St. Thomas Anglican Church in Morden is one of the five parishes in Southwest Manitoba which together with Pembina Hills Church ( Rogation Sunday locale in the parish of Kaleida) form a Local Collaborative Ministry. The 15 acres of wheat planted by  Chris Lea, Leianne and their son Jonathan had a great start in the Spring. Jonathan mused about the huge responsibility the family held to the Diocese, Canada Foodgrains bank and the overseas mission if the crop was not fruitful. Testing that concern  was the occurrence of hot dry days without rains in Manitoba which threatened the agricultural crops for farmers everywhere. But I got ahead of myself….

On September 23rd 2018, a Grow Hope Harvest thanksgiving celebration took place  in Morden. The drive south with Lynn, Steve and myself was embellished by overcast skies, intermittent ice rain and the observances  of snow in a few fields, and laughter. We were warmly greeted by Clergy and the parishioners. Following sentences and the opening hymn we said the collect( abbreviated version) “Creator of the fruitful earth you made us  stewards of all things, give us grateful hearts for all your goodness and steadfast wills to use your bounty well that the whole human family today and generations to come may give thanks for the riches of your creation.” The first reading(by yours truly) from Deuteronomy asserted that  the first fruits of the earth ’that the Lord thy God gives , you shall put it in a basket and taken to the place which the Lord shall choose..... the priest shall take the basket out of thine hand and set it down before the altar of the Lord thy God.” Thus the invitation of our Lord was to celebrate this harvest and indeed all harvests.

Instead of a sermon a Q and A session was led by Rev. Diane Guildford with Rev Canon Cathy Campbell and Rev Lea answering the questions.  Cathy in response to question indicated that Canada had hoped for elimination of poverty by 2020. Initially it appeared that this was a realistic goal, but  over the past few years there has been an increase among those who go without food climbing globally to 824 Million, and the obscene necessity for Food Banks across Canada- a land of plenty. Thus Grow Hope an initiative  of the Primate World Relief and Development Fund in conjunction with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank; Grow Hope can be an integral player in  the movement to feed those in need globally.

Rev Chris said  he felt Blessed and at Peace to be an active participant. The Grow Hope nurtured rural and urban friendships, sharing of the faith; the relationship was symbiotic. This the first  harvest was very good. He then cited two events which he questioned us for an explanation. In midst of those days (weeks ) of relentless heat, he too wondered what the harvest would yield. Then one day he saw as  strangely shaped cloud over the Pembina Hills church which is across the plain from his home; to his surprise it delivered one and a quarter inches of rain just to his acreage alone (which included the donated 15 acres) The next day a  parcel of land south belonging to the Leas was blessed with showers. No other farmer saw this benefit of water.

What was this ? he asked twice. No one answered but in our hearts we knew it was the hand of the Lord bringing essential rains to these  crops planted for those in dire need. Overall crop returns was tenfold.                                                                A basket containing an envelope cheque a profit of nearly $6000, immersed in the first grains of the harvest was brought down the aisle; the Congregation all turned their hands to the basket as it was blessed by Rev Guildford. These funds can be quadrupled in  the PWRDF account in the Foodgrains bank.

A congenial pot luck lunch followed. Photos at  the church was taken which shows Lynn and I outside St. Thomas or Steve/Lynn  with Canon Cathy Campbell the driving force behind this venture and a Director  of the Canada Foodgrains Bank.

St. Barts  is already prepped for the crop in 2019, the price will still be $300 per acre.   However Lynn and June St. Barts representatives for Grow Hope are sending a challenge to parishioners to increase  our funds to $600.00 for two acres. The Sunday school students are already giving weekly offerings.

Tax receipts will be given …...please specify Grow Hope.    Blessings to all,