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Harvest Dreams

Tread softly because you tread on farmers' dreams.

Of what does a farmer dream?

In the U. K.
Of a rich harvest?
Of a good price for the crop, covering costs with something left over.
Of enough capital to see him through the bad times.
Of security - for himself and his family.
Of a good well-managed farm to pass on to his children, as his father passed it to him.

It may be easier to ask ‘what does a farmer fear?’
Because fear of failure is ever present!
Fear of too little rain - or too much.
Fear of rain and wind spoiling a good crop.
Fear of low prices for his produce, falling bank balances and an overdraft refused.
Fear of sickness or injury - how will my family cope without me?

And all these apply in the world wide farming community
along with other fears:-
Fear of total crop failure.
Fear of an invasion of locusts, leaving just bare earth where there was a green field.
Fear of drought - lasting for months not just a few weeks.
Fear of ‘picky’ buyers for the crop - refusal could mean disaster.
Fear of starvation:- no rain, no grass, no cattle, no crop, no sales. Nothing for tomorrow.

And for the the ‘consumer’?
Do you remember the fuel shortage in September 2000?
Have you ever seen a Supermarket with no food on its shelves?
Our food supply appears secure.
If the buyer does not like one farmer or country he can make a deal elsewhere.
And it is so easy for us with our own ‘dream’ of cheap food to tread on the dreams of others!
The prophet Isaiah expressed God’s indignation when he spoke of ‘Grinding the face of the poor’. (Isaiah 3 v. 15)

Love for our neighbour can be expressed in treading very softly and carefully in our choice of food.
A wise choice will mean fewer ‘food miles’, ‘Fair Traded’ imports
and a fair return for the primary producer where-ever they may be.

An unwise choice can cause irreversible damage to God’s world and farmers everywhere.

In buying food - ‘Tread softly for you tread on farmers’ dreams!’

©2005 T.W. Brighton
You are free to use this but please acknowledge copyright



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This is the world that God made

This is the world that God made.

This is the field
that is part of the world that God made

This is the wheat
that was planted by the farmer
that grows in the field
that is part of the world that God made.

This is the flour that was ground by the miller
that comes from the wheat
that was planted by the farmer
that grows in the field
that is part of the world that God made.

This is the bread that was made by the baker
that contains the flour
that was ground by the miller
that comes from the wheat
that was planted by the farmer
that grows in the field
that is part of the world that God made.

This is our tea when we eat the bread
that was made by the baker
that contains the flour
that was ground by the miller
that comes from the wheat
that was planted by the farmer
that grows in the field
that is part of the world that God made.

This is the day when we say 'THANK YOU'
to the baker,
the miller,
the farmer
and to God
for giving us bread by which we live
in the wonderful world which God made.

© 2005 T.W.Brighton
You are free to use this but please acknowledge copyright

Children could be the farmer, miller etc and, as they are mentioned, stand to hold up a globe, pictures or examples of items.



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Harvest Prayers

Circulated by The Arthur Rank Centre

Prayer of praise and thanks

Leader Creator and sustainer of all, at this harvest season we gather as your
people to offer you our heartfelt thanks and praise.

Voice 1 We praise you for the bounty and variety of your creation,
the succession of the seasons,
the productiveness of the soil,
the harvest of land and sea.

Creating and sustaining God ....:

Response
with wonder in our hearts, we thank you.


Voice 2 Thank you for allowing us to be co-creators with you,
developing new strains of plants and cross-breeding animals,
controlling pests and diseases,
carefully enhancing the fertility of the land,
growing flowers, fruit and vegetables in garden and allotment,
trying out new recipes in the kitchen.

Creating and sustaining God .....

Response
with wonder in our hearts, we thank you.


Voice 3 We give thanks for all who play their part
in producing, harvesting, preparing and distributing
the varied and delicious food that we eat.

Creating and sustaining God ......

Response
with wonder in our hearts, we thank you.


Leader We praise you for feeding us with spiritual as well as material food.
May we learn to live, not on bread alone, but on your every word.
May we be nurtured by Christ the Bread of Life,
and be fruitful branches of Christ the True Vine.
May we offer his lifegiving water to refresh your world.

Creating and sustaining God

Response
recreate us in the image of your Son, our Lord, in whose name we pray. Amen.

©2000 Jenny Carpenter


Prayer for farming, forestry and fishing industry

For farmers, foresters and fishers , their families and communities
and all who depend on them ......
Versicle : Lord, in your mercy,

Response : hear our prayer.

For farmers who struggle to make a living, especially those who are tenants,
and those who have large amounts of debt to service ......

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.


For those who maintain high standards of animal husbandry, but are undercut
by unfair competition and have undergone great suffering over the past months,
for livestock hauliers and auctioneers, for vets and agricultural advisers ......

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.


For those who are seeking to use agro-chemicals responsibly
and adopt eco-friendly practices .......

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.


For farming families under stress,
for farm women, for the Women's Food and Farming Union and its work
in promoting locally produced food and opportunities for diversification..

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.


For support groups - Rural Stress Information Network, Farm Crisis Network
and Rural Minds, and for agricultural chaplains ......

Lord, in your mercy,hear our prayer.


For foresters, balancing long term investment and short term economic return,
for the development of sustainable woodland and increased use of coppicing products,
for the use of trees and hedges to improve the micro climate and bio-diversity ......

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.


For fishing communities adapting to massive change,
for an end to vicious rivalry within the European Community,
for wisdom in implementing policies that will sustain and renew fish stocks
while ensuring the viability of fishing businesses ......

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.


For restraint and fairness in the use of economic power,
for discernment and a long term view in policy and decision making,
for a love of creation and a high view of human stewardship

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. Amen.


