For the first time this weekend the Mells Group of Churches, came together for a very special harvest celebration. In addition to traditional harvest festival services and suppers, the five villages of Buckland Dinham, Chantry, Great Elm, Mells and Whatley each held a flower festival, with music, and activities for all the family.
Each church focused on a different theme: Buckland Dinham at St Michael’s church is “The Glory of Harvest”, Chantry At Holy Trinity church “Corn, wheat and the bread of life”, Great Elm, at St Mary Magdalene’s it was “Pollinators and Produce”, Mells with Vobster, St Andrew’s church theme was “Life in all its Fullness”, Whatley, at St George’s it was, “Harvest flowers and apples”.
Also on display was the striking Harvest Torch Commissioned by Love British Food, as the focal point of Love British Food Fortnight, a two week celebration during harvest of British food. Each year a cathedral is chosen to host the torch, this year is the turn of Wells Cathedral.
Before it finally arrives in Wells in October the torch is touring Somerset with Somerset Young Farmers Clubs as part of the Great Harvest Trail; travelling to different events throughout the county and ending its journey at Wells Cathedral for a special YFC harvest service led by the Bishop Ruth 6 Oct at 7pm.
Revd Clive Fr Clive Fairclough Rector, Mells Group of Churches
The flower festival exceeded all expectations and was a huge success in both building community and the Kingdom as it reached out to all our visitors.
To give our festival a context, the Bible describes the harvest as the gathering of all things planted, a natural time of reaping in joy what has been produced during the year in our agricultural communities.
Jesus reflects on the harvest when he encourages us to ask and pray to the Lord of the harvest for labourers. God stands in control of the harvest time; it is part of his work. Our response to God’s love for us, our countryside and his creation goes back to planting and reaping. Offerings in Bible times came from the fullness of one’s harvest.
The Festival of Harvest or first fruits in the Bible came in the spring, which we now have as the service of the plough. Our farmers to do their part in the agricultural year in planting to be able to reap their harvest. But the focus, in scripture, on harvest revolved around the product and the work of the Lord in bringing it to completion and is celebrated at our modern harvest festivals. We are very grateful for our farmers in livestock, dairy, crop and cereal production and this festival is about thanking them for their hard work in all weathers and the uncertainty of their future.
The five villages harvest flower festival recognises the plight of our farmers which is why we are working with the Somerset Federation of Young Farmers’ clubs celebrating ‘British Food Fortnight’ (21 Sept – 6 Oct). We also hosted the national Harvest Torch, which will be visiting many events across Somerset.
Jenny Waller, churchwarden in Mells, said “It was amazing to see people come together to make it happen across the five villages, and across our communities. Flowers, music, art and hospitality drew people into the churches, and many people used the walking trails we marked between the villages. The high spot for me was seeing the children from Mells First School making over 130 flower arrangements in tin cans, filling the church with colour.”
More photographs from the weekend can be seen on the Bath and Wells FaceBook page
A donation from the proceeds of the Great Harvest Trail will be made to the Farming Community Network (FCN) which is a voluntary organisation and charity that supports farmers and families within the farming community through difficult times.