Revd Jackie

Rev. Jackie Bullen

‘Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done...’

Words that are familiar to many of us but maybe less familiar is the word ‘rogation’. Rogation means ‘an asking of God’ for blessing on the seed and land for the year ahead. Sunday May 6th was Rogation Sunday this year – being the last Sunday before Ascension Day.

The practice of rogation was inherited by the church from the Romans who had developed the practice of a crowd moving in procession around a field, singing and dancing and ‘driving away the winter with sticks’. In AD 465, following an earthquake, tsunami and epidemic, a bishop required that prayers should be said in the ruined and neglected fields on the days leading up to Ascension day (forty days after Easter) and a church commemoration was born.

The keeping of Rogationtide arrived in England in the 8th century and became an annual asking for the help of God in prayer. At Rogationtide, a party would set out to trace the boundaries of the parish. At the head marched the Bishop or priest and after them the people of the parish. At certain points along the route, usually at well-known landmarks such as a bridge, stile or ancient tree, the procession was halted, all gathered about the priest, and a rogation prayer was said, imploring God to send them a sufficient harvest. It became known as ‘beating the bounds’. The main purpose was to say prayers but it also made people aware of where the parish boundaries actually lay.

This is something that we are probably less aware of than previous generations as with the expansions of towns and villages and new housing developments being created, the boundaries may no longer follow natural features of the landscape. Interestingly, the southern and western boundary of the parish of Longthorpe largely follows the path of the river Nene so a canoe may be needed to ‘beat the bounds’.

This year, as in previous years, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York wrote to all their clergy to invite us and our congregations to pray for the evangelization of our nation. The call to prayer took place from Ascension Day (May 10th) to Pentecost (May 20th). At the heart of the prayers used were the words ‘Thy kingdom come, thy will be done’.

This time of prayer could be likened to preparing the ground ready to sow seeds. Seeds of friendship, fellowship and love which we undertake to sow in and around the parish.

As a follow up to this time of prayer, St Botolph’s are offering a ‘Weekend of Invitation’ in June when there will be taster sessions offered for some of the regular events held in the church building as well as additional events which all are welcome to attend.

Please see the detailed programme for the weekend by clicking here.

With love and prayers.