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

Autumn Leaves

This week we celebrate harvest at Trinity Westfield

Altar Harvest Table at Trinity Westfield


Psalm 65: 1, 9-13

Thanksgiving for Earth’s Bounty

1 Praise is due to you,
   O God, in Zion;
and to you shall vows be performed, 
9 You visit the earth and water it,
   you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
   you provide the people with grain,
   for so you have prepared it. 
10 You water its furrows abundantly,
   settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
   and blessing its growth. 
11 You crown the year with your bounty;
   your wagon tracks overflow with richness. 
12 The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
   the hills gird themselves with joy, 
13 the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
   the valleys deck themselves with grain,
   they shout and sing together for joy.

Hymn – For the fruits of all creation


   1      For the fruits of all creation,
           thanks be to God;
           for the gifts to every nation,
           thanks be to God;
           for the ploughing, sowing, reaping,
           silent growth while we are sleeping,
           future needs in earth’s safe-keeping,
           thanks be to God.

   2      In the just reward of labour,
           God’s will is done;
           in the help we give our neighbour,
           God’s will is done;
           in our world-wide task of caring
           for the hungry and despairing,
           in the harvests we are sharing,
           God’s will is done.

   3      For the harvests of the Spirit,
           thanks be to God;
           for the good we all inherit,
           thanks be to God;
           for the wonders that astound us,
           for the truths that still confound us,
           most of all, that love has found us,
           thanks be to God.

Fred Pratt Green (1903–2000)


Firstly, a prayer for God to break through in the life of our churches:

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. 

For all things bright and beautiful,

for all things dark and mysterious and lovely,

for all things green and growing and strong,

for all things weak and struggling to push life up through rocky earth,

for all human faces, hearts, minds and hands that surround us,

for all non-human minds and hearts, paws and claws, fins and wings,

for this Life and the life of this world,

for all that you have laid before us, O God,

we lay our thankful hearts before you.

In Christ’s name.



Reading – Matthew 6: 25-33

Do Not Worry

25 ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” 32For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.


Reflection –

Are you a worrier?  There is plenty to worry about this year as we celebrate a harvest like no other.  We don’t even have a harvest display because we have been advised that this increases the chances of passing on the virus.  It just doesn’t feel the same, or smell the same.  Harvest is however, a celebration of God’s creation that we can give thanks for, regardless of the restrictions. 

During lockdown, when I intentionally went out for a walk as a break from my desk, I started to notice things that I hadn’t seen before. Plants in people’s gardens, the sound of birds singing, the lack of noise from traffic that deafen us to the sounds of nature, and I was reminded of the glorious world in which we live.

We live in a different time from our predecessors where the harvest and bringing the harvest in would have dominated everyone’s lives. A Minister at the church where I grew up refused to choose “We plough the fields and scatter” as she said it was not relevant to people living in Bristol in 2000.  Today we aren’t personally affected by the harvest in the same way as our ancestors were, but we can still see combine harvesters in the fields, and getting stuck behind tractors with large trailers on the roads.

We are very conscious this year, that everything we know is changing around us, but that has always been the case for creation, which is in a constant cycle of birth and death and rebirth. Now we move into Autumn and the leaves are falling from the trees.

Before the service this morning, I placed a leaf on your seat (with gloved hands!).  I’d like you to take that leaf in your hand now. Harvest is there in the calendar to make us stop and notice. I’d like you to look at the leaf in your hand. What colour is it? Can you trace the veins on it. Does it have any unsightly marks or is it nearly perfect? Now I want you to think back over the last year. How has it been for you this year? What have been the highlights, the best bits? What have been the difficult things?

