Week commencing Sunday 27th September

Devotional Materials. Week Commencing Sunday 27th September 2020

Today is Harvest Sunday and this year I am using Operation Agri’s resource materials as I usually do at Harvest. Please visit www.operationagri.org.uk for further resources including DVD presentations of the work.

Operation Agri is a Christian charity run mainly by volunteers. We currently support projects in ten countries, run by Christian led partners, including Emmanuel International in Tanzania. We help bring lasting change to struggling communities, showing Christian love in action.

 

Call to worship

The land has yielded its harvest: ‘God our own God has blessed us’ Psalm 67:6

Give and it will be given to you-a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over. Luke 6:38

Hymn

 

1 We plough the fields and scatter
the good seed on the land,
but it is fed and watered
by God's almighty hand;
he sends the snow in winter,
the warmth to swell the grain,
the breezes and the sunshine
and soft refreshing rain.
All good gifts around us
are sent from heaven above,
then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord
for all his love.

2 He only is the maker
of all things near and far;
he paints the wayside flower,
he lights the evening star;
the wind and waves obey him,
by him the birds are fed;
much more to us his children,
he gives our daily bread.
All good gifts...

3 We thank you, then, O Father,
for all things bright and good,
the seed-time and the harvest,
our life, our health, our food:
accept the gifts we offer
for all your love imparts;
and that which you most welcome,
our humble, thankful hearts.
All good gifts...

 

 

Words: after Matthias Claudius, Jane Campbell

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=du-5yPKfSRc

 

Reading. Proverbs 6:6-11

Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander, no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.

How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—
11 and poverty will come on you like a thiefand scarcity like an armed man.

 

Talk

 

Tanzania is a country of contrasts. Snow-peaked Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa, but there are also tropical beaches, green rolling hills and wildlife national parks, such as the Serengeti, popular with tourists. Over 100 languages are spoken but Swahili is the unifying national tongue and English is also used.

Tanzania is over three times the area of UK, and about 80% of people depend on agriculture, with two-thirds living below the poverty line, many of whom are malnourished. Women do much of the farm work, but may have little control of finance and often have lower status than men.

History: Formerly German East Africa, the country became Tanganyika, under British Mandate, after the First World War. Independence came in 1961, and soon it joined Zanzibar Island, to become Tanzania. President Julius Nyrere introduced ‘Ujamaa’ – African socialism, making progress on education and healthcare, but the aim of collective farms failed. It was a one-party state until 1992 when multi-party elections were allowed.

About 40% of the population are Christian and 20% have traditional beliefs, often mixed together. The Muslim 35% are mainly on the coast and in commercial centres. Tanzania has been a mainly peaceful country, without the conflicts that have affected other African nations, but it only ranks at 159 out of 189 on the UN’s Human Development Index, and faces many challenges

 

The Imarika Project is led by Emmanuel International linking with the Anglican Diocese in the Iringa Region in central Tanzania. IMARIKA in Swahili means ‘to be strengthened’ and is also an acronym for ‘imarisha mazingira, riziki, na kanisa’, meaning ‘to strengthen environment, livelihoods, and the church’.

The project aims to improve the lives of subsistence farming families through mobilising churches to work with the community.

The work was developed with the help of Emmanuel International workers from overseas, and is now run by local Tanzanian project staff.

It currently operates in 9 villages, and there are plans to expand to 15. Some villages suffer a lack of rain compared with those in the hills. All are concerned at changing weather patterns, and loss of tree cover.

Imarika groups are encouraged to:

• Start village community banks (VICOBA) for savings and loans

• Set up tree nurseries to plant trees for timber, fruit and to fertilise crops

• Adopt new methods of conservation agriculture, to maintain moisture and fertility in the soil

• Learn to make fuel-efficient stoves, or to keep poultry, or have beehives.

Operation Agri has been supporting this work for four years, and trustee Jane Hanger with her husband Ralph have visited and seen the work first hand. Jane says: ‘To build up trust between the trainers and each group was important. It gave the groups confidence to participate fully – evident in the enthusiasm the groups had for the project.’ The IMARIKA project Time for Trees! Tanzania Please note: Gifts to OA’s annual appeal also support other projects as well as Imarika in Tanzania.

 

Story of life in a village

‘Wake up Daniel, the cock’s crowing’ called Sarah. ‘It’s still dark,’ complained Daniel.

‘The sun’s coming up,’ said Sarah. ‘I’m off to the pump to fetch water and then find wood to cook breakfast. Remember mother told you not to forget the goats.’

Daniel, grumbling, cleaned out and fed the goats, then put on his school uniform. There was a lot to do before breakfast. But at least the Imarika group had helped them make a clay stove to use less wood and cook faster.

Daniel hoped the seedling fruit trees they’d planted would soon bear fruit: papaya and mango. If some fruit wasn’t good enough to sell, then maybe they could eat it.

They walked an hour to school. Sarah was glad they now had better shoes. Mum got them with money saved in the Village Community Bank, after a good harvest – thanks to the Imarika training on growing crops.

They crowded into school, with their friends. There were few text books, so they recited what the teacher read out, to memorise it. Daniel wanted to pass exams to go to secondary school. If he succeeded, lessons would be harder: in English, instead of Swahili.

After school, he met friends for football. Their home-made ball had collapsed, so they fixed it with string. Then they went to church for the children’s choir, practising for Sunday. Daniel loved playing the drum, and Sarah enjoyed songs with actions.

 

What does it cost?

Here are examples of project costs:

• £10: bean seeds that fertilise the soil • £20: ten grafted fruit-tree seedlings

• £15: five chickens • £35: a beehive

• £40: tree nursery equipment and training

If you wish to give towards this project please send your donation to

Operation Agri, 361 Firs lane, Palmer’s Green, London, N13 5LX (Tel. 020 8803 0113).

