A Messy Harvest in Winterbourne Stoke

by Gerry Lynch last modified 28 Oct, 2014 02:37 PM

Kids bake harvest loaf for civil and church celebrations in tiny Wilts village.

The children of St Peter’s in Winterbourne Stoke made a big contribution to their village's civic and church celebration of harvest this year.

The tiny Wiltshire village, with a population of just over 200, is best known to outsiders for lying astride one of the worst traffic bottlenecks on the A303. Villagers, however, know they live in a place with a great community spirit.

More than 120 people - over half the total population - gathered in Stoke's Manor Barn for harvest celebrations and supper on Saturday evening. The harvest loaf had been baked that afternoon at the home of Churchwarden Vicky Moorhouse, by the children who attend the monthly Messy Church service at St Peter's.

The next afternoon, the children took the loaf down to church for the Harvest Festival, conducted by Padre Mark Christian, a Chaplain who works in nearby army bases but helps out in local churches on Sundays.

Churchwarden Vicky said, “We all got together on Saturday afternoon at my house. We all worked on the harvest loaf, and each child also made a little bread roll by themselves in the shape of an animal. We had mice, caterpillars, a butterfly, a bird and a hedgehog. .

Winterbourne Stoke Harvest Loaf

“Our Harvest Festival service was really well attended, with 35 adults and 12 children, which is more than a fifth of the population the village. We were careful to remember the many people in our county who struggle to have enough to eat in a country of plenty, so our collection was for the Trussell Trust, which organises foodbanks.

“Padre Mark got the kids together to hold up letters from the word HARVEST and teach them other Christian words spelt with the same letters.”

St Peters' Messy Church is the only one in the sprawling Lower Wylye and Till Valley Benefice, besides the one in Steeple Langford, which covers nine village churches north and west of Salisbury. Messy Church meets on the 3rd Sunday of the month during the Family Communion service at 10.30 a.m. Children attending currently range from 1 to 10 years old.

Winterbourne Stoke Rolling PinVicky Moorhouse continued, “Parents are welcome to bring their children even if they don’t come to church themselves.

“St Peter’s is an ancient church, mentioned in the Domesday Book, so it was already in existence by the year 1086.

“As a small village church, we are very friendly and welcoming and always share a cup of tea and some cake after Communion. We have two services a month, the other being Evensong at 6 p.m. on the first Sunday of the month.”

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