St Andrew’s, Devizes; Marston Chapel;
Trinity, Market Lavington
month I wrote about the loss of social infrastructure - the places and
spaces where we are gently made to rub shoulders with different
people. Places that enable us to get to know each other and for
stranger to become friend. Places where 'they' become 'us'.
Places like libraries, youth clubs, pubs and churches. As these
are taken from us under the pretence of austerity, so the sense of
community breaks down, crime increases and fear takes hold. We, as
a church, are ideay placed to be the antidote to this breaking down.
month, I'd like to give an example of this in action - where church has
been able to build up, to enable links and networks to grow stronger.
St Andrew's hosted a film show - nothing life changing about that - but
it brought us together with Sustainable Devizes and Extinction
Rebellion. Over refreshments, I heard many conversations of young
and elderly people desperately wanting to build a better world for
themselves and their children and grandchildren. A world that
won't be battered by frequent storms, where the elderly don't die of
dehydration in yet another summer heat wave, where the seashore isn't
covered in plastic and rubbish and where food becomes even more
expensive because the pesticides have killed all the bees.
believe the church's role is what it has always been - signposting
people to a better world - a better way of being. Not in a
self-righteous manner but in simply saying, 'We believe and have hope in
a God who is creative, who renews, who invites us to usher in the
Kingdom of God among us'.
I believe part of that Kingdom of God is His created world being
restored. 1 Chronicles 16:33 says 'Let the trees of the forest
sing, let them sing for joy before the LORD, for He comes to judge the
how and what can we do? I have some ideas and will offer them for
consideration shortly. In the meantime - what do you
think your church could do to build a better world, a sustainable world,
in which 'they' become 'us'? As I ended last month - how can we
actively invite others to experience a different way of life - not
merely existing but living.
us join in Christ's mission of loving the world.
found the following article called ‘Ditch
the outdated sermon - Multisensory messages are engaging’
by Sue Washburn on a website called 'Presbyterians
I wanted to lift concepts from it to start a conversation within our
churches but the copyright licence states I can use the whole article
but can’t make derivatives of it so I have laid it out whole
below. What I would love to hear from you is your thoughts about
her writing. In other words, outside of church how do you learn best ...
are you a reader, a listener, a do-er?
Do your hands need to be busy - knitting, cooking, doodling, wood
turning, clicking / chewing a pen (!!!) while you listen to the radio,
watch the television or a attend a lecture or speaker at Tuesday
Fellowship / Ladies Evening Group? Do you prefer discussion so you
can test and refine your ideas and learning or would you rather sit and
receive from an expert in their field? Please let me know your
thoughts - in person, by email or phone - I’d love to know.
And now for Sue’s thoughts…
never thought of myself as a crafty person. The small motor skills
required for sewing or crocheting make my brow knit in frustration.
Coloring books meant to lower blood pressure increase mine. But I
confess that there have been weeks where I’ve been crafting some sort
of visual aid to go with the sermon I’m preparing.
One big benefit of serving a small church is that it’s possible to
make the worship service more of a hands-on experience rather than a
lecture. Twenty or 30 people is more like a birthday celebration than a
As a result, the worship service can
be more personal and multisensory. People can talk and mingle. They can
even leave with some sort of favor to remind them of what they did in
church that day.
In an increasingly visual age, many small churches still don’t have
the technology for PowerPoint or video displays that larger churches use
to enhance the worship experience, so creating a multisensory experience
requires some effort.
Many times, I find myself at my kitchen table creating visual aids for
sermons. These can be anything from crude drawings on poster board to
hand-tied gift tags reminding us of the gifts of God.
me, crafting a good sermon requires more than putting some inspirational
words on paper. Perhaps this stems from my training as a high school
teacher who was taught that not all students are auditory learners. The
teacher who simply lectured the whole time was considered a poor
instructor. Some students have to move around to learn effectively. Others
need to talk about what they learned, while still others need a visual to
help them understand.
While this multisensory approach can happen naturally in a worship service
— with music, greetings, stained glass and candles, for instance — I
try to add it to the sermon as well.
There is no doubt that the lecture-style sermon is the best communication
tool for big groups and is the preferred learning style for some.
Culturally, we still use the lecture style anytime we need to pass
information along to a large group. And for those educated in the ’60s
and ’70s, the so-called “sit and get” strategy that teachers were
trained in is the most familiar way to gather new information. Sit at
school and take notes. Sit at church and learn about God. Sit in front of
the TV and listen to the news.
