Harvest Thanksgiving is a relatively modern addition to the church calendar. Its origins are usually traced to the adaptation in 1843 of Lammas Day by the Revd R S Hawker, a parish priest in Cornwall. He chose the first Sunday in October as a Christian response to coincide with the traditional but largely secular ‘harvest home’ celebration, but there is some evidence to suggest that a thanksgiving for the harvest was already a relatively widespread practice. An annual church celebration of the harvest certainly established itself rapidly with great popularity and was first recognized officially in the Church of England in 1862. Since then, many local traditions for the celebration have developed and an Act of Thanksgiving often accompanies the tradition of bringing to church gifts of fresh produce and other foodstuffs, as well as thanksgiving for all of God’s wonderful gifts to us.
Harvest is celebrated in all the churches in the Oakham Team Ministry, in a variety of ways, on Sundays between 11 September and 9 October, and often a Harvest Supper or Lunch is held as well as the service in Church, enabling the community to gather together in celebration.
At Oakham, the main celebration takes place at the 10:30am Parish Communion on Sunday 2 October, when the congregation are invited to bring gifts of non-perishable food for the Rutland Foodbank. A Harvest Lunch is usually held in the Victoria Hall every two years, and the next one will be in 2017.
Whissendine & Langham
Our two main village churches also celebrate Harvest Thanksgiving during the main Sunday morning service – Whissendine on 2 October at 11:00am, and Langham on 9 October at 11:00am (followed by Village Harvest Lunch).
At Braunston, a Harvest Praise service takes place on Sunday 25 September at 4:00pm, in place of the usual Sing Sunday service, when there will be an emphasis on some good traditional Harvest hymns, but in addition there will be a weekend exhibition ‘Harvest of Gifts’ (open from 10:00am Saturday and Sunday 24/25 September) with arts, crafts and flowers in church to celebrate and give thanks for the gifts God has given us – a great opportunity for everyone to join in and display their talents. After the Sunday service there will be a Harvest Supper at 6:00pm. Please contact Gail Rudge for further details – 01572 755570 or email@example.com.
Market Overton, Brooke & Teigh
the other village churches celebrate Harvest during a late afternoon or evening service. At Market Overton, Harvest Evensong on 11 September at 6:00pm is followed a Bring and Share Supper, and donations are invited for the Foodbank. On 18 September, at Brooke there will be a special service of hymns and readings at 6:00pm, and all are welcome for refreshments afterwards, while at Teigh, a traditional Choral Evensong for Harvest at 6:00pm will be sung by the Team Choir, Laudamus.
Ashwell, Hambleton & Egleton
Ashwell have a Harvest Evensong at 6:00pm on Sunday 2 October, Hambleton has a traditional Harvest Festival service on 9 October at 5:00pm followed by a Harvest Supper in the Village Hall, after which there will be an auction of produce, and Egleton also has a traditional Harvest Festival service on 2 October at 4:30pm.