Come ye thankful people come,
Raise the song of harvest home!
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin;
God, our Maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied:
Come to God’s own temple, come,
Raise the song of harvest home.
Some of us I know were at the Yorkshire Assembly back in May. I didn’t make it myself, but many people were impressed by the Moderator, Kevin Watson’s, address, which was later circulated by email. I think some of us may have read the paper copy of it.
As I re-read it myself this week, what Kevin has to say concerns us all. It is about change. The paper began by re-producing the introduction to the Yorkshire Assembly booklet, reflecting on the change Kevin had experienced as he re-visited childhood memories in Sunderland, and on the ecumenical bodies he’d been a part of as his time as Moderator. He asked, where is the Church in all of this, and where is our faith?
After a number of lightbulb jokes Kevin then quoted some wiser people about change. One which particularly grabbed me was from the author C. JoyBell C., “The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.”
Kevin makes the point that change is normal. Life is change. The universe is constantly changing. He reminds us that ‘…God was the initiator of that change – God spoke and it is created.’ He makes the point that change includes growing, developing, evolving, decaying and dying.
The other point is that change has been with us throughout history, and the Church has responded accordingly. Just one example he gives is of the Victorian period: chapels would appear then move on as the need moved elsewhere. They had no qualms about demolishing a building and starting again.
Kevin reflects that it seems something then happened in our Churches. He says, ‘By 1913 we had shaped the church to meet the needs of its time. It is though we then put it all into a museum like Beamish and protected it all from change.’ That is the date he gives for when church membership and attendance began to fall. That’s interesting isn’t it? Society from that date has changed out of all recognition. We can just think ourselves of how much has changed in our own life-times.
Kevin comes back to the question of faith, more specifically, Jesus. In all of how our society has become, Jesus hasn’t been needed because we have the lifestyles we want and the security we need. Now however, when we look at the world around us we can see so much ‘Lostness’. We live in a time where there are new dangers and financial insecurity.
We’re reminded of the hope Jesus offers to the Lost. The challenge Kevin felt called to bring to the Church from God to is “Come back to my Son”, to follow Him – ‘…the most amazing change that can happen in a person’s life’ – and to “Listen to him” in our journey of discipleship, which, ‘can begin to change the world around us’.
I was at the Ministers’ Gathering Kevin talks about in May where we listened to Rev’d Peggy Kabonde, General Secretary of the United Church of Zambia. She told us of the transformation her denomination had gone through from being traditional and declining to vibrant and growing, with plenty of young people. Kevin had just misheard one word of her African accent. Peggy had asked: What is Church? Who is the Church for? Who is in charge of the Church?
Kevin heard: What is Change? Who is the Change? Who is in charge of the Change?
Maybe his mishearing, Kevin reflected, was the Holy Spirit challenging us as the Church to be again, ‘God’s agent of change in the world, to transform this world into the Kingdom of Love.’ He also asks the challenging question, ‘if we are not making an impact on our communities, are we still the Church?’
That’s a question for us to ponder. As we begin looking at Holy Habits as a Church, as we seek to deepen our faith, our discipleship, how is that going to transform the world around us? How are we going to bring the presence of Jesus to those who are in so much need of Him where we live, work and worship?
I share this paragraph towards the end of Kevin’s speech: ‘Look at Jesus – think of any of the people who met him, and how their lives were changed – healed, forgiven, restored, treasured. That is what happens in the church of Jesus Christ – start expecting this, and experiencing the presence of Christ in your life, and in your fellowship and in the times of worship; start expecting to see and hear Jesus outside the Church, in the people you meet – and you will see people and communities healed, restored and treasured.’
There is a lot more in Kevin’s speech which there is just not room to write. Copies of the whole thing are available on request. For us there are things to think about, challenges, a call to open ourselves to others, maybe even to open ourselves to Christ and His message of love which brings transformation to us and the world around us.
There’s that challenge about change. To see it as a normal part of life, including in the life of the Church, is to allow ourselves and our Church to grow, to adapt, to live more fully, to witness to the transforming power and love of Jesus.
As I recently quoted in worship: ‘If you want to walk on water, you’ve got to get out of the boat’. (John Ortberg)
Love in Christ, Clare
PRAYER MEETING Our meeting this month is on Wednesday 12th. Do join us for this short time in God’s presence to pray in the quiet for those in need and for our Church, or put aside the time to pray at home. Please pray for the Pop-up event on 26th September in Freshers’ Week, for God to work through what we give out and the conversations we have.
heritage open days
SATURDAY, 15th SEPTEMBER
10am to 4pm
Tours of the building
Music in the Sanctuary
What else goes on in the week?
Please support this day!
How wise people have described CHANGE!
Change is about education
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela
“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” Albert Einstein
Change is about experience
“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colours. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky
“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.” Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein
Change starts with you
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” Barack Obama
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi
Change is here to stay
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” Lao Tzu
“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.” C. JoyBell C.
Change is liberating
“We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don’t have something better.” C. JoyBell C.
“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” George Bernard Shaw
Change is led by dissenters
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” Rob Siltanen
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
SONGS OF PRAISE – 28th October 2018
Morning worship on 28 October will have a “Songs of Praise” format. Many hymns and choral pieces are based on, or refer to, specific Bible passages, and the idea is to reflect on a selection of Bible readings through the music that these passages have inspired.
To help me construct the service, I would welcome suggestions either of music that you know to be based on a passage from scripture, or of passages you would like to be used if suitable music can be found. If you would like to say a few words explaining your own reflections on your chosen reading, that would also be most welcome.
To offer suggestions, please speak to me after morning worship, or send an email to email@example.com.
OCTOBER NEWSLETTER Please may I have all contributions for the next edition by Sunday, 16th September. Thank you.
