Transforming the communities of Essex & East London through Christ’s presence

Bishop: ‘Food is a spiritual issue’

9th Jan 2017

Stephen Cottrell, the Bishop of Chelmsford, has said that if a child cannot recognise a carrot, it is a spiritual issue.

Bishop Stephen has explained why:

“It is a sign that life has become disjointed; that we have allowed a separation to get so wide that we have even drifted from that which is most basic: the food we eat, the ground we toil and the seed we sow. If you don’t know what a carrot looks like, how will you possibly know what a plough is for? And how will you ever love really the earth or care about the well-being of your neighbour in another land?”

“Christianity is fundamentally a very earthy and physical religion..."

"Our problems begin when we break the connections between ourselves and our neighbour and our environment, that is the earth itself,”

he said.

The Bishop called for education about food, cooking and the seasons, government policies that support the nation in supplying its food, and global as well as local environmental and political awareness.

Bishop Stephen commented that the Church may be uniquely placed to take a lead, being a church for the countryside as much as the town, and serving both.

He was preaching on Plough Sunday, 8 January 2017, at Thaxted church.

Plough Sunday

The Plough Sunday service is opportunity to support and affirm farmers in their work. We recognise their dedication and commitment to producing our food and maintaining our countryside and rural communities. We ask for God’s blessing on all who work on the land as we look forward to a new growing season.

Bishop Stephen’s sermon

Download the Bishop’s sermon.


Bishop Stephen gives the Plough Sunday Blessing, with Revd Janet Nicholls, Rural Adviser & Agricultural Chaplain