Who needs a website sat-nav? Click here!

Thanks –

First of all, we would like to give a huge thank you to those who set up, maintained and updated the old website. We know how much hard work went into it and we would like to recognise how useful it was. A great deal of progress has been made through it in building the online presence of the Family of Churches. Thank you!

Another thank you goes out to those who have given such a lot into the ideas, content and media for the new website, from the early stages right up to this point. Special thanks to our photographers, you know who you are! We have some wonderful new photos, many of which we are using now, others of which we have stored up for the future. It brings it all to life.

God has given us some amazingly gifted and creative people at St Katharine’s.


The Website

With this new space comes some exciting features which facilitate the organisation of our church, welcome new people, encourage creative worship, share resources and feed on God’s word throughout the week, whilst keeping everyone up to date with all the exciting things going on…

 

Here are a few Highlights:

 

  • The Hub is the focal point of the website, the home page. It is a snappy area in which you can tap into church news, up and coming dates, prayers, explore interesting posts, blogs and articles. We hope that it will reflect the wonderful hive of activity in our church family.
  • Under the ‘What’s On’ menu along the top (the navigation bar), you will find the Online Diary. This lists the entirety of what is going on! You can even print it off or link it to your own electronic calendar.
  • The Blogs are split up into the categories listed below, you can find them in the drop-down menu under ‘the Hub’ (navigation bar), or explore them through the Home Page (the Hub) itself:
    • Church Press – full of events and special features that come directly from the church office.
    • The Dog Collar Blog is where Andrew (or other leaders!) will be sharing what they think God has to say to us. Something for the ‘church dispersed’, those who are not satisfied with only one sermon a week!
    • Encounters – This is about sharing creativity online and it is run by you, the people of St Katharine’s. It’s here that we hope you will find that little bit of extra food for the soul. Maybe stories or testimonies, book reviews or wonderful photography, inspiration for worship and anything else that may come along! A place to share creativity, encourage one another in our faith and enjoy the beauty we find in anything that honours our heavenly Father. Currently this section is divided into two themes, ‘Spiritual Food’ and ‘Worship’. Perhaps you have an idea for the next one?
      Check out a couple of examples like this Book Review, or this seasonal thought, On the Home Front — both by members of St Katharine’s!
  • On the website you will also be able to find sermons, prayers, links, church events, groups, TLC, giving, the healing centre and more. Go up to the navigation bar along the top and have a look!

 

What it’s all about

 

Most of all and most importantly, we lift this up to our creative God, our Lord and Saviour. It’s all about him at the end of the day and his great love. We hope and pray that God uses this technological space, relevant to the age in which we live, to further his Kingdom here in this wonderful part of Wiltshire. Finally, we pray that you also know the amazing and indescribable power of his love through Jesus Christ as your personal saviour. Let us lift high his name!

We really hope that you enjoy the new website and hope to see you at church soon. Why not check out future services here? Look for ‘Next few days’.

Many thanks, 
St K’s Website team 


Always Winter and Never Christmas – the World of Narnia

Many of us are familiar with the story of Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, four children evacuated from London in the 2nd World War, who are given lodging in an old house in the country belonging to an eccentric professor. On a rainy day, confined to the house, they set about exploring the corridors and rooms of this country mansion. Finally they stumble into a room that is quite empty except for one big wardrobe. Lucy, on entering the wardrobe, finds herself in a cold and snowy land in which it is “always winter and never Christmas”.

In her encounters with the inhabitants of Narnia, Lucy learns the story of this fascinating land. The true king of Narnia is a great lion named Aslan, who has been absent for many years now, but who is now “on the move again”. Edmund also enters Narnia but he learns a very different story about this land. He hears the story from the White Witch, who presents herself as the true and lawful ruler of the land. Who is to be believed? The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a tale about how these characters are tested just as their stories are also put to the test.

In order to make right judgments, the children need to learn to trust the true over-arching story of Aslan, and in time they need to meet Him and to learn to trust His love and wisdom for their lives. As they do this they find that in this strange world into which they have stumbled, like it or not, they are destined to play a significant role.

Lewis’ imaginary world of Narnia is a world of supposition. In effect, Lewis is asking us to imagine what it would be like if the Son of God were to enter a world like Narnia. As He became a man in our world, He becomes a lion in the world of Narnia; now imagine how the story would unfold… As we read the Chronicles of Narnia, we are called to reflect on how C.S. Lewis’ imaginary world helps us to understand our own.

As the impact of the Church has declined in our country, the over-arching story of the love of God shown to us in Jesus Christ is more in the background than it has been in previous decades. If Aslan is the answer to the problem of it being “always winter and never Christmas”, I wonder whether we might see our world in similar terms? Just as the Beavers of Narnia kept the faith, and kept telling the story of Aslan, so there are churches today that are still confident of Jesus’ ability to bring a thaw in the conditions. As our Church grows, and new people respond to the love of God, we have seen a lot of the snow already melted. Just

as the creatures of Narnia began to understand that Aslan was on the move again, so in our world we sense that Jesus is bringing a fresh move of His Spirit. The Spirit of Jesus is on the move again!

