Towards the end of last summer’s County Championship season, Somerset County Cricket Club hosted a crowd of over five hundred farmers and their families during their four-day game against Yorkshire. The day was jointly organised by Somerset CCC, the Farming Community Network (FCN) and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institute (RABI).
Most of us who live in the countryside are conscious that there is a story behind everything we eat. But that story is becoming confusing as media soundbites repeatedly tell us that meat (particularly red meat) is either destroying the planet through its emissions or making us ill.
We are intrinsically linked with the soil, certainly from a biblical perspective. In Genesis, God reminds us that we were made from the soil (Genesis 2:7) and that it will become the source of our food. We are explicitly told to care for it (Genesis 2:15) and in doing so live out God’s original call to us as human beings.
Death, grief and bereavement are realities that touch each of us. Churches, whether rural, suburban or urban, have a huge role in offering support and care during these most difficult times, and churchyards can be particularly significant spaces for those who are grieving a loved one.
Many Christian parents are keen for their children to grow to know and love God for themselves. But it can feel like so many things get in the way, and many don’t feel they have the time or skills to help their children in this way. Parenting for Faith, part of the Bible Reading Fellowship, produces free resources to help parents and carers to raise God-connected children and teenagers, and resource churches to better support parents as they help their children
Only a livestock farmer will fully understand what it means to have to sell up their herd or flock. In the spring of 2004, the day after the auction of our cattle, I stood in the yard and prayed. The particular smells and sounds of dairy cows were absent for the first day in generations, and added to the financial pressures of the tenancy was the strange guilt that after so many years I was the one who had to leave the dairy industry. But I had trusted in Jesus for long enough to know that God can use our failures and disappointments to bring about what he really wants from us. So began a new adventure in farming the particular way in which the Lord led.
Just before I headed off to Greenbelt in the summer of 2019, I wrote a tweet asking if any clergy had ever felt lonely and would they be prepared to talk to me about it. If so, they could message me privately. In my head I was hoping I’d get loads of folk replying; in reality, there wasn’t a single response. Now, of course, there might be a hundred good reasons why this was the case – not least, that they might not have seen the tweet – but it did leave me wondering whether loneliness is still something that we struggle to talk about. I believe there is a stigma about it
Saying ‘thank you’ is simple but can mean so much and goes such a long way especially in this difficult time in the NHS. At Heart of the Health Service, we are committed to showing our gratitude and giving others the opportunity to say thank you to NHS staff. One of the ways in which we do this is through Thank You Dinners which we host in partnership with local communities.
‘We plough the fields and scatter the good seed on the land, but it is fed and watered by God’s almighty hand’ we sang heartily at the beginning of our annual Harvest Festival Celebration Service in the village chapel of Kirkheaton. The previous month we had received a wonderful blessing through our partners the United Reform Church who gave us a very generous £3000 mission grant to be used locally. Harvest was our first opportunity to get to work and join in what God was already doing in our village.
With nearly 10 million people now living in areas defined as ‘rural’, a reliable transport infrastructure is important and can have a significant impact on people’s quality of life and ability to carry out daily activities, not least because of its role in enabling access employment, education, shopping and health services.
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