Hart Foodbank

One tradition that many schools and churches still maintain at this time of year is Harvest Festival. Traditionally people brought the first fruits of their fields as a thanksgiving to God for the harvest, conscious of their dependence upon his providence in ensuring that there was abundance for the long cold winter months. Some of these offerings were used to provide for the poor in the local community who might otherwise go without. These days Harvest Festival food tends to be tinned or packet food with a long shelf life and gets passed on to any number of charities that distribute them to those experiencing hardship.

Along with a number of local churches, Life Church supports “Hart Foodbank” which distributes food across Hart District. People are often astonished that anyone living in Hart could possibly need such help. Sadly despite the generally high standard of living in this area there are a growing number of people who are in desperate need of this service. On a single afternoon in July 400kg was given to feed 60 local people in Hart. In the 12 months that Hart Foodbank has been operating 453 people have been helped (232 adults and 221 children). So far nearly 7.5 tonnes of food has been donated and we have been able to send over 1.2 tonnes to other Foodbanks across the country. If you would like more information about the national network then please visit http://hart.foodbank.org.uk

At Life Church we don’t hold a Harvest Festival service, rather we encourage people to buy an extra packet of food with the weekly shop and bring it along when they come to church – the need exists all year round and it helps to have a steady supply! However we are grateful to local schools and other organisations who do donate their harvest festival gifts to Hart Foodbank through us. Donations are always welcome and can be left at Life Church Centre during office hours.

This blog post featured in the October 2012 edition of Hook Focus

Sweet dreams are made of this

I recently read that about a third of adults in the US have problems falling or staying asleep that aren’t related to a persistent sleep disorder. According to Professor Emily Martin at New York University “The condition of sleep is profoundly contradictory. It is a precious good … but it is a good like no other, because to obtain it one must seemingly give up the imperative to have it.”

King Solomon wrote in Psalm 127 – “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.”  Burning the candle at both ends is clearly not just a 21st century phenomenon! The demands of busy lives, combined with the addictive nature of TV and computer media mean that we rarely have time to slow down and relax. We can easily become trapped in a cycle of early mornings and late nights. When this is combined with worrying about our families, our work, even our church, sleep can seem elusive even though we may feel that we are at the point of utter exhaustion.

Solomon however seems to regard sleep as a blessing that God’s people are able to enjoy simply because they are loved by God. Why? There is a clue in the previous verse – “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labour in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” The builder needs to work hard and the watchman needs to stay alert, but both carry out their responsibilities trusting in God’s greater provision for them. Sleep is ultimately a demonstration of faith that God can keep the world turning on its axis while we are out of the loop for a few hours. Is this the key to truly refreshing sleep – to consciously bring God into all our waking activity? If we learn to involve God in the day to day detail of our lives, perhaps we will find it easier to ‘leave him in charge’ when we nod off at night.

This blog post featured in the October 2012 edition of Lifelines