October 2012

From the Rectory

At some point near the end of September or the beginning of October, many Churches and Schools hold their Harvest Festivals: a time of celebration and thanksgiving that all is safely gathered in. This year, because of the weather, the harvest of crops in Britain has given little cause for celebration. Many farmers have had a very poor year indeed and this will be reflected in the shops as fresh food prices increase. The Rectory garden has produced very little this year and what it did provide was of a poor quality. Because the weather was cold at the beginning of summer the runner beans, produced flowers but there were no bees to set them. When the bees did come, the flowers were all at the top of the sticks and it needed a chair to stand on to pick them!

We will be holding our Church Harvest Thanksgiving Service on Sunday 7th October. We ask for gifts of food (dry goods only, no fresh produce please): what we can spare for those less fortunate. Our offerings along with those from Freemantle Church of England Community Academy will be passed on to The Salvation Army for distribution to the needy. Harvests fail or produce poor yields in this country, but we still have full larders and much to be grateful for. The bulk of our food comes from overseas. In some parts of the world, if the harvest fails, and it very often does, then hunger and possible starvation follow, and there is no store cupboard to fall back on and no shops to go to so that food can be put on the plate for hungry mouths.

At the Harvest Festival we will be asking people to think about where their food comes from. Look at the labels and you may be surprised how many miles it has travelled to reach your hands. Also for consideration, the food we often eat is grown in countries where the money from exported food is more sought after by governments than the act of growing food for the indigenous populations. If we thought a little more carefully about what we bought maybe they would be forced to rethink that strategy. Remember Fair Trade: at least that ensures a fair price for the growers. We have a Fair Trade stall here in Church every month, do you support it? We celebrate Harvest every year, and of course itís good to give thanks, good to remember just how blessed we are. But we must as Christians always remember those less fortunate than ourselves, the offering of your harvest gifts and asking for Godís blessing upon it is what Harvest Thanksgiving is all about. Bless you for whatever you bring, especially the gift of your worship.

Forgotten Days
Smell the scent of a chrysanthemum
Or see the last few scarce flowers on a dahlia,
Frost survivors with blackened leaves.
Autumn makes her claim, and summer days are spent.
Dried grasses, stiff, long dead stalks of cow parsley stand erect,
Hinting at a former stately glory.
Rust brown dock seed heads quiver,
And old manís beard, fluffy and white hangs hedgerow long.
Summer warmth, and long lingering days -
I mourn your passing.
Time edges us on towards a winter of delights.
And summer, and summer, will you come again?
Each seed contains a season yet to come,
A life as yet unborn, glories still to be revealed.
In the cold earth the dead seeds silently wait
And dust-frail petals, brown edged fall.
Trapped within each tiny seed,
Miracles of life in hibernation lie.
Entombed, waiting for spring rain,
And cheek warm rays of sun to kiss them into life.
But now, and now, they wait, and we too must patience know.
For God to recreate from deathís ragged edge
The perfumed smells and scents, and florid hues to deck the world
And dazzle our poor eyes.

Yours for Christ's sake.