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”.
Please consider how you might support the mission and ministry of this parish. The church is a charity. It depends on the generosity of those who attend to keep it going and to pay for its running costs.
“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”
St Mary’s has a strong tradition of outreach beyond the district and raises and donates money to a variety of causes including the Jeel al-Amal Boys Home in Jerusalem, toys and gifts for British Humanitarian Aid, Signposts and Azalea in Luton, Canine Partners, and The Children’s Society. Fund-raising activities have brought the church and the local community together on several occasions and our hospitality has been much enjoyed by those who come. These include the Harvest Supper, the annual fete and quizzes. People often take part in the Good Friday March of Witness in the town and an annual inter-church quiz. St Mary’s has growing links with the three schools in the district (two primary and one secondary).
Pastoral care for our congregation has developed over recent years and members are very supportive of each other. A pastoral care coordinator provides a valuable link between those needing support and others in the congregation able to give it. Rotas have been arranged for those who need help with shopping or transport. A Pastoral Team of six members, who have received training, visit people in need in the community, led and overseen by the Associate Vicar. If people would like to be visited, or know of people in our neighbourhood who need some help, please contact the Associate Vicar.
Tuesday Afternoon Group (TAG) is a social activity group open to all, both from the congregation and the local community. It meets monthly, on the 2nd Tuesday, in the church hall, and usually has a visiting speaker. Afternoon tea is provided.
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.
The Parish of Harpenden Mothers’ Union (which dates from 1895) normally meets every third Wednesday of the month at 8pm and on every last Thursday of the month at 2.15pm. and is part of a International Christian Charity.
We have approximately 53 members, some of whom do not regularly attend meetings; but they each receive a bi-monthly Newsletter. Members are invited to St Albans Diocesan MU events where we learn what is happening around the Diocese and further afield. Members also receive a Diocesan magazine three times a year and also publications from our headquarters in London.
As members of the worldwide Mothers’ Union our principles are founded on the support of marriage and family life and is rooted in prayer.
We generally have a speaker for our meetings, but also we may have a Meditation or just a social gathering.
The Committee keep in touch with their particular members and see that they are well, or in need of help and/or prayer.