In recent years problems and difficulties in UK agriculture have increased. Financial problems, debt and bankruptcy are common, the incidence of crop and livestock disease is high and rural stress-related mental health problems, including tragic suicides are seen in many communities.
Most Christian denominations in the UK have regular prayers for those who work the land. Traditionally these often take place at Rogationtide (from Rogare ‘to ask’) when in the three days before Ascension Thursday the Lord is asked to protect and make fruitful the new crops and animals, at Lamas (Loaf-Mass on 1 August) – when the first bread from the new wheat harvest is blessed – and at Harvest Festival (variable between mid-September and mid-October depending on local cropping and circumstances).
The head of one of the best-respected rural charities and support groups – the Farm Community Network (FCN) – has asked that all Christians pray in these difficult times.
Appropriate Mass Texts
In 2017, in the three days before Ascension Thursday (Rogationtide – Monday 22 May – Wednesday 24 May) there are no major feasts and so one of the Masses for special needs e.g. ‘At Seed Time’ Missal p.1355 with associated readings (Lectionary Vol III 635 ‘For Productive Land’), may be used on one of these days.
Texts for Bidding Prayers, Prayer Services, School Assemblies
If you are involved in ecumenical services, it may be helpful to have insight into Anglican practices. The Church of England website is useful for this.
For more resources or advice please contact:
Fr Rob Taylerson
Archbishop’s Adviser on Rural Affairs
t: 01782 658063