St Andrew’s, Devizes; Marston Chapel;
Trinity, Market Lavington
the beginning of March, St Andrew's will be looking at the Methodist
report 'God in Love Unites Us' which encourages us to think
through our understanding of committed relationships in the light of
faith and experience.
on Maundy Thursday, we will be introducing a monthly Coffee, Cake and
Communion in the foyer of the church. We hope it will offer an
experience of worship closer to those who have struggled to access
Sunday worship for whatever reason.
Trinity are in the early stages
of planning our presence at this summer's Market Lavington Vintage
Meet and running a renewal of wedding vows service and afternoon tea
for couples in their villages. This will be timed to coincide
with next Valentine's Day. Also renewing ageing hymn
books to a more modern and inclusive hymnary.
All of these initiatives have one
thing in common - a desire to relate faith to the world around us and
to bring our experience of that world to the God-who-is-love.
In a society that increasingly
portrays religion as superstitious nonsense from a bygone era, Trinity
and St Andrew's repeatedly demonstrate a loving relevance to anyone
who is fortunate to spend time in the orbit of these church's lives.
So let us keep inviting people
into tht first experience and trust that God and our fellow followers
of Christ, will do the rest
and Relationships - Continuing the Conversation
4 March at 7.30 p.m. in St Andrew's Church
opportunity to discuss our thoughts, hopes, concerns and questions on
the Methodist Report - GOD IN LOVE UNITES US. Revd Tracey Lewis
will facilitate our conversations.
Recently some folks from St
Andrew’s attended an Area meeting at Westbury Methodist Church
addressed by Rev Dr Jonathan Pye, Chair of the Bristol Methodist
District. He led a discussion on the Methodist Conference’s Marriage
and Relationships Task Group 2019 report entitled "God in
love unites us". It
looks at how marriage and relationships have changed in recent years and
considers how the Methodist church might respond to issues such as same
sex marriage. Churches are
encouraged to discuss the proposals and individual Church Councils will
feed back their views to Synod prior to the 2020 Methodist Conference.
At the meeting we recognised
that these matters are complex, with recent developments both to the
understanding of human relationships and to how scripture is
interpreted. Facing these
matters together will often be challenging.
For example, within the Methodist Church some
people hold to a Biblical interpretation that allows same sex
relationships, while others have an interpretation that does not. We noted that a good outcome to discussions is that
we understand the issues and respect different approaches.
We need to discover ways of listening well and, where necessary,
disagreeing well, recognising that we are all seeking to be faithful to
the divine revelation that scripture gives us.
report concludes with the following thoughts which may be helpful in our
deliberations here at St. Andrew’s:
the conclusion of our reflections, we have identified three key themes
that run through our work. We offer them now as suggestions for how the
Methodist people may wish to continue with this work. In summary, we
propose the following aims:
open and positive about sexuality and relationships.
We hope to enable the Methodist Church
to speak openly, positively, and joyfully as well as wisely about
relationships and sexuality as one aspect of God’s gracious goodness
and of who God has made us to be.
all relationships of grace. We invite the Methodist Church to
value all committed faithful loving relationships that bear the marks
that we can see in the love of Jesus and are within the law of the land.
We encourage the Church actively to offer greater dignity, inclusion and
restoration in the community of God’s new creation to those who
cohabit, are single, or are developing relationships, irrespective of
sexuality and gender.
and justify the understanding of marriage as being between two persons.
offer to the Methodist Church a theological reflection on marriage as a
particular form of ‘gospel’ relationship between two persons and
propose that we take steps to enable same-sex couples to get married in
the Methodist Church. At the same time, we recognise that not everyone
will agree with this and so we ask that the Church seek to protect the
differing convictions of those who do not agree.”
This was summed at our meeting as ‘None must but all
are encouraged to read the report ourselves. Ruth McGregor has a paper
copy and it can be found online from the Methodist Church Website: www.methodist.org.uk – search for Marriage and
Relationships 2019. Other useful information including a video can be
& Peter Brearley
following letter has been received from Parkway Methodist Centre,
where we took our Christmas gifts from the Gift service in December.
You will notice how many more families they have helped this Christmas -
the need is obviously great.
Dear friends at Devizes,
am sorry to have taken so long to thank you for your gifts for the
Parkway Christmas parcel scheme. I don't know where the time
goes between Christmas and the end of January! I have thought
about you and have at last put pen to paper. Everything was so
much appreciated and we packed for 162 families.
Christmas we plan to be packing on 30th November, 1st and 2nd
and we hope you will be able to continue supporting the work we
do with the families around this part of Bristol.
is a time for everything and a season for every activity under
heaven" — words from chapter three of Ecclesiastes which was
read at the Service held to remember the life of Dorothy (or Dot as we
all knew her) Farmer.
spent nearly all her life in Wiltshire with a break when her family
moved away when she was in her teens. She came ato Devizes Methodist
Church and in the course of time she met Bill and they were married in
was a very quiet and dedicated loyal member of the Church. They were
delighted with the arrivals of Kevin and Keith and as a Mum she, along
with others, was a founder member of the original Young Wives Group,
which continues to meet as the Ladies Evening Group. Dot played her
part in this Group when they organised Bazaars, Coffee Mornings and
at the Church. Many of these events were reported in the local
newspaper and Dot used to cut out these articles and photographs and
stick them in scrapbooks which she kept. One could always check with
Dot when an event happened because she would refer to the appropriate
enjoyed gardening, knitting and was very proud of their home, making
it welcoming and comfortable.
seems only a short while since Dot was worshipping with us and after a
short spell in hospital she died. We send our love and sympathy to
Kevin and Keith.
