THE LINK  

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

and Trinity, Market Lavington

April 2020

 

A big thank you to Peter Fanshawe for producing the April LINK in this format so that we can read a complete copy online for the first time.  We are having to adapt due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic and hope you enjoy reading the online version.

click here > April 'LINK' Magazine

Revd Gary Gotham

 

 

Some of you will remember Jill and Adrian Lovett, now living in 

Cranleigh, Surrey, but planning to move to Petworth.

Jill's poem certainly captures our thoughts & feelings on the current situation concerning the Corona virus pandemic

 

Sweeping this earth at a frightening pace
It is no respecter of country or race.
A silent attacker; it’s feared - yet unseen.
And makes “Life” a shadow of what it has been.

 

Has God lost control or does He not care?
Is He not attentive to everyone’s prayer?
No, not at all - the whole world’s in His Hands
His love reaches down to all men and all lands!

 

We feel sad and lonely, cut off from our friends
And family too keep away ‘til this ends
But God’s with us always - He ISN’T a crutch!
If you call Him, He’ll answer - He loves you so much!

 

The Lord is all knowing, so powerful and true
He shares in your pain, He knows ALL about you.
His ways, so mysterious, we can’t understand
But look - all around are the works of His Hand!

 

 

 

 

The sun will still shine and the rain it will fall
Traffic noise lessens - we hear the birds’ call
Already we’re hearing pollution is less -
Just wait and you’ll see all the ways He will bless!

 

It’s a time we can move so much closer to Him
If we ask, He’ll give peace - fill us up to the brim
Remember He’s Lord - He created the earth
Seek, and you’ll find an amazing re-birth!

 

We took things for granted - in days that are past
Now there are changes; how long will they last?
But God NEVER changes - He’s always the same
He’ll bring us safe through if we call on His Name!

 

 

Jill Lovett 21 March 2020

 

 

 

 

Sunday Worship 22 March

 

 

Dear Friends,

Just because we are not together in a building doesn't mean we can't worship together.  It's been a very stressful week for us all, to put it mildly, but, nonetheless, if you you click on the first link below you'll find my first Sunday worship offering for you.  It's a bit later than I'd hoped due to the learning curve involved, but I'm confident the technical side will become more familiar with time.

If you would like to contribute to these offerings call or email me and we'll see what's possible.

https://youtu.be/CVrbKJkFRws


Two bonus videos...


https://youtu.be/oLpGaJ95Jao


https://youtu.be/ZbEKopDvIAI

There are a multitude of worship offering available to uplift challenge and inspire us.
Below I offer you three...
From the United Reformed Church
https://mailchi.mp/urc/sunday-service-from-the-urc-for-22nd-march-2020?e=b607ed5684

From the Methodist Church
https://www.methodist.org.uk/media/16391/22-march-worship-if-you-are-unable-to-attend-church.docx

And from a friend of mine
https://vimeo.com/399439758


In addition the presidents of Churches Together in England (CTE) have issued a call to prayer and action in the light of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

On Mothering Sunday (22 March) the presidents are asking churches and people of prayer to light a candle in the windows of their homes at 7pm.

In light of the fear and uncertainty that people may be experiencing because of the pandemic, this is an opportunity for Christians to be reminded of our dependence on our loving Heavenly Father and the future that he holds.

In a statement, the presidents write:

“Whether you are continuing to worship as congregations or not, we have the great privilege and freedom to be able to call upon God, wherever we are, individually and corporately, for healing in our nation. We would pray for all in leadership at this time, making decisions about the containment of the COVID-19 virus, for those working in health and social care, and especially for the most vulnerable, whether elderly or those with underlying health conditions.

“There are already stories being told of wonderful acts of kindness across neighbourhoods. Alongside your prayers, take the opportunity to telephone or email someone who is isolated, buy some additional food for your local foodbank, or offer to deliver shopping for an elderly neighbour. We may not be able to touch physically, but we can make connections in so many other ways.

“In the meantime, do please attend to all the government health advice that will be issued, and look out for resources from your specific church governing bodies. At least for those of us in the global North, we do seem to be in unusual times, and wisdom and flexibility about worship gatherings are a key part of our Christian discipleship during this period.

“We note that this call to prayer and action comes on Mothering Sunday: a time of thankfulness, remembering especially mothers who have served us, often in very costly ways. It is also a very mixed day for many. For some the remembrance is painful, and for others Mothering Sunday is a reminder of disappointment or loss. In many ways, this period under the shadow of the coronavirus will be prompting similarly diverse reactions and so it seems especially appropriate that the call to prayer is made this Sunday. At this time of uncertainty join in with the National Day of Prayer and Action, lighting a candle of hope.

‘Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you’.” 1 Peter 5:7.

The Presidents of Churches Together in England are: the Archbishop Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, the Revd Dr Hugh Osgood, The Free Churches Moderator, the Archbishop Angaelos of London, CTE President for the Orthodox Churches, and Pastor Agu Irukwu, CTE Pentecostal President.

In response, Churches in Scotland came together to sign a letter commending the call to prayer.

Along with the Revd Dr David Pickering, Moderator of the URC National Synod of Scotland, signatories include the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Scotland, the United Free Church, the Baptist Union of Scotland, the Methodist Church, the Society of Friends (Quakers), Congregational Federation in Scotland, the Salvation Army, the Church of the Nazarene, and Redeemed Christian Church of God.