Email: admin@operationagri.org.uk. Website www.operationagri.org.uk

 

The importance of trees in our physical and spiritual lives. Ralph Hanger.

(Ralph has visited the Imarika project with his wife Jane who is an OA trustee.)

Question: What is it that?

Was critical in mankind’s relationship with God in the Garden of Eden, (Genesis 2:9 and 15–17) 

Is also found lining streets in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:1–2?)

Is used as a picture of a person blessed in his dependence on God (Psalm 1)?

Provides much of the fruit needed for our health?

Protects our environment by absorbing carbon dioxide to create vital organic compounds?

The importance of trees in our physical and spiritual lives cannot be overestimated.

The picture of a man who enjoys reading God’s Word being like a tree which prospers by the water, is a spiritual lesson about our walk with God. How often do we lack spiritual fruit in our lives by failing to keep our roots in God’s Word? The fruit that is looked for is that found in Galatians 5:22–25. If these fruits are significant in any community there is real growth and development.

We were privileged to visit the Imarika project in Iringa, Tanzania, and were pleased to see that planting and replanting of trees is a major aspect. The community development includes conservation agriculture, saving schemes and beekeeping. Local farmers are trained in planting, nurturing and harvesting trees.

On our visits to three of the groups we saw how God’s mandate to humanity, to work the land and care for it, is being taught and handed on. In the past, trees have often been seen as a source of charcoal and not as long-term protectors of the environment in which we live, as well as a source of food.

The village saving schemes (VICOBA) are also excellent examples of groups working together, in ways appropriate to their situation, to improve their financial efficiency. We saw money-boxes with three keys, kept by different people for security! Every part of the Imarika project speaks of putting Christian principles into action for the benefit of the whole community.

Throughout the world we hear of forests cut down for short term gain for individuals and big corporations with no plan for replanting. Mankind was given the responsibility to care for the environment in which he had been put and this responsibility remains ours. However short-term gain, not long-term benefit, has often been the controlling factor – not only among charcoal burners of Tanzania, but among major corporations destroying forests for cultivation, and also you and me when we sacrifice the future for short-term gains.

Proverbs 6:6–11 reminds us of the industry of the ant, storing provisions to prepare for the future. Making it possible for there to be a future is part of the mandate of each generation. True the Bible tells us that this world as we know it will come to an end (eg Isaiah 34:4) but this is in God’s hands not ours. We are encouraged to do all we can to care for God’s creation.

The planting of trees in the Imarika project is one example of how we encourage the care of creation and help prepare for future generations to enjoy all that God has prepared for them.

 

Prayer

643 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. (Luke 6:43-45)

 

Lord of Creation, We thank you that the Imarika project in Tanzania is:

  motivating churches to bear good fruit

  taking responsibility to care for your creation

  working with the community to share training

  planting trees, growing food, saving resources,

  and uplifting families.

Lord, we too want to be known as trees that bear good fruit.

Help us to speak from hearts that are filled with your goodness.

Show us how we should act to care better for your creation.

Help us to be generous in sharing with others what you give to us. Amen.

 

 

 

Prayer Diary for October

  1. Our Minister, Rev. David Barnes, his wife and his ministry.
  2. Our Church Secretary, Wendy Breese and her continuing work.
  3. Dick Gibb as he looks after our church finances.
  4. Our deacons, for God-given wisdom at this difficult time.
  5. The Missionary Prayer Fellowship.
  6. Church members and friends still being shielded or in lockdown.
  7. Church members and friends in hospital or Residential Homes.
  8. The ABC Babies and Toddlers to re-open soon.
  9. The Torch Fellowship that it will also be able to reopen
  10. David and Lorna Sivyour as they seek God’s leading for the Dell Club.
  11. Judy Cook; her work in Thailand and at the Hope Home.
  12. Paul and Alison Guinness now in the U.K;  the work in Burundi.
  13. Tim and Linda Hobson.
  14. Mary and Martin Barber, for Mary’s health; the work in Madagascar.
  15. Our Prime Minister and the Government grappling with Covid-19.
  16. M.Ps and Local Authority leaders; for wisdom now.
  17. Pray again for the ministry of our Minister.
  18. St Margaret’s Church; the Rector, Rev. Mark Standen.
  19. The Immanuel Church
  20. All living near the church
  21. Our caretaker Rosalyn and her family and all caring for our premises.
  22. Our musicians; thank the Lord for them.
  23. The ABC singers their numbers to increase.
  24. Safety and security in Angmering.
  25. Peace in Israel and the Middle East.
  26. Doctors, nurses and all working in hospitals and Care Homes.
  27. Scientists seeking a vaccine against Covid-19.
  28. Leaders of the national churches, to call the nation to prayer.
  29. TV and Radio programmes preaching the Christian message.
  30. Spiritual growth in the church.
  31. The Holy Spirit to revive Angmering and its’ environs.

 

 

Hymn

 

1 Now thank we all our God
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom his world rejoices;
who from our mothers' arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.

2 O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts

and blessed peace to cheer us,

to keep us in his grace,
and guide us when perplexed,
and free us from all ills
of this world in the next.

3 All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given,
the Son and Spirit blest,
who reign in highest heaven
the one eternal God,
whom heaven and earth adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore. 

 

 

 

Martin Rinkart

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItfKjxkXhMk

 

 

 

Please Note. Usually on Harvest Sunday we bring produce for the work of Turning tides. We cannot do so this year, but if you wish to give money towards their work there will be a collection specially held for it at Church on the 4th and 11th October. Otherwise donations to Turning Tides may be sent direct to Dick Gibb and he will forward them.     David Barnes 23/9/20