Licensed Evangelist, Graham Miles is Agricultural and Rural Chaplain across Suffolk. He writes
"My role as Rural & Agricultural Chaplain for Suffolk has grown over the last two years. I have been reaching out to farming and rural countryside communities across Suffolk and beyond. People can call me at any time when dealing with depression, loneliness, anxiety or suicidal thoughts. For some farmers it is a challenge to attend church on a Sunday because of farming commitments like feeding livestock, calving, lambing season and the the arable farms with drilling and harvesting. When I contact them either by phone or a farm visit l am taking God's Love to them. I am being church and remembering church is not just a building, it’s a family. It doesn’t matter what faith they follow or what relationship they are in, for me it is being there for them sharing God's Love. My farming and countryside background has helped me understand more about the problems our farmers and rural communities are facing. Many new doors are opening for me and the rural and agricultural chaplaincy team across Suffolk are doing amazing work, giving support where needed.
Remember God’s light shines even in the darkest of places."
Other members of the team are Linda Preston, Rev'd Clive Fairclough, Rev'd Jeremy Lind, James Finch, Victoria Tuck, Sue Coe and Cpt. Andrew Jarrold. Together they build relationships and support the farming community. The team are available on the phone or for visits, especially for members of the rural community suffering with depression, anxiety or just to give a little encouragement. They also help at agricultural shows and events and help local churches and others to understand and connect with rural issues. Andrew Jarrold supports the Rural Campus of Suffolk New College in Otley, working with Educational Chaincy lead Linda Pepper.
The Lightwave Rural Chaplaincy works with St Edmundsbury to promote the celebration of agricultural festivals throughout the county. You can find more details of Plough Sunday, Rogation, Lammas and Harvest on our events pages here
Agricultural Festival Resources for discipleship groups and rural fresh expressions of Church. If you have some which you could share here for others to benefit from, please email them to email@example.com.