Last Friday I welcomed Stonham Aspal School into church for the school harvest service; 200 children and their teachers. It was a joyful time. From paintings of ‘my favourite food’ to researching ‘harvests around the world’, they had clearly been busy in the first 4 weeks of term.
From the Crowfield Flower Festival in late August to Coddenham’s harvest thanksgiving in mid-October, we enjoy no fewer than 13 festival occasions across our 8 churches. We are treated to enthusiastic presentations of children’s handiwork; majestic, floral decorations; musical offerings and, across our harvest services, gifts of food and other essentials to be distributed to those in need. Each festive event is a testimony to the skill and generosity of many who give of their time, talents and money to make it all possible.
This year I have been aware of another dimension; one we all too often take for granted. When Stonham Aspal school came into church on Friday it was the first time that the whole school community had been able to assemble together in this way for 18 months. COVID constraints still limit what they can do on their own site. Creeting St Mary school have also been able to use their church for collective worship; their site is not large enough either.
Our church buildings are much more than just places to meet for Sunday worship, important though that is. They are built to proclaim the presence and glory of God in the community. They are places for prayer and quiet reflection, places to share our talents and brighten up the day, places for the community to come together in good times and in bad. All of them have been doing this for centuries. They take a lot of work; much of it unseen. So, to the many words of thanks offered in this Harvest Thanksgiving season; let me add my own Thank You to everyone whose time, talents, money and hard work help keep our church buildings serving our communities.
Rev Philip Payne
The Notice Sheet for 10 October 2021 can be found here