At Saint Faith's and Saint Mary's, Sunday 2nd October, 2005, was celebrated as Harvest Festival Sunday - but with the emphasis on the needs of the world. Instead of harvest gifts of flowers, fruit and food, the congregation offered gifts of money to support the Christian Aid campaign to help the people of Bangladesh to grow and harvest food for their own great needs.

Part of the Order of  Service Is reproduced below: some of the material was provided by Christian Aid, and the address, given by Mrs Kathleen Zimak, also focussed on the world-wide harvest and our part in making it grow.

Prayer for use during this week:

Creator God, you made the goodness of the land, the riches of the sea and the rhythm of the seasons; as we thank you for the harvest, may we cherish and respect this planet and its peoples, through Jesus Christ our Lord.   Amen.

Some reflections from the Christian Aid website:

Indeed, what time is there when a man is so ready, careful and watchful as at the time of prayer?
St. Isaac the Syrian
The hope of a secure and liveable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.
Martin Luther King Jr., from "Strength to Love", 1963
Just as the wave cannot exist for itself, but is ever a part of the heaving surface of the ocean, so must I never live my life for itself, but always in the experience which is going on around me.
Albert Schweitzer, surgeon and Nobel Peace Prize winner for the year 1952
Caring can be learned by all human beings, can be worked into the design of every life, meeting an individual need as well as a pervasive need in society.
Mary Catherine Bateson, writer, cultural anthropologist and Professor Emerita at George Mason University 


Today we thank God for the Harvest and for all the good things created by Him.

We also think of those less fortunate than ourselves and pray today for the work of Christian Aid seeking to bring relief to the needy people Bangladesh.

We plough the fields, and scatter
the good seed on the land,
but it is fed and watered
by God's almighty hand:
he sends the snow in winter,
the warmth to swell the grain,
the breezes, and the sunshine,
and soft, refreshing rain.

All good gifts around us
are sent from heaven above;
then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord,
for all his love.

He only is the maker
of all things near and far;
he paints the wayside flower,
he lights the evening star;
the winds and waves obey him,
by him the birds are fed;
much more to us, his children,
he gives our daily bread.

All good gifts...

We thank thee then, O Father,
for all things bright and good,
the seed-time and the harvest,
our life, our health, our food.
Accept the gifts we offer
for all thy love imparts,
and, what thou most desirest,
our humble thankful hearts.
All good gifts...

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
We come to worship God and to thank him for all his gifts.
But first we say sorry for our sins and for the times when we fail to share our bread with the hungry.
God our Father, we are sorry
for the times when we have used your gifts carelessly,
and acted ungratefully.
Hear our prayer, and in your mercy:
forgive us and help us.
We enjoy the fruits of the harvest,
but sometimes forget that you have given them to us.
Father, in your mercy:
forgive us and help us.
We belong to a people who are full and satisfied,
but ignore the cry of the hungry.
Father, in your mercy:
forgive us and help us.
We are thoughtless,
and do not care enough for the world you have made.
Father, in your mercy:
forgive us and help us.

We store up goods for ourselves alone,
as if there were no God and no heaven.
Father, in your mercy:
forgive us and help us.
+ May God our Father forgive us our sins,           
and bring us to the fellowship of his table
with his saints for ever.  Amen.  
Eternal God, you crown the year with your goodness and you give us the fruits of the earth in their season: grant that we may use them to your glory, for the relief of those in need and for our own well-being; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

But be doers of the word and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror. For they look at themselves and on going away immediately forget what they were like. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. What good is it my brothers and sisters if you say that you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace: keep warm and eat your fill' and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself if it has no works is dead.

Praise God for the harvest of orchard and field,
Praise God for the people who gather their yield,
The long hours of labour, the skills of a team,
The patience of science, the power of machine.
Praise God for the harvest that comes from afar,
From market and harbour, the sea and the shore:
Foods packed and transported, and gathered and grown
By God-given neighbours, unseen and unknown.
Praise God for the harvest that’s quarried and mined,
Then sifted, and smelted, or shaped and refined;
For oil and for iron, for copper and coal,
Praise God, who in love has provided them all.
Praise God for the harvest of science and skill,
The urge to discover, create and fulfil;
For dreams and inventions that promise to gain
A future more hopeful, a world more humane.
Praise God for the harvest of mercy and love
From leaders and peoples who struggle and serve
For patience and kindness, that all may be led
To freedom and justice, and all may be fed.  


Jesus began to teach them many things in parables and in his teaching he said to them,
 Now it happened that, as he sowed, some of the seed fell on the edge of the path, and the birds came and ate it up.  Some seed fell on rocky ground where it found little soil and at once sprang up, because there was no depth of earth; and when the sun came up it was scorched and, not having any roots, it withered away.  Some seed fell into thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it produced no crop.
He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like.  A man scatters seed on the land.  Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know.  Of its own accord the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.  And when the crop is ready, at once he starts to reap because the harvest has come. He also said, ‘What can we say that the kingdom is like?  What parable can we find for it?  It is like a mustard seed which, at the time of its sowing, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth.  Yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade.
Come, ye thankful people, come,
raise the song of harvest-home!
All be 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!

