The Agricultural Christian Fellowship (ACF) is open to all Christians in all branches of Agriculture, Horticulture and related activities. It exists to help them to make a Christian response to the many blessings, challenges and problems they face.
Farming has always had a special appeal for many of us. Contact with the land and with livestock, the direct concern with producing food, and close contact with God’s creation make up a unique and satisfying calling.
The whirlwind of technological change has brought in its wake much ‘green’ anxiety. We seek to root our response in the realisation that what is generally called ‘the environment’ is God’s creation to be lived in carefully, responsibly and thankfully. More recently there has come a severe economic squeeze which threatens many families, whether farmers, farm employees or those in related industries, with an end to the pattern and meaning of their lives.
The ACF, with other partners, tries to be alert to all these issues and to think them through from a biblical perspective. This understanding can then be the basis for trying to influence the context within which are made the decisions that affect us all.
In Derbyshire there is an ACF local group. This draws together agriculturally minded people for stimulation, support, fellowship and fun! A variety of activities take place such as bible study, suppers, country & western singing, farm walks and barbeques. We wish to establish other groups.
From time to time a conference is held at a central or regional location. A topical theme is chosen and God’s thoughts and ideas are gleaned throughout the day. This provides a valuable opportunity to widen your relationships and gives a sense of belonging to a broader network of like-minded people.
A biblical understanding also heightens our concern to help and encourage each other; to try to dispel the demons of fear and failure that can thrive in hard times, especially when people are locked into their problems in isolation. ACF seeks to help its members to help each other, and to help them together to reach out to other people. ACF and the Arthur Rank Centre together formed Farming Community Network (FCN) which is a national charity helping farming families who are facing difficulties.
A potent barrier to the growth of Christian belief is a widespread feeling that Christianity is irrelevant to the world of work. The ACF believes that discipleship involves all of life and that the gospel can, for example, illuminate economic relationships as much as family relationships. The more all-embracing the gospel we live by, the more points of contact we provide for any who are searching for the meaning of their lives.
In all these areas the ACF has a special concern for young people: that their Christian understanding may grow with their professional expertise. We are particularly keen to relate to Christian students in agriculture.