This short act of worship has been prepared for you.  I invite you to share in a few moments with God knowing that other people within Paulton, Trinity and Chew Stoke Methodist Churches are sharing this act of worship with you.

Revd Martin Slocombe

Change with the Cycle


We join with Paulton Methodist Church as they celebrate Harvest Festival.  All We Can, the Methodist charity, are raising money to buy bicycles for Uganda.  Hence, the theme of our harvest service is “Change begins with a bicycle”


Psalm 107

1 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
   for his steadfast love endures for ever. 

35 He turns a desert into pools of water,
   a parched land into springs of water. 
36 And there he lets the hungry live,
   and they establish a town to live in; 
37 they sow fields, and plant vineyards,
   and get a fruitful yield. 
38 By his blessing they multiply greatly,
   and he does not let their cattle decrease. 

43 Let those who are wise give heed to these things,
   and consider the steadfast love of the Lord.


Hymn – Come, you thankful people, come

   1      Come, you thankful people, come,
           raise the song of harvest home!
           Fruit and crops are gathered in
           safe before the storms begin:
           God our maker will provide
           for our needs to be supplied;
           come, with all his people, come,
           raise the song of harvest home!

   2      All the world is God’s own field,
           harvests for his praise to yield;
           wheat and weeds together sown
           here for joy or sorrow grown:
           first the blade and then the ear,
           then the full corn shall appear —
           Lord of harvest, grant that we
           wholesome grain and pure may be.

   3      For the Lord our God shall come
           and shall bring his harvest home;
           he himself on that great day,
           worthless things shall take away,
           give his angels charge at last
           in the fire the weeds to cast,
           but the fruitful ears to store
           in his care for evermore.

   4      Even so, Lord, quickly come —
           bring your final harvest home!
           Gather all your people in
           free from sorrow, free from sin,
           there together purified,
           ever thankful at your side —
           come, with all your angels, come,
           bring that glorious harvest home!

Henry Alford (1810–1871)


Let us pray

May awe and wonder be sustained within us:

so we are able to see the beauty of the earth as a whole, eternity in tiny seeds, an understanding of life and death in the fall of a sparrow.

God of all love and every truth, help us to look with open eyes, to see with open hearts.

May we be filled with vision and imagination:

so we are able to see how waste and greed in one place diminishes life in another; help us to rediscover the significance and surprise in sharing.

God of all love and every truth, help us to look with open eyes, to see with open hearts.

May we be filled with compassion and understanding:

so we are able to listen to the hidden people, whose ancient knowledge and wisdom could be our hope and salvation.

God of all love and every truth, help us to look with open eyes, to see with open hearts.

May we be filled with fire and vigour, anger at short-sighted policies, coldblooded economics and heartless trading:

so we may protest greed and the misuse of the earth’s resources, and seek passionately the just use of our abundant knowledge, skills and resources to cherish all life.

God of all love and every truth, help us to look with open eyes, to see with open hearts.

Help us, loving God to value your world, your creation and your peoples, and to place the needs of everyone before the desires of the few.


A video from All We Can – Moses’ story

The loose collection from today’s service will go to the Bristol Methodist Centre, and if you want to make a donation in the next couple of weeks, perhaps you could put it in an envelope and mark it for the Centre.  In this small way we can help to share the abundance of our resources with those who have fallen on hard times.  And if you want to make a donation to All We Can, then mark your envelope accordingly.


Reading - Matthew 20: 1-16

The Labourers in the Vineyard

20‘For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. 2After agreeing with the labourers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. 3When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the market-place; 4and he said to them, “You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” So they went. 5When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same.6And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, “Why are you standing here idle all day?” 7They said to him, “Because no one has hired us.” He said to them, “You also go into the vineyard.” 8When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, “Call the labourers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.” 9When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. 10Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. 11And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 12saying, “These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.” 13But he replied to one of them, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? 14Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. 15Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?” 16So the last will be first, and the first will be last.’ 


Hymn – We plough the fields and scatter

   1      We plough the fields, and scatter
           the good seed on the land,
           but it is fed and watered
           by God’s almighty hand;
           he sends the snow in winter,
           the warmth to swell the grain,
           the breezes and the sunshine,
           and soft, refreshing rain.
                All good gifts around us
                are sent from heaven above;
                then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord,
                for all his love.

   2      He only is the maker
           of all things near and far;
           he paints the wayside flower,
           he lights the evening star;
           the winds and waves obey him,
           by him the birds are fed;
           much more to us, his children,
           he gives our daily bread.

   3      We thank you then, O Father,
           for all things bright and good:
           the seed-time and the harvest,
           our life, our health, our food.
           Accept the gifts we offer
           for all your love imparts,
           and, what you most desire,
           our humble, thankful hearts.

Matthias Claudius (1740–1815)
translated by Jane Montgomery Campbell (1817–1878)  (alt.)



Today we celebrate harvest festival, but not in the usual way, surrounded by fruit and veg, tins and packets of food.  Today we have a bare church because we are afraid of transmitting a virus which has changed our lives, perhaps for ever.  It is a stark reminder of how fragile our lives are, and how fragile God’s creation is.  So perhaps this year we need to think a bit wider than a few tins bought from Tesco, and instead, about the wonder of the whole of creation that God has given to us.

