As far back as I can remember, Harvest Home Sunday has been a big day of celebration in the church. It is a day to pause and give thanks and praise to God for the bounty of the earth, the blessings we've received, and the opportunity to give back to the church and the comm unity in which we live as an act of tribute to the God who makes all these good things possible.
The idea for a Harvest Home Service in the church comes right from the Old Testament in the Bible. At the time of Harvest every year, the people would bring their “first fruits” to the church to dedicate to God. They believed that God was fully involved in their sowing and reaping as he sent the sun and the rain to nourish their crops. It was their way of giving thanks to him for helping their crops to gr ow and that would sustain their families. It was an honor for them to present the results of their labors to God for a special blessing and then go forth to bless others with those gifts.
Since that time, churches have continued to transform their sanctuaries into what looks like an indoor farmer's market full of grains and vegetables, fruits,and flowers from our own fields and gardens and kitchens. In addition, many churches designate that day as an opportunity to collect shelf food items for the local food banks in their community. People bring their
donations to the church to be dedicated to the glory of God and then distributed to families in need.
That is something that we can still do even though we are having virtual worship services. After our Harvest Home Sunday service on October 25th, bring your shelf food items in bags or boxes to the church parking lot between 1pm-2pm and we'll see that they get to the local food bank. While you're here, we have bibles to give away, retired Revised Standard Version with red covers. They will be sanitized, bagged for your safety, and ready for you to take home. Come by, drive through, share virtual hugs, and take home a bible. And know that you are helping a good cause.
This year, we may not get to enjoy the usual harvest displays at our churches and here at St. Vincent, we'll especially miss the beautiful windowsills that get decorated by our members every year, but that doesn't mean you can't participate in the spirit of this benevolent celebration. Make a display of your own at your house on a windowsill or on your porch or anywhere it suits you. Share it with as many people as you can. Let it be a reminder to you of the generous spirit of God to us and his call to us to be kind and generous with one another. And be happy for surely,
in this time of harvest, God has something special in store for you.
Reverend Susan Hanson has been serving churches since December 19, 1993, when she delivered her first sermon to her first congregation. Since then, Pastor Susan has served in 12 different settings of churches as an interim pastor and to nursing homes as a chaplain, primarily helping to heal hurting congregations and institutions so they could recover and start anew. Reverend Hanson came to St. Vincent UCC in 2013 - her lucky number 13, as she says - and has been with us ever since. How lucky we are because on Sunday, April 8, 2018, Pastor Susan was officially installed by the PA Southeast Conference of the UCC as St. Vincent UCC’s permanent pastor!
Susan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Child Development from Florida State University; a Master of Divinity from Lancaster Theological Seminary; and a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling from Moravian Theological Seminary. She was ordained in her home church, St. John’s UCC in Lansdale, PA, on January 9, 1994.
Susan and her husband, the Reverend Doug Hanson, pastor of St. Peter’s Pikeland UCC, live in Chester Springs. They have a daughter and son-in-law who live in Alabama with Pastor Susan’s two grandchildren, a daughter and a son who live locally, and a Golden Doodle. In addition to meeting new people, Pastor Susan enjoys reading a good book, taking walks in nature, and visiting with family and friends.
In her Statement on Ministry, Reverend Hanson says that “a pastor assists the congregation in living out our call to be the heart and hands and voice of God here on earth in our own particular time and place. We can be assured that all of God’s hopes and dreams for us will be realized when we allow God’s Spirit to work within our own lives, and through us, to help others as we seek to do God’s will in the world. Together, we celebrate that when good people seek to make a positive difference in the world, it is there that real ministry happens.”
Feel free to contact Pastor Susan via email at email@example.com or by cell phone at 610.393.6971.