St James The Great

​Old Milverton, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

Dear Friends,

Here is our September update, giving details of what’s happening in the coming month. 

The Sunday Club will not be meeting this month.

Harvest Hamper Raffle
We are moving the annual hamper raffle to the autumn this year. Please bring donations for the hampers to church from next Sunday, or let Sue Fairhurst have them. We will sell raffle tickets from Sunday 12th September and the raffle will be drawn after our Harvest Festival service on September 26th. This year, the money raised will go to support Myton Hospice.

The Harvest Lunch will be held in the Parish Room after the raffle has been drawn. Tickets are £10 adults and £6 for children. If you are hoping to come, please sign the list at the back of church.

Ride and Stride
The annual Ride and Stride takes place on the second Saturday of September and is a national, sponsored event involving all the Historic Churches County Trusts.  This year it will be on Saturday 11th September. 
People are invited to cycle, horse ride or walk between churches, chapels and meeting rooms on any route of their choice and to gather sponsorship for their efforts.  The money raised is divided equally between their own church and the Warwickshire and Coventry Historic Churches Trust. If anyone is interested in taking part this year, there is information at the back of church or speak to Carol, Sue or Geoff Wiggin.

Churchyard Clearing
Thank you to everyone who has come along to our churchyard clearing mornings this year. We’d love you to do it all again! Our next clearing morning is on Saturday 11th September from 10.00am. Remember to bring your own tools and your own coffee and biscuits as we can’t offer any refreshments at the moment.

Events at Coventry Cathedral during September
Sunday 12th September 4pm: A Service of Thanksgiving for frontline workers will give thanks for the ongoing dedication and sacrifice of our NHS and other frontline workers during the pandemic. Everyone welcome.

Saturday 25th September: Great is Thy Faithfulness is an afternoon at Coventry CathedralforthediocesanfamilytoexploreGod'sfaithfulness. Theafternoonwillstart at 12 noon with the Litany of Reconciliation. Then there will be three zones with prayer stations to move through. The first zone is Looking Back in the Cathedral Ruins, reflecting on joy, lament and thankfulness. Next we will move to the new Cathedral for the God's Faithfulness zone where we will take in the majesty of God's faithfulness to us. We will then move on to the Response to God's Faithfulness zone near the Nave altar. Alongside the three zones there will be Godly Play sessions and Contemplative Prayer running throughout the afternoon. There will be also time for a picnic lunch - so don't forget your picnics! The afternoon with end with a Eucharist all together at 2.30pm. Everyone is welcome and there is no need to sign up.

Geoff’s Eco-tips: Eco-September
It appears that September is a special ‘Eco-month’ with lots of events both in the UK and globally. So rather than the usual Eco-tips, here are few details of some of the special days and events this month. They all bring awareness and increased understanding of environmentally linked issues which is vital if we are to become better stewards of God’s creation. We are all in it together!

September 1 - September 30 - Organic September
This month-long campaign aims to raise awareness of organic products. Foods labelled as organic must meet strict regulations on how they have been grown and produced. All organic food companies and farms are inspected yearly to ensure that they meet the high standards required. When you buy organic foods you can be sure that the products you are buying: contain no artificial additives or preservatives; contain fewer pesticides only derived from natural ingredients; conform to high standards of animal welfare; contain no genetically modified ingredients; and have been produced in a way that is sustainable. The Soil Association says that switching just one item in your shop to organic will help contribute to changing our food system, buying more organic food means more organic farms so fewer pesticides which is better for our wildlife and means more farm animals raised under higher welfare standards.

September 5 – International Day of Charity
Poverty presents an enormous global challenge for the international community, as it is a significant threat to sustainable development. In the spirit of global solidarity. The United Nations 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development is focused on how best to meet the needs of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens including those affected by climate change. Poverty exists in every country around the globe, affecting millions of people, regardless of their social and cultural situations, and is a barrier to true prosperity and equality. The UN has designated September 5th as ‘International Day of Charity’, a date chosen as it is the anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa, and the resolution is, in part, a tribute to her work and dedication to charitable causes. This year on September 5th, the UN invites all Member States, international and regional organisations, non-governmental organisations and individuals alike to commemorate the International Day of Charity by encouraging charitable acts in their respective communities to raise public awareness of this event.

September 16 – International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. This day was designated by the United Nations General Assembly in 1994, in commemoration of the date, in 1987, on which nations signed the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Try ‘google’ for more information.

September 17 - September 26 – Great British Beach Clean
The Great British Beach Clean is a week-long citizen science event, where hundreds of beach clean events involving thousands of people take place up and down the coast of Great Britain. On every clean people are asked to run a litter survey, recording all the items of rubbish they find in a 100m stretch with the data being used to campaign for real change. In the past, it has helped lead to the introduction of the plastic bag charge, a ban on microplastics in personal care products, better wet wipe labelling, and a tax on single-use plastic items.

September 20 - September 26 – Recycle Week
Recycle Week is Recycle Now’s flagship annual event and is a celebration of recycling across the nation. Now in its 18th year, the theme for this year is 'Step It Up this Recycle Week'. This theme has been chosen to rally a movement in combating the Climate Crisis. During a difficult COVID-19 pandemic where we haven’t had much control on day-to- day events, recycling is something we can have control over. The urge is for everybody to step it up this Recycle Week and join the fight against climate change!

