The monthly magazine of St Andrew’s, Devizes; Marston Chapel;

and Trinity, Market Lavington

September 2019

Minister's Musings


Revd Gary Gotham


Dear Friends,

I read an article recently that spoke of the loss to our nation's life of what it called 'social infrastructure' - the places, the buildings and spaces that host friends and gently push strangers together.  Stark numbers - more than 760 youth clubs have shut across the UK since 2012.  A pub closes every 12 hours.  Nearly 130 libraries were scrapped last year and those that survive in England have lopped off 230,000 opening hours.

The discussion over whether these 'austerity cuts' were ever necessary (they weren't) can wait for another day - but the reality is experienced daily.

People reduce the time they spend in public settings and retreat to their houses.  Social networks weaken; crime rises; older and sick people grow isolated; younger people get addicted to drugs; distrust rises and civic participation wanes.  How often have you read about a grandmother found dead in her own home with no-one popping by for days?  How many news stories do you read about teenagers experiencing mental illness as they compare themselves to the images on their screens?  And how many time have you complained that everyone is so stuck in their own bubble that politics is hopelessly polarised?

Your church, our church, is ideally placed to counter this.  We believe in God as Trinity - God, who is at his/her heart is relationship.  As church we are called to mirror that - to be people-in-relationship, one with another.  Relying on, trusting each other and making welcoming spaces for others to find their place.  Let us actively invite others to experience a different way of life - not merely existing but living.

Let us join in Christ's mission of loving the world.

God bless,




Open the Book

is celebrating its

20th anniversary

throughout 2019!



In 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.


After 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.


Now, in 2019, we want to celebrate and spread OtB even more.  Come and join us!


In Devizes


Since 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.


The 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.


Now recruiting a second team


In January 2016 a second team started doing the Open the Book assemblies on Tuesday mornings at Southbroom Infants School.


If you would like to help, please ring Canon Paul Richardson 07747 583954, or Revd Gary Gotham 07946 475587.


Open the Book is a three year scheme available from the Bible Society and is proving very popular in primary schools all over the country.









Last year we were able to send off a parcel of knitted flowers to decorate the United Reformed Church tent at the Greenbelt Festival. (See October “Link”).   This year the URC is again one of the festival partners.   As part of the URC’s theme of “Walking the Way with Wit and Wisdom”, we would like postcard sized items with familiar quotes, Bible passages and/or sayings which will be hung around our tent. They can be embroidered on fabric, cross-stitched, knitted, or even handwritten on a postcard from your local town.

If anyone would be able to join me in playing our part in this annual Festival please let me know and I will do the rest.   I need to send them off by the end of July.


Thank you.


Eileen Robinson

** Following this appeal for illustrated postcards with quotes, I was able to send off 50 to help decorate the United Reformed Church tent at the Greenbelt Festival at Boughton House, Northants over the August Bank Holiday weekend.   We look  forward to hearing all about it.                                                               



Do you know you can watch Darcey's Weekly Sunday Service from the USA LIVE Sunday afternoons on

facebook/River Road United Methodist Church Richmond,VA ?

On 28th July, she mentioned a conversation she had in our Church with Elsie Domoney

and the impact it had on  her.  How thrilled Elsie would be!

 Nina Lamb



St Andrew's is -






   Climate campaigners have calculated that in 2019 Earth Overshoot Day was on 29th July. This is the day when all of Earth's natural resources that cn be regenerated in a full year have already been used up – 209 days. Last year it was 3 days later. Therefore humans are using up natural resources 1.75 times faster than the Earth's ecosystems can regenerate. Ever since 1973 humans have been using more energy than the planet can reproduce. How can we have treated God's creation so badly?

“Friends of the earth” are urging the UK government to adopt an action plan by 2020 : to aim for 100% clean energy, invest in green and affordable transport, ban fracking, stop using dirty fuels, fund large-scale insulation and eco-heating schemes and stop backing harmful infrastructures like airport expansions.

           That is for the government, but what about all of us? I shall be doing a survey of members shortly (totally anonymously) to see how we are doing our bit.

Christine Madigan



Holy Habits No. 10 – Making More Disciples

 (This Holy Habit is scheduled to be discussed in Café Worship on 25th August.)

Matthew 28: 18-20 shows why the church is to create more disciples. The words there show Jesus commissioned the eleven disciples to follow his example. He made disciples of them and now they are to make disciples of others. It is therefore every Christian’s responsibility to share the Good News wherever they go. We are to tell the whole world of Christ’s death on the cross, his resurrection and his promise to return. Disciples have a personal responsibility to create other disciples. This is how the church grows and Scripture transforms lives.

