Partnership News Letter

In Partnership, February 2018

Looking outwards and growing together

Soemoone on a strecther being lowered through a roof. Caption reads, Faith in Jesus brings forgiveness and healing.

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The big plan.

At the end of January your leadership teams and church committees met to pray together. We’ve not done that recently - must be serious.

We originally intended to meet and discuss the future of our partnership, maybe even figure out a vision - God's plan. I think the leadership have realised we face many issues and challenges. I could list everything but I’m sure you know we're finding fewer and fewer people to support the activities we organise. We are facing money challenges too. Our 4 denominations also face money problems, and the reasons are the same as ours. Reducing income, increasing expenses doing what we want to do. Tricky.

During the planning discussions for our leadership meeting it became evident that we had a good understanding of the problems we face, but not much clue what God's plan actually was. Praying it is then. Anyone been in that situation before?

The bible slot… Onesimus was a slave in the household of a Christian leader called Philemon. Onesimus ran away. We don't know why, he may have been a naughty boy, its possible his owner was cruel or unjust. Shameful being a church leader being cruel to his slave. By our standards, shameful having a slave at all, but let's stick to Onesimus' story. He ran away and headed off to the bright lights of the big city. Do you think he recognised he had many problems, and not much of a plan?

In the fullness of time our hero ran into an evangelist. Perhaps they reminded him of his old owner's belief. However it came about, Onesimus became a Christian. He became a very useful helper to the evangelist and his friends. At some point Paul (for it was he) wrote to the Church run by Philemon intending to send Onesimus back to his owner. The letter is fascinating. And short (shorter than this article). Do read it.

Long version - Paul wanted Onesimus, who had clearly repented of his behaviour, to throw himself on the mercy of his owner and put right the wrong he’d caused. Likewise he wanted Philemon to accept Onesimus as a brother in Christ, not primarily as a slave, though that was his status. You read it, Paul does not instruct, but he clearly expects Philemon to accept Onesimus back. Do you think Onesimus was nervous, do you think he really thought this was going to turn out well for him? Book of Philemon doesn't say, it's just the middle bit of the story. However it does provide us with some principles.

For Onesimus, keep the faith, make restitution, ask for forgiveness… I’m guessing, pray…

For me, keep the faith, remind myself that God does have a plan, stick close to Him. So I'm going to pray, turn up to worship with my brothers and sisters and try to change the world around me into a better place. Easy to say, not so easy to achieve. Good job God's got a plan for that stuff too.

Please join me. Pray for the leadership of your church, our partnership and the denominations we're part of. We all could do with a vision and helpful guidance. Knowledge of the plan would be nice.

There is an interesting ending to the Onesimus thing. About 40 years later a bishop called Ignatius wrote a letter to a local church, and referred to one “Onesimus, a man of inexpressible love, and your bishop”. Hmmm. Clearly God had some sort of plan. He just didn't let on at the time.

Chris Scarisbrick

Welcome Teresa.

Teresa Townsend

We are really pleased to announce that after the completion of her ordination training course in June 2018, Teresa Townsend will serve her curacy of approximately 4 years as a self-supporting curate in the West Swindon and Lydiard Tregoze Ecumenical Partnership and Parish.

Teresa is currently a Licensed Lay Minister in the Parish of Wroughton. We look forward to being present at her Ordination at the end of June.

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Regular activities.

EventTime, @Venue
2nd Sunday each month
Messy Church11 Feb 4-5:30pm @Shaw
Every Monday
After School Youth Group 3:30 - 6:00 pm @ Holy Trinity Shaw
Every Tuesday
Bell ringing7-9pm, St Mary's Bell Tower
2nd Wednesday of each month
Mothers Union14 Feb. 2pm @St Mary's Stable Room
Every Thursday
Toothill Tinies10-11:30am @Toothill
HTS Homegroup led by Sue GreenThursday 7:30 pm
Toothill Homegroup led by Jan Partridge3rd Monday of each month 2:30 pm
Westlea Homegroup led by Pete GilderAlternate Tuesdays 8:00 pm


Doctor: ‘Has there been any insanity in your family?’

Woman: ‘I'm afraid so. My husband sometimes thinks he's the boss.’

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Diary of a Momentous Year:

February 1918: How long, O Lord, how long?

If there had been radio or television in 1918 the British public would have been more aware that events in northern Europe and the middle East were changing the history of the modern world. Of course, people knew – it was all over the newspapers – that Russia now had a Bolshevik Government, following the Revolution, and that British forces (including the eventually world-famous ‘Lawrence of Arabia’) were now deeply involved in a war to free the Arab peoples from Ottoman rule. But that all seemed far away, and there were more immediately pressing things to worry about at home.

The first, and for most people the worst, of these was the very effective German blockade. ‘Britannia rules the waves’ didn’t seem very true when German submarines, the dreaded U-boats, could operate with impunity around our shores. During February, a British troopship carrying American soldiers was sunk off the Irish coast, and even more blatantly a hospital ship was sunk in the Bristol channel, both by German submarines. The city of Dover, in Kent, was shelled by the guns of a U-boat. The whole thing seemed to be getting out of hand – certainly the toll of freight ships sunk was drastically affecting food and other supplies in the shops.

