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Ordinary Christians, extraordinary times

A Service for Harvest in Climate Emergency


Notes for preparing this service.

This order of service is consciously incomplete. It will need some adaptation to local circumstances and denominational norms as well as choosing from alternatives in some places. There are a number of places where it says: “A Hymn or song/s may be used here.” but you probably should only use a handful of them. The order can, of course, be varied and elements changed out for other materials.

Most harvest services have a collection of gifts. Many churches prefer to make this collection early in the service when children are present,  a number of churches prefer to do this later in the service according to local patterns of child participation or other considerations. There are three points suggested in this order of service.

The liturgical materials here are largely new and not found it currently formally published collections of prayers.

Opening greetings and orientation:

The Lord be with you:
And also with you.
God bless you
The Lord be with you.

A Hymn or song/s may be used here or following the gathering and welcome, orientation:

We’re here today to give thanks to God for the harvests providing our sustenance and also to appreciate the glorious diversity of the created systems of life and provision. We’re here today to remember and bless those who help produce our provision, human and non-human. We’re here today to recognise all is not well with the planet and so to confess our own misuse of God’s provision and to recommit ourselves to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the Earth.

Any further orientation about the shape and content of the service is appropriate at this point
A Hymn or song/s may be used here.
A collection of harvest gifts may be taken here or at a later point.


Eternal God,
you crown the year with your goodness
and you give us the fruits of the earth in their season:
grant that we may use them to your glory,
for the relief of those in need and for our own well-being;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

From <>

Ministry of the Word:

These words may be used to ready us to hear and receive the scriptures:
Source of all life, as a child to her mother:
We turn to you
Saviour of all life, as music to song:
We turn to you.
Sustainer of all life, as a flower towards the sun:
We turn to you.

Our hearts tell of your word, ‘Seek my face.’
Your face, Lord, will we seek

Reading/s – these or some others. Notes are offered in case they may help in composing a reflection or even a sermon:

Genesis 2:15-20 The words ‘to till’ and ‘to keep’ might bear further reflection. The more normal translation of ’till’ elsewhere is ‘to serve’ and often the second verb, ‘keep’ is translated ‘to guard’. The naming of the animals among other things can be understood as giving a cultural dimension to the mission of earth-keeping and serving the garden: it points to how we understand and communicate what we find in the garden and the earth -so the endeavours relating to passing on learning are in view here, arguably.

2 Corinthians 9:6-13 In considering giving to supply the needs of others, it’s perhaps worth considering that this is probably in response to the famine that In Acts Agabus had prophesied. In climate emergency such things as famine, fire and flood become more regular. Maybe this calls for our response to be to address not only the immediate needs of this kind (even now -at the time of writing- in east Africa and south Asia, for example) but to give our efforts and money to push back against the causes and to mitigate climate heating. What might these efforts be?

Luke 11:1-8 In climate emergency, the issue of ‘daily bread’ becomes more fraught as the relative reliability of food production and distribution (God’s ordinary means of answering that prayer) come under strain and stress. In this passage, the bread of the parable is picking up the “daily bread” of the prayer. Two things to notice: that the answer to the prayer in the story is through the help of a neighbour and that the need arises in order to share with someone else. This is not to set aside the main point about the generous character of God but rather to notice that ‘as in heaven so on earth’ -God’s generosity is to be mirrored (however reluctantly!) and exemplified in our doings on earth (thus linking the previous petition for God’s kingdom to that for daily bread). How does this play into our praying and responding to climate emergency? How do we step up to being the means, in climate emergency for God to answer the prayers of others for their daily sustenance? “Be the change…”?

A Hymn or song/s may be used here.
Sermon, reflection*
A Hymn or song/s may be used here.
In some church contexts, a declaration of faith or a creed might be used here.
If there is liberty to do so, the following could be used:

We take refuge in God’s earthing in flesh;
immersion in death;
rising to Life.
We take refuge in the Love of God;
the Good News of Christ;
the prayers of the faithful.

Hallowing the Name

Creator God, we are in awe of the cosmos you have made: its vastness, its minuteness, its beauty, its intricacy. You are Good:
Hallowed be your name
O God, how gracious you are -bestowing upon us good gifts we don’t even deserve. You are Good:
Hallowed be your name.
How merciful you are -overlooking our unwholesomeness to hold us in good relation with you. You are Good:
Hallowed be your name
Your compassion is wide and deep -slow to be offended and quick to mend our brokenness. You are Good:
Hallowed be your name
You delight in all you have made and generously invite us to share in your delight. You are Good:
Hallowed be your name

A Hymn or song/s may be used here.

