Churches around the country will be celebrating their Harvest Festivals over the next few weeks.  It is a really big event in many country villages.  And that makes sense when the church is right in the middle of a farming community, surrounded by fields of crops.  (I’m told that just over 50 years ago that was true of St John’s - with the wheat fields coming right up to the side of the churchyard - it’s not so now!)  But what about those who live in towns like Clacton today?  We may feel fairly cut off from rural life.

However, I think that Harvest Services are great things wherever we live.  You might have guessed that I would say that - but I think it’s true. They give us a chance to do some things that we might otherwise forget to do.

· Harvest helps us to pause and wonder at God’s amazing creation - “How many are your works, O Lord!  In wisdom you made them all.” (Ps104v24).

· Harvest makes us stop and say thank you to God for his wonderful provision, something that we can too often forget to do.  We are told to “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving” (Ps 147v7), when we think of what he gives.

· Harvest gives us a chance to share God’s gifts.  God is very generous (Psalm 104 vs.14-15) and we should follow His example.    

So do come and join in our Harvest festival if you can. There are 4 special services to choose from (the first 3 are all on Sun 30th Sept) -

* Traditional Harvest Service - 9am at St John’s

* All-age Harvest Service - 10.30am at St Mark’s  (coffee& craft from10)

* Harvest Praise with Afternoon Tea - 4pm at St John’s

AND - Songs of Praise for Harvest on Wed 3rd Oct at 11am at St Mark’s   

At all of these there will be a display of harvest gifts.  We will be donating most of these to Clacton Food Bank, as in previous years.  We will also be keeping a little bit for a store cupboard in the hall, so we have some things for people who come to us in real need.  (The Frydays team does meet people in this situation from time-to-time.) We have also got envelopes so we can support Tearfund at this time of year, as we heard in the World Focus last week.

Finally, it’s worth remembering that friends, family and neighbours often are happy to come to church for Harvest - so why not drop them an invite?

We have much we can celebrate and be thankful for!       Mark