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Loaves and fishes

11 April 2014

IT WILL be a huge picnic, whether on the seashore, in a parish hall, in a school, or round the table in a private house; but the aim will be the same. Planned for Pentecost Week, the build-up to the initiative Loaves and Fishes has begun in the parishes and communities around Morecambe Bay. Ninety churches or faith communities and 60 schools are being encouraged to host a meal, open to people of all faiths or none, sharing fish, seafood, and bread. The hope is that the bread will be home- or hand-made for the occasion from leaven that has been passed from hand to hand.

The bread-making chain started last month at the Cathedrals of Blackburn and Carlisle, where the Deans, the Very Revd Christopher Armstrong, of Blackburn (above), and the Very Revd Mark Boyling, of Carlisle, blessed yeast and sour-dough leaven at the eucharists.

The leaven was taken home by participants to be used for bread-making, and then for some of the dough to be passed on as leaven to the next village or town, and so on, all round the Bay. The aim is to encourage as many people as possible to enjoy making and sharing good-quality bread in time for the event. They have also set up their own website to pass on their bread-making recipes for others to use.

Local initiatives are already rising with the dough, my correspondent says. At Lancaster Priory, Christian and Muslim women are learning bread-making together. And the project will provide the opportunity to go fishing. Local fishmongers, bakers, and restaurants will be encouraged to promote their wares.

Bishops and other church leaders will bless the freshly caught fish and newly baked bread in a grand picnic on 9 June on Arnside Promenade, in Cumbria.

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