The Church of England has published a prayer for farming communities recovering from weather conditions that have led to thousands of sheep and cattle being lost and crops being sown weeks late or ruined.
"We grieve for the loss of so many livestock in the recent appalling weather conditions," said the Right Reverend James Bell, Bishop of Knaresborough, who chairs the Church of England's Rural Affairs Group.
"We grieve, too, for the farmers who have worked so hard to feed and shelter their animals so that we can have good food to eat.
This prayer is an expression of solidarity with those who have experienced hardship or distress, in the hope of a fruitful and kind season to come, and in commitment to see farmers properly supported and rewarded."
The prayer is written by Dr Jill Hopkinson, the CofE's National Rural Officer based at the Arthur Rank Centre in Stoneleigh:
you provide us with food from the earth through the work of human hands:
after a poor summer and long winter,
we pray for all those who grow and produce our food
in the most difficult conditions.
We remember the physical hardships
and distress of farmers dealing with livestock that have died,
and those who are still to sow crops to harvest this year.
Bless the work of all those who care for your land and animals so that we may have food to sustain us.
This we ask through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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