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

and Trinity, Market Lavington




Revd Gary Gotham



Dear All,


Ebenezer’  The first name of one Mr Scrooge.

One of the originals is to be found at 1 Samuel 7:12 - Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanah, and named it Ebenezer; for he said, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’


Ebenezers are stones of help - markers of thankfulness for journeys, or progress made.

You will have moments, chapters in your life, that mark progress, that you are thankful to God for; a wedding day, birth of a grand-child, finding a church you feel ‘at home’ in (you have found that church haven’t you?!)


As Churches we have Ebenezars too. Trinity leaving its chapel and worshipping in the Community Hall while launching St Arbucks; St Andrews saying ‘goodbye’ to pews and ‘hello’ to seats, a digital organ, commercial kitchen and so much more; and Marston becoming a Methodist Class of St Andrews.

All simple things to list, but symbolic of a readiness to trust God for a new future.


Beyond the big moments there exist many smaller ones.

As we journey forward with God, winter gives way to Spring, and Lent prepares us for death and new lIfe. I pray we will experience many staging posts on our pilgrimage of faith.


Already this year we have committed to becoming Eco-Churches, installing defibrillators on our buildings, staging an Easter egg trail, being present at a vintage festival and sponsoring a recycled-plastic flower festival.


Speaking personally, I am walking the 60 miles between all the white horses of Wiltshire in April. If you would like to sponsor me ask for my sponsor form or simply visit the Christian Aid Just-Giving link at


In their own way, all are evidence that joining in Christ’s mission of love to the world is at the heart of our endeavours - all stages on the journey of walking the way - living the life of Jesus today.






Once again, we served close on 100 breakfasts and people were very pleased with it all.  Together with the plant stall, we made about £600 which will be divided equally between our 3 charities and the Church.

I really want to thank all those who contributed towards the breakfast, with money or food.  It certainly helps when we have fewer overheads, and we know we have all we need.

A special thank you to those who prepared, served and cleared away afterwards. It was a real team effort - 'Thank you'. 

We have made the decision that this will be last Big Breakfast.  We are all getting older and finding it harder to move quickly and to keep going.  We wanted to finish while we still doing well & that has happened this year.

So, thank you for your support this year and over the years, and for all your contributions in whatever way.

Ruth McGregor






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





St. Andrew's has attained the silver standard of the A ROCHA Echo Church scheme. By the time you read this, you may have seen the plaque that we can display to advertise  this fact. We already had in place disabled access and toilets, a sound system with a loop for hearing aids and large print Hymn Books and Bibles. For many years we have used only Fairtrade products and had a monthly Tradecraft stall. The church is warm, well-lit and comfortable and the garden is well tended. We recycle as much as possible.

More recently the fuel supplier has been switched to a Green Energy provider and even my monthly scribblings ticks one of the boxes. The latest addition is water softeners that will make any water carrying appliance run more efficiently, thus saving fuel. Anyone using one of the kitchens will notice that they need far less washing – up liquid and other cleaners.

A big thank you to all who have helped us gain this award and I am sure many of you are doing your bit at home as well.

We are now heading for gold!




I feel I must comment on the recent UN report on biodiversity and ecosystems.  The 1800-page report lists in great detail all the problems that lie ahead for our world.

A professor from the National University of Cordoba in Argentina sums it up thus:-

“Nature's contributions to people are humanity’s most important life-supporting safety net. But our safety net is stretched almost to breaking point.” The WWF living planet report of 2018 charts the five main reasons for species loss. In 3 of the 4 groups – birds, reptiles & amphibians and mammals, the greatest threat was from habitat degradation; nearly 50% in the case of birds. With fish, over 50% comes from exploitation. Mammals are affected almost equally by exploitation and habitat loss. Climate change is calculated to affect birds about 12%, fish about 10%, reptiles & amphibians about 8 % and mammals only 5%. The other two problems contributing to species loss are invasive species & disease and pollution.

All these facts were made startingly clear in the BBC series “Earth from Space”. Maybe it should be compulsory viewing by all governments

Christine Madigan


   One of the challenges we have as an Eco congregation is to engage with the local community. 

John Saunders has been very involved with Opendoors since its inception and now other members have become volunteers. They produce a newsletter which can be found on their website



Holy Habits No 8 – Gladness & Generosity.


(This holy Habit will be explored in Café Worship at the end of June).


