This year we decided to celebrate Harvest during the last week of September and to include, in addition to our normal Sunday services, three school services, a harvest supper, harvest entertainments and a Songs of Praise and, as ever, I am grateful to all those who help during Harvest in any way, to make it such a special occasion, with beautifully decorated churches and wonderful feasts. I would also like to thank those who provide food for, and transport to, the Thurrock Foodbank, not just at Harvest time, but throughout the year.
Most of us are fortunate enough to live in comfort and to be able to choose what we eat or drink or wear. At Harvest time we give thanks for God’s provision and, particularly, in our area, we give thanks for those who farm. But, at this time of uncertainty in our country, it is also important that we hold our farming communities in our prayers.
Our stewardship of the creation, with which God has blessed us, is so important. You are probably aware that Bulphan Church recently won Best Kept Churchyard of the Year competition and one of the reasons for this was the addition of the Bug Hotel that Bulphan in Bloom built, as well as the patch of grass, left wild to provide a habitat for insects. BBC Radio Essex came to Bulphan to record a programme in August which was broadcast in September about all of this, and you can hear the podcast on our website at hobnob.org.uk or on the Bulphan Village Bulletin Board on Facebook.
Our Harvest celebrations, and our joy at receiving our certificate at Bulphan, reminded us of our need to care for our creation on a wider scale.
This year we, as a family, went on our annual visit to ‘Greenbelt,’ the Christian based festival with a strong focus on peace and justice and the main theme was ‘climate change’ and our call, as Christians, to work to stop this, for the sake of not only our own descendants, but for the sake of our brothers and sisters who live in much more fragile ecosystems which have been damaged by our over consumption.
In the words of Desmond Tutu:
Who can stop climate change? We can. We have a responsibility to do so that began when God commanded the earliest human inhabitants of the Garden of Eden to ’till it and keep it’. To keep it; not to abuse it, not to destroy it
You may remember that I attempted a plastic free Lent, and I have to confess that it was hard because almost everything at the supermarkets is packaged in plastic. But, as a family, we continue to seek ways to minimise our use of plastic and lower our impact on the environment. You can now buy toothpaste tablets loose, or toothpaste in a glass jar. Shampoo bars are available, eliminating the need for buying the liquid version in plastic containers. And many coffee shops are now giving reductions in drink prices to those who use their own cup.
There are many ways in which we can reduce our carbon footprint and, as Christians, we need not only to be seeking these alternative ways for ourselves as individuals but also to be challenging the institutions with which we have associations, to do the same. This means our places of work too. Sometimes this is not easy but I believe that this is what God requires of us.
I am hoping to do a course on this topic, in the near future, probably during Advent, and so thought it would be fitting to finish my article with the words of a hymn which have been written specially for this course, by Susan Sayers:
We as your people living today,
cry with the aching earth,
knowing that we are warming this home,
home of our saviour’s birth.
Give us the will, show us the way,
help us reflect your grace;
open our hearts, open our lives
help us to heal this place
All that we pledge and all that we choose,
all of our future ways,
take as our humble token of love,
wonder and thankful praise.
With love and prayers, Sue