The result of this was that the civilian population, whose war-time fears had hitherto largely concerned their loved ones at the front line, now felt the effects of war at close hand. Over the previous two years they had gradually become aware, largely through the bombing raids by Zeppelins on British towns and cities, that in modern warfare everyone is vulnerable. By the end of 1917, the Germans had largely abandoned Zeppelin raids, mainly because they had already lost the greater part of their fleet, but the threat of raids by aircraft was very much in people's minds. The shelling of Dover was a reminder that modern war knows no borders.

Not surprisingly, February 1918 saw many tentative attempts to gather support for a peace-making programme, largely encouraged by US President Wilson. Politicians were talking peace at last, and there had been cease-fires agreed in several long-lasting disputes in eastern Europe, and the middle East. But for anxious British people, some resolution of the apparently endless conflict with Germany was the main topic of their prayers.

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14 February - Ash Wednesday

mourning our sins

Lent begins with Ash Wednesday.  But why ‘Ash’ Wednesday? The reason has to do with getting things right between you and God, and the tradition goes right back to the Old Testament.

In the Old Testament, the Israelites often sinned. When they finally came to their senses, and saw their evil ways as God saw them, they could do nothing but repent in sorrow. They mourned for the damage and evil they had done. As part of this repentance, they covered their heads with ashes. For the Israelites, putting ashes on your head, and even rending your clothes, was an outward sign of their heart-felt repentance and acknowledgement of sin. (See Genesis 18:27, 2 Samuel 13:19, Job 2:8, 30:19, Isaiah 58:5, Jeremiah 6:26, Jonah 3:6)

In the very early Christian Church, the yearly ‘class’ of penitents had ashes sprinkled over them at the beginning of Lent. They were turning to God for the first time, and mourning their sins. But soon many other Christians wanted to take part in the custom, and to do so at the very start of Lent.  They heeded Joel's call to ‘rend your hearts and not your garments’ (Joel 2:12-19).  Ash Wednesday became known as either the ‘beginning of the fast’ or ‘the day of the ashes’.

The collect for today goes back to the Prayer Book, and stresses the penitential character of the day. It encourages us with the reminder of the readiness of God to forgive us and to renew us.

The Bible readings for today are often Joel 2:1-2, 12 – 18, Matthew 6: 1-6,16 – 21 and Paul's moving catalogue of suffering, “as having nothing and yet possessing everything.” (2 Corinthians 5:20b - 6:10)

The actual custom of ‘ashing’ was abolished at the Reformation, though the old name for the day remained.  Today, throughout the Church of England, receiving the mark of ashes on one's forehead is optional.   Certainly the mark of ashes on the forehead reminds people of their mortality: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return…”  (Genesis 3:19)

The late medieval custom was to burn the branches used on Palm Sunday in the previous year in order to create the ashes for today.

A cross, a bowl of water and towel, a palm branch, the elements of communion
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Count your blessings. A Lent Activity Day for primary age children. HTS, Wed 14 Feb 9:45am to 3pm
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Church Services in the Partnership.

St Mary’s, Lydiard Tregoze.

4 Feb10:00 amMorning Service
11 Feb10:00 amCommunion
18 Feb10:00 amFamily Service
25 Feb10:00 amCommunion followed by Baptisms

Holy Trinity Shaw.

4 Feb10:30 amCommunion &
11 Feb10:30 amCommunion
4.00 pmMessy Church
18 Feb10:30 amMorning Service &
7.00 pmEncounter
25 Feb10:30 amAll age Service
4.00 pmPartnership Come Together
8:45am Morning Prayer on Fridays during term time


4 Feb10:30 amAll Age Service
Wed 7 Feb11:30 amMidweek Worship
11 Feb10:30 amCommunion
Wed 14 Feb11:30 amMidweek Communion
18 Feb10:30 amMorning Service
Wed 21 Feb11:30 amMidweek Worship
25 Feb10:30 amMorning Service & AGM
Wed 28 Feb11:30 amMidweek Communion

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4 Feb10:00 amMorning Service
11 Feb10:00 amFamily Service
18 Feb10:00 amCommunion
25 Feb10:00 amAll age service

Ash Wednesday Worship

14 February at Toothill Church, 11:30am

and every Wednesday during Lent

Partnership Lent Study.

Finding a Voice. Book cover - a picture of an old radio microphone

The Partnership Lent Study will follow the Lent course “Finding a Voice” based on the film “The King’s Speech”.  The study guide is written by Hilary Brand.  It is not necessary to purchase the book but if you do its ISBN is 975-0-232-52893-0.  There is no need to have seen the film in advance, either. (But if you have you will know how it all ends!)

The course will run over 5 sessions on Tuesday evenings in Lent from 7.30 to 9 pm preceded by tea and coffee.  The sessions will incorporate excerpts from the film, bible study and questions.

