September 2016

The Big Breakfast - Harvest Festival - 25 September 2016

Our Harvest service this year was held on Sunday 25th September 2016 and was an all-age act of worship, led by the Worship Group. The theme was 'The Big Breakfast', with food to nibble and give thanks for.

Gifts of food and flowers were presented during the service, which as usual, go to those in need in our local community, including the Fareham Basics Bank.

"The Harvest"

Let's gather as a band of one, in symphony across the land,
to thank our Lord for harvest reaped, and gratefully as one let's stand,
to think of those, for all their toil, who've readied plough; who've nurtured soil.

The farmers in the fields; the cold; the hardened hands, the fens, the wold,
so many aspects of a life, a challenge most will never know,
for we in houses snugly sleep, whilst in the biting winds and snow,
the men and women of their earth prepare the ground for springtime seeds,
that one day will produce our bread, our milk, our food, our daily needs.

Ask farming people what it's like and though the job is one they choose, it takes its toll.
The troughs are long and cold and deep,
the flattened barley, missing sheep and so much more that blights their show.
But on and on and on they go, until that day of days is come,
the tractor's parked, the combines quiet, the crop is in, the harvest's done!

(part of a poem by Henry Birtles, read at Westminster Abbey to celebrate British Food Fortnight 2013)

It's Gold!!...then what?

The relief and exhiliration shown by winning athletes in the Olympics and Paralympics is something to beholds isn't it? To be recognised, for that moment, as the best in the word in their particular sports - some of which rarely get the oxygen of publicity - leaves some speechles, but others babbling with joy, coining phrases like Laura Trott's, "I'm beyond happy".

It is so heartening that usually the next words to come are thanks and recognition for all those without whose support they could not have reached the pinnacle of success - family, friends, trainers, fellow athletes and others. In this they are testifying that we belong together as community, as family, as society: supporting as each needs, weeping when others weep and rejoicing when they rejoice (Romans 12 v15).

Such community is the gift and desire of God.

What is true of a sport is true of a local community. Thus our recent ecumenical "Heroes Activity Week" based at the Methodist Church and Holy Trinity, with a staff of 20+ gave an unforgettable, exciting Christian experience to 60 children aged 5 to 11 years. This event could not have taken place without great teamwork, and that teamwork was, of itself, a true blessing of God, and will help to advance his Kingdom in Fareham in the coming years as we know we work well together.

In both the examples so far one could sum up success as being the result of Love and Work in equal measure. What is true of both - the Olympics and the local Christian achievement - should also be true between countries or sects within countries. But tragically that seems so much harder. While the world seemed to come together in friendly rivalry in the Olympics, and churches cooperated in putting on a great holiday club, some parts of the world were getting on with their daily task of killing each other.

We must keep praying that resolutions can be found in theatres of war such as Syria, Afghanistan and now again South Sudan. We pray that Love and Work - in the shape of reconciliation, diplomacy, courageously offered aid, and trade - may bring life remotely like the life we enjoy to those bleeding parts of the world family.

Yours in Christ's love

This was taken from the September 2016 of the church's magazine 'The Messenger'