Harvest Time

Throughout late September and in to October it’s common for churches to celebrate their
Harvest Festivals. We have ours on 12th October and it will be a time of great celebration.
We thank God for the gifts of the harvest and for the work of those who have gathered it in.
Of course in reality, many of us in suburban and urban contexts do not witness this harvest.
We do not plough the fields or scatter and there can so easily develop a disconnect between
the growing of food and the consuming of it.
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We are here to help people love and worship God.
We aim to be, and encourage others to become, committed and active disciples of Jesus, who
love God and worship him, who know the power of the Holy Spirit and who show God’s love
in every part of their lives.
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Prayer for the Month
First Thoughts - The Vicar's Letter
Below you will find extracts from this month's Parish Magazine
First Words...,  A Prayer for the Month & A Thought for the Month
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The Collect for Harvest Festival

Eternal God,
you crown the year with your goodness
and you give us the fruits of the earth in their season:
grant that we may use them to your glory,
for the relief of those in need and for our own well-being;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
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First Words...
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  • First Words, Prayer for the Month and First Thoughts have been updated for
    October - see below
  • Read Bishop Steven's letter for October - Bishop's Letter.
  • New Forthcoming Event Emley Brass Band Concert - Forthcoming Events
  • New Page - 6 Faces in a Wall - St. Mary’s link with local sculptor Andrew Vickers
    AKA Stoneface
  • The October issue of the Parish Magazine is available On-Line.
  • Have a look at some interesting and thought provoking videos - Viral Videos
  • The  Diary and Rotas  page now has on-line features and will always be 'up-to-date'
  • Don't forget to check the Weekly Notices for service times and the latest news.
  • Listen Again - Listen again to recently recorded Sunday sermons including; Easter,
    Palm Sunday, The Lenten Reflections etc.
  • Free Wi-Fi available in church for those who need to be 'connected'
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  • Harvest Festival - This year we our celebrating out Harvest Festival on Sunday 12th
    October. Come along to our 10.00 am Service.

  • Full Time Christians - One of the themes this autumn will be to look how we are
    called to be “full time Christians”. This is about deepening our relationships with Christ
    and also our commitment to him in time and activity.

  • The Glass Is Half Full - The declining number of stipendiary (paid) clergy is bringing
    a challenge to the churches. Challenge can elicit either a positive or a negative
    response. Let’s make sure that our glasses are half full rather than half empty. I have
    seen some fantastic examples of people in Ecclesfield coming forward with ideas and
    initiatives to grow the Church and long may it continue.

                                                                                 Daniel Hartley
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The problem is partly one of proximity. The large population centres of the UK are, by
definition, urban. They are removed from the areas of food production. These urban centres
are also hubs of information that contain the media outlets of our country. The BBC may
have moved some of its operations to Salford, but that represents a shift from one urban area
to another.
This Harvest Festival I will be challenging the Church in Ecclesfield to focus on rural matters.
To ask where our food comes from and how we can support our farmers in the present and
the future. If we are to find meaning in our Harvest Festivals then they need to be more than
a romanticised nod to the past. They need to focus on what it means to manage the land and
to produce food that feeds a population.

         Daniel Hartley
Does this matter? Well I would say that it does. It all too easily leads us to know the cost of
food but not the value of it. The value of food is to be found in a deep appreciation of the way
in which it is produced and the challenges faced by those who engage in this production. The
buying power of supermarkets may drive down the cost of food, but does it potentially rob
food of value? If all we are to look out for is cost then who will look out for those whose
margins are continually squeezed by our obsession with a bargain.
Many of us in Sheffield will know of the pitfalls of urban living. We are aware of the work
with the homeless that goes on. We are aware of the food banks and of many other strands
of urban deprivation. But do we know anything of the challenges facing rural communities
and the rural economy?