The letter asks that we “join in prayerful solidarity with this witness”, describing the candle as “a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, the source of hope in this life.”

The following prayer can be used when lighting the candle:


For all that is good in life, thank you,
For the love of family and friends, thank you,
For the kindness of good neighbour and Samaritan stranger, thank you.

May those who are vulnerable, hungry or homeless, experience support,
May those who are sick, know healing,
May those who are anxious or bereaved, sense comfort.

Bless and guide political leaders and decision-makers, with wisdom,
Bless and guide health workers and key workers, with strength and well-being,
Bless and guide each one of us, as we adapt to a new way of living.

And may the light shining from our windows,
across road and wynd, glen and ben, kyle and isle,
be reflected in our hearts and hands and hopes.  

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Every blessing,

Gary

 

 
 
Contributions from Ann King   (Thank you Ann)

 

 

THE STORY BEHIND THE HYMN

'HOW GREAT THOU ART'

 

Eyam Plague Cottage

 

Click HERE

 

 

 

KEEPING POSITIVE

 

 

 

Click HERE

 

 

Faith’s Fields of Hope

 

Christian Aid Lent Appeal 2020

 

 

This year, we are standing together with our sisters and brothers on the frontline of the climate crisis – like Faith. Through every prayer, gift and action, you can help create lasting change, before it is too late. Together we can stop this climate crisis

  • Faith’s fields used to be dirt and dust. Ongoing drought in Kenya meant next to nothing grew. Water was scarce. Droughts are now more frequent and more intense there due to the climate crisis.

  • Without water Faith and her husband Steven couldn’t grow crops. Without crops they didn’t have enough to eat or sell. Hunger was a reality. Sending their children to school an impossibility.

  • But now Faith grows crops that are lush and green thanks to a nearby dam. Her local community got together to build the sand dam with the support of Christian Aid’s partner ADSE. (Anglican Development Services Eastern)

  • The dam gives Faith’s community resilience in times of drought. While the rains remain irregular, a dam means that when the rain does fall the community can collect every last drop.

  • Because there is now water in Faith’s community, there is life. Faith’s hard work and determination has transformed this resource into a future for her family.

 Faith said: ‘The sand dam has made me and my family happy because when it was not there, I was not able to plant anything. Now we can plant vegetables and water our trees. I hope that by the time my children grow I will have done a lot of things. I’ll do my best to educate my children and my children will be what they want to be when they grow up.’

Drought still remains a threat to Faith as the climate remains uncertain and unpredictable. It is unjust that people like Faith are battling the worst of a climate crisis they did not create. But for now, she at least has the tools she needs to adapt. With the dam, her fields stay green and her family has a hopeful future.

 Donations can be made to the Count Your Blessings Appeal:

 

Online: caid.org.uk/lent.                                  Call: 020 7523 2269

 

Cheque: Christian Aid, 35 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7RL (Write ‘Count Your Blessings’ on reverse of cheque)

 

 

 

Home for good

 

Last year in the South West more than 8,000 children came into care. Also,  last year in May, 42 people gave £10,000 to across funder to give away a thousand copies of the book “ Home for good” to people exploring foster or adoption in the coming year.

 

Claire Walker, the South West Regional officer for Home for Good, a Christian charity working to find  homes for every child who needs one,  led a morning for many of us from churches in the Wiltshire and Swindon. She explored the Biblical basis for Christian involvement in caring for such children, with Biblical quotes such as Deuteronomy 10:18 “He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow”,  Psalm 82:3”Give justice to the weak and fatherless”, James 1:27 “ visit orphans and widows in their affliction”.  There are 42 orphans directly mentioned in the Old Testament and concern for the widow and orphan is a recurring theme. Claire went on to explain that she was very much aware of the special needs of vulnerable children and their families. She would love the church to be more proactive in recognising its role in caring for the most vulnerable children in our communities.

 

Did you know that 109 children go into care every day?  That’s one child every 15 minutes.  These statistics could be overwhelming but Claire went on to emphasise what is trying to be done to alleviate the situation.  Owing to the commitment of people, children can be placed in a loving, caring home in the short or long term.  It is possible that these children may go back to their birth parents, but it is equally that they may not.  Then wheels have to be put in motion for a permanent home.  This produces an in-depth process of research for the appropriate adoptive parents. Obviously the more children in a family, the more the challenge. This is also true for children with disabilities. We will also recognise that the older the children, the harder it will be to place them.

 

We are highly likely to have prospective or actual adoptees or fosterers in our congregations. Have we things in place for this?  We know children will feel happier with a few people, those they have grown to trust. They will feel “out of place” so we need to be sensitive to this and not be over critical. We need to make relationships the priority.  Asking foster/ adoptive parents about the child’s back story is both inappropriate and also especially with fostered children something which cannot be disclosed.   Simple things like saying after a children’s activity “ now you can go back to your grown ups” rather than “ now you can go back to your mums and dads” can make these children feel more included.  Offers to babysit (with DBS clearance  often), a spot of ironing, shopping etc can also be a big help and support.

 

More information is available from www.homeforgood.org.uk/howtosupport

 

Eileen Robinson

Jeannie MacMeekin