October 2021

Central Church Newsletter October 2021

“October already!” we can hear a lot of people exclaim. Where has the year gone? The older one gets, the more quickly the years seem to pass, but the one thing we ‘Seniors’ can be grateful for is the opportunity to grow old when a lot of others are not given that privilege.

The world we live in is a fragile one as we have all been made aware of during the last couple of years.  Life is precious and we need to be more empathetic to those who are suffering all over the world, be it due to disease or war when the most vulnerable are affected the most. 

We are taught to ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’ so let us extend a welcoming hand to those that have made the journey to start a new life in the UK.

Linda and Malcolm Johnson


Dear Friends,

Over the past few months I have had a great deal of pleasure dipping into “Footprints of Faith”, a book that was written about Central Church in 1988. It gives a fascinating account of the five churches which came together to form our church. At the end of the book the Revd Fred Kaan, one of Central Church’s earliest ministers and a well known hymn writer, reflected on the adventure of the church, and pleaded that the church must continue to be an adventurous church. He wrote, “We may sit down on our milestones for an hour or so to give our weary feet a rest, but then the road ahead beckons us on. How much further and farther are we going to go, and how ready are we for the risk of becoming who we are meant to be and called to be, for the sake of the Kingdom of God in this world?”

Over the past couple of years, we have been forced to “take a rest”. The pandemic has obliged us to stop rushing about and has given us, and every church, the opportunity to pause many of our activities and to reflect on what we’ve been doing. But now, as we emerge from this strange time, we are starting to work out what the new shape of life will look like. There will, inevitably, be changes and we will need to talk together about what they should be.  And there will also be completely new developments and one of them was agreed at September’s Church Meeting. We unanimously agreed to welcome Big Breakfast Plus to start using our café and we are delighted to be able to welcome them. This charity has been at work in Swindon since 1993 providing a free cooked breakfast for homeless people and those suffering from food poverty. It has, in recent years, been located at St Luke’s Church and then at The Haven in Queen’s Drive, however the charity was eager to find a more central location.  A few weeks ago, representatives of Big Breakfast Plus came to see our wonderful facilities and were eager to explore the possibility of basing themselves at the Pilgrim Centre. I consider that this is an important and exciting development as we seek to serve God in central Swindon.

On a personal note, may I thank you for your kindness and sensitivity over my recent knee operation. The biggest challenge has been that I have not been permitted to drive for six weeks! I normally drive between 20 and 30 hours a week so my wings have been well and truly clipped! However, I am very grateful to a number of chauffeurs who have ferried me around the country and particularly to my son, Tom, who has brought me to Central on a number of occasions.  However, I can’t wait to be set free again.

May God bless you.

Yours ever, in Christ,

Jonathan's signature

Rev. Jonathan Edwards
Transitional Minister


Val and Van Wheeler

We have received a newsletter from our BMS partners in Peru, Daniel and Regiane Clark. Peru is still struggling with the effects of Covid and there are some challenging times ahead for Daniel and Regiane. They have asked us to pray for :

  • The nation of Peru, for stability and the continued success of the vaccination campaign.
  • Ana as she continues to engage in online learning and for opportunities to continue to meet her friends.
  • The Seminary as it continues with online learning and seeks to offer more and more resources for those outside Lima.
  • The ministry of the Social Action Department and their potential trip to Piura.
  • Their conversation with the Peruvian Mission Board and further opportunities for mission.

The newsletter is displayed on the notice board outside the Worship Area if anyone wants to read it in full.



3rd October – Revd Jonathan Edwards (communion)

10th October – A service of favourite hymns and readings

17th October – Revd Andrew Francis (communion)

24th October – Mr Geoff Lewis


Harvest Festival

We held our Harvest Festival on 19th September when our preacher was Revd Norma McKemey from Christchurch.  Thank you to all who contributed food and flowers.  The church looked lovely.  Non perishable goods were delivered to the Swindon Food Collective and perishable goods to the Nightshelter.  Both organisations were very grateful.


Swindon Food Collective

Many thanks to everyone who contributes regularly to the Swindon Food Collective.  We have received a letter from them, which tells us that people have been very generous with food recently but they are now looking for other items, in particular those mentioned below.  Perhaps those of us who support this project can consider donating some of these items over the next few months.:

  • Cleaning Cloths
  • Household Cleaners
  • Anti-bacterial Wipes
  • Laundry Pods/Powder/Liquid
  • Surface Cleaners
  • Laundry Conditioner
  • Wash & Go 2 in 1 Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Soap
  • Shower Gel (male and female)
  • Deodorant (male and female)
  • Toilet Rolls
  • Toothpaste and Toothbrushes


News of the Family

We have been saddened to hear of the death of two of our members in September: Mrs Martha Shama and Mrs Elsie Offer. They will both be sadly missed. 

Martha’s funeral has been arranged for 11 a.m. on Tuesday 19th October at Central Church followed by burial. 

Elsie’s funeral will be held at Kingsdown Crematorium at 12 noon on Wednesday 20th October.


Welcome Service

Jonathan’s welcome service was held on 22nd September and we were pleased to see members from St Mark’s, Rodbourne Cheney Baptist, Gorse Hill Baptist, St Andrew’s, Immanuel, Quakers, Christchurch and Bath Road joining with us. The service was led by Revd Robert Jordan, with Revd Mark Barrett leading prayers, Revd John Roe reading the lesson, and Revd Alisdair Longwill preaching. Judith spoke of the process of calling Jonathan to our church, and Jonathan responded. 

It was a lovely service, followed by refreshments. Thanks to all those who provided cake!


Part-time Administrator for Dorcan Church and Area Dean

We have been asked to advertise this post, based at St Paul’s Covingham. The position is 15 hours per week (12 permanent contract; 3 fixed term), over 3-4 mornings with Friday a requirement, £10.50ph. For further details, please speak to Chris Durant who has application forms etc.



Thought for the day

Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.


Deadline for the November Newsletter: Wednesday 27th October 2021