September 22 – World Car Free Day
Celebrated around the world, on this day motorists are encouraged to choose alternative travel such as walking, cycling or public transport, instead of using their cars. In London, there will be free access to ‘Santander Cycles’ more than 11,500 bikes at over 750 docking stations across the capital.

September 27 - October 1 – Bike to School Week
Bike to School Week is an opportunity to celebrate all the fantastic things schools are doing throughout the UK to encourage cycling and scooting and the positive impact this has on children’s health and wellbeing as well as the environment. tells you all about it.

It would be great to hear your stories if you get involved in any of the above or other September events and to include these in future updates.

Thanks Geoff – can I encourage all of you to try to engage with at least one of these events. Sue

Dear Friends

We’re all aware of how many folk walk through our churchyard – it’s almost impossible to be up there without seeing a stranger come through. Only last Sunday someone stopped me to ask if the church was ever open for people to pop in for some quiet time and I had to explain that at the moment that wasn’t possible. One of the sadnesses of this past year has been that we have not been able to leave the church unlocked at weekends through the summer months to enable some of those strangers to step inside and enjoy the prayerful peace and quiet of St James.

However, on a more positive note, over the past couple of months our church life has been enriched by the return of weddings and baptisms – something we haven’t had the opportunity to do for quite a long time. Between us Felicity and I had the great pleasure of being involved with 6 baptisms, 2 weddings and a renewal of wedding vows.

In the baptism service there is a section specifically called ‘The Welcome’ where we say to the newly baptised ‘We welcome you into the fellowship of faith; we are children of the same heavenly Father’. Those words remind us that God’s family is worldwide, his love reaching out to everyone, and being able to welcome visitors back to these services at St James has been a reminder of how important the idea of ‘welcome’ is as part of ourChristian faith.

We also have a number of new folk attending our services - if you are one of those then we are delighted to welcome you into our St James family and look forward to getting to know you better as restrictions continue to ease and we can mix socially a little more.
If you are a long-term member of the church family, please do reach out and offer a welcome to visitors both into church and those you walk past in our churchyard.

Thought for the month: Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God (Romans 15:7)

The letter to the Hebrews says: ‘Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.’ (Hebrews 13:2).
And when we do welcome that stranger and get to know them just a little, we so often find that they are a stranger no more but a new found friend, a fellow Christian travelling with us on that pilgrimage of faith that will eventually lead us all home.

With love, Sue

We are pilgrims on a journey; fellow travellers on the road; we are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load.
(from the hymn, Brother, sister let me serve you)

Some harvest trivia for you this month:

The word harvest comes from the Old English haerfest, meaning Autumn.

Depending on conditions, harvest time can take place as early as July, all the way through to September.

The combine harvester was invented in the US by Hiram Moore in 1834. Earlier versions were pulled by teams of horses, donkeys or mules. Moore invented a full-scale version by 1839.  The name of the combine harvester was derived from it combining three separate operations involved in harvesting – reaping, threshing and winnowing, into a single process.

Celebrating the harvest was once a pagan affair. Today’s church celebrations only began in earnest in Victorian times, when the Reverend Robert Stephen Hawker invited his parishioners to a special harvest thanksgiving service at the church in Morwenstow, Cornwall in 1843.  In the UK, Harvest Festival is traditionally held on the Sunday nearest the harvest moon, the full moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox (on the 22nd or 23rd September).

In centuries past, farmers would lay on a harvest feast and a corn dolly might be given place of honour and hung up in hope of a good harvest the following year. Long ago Anglo Saxon farmers believed the last sheaf of corn contained its spirit, and it would be sacrificed along with a hare usually found hiding in the field. A model of the hare was then made up using corn.  This evolved to the dolly, said to represent the goddess or spirit of the grain.  

The old West Country tradition of “Crying the Neck” was revived in Cornwall in the early Twenties. Dating back from times when crops would be hand harvested, a reaper would hold the last bundle of corn – sometimes known as the “neck” – aloft and cry out to the other harvesters. The corn was tied and kept in the parish church until the following spring.

Some harvesters felt it was bad luck to cut the last corn standing and farms would race to finish first and shout when they had done it. Sometimes reapers would throw their sickles at the last corn until it was cut or they would take turns to be blindfolded and sweep a scythe to and fro to finish.

Here in Britain we celebrate the bounty of the sea as well as the land. Whitstable holds ceremonies to bless the seas during the town’s annual July oyster festival. Dozens of fish festivals are held around the UK’s coastal towns and villages, from Anglesey to Dorset to Rye Bay in East Sussex, where local scallops are on offer.

Walking the Camino
You may have seen an item in last week’s Leamington Courier about Shelly Garland, who is currently walking the 500 miles of the Camino to Santiago di Compostela raising funds for SarcoidosisUK, in memory of her daughter who died earlier this year from Neurosarcoidosis.  Shelley and her fiancé Phil have become part of our congregation at St James this year and we send her our very best wishes for the walk.  If you want to know more, speak to Phil on a Sunday morning or visit her fund-raising page on

Finally, a ‘well done’ to our younger church members who have had GCSE and A level results this summer.  As far as I know everyone was happy with their results and we wish them all the best for the coming year as they move into 6th form or on to University.

Have a good September everyone – enjoy the last of the produce from your gardens and, hopefully, some more warm and sunny days.

​​​Parish News