North Wiltshire Methodist Circuit

We are a discipleship movement shaped for mission

Welcome to the
North Wiltshire Methodist Circuit

Privacy Notice Updated 2020

As of 6th January 2021, following the current Government lockdown due to COVID19 the churches of the North Wiltshire Methodist Circuit will remain closed for congregational worship.  Most churches have in place Worship at Home sheets, streamed or 'zoom' type services or videos on Youtube.  Please check out their websites for all the details.


Monthly Ministerial Ponderings....  

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Dear Friend,

 Earlier this week, I was walking in Savernake Forest when I glimpsed the pale, winter sunlight filtering through the trees. It was a glorious backdrop to the bare branches and twigs of the beeches, oaks and other species. Going a little further into the forest the light disappeared completely behind the dense tree trunks. It wasn’t long before the sun came shining through again catching the branches and lighting up the path before me. It occurred to me, that it symbolised all that we are going through at the moment. 

sunOne moment we are full of hope as the vaccine is given out and it is as though the sun has burst through the winter gloom. Then a new variant of the coronavirus appears causing even more people to become ill, needing to go to hospital and dying and it as though the sun has disappeared behind the trees and we are again in darkness not knowing what is going to happen next. Our churches were open for worship and now we are again closed to keep people safe, which must be a priority.

 2020 was certainly a year which we will always remember. For all of us it brought good times and sad and difficult ones. We had cause for rejoicing and lamenting. We have learnt new ways of going about our daily lives, such as, when we go out, not just remembering the keys, but also a facemask. When we have gone shopping, we’ve had to allow for queuing time and not just been able “to pop in” for a litre of milk. We’ve missed meeting friends for coffee and meals out. Some have longed for rounds of golf, classes at the gym or swimming in a pool. Others have missed the choirs, theatre, concerts and the cinema. Societies and leisure groups which we’ve enjoyed have stopped. We have been unable to go out and welcome people into our homes. We haven’t been able to meet in person face to face for worship, fellowship, Bible study or prayer.

 Life has changed so much over the past nine months and we have all been on a steep learning curve, coping with the unknown and the uncertainty caused by Covid-19. It is incredible that something, too small for the human eye to see, can cause such devastation. Yet, we have made it through 2020 and we look forward to this new year and all the opportunities it will bring. The two vaccines, which are being rolled out across the country, bring great hope and the light is coming through the trees. Even 2020, with all its difficulties, brought us opportunities. It gave us the chance to slow down, to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation, to realise what is really important, to go to the heart of our faith and renew our relationship with Jesus. At the beginning of lockdown in March 2020, we discovered that our Sunday worship was just us at home with God. Our own personal relationship with God is what really matters as the disciples and followers of Jesus. It is so easy to forget that when we are so busy doing worthwhile Christian activities living out our faith. Lockdown gave us the opportunity to pray and grow closer to Jesus as we had more time to be alone with him.

 Yet, it was encouraging to know that we were settling down to worship at the same time as other members of our Church family. People who had been unable to go to church for a long time, found themselves more connected to the church than before. Members began telephoning other members to make sure that they were keeping well and getting to know each other in a new, deeper way than before. We learnt again the love and care of Jesus thorough the love and care for one another. As Christians, our relationship with Jesus is crucial, but we can’t be Christians alone. We learnt the importance of the Christian community and being part of the church family. So, the personal communications through the telephone and internet have become vital parts of our Christian lives. Our worship has developed beyond worship sheets to using YouTube videos at home and streamed services from church and people’s homes via “Zoom”. Housegroups, Bible studies, the prayer course, prayer meetings, stewards’ meetings, Church Councils and numerous other meetings have all taken place via Zoom, emphasising our need for each other.

 How good it was to return to worship in our church in September. Yet, it was so strange, being socially distanced, keeping an eye on the clock, not being able to sing, having to avoid physical contact and leave the premises swiftly! It made me realise how much I had missed. Things which before last spring had been taken for granted. As we look forward to the vaccination programme taking effect, we look forward to worshipping in our churches in person and continuing to be involved in our mission in our communities without anxiety. This time gives us an opportunity to reflect and pray about what we can offer, in the name of Jesus, to others now and when we come out of lockdown.

 Walking in the forest the other day, the sun gradually rose above the tree line and came out from under the clouds. Returning home, the sun was behind me and lit up the trees and path in front of me. The colours of the moss and lichen on the bark stood out against the dark trunks and the shadows of the branches. Tops of trees glowed yellow as the sunlight caught them, showing off the beauty of Savernake Forest. The sunlight had been there all the time, sometimes streaming through the branches and other times hidden by the wood of the trees. Now it was shining overhead. At Christmas we celebrated the birth of Jesus, who is the Light of the world and always with us. Sometimes things seem dark, but Jesus is with us in it and he will lead us out into the light. We might only get glimpses of the light now, but one day it will  shine fully for us.

 Wherever you feel you are at the moment, remember that Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, loves you and is with you, as your light. He will see you, and all of us, through this strange and unpredictable time, as we live through the pandemic, as the reality of Brexit takes effect and as we watch the disturbing scenes in Washington DC unfold. We look to Jesus, recalling the words of St Paul that nothing “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Romans 8:38-39).

 May God bless you richly with his love, joy and peace this new year and throughout 2021,

 Stephen