Sermon for 2013 Annual Service

Sermon by Reverend Hugh Broadbent, ASWA Committee Member, at ASWA Annual Service on Animal Welfare Sunday

Sermon for Animal Welfare Sunday

6th October 2013 - Truro Cathedral


10.00am Harvest Festival Solemn Eucharist at Truro Cathedral

(attended by the Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals)



Introit Oculi omnium Wood Hymns on service sheet

Missa Triueriensis Gabriel Jackson                                         Psalm 100

Anthem Ave verum corpus Byrd

Voluntary Organ Graham Fitkin


Theme: ‘God’s All-Embracing Love’


Old Testament: Deuteronomy 26.1-11 ‘The Offering of the First-fruits’

Epistle: Philippians 4.4-9 ‘Joy and Peace’

Gospel: Luke 12.22-31 ‘Seek first the Kingdom of God’


According to Deuteronomy, the people of ancient Israel were accustomed to bring to the Temple in a basket each year the first-fruits of their harvest. They wanted to thank God for rescuing them from slavery and bringing them into a land where they were able to enjoy a good harvest.

“The Lord,” they would say, “brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm... He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” (Deut.26:8-9)


All of us who have been touched by God’s goodness in this way, can feel the urge to respond in worship and thanksgiving. That indeed is what we are doing this morning. But in the process, we can also be caught up into the amazing Reality of God.  We commune with him. And as we do so, we begin to see things from his perspective, and to glimpse his vision for the world. Our horizons are broadened and our compassionate concern immeasurably extended. We no longer think simply in terms of our narrow, selfish materialistic needs: ‘What shall I eat? What shall I wear?’ But rather, as Jesus reminds us in our gospel reading, we look beyond all that to seek God’s Kingdom ... on earth as it is in heaven.

God’s Kingdom is all-embracing. It is the whole created order in tune with the Will of God; and to grasp what this entails is not easy. The Church is still struggling to do so even today.

Sharing what God has given us at a local level is an obvious starting-point. As we share his harvest blessings, so we share his love with those around us. Churches have for many years distributed harvest produce amongst the elderly and the house-bound, and given to local charities that are helping the homeless and destitute.

But looking beyond the local community is rather more difficult. It was only in the aftermath of the Second World War, when concern for European refugees led to the founding of international relief organisations like Christian Aid, that a wider concern for global poverty was truly kindled. Nowadays of course it is common-place for Christians to pray at Harvest Thanksgivings for the poor of the world and to support special fundraising initiatives on their behalf. But it was not always so.

Your Dean [The Very Reverend Roger Bush] at his installation in September last year said that “We are all on a journey to a greater understanding of God’s nature.” And he is right. We have clearly moved on in that journey and have grown in our awareness of God’s all-embracing love. But clearly also we still have a long way to go.

It is my prayer that, at the start of the 21st century, our horizons will be expanded and stretched still further, and we will embrace a concern, not just for the local community, nor even the whole human race, but the whole created order.

We heard a moment ago the opening words of Psalm 100: “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth!” But how, I ask myself, can the earth ‘shout for joy’ when it is decimated by human greed and arrogance, when the habitats of wild animals are destroyed by pollution, global warming and deforestation fuelled at least in part by our ludicrously materialistic lifestyle and a desire for unbridled growth supported, it seems, by politicians of almost all persuasions? How can the earth ‘shout for joy’ when 15 large animal species are critically endangered and a further 33 in serious trouble? Jesus in our gospel reading speaks of God clothing the lilies of the field and feeding the birds, and if the choir had turned a few pages on to Psalm 104, we would have heard them sing of God blessing all creatures and willing them all to flourish and to share in the fruits of the earth, not just humans.

There is a growing concern within our society of the damage we are doing to the environment and to wild life. Whether it has the spiritual resources to deal with the problem, however, I rather doubt. The Church has an important and distinctive contribution to make. Where humanists may talk, for example, about caring for creatures like the honey bee which we may need for our own survival (enlightened self-interest), we talk of God’s care for every living creature, regardless of its usefulness and regardless of any particular liking we may have for it. Whilst many are driven by fear and anxiety regarding the future of our planet, we are motivated primarily by faith and love.

As we are drawn in our worship deeper into the mystery of God, as our horizons are stretched and broadened, may we, in the words of St. Paul to the Ephesians,

“...have the power ... to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)


Reverend Hugh Broadbent

Vicar of Snodland & ASWA Committee Member

Other Services

Sermon - Animal Welfare Sunday - 4 Oct 2017 - Revd Jennifer Brown - Nottingham Service

Evensong on Sunday - Evensong on Sunday June 25th 2017 Trinity 2 Revd. Professor Martin Henig - St Margaret’s Church, Binsey

Evensong Sermon - St Margaret's, Binsey and then at St Giles,Oxford

Evensong Sermon - Evensong on Sunday 9th April 2017 [Palm Sunday], St Margaret’s Church, Binsey

Eucharist - Eucharist on Sunday January 8th 2017 at St Fridewide's, Osney - Revd Professor Martin Henig

Twentieth Sunday after Trinity - Parish Eucharist sermon by Lay Preacher, John Clements in The Church of Saints Peter and Paul, Botley in North Hinxey Parish. Text - Psalm 111 and the Gospel Luke 17:11-19

Animal Welfare Sunday 2016 - Sermon at St Cross, Winchester by the Rt Revd Dominic Walker OGS

