AS WE enter November, so our memories of summer fade, and we turn to autumn proper, with Bonfire night and Remembrance Sunday. We have just left October behind, the month for Harvest Festivals. The harvest was always brought in right at the very end of the summer (hence the August school holidays), and offers a time to stop and give thanks for all we receive.
This Harvest-tide I have been saying goodbye to the three churches of Caversham, Thameside and Mapledurham parish, namely St John’s, where I started, St Peter’s and St Margaret’s, for which I had oversight. I have had a fantastic four years plus in this Caversham parish. As I move to pastures new in the Hambleden Valley, just beyond Henley, I know I will miss all the folk I have met during my time ministering here. You are a wonderful community.
As I give thanks for you, so you can all give thanks for one another. It is a vibrant place to live, and much is going on. Harvest Festivals offer perfect opportunities to count your blessings, and Caversham has so many. Don’t take each other for granted, but value one another, your history and your community ties, your churches and your charities, your sports and your arts.
I received a warm welcome as I arrived and a sincere send-off as I leave. May that Caversham hospitality continue. As God has blessed the town with peace and prosperity, so I pray that you will go on being generous with your time, your money and your talents, helping those around you, volunteering, giving to and sustaining so many worthy causes and community groups.
But may I urge us all, as we are warned in Deuteronomy, ‘When you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses and live in them… your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold is multiplied, then do not exalt yourself, forgetting the LORD your God…’ Let’s make space to thank our Creator God. Whether in church or not, we remind ourselves we enter the world with nothing, and leave it with nothing. We thank Him for what He has given us in the present. Let’s never take it for granted! Thank you.
Rev Andrew Storch
Curate, Caversham Thameside and Mapledurham Parish