• Justin Welby and Pope Francis speak for me 21 September 2018 | View comments

  • 21st September 2018 | By David Jolley

    Harvest Festival at Bowden

    Simon Jenkin’s incoherent rant (God aside, for whom does Welby speak? Guardian September 14th https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/14/god-justin-welby-archbishop-canterbury-gig-economy moved me to offer a letter to the Guardian: The question requires a calm, simple answer. What the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Pope and other faith leaders are saying is not of politics – it is of a higher order. The principles they declare are fundamental and recognised to be right across cultures and across the ages. Restricting true values to the realm of spirit only, and letting selfishness, greed and prejudice rule everyday life is not right. Welby speaks for me, an ‘ageing (Methodist) communicant’, and for many others.

    It doesn’t look likely to be published for there are several excellent responses in today’s Guardian. The busy week had been dominated by plans for our second Dementia Friendly/Family Friendly/ Traditional Harvest Festival at Bowdon Vale. It has been marvellous to invite those who come to Dementia Conversations, and find that the very mention triggers memories of years ago when everyone carried a small basket of fruit or vegetables to school or church, to be part of a joyful celebration that God is Good – and what a wonderful world it is that we live in – with all its unsolved and insoluble mystery.

    We have a reason to produce invitations to households throughout the village – taking them up short and long drives to the letter box. On the way we see people and homes more closely than at other times. The local shop had a pile of invitations too.

    Naked vegetables and fruits gave anxiety to some who were afraid of potential waste – so much safer with tins and sell-by dates. In the event one of the congregants was pleased to carry a sackful to a nearby residential complex for older people, where we know the cooks will make good use of the fresh produce – Take the risk and you never know what might happen. ‘Merely to follow Providence as it emerges’ – John Wesley.

    The ladies of the church – with some male assistance – produced a magnificent display. People came and doubled or trebled the usual congregation. We had the reading of ‘the sower’ and an unusual interpretation which came out with positives for everyone. We had the very best of harvest hymns and prayers to match.

    We were comfortable. No-one was restless – but we were engaged and at one.

    People stayed for simple lunch of bread, cheeses, pate, fruits and cakes, with tea, coffee, water or juice.

    It felt right.

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