This Habit should be seen in the context of all of the ten Holy Habits which are derived from Acts 2: 42-47. Gladness and Generosity go tog ether in this Holy Habit. They are a Christian way of life. Verse 46 of Acts2 describes “…. they …… ate together with glad and sincere hearts” which is a reference to the gladness which these new Christians felt, uniting with each other and recognising each other as brothers and sisters in the family of God and helping each other in every way possible. The dictionary definition of gladness is “Joy.” There is a joy in our faith that remains whatever mood we may be in. We all experience the joy of worship. We share each other’s burdens as well as each other’s joys as we respond to the generosity of God. Being thankful as we realise what God has done for us leads us to respond with cheerfulness, gladness and generosity. Psalm 100 is an invitation to enter joyfully (with gladness) into God’s presence with joyful songs and encourages gladness in worship and serving.



The dictionary definition of Generosity is “not mean or prejudice, free giving, noble minded.” Verse 45 of Acts 2 records that “……they gave to anyone as he had need.” The early church’s enthusiasm for worship and brotherly love was contagious and embodied generosity at its heart which contrasted with the world of greed at that time. The generous love received from God by the disciples prompted them to give gladly and generously to others, not only by preaching but also by giving practical help. Matthew 10:8 shows that we should give generously to others of our time, love and possessions.



 2 Corinthians 9:7 tells us that we should “give not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Verse 13 continues “men will praise God …… for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.” We must practice generosity with gladness. If in being busy doing good, we must not become too tired to be kind (and glad).  Our attitude and demeanour – our very being is so much more important. This is what is observed and speaks to those around us and might just make it easier for them to believe as they will have seen His love through people’s generosity. Maintaining a glad and generous heart will attract others to praise God rather than if we do something which has become a chore. It is worth remembering that we are called to be generous with all we have, not just money, because selfishness leads on to sinfulness.



There are echoes of an earlier Holy Habit – “Serving” - in this current Habit. Usually Gladness and Generosity are experienced in serving others. Giving should not be a burden but a blessing for both the giver and the receiver. The chart below shows the relationship of the other nine Holy Habits to Gladness and Generosity.  


Bill Thomas





Johan, with husband Ian, moved to live in Potterne in the 1980’s and came along to St. Andrew’s Church where they quickly found friends and fellowship.

Johan was very skilled with her fingers and did a lot of needlework and tapestry.   During that time, with others, she helped produce a Banner which represented the United Kingdom at the gathering of the World Federation of Methodist Women, which was held in Kenya.

After Ian died Johan moved into Devizes and found she was more able to take part in events at the Church as well as in the town.   She became the President of the Afternoon Fellowship and played her part fully with that group.   She enjoyed being part of the monthly Luncheon Club which was held at Church.   She was also an active member of the Potterne, and, later, the Devizes Morning W.I.

 She was a very loyal, friendly and helpful lady and determined to be part of things as long as she could.   When she became unwell and found it difficult to get out and about, she valued the regular visits from her Pastoral Visitor and welcomed the opportunity to receive Communion in her home.

We send our love and sympathy to all her family.

** The morning service on Sunday 2 June will include a tribute to Johan Ogilvie.



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.




PRAYER FOR JUNE - from The Prayer Group


  Gracious God, Creator of all, Father of us all.

We are sorry we have not always lived the way you call us to be.    We miss opportunities to serve you and care for others as you wish. We have thought and done many things which harm or ignore those around us.

We ask for forgiveness, and newness of life.

  Help us to be peacemakers in this troubled world, that the  understanding and love for others  lifts us above the need to be the one who is always right and the only one who matters.    May we show the warmth of your love in all we do and say, and as the days move on to summer, may we bear fruits our lives of love in action.     AMEN

Hilary Burn



From the Pastoral Secretary


Stress in Ministry

Text and extracts of letters from the URC Reform Magazine

Stress affects everyone, in all walks of life, but there are particular reasons why ministers experience it. They are required to be a preacher, teacher, pastor, leader and role model in a rapidly changing, secularised society. They face increasing demands as ever smaller numbers of ministers are stretched over the same number of churches. Sometimes they are isolated in their work, without the support of colleagues. They have to manage complex relationships and offer support to people whose problems in life lead to dependency.

