Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 19°C

min temp: 15°C

ESTD 1874 Search

The pigs have arrived. See the latest

Pigs Gone Wild

news here.

Church and farms brought together with new Essex chaplain

13 February, 2016 - 13:05
Rev Janet Nicholls, rural adviser and agricultural chaplain, is pictured at Thaxted Church.

Rev Janet Nicholls, rural adviser and agricultural chaplain, is pictured at Thaxted Church.

Archant

The agricultural chaplain for Essex hopes to bring God and farming together in her new role.

Rev Janet Nicholls, rural adviser and agricultural chaplain, is pictured at Thaxted Church.Rev Janet Nicholls, rural adviser and agricultural chaplain, is pictured at Thaxted Church.

Reverend Janet Nicholls has been appointed to the post, which also includes a role as rural adviser, by the Chelmsford Diocese in recognition of the strong farming community in the county.

Born and raised on a small family farm in Great Bardfield, Reverend Nicholls has a strong agricultural background.

She said: “I grew up there, and although I had my own career like all small farms you were called back at busy times so I always kept my hand in.

“The farm was transformed many times, as they are.

“It gives me a bit of an understanding and insight into the unique concerns faced by farming families.”

Now living in nearby Shalford, her father still lives on the farm which is worked on by her brother and his wife.

Although the diocese, which covers Essex and parts of London, previously had a rural officer when they retired it gave the Church a chance to look at the role – and with Rev Nicholls just finishing her curacy which included an agricultural placement it was the perfect opportunity.

She said: “We found farmers were really appreciating that service, so we could develop it and do something more formal.”

So what does Rev Nicholls, a former local education authority advisory teacher, hope to achieve in her role for the Church of England and farming community?

“My brief is to be the link between rural churches, communities, and the diocese,” she said.

“I hope to bring church and farm together, supporting smaller parishes.

“The church is so critical in rural communities, sometimes the only place where people gather in a village.

“People often think there are a handful of very big farms, but there are also a lot of smaller farms where people are working their socks off to keep going who are not the sort of people to access help services out there. So I will try to keep an eye and ear out for them.

“Harvest Festival is probably the one service of the year most churches will link to farming, but it is also farmers’ busiest time of year so I can be there year-round to support them.”

On a day-to-day basis Rev Nicholls compares her role to that of a hospital chaplain, responding to the needs of farmers, making visits, listening and generally offering pastoral support.

She also aims to be at as many farming events as possible, to introduce herself to farmers and remind them she is there to help.

Rev Nicholls will also be working closely with the Farming Community Network and the RABI charity in the area, as well as the Rural Community Council of Essex.

One of Rev Nicholls’ first jobs in her new position was to organise the Plough Sunday service held at Thaxted Church, covering a number of rural north Essex parishes, and presided over by the Bishop of Colchester Roger Morris.

Plough Sunday, held in January, is a historic tradition where farming equipment and soil is blessed by clergy ready for the year ahead.

Rev Nicholls can be contacted at jnicholls@chelmsford.anglican.org, search “Rural Adviser for Chelmsford Diocese” on Facebook, or call 01371 851317.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Ben Gummer and David Ellesmere at Ipswich Wet Dock.

Plans for major government investment in the East of England could be hit by the decision to withdraw from the European Union, Suffolk MP Ben Gummer has warned.

A man has died following a single vehicle collision on the A12 in Wangford.

Stock image.

Police have detained two people on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm after an incident in Willow Close.

Dougie and Sheila Gedny with their daughter Linda Main at the completion of Upper Abbey Farmhouse at Leiston.

A Suffolk woman has returned to the house where she was born more than 70 years ago to see it fully restored following a fire.

Nitro Circus Live at Foxhall Stadium.

Fans have been left upset and out of pocket after they claim they were turned away from a stunt show because of bad weather - only to find the event went ahead slightly later than scheduled.

Parade to mark the opening of the Southwold Arts Festival

The circus rolled up to a Suffolk seaside town for the launch of an annual festival featuring some ‘big top’ names from the world of art, literature, music and dance.

The Pigs Gone Wild trail covers key Ipswich landmarks

There were shrieks of delightthis morning as children scrambled over concrete plinths holding some exciting new additions to Ipswich town centre.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24