Harvest Festival

The Baptist church down the road from us is having a Harvest Festival which is popular among Protestants, although the timing is unsure. Harvest Festival usually at the end of the farming year and it is similar to the Jewish Feast of Ingathering. Its a time to bring in the food produced on our land and symbolically offer it to God. And, of course, eat a little of it. Some churches, like the Baptist churches I grew up with, had a table in the front of the church which would fill up with all kinds of bread. Nothing else, really, just bread . . but then it was an urban church and there were no farmers around.

Festival-34

This Sunday, the church is having a potluck dinner to celebrate Harvest Festival and we are bringing along food to add to it. That way we all get to eat together.

In USA and Canada, this is a national holiday and its called Thanksgiving. It occurs at the end of November and we always celebrate it because my wife is American and so are our kids. I am traveling this Thanksgiving and will not be at home so what we are doing this morning is making a COMPLETE THANKSGIVING FEAST, including turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potato and brown sugar dish, etc, and bringing it along to the potluck at this little unsuspecting Scottish Baptist Church. It might freak them out a little, but not as much as when i brought a rare EYE-FILLET STEAK on a bed of garlic potatoes to the potluck last year.

Some history from Wikipedia

“The modern British tradition of celebrating Harvest Festival in churches began in 1843, when the Reverend Robert Hawker invited parishioners to a special thanksgiving service at his church at Morwenstow in Cornwall. Victorian hymns such as “We plough the fields and scatter”, “Come ye thankful people, come” and “All things bright and beautiful” helped popularise his idea of harvest festival and spread the annual custom of decorating churches with home-grown produce for the Harvest Festival service.”

Not sure what we will do or what you will do but I am thinking today is a good day to think about God’s provision from the earth for our needs. Here are some prayers.

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There is a website with Harvest Prayers. Here is one of the payers.

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

And a liturgy



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

Andrew

Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name "Precious" :-)

4 Comments

  • Andrew,
    Canadian Thanksgiving happens in October and doesn’t have the same over-the-top feel to it of American Thanksgiving. Though Turkeys make the ultimate sacrifice in Canada, as well. As well, our Prime Minister does not get involved in pardoning any turkeys.
    Thought you’d want to know.

  • Some of my favorite memoires of Church in England was Harvest festival. This is a great time. Thanks for brining back some good thoughts.

  • Seems Bill beat me to the correction about Canadian Thanksgiving. To add a bit of trivia, our Canadian celebration was celebrated a different times of the year until around 1921, when it share the day (Nov. 11) with Armistice Day (now Remembrance Day), splitting into two separate holidays in 1931. The official day was not declare by Canadian parliament until the late 1950’s.
    Great prayers, Andrew. Thanks!
    Peace,
    Jamie

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