Harvest Thanksgiving 2020
The restrictions due to COVID 19 made celebrating harvest in a traditional way more difficult this year but our churches came up with innovative ways of celebrating this important festival. Here are some of the ways that our churches celebrated.
Visitors were welcomed as they arrived in the car park, with a leaflet explaining the ten themes of the “Giving Thanks” event and giving them a taste of the displays depicted inside.
Thanks were given for bees and pollinators, seeds and grain, processors that make and market our food and the shops that sell it; for time to do some home baking, and time to eat out on picnics and countryside walks; time for our families and homes a place of refuge, where we could learn new crafts and new skills; time to dig in our gardens, or just sit and listen to the birds in the trees. The key work of farmers and the NHS were both depicted, and for all these things we Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart. By each theme, chosen by the creator of it, was a framed verse, psalm, reading etc.
As visitors walked slowly down the aisle looking at the displays, they were invited to stop at times deemed appropriate, to listen to either Revd. Pam Butler, Alec Needham or Mervyn Lovatt as they read a Bible verse, Psalm, poem or such like, before they then entered the school room where they could donate to ‘All We Can’ which enabled £651.00 to go to that charity.
We had a very enjoyable Covid-safe outdoor Harvest celebration on 4th October. We set up a display with a tractor and some harvest decoration outside the chapel. It was very successful and persuaded a lot of people to pass by chapel with their non-perishable food gifts for the Storehouse foodbank. We also included a collection for 'All We Can' as our normal harvest sale monies go to them. The event was well attended.
Great thanks to Revd Nic for the idea and her help in setting it up, and special thanks to Robert for his decorated tractor and Barbara for her floral art and for supplying hollyhock seedlings for those who donated. Thanks to everyone else who helped in any way. Storehouse, the food bank, collected all the donated food and were very grateful. The collection for 'All We Can' raised £155.
We had a good harvest with a service on the Saturday and one on the Sunday. A recording of the Sunday School children singing was played on the Saturday night. This was recorded at the harvest last year and is a song about people working with the earth to save the planet. Sunday school has started again and is going well. The children are enjoying practical activities including science experiments that link into Christian stories.
A drive-in service for Davenport and Brookhouse Green was held on Davenport's field on 20th September and masterminded by Revd Nic and her family, who organised, conducted and marshalled this most successfully.
As we were not able to display our usual fruit and veg or our dry goods going to the Storehouse, we did a display of fruit and veg pictures which looked very good. We placed money in envelopes for the Storehouse at Congleton which amounted to £90 which was brilliant considering we only had 12 in the congregation.
Come ye thankful people come and we came giving thanks for God’s goodness. Brian Donlon led our two services and our church was decorated with autumn flowers and gifts for the Middlewich foodbank which we had collected on the previous Sunday. This was one of the two charities we were supporting. ‘Breaking the cycle of poverty’, the ‘All We Can’ harvest appeal was our other chosen charity and we are thankful for the generous donations of £775 given at our harvest. These were placed in panniers on a bike in the church porch and then wheeled in for dedication at the appropriate time. After the service the flowers were distributed to a number of our members who have not yet been able to return to church.
This year our harvest service had to be different as a result of COVID 19, therefore, we enjoyed fellowship with each other at an outdoor service in our car park. Instead of singing as a congregation, we enjoyed listening to ourselves singing the usual harvest hymns accompanied by our organist from the service two years ago.
Our Church is normally decorated inside with lovely Harvest displays, but unfortunately this couldn't happen this year. This however, didn't stop us and so some bales of straw were placed in front of the Church and a few ladies created a wonderful display of vegetables and flowers to brighten up the front of the Church.
Then instead of having our annual auction of produce from within the Church, raising money for a local charity, we decided this year to support the local food bank at New Life Church.
At Trinity we decided that to publicise a single Harvest Festival at Trinity this year, could lead to overbooking and disappointment, so instead we held October as Harvest Month. The congregation was encouraged to bring in items required by the Storehouse, which is the food bank housed at New Life Church in Congleton. We are all aware that the need to support this cause has grown considerably over recent months and we had a fantastic response. We used the items brought in one Sunday to decorate the church the following Sunday. As the month progressed we gradually built up the display – a different Harvest for us all.
11th October, was our Harvest Service led by Revd Helen Kirk, after which a tractor and trailer had been organised to collect donations for the Storehouse Food Bank from some local estates.
A large team of us from Wellspring had delivered cards earlier in the week and set off after the service, accepting people’s bags of food etc. and it was good to work together after so long apart.