From the Rector - October 2018

Dear Friends,

October; a turning of the year. Very definitely the end of summer, the start of Autumn. Even the university students have started back again, and schools’ half-term is coming soon. The weather might be anything — wet and windy, hot and sunny, cool and grey — but regardless, the leaves have started to turn colour, and the days are shortening fast.

We are in the time of year when we celebrate Harvest. Some have recently celebrated, and some are yet to do so.

Harvest seems to be something that occurs each year. It just sort of happens, does it not? It does not need any work or effort and all rolls along quite smoothly. Indeed, in some kinds of farming there is not even anything to harvest at a particular time of the year. Do cows milk themselves; do beef, sheep and pigs just eat; is that is all there is to it?

If such a statement is absurd in farming terms, why do we assume that Church finances occur in a similar way? Perhaps it is one of those things — it does not directly affect us unless something goes wrong and when it does go wrong we will take some interest. Such an approach can work but it is does not lead to long term growth or a sense of confidence. God will provide; indeed He has provided. The provision is with us and it is us that need harvesting.

Like an agricultural harvest, we will have been affected by outside factors. Jobs may have changed (and in some cases may not be there any longer); retirement may have occurred or full time study concluded and the world of work entered. All of these are key things that may prompt a personal giving review.

But, what about the many of us where there has not been a major change? As with a long established apple orchard, we still produce fruit even if no major changes in the shape of the tree have occurred. We still have a harvest and we need to look at what it is. We then look at how we offer part of this back to God.

We sing in the harvest hymn that all good gifts around us are sent from heaven above. We are then exhorted to ”thank the Lord, O thank the Lord, for all his love”. The tune enables us to concentrate on the word ’’all’’. When we review our giving, this year, let's concentrate on the word ‘all’ when looking at what God has given us. Our response can then reflect that giving to us.