Pray for Farmers this Rogationtide *Updated

by Gerry Lynch last modified 29 Apr, 2016 12:38 PM

Community network calls for prayers for farmers at a time of pressure

A community organisation has asked Christians to remember farmers especially in their prayers this rogationtide, a time when communities traditionally pray for God’s blessing on the land.

UPDATE: click here for a blog from the CofE.

Peter Riley of the Farming Community Network (FCN), which provides pastoral and practical support through a nationwide network of volunteers, says the pressures on modern farmers can be intense.

“During the last few years, we have seen a succession of floods in Somerset, the Thames Valley, Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire: just one example of extreme weather which can have a catastrophic effect on farming and the food supply.

“Farmers rely on the right weather at the right time and that is something that cannot be guaranteed. To remain productive, they need a fair price for what they produce and that can be badly affected by retail competition.”

To illustrate the pressures farmers can be under, Peter told the story of Ken, helped by a FCN’s volunteer after a positive TB test among his dairy herd.

“Facing the prospect of his animals being slaughtered just destroyed Ken”, says Peter, “it was the end of his world. He fell into a state of depression and his wife, Emma, feared for the worst.

“Eventually it was Emma who telephoned FCN and asked for help. The local volunteer went along to talk to Ken and Emma over a cup of tea at the kitchen table. Ken poured out his troubles claiming he could see no future now that most of his prized herd had gone.

“The FCN volunteer listened and then talked to Ken about the way forward. Dealing with the loss of livestock, organising compensation, planning to re-stock, thinking about how the farm might change for the better.

“With a goal to aim for, Ken took a more positive view of life and regained his enthusiasm for farming. It didn’t take much – just giving the time to listen and being there to walk with Ken and Emma as they found their way back to a normal life.”

“The FCN’s helpline is available every day of the year from 7 am until 11 pm on 03000 111 999 or e-mail chris@fcn.org.uk. If you are in a difficult situation, don’t struggle on in silence – ask how we can help.

“People can help us by praying for farmers, for FCN and our volunteers, and by buying British.”

The Rogation Days (from the Latin rogare, ‘to ask’) are the three weekdays before Ascension Day. However, in practice, many churches have observed Rogation on the preceding Sunday, the Sixth Sunday of Easter. This year, the official rogation days will be 2-4 May with many churches keeping the festival on Sunday 1 May.

Find out more about the work of the Farming Community Network at www.fcn.org.uk.

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