But how are disciples made? Traditionally it has been understood that faith is a continuing journey. The word “disciple” comes from the Greek meaning “who learns as they follow”. It was accepted that in the process of coming to faith you must believe the right things. As a result, you would behave in the right way. Unless you believed the right things and behaved in the right way then you could not belong. From Christ’s example it must involve instruction that eventually leads to obedience. But how?

As is seen in the lives of the disciples, Christian discipleship must change people and transform them from the way they think of God and the rest of the world until they are acting more like Christ. So, what does a Christian need to learn? Using Jesus’s example as a model for discipleship, one can learn a lot about the process. Jesus spent much time teaching his disciples, working on their intellectual development. While this was important, the process is more than this. It is about seeing, processing and interacting with the world in a new way. For example, a disciple not only knows the difference between right and wrong, but they do right even when no one is looking even if it comes with personal cost! He instructed them with parables which they had to work to understand. This challenged them and pushed them outside of their comfort zones. Jesus recognised that they required an emotional connection to the truth with lots of first- hand experience. They had to spend time with him doing everyday things and opening themselves open to new experiences and challenges. Becoming intimate with Scripture is what enables us to open up our mind, but it requires an investment of time.

We need to do more than convey the Bible’s importance. We need to show our own passion. For potential disciples to connect with Scripture they need help to understand how to read it and how the Spirit uses it to transform us. It is not enough for growing Christians to pray. They must understand why disciples like prayer, Bible reading, worship and service. These are critical for their spiritual development. Disciples are transformed by having a connection with Jesus through the Holy Spirit and Scripture.

Statistics from 2015 showed that only 45% of regular churchgoers read the Bible more than once a week. Almost one in five churchgoers never read the Bible. If creating disciples relies on a close contact with Scriptures, there is a disconnect here. Growing disciples need help to understand how the Spirit uses Scripture to transform us. Once they become passionate about the Bible, they are well on their way to their own transformation.

Micah 6:8 tells us what the Lord requires of us. Growing disciples must similarly “Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God”. In order to walk humbly with God disciples need to become more aware of their own shortcomings rather than the flaws of others and follow Christ’s way – “not to be served but to serve” (Mark 10:45). Eph.4:12-13 describes how this will “build up the body of Christ until all of us come to unity in the faith.

If we live out all of the ten Holy Habits which we have explored, we will be making more disciples. See the attached chart which shows the inter-relationship of all these Holy Habits.

Bill Thomas



Tools for Self Reliance


If you have any tools that are surplus to your needs, I am willing to collect them to go to our local Self Reliance collection place in Holt.  I am also willing to collect gardening tools to go to another local charity.  In both cases, tools can be refurbished.

Please contact Neil McGregor.


** At 3 p.m. on 19 November, Tuesday Fellowship will be having a talk on this subject by

Dan Archer.  All welcome.



PRAYER FOR SEPTEMBER - from The Prayer Group


Almighty God, you have taught us that your word is a lamp to our feet and a light for our path.  Help us who prayerfully read your word, to deepen our fellowship with each other through your love.   May we come to know you more fully, love you more truly, and follow more faithfully in the steps of your Son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for evermore.



Hilary Burn



From the Pastoral Secretary



Victim Support – One of Devizes Mayor Judy Rose’s chosen charities 


(Taken from the Victim Support Website:


We’re here to help anyone affected by crime, not only those who experience it directly, but also their friends, family and any other people involved. It doesn’t matter when the crime took place – you can get our support at any time and for however long you need us.

We provide free and confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year for people affected by crime and traumatic events – regardless of whether you have reported the crime to the police. (Free national support line: 0808 168 9111)

The support services we offer are tailored to the needs of each person. These include: 


  • Information and advice 

  • Immediate emotional and practical help 

  • Longer term emotional and practical help 

  • Advocacy 

  • Peer support and group work 

  • Restorative justice 

  • Personal safety services 

  • Help in navigating the criminal justice system

Our teams of highly trained staff and volunteers provide a wide range of specialist services that help people affected by all types of crime from burglary, hate crime, fraud and theft to domestic abuse, child sexual exploitation and terrorism.

We give emotional and practical help to people who have been affected by crime in Wiltshire. We’re an independent charity and you can contact us for support regardless of whether you’ve contacted the police, and no matter how long ago the crime took place. We’ll help you for as long as it takes to overcome the impact of crime. 

If you call your local Victim Support team, we’ll make sure you get the information and support you need. This might be arranging a meeting for you to talk to us and receive emotional support in confidence, helping you to fill out a compensation form or get advice on how to make your home more secure, or referring you to other specialist organisations that can also help. 

Contact local Victim Care Team in Wiltshire:


08 08 281 0113    Lines open 9 - 5 Monday – Friday.


                                                                                      Jennifer Brearley



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