Bishop Peter Harvest MessageHelp sow the seed this Harvest

The presence of combine harvesters slowing my progress through the lanes of Somerset prompted me to remember the parable of the sower.  As we know, some seed was very effective; some less so, but all the seed did something because it was scattered around.  What would have happened if the sower had decided not to scatter the seed and just keep it in the basket or storehouse?  Not a lot, I suspect.
I can imagine some readers thinking ‘what a daft idea; who would have a resource and do nothing with it?’  And yet, in many of our churches we do precisely that with a key resource.  We do not scatter it around – in an orderly or disorderly manner (or should that be manna?).   Every three months the latest edition of Manna arrives at churches, Harvest’s issue is due at the start of September.  From my visits across the Diocese it would seem that in some places, every three months, the original stock at the back of church is exchanged for the next pile.  On good days I imagine that they are there to impress me and to show me that the distribution system is working. They have arrived and here they are! It would be more impressive if they were not there.  After all, I have read my copy and passed it on so I do not need further copies.  It would be really good if you could do likewise – read, reflect and pass it on.  If you want suggestions as to where, how about doctors and dentist waiting rooms; the library; a neighbour’s house; the pub; or hotel?  There is every chance that somebody might pick it up and begin a journey to faith! It may be that some ground will be stony and the briefest of shoot will form before being stifled.  Perhaps weeds and tares will cause other shoots to falter after a period of time but there will be some seed that grows and grows well. The only certainty is that if seeds are not sown they don’t grow and if Manna is not shared it’s not achieving one of its aims.  So when the new Manna arrives, please help us to ‘sow the seed’ and ‘spread the Word.’ +Peter Taunton The Harvest issue of Manna looks at what parishes are doing to support water projects in developing countries; shares results of the Churches Environmental Survey and features the Diocesan Annual Review 2010.