Pictured L-R is Paul Davey; ploughing a field on Paul's farm; Sarah Spencer, our Discipleship in the World Officer in the garden at St Giles in Lincoln and workers from 'We are One' in Grimsby, a charity that provides support for people facing food poverty.

Each week the national Church of England record a service from a particular part of the country and the service for Sunday 4th October has been hosted from St Giles Community Garden in Lincoln with Sarah Spencer, our Discipleship in the World Officer, in the role as anchorwoman.

You can watch the service online on Sunday at 9am on the Church of England website on their ‘Weekly online services’ page or on YouTube

The theme of the 45-minute service is ‘field to fork’ and is a service for prayer for all those involved in farming and care of the land, and the production and supply of food. It includes testimonies of how people from Lincolnshire and other counties see their roles as part of their everyday faith, the joys and challenges they find within their job.

Sarah said: “I was contacted by colleagues in the national team about doing the programme from Lincolnshire, as it is a county heavily involved in food production, so fitted very well with the theme of ‘field to fork’. The service focusses on the Everyday Faith of those who are involved in the industry and it has been an absolute privilege to speak to people around the diocese who work in this important sector. For each person I’ve spoken to, the invitation to be involved in a service that is watched by thousands of people around the world has brought them something really positive to share with others. In these difficult times it has been precious to be a bearer of good news!”

“We chose St Giles’ Community Garden in Lincoln to host the service as it fits in very well with the theme of food and how it is produced. What is now a garden was previously an area given over entirely to weeds but has been transformed into a productive fruit and vegetable patch with areas of wildflowers to encourage pollinators and biodiversity. Completing the link of food to fork, during ‘normal’ times they use the produce of their garden in parish lunches but during lockdown people have turned fruit into jam and given their vegetables away to anyone that wants them. I hear the raspberry jam went down particularly well!”

Intertwined with the service we see Sarah interview Shayne Tyler, Compliance Director from the Fresca Group who is a Modern Slavery specialist with over 20 years of first-hand experience of worker exploitation cases. 

Tyler said: “I love people and we have a lot of vulnerable people in our sector and communities. My job is to try and help them and make sure our company is one of the best places to be within our industry. Farm work is, by its nature, seasonal, and this creates vulnerabilities for our workers, so we need to have a sustainable supply chain that can help those people who work within it.

“Because we have vulnerable people, we need to start looking out a little bit more for those around us; not just in the fields but in all areas of rural community. We need to ensure that we are doing whatever we can to make sure that the welfare of our local people is being catered for. That is something that we can all do. I would also like everyone to pray for those authorities which are helping to tackle those who do exploit others so please remember them and the difficult job they do.”

Sarah also interviews Paul Davey, a farmer in the Wolds whose passion is soil, nutrition, seasonal food and local supply, qualities he puts at the forefront of his company Ideal-Lincs.

“I’m seventh generation from Lincolnshire and my family and I farm in the Lincolnshire Wolds said Paul.  He continued: “Every year we are given an opportunity to reinvent the way we farm and embrace change  - be that adapting to the weather or by looking at alternative cropping and alternative farming systems.  The soils we work with are our greatest resource and we take the time to preserve those as best we can, with modern thinking. We pray that as farmers we continue to look for the most sustainable answers to help with feeding the planet and the support that our communities, friends and customers are able to give us in the future.”

The litany from the recently published 'A Time for Creation', will be used. This encourages us to praise God for his creation and take responsibility for our actions. A special ‘Lincolnshire 'Lord’s Prayer' has also been recorded which includes voices from:

  • Young Rangers from St Barnabas Church of England School in Barnetby.
  • We are One, Grimsby – a charity providing support for people facing food poverty
  • Curry Jack's , Lincoln – a takeaway curry stand situated in Lincoln market that uses locally sources meat and potatoes in its recipes served in biodegradable takeaway boxes.
  • Maureen, Joanna and Angela - Franciscans in Lincolnshire
  • Debbie, a volunteer at St Giles Community Garden 
  • Geoff and Sandie - Faith and the Environment, Lincoln

This item was posted on Thursday 1st October 2020.