The modern British tradition of celebrating Harvest Festival in churches began in 1843, when the Reverend Robert Hawker invited parishioners to a special thanksgiving service at his church at Morwenstow in Cornwall.
Many of our favourite harvest hymns were written at this time, such as We plough the fields and scatter, Come, ye thankful people, come and All things bright and beautiful but also Dutch and German harvest hymns in translation helped popularise his idea of harvest festival, and spread the annual custom of decorating churches with home-grown produce for the Harvest Festival service.
On 8 September 1854 the Revd Dr William Beal, Rector of Brooke, Norfolk, held a Harvest Festival to promote ‘harvest homes’ in other Norfolk villages. Another early adopter of the custom as an organised part of the Church of England calendar was Rev Piers Claughton at Elton, Huntingdonshire who started a harvest service in about 1854.
We at St Thomas maintain this wonderful tradition with our week-end of harvest celebration when we gather in our beautifully-decorated church and sing those well known hymns.
Please join us if you can.
All good wishes Richard