This is the season when harvest festivals are held in many churches and schools.
It’s said that the tradition as we know it began in the Victorian era.
In 1843 the Rev Robert Hawker held a thanksgiving service for the harvest at his church at Morwenstow in Cornwall. Times have changed! Nowadays, far fewer people work on the land.
Fruit and vegetables displayed in church are far more likely to have been bought in a local supermarket than grown in a small-holding or back garden!
However, magazines and television food programmes continue to reflect enormous interest in the production, preparation, variety and quality of what we eat.
And produce is transported thousands of miles to be sold in local shops.
With such varied choice at hand, it’s all too easy to take food supplies for granted.
A harvest festival helps us to remember that meals are not simply handed to us ‘on a plate’!
The food we enjoy is the fruit of God’s creation. It links us with others around the globe. Furthermore, if harvests are to be sustained we must recognise an age-old principle – the need to care for the environment with wisdom and skill. Respect for creation and gratitude to the Creator matter!
Rev Alan Barker
Holbeach Methodist Church