Tom Writes..

November 2017

Tom writes...Rev. Tom Ringland

We celebrate Harvest on October 1st in a special all age service at 10.30 am which will also include a teddy bears’ picnic and a picnic lunch to follow.
At the same time we will have the chance to contribute to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Mustard Seed Appeal.
Justin Welby has from the beginning of his role focussed on the large sections of our communities with money issues.
•We learn that 2 people in 5 have less than £100 in savings.
•We learn that 8 million are struggling with debt and 
•We learn that 83 % do not get the advice and support they need.

The Bible stories that celebrate harvest at the same time encourage a just distribution of the world’s resources, and consideration with those who have least. 
Farmers were encouraged to leave the corners of their fields for the ‘alien the fatherless and the widow’ to glean. They were to do the same with their vineyards and olive trees – not beating the tree a second time – (See for example Deuteronomy 24:19-22).
Jesus told the story of a man faced with the problem of surplus food who is judged by God for building bigger barns to store the surplus rather than use it as an opportunity for generosity (Luke 12:16-21).
The Mustard Seed Appeal provides funds for debt advice services through the church that all too often are being cut in this age of austerity. Debt advice, help with budgeting and information about affordable loans and opportunities to save is transforming lives. 
An example is the story of Hayley, abandoned with her young son by her husband who left large debts including unpaid utility bills in her name. She was ashamed to leave the house until a friend told her of free community debt advice at a local church. She later said, ‘my debt advisor was amazing. It was like a big weight lifted to know you’ve got that support…’
The appeal helps fund the Just Finance Foundation which also challenges unfair practices of exploitative high cost lenders and the ‘poverty premium’ by which poor households pay more than the rest of us for essential goods and services.
There will be further information and the opportunity to give at the back of the church over the harvest period.