Increasingly, though, parishioners expect more than a preacher standing
behind a lectern. And for swaths of people under the age of 40, who have
been exposed to multisensory instruction since preschool, such a sermon is
outdated. Today’s young adults are no longer passive listeners, but
active participants in their own learning. They didn’t sit in rows and
scribble. They saw pictures, learned in small groups and created projects
that demonstrated the ideas being taught. When they come to church as
adults, they don’t just want to hear about God. They want to experience
God in different ways. If they want to listen to a sermon, they can do
that on their phone.
As small-church leaders, we need to realize that a traditional sermon may
not be the best way to reach our communities. We need to discern how we
can craft engaging sermon experiences that invite people to deepen their
understanding of God in new ways. We need to recognize that not everyone
has the same learning style and offer biblical and theological insights in
ways that people can internalize rather than just rationalize. As a small
group, we can see, touch, taste and hear
about the goodness of God
Washburn is the pastor of Reunion Presbyterian Church in Mount Pleasant,
By Sue Washburn | Presbyterians Today
to read Bill Thomas' 'Reflections on the ten HOLY HABITS'
again the Club, for children aged 5 - 11 years, met at Trinity C E
Primary Academy in August.
from various Churches in Devizes started each day of the week with
Devotions which set us all up for the morning ahead.
50 children attended each day and, throughout the week, we looked at
God's power in the life of Joseph. The programme was very slick and we
did games, singing, acting, craft and sports (outdoors, weather
permitting). The first part of the morning was always spent in the hall
and then we went off in three age groups to do the various activities.
the children were very well behaved and it was a privilege to work with
them. Some of the older children in particular asked some very
interesting questions and some bibles and tracts were given out. Apart
from the adult helpers there were about 12 teenagers who having been to
the Holiday Club in earlier years still liked to come along. They were a
great help and also had a time with Steve Dewar (Youth for Christ -
worker), who helped them to come closer to God.
joined the team at the Holiday club at Trinity school for the last two
days of the week. It was my first time joining the Churches Together
excellent group of people and I thoroughly enjoyed working alongside the
organisers and meeting the wonderful children at Trinity. They were all
so talented and enthusiastic and it was a splendid two days. My sincere
thanks to the superb team of dedicated people-it was a pleasure to meet
them. They obviously had worked
tremendously hard preparing all the activities which were greatly
appreciated. Thanks to everyone involved."
from Churches Together in Devizes
review is taking place of all the Churches Together (CT) activities
and means of communication. It has already been agreed to terminate
the website and Facebook pages which were rarely used.
individual churches have made their own Harvest Supper arrangements
and there will be no shared
Harvest Meal this year.
review will continue at the next CT Forum meeting in October.
1999 a small group of church volunteers started going into primary
school assemblies in Bedford to read and act out stories using The
Lion Storyteller Bible.
being inspired by this, the project spread into Gloucestershire in
2001. Later, in 2007, a national charity was formed. With
increasing growth of volunteer numbers into the thousands, OtB joined
Bible Society in 2013.
in 2019, we want to celebrate and spread OtB even more. Come and
September 2014 a team of people from various Devizes churches have
gone into Trinity School assemblies on Thursdays and dramatised a
Bible story to a hall of enraptured children.
dressing up and occasional hamming of lines has been a lot of
fun. Only some of the team are needed each week, so the
volunteers just commit to the weeks they want to do.
recruiting a second team
January 2016 a second team started doing the Open the Book assemblies
on Tuesday mornings at Southbroom Infants School.
you would like to help, please ring Canon Paul Richardson 07747
583954, or Revd Gary Gotham 07946 475587.
the Book is a three year scheme available from the Bible Society and
is proving very popular in primary schools all over the country.
had another really interesting and refreshing Greenbelt weekend this
year. I even found my
postcard in the URC tent. Our
youth ambassadors all seemed to be really enjoying the relaxed
friendly atmosphere. Our
days of listening to thrash bands are long over but we enjoyed hearing
a huge variety of music from St. Martin’s in Fields Chorale to John
Bell’s Big Sing of Wild Goose hymns, plus of course the usual Beer
and Hymns session! Plus we
heard some fascinating talks and discussions : Kumi Naidoo, Secretary
General of Amnesty international talking about the need for civil
disobedience in the face of injustic;, Ivan Humble ex-EDL member
explaining his journey from right-wing extremism to reconciliation
activist; Hannah Crichlow, the neuroscientist, discussing how possible
free-will might actually be; Revds Kate Bottley and Stephen Cotterell
(Bishop of Chelmsford) amongst others, looking at different ways to
doing church; Maggie Aderin-Pocock (The Sky at Night) enthusing about
the moon and its role in protecting the earth. To just mention a few.