We ourselves are God's own field,
fruit unto his praise to yield;
wheat and tares together sown,
unto joy or sorrow grown;
first the blade and then the ear,
then the full corn shall appear:
grant, O harvest Lord, that we
wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come,
and shall take his harvest home;
from his field shall purge away
all that doth offend, that day;
give his angels charge at last
in the fire the tares to cast,
but the fruitful ears to store
in his garner evermore.

Then, thou Church triumphant, come,
raise the song of harvest-home;
all be safely gathered in,
free from sorrow, free from sin,
there for ever purified
in God's garner to abide:
come, ten thousand angels, come,
raise the glorious harvest-home!  
Source of all life, the heaven and earth are yours, yet you have given us dominion over all things. Receive these symbols of our labour and love which we offer you this day; in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty God, good Father to us all, Your face is turned towards your world.
In love you gave us Jesus your Son To rescue us from sin and death.
Your Word goes out to call us home to the city where angels sing your praise.
We join with them in heaven's song, saying together:
Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
Father of all, we give you thanks for every gift that comes from heaven. To the darkness Jesus came as your light.
With signs of faith and words of hope he touched untouchables with love and washed the guilty clean.
This is his story.
This is our song. Hosanna in the highest.
The crowds came out to see your Son, yet at the end they turned on him.
On the night he was betrayed he came to table with his friends to celebrate the freedom of your people.
This is his story.
This is our song. Hosanna in the highest.
Jesus blessed you, Father, for the food, He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and said:
This is my body, given for you all. Jesus then gave thanks for the wine, took the cup, gave it and said:
This is my blood, shed for you all for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in remembrance of me.
This is our story.
This is our song. Hosanna in the highest.
Therefore, Father, with this bread and this cup
We celebrate the cross On which he died to set us free.
Defying death he rose again and is alive with you to plead for us and all the world.
This is our story.
This is our song. Hosanna in the highest.
Send your Spirit upon us now that by these gifts + we may feed on Christ: with opened eyes and hearts on fire.
May we and all who share this food Offer ourselves to live for you
And be welcomed at your feast in heaven
Where, with the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Faith and all the Saints
All creation worships you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
+ Blessing and honour and glory and power
Be yours for ever and ever. Amen.


Our Father in heaven,
You who give us our bread today,
turn our eyes and hearts
towards all those who in this world
have neither bread, nor home,
nor justice, nor hope.
Forgive us our offences,
and especially
our insatiable desire for things.
We lack nothing
While our brothers and sisters lack everything.
Help us live simply,
to conquer our imagined needs
and our exaggerated expenses,
in order to be able to share
and to love more.
It is by this that we will be
brothers and sisters,
that we will work with you,
that your kingdom will come
on earth as it is in heaven,
and that your will be done in the world. Amen.

Praise and thanksgiving Father, we offer,
For all things living Thou madest good:
Harvest of sown fields, Fruits of the orchard,
Hay from the mown fields, Blossom and wood.
Bless thou the labour We bring to serve thee,
That with our neighbour We may be fed.
Sowing or tilling We would work with thee;
Harvesting, milling, For daily bread.
Father, providing Food for thy children,
Thy wisdom guiding Teaches us share
One with another, So that rejoicing,
Sisters and brothers May know thy care.
Then will thy blessing reach every people;
All lands confessing Thy gracious hand.
Where thy will reigneth No one will hunger:
Thy love sustaineth, Fruitful the earth.

Lord of the harvest, with joy we have offered thanksgiving for your love in creation
and have shared in the bread and the wine of the kingdom:
by your grace plant within us a reverence for all that you give us
and make us generous and wise stewards of the good things we enjoy;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen
Let us sing the God of glory who has set the stars in place,
With the planets in their courses as they cross the heaven’s face,
And the constellations shining to the boundaries of space, our God whose Name is love!
Glory, glory, alleluia, Glory, glory, alleluia,
Glory, glory, alleluia, Our God whose Name is love!
Let us sing the God of beauty in the mountains and the seas,
All the colours of the rainbow and the tracery of trees,
In the thunder of the breakers and the whisper of the breeze,
Our God whose Name is love!
Let us sing the God of bounty for a fruitful earth and fair,
Who provides for us in plenty so that all may have a share,
And who loves his human family and has us in his care,
Our God whose name is love!
Let us sing the Saviour Jesus as he makes the Father known,
Let us hear his Spirit’s call to us to come and be his own,
And to worship him in glory on his everlasting throne,
Our God whose name is love.

May God, who feeds the whole human family with his goodness,
give you joyful hearts which sing his praise;
nd the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, + and the Holy Spirit,
be among you, and remain with you always. Amen.