September is the start of the new school year. It is a time of change and upheaval for many young people. September may be the start of something different for many other people too because along with Churches across the country we will be holding an Alpha course beginning this month. The Alpha course will start with a lunch at 1pm on Thursday 12th September at Garlands, 12 West End, Northwold. Alpha is an opportunity to explore the meaning of life. Alpha is a practical introduction to the Christian faith. There is a theme for each week which gives each meeting a focus but Alpha's strength lies in the way it helps everyone on the course to explore their big questions within a caring environment. If you are interested you can just turn up but it would be helpful if you let me know so I can make sure we prepare enough food. There will be a creche provided but again if you are likely to be bringing a small child with you, please let me know so that we have sufficient helpers available.
September is also Harvest time. A time to make a point of celebrating the food we tend to take for granted at other times. Harvest is a time to thank the Creator God for providing such a fruitful earth. As we give thanks and celebrate we need to remember that the earth belongs not to us but to God. We can work the land but it never truly belongs to any of us. As we remember that the earth is a gift we should remember to be generous as God is generous to us. With generosity in mind this year a focus of our Harvest celebrations will be on the work of the charity "Harvest Help." Harvest Help provides practical support to rural communities in Africa, helping them to improve their livelihoods through sustainable farming and increased self-reliance. There are over 20,000 of the worlds poorest people that already benefit from their sustainable farming programme. Harvest Help also helps farmers to set up local self help groups, organise local seed production, provides practical training and helps support local business initiatives through providing small start up loans.
The New Testament Letter of St. James states that, "Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." (James 2:17 NIV) By supporting Harvest Help the church here in these villages is seeking to act on its faith that all people are created in the image of God and that He loves them where ever they may happen to live.
"Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do." (James 2:18 NIV)
God bless you,
Revd Nigel Tuffnell