Learning to say ‘thank you’

There’s an old junior school assembly hymn called ‘Thank you Lord for this new day’. It’s a tuneful little ditty which rises higher and higher after each verse. And as you may expect, it says, ‘thank you’ – for the clothes that we wear, the food that we eat and of course, for each new day.

It’s always good to give thanks for things. Whether it’s to the people that we meet each day as we work or shop, our friends and family for a delicious meal or a fabulous birthday present – or to God, who we thank through our prayers and hymns.

Autumn always seems to be a particularly good time to say thank you. Possibly because of all the fruit and vegetables coming into season or the leaves on the trees changing colour, perhaps reminding us that we’ve been enjoying their greenery without realising it.

Morwenstow Church

Maybe that’s what the Rev’d Robert Hawker was thinking about on the 13th of September 1843. He was the Vicar of Morwenstow in Cornwall, and he revived a medieval custom by posting a notice announcing a special Sunday of thanksgiving. He wrote: ‘Let us gather together in the chancel of our church, and there receive, in the bread of the new corn, that blessed sacrament which was ordained to strengthen and refresh our souls.’


So were sown the seeds of the modern Harvest Festival tradition. Harvest Thanksgiving was formally adopted by the Church of England in 1862 and remains strong today in both rural and urban communities, even in a society increasingly distanced from the work of the land.

Harvest Thanks-giving. As we celebrate harvest time at St Giles’, we’ll of course be saying thank you for all the good gifts around us. But what better way to properly give thanks than by giving gifts to others – through giving up our time, donating our skills or by offering food and clothes to those less fortunate than ourselves.

We wish you a very happy autumn and harvest-tide.

St Giles’ Harvest Festival takes place on Sunday 1st October. Join us at 10am or at our special harvest choral evensong at 4.30pm, where a harvest ale will be served afterwards. Non-perishable gifts are welcome including toiletries. These will be distributed to local food banks. 

Safe Travels

Many people, who are able to, travel during the summer – in fact at St Giles’ we’ve just welcomed back some of our choristers who have spent a week in Cumbria at the Morland Chorister Camp. Soon, we’ll be waving off some of our parishioners as they make their annual pilgrimage to the shrine at Walsingham abbey. And at the end of September, we’re organising a trip to the majestic Winchester Cathedral.

If you or someone you know is travelling this summer, we wish you well. (And if you’re staying in Camberwell we wish you an enjoyable time too!)

A prayer for your journey:

Be to us, O Lord,
a support in our setting out,
a comfort by the way,
a shadow in the heat,
a covering in the rain and cold,
a conveyance in weariness,
a protection in adversity,
a staff in unsteady ways,
and a port in shipwreck;
that, with you being our Leader,
we may reach the place we seek,
and at length we may return again to our home in safety.



Our church is your church

General Election Chillax June '17
In June and July, St Giles’ is hosting a veritable smorgasbord of musical events. We have garden piano music jams, string quartets, vocal duos and two organ recitals on general election day. Jazz in the crypt continues each Friday night and Saturday 24th June is Organoke, our very own live karaoke session accompanied by the mighty organ.

2019 will mark the 175th anniversary of the consecration of our present church building, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott. Of course, the history of St Giles’ in Camberwell goes back a long way before that. Besides the medieval church which was destroyed by a fire in 1841, an earlier stone-built building existed and before that, a wooden church is listed in the Domesday book and was described as being surrounded by woodland. There were probably even earlier church buildings and Christian communities here, the origins of which are now lost.

Choral Evensong - June '17For over a thousand years, this church and the ones which preceded it were the focal point of the community of Camberwell. And whilst so much has changed, our Christian community endures – as does our desire to use our present church building for the good of our community today.

You may be here for a baptism or a wedding, or perhaps attending the funeral of a loved one. You may be a regular Sunday morning worshiper, or someone attending a civic event. If it’s a Friday night, you might be coming here for jazz and a few drinks or if it’s a rainy afternoon, an art student popping in to sketch something. You might be just mad enough to be singing Bohemian Rhapsody at the top of your voice at organoke!

Whatever faith you hold – or none – you are very welcome in this place at any of our events. Our church is your church.