Sunday 30 August Virtual Service Hello everyone.

Today is the Sunday nearest 1 September, St Giles Day. Last year St Giles Day fell on a Sunday so we really had to do something. We were outside for the second half of our worship. You might remember the strong headwind coming at us from across the fields or the blinder of a sermon from Ben Rhodes, the head of chaplaincy in the Leeds Teaching Hospitals. 

This Sunday according to my Church diary is the first Sunday on which we can celebrate Harvest. You may remember what we got up to last year. We had a magnificent Harvest lunch in our Church hall. As documented by our photographer in residence Bill Cunliffe. I managed to make room for three different kind of fruit pie before going into the Church to take a private baptism. The lengths I go to to get out of the washing up.

The Harvest festival and the patronal festival are some of the things that this village Church is really good at. Both tried and tested things and new things. Normally we can play to our strengths, the things which celebrate community which this Church does well. This year we can’t play to our strengths: both our patronal festival and our harvest festival celebrations will be subdued and muted affairs this year. 

Normally a patronal festival and a harvest festival make for great mission opportunities, when we get a full Church and we try to be at our best, to invite people in and say “this is us”. Usually a festival celebration is an opportunity to say “Why not join the family”. We aren’t a perfect family, which family is? But we are outgoing, we are interested in people. And we are here for you whenever you need us. But this year we can do none of that. Its frustrating. 

Our virtual service for the past four months, or 125 days if like me you are still counting, has been our celebration of being a community, week by week. It is our shop window as a Church. At Easter and Pentecost you may recall we pulled out a few stops, even if these were only virtual stops. Again we say, “This is us. Come and join in”. And so thank you for clicking on the link, thank you for watching, and being with us.

I will use the collect for St Giles’s Day as our opening prayer.
O Lord, by whose grace the blessed abbot Giles, enkindled with the fire of your love, became a burning and shining light in your Church: grant that we may be inflamed with the same spirit of discipline and love, and ever walk before you as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

We continue our service with our opening hymn “Fill your hearts with joy and gladness”

        St Giles of Tours, c650-c710, was a hermit and Abbot.  He is the patron saint of cripples, lepers and outcasts.        

Last Wednesday we took down our first collection of clothes and other goods to the Mercure Hotel for our asylum seeking neighbours.  Thank you so much for all you have donated.  We are still collecting!  The need is still there, so please continue to support us and them.
Virtual Service 30 August