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.
- The activities organised for children and younger people in the Benefice.
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
Coffee in Church Cafe, East Knoyle - 27th January 2015
- Written by Tony Gowers
Come to the Coffee in Church Cafe, East Knoyle, on
Tuesday 27th January 2015 from 10.30 am to 12.00 noon
The Cafe is situated in front of the Kitchen in the south aisle of the church.
Pop in for coffee (or tea !) and biscuits
Everyone is welcome !!
There was a very good attendance at the opening event on 2nd December 2014 - so why not come and join us in January and meet up with old and new friends ?
Candlemas Service, Donhead St Mary - 1st February 2015
- Written by Tony Gowers
A service held by
with the Benefice Choir
St Mary's Church, Donhead St Mary
Sunday 2nd February 2014 at 6.00 pm
All welcome - please do come and join us.
Storytime - St John's Church, Charlton
- Written by Tony Gowers
Songs – Story - Activity – Play
Building on the success of the toddler section of tea@thechurch, Story†ime aims to offer pre-school children (and enjoyed by 5 to 7 year olds) a 15 to 20 minute opportunity to take part in a Christian song, story and craft activity in an informal setting. This will be followed by tea/coffee, cakes and chat for the adults, and refreshments and playtime for the children. If you would like us to provide a tea for your child, please ring Theresa on 01747 829188. Otherwise please feel free to bring whatever your child would eat at that time. We have a table-top two-ring cooker with small oven/grill which could be used.
Story†ime will be on the first Thursday of the month at 4.00pm in St John's Church, Charlton where we have plenty of toys, a small kitchen, WC and nappy-changing facilities.
Dates for the forthcoming Story†ime sessions for your diary:
Thursday 8th January 2015 at 4.00 pm - What did Jesus get for Christmas - bring your favourite Christmas present with you, and come and find out
(note - this session is on the second Thursday of January, not the first)
Thursday 5th February 2015 at 4.00 pm - Jonah and the Whale
Thursday 5th March 2015 at 4.00 pm - The Good Samaritan
We hope to see you there !
From the Rector - January 2015
- Written by Rev'd Steve Morgan
Courage is grace under pressure.
Whilst you'll find a list of past Rectors and Vicars in most churches, Sedgehill church goes one stage further. At the back of the church you'll find photographs of past Rectors going back to 1826. The earliest photo is of one Charles Henry Grove who was Rector between 1826 and 1872; he sits there resplendent in formal 19th century dress. I stand amongst these photographs during the few minutes of quiet before Sunday services at Sedgehill and I often look at Charles Grove and wonder what he was like. Was he one of those gallant Jane Austen characters; riding about the countryside on a horse and then dashing off to London for the season? Or was he a bookish recluse who never left the parish? As I look at him and the photographs of other Rectors before me, I am reminded of how permanent parish churches are in our landscape, and how fleeting our relationship is with them - especially nowadays. Rev Grove was Rector for 46 Years, which would be unheard of these days. We all move around so quickly.
As I come to the end of my tenure as Rector of the Benefice of St Bartholomew, I find myself looking at these lists of past Vicars and Rectors in a different way. Incidentally there is no difference anymore between a Rector and a Vicar - it is simply an historic title. In Charles Grove's time Rectors were much richer, but sadly not anymore! It is humbling to think of the future and to know that as the years go by my own name will steadily get further and further down the list as new Rectors names are added after mine. This doesn't make me feel sad; rather the opposite. It is good to know that whatever happens in the world, the church will always be there, and there will always be people who will serve God through it.
When I say that the church will always be there, I don't really mean the building. No doubt most of our great church buildings will still be standing in a hundred years' time, but the church is a body of people that meet in a building - not the building itself. Nothing, but nothing, can ever destroy the church of God's people on earth. There are so many examples of courageous Christians who have kept on meeting together and worshipping God – despite the efforts of others to stop them. The church survived in Russia and China during communist persecution. In Pakistani Peshwar, Christians stand guard outside their churches to stop suicide attackers from entering. In Rumania under the Ceausescu regime, Christians came under intense pressure and persecution, often meeting with fatal 'accidents.' Unlike Ceausescu, the church in Rumania survived and flourishes - just as it did in China and Russia and just as it will do in Peshwar. This is because of the faith of those who follow Jesus and the courage that this gives them.
Courage is something we all admire. Martin Luther King once said that if a person "hasn't found something he will die for, he isn't fit to live." For courage to last, it has to be underpinned by deep seated faith and confidence - otherwise it will quickly be used up.
There is a wonderful story from 19th century Scotland about a group of men trying to rescue someone who had fallen down a windswept cliff. They wanted to lower a rope from the top of the cliff to the stricken person below. They asked a small shepherd boy if he would be prepared to be lowered down to the casualty so he could tie the rope around him. His father consented but the boy was not at all happy. No matter how many times they showed him how strong the rope was he was not convinced. It seemed as if he wouldn't go, but then he quietly took the rope and gave it to his father and said: 'I'll go if my father holds the rope.'
In October, Archbishop Justin Welby addressed a conference discussing the future of the rural church. He urged churches to be courageous as they tried to meet the challenges of the modern world. "I really want you to be brave and radical in how you look at rural ministry, how you think about it, how you pray for it, what you hear the Spirit saying to the churches about the future of rural ministry." It has never been easy to be Christian, but it is harder in this country now than 50 years ago and it is likely to get harder still. Despite this, maybe because of it, I believe the rural church has a great future in front of it. The church exists to worship God and to serve, and there are many people who need serving in our area. Loneliness amongst the elderly is a real issue and the use of food banks goes on increasing. These are just two of the areas the church is called to serve in. Here in this benefice there are many dedicated people who give their time to God and his church.
I pray that together you will listen to God's guiding spirit and be radical together in serving him and your community. There is a great future for God's church in this place.
Jemma, Henry, Toby, Finlay, Benjamin and I have had a wonderful 9 years here (Benjamin is only 7 but as he was born in the Rectory that probably gives him an extra couple of years!) and we will miss you all terribly. We all wish you every blessing and God's peace.