The associate minister of Emsworth and Warblington looks back on an alternative harvest
WE did harvest in a slightly different way at St James Church, Emsworth, and St Thomas, Warblington.
Alongside our traditional harvest collection of tins and food, which were donated to those in need, we also organised a collection of books.
The idea was to send them to Africa, where there is a famine of books alongside the problems in those parts of the continent where the levels of hunger and poverty are obvious.
Not having books to read may seem like a trivial problem compared to not having food or water.
But there is actually a real appetite for reading and studying in many parts of Africa, because people can see that education is one way to improve their prospects.
There is also a real hunger for Bibles and Christian books – those people who do go to church often end up sharing these kind of books as there aren’t enough to go round.
We collected piles of books in both churches and blessed them before they went to Africa.
Worshippers and local residents were very generous with what they chose to give – it wasn’t just the dog-eared or well-used books that were donated.
They were sent on by the charity Book Aid, which has sent shipments of new and second-hand Christian books and Bibles to needy areas for many years.
When they reach their destination, they are sold at affordable prices by Christian bookshops and churches, and the money raised can enhance local literature initiatives.
Since 1988, more than 32 million Christian books and Bibles have been shipped to book-hungry areas thanks to the generosity of British Christians and publishers.
We’re glad to have been a part of a project that has helped people in other countries to understand more about their world and their faith – so much so that we’re thinking about whether to do the same next year.
n St James Church is in Church Path, Emsworth. St Thomas A Becket Church is in Church Lane, Warblington. Call the parish office on 01243-372428 or go to warblingtonwithemsworth.org.