During the International Conference on Climate Change last week, we have been bombarded more than usual by reports in the news of the effects of our activity on nature, and the warning is stark and immediate.  Disaster may be irreversible if we continue to destroy habitat and the environment in the pursuit of intensive farming methods and the exploitation of the world’s resources.  We seem to have lost sight of the spiritual nature of creation which sustains and enriches the lives of everyone.  Nature is a gift from God, but we now seem to view the earth’s resources as the means by which we can get rich, or supply our material desires.  The insatiable greed of developed and developing countries demands ever more of the world’s resources.

Last year Peter & Joan very helpfully introduced us to Eco Church and some local initiatives that we can get involved in.  The Bristol District is also looking at becoming an Eco-District, and there is an online conference on 10th October.  If you are interested, I can give you the details.  Perhaps it is time for us to commit in a real way as a church, and as individuals, to making a difference to the world. 

Our lives may not be affected too dramatically by climate change in Paulton, but that is not so for the rest of the world, and our faith demands that we take responsibility for our actions and their consequences for others.  The video we have just watched reminds us of the vast difference between our lives, and those of the poorest in other parts of the world.  It is a sobering thought, that for many of us, a bicycle is a means of leisure or exercise, whereas for Eria, it is the fundamental difference between getting an education and making mud bricks for a living. 

Our Bible reading today is a timely reminder that in God’s kingdom there is no hierarchy.  Nobody is more or less deserving than anyone else – we are all equally blessed.  The workers who have toiled all day have received what they were promised, as have those who came last.  We should not concentrate our thoughts on the jealousy of the workers, but instead, give thanks for the generosity of the landowner.  The first workers were paid the normal daily wage and were not underpaid, but instead, the late arrivals have been generously overpaid.  And all have received what they were promised. 

Climate change is being fuelled by the rich demanding more, with no regard to the effect of their greed on the lives of those with very little.  But the desires of the powerful are not more important than the needs of the powerless. 

Life in God’s kingdom overturns our worldly priorities, and sets new standards, where the first become the last, and the last, the first.  Where our reward is not determined by our strength or our valuation of our own worth, but upon the generosity of the Master.

The strapline for All We Can this year is “Change begins with a bicycle”.  It is a very simple solution, but effective.  We have to start somewhere if we want to improve the lives of others. 

We are just one of the many labourers in the vineyard, but working together, we bring the harvest in.  Our reward will be the blessing of living in a world which truly reflects God’s kingdom, an inheritance  we have already been promised, whether we have been toiling for hours in the heat of the day, or whether we have only just arrived.  The promise, and blessing, is for us all.


This year has been designated as a year of prayer that the church's commitment to evangelism and growth, especially at the margins, will flow from a deep contemplative orientation to God's grace and love. We are being asked to say the Breakthrough prayer daily, and we will begin our time of praying for others with this Breakthrough Prayer.

God of love, God for all, 
your purposes are more beautiful than we can possibly imagine. 
Fill us with your Holy Spirit. 
Help us let go of all that holds us back. 
Open our lives and our churches to new seasons of humility and faith, of change and growth. 
Shake us up with the Good News of Jesus and show us the way. 

Intercessions & Lords Prayer

We hold in our minds the images we have seen on our televisions recently which abuse the perfect gift of God’s creation, and confirm our greed and selfishishness

… forest fires in America …

… melting of the icecaps …

… extinction of many species …

Lord, we pray for this your world, created in love, given through grace

We give thanks for those today, who toil day and night to put food on our plates ..

.. farmers, pickers and packers, transporters, shop assistants

.. scientists who develop disease-resistant crops

.. volunteers who feed the starving, clothe the naked, and shelter the homeless

We pray for our families and friends, and for all those in need at this present time.

We pray for the churches in our Circuit, this week for Chew Stoke, and their minister, Martin Slocombe

May we all be blessed by the riches of your creation, recognise our reward, and be willing share with those who are last in society’s pecking order.  Amen


Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us


Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name;

thy kingdom come;

thy will be done;

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation;

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

the power, and the glory

for ever and ever.


Hymn – For the beauty of the earth

  1       For the beauty of the earth,
           for the beauty of the skies,
           for the love which from our birth
           over and around us lies:
                Gracious God, to you we raise
                this our sacrifice of praise.

   2      For the beauty of each hour
           of the day and of the night,
           hill and vale, and tree and flower,
           sun and moon and stars of light:

   3      For the joy of ear and eye,
           for the heart and mind’s delight,
           for the mystic harmony
           linking sense to sound and sight:

   4      For the joy of human love,
           brother, sister, parent, child,
           friends on earth, and friends above,
           pleasures pure and undefiled:

   5      For each perfect gift and sign
           of your love so freely given,
           graces human and divine,
           flowers of earth and buds of heaven:

Folliott Sandford Pierpoint (1835–1917)



And the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with you, now and forever more.  Amen


Song - Harvest Samba

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