2020 has been such a strange year. Autumn has arrived, yet in some ways the year never seems to have got started. I feel I am still living with so many uncertainties and trying to make plans on the constantly shifting sands of guidance and advice based on ever-evolving Covid realities. We are all learners in this, and pioneers too as we discover new ways of being church. Tiredness and fatigue are very natural too and sometimes the weight of it all can press very heavily. I’m so encouraged by the prayerful determination in our churches to be people of hope, even in the darkest times.
Traditionally we celebrate Harvest at this time. It’s been a tough year for farmers, with heatwaves, droughts and floods. Sowing seed in a wet winter was almost impossible, and many grain harvests have been poor. Nevertheless, lorries and trailers filled with bales of straw and hay are testimony to the resilience and grit of our farmers, who just had to ‘carry on carrying on’, pandemic or not. I salute all those who work on the land, who produce our food and tend our environment. Brexit will affect them all, though it’s still not clear how. They deserve our traditional harvest thanks and prayers.
We give thanks too for the harvest of Kingdom Values that have been so evident in parishes up and down our diocese this year, for every glimpse of love, every act of compassion, every shout for justice and every step into freedom.
May the Lord of the world, the Lord of the harvest, bless you and keep you. One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Rt Revd Martin Gorick
The Bishop of Dudley