Petitions and intercessions

In many churches, petitions and intercessions are led by people who prepare their own prayers bringing together local and wider concerns with the theme of the service. It may be good to give them a copy of the order of service to help them to avoid too much reduplication of themes or ideas already in the service. We’d encourage those leading intercessions in a harvest service to consider the threat to future harvests and provision from climate heating, the movement of temperature zones, flooding from sea rises, wildfires and the collective human actions needed to address these things.

A Hymn or song/s may be used here.

Daily bread litany

You open your hand:
Give us today our daily bread.
Through the cycles of substances and compounds, gas, liquid and solid, You open your hand:
Give us today our daily bread.
Through the work of microbes in soil, sea and air, You open your hand:
Give us today our daily bread.
Through the hidden and visible work of fungi, You open your hand:
Give us today our daily bread.
Through the energy of sunlight shared through ecosystems, You open your hand:
Give us today our daily bread.
Through gravity, moon and movement of tides, You open your hand:
Give us today our daily bread.
Through the labour of bees and other insects, animals and birds, You open your hand:
Give us today our daily bread.
Through the work of farmers and labourers, You open your hand:
Give us today our daily bread.
Through the efforts of logistics and transport workers, You open your hand:
Give us today our daily bread.
Through warehouses and shopkeepers, You open your hand:
Give us today our daily bread.
Through the efforts of researchers and educators, You open your hand:
Give us today our daily bread.

A collection of harvest gifts may be taken here or at a later point.

A Hymn or song/s may be used here, perhaps with the collection of gifts.


We are grateful for our harvests -of grain, of fruit, of vegetable. Yet we recognise our carelessness and wastefulness, our greed and selfishness when it comes to how the bountiful produce of the earth is distributed and how those who work are rewarded so unevenly.

A Song of Repentance may be sung here or even replace the responsoral confession below.

Song of repentance

Look around you; can you see?
Times are troubled, people grieve.
See the violence, feel earth heating.

O my people, weep with me.
Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison*
Forgive us, Maker; hold our fears.
Change our hearts and count our tears.
Through your suffering, with forgiveness,
breathe your life into the world
Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison

Adapted from <>

*(alternatively, if desired, in English: Lord have mercy on us all, Christ have mercy -hear our prayer, Lord have mercy -forgive us all, we pray.)

In quiet now we recognise our own complicity, and recall our unwitting and deliberate faults.
We confess our sins:
Like carbon to the atmosphere:
We have added to the world’s woes
Like nutrients from the soil;
We have taken without restoring.
Like heat to the oceans
We have sown destruction
Have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us.

Words of forgiveness and reassurance. A moment of silence for reception of God’s mercy and grace …

in our forgiving and being forgiven, God, fulfil your purpose for us:
Send from heaven and save us.

A collection of harvest gifts may be taken here.
A Hymn or song/s may be sung here.
If there is to be communion, the liturgy for that would fit here.

Ending: commitment, blessing, sending

A Hymn or song/s may be sung hereBefore or after any of the final prayers.

A prayer of commitment

God of life and harvest
We thank you for feeding us
We thank you for providing for us
We offer our bodies
We offer our thinking
We offer our resources
To ensuring seedtime and harvest continue
To being your blessing to neighbours and nations
For the sake of Christ Jesus whose call we answer.

A blessing

May God, who is the source of all goodness and growth,
pour his blessing upon all things created,
and upon you his children,
that you may use his gifts to his glory and the welfare of all peoples;

and the blessing …

Adapted from <>

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
Wherever we will tread is crammed with heaven
And every common bush afire with God.

(with acknowledgements to Gerard Manley Hopkins, Elizabeth Barret Browning)

*A reflection or reflection starter could be used. This one is edited from an article by George Monbiot

One gram of undisturbed soil in Earth’s mid latitudes (like UK) contains around a kilometre of fungal filaments … A kilogram contains more major branches of the animal kingdom than you’d see on a week’s safari in the Serengeti … Soil is not a dull mass of ground-up rock and dead plants… it’s a biological structure like a wasps’ nest or beaver dam. Microbes make cements out of carbon to stick mineral particles together, creating pores which water, air and nutrients pass through. Animals in the soil use clumps of these to construct bigger labyrinths. Bacteria, fungi, plants and soil animals work unconsciously together making an intricate fractal architecture of coherent worlds.

If soil were just a heap of matter, droughts and floods would sweep it away. Plants release photosynthesised sugars into the soil, -deliberately to manage relationships with bacteria around their roots. The plant wakens particular bacteria with particular chemicals to unlock nutrients and produce chemicals that help it grow. If it’s starved of certain nutrients or the soil is too dry or salty, the plant calls out chemically to the bacteria that can help. Soil may not be as beautiful to the eye as a rainforest or a coral reef, but once you begin to understand it, it is beautiful to the mind.