Case Study: Chislehurst Open Air Harvest Festival
'On a visit to the Chislehurst Farmers Market a few months ago I was asked if the local churches would like to host a harvest festival at the market. Just a few months late we did just that!'
Sunday 20th September was gloriously sunny day and the Churches Together in Chislehurst and Bickley led a simple yet lovely service in amongst all the stalls. I love the word ecumenical. To me it speaks of unity between the churches, even though their styles of worship may vary, so this was a wonderful opportunity for an ecumenical event! It was such a priviledge to meet with Father Paul from The Church of the Annunciation, Deacon Roger and Sister Josphine, both from St Partricks RC Church, to prepare for this special occasion.
On the morning, Sue Cope from Chislehurst Methodist Church prepared our harvest table and gave out 100 hand-made lavender bags with thoughtful verses on, and Beryl Smith from St Nicholas Church prepared a fruit basket that we donated to a family following the service. Brightly coloured balloons were handed out by Ichthus Christian Fellowship to all the children, Andi Cartwright, Chair of Churches Together in Chislehurst & Bickley led the singing with musicians from Ichthus and Christ Church. Finally, Christ Church made sure the donated food was delivered to our local FoodBank. What a fabulous team.' Clare Herriot, 2gether shop & Visit Chislehurst
"It was a great joy to see Christians from different traditions worshiping together at our outdoor harvest felebration, and a privilege to have been invited by the Farmers' Market to lead a service for them; and I hope that we have set a precedent that we see this become an annual event." Father Paul Farthing, Vicar, The Church of the Annunciation
"Church without Walls! This is what I like. Fantastic event! Donations collected to Bromley Food Bank. Challenging words from one of the market holders a farmer from www.corejuice.co.uk who gave a personal perspective from the time she lived in Tanzania, about our response to refugees." Andi Cartwright, Chair of Churches Together in Chislehurst & Bickley
The idea of celebrating harvest at a farmers market is something we've been thinking about for several years now - the different seasons and food are a key thing at farmers markets - it was the natural progression to ask the local supporters of Chislehurst Farmers Market if this was something they would like to see as part of their farmers market - Sundays open air harvest festival service was the end result.
We are very grateful to all the Churches Together in Chislehurst & Bickley for putting so much work in to organising the service. The weather was glorious on the day (wet weather had been catered for) and it was wonderful to see so many faces smiling and joining in with what was a lovely service. In 15 years of running farmers markets this was the first time we had tried anything like this and we hope it will be the first of many. We even managed a slot on BBC Radio Kent on the sunday 6 - 8am programme to promote what was taking place. The reports back from the producers have all been positive too.' Sandra and Brian Woodfall, My Farmers Market.'
We would like to thank everyone who worked so hard before and on the day. Sandra and Brian Woodfall