Harvesting is taking place right now across Kent. The forthcoming County Harvest Thanksgiving Service provides the perfect opportunity for the whole community to celebrate all that the county provides, both locally and nationally, rightfully deserving its reputation as the Garden of England. Everyone is welcome to attend this annual service which will take place on Sunday 5 October at 18:00. It will be followed by Kentish refreshments in the Chapter House.
The writer and broadcaster, Martin Palmer, will give the address in his capacity as the Secretary General of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC), which convenes the Green Pilgrimage Network (GPN), to which the Diocese is now a partner.
The County Harvest Service will be the culmination of a whole weekend dedicated to celebrating the region, not only for its produce, but for its significant role in Britain’s spiritual heritage and as a centre of pilgrimage.
Representatives of the 40 partners already working with Diocese on the GPN, which includes the Cathedral, as well as other local churches and shrines, will officially gather in Canterbury via a series of mini-pilgrimages over the weekend. They will commit themselves to the partnership and the aims of the GPN which are to make pilgrims and the sacred places that receive them, more environmentally friendly.
Visitors to the Cathedral will also be able to sample some of the delights of the county the day before the thanksgiving service, at the Kent Producer’s Showcase which will be held for the first time in the Cathedral’s Nave between 10:00 – 14:00 on Saturday 4 October.
Each year at the County Harvest Thanksgiving service, a collection is taken to support the vital work of the local branches of the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) and The Farming Community Network (FCN), two charities seeking to offer both practical and financial support to those in crisis in the rural and farming communities.
In a year when farmers and producers have had to contend with such diverse weather conditions, Reverend Canon Caroline Pinchbeck, the Diocese of Canterbury’s Rural Life Adviser and Director of the Communities & Partnerships Framework which organises the service said that this well supported event is not one to miss:
I would encourage everyone to come and share in this vital and joyful service of thanksgiving, when the people of Kent gather en masse to give thanks for the Harvest. It’s such a valuable way for us all to take a moment to reflect on, and re-establish a link with our food, and to show our appreciation for all those who work in our agricultural and farming sectors, providing us as they do, with an abundance of crops and produce, often in very difficult circumstances.
Reverend Canon Caroline Pinchbeck