Archbishop gives backing to Welsh farming at major show

By staff writers
July 23, 2009

The Anglican Archbishop of Wales has said that the Royal Welsh Show is a sign of hope for the future of agriculture, a caution about threats to the environment and a symbol of encouragement in times of despair.

Speaking recently at the show's opening service at St Mary's Church, Builth Wells, Dr Barry Morgan told a large congregation that the event's survival, particularly through the foot-and-mouth crisis, was a parable of transformation giving hope to all those going through bad times.

The Archbishop declared: "[The show] stands as a beacon of encouragement for all who are up against it in life because in all of life's difficulties. We need to hold on to this concept of new life arising out of the ashes of the old and that, no matter what we face, we can emerge as better human beings than before and that God is there assisting us."

Dr Morgan also paid tribute to the role of farmers as "stewards of God's earth" in helping to manage natural resources. He said it was vital that the show highlighted global environmental issues and what could be done to address them.

He added: "We are given daily reminders about the fragility of life on this planet, but most of us carry on with our lives in the usual way whatever we are told about global warming ... People who care for the earth, and farmers really care for the earth, realise the inter-connectedness of creation and the need to tend it for the sake of future generations and indeed for the future of the planet itself."

The Archbishop said the show fostered a sense of community - the coming together of a nation, both rural and urban. The farming way of life, he commented, also had a lot to teach us about good pastoral care, about looking after the young, vulnerable and weak.

Of the service itself, Dr Morgan said: "All things have their origin in God and what we are doing in an act of worship is relating all things to that origin. God is the creator of the universe and nothing is separate from [God's] creation and that it is right to give him thanks and praise for it."

Some have raised the question as to whether a Christian service that is officially part of the event is appropriate, citing inter-faith and secularist sensitivities.

But the organisers argue that it is inclusive and reflective of deep Welsh traditions.

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