This year’s Royal Welsh Show opened tonight with a message of hope and optimism for the future, despite the challenges facing the agriculture sector.
Show service guest preacher Canon Eileen Davies, who also farms in Ceredigion, told a packed St Mary’s Church in Builth Wells how the farming industry, and our young farmers, are ready to face the difficulties that lie ahead, including Brexit, and the uncertainty that surrounds it.
You can listen to Canon Eileen’s sermon below.
The service was led by Rev Michelle Bailey, the Bishop’s Officer for Rural Life, who is preparing for her first Royal Welsh Show.
The blessing was given by Bishop John, who said “that one of the chief benefits of the show is that it has come to be not only about rural commerce and business, but also a source and celebration of fellowship, support and community at times of significant challenge and anxiety for rural life – not least heightened by the uncertainty of the Brexit process”.
“As Eileen reminded us,” he said, “the rural communities have faced such challenges over the years, and I expressed the hope that, with external support from others such as government, the show would provide an ongoing sense of solidarity and commitment to the continuing life of our rural communities.”
Among the congregation were Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths AM, Wales’ chief vet Christianne Glossop, and D Brian Jones, president of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, who gave one of the readings.
The Christian presence at the show will also be the theme of a BBC Songs of Praise programme which is being filmed at the show. Cameras were at tonight’s service and the programme’s presenters, Aled Jones and JB Gill, will be following the show’s chaplains and joining in the worship services. The programme is scheduled to be broadcast at harvest time on September 24.
Tomorrow, Bishop John will be signing a petition against Sainsbury’s decision to reduce its commitment to Fairtrade in its own brand tea. The supermarket giant recently announced that it would be replacing the Fairtrade certification with its own ‘fairly traded’ scheme. Tea-farmers and workers in Africa say the move with disempower them as they will no longer control the Fairtrade premium.