For the past month we have been marking ‘Creationtide’. This is a relatively new season in the church calendar, established in 2007 by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland. The season runs from 1 September 1st to October 4th, which is the feast day of St Francis of Assisi (patron saint of ecologists). During Creationtide churches are encouraged to focus on the protection of creation and the promotion of sustainable lifestyles.
The ancient festival of Harvest is a time to gather in, to garner the crops of spring, prepare for the challenges of winter and give thanks to the Creator. In all the anxieties of these times, opportunities to express gratitude are to be valued. A sense of thanksgiving is a good thing to practice – watch out for a new series of autumn meditations coming soon.
Thank you to Naomi Sutherland for her beautiful rendition of the hymn ‘Here I am, Lord‘, which you can listen to at the bottom of this page.
If you believe in the power of prayer, call it ‘collective mindfulness’. Every time you recycle something, switch off a light or turn off a tap is an opportunity to be thankful, to cherish the gifts of food, water and natural resources. You can make your own list.
The architect Norman Foster, recently expressed heartening words for city dwellers. Every century, he said, has its crises and out of every crisis comes a new city. The tall, light-filled, brick-built Georgian town houses after the Great Fire of 1666; public sanitation after cholera epidemics and Victorian public parks after tuberculosis epidemics; large leisure spaces such as department stores, cinemas and sports stadia after 1918-20 flu pandemic.
Foster’s vision for cities post-Covid-19 involves radical ecological design. Cities need people who stay put, alongside incomers and visitors, in order to shape the city that is to come.
As a community we have much to celebrate this Harvest time. We have witnessed an outpouring of neighbourliness, feats of amazing strength and courage and ingenious ways of adapting. We are learning to cherish the gifts we receive in life. As a church too we have much to celebrate (see Annual Report 2020) as we move towards the turning of the year and a new life for us all.
I am personally grateful for all the lovely messages of sadness and support I have received in this past month in response to the announcement of my retirement at the end of January.
Rev’d Julia Porter-Pryce
Vicar, St Peter De Beauvoir
On the Feast of St Francis of Assisi, it is timely to remember the famous prayer attributed to him.
Prayer of St Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life