October Team Letter from Revd. Simon PitcherOctober 2, 2015
In late September, and during October church and village communities will be celebrating harvest festival. This is an opportunity to give thanks to God for the fruits of creation, our food, clothing and warmth, to pray for those who have little or nothing, and to think about opportunities for sharing.
One of the highlights of the harvest season is being invited into the local schools to think about the miracle of tiny seeds producing great fruits, and of there being enough food for all to share. When I was in West Yorkshire I used to celebrate harvest festival nine times in two weeks in local primary schools! In an area with a high Muslim population, I think harvest was perceived as a safer festival than Christmas or Easter, an opportunity for everybody to celebrate together with good food and shared values. In east Suffolk we have the privilege of observing the harvest whilst it is in progress. We observe the changing seasons and colours in the countryside all around us, and watch those huge combine harvesters munching up and down like great metallic dinosaurs.
I go into school armed with apples, pears, corn cobs and cabbages with the message that creation is full of different colours, shapes, tastes, textures and smells. Every individual piece of fruit or vegetable is unique, but of equal value. What a dull world it would be if everything was the same. If that is true of vegetables then how much more true is it of people!
My favourite harvest celebration was in a school in which all the children had severe physical and learning disabilities. We sang “See the beans and barley grow” while children were lovingly helped to engage by their dedicated helpers. The assembly ended with my being covered in sticky food or drink, and clung to by about six children at once, but it was great fun. The children knew how to have fun, to celebrate and to share.
In our local churches in Sole Bay we will be celebrating giving thanks to God for the fruits of the harvest, and for those who work on land and sea to supply our needs. We will remember the importance of stewardship in creation, caring for the natural world. We will pray that we might be generous in sharing. We will give our gifts to mission agencies such as Christian Aid, Tools with a Mission, and the East Suffolk Foodbank, hoping that as we celebrate together the fruits of the harvest can help to build a better fairer world. We hope you will join us in church, at a harvest supper, or by saying a quiet prayer as you walk peacefully in the countryside.
May God bless the harvest that all might share and rejoice.