Harvest is a great opportunity for the church to connect in imaginative ways with their communities and to bring God to the people at the same time as we enable the community to bring praises and thanks to Him.
"Harvest is one of the two festivals in the Christian church that is easily under stood by non-churchgoers. Very often a community will support church harvest celebrations with as much enthusiasm as they do Christmas carol services. It marks a turning point in the calendar, a seasonal change, in a world where we have lost touch with so much of the natural world around us.
In the countryside the date of harvest is critical. Farmers do not want to celebrate ‘the feast of in-gathering’ until they have completed the process on the farm. For urban communities it may be tied in with a convenient time for bringing into church the products of local businesses, or be linked to the school year to involve more families.
However for all of us harvest festival is a time when we can reconnect with God’s creation by bringing together the produce from our gardens, allotments and farms with the skills of our communities and with the natural world around us. Giving thanks for all God’s gifts, whether through soil, water and grain or through tins of peas and packets of biscuits or through arts, crafts and music or indeed pictures and symbols of work and the skills of the community, encourages us to pause and listen to God. Special liturgy and prayers can help us to acknowledge our complete dependence on Him for everything we have.
The marked contrast between what we have to celebrate and that of poorer communities across the world could be made a central part of any celebration and provide an opening for discussion about what actions to take to make a difference to other people’s lives. Displays of fair trade goods together with the communities that produce them can be an integral part of changing hearts and minds towards a lighter life style."
Reader at Baddiley, Burleydam & Wrenbury
At harvest time we thank you for the changes in the seasons
Which bring the beautiful colours of the world.
When the golden, brown , green and yellow crispy
Leaves that fall of that grow on the trees.
We thank you for the dazzling sun which shines
Down from the azure sky and the smell of the fresh Autumn air.
Thank you for the clean rain that helps nourish the crops.
We thank you for the special time of year.
Resources and ideas from within Chester Diocese:
The United Benefice of Baddiley & Wrenbury with Burleydam held a Family Harvest Festival Communion Service and have kindly shared their Service Booklet and intercessions with us.
- Revd Colin Randall (Chester Diocese Worship Adviser) has put together a Harvest Song Sheet which has got plenty of songs to choose from. Don't forget that if you want to reproduce a copyright song you must put your CCL licence number on the sheet.
Church Urban Fund - Harvest means different things in different congregations. Whether you are in a rural parish, with the fruits of the earth all around you, or in the city or suburbs, for all of us it can be a time to reflect on the food we receive as gifts of God. A time, too, to think about sharing with those in need.
Traidcraft - a range of ideas and resources for worship, study groups and church publications to promote the fair trade message
Embrace- Harvest resources. Embrace the Middle East, helping to improve the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged people in the Middle East.