It’s the autumn term and the days are getting shorter, the temperature is cooling down at night, and the leaves have begun to change colour. As the seasons change in their turn, so does the Calendar of the Church, as Sundays after Trinity come to an end, and we celebrate Michaelmas and Harvest, and prepare for the Kingdom season of November, and the end of the Church’s year on the Feast of Christ the King. When I think of Harvest I’m always drawn back to the visit Jenette Lee, Ned Smith and I made to Africa some four years ago, to our Mission Partners in Tanzania, in the Diocese of Rorya and Mara.

It’s really hard to describe the experience, other than to say it was life changing, and that one can never view the world the same after visiting a place with such economic poverty and spiritually very rich. There are things in the West we simply take for granted: water, access to education and health, housing and metal roads, reliable electricity and gas, Stipendiary Clergy! In Tanzania, most of these things are not available in the way we experience them, and it is through their faith in God and Jesus, that they find fulfilment in life and in serving the communities in which they live. On Sunday 7th October, Peter Oyoo, the Link Officer for the Diocese of Rorya will be preaching in the Minster. Peter is the main person with whom we communicate with our Mission Partners at the Cathedral Church of St Peter in Kowak, and the bishop + John Adiema.

They continue to build the Cathedral – floor, walls, and roof all now in place. I presented the Dean with a Book of the Gospels as a gift from the Minster to the Cathedral. We have some candle sticks in the Holdesworth Chapel from Kowak. At the Cathedral is both a theological college and an orphanage, where they look after many children whose parents have died from HIV and Aids. As well as supporting Kowak, we have supported the neighbouring Diocese of Mara, especially through the Safe House, set up by Rhobi Samwelli, who came here two years ago. This will be a chance for us to renew relationships and to hear first-hand how things are going for our Anglican fellow brothers and sisters.

This year will be special in terms of Commemorating the end of WW1. This begins for us in October with a special performance of The Armed Man to be given by Overgate Hospice Choir and the Kirklees Youth Symphony Orchestra. Some of our own Choristers will also take some of the solo parts in the performance. This theme will continue as we continue to prepare for Remembrance Weekend, when we shall receive a Delegation of Church, Civic, and we hope MOD from our twin German town of Aachen.

We have now had confirmation that the Hannover Girls Choir (similar to the Vienna Boys Choir) will be performing in the Minster on Saturday 10th November, with an special event late afternoon on Remembrance Sunday beginning at 5.30pm with The Annapurna Dance Company, and Faure’s Requiem, leading into the national lighting of Beacons, Last Post, and Bells rung across the nation.

The following weekend I shall lead another delegation from England to Germany for a return visit. Preparation for Initiation Sunday on the 4th November is about to get underway. Please consider baptism, admission to Holy Communion, confirmation, and re affirmation of faith, and join in this great opportunity to renew our faith corporately and individually as a whole community.