The word ‘harvest’ comes from the Old English word hærfest meaning ‘autumn’, aptly the season for gathering the food of the land. This was a vital time of year, when success was a genuine matter of life or death. A prosperous harvest ensured that a community would be fed throughout the potentially barren winter months. It’s therefore no surprise that it was also a time steeped in superstition and, if successful, much celebration.
The church festival that is the most common harvest celebration still held today originated in Morwenstow, Cornwall in 1843, when Reverend Robert Hawker invited the parishioners of his church into his home to receive the Sacrament in “the bread of the new corn.” Whether from the Divine, the elements or the mystical, all help was gratefully received.
Harvest celebrations pre-date Christianity, but it has always been seen as a very spiritual time to give thanks for the year’s crop. Symbolic corn dolls, made out of the last sheath of the harvest, were placed on banquet tables when parishes had their huge feasts. The doll was then kept until the spring to ensure the continuation of a good crop next year. This custom began with Saxon farmers, who believed the last sheath contained the spirit of the corn. Of special importance were the last sheaves of corn left standing as it was often believed a Corn Spirit resided within them.
The word harvest normally makes us think of agriculture, but many harvest celebrations exist around the country that celebrate another type of reaping. There are about 24 festivals that give thanks for the fishing seasons. In October, in Billingsgate, London, there’s the Harvest of the Sea Thanksgiving, where fish and netting decorate the church. This has not been an easy year for our farmers, but we give grateful thanks that, even in the most difficult years, we are not likely to go hungry.
With thanks to ‘Countryfile’
Our monthly lunch will be held on Tuesday, 11th September, gathering together as usual from about 12.30pm for lunch at 1o’clock. All welcome.
ALL ARE WELCOME to an afternoon of music and fun arranged by Roger Morley. An afternoon on the piano now encompasses drums, accordion and keyboard and a friend named Keith. DO COME. The date – Tuesday, 25th September at 2.30pm and afternoon tea provided.
Sunday, 9th September: Children’s Book Service including the launch of ‘Holy Habits’. Family Barbeque – do join us after the Service. All welcome.
Saturday, 15th September: CHURCH OPEN DAY (10am to 4pm). Please support this day when we shall have music in the Sanctuary and refreshments in the Small Hall. Groups who use our premises will have tables in the Large Hall; it will be interesting to see some of the activities that go on in our absence! We have registered with ‘Heritage Open Days’ but please given this event all the publicity you can.
Sunday, 23rd September: Harvest Festival at Headingley Methodist Church, 9.30am. They will be collecting ‘larder’ items for ‘Caring for Life’.
Wednesday, 26th September: Pop-up event to support students on the ‘Otley Run’.
Sunday, 30th September: Harvest celebration with gifts of food (long-life) and money to be distributed between ‘Caring for Life’ and the Food Bank.
|Pat van Lemmen
|At Headingley Methodist Church
Please advise the relevant Elder of any notice you wish to have given on a Sunday morning. It would be helpful to send it to them by the previous Wednesday.
|FLOWERS FOR SEPTEMBER
|Dr E Cameron
|Mrs A Seaton
|Mrs S Bollon
Mrs M Brownjohn
|Mr & Mrs Madill
|At Headingley Methodist Church
|Mrs P Hood
Thank you, again, for all your help with the flowers. They are much appreciated in church and by those who receive them.
COFFEE & CONVERSATION
Come and join in the conversation over a cuppa:
Tuesday 18th September, 2pm in the Iona room
Wednesday 26th September, 7.30pm in the Iona room, depending on the timing of the Pop-up event in the car park exit.
NEWS FROM THE FOOD BANK
I should like to thank everyone who has donated food to the Food Bank recently. We are getting many more clients now and we expect numbers to rise when the new Universal Credit kicks in. We do hope we are wrong but looking at other areas who have U/C they have all seen a rise in client numbers. All our clients are really appreciative of the food and toiletries (when we have them in stock) they receive, and the help they get from our Signposters. A lot of the stories we hear from the clients are heart breaking.
The Elders agreed that Harvest goods and money donations collected on Sunday, 30th September will be shared between ‘Caring for Life’ and North and West Food Bank.
Thank you again on behalf of our Clients and Volunteers.
THE BIBLE SOCIETY
Donations of “Pennies for Bibles” have reached over £85.00 to 1st August. Anyone with pennies to spare can pass them to me on any Sunday. We send the money to the Bible Society at the end of the year and I shall let you know the total then.
A big thank you to all who support this good cause.
If you have access to the internet, I do hope you have looked at the comprehensive and attractive new website Ian Lawrie has provided for us. It must have taken many hours and is a great ‘window’ into our church life. We do thank you, Ian, for your talented work, the thought you put into it and for this new outreach. Ian provided a link to a daily devotion provided by the URC – a reading, reflection and prayer – which you can also have sent directly to you each day by going to devotions.urc.org.uk.
Have I said ‘Thanks to you, dear Lord’, as much as I know I should?
For the wonderful world we are living in, and for friends, good health, and food.
For mornings that come when the night has passed, though the darkness has no fears,
So long as I know You watch over me ‘til the dawning day appears.
Lord, when times are hard, when the world seems rough, should I bend my head and say,
‘Thank you for giving me better times’, not, ‘Take the hard times away’.
It’s realizing that You know best, when I’m thinking life is good,
So I’ll try to remember to do my best, and give thanks as I know I should.
This month marks the anniversary of Prof Ian Lawrie joining our church as organist and choirmaster twenty five years ago. Ian has contributed so much to the worship and life of our church and we thank him for his inspiration and dedication and sharing his talents and love and knowledge of music with us.
Happy Anniversary, Ian, and a big ‘Thank You’ to you and to Ingrid for her support in all you do for the church.