The Story of the Slice…..

You might have thought that ‘what did you have for breakfast?’ was a question to which the answer in a packed church might have at least included  the humble ‘toast’, but this is Itchen Valley, after all, and so ‘croissants’, ‘pain au chocolat’ and ‘granola’, were the natural responses.  Eventually, the answer ‘toast’ was prompted!

So in our All Age Service this morning we were looking at where exactly that slice of toast comes from and why we should be very thankful to God for it.

Harvest is a wonderful time of year.  It really brings out the very best, I think, in our amazing flower arrangers.  At Easton, under the direction of the amazing Penelope Kellie, the ladies spent much of Saturday getting the church ready for our All Age Harvest Festival Service.  Wonderful arrangements and a font absolutely groaning with produce.  Thank you so much to all of them for setting us ready for a service filled with worship for our Creator and Sustainer God.

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More photos of the amazing arrangements below

Our Band led by David Parker has got better and better and today, I think, surpassed itself – it’s just great to see the Duke sisters playing piano and clarinet supporting the beautiful voice of Tilly Lock and the guitar playing of David Parker and Oliver Denniss with percussion provided by Vernon Tottle.  A fantastic sense of worship this morning – and very appropriate for the incredible blessing that harvest is for us every year.

Our readers were the Cox family and they read from Genesis 1 about how God created the world, the grasses (including wheat) and humanity.  And the prayers were read by the Clapp family.

We also welcomed the newly born Benjamin Wright (who arrived in the world on Monday) – another sort of harvest – we can only guess at what he will do for the Lord’s Kingdom during his life.

But back to that slice of bread…just how does it get into that toaster?  Our little drama was performed by Ellie Rember as God, Hugo Paterson as the Farmer, Henry Turner as the Miller, Elise Duke as the Baker, Emily Brine as the Shopkeeper, and Daisy Macleod as Mother with the toaster.  The drama demonstrated how God created and sustains the world. ‘If it hadn’t been for God providing the sun and the rain to grow the wheat…there wouldn’t be any grain, flour, dough, bread, sliced loaf on the supermarket shelf etc.’  To which the congregation responded at each stage with a resounding  ‘Thank you God’.

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We then looked at how WE can SHOW God that we are thankful for his creating and sustaining the world – by our Worship (identified by our most senior attender, Mark Stent), by giving our Time (for other people – loving our neighbour) and by giving our Money to the work of the church in our community.  I referred to the Parish Giving Scheme  to which even small contributions can make a huge difference (Parish Giving Scheme web link)  I mentioned how important it is for EVERY family to make at least a small regular contribution to supporting the work of our parish in our community.

With so many props and participants, something was bound to go wrong, but this time it was not the Big Bang  through which God created the universe 13.7 billion years ago out of NOTHING – (illustrated this time by a mega party popper) rather that one digit from each of the song numbers had mysteriously fallen off the hymn board, before being put up on the wall.  So no hilarity from the triage nurse at Winchester A&E this year….

Thank you ALL so much for a totally wonderful morning in which God was WORSHIPPED and we showed, to several visitors, the strength and depth of the Christian community of Itchen Valley.

I do hope you can come to our main harvest festival service next Sunday 9th October at St John’s Itchen Abbas followed by our Harvest Lunch in Itchen Abbas village hall with entertainment for children – just think…..no preparation of lunch next Sunday and a chance to meet those with whom we are blessed to share this valley.  Contact Vanessa Rosewell for tickets…

Alex Pease

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