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Colyton Harvest Breakfast

Colyton’s harvest festival on Sun 15 October at 10.45 includes breakfast at 10.00. Please bring a toy tractor for the procession and/or non-perishable food for the food bank.

October 2017

“Forget Norwegian fjords and Icelandic glaciers. Some of the most breathtaking landscapes are right here under our noses.”

That was the advice of one daily newspaper last October when the UK was ablaze with its glorious Autumn colours.  And our corner of it was no exception.

The newspaper’s advice came back to me when I visited Iceland for a few days in late August.  I was impressed by the barrenness of its lunar landscape; at the unpredictability of its spurting geysers; and at the power of its waterfalls.  It was stunning.  But I couldn’t help feeling there was something missing.

Then the penny dropped.  Where were the trees?

I gathered that the early settlers had cut most of them down to create farms, and to build and heat their houses. So by the 1950s only 1% of the land had trees.  Since then, there’s been a huge national replanting programme.  But from the little I saw, the trees still seemed very few and far between.

Icelanders may have the fleeting glories of the Northern Lights, but how can you have an Autumn without trees?

The turning of the leaves from green through a myriad of vibrant hues of yellow, gold, red, and finally brown is simply a wonder and a delight.

Yet Autumn is a season of paradox.  A time of exhilarating beauty and steady decline.  The days shorten and cool.  Summer’s abundance starts to decay.  We have the inevitable ‘touch of frost’ and the trees shed their glory.

In his poem “Spring and Fall” the Jesuit Father and poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, was compelled to make up new phrases to try to express just this paradox.  And so he gives us “grieving over goldengrove unleaving” and the lying “worlds of wanwood leafmeal”. Phrases filled with wonder and sadness.

And we may grieve with Manley Hopkins as beauty goes to ground. But with the “unleaving” is so very much promise.   Seeds are being planted, and that “wanwood leafmeal” composts the earth ready for another springtime.

At the heart of the Christian faith is the promise of renewal and hope, of yet another uprising of green.  Silently and lavishly, the seeds of new life are always being sown – not only in the natural world but in each one of us.

So this October, let’s enjoy our trees in all their vibrant glory.  And as we do so, let’s celebrate that God is forever making all things new.

Anne Futcher

Axe Vale Orchestra at Colyton

Sunday 15th October at 3.00 pm, St Andrew’s Church

Entry £10 incl. tea and cake – free to students and Under 16s.

Conductor Arturo Serna, Leader Alexandra Ennis
A full programme including:
Poulenc Sonata for Flute, arr. Berkley, Soloist Jeremy White
Mozart Symphony no 31 (“Paris”)

Harvest Festivals in October

Come and celebrate with us food and farming, the gifts of the land and the bounty of the Creator this October. Festival services take place as follows:

Southleigh – Sunday 8th October at 11.15

Musbury – Sunday 8th October at 3.00

Colyford – Sunday 22nd October at 3.30

The Harvest Breakfast at Colyton is on Sunday 15th October at 10.00 with the service starting at 10.45 (see separate post)

Goose Fayre service

Colyford’s popular mediaeval Goose Fayre takes place on Saturday 30th September, and as usual the special celebration service in St Michael’s will be the next day, Sunday 1st October at 6.30 pm. This year there will also be a dedication of the lovely new organ.

‘Growing old disgracefully’

Anna Sutherland will give a talk on behalf of the Friends of St Andrew’s in the Sunday School Building on Wed 18 October at 7.30 pm.

Autumn Bible Study

Our Bible study groups are starting again: do drop in to any of the groups for a warm welcome.

The monthly Branscombe group studying Matthew’s gospel is meeting on Fridays 22 Sept, 13 Oct, 10 Nov and 8 Dec, from 2.30-4.00, phone 22303.

The Musbury group studying a psalm and the Sunday readings (phone 553180) meets fortnightly on Tuesdays 7.30-9.00, on Sept 19th, Oct 3rd, 17th, 31st, Nov 14th, 28th and Dec 12th.

The Colyton group studying a psalm and the Sunday readings (phone 551400) meets fortnightly on Thursdays 7.30-9.00, on Sept 28th, Oct 12th, 26th, Nov 9th, 23rd and Dec 7th.

Inspirations – piano and voice

In St Andrew’s on Wed 13th September at 7.30, with Henry Perry and Steph Berner.

