Bishop to visit Algarkirk for ancient farming ceremony

Bishop of Grantham, Dr Nicholas Chamberlain
Bishop of Grantham, Dr Nicholas Chamberlain

The Bishop of Grantham will preach at an ancient ceremony dating back to Roman times on Sunday, where prayers are offered for local farms and crops.

Dr Nicholas Chamberlain will be the preacher at a deanery-wide Rogation Service at 6pm at St Peter and St Paul’s, Algarkirk.

He will be joined by the Rural Dean, Fr Paul Noble, who will officiate.

Rogation is an ancient ceremony whose beginnings can be traced back to Roman times when a dog was sacrificed.

The supplicants then asked the god for protection of their crops from wheat rust.

This years’ service will take the form of evensong at which prayers for all the farms and crops of the area will be offered, after which the Bishop will be led in procession through the village to a nearby field which he will bless.

The service will be followed by refreshments in the village hall.

Churchwarden Cheryllyn Humphreys said: “After years of struggling to cope with the effects of lead theft and vandalism, disruptive repairs, the threat of closure, and the loss of our vicar, St Peter and St Paul’s has really turned a corner.

“Not only are we in the process of preparing a bid for second stage Heritage Lottery Funding which will allow us to conserve this beautiful building, but we now have plans for its re-adaptation.

“So in addition to being a place of worship, it will also become a place of regular use for the community.

“Now to have the deanery and the Bishop show their support for Algarkirk in this way, by choosing to come here for this special service, is a great honour and a real boost to morale.

“It will be something for the villagers to remember for years to come.”

Fellow churchwarden, Clive Briggs added: “Living in an agricultural area, this service has real meaning for the local people.

“We hope that a good number of the local farming community join us, to add their names to the farms we shall be praying for.”