HARVEST THANKSGIVING Hymns 261, 259, 397, 262

FIRST READING Deuteronomy 8.7-18 For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you may mine copper. You shall eat your fill and bless the Lord your God for the good land that he has given you. Take care that you do not forget the Lord your God, by failing to keep his commandments, his ordinances, and his statutes, which I am commanding you today. When you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, then do not exalt yourself, forgetting the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, an arid waste-land with poisonous snakes and scorpions. He made water flow for you from flint rock, and fed you in the wilderness with manna that your ancestors did not know, to humble you and to test you, and in the end to do you good. Do not say to yourself, ‘My power and the might of my own hand have gained me this wealth.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM 65 Response: Be joyful in God, all the earth.

The ends of the earth stand in awe at the sight of your wonders.

The lands of sunrise and sunset you fill with your joy. R

 You care for the earth, give it water; you fill it with riches.

Your river in heaven brims over to provide its grain. R

 And thus you provide for the earth; you drench its furrows;

you level it, soften it with showers; you bless its growth. R

 You crown the year with your goodness. Abundance flows in your steps;

in the pastures of the wilderness it flows. R

 The hills are girded with joy, the meadows covered with flocks,

the valleys are decked with wheat; they shout for joy, yes they sing. R

SECOND READING 2Corinthians 9.6-15 The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. As it is written,
‘He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures for ever.’
He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God. Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others, while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

GOSPEL Luke 12.16-30 Then he told them a parable: ‘The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, “What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?” Then he said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich towards God.’ He said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them.'


A very warm welcome to any new readers, and to visitors and newcomers to St Michael's on our Harvest Thanksgiving day. A special welcome and thanks to Fr Paul Matthias, our celebrant this morning, who will also kindly be saying Mass for us on Thursday (when we commemorate St Wilfrid) at 10.30 am. Everyone is warmly invited to continue our Harvest celebration today with coffee, wine and cake in the Vestry Hall after Mass. If new to St Michael's, you are particularly welcome.

Valerie Brown's funeral will take place in church on Friday, 27th October, at 12.45 pm, followed by cremation at Vinters Park at 2.45 pm. There is a card at the back of the church to express our sympathy with Valerie's family in their bereavement. Everyone who remembers Valerie is invited to sign it. If you would like to write individually, Catherine G has the address of Valerie's daughter Catherine Brown.

Warmest thanks to Alison and her helpers for organising such a wonderful Michaelmas lunch last Sunday, and thanks also to all who contributed to the splendid array of refreshments. And further thanks to those who have brought “a little something” today, to make our harvest celebration special.

The St Michael's Schools' Michaelmas-and-harvest service took place on Michaelmas Day itself. It was particularly good to see such a large group of parents in church, and we very much appreciate the Schools' letting us add their harvest gifts to our own. Among the offerings from the Schools, touchingly, was a pack of dog-food “for the homeless people's dogs”. Thank you also to all who have contributed harvest gifts today; they will mean so much to people who are in difficulties in these challenging times. This week all the gifts will be delivered to the Food Bank in Knightrider Street.

Our pre-Christmas Fair, on 2nd December from 12 noon to 4 pm, will need cake-bakers, jam-makers, plant-growers, craftspeople, prize-donors

  • and others, including kindly angels who will give help on the day. It will also be a better Fair if people contribute bright ideas beforehand. How could you help? Sara will be delighted to hear (in person or on 07837 919761) from anyone who is willing to be involved in any way. Let's get together to make it a wonderful day for all concerned!

The Maidstone Deanery Roadshow at St Luke's, Maidstone, on October 16th at 7 pm - what is it? Deanery Roadshows are a chance for parishes to learn about the financial plans of the diocese and how they will affect the deanery and its parishes. Those present can ask questions and, indeed, make representations about financial matters that concern them. Recently St Michael's has made its presence felt, and its voice heard, on these occasions. Please note the date and try to come along.

Flowers in church: Members of the congregation sometimes wish to dedicate a flower arrangement in church in memory of a loved one. If you would like to do this, please have a word with Margaret G., who can provide information and help.

Choral Evensong often speaks not only to active Anglicans but to many people whose links with the Church are far less definite. Everyone will be welcome at Choral Evensong at St Michael's at 5 pm on Sunday, 29th October, with a gathered choir conducted by Gareth James. Do pass the word around!

From our Tower:

Kent County Association: Maidstone, Kent, St Michael and All Angels

Sunday, 1 October 2023 in 42m (6–1–24 in C)

1296 Spliced Surprise Minor (2m)

2m:720 London, 576 Cambridge; 18 com.

  1. Jacqueline Barlow
  2. Philip Jarvis
  3. Mike Birkbeck
  4. Mark Elvers
  5. Paul Barton
  6. Neil Jones (C)

For Michaelmas, and rung on the Saint's Day of Remigius, Bishop of Reims, Apostle of the Franks, 533. Also remembering Valerie Brown, a faithful member of the congregation, 29/9/2023. R.I.P.

A Peal is planned for Monday, 30th October at 2 pm. Probable duration, 3 hours.

“But Maidstone people don't read.” Really? MADM is ready to help us disprove this, with lots of pre-loved Christian books available at its bookshop - 49 Church Street, open 10 am – 2 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Or why not pause at the back of the church and pick up one of the helpful Church Union leaflets on particular Christian topics that are on display there? Or join Forward in Faith and receive its excellent monthly magazine, New Directions? Good reading can nourish our faith and our prayers, as well as helping us to explain to enquirers what we believe and why.

Could you pass this sheet on to someone else who might like to see it?