Just as Lucy and Edmund were tested, so this life tests our character, and all of us are found wanting at some time or other. And what of the stories that Lucy and Edmund want to tell about Narnia? Edmund has been bewitched into thinking that Aslan is not the answer to Narnia’s woes, and he has to be won back from the clutches of the White Witch, something that can only be accomplished by Aslan’s death on the stone table.

Edmund has a threshold to pass through, and in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe ‘thresholds that take us into another world’ is a central theme in the book. Pushing through the fur coats to the back of the wardrobe can transport us to Narnia, but Aslan himself becomes another kind of threshold. Nothing but Aslan’s death, it transpires, can take Edmund from legally being bound to the White Witch to being a child of the King of Narnia. Edmund reaches the point when he sees the White Witch’s story as a pack of lies, and he is desperate to change his allegiance over to Aslan, but what it costs Aslan to enable him to cross over, comes as a surprise to him.

I think it comes as a surprise to us too, to find that it takes Jesus’ death for us to cross over into His Kingdom. When we put our faith in Jesus’ death and pledge ourselves to follow Him alone, we find this step of faith truly takes us to another world where we can see much more clearly the Aslan/White Witch divide, and can more keenly sense that Aslan(Jesus) is on the move.

Just as C.S. Lewis’ Narnia has the capacity to re-enchant a dis-enchanted world, entering over the threshold of faith makes each of us a new creation and opens our eyes to the wonderful plans Jesus has for the part we are to play in this world. Would you like to take that step? A prayer that asks forgiveness for the past, pledges your life to follow Jesus and make him your lord, and asks him to come and live in you by His Holy Spirit, is what it takes. Then join a lively church and tell the church leader you’ve just prayed that prayer.

Just as the children in the story find that they have a special role to play in Narnia – once a King or Queen in Narnia, always a King or Queen in Narnia – so Jesus calls us to a significant role in how the story of His world unfolds…

The Chronicles of Narnia are wonderful. They resonate strongly with our basic human intuition – telling us that our own story is part of something grander.


Welcome to Sky 1! (Who are we?)

You might have seen a few teenagers around church, you might have heard about Soul Survivor and the amazing things Jesus has been doing there, you may have been asked to pray for Sky One, but who are they and what do they do?

On a Friday night, we meet in church. There’s table football, bean bags, table tennis and the odd game of Capture the Flag, 40:40 In and that old time classic: gargling without spitting water over everyone when you laugh. We drink hot chocolate (often with marshmallows) and eat cakes and biscuits. Sometimes it’s a film night, sometimes we have a Bible study. Usually there’s a theme. This term we are doing ‘Inspirational figures from the Bible’. Sky Plus (the older lot) meet up for their own events as well like casual dinners with Cath and Dave and more intense/specific Bible studies. We pray for each other and for people we know. Then there’s the Christmas party. Every year Amy is persuaded out of her amazing fancy dress ideas (pirates, etc) in favour of a more glamorous theme which allows for some ‘fancy’ fancy dress… we’ve had a black and gold and a 007 theme. It’s really an amazing group of local young people from years 7-13 who encourage each other and enjoy each other’s company, meeting up and talking about Jesus.
These young people, they’re full of ideas: working for charities and going on mission trips, leading worship and writing their own music, helping others and making an impact in their friendship groups and schools. So, please continue to pray for them to be built up in their faith and if you see a random teenager around, say hello!
We aim to be a group which encourages, teaches and accepts young people. We want to see the Holy Spirit do more to transform our lives, where we live… and beyond! If you are in Years 7 to 13, come along!
7 – 8.30pm, St Katharine’s church.

Dates for the rest of this term:
  • 23rd October (Film night!)
  • 6th November
  • 20th November
  • 11th December (Christmas party!)

Dominica

Please take time to read about the situation in Dominica and all the opportunities available there.

Message from Tina:

On August 27th Dominica was struck by Tropical Storm Erika. Torrential Rains caused landslides and flooding of every one of our 365 rivers. Nine villages had damage deemed disastrous. In one village, Petite Savanne, a massive landslide meant that whole families were lost in their beds! This was where we had been caring for a terminally ill lady earlier this year. The daughter is severely disabled and for two weeks we did not know if she had made it! She had been airlifted out and was with her brother in Good Hope. Counselling and befriending is crucial. Children and those with special needs are at increased risk.

In total, 32 are dead or missing and two whole villages have been evacuated and abandoned. In all, 700 are homeless, staying with friends, family or well-wishers.  One family, who were already struggling, living in a shack on the Roseau riverbank, had the river come right through and “wash the floor!”. They escaped through a hole in the fence behind the house.

