As we come out of the Summer Months and move into Autumn (dare I even mention the inexorable approach of Christmas?) our minds are turned towards the harvest that we’ve taken this year. Traditionally, Harvest time was a season of thanksgiving to God for the fruitfulness and bountiful harvest received over the summer months. However, in today’s modern society with Global trade, it’s fair to say that the direct impact of the Harvest has somewhat diminished on the life you and I.
In response to this, should our focus throughout the time of Harvest still be the same?
Our friends in the Church of England report that ‘Harvest Festivals’ attract some of the highest Church attendance figures throughout the year. Whilst we thank God for the fruitfulness of the previous season, we also think of other things in our lives that we can be thankful for.
Rev. Sandra Millar talks about the shifting focus of the Harvest season, rather than the traditional Victorian roots of the season, we now see Harvest taking on more of a social and environmental concern. Many Churches see great results using this as an opportunity to connect with their local community through the Foodbank or other outreach activities, particularly with local schools and community centres. Events encouraging social interaction and an awareness of Stewardship can be great placed during this season.
Harvest can also be a great opportunity for the Church to reach out to families and visitors who’ve previously engaged with yourself, but for one reason or another, drifted apart. Maybe you use this time as an opportunity to reach out and invite people to a ‘Thanksgiving Service’.
If you often host weddings or funerals in your Church, chances are people have come into contact with you, but then you’ve not heard from them or seen them again following their event. Why not drop them an invite to a special service. What’s the worst that could happen?