Church of England Diocese of Rochester Chiddingstone and Chiddingstone Causeway

From the Rectory - October 2021

1 Oct 2021, 12:15 a.m.
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Dear Friends,

October – the season of thanksgiving for a good harvest.  Here in the Chiddingstones, the church will celebrate our Harvest Festival in St Mary’s on Sunday 3 October, followed by a Harvest lunch made from locally sourced produce, with thanks to the owners of the Greyhound at Charcott.  And later that week, the school will celebrate its Harvest Festival.

We have so much to be thankful for at this time.  Many of us have been double-vaccinated against Covid 19, have been able to see family and friends, have food in our cupboards and homes to live in.  The crops that have been growing in the fields are now harvested and the animals have food for the winter safely stored in the barns.

Harvest thanksgiving is an historical occasion throughout the countryside in England – and throughout the world. I am reminded of the scenes in Thomas Hardy’s book, “Far from the Madding Crowd”, when all the farming community gathered together in a barn for a feast and a celebration of their successful harvest (but I’ll leave my memory there, before the subsequent fire!!).

This month is also the time when COP26 will meet in Glasgow – a critical meeting of world leaders to agree radical actions to reverse the rapid erosion of the fine balance of the climate system and its impact on the whole of the created world.  Our Forest Church in September focused on climate, and together we considered actions that we can take within our own homes and lives.  The children challenged us all to use water wisely and conserve it, to walk and cycle where possible rather than using the car, to turn off lights and use LED bulbs, and to turn off the car engine rather than idling when sitting in a queue when waiting.  What about keeping the house at 68F/20C in the winter and keeping doors closed?  The challenge for us all at the Forest Church was to set ourselves three actions to help reverse climate change and try to keep them for a month.  Every little bit helps.

So, although we are facing the challenge of the climate emergency, and we are still learning to live with Covid 19, it is good to be thankful and acknowledge how much we have in life.  The Psalmist says in Psalm 136:

“He[God] remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.
And freed us from our enemies. 
His love endures forever.
He gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.”

God bless, Bill