Ministers often find that people have unrealistic expectations of them and face endless demands on their time. Working during other people’s weekends and evenings, with time off while others are working, the boundaries between leisure, work and worship become blurred. Given their vocation, it is difficult to be off duty and guarantee one’s personal time and so ‘switch off’. We need to ask how long a minister can work flat out, fulfilling the many roles expected of them.

There is little time available in which ministers can reflect on their role and realise that there may be a problem.

Ministry in today’s world can seem to be a lonely experience.  Not only are ministers likely to have fewer colleagues than might be the case in other forms of work - and may have been true in ministry even 10 years ago, but the changing nature of ministry means there is less clarity regarding the expectations and realities of a minister’s role.

Congregations still fondly recall what ministers used to do and be. Today it’s a different world as these edited extracts from letters in the URC Reform magazine illustrate:

“Speaking as a sad, frustrated, exhausted minister, I have been both intrigued and frustrated by the recent debate in these pages about ministers and pastoral care. I agree that pastoral care is of the utmost importance, but how and when am I going to do it? Last week I was in meetings every day apart from Thursday morning and afternoon. I thought, perhaps naively, I should devote my spare day to preparing for Sunday worship. Like many ministers I want to get on with the pastoral work that was part of my calling and which formed the backbone of the most effective parts of my ministry. Unfortunately, I find myself more and more engaged in the business, buildings and management side of church.”

“I hope we would all challenge the view that someone is ‘unblessed’ if unvisited by the minister. While time pressures might well necessitate a decrease in pastoral visiting for some, why can’t we see this as an opportunity to release the gifts of the pastorally skilled in our church communities?”

Hopefully these thoughts will be of interest and link in with ‘Serving’ - one of the Holy Habits we covered recently. If you would consider taking on the role of a pastoral visitor, please talk to me.

                                                                                      Jennifer Brearley



Jean Vanier’s 10 Rules of Life

Christian philosopher, writer and humanist Jean Vanier, an ardent advocate for the most marginalized by society, died on 7 May aged 90. To commemorate his 90th birthday last year, he released a YouTube video laying out his “ten rules for life to become more human” - sharing his thoughts on life and on growing older. He speaks about success, vulnerability, listening, fear and love. 

1. Accept the reality of your body - Vanier says, “For a man to become a man he has to be at ease with his body. That body is fragile, like all bodies. We are born in weakness (as a little child); we will die in weakness. And when we get to a certain age – ninety – we begin to get weaker.” He adds, “I have to accept that I’m ninety. I’m not fifty, or forty, or thirty.”

2. Talk about your emotions and difficulties - He acknowledges that men in particular “have difficulty expressing their emotions.”

3. Don’t be afraid of not being successful - Vanier adds, “you have to discover you are beautiful as you are” regardless of whether or not you are successful.

4. In a relationship, take the time to ask, “How are you?”  “Has he married his success in work, or has he married his wife? What is the most important? Is it to grow up the ladder in promotion?” asks Vanier.

5. Stop looking at your phone. Be present!  To young people he says, “You are people of communication.” But then he asks, “Are you people of presence? Are you able to listen?” "To be human is to know how to relate," he adds. 

6. Ask people “What is your story?”  Vanier emphasises the importance of relating to people and listening to them. He says, “To meet is to listen: Tell me your story? Tell me where your pain is? Tell me where your heart is? What are the things you desire?” He adds, “I need to listen to you because your story is different to my story.”

7. Be aware of your own story - “You are precious. You have your ideas: political, religious, non-religious, you have your vision for the world. Your vision for yourself,” says Vanier. He acknowledges that when we fear our identities, worldviews, and cherished opinions are being taken away from us, we are liable to become angry. He adds, “we have to discover where our fears are because that is the fundamental problem.” He asks, “Maybe in your story there is a story about fear?”

8. Stop prejudice: meet people - Vanier says, “The big thing about being human is to meet people.” We need to “meet people who are different” and “discover that the other person is beautiful.”

9. Listen to your deepest desire and follow it - Vanier says, “We are very different from birds and dogs. Animals are very different.” He says that unlike with animals there is a “sort of cry of the infinite within us. We’re not satisfied with the finite.” He asks, “Where is your greatest desire?”

10. Remember that you'll die one day - “I’m not the one who’s the king of the world and I’m certainly not God,” says Vanier. “I’m just somebody who was born ninety years ago and will die in a few years’ time and then everybody will have forgotten me. This is reality. We’re all here, but we are just local people, passengers in a journey. We get into the train, we get out of the train, the train goes on.”




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