Leafing through Holy Trinity’s oldest Bible (1793), I came across a scrap of paper with a notice from Revd.Thomas Wilson about a special service of thanksgiving for the harvest to be held at 11 am on a Monday, St Michael and All Angels (so, 29 Sept., thus in 1873 ).
Wilson said: “When we consider how much better the ingathering of the crops has proved than was at one time expected, and how much the welfare and comfort of all classes for the winter, especially of the poor, depend upon an abundant supply of food, I doubt not you will recognise the propriety of the proposed service.”
It reminded me how insulated we are from the vagaries of weather and harvest (I like that word ‘ingathering’). When my attempts at growing vegetables fail miserably, as they often have, I don’t need to experience the dread of a hungry winter and empty storecupboards, because there is a supermarket down the road.
But how dependent should we be on uncertain international trade, with its heavy carbon footprint? Should we all be ‘growing our own’ for moral, if not economic reasons?
But then, how does this square with supporting Fairtrade producers overseas?
And why on earth did Wilson announce that the offertory at the end of the Harvest Thanksgiving – during a workday Monday morning – would be for the ‘Educational Fund of the Scottish Episcopal Church Society’?