Barn worship celebrates shepherding heritage

A CHURCH is organising a special celebration as part of an ongoing project to celebrate the heritage of sheep and shepherding in Northumberland.

The United Reformed Church is inviting everyone to attend the afternoon celebration at Chillingham Barns, near Chatton, on Sunday, July 9.

With a tour of the farm museum, picnic and a service in the style of American byre worship, there will be something for the whole family.

Sheep are as important to the people of Glendale as they were to the people of the Middle East in biblical times, shaping the pattern of everyday life and the local economy. The service is just one of many projects in an extensive programme to celebrate this important heritage.

It is being made possible by Meg and David Thompson. They normall attend the URC Church in Chatton but this time they are throwing open the gates of their own working farm instead. There will be a chance to see their collection of agricultural machinery and tools to see what life on a Northumberland farm used to be like, what has changed and what has stayed the same. Guests will have then chance to eat their picnics before attending the outdoor service to celebrate rural life.

Rev David Herbert, who will be leading worship, said: “Barn worship is common in agricultural communities in the US and we thought it would be fitting to try a service within a farming environment for the Sheep Tales Project. Everybody is welcome to come and join us on the day and see our own version of byre-style worship Northumberland style.”

The event starts at 4pm with the farm museum tour. Picnic time is from 5pm to 6pm and the day will end with worship from 6pm to 7pm. Entrance is free but places must be reserved in advance. For details contact David Herbert on 01668 219584 or email