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When I was a youth, Rogation
Sunday was always celebrated. . . I find that the only reference to
Rogation Sunday (as opposed to Rogation Monday, Tuesday, or
Wednesday) was in the 1928 Prayer Book. Did the ASB put paid to any
formal recognition of Rogation Sunday? Is it still celebrated
Although the only reference in 1662 to
Rogation Sunday is in the Table and Rules for the Moveable and
Immoveable Feasts, and the phrase "commonly called Rogation Sunday"
(1928) was not used in the ASB, Rogationtide customs have been
Outdoor processions on what were once
known as "gang days" were suppressed in 1547, but restored under an
Elizabethan Injunction in 1559. The brief mention of Rogation
Sunday, and the inclusion of three Rogation Days in 1662, indicated
widespread observance in the 17th century, evidenced also by George
Herbert in his A Priest to the Temple, in which he exhorts
the parish priest to be diligent in encouraging Rogation
processions: "a blessing of God for the fruits of the field" and
"justice in the preservation of the bounds".
The ASB provided for the Rogation Days
with eucharistic readings and three additional collects, but in no
way put paid to the way Rogationtide was otherwise observed in
In his New Handbook of Pastoral
Liturgy, in 2000, Bishop Michael Perham identified "a need for
imaginative Rogationtide liturgy". Fortunately, in 2006, Common
Worship: Times and Seasons filled the gap in a section
"Seasons and Festivals of the agricultural year" (pages
This season has gained fresh
significance, especially by concern for responsible stewardship of
God's creation, and the new services make an admirable contribution
to its proper observance. Time-honoured customs, not least the
beating of the bounds, are recognised, and resource material is
available for litanies, with readings that can be used at suitable
points in an outdoor perambulation of the parish.
(Canon) Terry Palmer
A few years ago, we re-established the
tradition of the annual Rogation service at Hartpury. It takes
place on the Sunday evening in the open air at the Orchard Centre,
the home of the National Collection of Perry Pears. We pray for the
trees and the crop of perry pears, with sheep grazing around us.
After the service we verify that the previous season's perry is up
Jim Chapman (PCC Secretary)
At St Mark's, Pennington, in
Winchester diocese, we reintroduced a service for Rogation Sunday
two years ago, and it has proved hugely popular. Beating the bounds
is not practical; so we walk the boundary of the churchyard,
stopping at various points to sing a hymn verse, and to pray for
the areas of the parish in the direction of our view.
(The Revd) Alex Russell
We have always had a Rogation service,
on or near Rogation Sunday, since 1966, when I was a curate in
Wolverhampton. The order of service was drawn up by Frank Berry,
who based it on one put out in 1946 by the C of E Rural Group (a
sort of church quango, originally appointed by Archbishop Temple,
which sadly died a death before it got beyond the "re-inventing
rural services" stage). I have revised it.
The local magazine report of this
service says: "The Rogation Service on 13th May at Miserden was
another memorable occasion. We blessed everything from the school
and shop to the Garden Centre and the Estate Office. . ."
(Canon) Andrew Bowden
(Now at Caudle Green, Cheltenham)
Rogation Sunday is still observed in
some rural parishes. Gringley-on-the-Hill, Nottinghamshire, used to
have a procession with visitors arriving by the coachload from as
far afield as Sheffield, but today's observance is much smaller.
East Stoke also has an annual Rogation service. "The Staffordshire
Seven" have a chapter on Rogation in their book Seasonal
Worship from the Countryside (SPCK, 2003).
Vernon Staley, in The Seasons,
Fasts and Festivals of the Christian Year (Mowbray, 1908),
commented on the relative popularity of Harvest Festival (not
recognised by the BCP) and the lack of observance of Rogation Days
(ordered in the BCP "to be observed"). "It is neither appropriate
nor consistent to celebrate Harvest thanksgiving, unless previously
the Rogation fasting days have been duly observed," he wrote.
(The Revd) Derek Hollis
Kedington, Haverhill, Suffolk
Address: Out of the Question,
Church Times, 3rd floor, Invicta House, 108-114 Golden
Lane, London EC1Y 0TG.