Feast of St Hubert
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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

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