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Rector's View - October 2008

Dear friends,

This is very much a time of new beginnings for us. A new ministry for me; a new home and local community for me and my family; and a new chapter in the life of this benefice.

Even "before the beginning", many months of preparation took place. I would like to express special thanks to those in all seven parishes involved in the planning and preparation for their hard work, their care and consideration, and their friendship during that time.

What a wonderfully uplifting beginning we had at my Institution and Induction, packed out by well over two hundred people. Very many thanks to everyone who contributed to making the evening such a memorable one. Again, the preparations were thorough and lovingly made. The involvement of people, including children, in the service was deeply meaningful; the music was inspiring; and, most especially there was so much warmth, encouragement and affirmation filling the church.

My wife and I already feel at home here and we feel sure that our sense of belonging will continue to grow. Thank you most sincerely for your welcome. I am very much looking forward to my ministry here and to getting to know you all.

Such a deep sense of thankfulness leads me to write next about Harvest. Surrounded by such glorious countryside it seems natural for our hearts to be lifted to praise The Creator for His creation. For when we are aware of God's goodness and bounty we should be moved to an attitude of deep thankfulness for all that God has done for us and for all that He has given us. If we cease to give thanks then we take God's gifts for granted - and what a perilous spiritual condition that is.

Harvest thanksgiving is so vitally important, as we thank God for all His good gifts for us to enjoy, in their great variety and richness. If harvest thanksgiving has lost some of its meaning, perhaps this is because society is more inclined to think that it is independent of God. We are taught as children that it is polite to say "thank you" when we are given something, but does it occur to us to be thankful when we buy something? We remember to thank the person who served us - but does our thankfulness end there? We do well to remember that if it weren't for God's goodness there would be no food in the shops to buy!

Since Christianity first came to these islands, Christian farmers have been aware of the partnership between God and His people. For it is God who provides the resources of nature, and those who labour who enable us to enjoy those resources by supplying our needs. There is a very great wisdom involved in understanding God's laws and in co-operating with His wise ordering of the world. Climate change is one of the stark consequences of failing to do so.

An attitude of humble thankfulness leads naturally to a thoughtful generosity. It is the generous Christian spirit, which inspired by God, seeks to share an abundance of good things with those who are not so fortunate.

Whether you have just celebrated Harvest, or whether you're just about to, let us each and every day humbly come before God, recognizing our total dependence upon Him and our inter-dependence on each other. Let our prayer be for food for the body, food for the family of humankind, and food for the spirit, and let us give thanks to God for His abundant gifts.

Stephen

Rev'd Stephen Abbott

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Last Modified Wednesday 25 May 2011