Towards the end of September, when the fruit is ripening on the trees and the leaves are starting to change colour, the Church of the Ascension holds its annual Harvest Thanksgiving Service. As well as thanking God for his great and unceasing goodness to us, we also use it as an opportunity to remember those less fortunate than ourselves and to do something to help them.
At the CE school service held in church on the Friday before and at the Sunday service, those attending are asked to bring gifts of "dry" goods - tins, packets and jars - that are given to three local "aid agencies" for distribution to the homeless and families in need. Usually it takes two cars to move the dozens of carrier bags full of food that are collected!
In addition to this, on Sunday morning a set of scales is placed before the altar. On one pan is placed a 2lb bag of rice. Members of the congregation are asked to put money in the other pan to try to balance the scales. As the picture shows, usually we do it with cash to spare.
The money collected is sent directly to an overseas charity.
At the beginning of December, the church holds its annual toy service. Members of the congregation are again asked to remember those less fortunate than themselves - children this time - and bring along a new toy that will be given to a child in the community who otherwise might not get any presents at Christmas.
The response is always amazing and dozens of bags of gifts are given the agencies that deal with children.