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.
- "Experience Harvest" - An exciting way for churches to share the festival stories with children. St. James & St Hilda, Latchford used this imaginative approach produced by the Diocese of Gloucester, to help children experience the Christian festivals of Harvest.
HOPE for Harvest - will help you to look at the festival of harvest in a whole new light, pointing to opportunities to make an impact outside your church, in your work place and neighbourhood. Urban and rural churches can make harvest a mission moment. With dozens of ideas and practical mission examples, a preface from HRH Prince Charles and contributions from Pastor Agu Irukwu, Abbot Christopher Jamison, Dr Rachel Jordan, Rev Joanne Cox and Mark Greene, plus a four-week Bible Study, HOPE for Harvest is packed full of mission ideas and inspiration.
Self Help Africa
Celebrate harvest this year with a charity bringing hope to Africa’s rural poor. Self Help Africa is offering a FREE 'Small Miracles' harvest pack to assist churches with their harvest festival. Crammed full of sermon ideas, harvest service pointers, hymn suggestions, bible readings, children’s activities, case studies about our work in Africa and much more, the pack should have everything you need for a successful harvest service. Click here
Arthur Rank Centre - select 'Harvest' from the categories drop down menu to view all their harvest resources