THE Abbey celebrated Harvest last Sunday and I was reminded by a quiz question (while eating plumb crumble and custard!) that Harvest began as a bright idea by local vicar Revd Robert Hawker of Morwenstow Cornwall in 1843.

The idea connected with so many generations of farmers, labourers and local communities that it grew into the festival many of us know today.

Today, an issue on so many people’s minds is climate change and the damage done to our natural world so we decided the theme for Harvest this year would be ‘Caring for God’s World.’ Our Methodist friends helped inspire the formation of a parish environment group in the Abbey who have since worked towards us receiving the silver eco church award.

What encourages me further is the awareness and response of many in our local schools and communities. If you pass by the Abbey before next Monday you can see the pillars decorated by schools, parish groups and by one of our local eco-friendly businesses, Lemon & Jinja, all promoting environmentally friendly living and lifestyle choices.

Continuing the theme of local saints, this weekend is the Abbey’s Ethelflaeda Festival which highlights the contributions of women in the church, art, culture and history.

You are very welcome to come to a talk by Tina Beattie, writer and broadcaster on Jesus’ Grandma St. Anne on Friday 18th at 7.30pm (retiring collection).

On Sunday at 10am Revd Canon Sue Wallace will be preaching at our Sung Eucharist and in the evening we will be joined for the first time by Rt Revd Debbie Sellin, Bishop of Southampton for 6.30pm Choral Evensong.

Revd Thomas Wharton