The plight of so many tired and weary people travelling towards and across Europe at this present time is really quite astonishing. Many do so because they fear for their lives and seek a place of safety and refuge, others (often because of war) have found their local circumstances to be simply unbearable and so they seek a better life in ‘foreign’ places of freedom and opportunity. The travelling is hard; the risks are great and for those prepared to do so – costly. Apart from risking their lives, most people have had to leave most of their personal possessions behind and have either spent their ‘travelling money’ on food or had it stolen by people smugglers and others wanting to exploit their situation. The one thing that unites these travellers and keeps them moving is hope! The immediate hope of a place to live in safety and peace, and the future hope of a better life, greater security and opportunity both for themselves and their children. Naturally, every face tells a story, and presents a challenge to world leaders and politicians. How compassionate are we – and how charitable can we afford to be? These questions will require a great deal of wisdom, soul searching and fortitude if we are ever collectively to find positive answers.
Harvest time is a time when we in ‘the west’ can really ‘count our blessings’ and appreciate just how lucky and fortunate we are. With so many shops at our disposal and convenience, we tend to take our daily lives for granted and never really think or entertain the thought that we might not know where our next meal or morsel is coming from. How lucky we are!
That’s why we as a church would like to continue to support Send a Cow’s ‘Harvest for Life’ Appeal and encourage you to do the same. Last year we successfully raised enough money to provide several ‘Keyhole Gardens’ and this year’s appeal is to provide ‘Growing Kits’, which will enable families in Africa to become self-sufficient by giving them the tools, seeds and training to grow and harvest their own crops. Every £177 raised is enough to provide a ‘Growing Kit’ to a family. Send a Cow acknowledges that “poverty robs people of the power to choose their own path”, but their work with rural communities across Africa teaches, encourages and shows people how to get the best out of their soil and livestock, so that they can feed their families all year round. Socially, African husbands are also encouraged to see their wives as equals, appreciating that by positively working together they will be more successful at sustaining themselves and their children. Having grown enough food to feed themselves, families are able to sell the rest which improves their quality of life and allows them to send their children to school. This provides real hope and security for the future. Also Send A Cow’s ‘pass-it-on’ principle means that with every successful harvest, skills, knowledge and produce are shared with others within the community making it even more successful.
I would therefore like to encourage you this harvest to take stock of and count your blessings, and join us if you can for our special harvest service on 4th October at Necton, as we celebrate God’s goodness to each and every one of us and as we support this special appeal.
We’d also like to encourage people to bring to church ‘imperishables’ which can be brought up to the front during the service. These will subsequently be donated to the Swaffham Food Bank helping those people literally ‘on our doorstep’ who are finding it hard to make ends meet.
We very much hope you will come and we look forward to seeing you.