We have just celebrated Harvest in all three parishes and I would like to thank all those who worked so hard and imaginatively to decorate our Churches. St Mary’s Church, the Church of St Peter and St Paul and St Giles and All Saints Church all looked lovely; each completely different but the three reflecting the glory of God’s creation and the abundance of his provision for us.
Our Harvest reading this year was from Matthew’s Gospel, Chapter 6, verses 25-33, the passage in the Bible which tells us not to worry about what we wear or eat or drink. During Harvest, not only have we been thanking God for what we have received, but we have been reflecting upon our part in God’s purpose to ensure that our world’s resources are shared fairly so that no one goes without and so that no one needs to worry about having their needs met.
Most of us are fortunate enough to have warm homes, clean water and nutritious food, but we are only too aware that there are people not far away from us who will have no meal today. A group of ministers in Thurrock have met recently to consider how the churches might help those who are currently without a home. Our news has highlighted the plight of people affected by the devastation of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia. We are constantly reminded of the effects of climate change and the consequences of our greed and overuse of resources such as plastic. There are children in some countries who will receive nothing this Christmas.
Harvest has been a good time to consider our responses, both individually and as a church, to situations of need in our world such as those mentioned above. We have collected food for the foodbank and financial donations for the DEC Indonesia Tsunami Appeal. Harvest also provided us with an opportunity to encourage people to put together Christmas shoeboxes for children in other countries who, otherwise, would not receive a Christmas present. Thank you, so much, for your Harvest donations and for your responses to the DEC appeal and thank you to those of you who have put together a Christmas shoebox. These boxes will be collected at our United Benefice Service on November 4th at 10am at Bulphan Church. You are all very welcome to come along.
Also, on the afternoon of 4th November, at 4pm, we will be holding a service to Commemorate the Departed, at Bulphan Church, where everyone is invited to light a candle in memory of a friend or loved one who has died. You are all invited to attend this moving service. You don’t need a formal invitation, you can just turn up. And, of course on November 11th we will be holding Remembrance services which, this year, will be particularly poignant as we celebrate the anniversary of the end of the First World War.
There is lots going on in November and I look forward to seeing you soon.
With my continued love and prayers.