More than 400 people gave thanks for a successful harvest on Sunday as Ripon Cathedral hosted the Yorkshire Agricultural Society Harvest Thanksgiving.
We’ve been giving thanks for successful harvests since pre-Christian times and even in today’s world of increasing urbanisation it remains a chance to celebrate the vital contribution of farming and agriculture to this region. For Christians it’s an opportunity to celebrate God’s unfailing providence in sustaining life on Earth.
The Yorkshire Agricultural Society, a registered charity, encourages and supports the agricultural community as well as organising and hosting the Great Yorkshire Show and Countryside Live.
Amongst those attending the thanksgiving service were the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire Mr Barry Dodd, CBE; the High Sheriff for the East Riding of Yorkshire Mrs Gillian Drewry; Bill Cowling, President of the YAS this year and Charles Mills, Director of the Great Yorkshire Show. The cathedral was also pleased to welcome the mayors of Ripon, Harrogate, Boroughbridge and Pateley Bridge.
Mr Mills said: “Farming has been buoyant this year although the weather has been a challenge. This means that sadly not everyone will have their crops in, meaning it’s been a long season for many. However, this did not stop us as a farming community coming together at Ripon Cathedral this year to celebrate the Harvest festival.”
The Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson said: “As we thank God for his providence it is good to have the opportunity to celebrate the contribution of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society to the wellbeing of rural communities and those engaged in agriculture in this region – particularly at a time when there is a deal of anxiety and uncertainty due to Brexit.”
During the service the children brought symbolic gifts such as the seeds for next year’s crops. They also brought contributions for the Ripon Salvation Army Food Bank. The previous day the cathedral had hosted a traditional Harvest Supper with proceeds also going to the food bank.
Dean John said: “The faithful response to the unfailing love and care of God is one of gratitude expressed in charity to the less fortunate and one of the ways in which the cathedral community expresses this gratitude – not just at harvest – but at other times of the year – is by supporting the Ripon Salvation Army Food Bank.”