September 2017

 Hilary writes:

As autumn draws near, so we begin a season of special celebrations.  Carnival and Harvest are particular favourites in this part of the world.  For centuries communities in every culture have marked shorter days, the steady drop in temperature and the approach of winter, with festivals which allow us to say thank you: for a safe Harvest, for families and friendship, for the summer that has passed.  Carnival processions are filled with light, a way of taking some of the light and warmth of summer into the darker days of winter.

In China families mark the Mid-Autumn festival, one of the major celebrations of the year. Dating back to the Tang dynasty, the festival draws on the symbolism of the moon, its round shape a sign of unity.  Families travel hundreds of miles to be together for dragon dancing, lantern burning and the sharing of food, notably moon cakes. The festivities encourage a spirit of thanksgiving, expressed so beautifully in the words of this ancient Chinese poem:

“May we live long and share the beauty of the moon,
even if we are hundreds of miles apart.”

In a smaller way, we have the chance to come together this Harvest time, to say thank you for one another and the beautiful part of the world we share. In Branscombe this year, our Harvest Festival will be part of the special Harvest Fair weekend, an opportunity to give thanks for our village and community life. In Colyton, we will be giving special thanks for home grown produce, for our gardeners and growers.  There will be a tractor procession for the children and the service will be preceded by a special Harvest breakfast, as we also celebrate our new-ish and popular Breakfast Service.  There will be services and food to share in Colyford, Musbury and Southleigh, and all the services will provide us with an opportunity to contribute to charity and to bring food and toiletries for our local foodbanks.

Above all we will have the chance to say thank you for the blessings in our lives, our families, friends and neighbours, and for the love of God which, as the Bible tells us, binds everything together in perfect unity.  Do come and join in Harvest services across our Mission Community in September and October– full details of times and places can be found in our magazines, and on our notice boards and this website.

Harvest at Branscombe

Branscombe’s harvest weekend takes place on Saturday 16th September with the Fair from 12-4, and on Sunday 17th September with the Harvest Festival service in church at 11.15. Lots of fun for all, and the opportunity to give thanks for the bounty of the land, our food and the people who produce it.

Carnival Songs of Praise

Colyton Carnival will soon be here, and Songs of Praise in St Andrew’s will be on Sunday 10th September at 2.30. This year we welcome Ottery Silver Band to play some of our favourite hymns.

Autumn Noah’s Ark

Our friendly playgroup for babies and toddlers continues this term and everyone is welcome. Please come along on alternate Thursdays from 1.45-3.15 at Colyford Memorial Hall. The dates are: Sep 7 and 21; Oct 5 and 19; Nov 2, 16 and 30; Dec 14.

Breakfast service 20 August

Colyton’s 3rd Sunday breakfast starts at 10 with the service at 10.30 – everyone is welcome!

August 2017

This month’s letter comes from our associate minister, Revd John Lees

Welcoming the stranger

A recent newspaper article explored how we have redefined the word ‘alien’. Today we normally mean little green men in spaceships. In the past the word meant ‘stranger’ or ‘foreigner’.

New learners of English confuse these terms, and one language guide offers a very clear definition: an alien is a technical term for a foreign national, and a stranger is somebody you don’t know yet.

Here in East Devon many people earn their living by providing a welcome to strangers, and we do it well.

I’ve often thought that in this part of the world we should invent a new Christian festival to supplement Christmas, Easter, and Harvest. We should arguably have a Festival of Hospitality, celebrating all the people who stay among us, enjoy themselves, and support the economy. It wouldn’t just be acknowledging tourism, but a celebration of welcome.

Many Bible stories tell us about welcoming people we don’t know, especially if they are in need. It’s a powerful antidote to tribalism and suspicion. This isn’t just about helping people you don’t know. It’s about fundamental trust – trusting in strangers, and encouraging them to trust that you will be a good host.

The Bible says important things about aliens – visitors, travellers, people from other cultures. Perhaps the idea is rooted in exile: ‘”So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt’. As in many cultures, offering welcome to strangers was vital. It’s a good reminder to treat people as you would hope to be treated yourself. Besides, your visitor might be an angel or (as Sarah and Abraham found) God himself visiting your tent. Sharing food with strangers is one of the most important ways getting to know them (the word companion simply means someone you break bread with).

Hospitality isn’t just about feeding and entertaining people – it’s about being generous, and being curious. Is about what we can learn from each other and seeing the world through new eyes. You may take your home town granted, but for a visitor it may be a visual treat.

As for a service celebrating hospitality – let me know what you think. In the meantime, watch out for aliens, and be prepared to offer them tea.

 

Breathing Space

This August there will again be a short series of brief, reflective, quiet services in St Andrew’s Colyton. Thursdays 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th from 6.30-7.00. All welcome.