A Plough Sunday service was held at Chichester Cathedral on 7 February 2016 in aid of R.A.B.I and FCN and raised in excess of £500. It was attended by 150 guests including many local farmers and dignitaries representing the county such as the High Sheriff and Mayor of Chichester, pictured below.
The origins of this Plough Sunday service go back a long way, at least to medieval times, when it was traditionally celebrated in January, on the first Sunday of Epiphany, to mark the beginning of the agricultural year. Before farmers had their own ploughs, the communal village plough would have been brought to the village church, decorated with ribbons, and God’s blessing would have been sought for the work of ploughing and tilling the land. Times have changed. No longer are there village ploughs.
Winter sown cereals mean that few, if any, farmers start their ploughing in January, yet the purpose is still the same – coming together to recall that God is interested in our work as well as our worship and that ultimately we and all creation are dependent on his love and faithfulness.
During the procession at the beginning of the service, Chichester Young Farmers carried the horse plough, kindly provided by Ivon Wadey, through the Cathedral followed by the beautifully embroidered R.A.B.I standard.
Charles Smith, FCN Chief Executive, gave an excellent address and Neve Cordingly and Clive Brickell, Senior Lecturer from Plumpton Agricultural College both did readings.
A big thank you to all those the made the afternoon such a special Sunday for the farming community who gathered.