Just like these leaves, all of us have had different experiences this year, different challenges. Just like these leaves, each one is unique and each one is beautiful. God has written His beauty into creation. In our reading today we heard Jesus tell us that we should look at the flowers of the field. Stop and notice. See how God has made these leaves so beautiful, even though they will end up on the bonfire soon. Jesus says, if God cares that much to make something as insignificant as a leaf on a tree so beautiful, how much more does God care for you? So Jesus says we shouldn’t be rushing around worrying about everything. We need to stop, notice, stay calm and remember that as sure as the seasons coming and changing, we can trust that God is with us, and cares for us. We know that all our trees will soon look dead but in the new year, new life will come. That is God’s promise to us.

Today is an opportunity to reflect and give thanks for all the good things in our lives, especially the way in which the earth produces food for us to eat, to give thanks for all those who work to produce food and drink for us to enjoy, to say sorry for the times we are not grateful, that we don’t notice God’s work in the world, that we don’t look after the things God has given us.

Look at your leaf again. I want you to think of one thing that you are grateful for. Hold that thought and thank God in your heart.


At this time of great uncertainty, we cannot look to the future with any certainty, or plan anything with the knowledge that we will be able to do it when the time comes.  I always like to have something to look forward to, but holidays, theatre trips, meetings with friends have now all been cancelled or are under threat.  These seem unimportant in comparison with what many people have lost in the past 6 months.  But the real problem arises when we lose hope in the future.  It is hard to see how things will ever return to normal, especially in our church life, where we have already missed Easter and Pentecost, and where even Christmas is looking unlikely, in the way we have always celebrated.

But Jesus says, “do not worry about your life ….  can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?”.  We therefore place our lives, our worries and our praises into the hand of our God, who ensures that spring always follows winter, and who has created each of us, and holds us in his hands.

We are not going to sing “We plough the fields and scatter” this morning, but we can certainly sing, “thank the Lord, O thank the Lord, for all his love”.


Hymn – In the darkness of the still night


   1      In the darkness of the still night,
           in the dawning of the daylight,
           in the mystery of creation,
           Creator God, you are there.
           In the breath of every being,
           in the birthing and the growing,
           in the earth and all its fullness,
           Creator God, you are there.

   2      In the homeless and the hungry,
           in the broken and the lonely,
           in the grieving of your people,
           Creator God, you are there.
           In the tears and in the heartache,
           in the love through which we serve you,
           in the anguish of the dying,
           Creator God, you are there.

   3      In our hearts and in our thinking,
           in the longing and the dreaming,
           in the yearning of our heartbeat,
           Creator God, you are there.
           In the love for one another,
           in the sharing of our being,
           in receiving and forgiving,
           Creator God, you are there.

   4      In our joys, our hopes, our healing,
           in awakening to revealing,
           in your call and our responding,
           Creator God, you are there.
           In our prayer and in our service,
           in our praise and in our worship,
           in your love that is eternal,
           Creator God, you are there.

Margaret Rizza (b. 1929)

Intercessions & Lords Prayer

Ever-present and eternal God, even in the darkest of times, you are there.  At the beginning of all things, and at their ending, your voice is heard above the chaos of daily life.

We pray today for all who are struggling to make sense of your world at this time, and for those who have suffered, and are suffering loss – the loss of loved ones, loss of jobs, loss of relationships, loss of freedom, loss of faith; comfort them with the assurance of your presence.

And we pray for those who are afraid – afraid of the consequences of coronavirus, afraid to leave their homes, afraid to hope in the future; give them courage to accept the present and to face the future in the knowledge that you are with us.

Lord, we thank you that we are wonderfully made in your likeness.  We thank you for the majesty of your creation as we celebrate this harvest, and for your attention to the smallest detail in your creative power.

Despite our fears and our worries, remind us of your constant presence, your eternal love, and your limitless mercy.

We pray now 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 Farrington Gurney, and their Minister, Stephen Robinson

May our words and our worship praise you, and may our actions bring glory to your holy name.


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.



Blessing of the offering

We pray for the work of All We Can, as our offering goes to support their work in buying bicycles for people in Uganda.


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)


God of the harvest, feed us, prune us, harvest us, that our lives might bring glory to you.

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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