Harvest festival service beamed around the world

Children at St George's Church, Waterlooville, during the harvest festival service which was broadcast live around the world.
Children at St George's Church, Waterlooville, during the harvest festival service which was broadcast live around the world.
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Rev Mike Sheffield is the vicar of St George’s Church, Waterlooville. Here he looks back on a very special harvest thanksgiving service.

LAST week at St George’s Church we held our annual harvest thanksgiving service. 

It is something we do every October when we, as Christians, give thanks to God – not just for the food we eat but for everything that we enjoy in life. 

We give thanks to God for all his gifts to us, whether we enjoy them or not.

This year, for the first time, we tried something new. We agreed to take part in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s idea to broadcast our service live on the internet.

Our press officer, Chris Gadd, invited other churches from around the world, also named St George, to join us online for the service.  

The response he received was phenomenal with some 70 churches joining in – from Singapore to Sydney, Lagos to Las Vegas.

In the end more than 1,000 people watched live from all around the world and loads of others have watched via YouTube since.

Broadcasting a service is not straightforward.

There are technical issues such as getting the right software and connecting with the service provider.

Time is also needed to rehearse where cameras should film from in the church and what is going to be included in the service. 

We followed our usual pattern for harvest and offered a service which involved children and adults hearing about a mouse called Monty.

We sang modern songs as well as traditional harvest hymns and it was a communion service in which we ate bread and drank wine to remember Jesus’s sacrificial death.

But it certainly is worth it. It’s a great way for someone who can’t get to church because of holidays, sickness or distance, to join a worshipping community – not doing something special but broadcasting the normal service. 

It’s also perfect for anybody who has not been to church for some time, or maybe has never been, to see what goes on at St George’s.Church.

If you want to hear the sad story of Monty the Mouse, have a look at our website, stgeorges.church and you can see for yourself what happened to him. 

The footage from the entire service is on our home page for you to enjoy.