October means Harvest. I am very pleased to be able to say that St Mary’s Harvest Festival will be held on Sunday 10th October at 10am. Harvest is one of those special celebrations that is not just ‘for the Church’ - it is for the whole community.
I remember when I was a child living in a village in North Yorkshire, harvest involved the whole community. There were celebrations in the local schools, and those who were not ‘regulars’ at the Church came along to celebrate. They understood that the parish Church was their Church. The local farmers would bring produce as would people from the village - things that they had grown in their gardens and allotments. The fresh produce was taken out to the elderly in the village.
It was a community event and God was understood to be at the heart of the community. We gathered once a year to give thanks.
Despite the difficulties that we have all faced over the past 18 months or so, we do still have much to give thanks for. Not least for the work of the NHS, of those who developed the vaccine; of frontline workers in retail and logistics, in nursing homes and all those others that we clapped for in the early days of the pandemic.
We also give thanks for family and home, for food and security; for the everyday blessings without which life would be very hard indeed.
The food donated - not fresh, but tins and dried food - will be given to the work of foodbanks in our city. It looks as though they will be needed even more in the coming winter! The cash collection will be for Water Aid.
I hope that the Harvest Festival here in Ecclesfield can return to being something of and for the whole community, and not just for those of us who worship faithfully Sunday by Sunday. St Mary’s is a Parish Church. We are here for anyone and everyone.
Harvest this year will still not be what we want it to be. I am very pleased that Ecclesfield Primary School have invited me to take part in their Harvest celebration - but via Zoom and not in person! It will not be back to normal, not just yet, but we still have much to celebrate, much to be thankful for.
So, I hope that you will join us on Sunday 10th October, and I hope that you will invite friends and neighbours to come to their Parish Church to give thanks to God, who has carried us through these difficult times and who is with us always.