunday February 18 starting at 4:00 pm and continuing until 5:30 pm. At the St Mary’s School Hall St Mary’s CE VA Primary School,St Mary’s Road, Tetbury, GL8 8BW

This is for all the Family where you will be exploring the best of bible stories and ask questions big and little, and enjoy time together with Christ, chatting and sharing icing pop song and prayers.

Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. All are welcome as this is run by Churches jn Tetbury: Saint Mary’s, Christ Church, Five Valleys Christian Fellowship and Saint Michaels Catholic Church. This is for all the family to enjoy on Sunday afternoon. And you’re invited where whether you live in the Town or neighbouring area or even a visitor or possibly your children don’t go to St Mary’s School, all you need is enthusiasm. Please bring your own cup

8. Raising funds for hospice

To raise funds for Longfield Hospice, on Wednesday 28th February Tetbury Film Society will be screening the heartwarming “The Great Escaper” (Cert. 12A). This film stars Michael Caine as the 89-year-old British World War II veteran, Bernard Jordan, who sneaks out of his care home to attend the 70th anniversary D-Day commemorations in Normandy.

Tickets cost £10, including a glass of wine. Tickets can be obtained from the Longfield charity shop on Long Street or at the 14th February showing of “Full Time” (Cert 12A)