McGregor & Eileen Robinson
hope that by now, everyone has seen our new defibrillator installed on
the outside wall of the church. This is for use when someone has
suffered cardiac arrest which may threaten life if the appropriate CPR
and / or electric shock with a defibrillator is not applied within a
short period of time. It is for the use of the church and for public
access at any time.
unit is an easy to use Fully Automated External Defibrillator (AED) that
is small, light, portable and uses its own powerful battery. It is kept
in a heated, stainless steel cabinet on the wall.The unit is very user
friendly and gives clear audio and visual prompts. It virtually does
am arranging training for 6-12 people. This is to enable them to
familiarise themselves with the defibrillator and build confidence to
use the unit, if necessary, once it is seen how easy it is. I have made
provisional arrangements to supply the training which will take
you are interested in attending this training session, please let me
know as soon as possible. Please speak to me personally, email me on email@example.com or telephone 01380 501573.
assure you that you will enjoy the session.
24 February - Sunday 8 March
Deserves a Living Income
a scandal that behind the sweet delight of chocolate lies the bitter
taste of exploitation. The UK Chocolate industry is worth at least £4
billion a year and yet the average cocoa farmer in Cote d'Ivoir or
Ghana, where 60% of the cocoa is grown, earns less than 75p a day. If
this wasn't enough to cope with, the climate crisis is wreaking havoc
on global food production. Farmers are battling less predictable
seasons, more plant diseases and more extreme weather leading to lack
of food. They are working longer hours for lower prices. For women it
is even more unfair. In Cote d'Ivoir the women carry out two thirds of
the labour involved in cocoa farming. They work in the fields, carry
water, look after the children and help bring the crops to market and
yet they often have fewer rights than men and often earn less than a
quarter of the money generated.
is why the Fairtrade Foundation launched the 'She Deserves a Living
Income' campaign last year and is continuing with this theme this
year. People do not want poverty and exploitation to be part of the
price of their chocolate bars but they are confused by the different
'sustainable' claims and ethical messages around. While 4 million tons
of cocoa are produced each year Fairtrade cocoa is only a fraction of
this. That is why more people in the UK need to understand the power
they have as consumers and choose Fairtrade every time.
Fields of Hope
Aid Lent Appeal 2020
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 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.’
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:
Call: 020 7523 2269
Christian Aid, 35 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7RL (Write ‘Count Your
Blessings’ on reverse of cheque)
Are you concerned about the
impact of your shopping habits on the environment and the livelihoods of
the producers? If so come along to the Ethical Shopping meeting on
Wednesday 4th March in the Town Hall at 7.30
pm and find out about the different labels on products such as the
Fairtrade Mark, Rainforest Alliance and
Day of Prayer
Formerly known as Women's Day
of Prayer, we now use the title adopted by most of the world, to be more
inclusive. It is still written by, and organised by women, for the
whole Christian community.
The service this year is
written by the Christian women in Zimbabwe entitled, 'Rise! Take up your
mat and walk.' The local service will be held in our Church, St.
a.m. on Friday 6 March and we hope people from all the Churches in
Devizes will join us.
This worldwide, ecumenical
service begins at dawn on the Pacific island of Samoa and the voice of
prayer continues as each country takes up the service until the sun sets
back at the end of the day over the Pacific ocean. And we are part of
that! We invite you to join with us as we share some of the
concerns and prayers of the women in Zimbabwe
Whitley Methodist Church
21 March 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
next Quiet Day called ‘A Name defying Definition’ is
in Lent, the day before the respite that is Mothering Sunday. It is
about how we speak/may speak of God.
Quiet Days are for anyone at all who wishes to come along. We gather
from 10.00 a.m. and begin at 10.30 a.m. The day ends between
3.30 p.m. and 4.00 p.m..
provide tea/coffee/lunch; worship; introduction to the theme of the
day; time and space for reflection and prayer; books, and a lovely
setting at Whitley Methodist Church. There is no rule about joining in
anything at all - we don’t mind if you go to sleep or go for a walk;
the day is there to be used as you wish – a rest stop, perhaps, in
the midst of daily life.
encourage anyone to think about coming along, although places are
book your space, please contact by 16 March. We hope to
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.
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.
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.
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.
information is available from www.homeforgood.org.uk/howtosupport
Andrew's is an -
A year ago I
wrote of the advice to eat less meat. Things have moved on apace since
then and we are now being urged to give up dairy products as well as
meat. However, the farmers are concerned not only for their livelihood
but they are worried about the loss of wildlife. Without pastures,
there are no flowers, therefore no butterflies, moths and other
insects. This leads to fewer birds, then wild animals.
sheep and cattle are reared on unfertilised, species-rich pasture,
they convert the grasses & plants that humans can't eat into
high-nutrient protein. This avoids the need for grain feed. Much of
the grain used is Soya which has often been grown on cleared
rainforests. Other meat and dairy substitutes like avocados and
almonds are devastating landscapes in the US and Mexico.
have to make a decision between cheap, intensively produced meat and
no wildlife or to pay a little extra for grass-fed meat with the
“Pasture for Life” logo – see www.pastureforlife.org
10.30am on the 1st and 3rd
Thursday of the month (January only, on 2nd & 4th Tuesday)
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 MARCH - from The Prayer Group
I am Precious God. I come.
don’t know quite what I have to offer.
am not great, not learned, not wise.
don’t have the deepest insights
the greatest understanding
am not the most devout or most faithful.
am just me.
yet I hear you calling even me! - unremarkable as I am.
call. And by your grace you equip me for whatever it is I am called to
do and be.
here I am loving God.
Campbell – URC Prayer Handbook 2020
for March TURNING POINT news