Encouraging baptism families to get involved at Harvest
Harvest Festival attracts some of the highest church attendances of the year. It’s another key opportunity to connect again with families who have recently-baptized children, and with the wider community. Here are some ideas to extend your welcome and plan a service.
Harvest Festival is one of the special times in the church calendar, with some of the highest attendances of the year.
Yet it’s a relatively recent addition to the annual cycle of worship, emerging from the Victorian era, when the local church and community would be drawn together to celebrate all that God had provided. Traditionally, and perhaps especially in rural communities, Harvest is the time when the church is richly decorated to celebrate the abundance of God’s creation.
But in recent years, Harvest Festival services have begun to resonate with more contemporary concerns.
Churches have begun to use Harvest themes to think about the stewardship of the earth, challenging everyone to think about environmental concerns. Alongside gifts of marrows and potatoes and bread, there are collections of tins and packets and household goods to share with foodbanks and homeless organisations.
Church and non-church schools alike, along with other community groups and national charities such as Traidcraft, often produce resources to link Harvest time with fundraising and awareness. These resources can be a great help to churches as they plan and prepare for their Harvest services.
It’s a great time to connect with families, especially those who have begun an amazing journey of faith at baptism. It’s a time to think about gratitude and thanksgiving, and a time to think about compassion and justice as well as recognising God’s generous love in creation.
Publicising your Harvest Service
These Articles are free to download and use in your parish magazine. The red-highlighted text can be edited, so you can add in your own details about up-and-coming Harvest services.
- Saying thank you for food – this is a Church of England resource available to download https://churchsupporthub.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Saying-Thank-You-for-Food.pdf
- Learning to say ‘thank you’ – this is a Church of England resource available to download https://churchsupporthub.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Learning-tosay-thank-you.pdf
For your Harvest Festival Service
- Here is an example of an All Age Harvest Service which includes suggestions for prayer and a talk. It is taken from Festivals Together; creating all-age worship through the year, by the Revd Sandra Millar ISBN 978-0-281-06631-5, published by SPCK. Click here https://churchsupporthub.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Harvest-18.pdf
Resources from charities
- If you’d like to focus your service around caring for the earth and fair trade, Traidcraft offers this resource to help.
- Christian Aid resources may help you to focus on the theme of poverty relief.
- The Church Urban Fund’s Just Finance Foundation campaigns on behalf of those in financial distress and offers a resource pack for its Mustard Seed Appeal. For more information and to download a resource pack, see the Mustard Seed web pages.
- Action against poverty campaigner Tearfund offers several harvest resource packs online, including prayer videos.