WORD FROM THE MINISTER – REV ANDREW PROUT
‘Some seed fell in good soil, and the plants sprouted, grew and produced corn: Some had thirty grains, some sixty and others a hundred’. And Jesus concluded ‘Listen then, if you have ears!’ (Mark 4: 8-9)
We look forward to our annual Harvest Celebrations at the beginning of October when we shall be reflecting on the theme ‘Deepen your roots’. This is the theme of this year’s ‘All We Can’ (The Methodist Relief and Development Agency) Harvest Appeal, which we shall be inviting people to support financially, in addition to bringing donations of food and other needed items for the local ‘FEED’ project based at Vineyard Church.
Funds from the ‘All We Can’ appeal will be used to support projects in Ethiopia where potato seeds are being provided to replace other crops less resistant to drought and climate change, and the relief effort in the Bahamas following the impact of Hurricane Dorian. In relation to Ethiopia potatoes are a particular good crop to introduce because of their deep roots, and their ability to withstand changing conditions. Please give as generously as you can to both the ‘All We Can’ appeal and the ‘FEED’ project.
Putting down roots is an essential part of the human experience, having a place we can call home. In this season of Harvest we are particularly mindful of those being uprooted from communities around the world because of the impact of war, natural disaster and changing climatic conditions. In relation to the latter, never has there been a more important time for us to consider and respond to the need to make the necessary changes, by which we can both sustain each other, and this good earth which God has given us to be our home. I therefore commend the forthcoming talk on October 23rd by Mike Berners Lee organized by ‘Churches Together in St. Albans’ (CTSA) and entitled ‘There is no Planet B’. Mike is the author of the recently published book of the same title, brother of Peter Berners Lee, convener of CTSA, and a professor in the Institute of Social Futures at Lancaster University. I can affirm, having heard Mike speak at the Greenbelt Festival in August, that he is both an accessible and intelligent speaker who has a firm grasp of the science, and sees the part we can and must all play in addressing the big environmental and ecological issues of our times.
Finally, someone who has helped root young people in the Christian Life through her long standing commitment as an officer in the Girls’ Brigade is Lesley Sanders. Appropriately, in the Harvest Service, Lesley will be presented with a signed letter of commendation and a certificate marking 50 years of service within the Brigade, both as an officer in our own company (1st St. Albans GB) and in others. It is an achievement and commitment we salute and rightly acknowledge. For when someone helps others to root their lives in Jesus Christ, a harvest is produced many times that which was sown.
We give thanks to God for the Harvest, and for Lesley, mindful of her years of faithful service and dedication. We also rejoice in the recent confirmation and receiving into membership of the Church of Angela Spriggs and Benson Stapleton, two more people by their public declaration of faith putting down roots and calling us all to do the same. At Harvest time we celebrate that God is good. Our task, as a gathered people, is through faith and faithfulness to become that place where all may truly grow and flourish, where everyone can put down roots and say ‘This is my home’.
With every blessing and harvest greetings.
Rev Andrew Prout.