The session details are as follows:

For more information please contact Pete Gilder

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Gospel Music with a distinctly Jewish flavour
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He gave us eyes to see them - Water.

In the church water is a symbol with two faces. One is the face of an enemy for it can be a destructive power. We can think of the engulfing water of the flood, consuming the earth, and the image of the Christian immersed and drowning in the water of baptism, dying to the old way to be raised to the new life of the spirit. But water is also a friend and an ally – a sign of life and refreshment, of washing and cleansing, of starting anew. We recall this twofold aspect when we cross ourselves with the water of the stoup or are sprinkled with water as we renew our baptismal promises at the Easter Vigil.

Around 1330 Andrea Pisano created a series of 28 glorious bronze panels for the south door of the 11th century baptistery in Florence. One of them depicts that crucial moment of the baptism of Jesus. He is up to his waist in the river. An angel kneels at one side with a towel, while John the Baptist stands at the other, pouring water on the head of Jesus as the Holy Spirit descends like a dove.

The baptism itself becomes a door – a door through which Jesus must pass to begin his ministry as the anointed one, and a door through which others must enter as they seek to follow. Jesus will go on to call disciples fishing in the water of the Sea of Galilee, just as he will tell a Samaritan woman about water that will gush up to eternal life. Jesus calls us and offers us this water – to be washed and refreshed by it: a door that will open out for us into a life of joy and service.

Line drawing of John chucking water on Jesus, both men waist deep.
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Schedule of Easter schools sessions
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Easter Holiday Activity Day
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Quiz and Supper in aid of Framland Pilgrim Home

80 years of organ music

Saturday 3 march 2018

4:00pm - 7:00pm at Stratton Methodist Church

A variety of music from a range of organists will be entertaining us, whilst an afternoon tea is enjoyed.

Entry is free and any money raised from sale of refreshments will be donated to the MHA, Stimulating Minds Project.

Contact details from our partnership office.

Spring Harvest 2018

Skegness 2-6 April 2018

Minehead One 3-8 April 2018

Minehead Two 8-12 April 2018

Spring Harvest 2018 logo

Spring Harvest comes together each year, through the dedication and commitment of many different people, from a number of different organisations across the church. The theme this year is ‘Only the Brave’ exploring what it means to be a determined disciple and follower of Jesus.

Booking is now available for Spring Harvest 2018!

To book for Minehead and Skegness call 0330 100 9330 or visit

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From the Registers.

3 Jaunary 2018Shelia Constance Povey
19 January 2018William Arthur Swatridge


The people of Syria and those who’ve fled to neighbouring countries.

Partnership Emerge and Schools work.

Week beginning 04.02.18 - The church of Christ the servant Abbey Meads

Week beginning 11.02.18 - St Johns Haydon Wick

Week beginning 18.02.18 - West Swindon Local Ecumenical Partnership

Advance Notice

Holy Trinity Shaw - 10.30am

Easter Day: 01 April 2018

The service at will be led by the Reverend Ruth Whitehead, who is the URC Moderator for the South Western Synod.

Ruth was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament back in 1993, and as Moderator for the South Western Synod, she covers churches both big and small, from Cornwall to Wiltshire.

We are looking forward to welcoming her to Holy Trinity at Easter, I am sure it will be a blessed time of worship and praise at this most special festival.

Public Affirmation of Faith and Confirmation

Sunday 17 June 2018

St Paul's Covingham

The service at will take place late afternoon/early evening.

If anyone wishes to be confirmed the first meeting will take place at 3.00pm on Sunday 15th of April at the Stable Room next to St Mary's.

Further details please contact Clive.

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Contact information.

The Partnership office is open:

Monday, Tuesday, Friday 9am to 1pm.

Wednesday 1:00 to 4:00 pm.

Thursday Closed.

The office number is 01793 874221.

There will always be an up to date message on the Partnership Office telephone giving any changes.

The office e-mail is:

To publicise any News or Events in the next edition of Partnership News, covering January please send them to the office no later than 15 February.

The address for correspondence is:

The Partnership Office, Holy Trinity Church, Shaw Village Centre, SWINDON, SN5 5PY.

The editor’s email address is also

The Partnership web site is

Partnership Team Minister; Interim Area Dean: Revd Capt Clive Deverell

Email: Clive Tel: 01793 877111

(Anglican Priest and Authorised to Serve in the Methodist and the URC Church)

Assistant Minister: Rev Trevor Day

Email Trevor Tel: 01793 875373

Mobile: 07918 125826

(Anglican Priest)

Partnership Youth Missioner: Claire Camm

Email Claire Tel: 07981 951381

Partnership Schools Missioner: Gayle Bryon

Email Gayle

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Previous Newsletters.

In Partnership, January 2018; The Partnership Newsletter PDF format (20 A5 pages across 5 A4 sheets - 2.5 Mb)

2017: Old News - the 2017 PN archive.

2016: Really Old News - the 2016 PN archive.

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