Chelmsford Cathedral will host National Harvest Torch at Harvest Festival

The National Harvest Torch will be coming to Chelmsford Cathedral for the County Harvest Thanksgiving Service in September. It will join a procession into the Cathedral following a Missionary Journey on which it will be carried by the Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell.

An inspiring symbol of the harvest, the Torch will be the centrepiece of a celebration of Essex produce from wheat to wine in the Cathedral.

Revd Janet Nicholls, the Rural Adviser and Agricultural Chaplain of Chelmsford Diocese, who is organising the service, has said:

I am really looking forward to welcoming the National Harvest Torch to Chelmsford Cathedral where it will form the centrepiece of our Harvest Festival. We will be celebrating harvest in style.

“It has been a privilege to prepare for this celebration with many farmers, food producers, school children and rural and agricultural organisations.

“In the Bible we read that ‘Those who work their land will have abundant food.’ We will truly celebrate and give thanks to God for the rich diversity of local food and for the commitment of those who produce it.”

Essex food producers, including gardeners and allotment-keepers, will be invited to bring produce to the Cathedral and everyone who comes to the service will be treated to a Tiptree cream tea afterwards.

Image: The National Harvest Torch at Canterbury Cathedral (credit: Love British Food).

More information

Harvest Service: All are welcome to the County Harvest Thanksgiving Service at Chelmsford Cathedral on Sunday 30 September at 3.30 pm to praise God for the harvest. The Tiptree cream tea will be generously provided by Wilkin and Sons Ltd. The fruit and vegetables brought by Essex food producers will be donated to Age Concern to support their lunches in Chelmsford.

Bible verse: ‘Those who work their land will have abundant food.’ is a quotation from Proverbs (chapter 12, verse 11) in the Old Testament of the Bible.

National Harvest Torch: The National Harvest Torch is a beautiful metal sculpture created by Master Blacksmith, Andrew Hall. The Torch will be part of the first day of a two-day food and farming themed Flower Festival (“God’s Bountiful Harvest”), with cream teas and local produce, starting on Saturday 29 September at St John the Baptist Church, Little Maplestead (the Festival runs from 10.00 am – 4.30 pm on both days). On the Sunday the Torch will be carried by the Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell, on his Missionary Journey to the Cathedral.

Missionary Journey: The Bishop’s itinerary for Sunday 30 September is currently as follows:

8.00 am – Leaden Roding Church, Holy Communion, followed by a community breakfast.

9.30 am – Leave Leaden Roding to walk to Margaret Roding.

9.45 am – Arrive Margaret Roding Church.

10.30 am – Leave Margaret Roding to walk to Good Easter.

11.15 am – Arrive Good Easter Village Hall.

12.00 – At Good Easter Church.

Drive to Writtle.

12.30 pm – Arrive Writtle University College. Lunch of harvest soup and local bread. Blessing of College and celebration of 125 years since its founding. Meet with Essex Agricultural Society and College community.

1.45 pm – Leave Writtle University College to walk to Chelmsford Cathedral.

3.15 pm – Arrive at the Cathedral.

The above itinerary is subject to variation.

Love British Food: Janet Nicholls has been preparing for the Cathedral service with Love British Food which brings together farmers, food producers, school children and rural and agricultural organisations. Love British Food promotes home-grown produce and is the organiser of British Food Fortnight from 22 September – 7 October.  It organised the first National Harvest Service with the National Harvest Torch at Westminster Abbey in 2013. Each year since then the Torch has visited a different area of the country. For more information visit the website


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