‘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.
In August 2018 I was appointed as the Derbyshire Agricultural Chaplaincy’s first chaplain to young farmers. Coming from a farming family and married to a farmer’s son I’ve seen first-hand the day-to-day challenges faced by the farming community.
In many Old World wine growing countries, it is an established practice going back many centuries for wineries and vineyards to host a Blessing of the Vines or Blessing of the Harvest Festival. Today, clergy overseas are still actively invited to bestow a blessing for healthy vines and a fruitful harvest and offer thanks for another productive season.
Interactive Harvest Talks
These talks are suitable for use in a children’s talk or all-age worship service, or in a primary school assembly.
2018 has been a difficult year for many farmers (arthurrankcentre.org.uk/all-is-safely-gathered-in). As you prepare to lead worship go and speak to a local farmer about the harvest and consider inviting a farmer to speak at your service so people can hear more about what has been happening locally.
There are some further resources for a time of crisis in agriculture on our website (arthurrankcentre.org.uk/resources/agricultural-crisis).
One of the most rural circuits in the Methodist Connexion, Camelford and Week St Mary’s 17 churches are served by a great bunch of local preachers, a Circuit Administrator, a Families’ and Children’s Lay Worker and a Community Outreach Worker, along with a generous Supernumerary Minister who cares for three churches.
In his inaugural address as President of the Methodist Conference in Southport in 2015, Revd Steve Wild challenged each Methodist church in Britain to aim to bring just one person to faith in the coming year, saying:
‘Let’s take God seriously. I want to help us in the task of evangelism, to put mission on the agenda and give our churches an aim to win a person for Christ.’
How can a handful of people from a little ‘shabby chic’ chapel in a small village on the edge of the Cotswolds Way even think of mission? Well I suppose the answer is… we don’t! Call it mission that is. What we do is try to make connections; connections with each other, our communities and with God.
A Harvest service to take place outside in the wild. Originally designed to be used in a Sunday school but could also be used as part of a service or all-age.
A traditional harvest service with communion