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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.

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