Harvest in my mind always heralds the real arrival of autumn. There’s a different smell in the air as the trees start to turn and I almost feel I am facing a different direction in the church year, turning away from the glory of Easter and summer and looking towards the anticipation of (dare I say it) Christmas.
In our school-centred life we are full of new beginnings again – new pencil cases, new activities and new responsibilities. But it’s also time to take stock and give thanks for all that the year has produced so far and look forward to what we can do with those gifts…
At our traditional Harvest Festival service, people brought offerings of food and collection money but also less traditional things such as toothpaste and a kettle! These items were targeted at specific groups – Slough Homeless Our Concern (SHOC), DASH and Tearfund.
As well as non-perishable food, people entering temporary housing often need basic items such as clothing, bedding and household items (hence the kettle), so these will go to SHOC.
DASH is a local charity supporting people who have had to leave their homes in a hurry with virtually no possessions or money due to domestic violence and abuse. A basic kit of toiletries is a small token of dignity at such a traumatic time so these items will be much appreciated.
Lastly, our cash collection which was extra to our church envelopes will go to Tearfund, whose recent campaign shows how a little help to get someone a few tools or skills goes a long way to their self sufficiency and contribution to their community economy. Tearfund (and we) trust God to take what we have given and multiply it, just as Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes to feed so many people.
Junior Church was held in the Hastings Chapel with extra helpers and included some smaller members of the Girl Guide movement, who weren’t camping in the pouring rain that weekend! They produced some beautiful hedgehogs and pumpkins to mark the season.
Another Thank You
At the end of the service, we said a huge thank you (though we are not calling it goodbye) to Kate Holliday who has served as Church Administrator for almost 20 years and has now set up her own gardening business. We prayed for Kate as she puts both feet into this new venture – that it will blossom and grow – and we are sure that it will still be as much of a mission field for her as the office.
This week, we welcome Debbie Langham as she takes over from Kate in the office, but we’ll find out more about Debbie in a future post…