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Dear All,

I hope that this newsletter finds you well.
We are currently in the season of Harvest and through the month of October we have been celebrating Harvest at church. It has been a common practice over many years to have a beautifully prepared display of Harvest produce and flowers at the front of many churches when Harvest is being celebrated, but we didn't have such a display at Fairlie Parish Church this year. And the reason is that we can all too easily portray Harvest and celebrate the blessing that God has provided without really acknowledging the reality of the challenges of life, at this time of year.
In the bible, the Prophet Isaiah tells us: "Share your food with the hungry and open your homes to the homeless poor. Give clothes to those who have nothing to wear, and do not refuse to help your own relatives." So, this year, our Harvest Display at Fairlie Parish Church consisted of donations of produce to our local FoodBank and new clothing and toiletries to Women's Aid. It is so sad that the number of people using the local FoodBank is increasing and the number of women escaping homes, with their children, because of violence is increasing too. And it may well be that you know of someone who is in need.
Hardship of many different kinds is something that most people experience at some point in their life. And, so, many of us can empathise with someone who is experiencing hardship today. However, human nature is 'to put on a face' and behave as though everything is fine; when it is not! Again, we have all done that but sometimes a little extra care, and love, is needed.
As Christians our care of God's creation should spill over into our actions. Jesus tells us that we can love Him extravagantly by loving and helping those in need (Matthew 25:34-40). So, if you are in need, or you know of someone who is in need, please, in confidence, just let someone at the church know. While we may not have the complete answer to your situation, we can listen and together we can work out how help can be extended. After all, as we have been speaking about at church, humanity is a huge part of God's Harvest of Creation and we all need to be looking after each other.
As we move through this season of Harvest we will soon enter Advent, the beginning of the Christian year when we prepare for the coming and coming again of Jesus, the Messiah. Again, we will have many reasons to celebrate, but we need to open our eyes to those for whom the commercial expectations of Christmas may also add to their burdens.
Putting our faith into action, the people in and around Fairlie Parish Church are people who want to help those in need. We are not all financially wealthy but we have big hearts and, because of our faith in Jesus, we want to help those in need so that they too can live their best life. Sometimes that help requires money but more often it is the free gift of love, care and compassion.
Please stay safe and keep looking out for those who are struggling either through coronavirus, with its loneliness and isolation, or through the ongoing pressures of life.
With every blessing.
Yours in Christ.