Churchgoers urged to pray for rain

A PRIEST is urging the county's 22,000 churchgoers to forget praying for fine weather for their Sunday fetes - and pray for rain to help farmers whose crops are withering.

A PRIEST is urging the county's 22,000 churchgoers to forget praying for fine weather for their Sunday fetes - and pray for rain to help farmers whose crops are withering.

The Rev Canon Sally Fogden, Suffolk's agricultural chaplain, is asking the county's parishes to consider using a prayer for rain on Sunday. 

She said people are happy to ask their clergyman to pray for fine weather for the village fete, so it is only right to pray for rain to help the farmers.

Canon Fogden, who lives at Honington near Bury St Edmunds, said: "Although everyone has enjoyed the long hot summer and autumn weather we need to pray for our farmers at this time. 


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"In parts of East Anglia it is very, very, very dry. Autumn sown crops are withering or not germinating and people with livestock are using winter fodder stocks as there is little grass in some very dry areas.

"It's extremely difficult to get sugar beat out of the ground in some areas, because the ground is so hard. Some farmers are getting very desperate.

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"The power of prayer can make a real difference and I hope people will respond and that farmers are close to people's hearts.

"People are very happy to pray for fine weather for their Sunday fete, so we should pray for the farmers for rain.''

David Card, group secretary for the Stowmarket and Sudbury branch of the National Farmers Union, said: "The Indian rain dance would go down very well. Take the oil seed rape in particular, a lot of people drilled in as the rain was forecast, but it never materialized.

"That's what happens when you are dealing with nature. Rain is desperately required. Thousands of acres of oil seed rape is suffering, as well as other crops.''

The rain prayer Canon Fogden hopes people will say on Sunday is:

"Heavenly Father, creator God, we pray here in this county for our farmers as they steward your good earth. 

"We pray that if it seems right to you that there may be rain, so that the crops and grass may grow and the land that they care for may be fruitful and your people here and in other lands may be fed. 

"As we ask this we pray too for the drought areas of your world and for all work to bring hope and help.

"These things we ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.'' 

A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said there has been a dry summer and start to the autumn and at the start of the summer reservoirs were full.

She said the winter needs to bring rain to restock those reservoirs, and showers are forecast for next week.

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