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 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
Advent and Christmas Services in the Benefice - 2013
- Written by Tony Gowers
Advent and Christmas will be celebrated at services in Churches throughout the Benefice as follows:
Sunday 1st December - Advent Sunday
6.00 pm: Advent Carols - St Leonard's, Semley
Sunday 8th December
10.30 am: Christingle - St Mary's, East Knoyle
6.00 pm: Advent Praise - St Mary's, East Knoyle
Thursday 12th December
2.00 pm: Christingle - St Leonard's, Semley
Sunday 15th December
6.00 pm: Carols - St Catherine's, Sedgehill
Sunday 22nd December
11.00 am: Carols in the Morning - St Mary's, Donhead St Mary
4.30 pm: Service of Nine Lessons with Carols - St Andrew's, Donhead St Andrew
6.30 pm: Carol Service - St Mary's, East Knoyle
Tuesday 24th December - Christmas Eve
3.30 pm: Christingle - St John's, Charlton.
6.00 pm : Carols with Lanterns - St Leonard's, Semley
11.30 pm: Midnight Holy Communion - St Mary's, Donhead St Andrew
Wednesday 25th December - Christmas Day
9.30 am: Christmas Morning Service - St Catherine's, Sedgehill
9.45 am: Christmas Communion - St Leonard's, Semley
10.45 am: Christmas Communion - St Mary's, Donhead St Mary
10.45 am: Christmas Communion - St Mary's, East Knoyle
All are welcome - please do come and join us.
Gillingham Silver Band Christmas Concert, Semley - 8th December 2013
- Written by Rev. Steve Morgan
Gillingham Imperial Silver Band will be giving a Christmas Concert in St Leonard's Church, Semley, on Sunday 8th December 2013 beginning at 3.00 pm. Light refreshments will be served after the concert.
Tickets are £5.00 and are available from Rev. Steve (for contact details, click here) or on the door.
All are welcome.
For more information on the Gillingham Imperial Silver Band, visit the Band's web site: http://www.gisb.co.uk/
From the Rector - Christmas Message 2013
- Written by Rev. Steve Morgan
I'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony. A song of peace that echoes on and never goes away.
The New Seekers – I'd like to teach the world to sing.
Have you ever noticed that a duck's quack does not seem to have an echo? It has been a popular scientific 'fact' for a long time, but now there is a scientific research project to establish whether it's true or just another urban myth. You may think that this is a waste of public money, but in fact it is serious stuff. If it's true then it opens up all sorts of possibilities for improvements in the acoustics of cinemas, concert halls and the like. If you have ever tried to listen to an announcement at Kings Cross Station over the Tannoy then you will know just how annoying echoes can be. Perhaps the solution would be to train a duck to talk. Goodbye echo and hello smooth sounding train information.
Professor Trevor Cox of Salford University was in charge of the research team: "Many people think the duck's quack having no echo is true so we thought we would investigate it," he said. The project set up an experiment to show once and for all that duck's calls will bounce off hard surfaces in just the same way as any other sound. Daisy the Duck is pictured above in a specially designed chamber which measures the level of echoes. The result? A quack does indeed have an echo!
There is an interesting question that remains however: where did the myth come from in the first place? Is it because the duck quack is not very loud, or do ducks just not quack in echoing places? If you listen to a duck the sound really does seem to stop dead at the end of the ducky utterance. Professor Cox says that there is a nugget of truth in the myth which may explain how it arose in the first place. The way a duck quacks, with its very long "aaaacckkk" at the end covers up any echoes that are produced. So the myth is not true, but it does show you how easy it is for sound to get lost. The echo is there but you can't hear it.
I love Christmas, mostly because at Christmas time you can be just that little bit more naff than normal. This is why I can now admit that one of my favourite songs is 'I'd like to teach the world to sing' by the New Seekers. It really is a sickly song - Nice with a capital 'N'. But this is so often the way when you speak a simple truth. It can sound naïve; almost childish. Even a tiny amount of cynicism can destroy truths like that. At Christmas time cynicism is in short supply – ask Scrooge!
I love the idea of a song of peace that echoes on and on and on. So did the shepherds in the Christmas story. They walked miles to see a baby lying in a manger because they had seen and heard a host of Angels stretching off into the distance singing 'Peace on Earth.' This was the original song of peace that echoes on and on throughout all eternity.
If you want to hear something truly naff then go to the bottom this article - there is a link where you can hear Daisy the Christmas Duck in the echo chamber. Hold on to your hats!
The trouble of course is that like any echo the song of the angels can get quieter and quieter as time goes by. There have been times when the echo of 'Peace on Earth' must have seemed very quiet. In countries like Syria it must be very faint indeed. That's why it is so important to celebrate Christmas – to sound the message and get the echo going again.
Now, at this point in a Christmas message you might expect the Vicar to go on about how the quiet message of the angels is drowned out by the noise of a modern tacky Christmas. In some ways of course it is, but the great thing about Christmas is that it is the one time of the year when people let their hair down. It is when we feel generous hearted. Grown men may even shed a tear during the last verse of 'In the bleak mid-winter' or whilst watching a soppy love story. It is a time when for a few weeks we let the simple things dominate our lives. It is a time when it is just about acceptable to listen to the New Seekers.
At Christmas time we can forget to be sophisticated and be at ease with ourselves – we can be at peace. This is the echo of peace sounding faintly down the ages – and all we have to do is listen for it. If you do hear it, then put up the tinsel, open the wine, shed a tear and come and sing a carol or two. Then, go out of your way and do just one thing for someone else that you would not normally do. Every time someone does that the echo rings just a little bit louder.
Click here to listen to Daisy the Christmas Duck.
The Christmas Gourmet Raffle - 14th December 2013
- Written by Tony Gowers
The St Andrew's Church Development Appeal is holding a Christmas Gourmet Raffle in December. This wonderful Raffle is now in its 10th year, so please come along to support the Appeal. Here is a chance to acquire the most delicious goodies for Christmas. Details are as follows:
- When: Saturday 14th December 2012. Begins at 11.00 am, with the Raffle drawn at 12.15 pm
- Where: New Remembrance Hall, Charlton.
Over 50 hampers to be won for your Christmas table !
Admission is free - everyone is welcome
For further information on this event, please telephone 01747 828525.
For more information on the St Andrew's Church Development Appeal, visit the Appeal's web site: http://www.sacda.co.uk/