Then of course there was the “Christmas at Greenbelt”
Communion, complete with camels; very funny unruly working class
shepherds (“where are the workers in the Nativity?! We want more
workers in the Nativity!!”); a tandem dressed as a donkey for Mary
& Joseph. The
atmosphere is always wonderfully friendly and accepting and we come
back enthused and refreshed every time.
Andrew's is -
have all seen the pictures of the devastating destruction of the
Amazon rainforest causing huge loss of wildlife, great distress to the
indigenous people and sending vast amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.
This is not the only area to burn trees. According to NASA, during
August, 70% of the 10,000 fires burning worldwide were in Africa.
These natural savannah fires are welcomed here as the land is
regenerated for next year's new growth. Greenpeace have said that in
Indonesia an area of rainforest nearly twice the size of Japan has
been destroyed in the last 50 years. Their president has issued a
permanent moratorium on 66 million hectares.
area which I learned about in the film “Burned” is the southern
states of North America. Historically, this low lying area was a
natural forest of mixed wood, home to many animals, birds, amphibians,
insects, plants and fungi. The trees were carefully managed with good
wood harvested for building and furniture with the old, diseased trees
being burnt for fuel. Now large areas are being decimated; the trees
sent to biomass factories where they are made into wood pellets that
are shipped mostly to Europe. Burning these in the now disused power
stations sends more harmful gases into the atmosphere than when
burning coal! Sadly some clever misinformation convinced the EU that
biomass is carbon neutral, so we are all paying a portion of our fuel
bills to help fund this foolishness. Boosted by this generous
financial help, the trees now being planted are fast growing, single
species forests with little habitat for wildlife.
group of Swiss scientists have estimated that a trillion trees need to
be planted to fight global warming. In 2017 India planted 66 million
trees and this August in one state alone – Uttar Pradesh 220 million
trees were planted in one day. Ethiopia beat this by planting 224
million in 1 day in August. They plan to plant 4 billion trees between
May and October. In this country it has been left to the water
companies in conjunction with land-owning charities to promise 11
million trees. Have you got a spade handy?
10.30am on the 1st and 3rd
Thursday of the month
and join this new group starting on 3rd October upstairs at St.
Andrew's Church. The Bible Society have come up with a great little
8-session course on the Bible that helps us gain a good understanding
of the big story. It includes videos and a copy of the manual for each
person (£5 each). This is a chance to grasp together what the
Bible is and how it shows us what really matters.
tell Bill Thomas or John Saunders you would like to join the group
(so enough copies of the manual can be bought).
FOR OCTOBER - from The Prayer Group
when I think about, I reckon I sometimes come to you to show you how
much I am doing. To encourage you to tell me what a
hardworking, good and faithful servant I really am. I
sometimes wonder how you would get along without me!
my pride, Lord. Forgive me for believing there are no limits to
what I can do. Forgive me for trying to do so much that I do
most of it badly. Forgive my arrogance that says if I don't do
it, it'll never get done at all. Sometimes it does seem like that.
Help me to realise that when there seems to be no-one around to do all
that needs doing - you are.
of a prayer by Eddie Askew)
the Pastoral Secretary
– Could it Help You?
is a nationwide scheme that lends manual wheelchairs, powered
wheelchairs, and scooters to people with limited mobility, thus
allowing them to shop and visit leisure and commercial facilities
within a town, city or shopping centre.
scheme is open to anyone with mobility impairments, be it permanent or
temporary. Each local scheme operates slightly differently; some
provide Shopmobility as a free service while others make a charge.
following information about hiring scooters has been kindly provided
by a church member:
you have a problem with walking and would love to be able to get out
and enjoy life more? You may find that Shopmobility is an answer.
scheme enables you to hire a mobility scooter in many towns, thus
enabling you to once again visit shopping centres, go to the shops,
purchase goods, have coffee or a meal out.
operating this service nearest to Devizes include Swindon, Swindon
Outlet Centre, Andover, Bath and Salisbury. Further afield –
Winchester, Basingstoke and Portsmouth. You can even hire one at
Westonbirt and Blenheim Palace. The National Federation of
Shopmobility Website would help you to find other places.
prices vary. Swindon Outlet Centre is free; others may charge an
annual membership fee of £16 plus £1 each visit.
start you off – here are some phone numbers:
Town Shopmobility (including the Outlet Centre): 01793 512621
Salisbury: 01722 328068
is best to book a few days ahead, but check the weather forecast to
avoid driving around in the pouring rain!”
information, and the opportunity to order a directory of participating
towns, cities, businesses and events, can be found on the National
Federation of Shopmobility website: www.nfsuk.org or by phoning 01933
useful local community transport information can be found on the
Community First Transport Directory: www.communityfirst.org.uk/transport/directory
or by phoning 01380 722475 and asking for the Community
for October TURNING POINT news