We have been involved locating sponsors to help with uniforms and school books and adding these families to the 50 vulnerable families we already support. This family where the oldest child has special needs is now being sponsored by a Lifeline couple in the UK.

Our friends in Harry’s home village of Delices are completely cut off as the bridge over a deep gorge has gone. Now the emergency helicopter which was on a limited time emergency aid loan is gone, they can only be reached by ladder. We are helping send grocery bags across on a rope! Thirty-five secondary children have been sent away from home to go to school. Through Facebook, we were able to locate people to help one girl travel to St Lucia for college as she was too scared to return down the ladder to get home!

On the West Coast the main road is broken in three places and new quick fix Bailey Bridges are being installed. Two villages have mud up to the windows and people are traumatised at having escaped with their lives and are now daunted by the clean-up job that will take weeks, if not months.

Some peoples’ houses and cars were swept away. We have visited and brought water and a hug, to say “You are not forgotten”. We are also working with our volunteer partners ‘All Hands’ who are helping with the dig out, and bringing in medical supplies.

Several water systems are broken beyond repair and so drinking water is in short supply. Where people cannot afford bottled water there has been some outbreak of disease. We are seeking to bring in mobile water filters and to get these sponsored to put in the clinics.

We were in the UK when Erika struck and had to return via ferry as the airport was flooded and under thick mud. Thanks to international assistance, the airport is now open and there is a route to get to Roseau through the Kalinago territory, although the usual route has a huge hole in the road.

Our home and holiday rainforest cottages are intact and accessible, although I counted 23 landslides on the way when we went to inspect after arrival home! The vehicles were dead and the electrics live, the phone system and computer blown, and the basement flooded. It has taken time to sort out. As the British Honorary Consul I have been a focal point for tourists leaving, and am seeking to help coordinate aid coming in. There is a wave of compassion in the Diaspora which needs careful handling to make sure the most vulnerable benefit and that we avoid dependency and promote sustainable solutions.

We are now in Recovery Phase and after the initial shock and numbness of the distress we are trying to encourage the tourists to come back and enjoy the hot springs and snorkelling, hiking and birdwatching and of course visit us!


 

George Kent adds: Thanks to many of you  for the  gifts which Angela has now packed into 120 large boxes (over 1000Kilos.)  Dried Food is also useful, but money is even better.   Andrew has kindly agreed  that Donations to the work of Lifeline can be  made  through St Katherine’s, and thus Gift Aided , marked  “For Dominica”

This is an email from Tina, British Honorary Consul in Dominica and daughter of Angela and George Kent, giving us all an update on the situation in Dominica. Many have already given much to the crisis in Dominica. If you would like to contribute financially then please contact Alan Cottle through the Giving page


On the Home Front

Have you noticed the abundance of fruit on the bushes and trees this year? Apple,plum and damson, elderberry,sloe and rosehip? Have you been enjoying this explosion of God’s bounty? It is easy to let this season pass us by without doing anything other than deal with the abundance that falls to the ground.

This year as I’ve been making fruit crumbles and jellies, as I plan chutneys and jams I have been thinking about fruit. God desires to see fruit in our lives (Galatians5 v22-23) and as I’ve peeled and chopped I’ve tried to honestly look at my life and see where I’m being fruitful and give thanks for it. Then, with more difficulty, I’ve looked to see where there is a shortage of fruit and ask God to deal with that area so that I can be more like Jesus.
So far so good, an interesting exercise that has made me stop and reflect.The next part took me more by surprise as I peeled and cored and noted the seeds inside. I began to think how the fruit of the Spirit, that God was developing in my life, contained seeds that could in turn bear fruit in someone else’s life. This is what I found exciting because it led me to think about the people and places where I was potentially having an effect/influence and to pray about the seeds contained within my words and behaviour.

Today, every small kindness, every encouraging word, every moment of self control or patience contains a seed that can bring the love and presence of Jesus into someone else’s life! – I said it was exciting!


Miracle at the Higher Grounds Café

Book Review: I absolutely loved this piece of Christian chic-lit! I bought this as a lighter summer read that would still have content to inspire me and that’s exactly what it did. Yet, it seemed to follow on beautifully from the somewhat more intense subject matter of Bill Johnson, Hosting the Presence, that had recently been the subject of our home group.

Chelsea’s marriage has fallen apart and after the death of her mother she returns ‘home’ to run her mother’s café. I can’t help but hope that we might be able to witness some of the delights of this story here at St Katharines: wonderful coffee, lives changing, guardian angels, people communicating directly with God…or maybe this is happening already!!!

Miracle at the Higher Grounds Café, Max Lucado, 2015

by Kate M


Sudan

Prayer is right at the very heart of our link with Sudan and South Sudan. One of the first things that we are asked for in any situation is our prayers. Prayers are given in exchange in a true spirit of fellowship.