A harvest festival or thanksgiving for safely gathered crops seems to be universal; it has been the custom since pre Christian times and is celebrated around the world.

Harvest Festival Services in the church of England were begun in 1843 by Robert Hawker, the minister of Morwenstowe in Cornwall, who invited his congregation to come along to a special service of thanksgiving.

Today's harvest festival services often have two strands: thanksgiving to God for the food we eat, and an awareness of the places in the world where harvests fail and people die of starvation.

There is an emphasis on our Christian responsibility to ensure a fairer distribution of food. Even young children often show concern in their prayers for those who live in poverty in the developing world...

Harvest resources

All Age Worship: A service for harvest based on the medieval cycle of the year

Hunger: Prayer Stations These prayer stations use the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath to reflect on hunger in the Bible and in the world today

The Parable of the Sower: Prayer Stations Prayer stations for the sower based on the themes of the path, the rocks, the thorns and the good earth