The Benefice of St. Bartholomew
Welcome to the website for the Benefice of St Bartholomew
- Written by Tony Gowers
The Benefice of St Bartholomew covers almost 30 square miles in the south west corner of Wiltshire. Most of the Benefice lies within the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with its exceptional landscapes and superb scenery. The Benefice includes the following parishes: Donhead St Mary with Charlton, Donhead St Andrew, East Knoyle, Semley and Sedgehill.
This site will tell you about our six Churches: St. John the Baptist Church in Charlton, St. Andrew's Church in Donhead St. Andrew, St Mary's Church in Donhead St. Mary, St. Mary's Church in East Knoyle, St. Catherine's Church in Sedgehill and St Leonard's Church in Semley.
The site also describes:
- The services and events which have been arranged for the whole Benefice - click here for more details.
- The activities organised for children and younger people in the Benefice - click here for the information.
If you have an item that you would like to be included on this website or have suggestions on how we can improve the site, please click here.
Latest News And Forthcoming Services & Events
Breakfast & All-Age Service, Charlton - First Sunday of Each Month
- Written by Tony Gowers
The first All-Age Service at St John's Church, Charlton, held on 6th July 2014 was a great success. Many members of the congregation arrived at 9.30 am to enjoy a continental breakfast of tea, coffee, juice and croissants. The service began at 10.00 am and was led by Rev'd Steve. Everyone sang with gusto to the songs and hymns, with the music provided by the St John's Music Group (comprising piano, violin, clarinet and trombone). There was also a quiet time for prayer and reflection, and a thoughtful talk was given by Rev'd Steve. Most stayed after the service for coffee, tea, biscuits and a chat.
The next Breakfast and All-Age Service at St John's will be held on 3rd August 2014. Why not come and join us for continental breakfast at 9.30 am and the All-Age service at 10.00 am, which will be led by Rev'd Alice?
We look forward to seeing you there !
Children's Activity Week 2014 - 'Flight' Theme
- Written by Gerry Purdue
The 2014 Children's Activity Week will be based at Semley School as usual between Monday 4th August and Thursday 7th August inclusive. Booking forms will be available on 28th April in both Semley and Ludwell schools, for return as indicated on them by 9th May 2014. Alternatively, they can be obtained from Gerry from 28th April either by telephoning 01747 830419 or e-mail - click here and then fill in the Contact Form. Places are available for fifty-five children, aged between 5 and 11 inclusive on 31st August 2014, who either live in our Benefice or attend one of our schools.
We've lots of activities planned, many of which will, as usual, be in keeping with our 'Flight' theme: Nick Crump and Lizzie Bryant will be back with us, both of whom will lead flight-related, model-making activities; we will visit Mere Down Falconry (www.meredownfalconry.co.uk) on the Thursday where children will be able to get very close to all the birds of prey, including their famous Benji (pictured here on the left); and we are hoping to drop in to Chaldicott Barns in Semley to see how paragliders are put together. In addition, of course, we'll have all our usual fun activities, which will include cookery, modelling, painting, and pottery.
The Children's Activity Week Organising Team
“Hello, Bishop Elijah here”
- Written by Rev. Alice Goodall
*** Click on each picture below to see a larger version. ***
Last Tuesday at 7.30 am, the phone rang. I assumed it was my husband, phoning on his way to work to remind me to put the wheelie bins out. Thankfully I didn't say anything daft when I answered, because it turned out to be Bishop Elijah from South Sudan. I could hear children playing in the background, and was surprised how powerfully that evoked for me the memories of my visit to Cueibet last October. I could picture him sat in the sun on one of the white plastic chairs in his compound. I could almost smell the earth and hear the cacophony of sound from children, insects, cattle and goats. Good memories.
It is now nine months since I visited Cueibet with two others from churches in this area. We had been taken aback by the level of poverty that we witnessed, but encouraged by meeting such warm, hopeful and positive people. In spite of the appalling experiences of many during the years of civil war, they were determined to rebuild their communities, and eager to acquire the skills and resources to do so.
Since our return, we have talked to anyone who would listen about our visit. And through the generosity of local people, we have been able to support Daniel, an agricultural adviser who is working with families in Cueibet to teach them how to grow fruit trees. Much of this sort of knowledge was lost during the civil war when people left their towns to hide in the bush. This is the sort of project that can make a real difference to families struggling to eek an existence from the land – not only will they be able to improve their own diet, but may also be raise a little income by selling some of their produce in the market. We have also supported John in attending a six month IT course in Kenya – not only will he be able to help the Bishop and the Diocese with their IT, but he will be able to teach others key skills.
Bishop Elijah has invited us to return this November. We hope to:
- See for ourselves how the projects we have sponsored are progressing.
