Thursday, 23 August 2018 15:11 Be the first to comment!

Our Harvest Festivals 2018 are as follows:

• 23rd Sephember 11.00am St Hilda’s, Bilsborrow

• 30th September 10.00am St Lawrence’s, Barton

• 11.15am St Mary’s, Goosnargh
• 6.30pm Harvest Songs of Praise with Bishop Jill

• 7th October 10.30am St Eadmer’s, Bleasdale
(No service at Whitechapel)

• 14th October 10.30am St James’, Whitechapel
(No service at Bleasdale)

Harvest is a great time to see our churches at their best, both in terms of the way in which we acknowledge and give thanks for the hard work of our farming community in providing the necessities of life, and also in showing the practical work the Church does to support those in need locally and across the world.

As well as donations for the Bishop’s Harvest Appeal, we will also be collecting tinned and dried food for the Salvation Army and the Food Bank. Maybe this would be a good time to think about inviting someone to join us as we celebrate the Harvest.

Who could you ask?

Bishop’s Harvest Appeal 2018kids

As in previous years the Fellside Team will be supporting the Bishop Harvest Appeal. This year the two projects it is raising money for are:

Kids in Kailahun works in Kailahun, which was once the breadbasket of Sierra Leone to support and bring hope to children orphaned and suffering following 11 of conflict followed by the Ebola outbreak. This project provides food, education and skills so that the young people it supports can support themselves. Sarty, who survived Ebola says, “Growing and harvesting makes me feel good”.

Christian Aid’s works in Brazil with the Quilombola community in the Amazon rainforests. The descendants of runaway slaves, the community harvests Brazil nuts from deep in the forest. They face prejudice, hardship and rarely get a fair price for their crop. Bebé Albeize says, “Pray for us to find a way to make a living from Brazil nuts and continue living here on our land.”

There will be leaflets in our churches giving more details and explaining how to support the Bishop’s Harvest Appeal.

christian aidChristian Aid’s works in Brazil with the Quilombola community in the Amazon rainforests. The descendants of runaway slaves, the community harvests Brazil nuts from deep in the forest.
They face prejudice, hardship and rarely get a fair price for their crop. Bebé Albeize says, “Pray for us to find a way to make a living from Brazil nuts and continue living here on our land.”

There will be leaflets in our churches giving more details and explaining how to support the Bishop’s Harvest Appeal.

Why Harvest Festivals?

Harvest Festivals began as feast days to give thanks to God for the first fruits of the harvest, to celebrate the goodness of creation, and to pray for the land, the crops, sunshine and rain for the coming year.

They are perhaps one of the oldest forms of worship known to humanity from when we first began to cultivate plants and recognize our dependence on God and on the world around us. Harvest Festivals were revived in 19th century industrialized cities to raise awareness of where food came from, and to support the destitute.

Why Harvest Giving?

Traditionally there are two sides to Harvest giving. The first is to provide for the poor and needy, and we continue this through the Bishop’s Harvest Appeal, through the gifts of food we give throughout the year to the Salvation Army and the Longridge Food Bank, and through the gifts and other things we do to support charities which help those in need – or as we help them directly.

The second is as a generous response to the generosity of God to us. As the prayer says, ‘All things come from you, and of your own do we give you’. In Old Testament times the pattern that grew up among God’s people became known as tithing. People would give the first 10%, a tithe, of the best of their crop or earnings to God through the Temple or Synagogue. This was a pattern followed by the early Church and continues today in the teaching of the Church of England which recommends that we should give 5% of our income to charities to support those in need, and 5% to the Church to support its work of prayer and pastoral care, its witness and mission. The pattern we are encouraged to follow has always been proportional, so that if our income goes up so does our giving, but if income falls that is reflected in it too.

Harvest was both a time of thankfulness and prayerful reflection: Thankfulness for the sheer generosity of God in the natural world, and especially in and through Jesus; and prayerful reflection about how my generosity matches up to the generosity of God. Perhaps this Harvest would be a good opportunity to do that reflection, and to see where it takes you!


Dear Friends,

The moment when we acknowledge the presence and reality of God – that he is the creator and we are his beloved creation – we open up a whole new set of questions: If God is God, then what does that mean for me? How do I live in relationship with God? What is God’s will for me? Of course, these are questions not easily answered.

A good number of years ago a friend of mine was wondering whether God might be calling him to ordained ministry, and asked me what I thought? My reply was twofold. Firstly, to pray for the idea to go away – if it was of God, then it wouldn’t go away, whereas if it was of him it would soon pass. Second, he that was too good a Christian to be wasted on ordained ministry – there would be much more important things for him to do for the Kingdom of God.

As it turned out, the idea went away and instead he went to the US to do post-graduate studies. Now he’s a professor of theology in a US university where he teaches hundreds of students each year to think about the God questions in the complexities of the modern world – a much more important role for the Kingdom of God than being a Vicar!

So what might the will of God be for you? for me? A couple of years ago we did a course called ‘Life on the Frontline’. The premise of the course was that everyone is on the frontline of the Kingdom of God, whether at home, down the pub, at work, with the children or grand-children, at the gym, with our friends, or wherever. First and foremost, where we are is where we’re called to be the Body of Christ, his presence in the world. Though it may change as we journey with God, where we are now is where God is calling us to be his people, on the frontline of the Kingdom of God – for now this is his will for us, each one of us.

It is tempting to put the idea of special ministries on a pedestal, vicars and the like, as something to be looked up to. The truth of the matter is that our first calling, above all others, is to be a Christian, a follower of Jesus. Living that out is always the will of god for us.

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