Devon Churches Rural Forum

Seasonal Calendar - Community - under development

Village Halls Week - 24th to 30th January 2022 - 2023 dates to be added when known

Include your Village Hall and Committee in intercessions and pray for all the groups who meet there; maybe invite representatives from the committee and groups to read or speak about the hall, their appreciation of it, what they do etc; hold a party in the Hall - or a coffee morning to offer hospitality to all who volunteer there and to celebrate its being there ...

Village Halls week is run by Action with Communities in Rural England - ACRE - and you can find a link to their Village Halls Week page here

Wassail - Blessing the Orchards

Difficult to know how to categorise this one - but more and more villages are planting community orchards - so it's in the Community section!

Many villages are finding Wassail a good way of bringing the community together in winter for fellowship. It can involve toasting each other, blessing the apple trees and other crops and animals for the coming year and visiting around the village.

You can find one story of Rev'd Ruth Frampton blessing the planting of 8 new apple trees at a community orchard in Ashton here

Here's an idea from Cerne Abbas - Wassail and Epiphany Party in Cerne Abbas

There's an interesting article in The Church Times about Wassailing from January 2018 featuring community celebrations in Stoke Gabriel and West Somerset - the link is here - and a google search will yield more ideas from different churches.

If your village has any Wassail traditions do let us know and we can add them as ideas for others.

National Marriage Week - 7th to 14th February 2023

This is a great example of a week when there is a national focus ona particular topic, with lots of media discussion and press releases, so the idea may well already be in people's minds and if your church should decide to offer some kond of event or celebration there would be plenty of materials and resources around to help.

National Marriage week itself focuses on a particular theme each year, but you could go more "general" also. Perhaps offer a supper party for all the couples who have been married in your church over the past year; perhaps a special service of celebration and blessing for all marriages; perhaps ask those who have been married a long time to speak and share their secrets of a long marriage ...

You can find a link to the National Marriage Week website here and a link to the Church of England "Your church wedding" pages here Common Worship Pastoral Services also contains many resources for prayers for marriage and services of blessing - link here

Grandparents' Day - October 2nd 2022 (first Sunday in October)

Grandparents' Day in the UK was begun by Age UK. This is what their website says ..

"Grandparents' Day is a chance to celebrate the special bond between grandparents and grandchildren. While it will be joyous for many, it'll be a sad time for others too, as we reflect on the grandparents we've loved and lost."

As Grandparents' Day is always a Sunday - could your service - or part of it - be dedicated to celebrating those in the congregation who are either grandparents themselves - or grandparent figures in e community? Is there an opportunity for some inter-generational worship with grandchildren and their grandparents involved in an activity together? Perhaps children could prepare a collective tea for their grandparents? Perhaps a day to include those grandparents in your community who may be away from their grandchildrn? Is there an opportunity to celebrate the gifts of older age? share stories of the wisdom of our grandparents ...

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