- Run a short conference for pastors – many of them have very limited education and yet are leaders in their communities. They don't just advise on theological issues but act as peace brokers and help develop the infrastructure that the community so badly needs.
- Run some sessions specifically for women - these women can potentially play a key role in advising other women on issues of basic health and hygiene, the importance of sterilising water, the use of mosquito nets, the importance of education, how to develop small businesses and so on. We hope to encourage them to see that they too can be leaders in their communities.
- Visit other parts of the diocese, get a better picture of healthcare provision and to see the new primary school, recently set up by Bishop Elijah.
I hope to be a part of this visit. I would like to meet once again the people we met there. I look forward to seeing Martha, a formidable lady in her 50s, a key figure in the Mothers' Union, who supports a group of 12 young widows and their families. And Daniel, whose enthusiasm for the fruit trees project is infectious. And of course, Bishop Elijah who doggedly, determinedly, is doing all he can for the people in his Diocese. These are the sort of people that will see South Sudan back on its feet, and we can give them encouragement, some knowledge and skills to help them do it.
However, one small snag that I share with you: joining the team is dependent on me raising the necessary funds – about £2000 in all. If you have thoughts on how I can do this, please contact me. If you personally would like to donate, please do this via Gerry Purdue (Treasurer). To contact Gerry, click here. Cheques need to be made payable to Chalke Deanery Synod. Any contributions, large or small, very gratefully received!
Benefice Sailing Trip - 18th to 21st September 2014
- Written by Rev. Steve Morgan
Last year's sailing trip was great fun, with various adventures along the way! Nine people from across the Benefice and age ranges enjoyed a challenging time of fun, fellowship and sailing. The dates for 2014 are from the afternoon of 18th September until Sunday 21st September, and we plan to sail to France and back - weather permitting. This trip is open to anyone over the age of 16 with a negotiable upper age limit! No previous sailing experience is necessary and there will certainly be something to learn for the experienced hand. Why not join us....?
The boat - the 62 ft ketch 'Morning Star' - will be crewed entirely by us!
If you are interested, please contact Steve or Jo on 01747 830174. The cost is £190.00 per person.
If you want to know more about the boat, visit the www.morningstar.org.uk.
From the Rector - July 2014
- Written by Rev. Steve Morgan
Everything is Awesome
Tegan and Sara
What do you do when you have a whole weekend to fill and 4 children who need entertaining? Jemma was away and I had strict instructions: no junk food. That was one option out. I'd heard that the new Lego Movie was pretty good; so off we went to Cineworld.
The film got a bit cheesy at the end but I loved it. My favourite part was when the Lego baddy blew up the train on which the Lego goodies were escaping with the immortal line: 'Rest in pieces'. The thing which really stuck in my mind was the wretched theme tune for the film: 'Everything is Awesome.' Anyone who has ever heard this song will now be cursing me for mentioning it. Round and round it goes in my head and I just can't get rid of it!
The Germans have a word for this phenomenon: 'ohrwurm' which means 'earworm.' It can be applied to any catchy piece of music that goes around someone's mind over and over again once the music itself has stopped. There are lots of opinions as to which songs are the most notorious earworms, but top candidates are 'She loves you' by the Beatles, 'Bad Romance' by Lady Gaga, 'Silver Bells' by Bing Crosby and Carol Richards and yes, 'Everything is Awesome' by Tegan and Sara. Which one is going through your head now?!
Goldsmiths College in London conducted a study into earworms led by the music psychologist Dr Vicky Williamson. In her opinion, the songs which are mostly likely to get stuck are those that are easy to hum along to or to sing. But what makes a catchy song into an earworm? According to Dr Williamson it is repeated exposure to the same song, stress, or allowing your mind to wander.
Maybe that is why I get earworms – I must allow my mind to wander!
We all know what it's like to feel out of control; when events take control of us rather than the other way around. I guess we have all tried to force ourselves to concentrate and to stay focused so that we can complete the job in hand. It's so easy to let your mind wander onto interesting things when you are supposed to be concentrating on something boring.
Now of course there is nothing wrong with concentration. If no one ever concentrated then nothing would ever get done. On the other hand too much concentration and drive can be counterproductive. If we concentrate too much on getting things done, it can encourage us to try and pack even more things into a busy day. So, over the summer, maybe it is worth allowing your mind to wander a bit. Let it wander where it will. Why not try to spend as much time as you can not concentrating; forget about all the stuff that has to be done and notice the overlooked things. I decided a while back that rather than walk everywhere at a fast pace I would slow down. It only takes a few seconds more to get anywhere, but I see so much more on the way. Rest is good; even God got tired after 6 days at work and had to rest on the 7th day!
We think of busyness as a modern problem, but I suspect that human beings have always been prone to a head down, hectic lifestyle. These words of Jesus were spoken two thousand years ago: "Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
My motto for the summer is going to be 'Slow down and look up!'