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St Mary's Harvest Festivals

Wellingborough & Kettering News, October 1st, 1881, transcribed by Kay Collins

THE FEASTThe feast was proclaimed this year by the usual flourish of trumpets on Saturday and all the village was astir to welcome the arrival of visitors, there being a rather larger contingent than in some previous years. The weather was very threatening during the evening. Sunday was finer and the streets were thronged with people. At the parish church the Harvest Festival was celebrated, the sacred edifice being made increasingly attractive by the chaste decoration. The altar had a large cross decorated with asters and roses which not only looked very nice, but emitted their fragrance all around; these were intermixed with ferns and grasses. Under the window were sunflowers, and on either side of the altar sheaves of wheat, and along the communion rail were placed bouquets and flowers. The base of the pulpit was surrounded by some very nice, maiden hair ferns and other greenhouse plants, up the rails of the chancel screens were runners of wheat and oat ears, relieved by dahlias. The rails at the transept screens were similarly treated, only instead of the dahlias were geranium blossoms. All round the whole of the screens were fringes of the ears of oats; in the window recesses were sheaves of corn; the gas jets were adorned by varigated leaves and corn. The font presented a very pleasing spectacle being covered by a veil of creepers relieved by coloured leaves. The decorations were the work of Mrs. and the Misses Barker and friends. The Rev. Mr. Hull, of Northampton, was announced to preach but was unable to attend, and the sermons were preached by the Rector. The church was full at the evening service when the choir sang the anthem "Blessed be the name of the Lord." The rev. gentleman took for his text the words "In everything give thanks," Thessalonians 5ch. 18v. He stated that in the morning he dealt with the question of whether a harvest festival was not out of place in such a season as that, and tried to show it was not, and in the evening he would consider a few questions arising from the festival. Had they deserved success by the spirit in which they had worked? Had they worked in a trustful, hopeful, generous, honest, and Godfearing spirit. Then there were the messages such a festival taught, and in passing he paid an eloquent tribute to the memory of President Garfield for the noble example he set of industry and resolution. The collections were to defray a debt of £9 due to the churchwardens on the church expenses account. In the morning £2 7s. was collected.

Wellingborough News, 27th September 1884, transcribed by Kay Collins

Harvest Thanksgiving at The Parish Church
The harvest thanksgiving at Rushden Parish Church was one of the principal features of Feast Sunday. In the morning the bells rang out merry peals, and matins were said at an early hour. At the mid-day service the edifice was crowded with worshippers. The interior, as usual, had been gracefully treated with the "fruits of the earth." At the base of the east window, immediately above the altar, were placed some choice potted plants, ferns, and evergreens, in the centre of which stood a cross, faced with lilies, maidenhair ferns, and daisies. The screens surrounding the chancel and transepts were very prettily ornamented with wheat, oats, blackberries, elderberries, ferns geraniums, dahlias, asters, asparagus, and creepers, interspersed with luscious bunches of grapes and cherry apples. The centre screen, facing the congregation, bore the text, "Let the people praise Thee, O God," in red letters upon a white ground, with a fringe of oats, and the texts on the right and left screens—"Thou visitest the earth and bleasest it", "Thou crownest the year with Thy goodness," were also treated in a similar way. Attached to the pulpit were a number of large sunflowers, ferns, oats, and wild berries. The reading desk was trimmed with barley and berries, and bunches of grapes were suspended. The font was nicely treated with oats, berries and apples, and at its base were arranged a number of sunflowers and ferns. In the transept were large quantities of fruit and vegetables, shocks of wheat, oats, and barley. Other portions of the building were similarly treated, and the decorations were inspected after each service by a large number of the parishioners. At the morning and evening services, the vicar (the Rev. Canon Barker) read the prayers, and the Rev. R. B. Hull (vicar of All Saints', Northampton), preached on behalf of the Rushden National Schools. The lessons in the morning were 2 Kings xviii., and 2 Corr. xiii, and were read by Mr. Hull. The hymn before the sermon, "To Thee O Lord our hearts we raise," having been sung, the preacher took as his text "Never man spake like this man," John vii., 46, upon which he based an able discourse. At the conclusion of the sermon the hymn "O Lord of heaven and earth and sea," was sung, and the collection was taken. In the evening there was a large congregation, every unoccupied space being filled up with additional seating accommodation. The service opened with the hymn "Come ye faithful people, come." The special Psalms were the lxv. and the cxlvii., the lessons being taken from 2 Kings xix., and Mark xv. "We plough the fields and scatter" preceded the sermon, which was based on Matthew xxviii., 20, "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." The collections realised £9.

The Argus, Friday 30th September 1910, transcribed by Kay Collins

Harvest Festival – The harvest festival at the Parish Church was continued on Sunday when the services were attended by large congregations. There were celebrations of Holy Communion at 7 and 8a.m., the former being choral. At the morning service the Rector (the Ven. Arthur Kitchin, R.D.) read the prayers, and the sermon was preached by the Rev. E. W. Suart. In the afternoon a children’s service was held, when an address was given by the Rev. W. B. Masefield. The evening service was taken by the Rev. E. W. Suart, and the Rector preached. The music was in keeping with the festival, and the anthem rendered by the choir was “I will magnify Thee”, Mr. J. E. Smith being in his usual place at the organ.

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