It’s nearly my first anniversary of being appointed as Team Vicar for the Blackrod, Daisy Hill, Westhoughton and Wingates Team with special responsibility for St Katharine’s and St Thomas Chequerbent! Doesn’t time fly? (When you’re having fun!) The only annual event I’ve yet to experience is the Harvest Festival on the 8th October. I’ve always enjoyed Harvest even though we keep being told that it no longer has the same relevance as in former times because most of us no longer work on the land. However, I think it’s good to give thanks to God for those who do provide us with food and all the other essentials of life including electricity, gas, petrol, local services and shops, schools, hospitals and health centres, pubs, restaurants, leisure centres and so on. And in gratitude for all that God has given us, we think about those less fortunate. We pray for them and help in a practical way.
At Katharine’s the custom now is to make a contribution to a chosen charity in lieu of traditional harvest gifts. This year we are supporting the charity “Home for Good”, a Christian organisation which aims to raise awareness of the need for foster and adoptive parents and provides support and encouragement to those who step up to the challenge. We have Home for Good “Champion” Ruth Wills who herself is a foster parent and as Champion she’s available to answer questions and provide help and advice to others who may be feeling called to serve in this very special way. Jon, a speaker from the charity, will be coming to church on the 1st October to tell us more. Come ye thankful people come and support this very worthwhile cause.
We’ve also planned another very special Harvest event. On 22nd October at 3pm we are going to step back in time. Back to 1951. The Harvest Eucharist from St Katharine’s was broadcast on the radio one Sunday morning in September 1951. The Revd Austin Thorburn was the vicar at the time. The whole service was recorded on to a set of 78rpm discs and we are very grateful to Frank Speak who handed them over to us. We have had them transferred onto CD and “cleaned up” as best can be. It’s still crackly as 78rpm records are but it’s so, so amazing to think about the choir and people gathered together and being to hear the voices from the past. Frank was a young teenager at the time and sang in the choir for the harvest recording. I’m sure some of our older congregation must also have been there too. So we’ve decided to play the CD that Sunday afternoon and wallow in some nostalgia! It just makes you think of our heritage and how precious it is. You think of the faith of the people at that time and although, yes things are different now, our need of God is no different. Our church is still the “Church on the hill” as the recording calls it. It is still a visible sign of God’s presence in our community and we are still called to embody that presence where ever we go.
A year on from when I started it’s even more of a privilege to become part of the story of Blackrod and share the love of our generous Father God in our community alongside all of you.
With every blessing,