Cow blessing service for Shropshire farmer published

A service celebrating cows that was created by a priest for a Shropshire farmer has been officially published by the Church of England.

The Reverend Shirley Small said the farmer from her Pontesbury parish had requested an informal blessing for his new milking parlour.

Having discovered there was no official liturgy on the subject, Ms Small adapted other rural worships.

Over a dozen attended the service which is now the template for the future.

'Building up trust'

Ms Small said: "We weren't in the parlour with the cows. We were in a nice clean parlour.

"I had been there earlier in the week when they were milking. I saw exactly how it worked so I could incorporate that into the service.

"We didn't sing hymns. I did a short introduction, a prayer, a poem about farmers and the cows coming in, a short reflection and then another prayer."

Ms Small said it had been a "privilege" to be asked to conduct the blessing.

"It was quite unusual for this farmer to ask for something like this," she continued.

"It does take a long time in rural communities to build up trust and it was a moving service but it was also good fun as well."

The Church of England's national rural officer, Dr Jill Hopkinson, said the service was "a testament to the dedication of Shirley and so many rural parish priests who develop deep relationships with rural people and the communities".

The wording of the blessing, which took place in July, is now available on the website of the Arthur Rank Centre, a Christian charity supporting rural communities.

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