Dear Friends,

As these notes go to print we are seeing the first signs of autumn. After a spell of very warm weather as everyone went back to school, the temperatures have dropped this week and you hear the crunch of fallen leaves as you walk. It’s lovely to see those golden autumnal colours and you notice the night fall is coming earlier and earlier.

This is the month when we celebrate our Harvest Thanksgiving which is always a special day in the church’s calendar. As the work continues on the church and grounds we expect our Harvest services to be in the church hall.

At the morning Harvest Thanksgiving at 11am on Sunday 22nd October, we look forward to welcoming the new Education Advisor for Bishop’s Appeal, Mrs. Hilary McClay. We have a long tradition of supporting the work of the Bishop’s Appeal as it partners with agencies like Christian Aid, Tearfund, Fields of Life, SAMS, CMS, Feed the Minds and Motivation to make a difference in some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities around the world. We hope to have the opportunity to respond to that work as envelopes are distributed before the season of Advent and, as Hilary shares about this work, we will be reminded of how vital it is.

In the evening Harvest celebration at 7pm we look forward to welcoming Reverend Chris Bennett, an industrial chaplain in Greenisland to share about his work.

In anticipation of the Harvest we will be combining forces with The Larder food bank and collecting some non-perishable food items for the food bank during the month of October. We will be publicising what the needs are and inviting people, if they are in a position to do so, to bring an item a week prior to our Harvest Sunday. This is in response to the cost of living crisis that impacts so many households in our country at this time.

We are conscious of how much hard work is being done behind the scenes by our Churchwardens and leaders of organisations and many volunteers to enable our organisations and services to happen during this season of work being done to the church and grounds. We are very grateful to everyone for their patience and willingness to help.

We normally set up the lower and upper hall on Saturday mornings at 11am and prepare the upper hall for church and the lower hall for the Toddlers’ group after the morning service at 11am. We are always pleased to have the help of volunteers. Many hands make light work!

We are grateful, too, for the prayers and financial support that make these works possible as we seek to make our church and grounds accessible to all.

On the first Sunday in November we will, as usual, have our annual Service of Thanksgiving and Remembrance for those who have died in the past year at 7pm and that is an important and poignant occasion to invite people to.

While Harvest is a season to give thanks for the fruits of the earth and God’s goodness to us, it’s also a season when we try to respond to the needs of others. We do this through our Harvest appeal for the Larder food bank and as we enter the season of Advent in December and partner in the Work of Bishop’s Appeal. It’s also a time of reflection about the Spiritual Harvest Jesus invites us to share in. He invites us to make Him known to our families, friends and colleagues and neighbours. Can we share in simple ways what He means to us in conversations, perhaps in invitations to church services, events and organisations. Can we constantly seek to deepen our own spiritual life through Bible reading, prayer and acts of service to others. As we make small efforts to do so, God blesses our endeavour and makes himself more real to us.
We give Him all the glory at this time.

With very best wishes.

Jonathan Pierce (Rector)

Telephone 02890 793822