The church exists first to offer worship (honour) to God and to thank him for the gifts he gives us, and secondly to honour and support each other because we're all fellow creatures of God, and so by honouring each other we honour him too.
As well as the Seasons and Major Festivals which help us worship God, the church celebrates several 'Special Days' throughout the year to remember, honour and support each other and our work in God's world. Celebration of the "Special Days" is usually optional, Christians chose which they want to remember, including: (Return to top)
Plough Sunday (or Plow if your American) was traditionally celebrated in January on the next Sunday after Epiphany (between 7-13th January). Before farmers had their own ploughs, the communal plough decked with ribbons would be brought in to the village church, where God's blessing would be asked for the work that it was about to do. After the service, the plough would be paraded around the village, usually with dancing and stopping at every pub for refreshment! The farmers who were going to use it would give contributions towards the cost of its upkeep, and often to the upkeep of the church where it had been blessed.(Return to top)
The work officially began on the following Monday, but the teams would usually drag the plough around the village, seeking contributions for an 'Ale' or night of revelling at the tavern. Tuesday was then spent in recovering from the hangover, so the work wouldn't actually begin until the Wednesday! (Return to top)
Times have changed. No longer do we, in England at least, still use village ploughs – and winter-sown cereals mean that few farmers, if any, start their ploughing in January but do it in the autumn instead. The festival had fallen into disuse, especially with the more recent emphasis on celebrating several weeks of Epiphany. (Return to top)
In many places it has been revived as an optional 'minor festival' on a later Sunday in January. In blessing the plough we remember that God is interested not just in our worship on Sunday but in all we do, including our work during the week, too, and it gives us the opportunity to pray for the farms and farmers of our parish, for our country and for our nation. And, of course, for those who farm in the hungry lands of our world, and those who harvest the seas for fish. (Return to top)