Rev Helen Johnson, who is to be our new Priest-in-Charge, will be licensed on Monday 17th October. We look very forward to her joining us.

This weekend we celebrate Harvest Festival at St Mary’s.

Until the 20th century most farmers celebrated the end of the harvest with a big meal called the harvest supper, to which all who had helped in the harvest were invited. Harvest is from the Old English word hærfest, meaning Autumn. It then came to refer to the season for reaping and gathering grain and other grown products. The full moon nearest the autumnal equinox is called the Harvest Moon so in ancient traditions Harvest Festivals were traditionally held on or near the Sunday of the Harvest Moon.

Early English settlers took the idea of celebrating the end of harvesting to North America, the first “Thanksgiving” being held by the Pilgrims in 1621.

The modern British tradition of celebrating Harvest Festival in churches began in 1843, when the Reverend Robert Hawker invited parishioners to a special thanksgiving service at his church at Morwenstow in Cornwall. Since then the custom of decorating churches with home-grown produce for the Harvest Festival has developed.

As British people have come to rely less heavily on home-grown produce, there has been a shift in emphasis in many Harvest Festival celebrations. Increasingly, churches have linked Harvest with an awareness of and concern for people in the developing world and at home for whom the simple things in life are a struggle. At St Mary’s harvest has been celebrated in this way for many years by a month of fundraising for different charities each year. Why not join us on Sunday to celebrate the end of our harvest appeal for Hop, Skip and Jump and Paul’s Place. This will be a family service at which the church will be richly decorated with flowers and local youth uniformed organisations will be parading. All are welcome.

Best wishes,

Roger Derrick.


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