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Messy harvest supper

28 November 2014

MORE than half of the population of the village came to the harvest supper laid on by the people of St Peter's, Winterbourne Stoke, in Salisbury diocese. It is a tiny Wiltshire village that bestrides one of the worst bottlenecks on the notorious A303 as it runs past Stonehenge, not far away.

The population is only 200, and 120 of them filled the manor barn on the Saturday evening for the harvest celebrations and supper. The centrepiece was a traditional harvest loaf in the form of a sheaf of wheat that had been baked that afternoon at the home of one of the churchwardens, Vicky Moorhouse, with the help of the children who attend the monthly Messy Church service at St Peter's.

"We had all worked on the harvest loaf," Mrs Moorhouse says (above). "Each child made a little bread roll by themselves in the shape of an animal. We had mice, caterpillars, a butterfly, a bird, and a hedgehog."

The next day they took the loaf to the Harvest Festival in St Peter's. That, too, was well attended, and 35 adults and 12 children were in church - more than a fifth of the population of the village. The service was conducted by Padre Mark English, a chaplain who works at the army base near by, and helps out at local churches on Sundays.

He got the children to hold up the letters H-A-R-V-E-S-T, and taught them other Christian words using the same letters. They also remembered the many people in the county who struggle to have enough to eat in a country of plenty; and the collection taken was for the Trussell Trust, which organises foodbanks.

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