Trinity 16 Service - Sermon by Revd Prof Martin Henig - ASWA Vice President

Service for Animal Welfare - Sermon by Revd Mandy Young, Curate, All saint's Snodland Kent

Passion Sunday - 2016 - St Frideswide’s , Osney Eucharist on Sunday 13th March 2016 [Passion Sunday] - Revd. Professor Martin Henig

ASWA Annual Service 2015 - Sermon from The Right Reverend James Jones former Bishop of Liverpool

Harvest Festival Sermon - Sermon from Eucharist Service held on Sunday 27th September [Harvest Festival] at St Frideswide's Church, Osney - Revd. Professor Martin Henig

Animal Welfare Service - Watford 31 May 2015 - Animal Welfare Service - Watford

Ecumenical Animal Welfare Retreat - Ecumenical Animal Welfare Retreat, Penmaenmawr in North Wales from Monday 18th May to Friday 22nd May 2015

Sermon from Harvest Evensong - The Harvest is for the Animals too! Sermon from Revd Professor Martin Henig

Sermon for 2014 Annual Service - The Sermon given by the Rt Revd Dominic Walker OGS at St Woolos Cathedral, Newport accompanied by Intercessions from Revd Professor Martin Henig

Sermon at St Margaret's, Binsey - A sermon from Revd Professor Martin Henig

Animals, God and Human convenience - A sermon delivered at St Mary’s Church, Ewell, Surrey by Revd Professor Martin Henig

St Michael & All Angels Watford - Reverend Professor Martin Henig - Watford

CCA Ecumenical Retreat Spring 2014 - Wales - The first of two Sermons presented by Revd Professor Martin Henig

CCA Retreat Spring 2014 - Wales 2 - The second of two sermons presented by the Revd Professor Martin Henig

Dominion - A sermon preached Reverend Jennifer Brown (ASWA) at St Mary’s, Kidlington, Oxfordshire

Eucharist for Advent II - Revd Professor Martin Henig, ASWA vice president - "They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain.."

The Groans of Creation - A Sermon preached by the Revd. Professor Martin Henig - Vice President of ASWA

Whitsun Creation Service - Revd. Professor Martin Henig at St Frideswide’s , Osney

Whitsun Evensong - Revd. Professor Martin Henig - St Margaret’s, Binsey

Sermon for Lent IV - Sermon for Fourth Sunday in Lent by Revd Dr Martin Henig - Vice Chairman of ASWA

Sermon from 2012 Annual Service - Chelmsford - Sermon by Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell at ASWA Annual Service on Animal Welfare Sunday

Eucharist & Evensong Sunday 7th October 2012 - St Margaret’s, Binsey Revd. Professor Martin Henig

Animal Welfare Sunday Sermon - Sermon - St Mary’s, Kidlington on Animal Welfare Sunday - Reverend Jennifer Brown

Eucharist - Dogs & Cats - Sermon from Revd. Professor Martin Henig - St Frideswide’s, Oseney.

The birds of the air: From Holy Ghost to fall - The Birds of the Air: From Holy Ghost to fallen sparrow - Revd. Professor Martin Henig

A Sin against the Holy Spirit - Sermon for Trinity 1 by Revd Dr Martin Henig - Vice Chairman of ASWA

Sermon for Lent II - Sermon for Third Sunday in Lent by Revd Dr Martin Henig - Vice Chairman of ASWA

Sermon for Lent - Into the Wilderness - a Sermon from Martin Henig - one of a series during Lent - 29.02.12

Lent Sermon - Salvation for All - Sermon by Reverend Jennifer Brown - Sunday 12th February 2012

Sermon from 2011 Annual Service - Sermon by Rt Revd Richard Llewellin, ASWA Chairman, at Kings Norton

Ecumenical Animal Welfare Retreat 07.05.11 - Address from Ecumenical Animal Retreat May 2011 by Dr Martin Henig, ASWA Vice President, run by Catholic Concern for Animals

Sermon - Creation Sunday, Oxford - Sermon from our Vice President, Professor Martin Henig - Creation Sunday 2011 - St Frideswide's, Oxford

Sermon from Gloucester Cathedral 20.11.10 - Sermon from Evensong at Gloucester Cathedral 20th November 2010 Revd Dr Martin Henig, ASWA Vice President

Sermon from 2010 Animal Service - ASWA President, Rt Revd Dominic Walker OGS delivered the Sermon at St Jude on the Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb

Sermon for Animal Welfare Sunday 2010 - Sermon preached at St Mary's Church, Kidlington by Reverend Jennifer Brown

Sermon from 2010 Animal Sunday Wokingham - Revd Dr Martin Henig spoke at Wokingham Parish Church

Sermon from 2008 Annual Service - Sermon delivered by Bishop Michael Nazir Ali at the 2008 Rochester Cathedral service

Sermon from 2009 Annual Service - Durham Cathedral Saturday 26th September 2009 Steven Shakespeare

Sermon from 2007 Annual Service - Sermon delivered by Brother Samuel at the 2007 St Michael’s Church, Watford service

Lambeth Conference - ASWA attended the Lambeth Conference with a fringe meeting on Wednesday 30th July.

Dr Tony Campolo Service 2007 - Dr Campolo speaks on Christian responsibilty for the Animal Kingdom.

Sermon from 2002 - Liverpool Cathedral - Rt Revd James Jones's Sermon from the ASWA Annual Service in 2002

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