Arthur Rank Centre
©2000 Jenny Carpenter


Harvest Dreams

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If you want to arrange a service to celebrate harvest there are resources to help you.

Seasonal Worship: - resource book published March 2003

voiceofbritishagriculture.com - and - British Food Fortnight


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Ideas for the Celebration of Harvest Festival
from the Arthur Rank Centre

The Earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it... ‘He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate – bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens the heat of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart.’ Psalm 104, 14-15

Historically the Church has played a key role in reinforcing the connection between people and the land through Rogation and Harvest Festival. Harvest Festival is second to Christmas as the most popular time for ‘going to church’. Build on this strength and connect with the growing focus among many organisations on the benefits to health and our own economy by the production and consumption of local food.

Among the possibilities you may consider:

  • Link with other people who may be doing something in British Food Fortnight, e.g. local shops, pubs, farms, markets, restaurants, hotels & schools.
  • Offer space in church literature, parish magazines, community newsletters for mention of what others are planning or doing and flag worship as being part of the national event.
  • Add elements to your harvest thanksgiving that will make it even more appealing to those who do not normally come – the young, shop workers, cooks/chefs, food processors, retailers, farmers.
  • Explore how raw materials turn into the finished product – cooking utensils, shopping trolleys, tasting opportunities as well as a procession of raw materials and finished products.
  • If others are holding events talk to them and offer a small additional worship element, even just an opening prayer and an easy to sing item.
  • Arrange a Harvest Supper on a farm with local food and drink, a short act of worship in a barn and finish with a barn dance or similar.
  • Ensure that any church catering, particularly during this fortnight, uses local food and drink and Fair Trade products.
  • Contact local organisations that have a meal as part of their life e.g. Schools, Rotary, Lunch Clubs, Old People’s Homes and suggest they organise a special British Food Fortnight meal and offer someone from the church as a speaker.


Examples from previous years

Crick Harvest

Robert Barlow, Rector of Crick, recalls: “In addition to our ordinary services, we held a farm walk and sheep roast. Members of a suburban church from Northampton joined us and together we visited a farm and learnt something of what life is like for those in agriculture today. The sheep roast was washed down with excellent Northamptonshire wine. The event was a great success in building links between suburbs and country as well as between consumers and agriculture.”

Bury-St-Edmunds, Suffolk

Revd Canon Sally Fogden organised two events: “We held a British sausage festival with everyone’s favourite type of sausage provided by local producers and butchers. We served mash made from British potatoes with local cream, salads and some kind people produced puddings. A folk group sang and a farmer who is diversifying as a part-time comic told Suffolk tales – a very popular evening, we shall do it again.”

“Our Harvest Supper is always a good occasion and an opportunity to promote British food and farming. The sermon was about being proud of our farmers. And afterwards we had a feast of wonderful British home-cooked ham, beef, jacket potatoes and salads followed by home made apple pies (British apples of course!).”

Harvest of the Mearns, Aberdeenshire

Laurencekirk, in the heart of rich farming country in the north-east of Scotland, has seen the decline in agriculture break the connection between people and the land. The church ran a local food event on a Saturday reflecting each part of the food chain in the area, with a simple soup and roll lunch provided by the congregation. “Harvest of the Mearns” included fruit and vegetable growers, a grain merchant, whiskey distillery, beef producer, preserve manufacturer and bakery supplier. Over 300 people visited the event and the attendance at Harvest Festival the following day doubled. The Mearns Food Forum, made up of local authority staff and farmers, invited the church to join the group to help support local food initiatives, and a recent local food seminar has brought together local producers and retailers. Demonstrations and tastings were held as part of British Food Fortnight.

Please look at the Arthur Rank Centre and British Food fortnight websites for ideas to help you plan your Harvest Festival event or contact the
Arthur Rank Centre for more information on Harvest 2005.


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Some suggested hymns and songs

All creatures of our God and King (Hymns A & M Revised and most others)
Am I my brother's keeper? (Rejoice and Sing)
And art Thou come with us to dwell (Hymns and Psalms)
Awake, awake to love and work (Hymns and Psalms; Rejoice and Sing)
Christ whose glory fills the skies (most)
Confitemini Domino O give thanks to the Lordfor he is good (Taize)
Creating God, we bring our song of praise (New Start Hymns and Songs)
For the fruits of his creation (Hymns and Psalms; Mission Praise)
For the healing of the nations (most)
God in his love for us lent us this planet (Hymns and Psalms)
Gracious God, in adoration (New Start Hymns and songs)
Help us accept each other (Rejoice and Sing)
Lord of all good, our gifts we bring to Thee (Rejoice and Sing)
I will enter his gates with thanksgiving in my heart (Mission Praise)
In heavenly love abiding (Hymns and Psalms; Mission Praise)
Jubilate Deo (Taize)
Rejoice in God (Taize)
Lord bring the day to pass (Hymns and Psalms)
Nada te turbe Let nothing trouble you (Taize)
Now join we to praise the creator (Hymns and Psalms)
Praise and thanksgiving, Father, we offer (Hymns and Psalms)
Praise God for the harvest of farm and of field (Hymns and Psalms)
The day of the Lord shall come (Wild Goose. Rejoice and Sing)
Think of a world without any flowers (most recent)
We give thee but thine own (most)
You shall go out with joy (most recent)

and Particularly for Eucharistic Worship :

Bread of heaven, on thee we feed (most)
Father we give you thanks, who planted (Hymns and Psalms; Rejoice and Sing)
I hunger and I thirst (Hymns and Psalms-, Rejoice and Sing)
The Son of God proclaim (Rejoice and Sing)

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