Sermon:Harvest

Sermon – St Marys 260921 Harvest
Readings: Joel 2:21-27, Matthew 6:25-33

Have you noticed this wonderful water pump? Restored and renovated by Rob Hemmin to be part of our display today, it represents clean water fr all and enough rain to water our crops; as we explore the theme of water. Our superb flower arranging team have put lots of thought into all of these windowsills to reflect our focus on Eco church: the areas where wild flowers were planted or encouraged to grow, to help our wildlife; the pollution of our seas, oceans and rivers; and the importance of our trees and woodlands.
I want to talk about our own use of water, and to take us beyond ourselves to the Bishops Harvest appeal “Water is Life”.

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Harpenden Child Contact Centre

Without the services of Harpenden Child Contact Centre, many separated families would be unable to meet their children after a relationship breakdown.  So local volunteers were delighted to meet Hitchin and Harpenden MP, Bim Afolami, when he dropped in at one of their fortnightly sessions at All Saints’ Church Hall in Harpenden recently.

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COP21 – Repair and Reuse

Countdown to COP
Sustainable St Albans

Unless they’ve been living under a rock, it can hardly have escaped anyone’s notice that the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 is happening in Glascow in November. Locally, Sustainable St Albans is running a series of blog postings entitled “Countdown to COP” to raise awareness of how we can all do our bit to counter perhaps the greatest challenge humankind has ever faced.

Electricals and electronics constitute the fastest growing waste stream, and the carbon footprint of manufacturing replacements for all those gadgets is horrendous. Surely this isn’t good stewardship of this beautiful planet God has entrusted to us.

In the Sustainable St Albans blog this week, Philip Le Riche (All Saints’) shares his passion for fixing things, so avoiding or delaying throwing them away. You can read all about it on the Sustainable St Albans website, and maybe even get inspired to fix one or two things yourself! Or you can also listen to the interview Philip gave on Radio Verulam.

Announcing our updated parish website

Our website has been in need of refreshing for some while. This has been tricky for technical reasons, and so a complete replacement is now in place. There are likely to be errors and omissions, but in general we hope you like the feel of it.

In particular, the capacity to include less strategic documents without making the site look cluttered. This is achieved primarily by categorising and tagging pages that cannot otherwise be found through the main menu.

Key to this is the “Search” page. Please explore the categories and tags to be found in that page.

You will find some of these ephemeral documents via the “parish -> articles” menu item. This facility may I hope prove to be a way in which articles that might previously have appeared in the “Link” magazine can be given a home.

We would be very pleased to have constructive feedback, both positive or negative, as the new website in its current form does not represent a static resource, but rather a starting point from which to grow. If you wish to be able to create posts on the website please let us know using that feedback link.

Holiday at Home

“HOLIDAY AT HOME – gives an opportunity for senior members of the community to meet together, in the summer, for a day of friendship, food and fun.  An opportunity for a  day out is also given.  These days are organised and run by members of the parish.

During recent times, the event has also been held as a shortened one-day version known as “Happy Monday”

Watching and Waiting Sometimes Even Saints Doubt

Matthew 11:2-11 and John the Baptist

People are interesting.  The biggest sales for newspapers and magazines are always related to people stories.  The magazines that sell best are gossip magazines.  We love our stories about celebrities.  We especially seem to like to find out that they are different. This third Sunday in Advent we have a real pre-Christmas celebrity.  He does not figure much in the Christmas nativity, but he played a large role in the Gospels and in the life of Jesus particularly at the beginning.  Who is John the Baptist?      

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What kind of King?

Luke 23:33-43

The feast of Christ the King was instituted in the middle ages when kings and queens were the common form of rule in Europe.  It is the feast which ends the Christian calendar.  It seemed fitting to end the year with recognition of Christ’s rule and reign over all creation and over all our lives.  But what kind of king is Christ?First, we need to recognize that kingship was central to Christ’s mission. Matthew, Mark, and Luke speak with one voice in telling us that at the very beginning of his ministry, Jesus announced that the “kingdom of God” was drawing near. 

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Jeel al Amal

Jeel al Amal (“Generation of Hope”) Boys’ Home and School in Bethany

St Mary’s has held Jeel al Amal in our prayers ever since 1999, when our own Rev’d Duncan Swan led a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, during which a number of people from St Mary’s visited the Home in Bethany, in the Palestinian West Bank.   There they saw the dedication and the love that the surviving founder and her staff showed to the boys – as one of our members described it, “Christianity in action”.   They determined to continue to support the Home, and ever since, St Mary’s has held events in aid of Jeel, and our coffee money has been devoted to Jeel.  

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