‘We plough the fields and scatter the good seed on the ground’ – so begins one of the classic hymns of Harvest Thanksgiving, celebrating the abundance of food available to us, and reminding us that all we have ‘comes from heaven above’.
I have had the pleasure of singing this hymn with several congregations around the Connexion in the last few weeks, and will be doing so again on Sunday. Many of my colleagues and lots of our volunteer speakers at All We Can have also been out celebrating harvest festivals with local churches and raising awareness about the work of our partner ADHENO in Ethiopia.
Today, on World Food Day, and as we so often do at harvest time, I am recognising again how fortunate I am to live in a part of the world where access to food is so easy. The world’s resources have not been fairly distributed and so, even though we produce enough food to feed everyone, over 800 million people (or one in every nine people on the planet) goes hungry (UN figures, 2014).
At All We Can, we recognise that every single one of those 800 million is a person, with their own story to tell, their own challenges to overcome, and whose potential is being limited by their circumstances. Through the work of partners like ADHENO in Ethiopia, we are supporting local, relevant, personal, solutions to the causes of hunger. Often that has been about helping people improve their farming techniques or, as those who have used our harvest materials will have seen, helping communities to invest in alternative methods of generating income like beekeeping.
I have been blessed again with another bounteous harvest this year: The supermarket shelves where I do my reaping have been laden, the tomato plants in the greenhouse have produced a bumper crop, and I’ve had the good fortunate of spending the harvest season with some inspiring Methodist congregations.
Whether you have been literally ploughing the fields or not this year, I encourage you to remember those who will be going hungry tonight: to pray for them and for those working to support them and to consider ways you could use your gifts to do all you can to tackle global hunger. You might like to take a look at the Get Involved pages on our website for ideas.
‘Accept the gifts we offer […] our humble, thankful hearts’.
Harvest display at Hounslow Methodist Church in London