The Uniting Church faith community at Gala Kirk Cranbrook, on the beautiful East Coast of Tasmania, celebrated the end of the grape picking season with a harvest festival service at the civilised time of 2pm on Sunday 29 April.
Cranbrook is a small but charming town which harbours the old Gala Kirk church.
The church remains almost as it was built. There is no electricity, no plumbing and pews big enough to seat entire families. Despite its advanced age the pedal organ beautifully plays hymns from Together in Song. The magnificent views would challenge most country churches and all city churches.
On 29 April the church contained 32 people, some locals and some drifters-in, an altar laden with grapes, red and white, locally grown potatoes, pumpkin by the arm-full, preserves of apricots and tomatoes in fowler ware, a loaf of bread and locally produced wine.
We pressed our own grape juice for communion using the press provided by Stuart Macpherson. For the sacramental bread we used a loaf of damper baked by patrol minister Dennis Cousens. As we sang Bringing in the Sheaves young attendees brought freshly cut sheaves and placed them with the harvest gifts.
Our prayers of thanksgiving were around the gifts given in abundance with grapes, a sprig of lavender, a clutch of spinning gum branches and an empty cross all signifying the gifts of God.
Stuart Macpherson preached on the ‘True Vine’, the lectionary gospel passage for the day, and told us to be prepared to be used for the Glory of God.
As we left, carved pumpkin pieces were given to everyone to grow the seeds for the future.
It was a great celebration, we had some fun and it was topped off by a wonderful afternoon tea at the conclusion of the service in the tiny Cranbrook schoolhouse.
Thank you to Jennie Amos and Pat Greenhill for your dedication to the faith community of Gala Kirk.